Monday, December 29, 2008

Erasing the Past of Gaza: A Revised Reality

In a New York Times article regarding the Israeli assault on the Palestinians imprisoned in the Gaza Strip we are regaled by some of the brutality committed by Hamas against Palestinians who Hamas considered to be collaborators with Israel and the United States. And indeed it is not pretty to read but as usual with the news media there is much that isn’t being said. In fact when one reads publications like the NYT it often seems that history has been erased as if nothing before today actually ever happened. Much of the reporting in the article merely repeats talking points or I should say propaganda mouthed by various politicians as if that is all that is needed to be said.

Most western leaders lay the blame for the violence directly at the feet of Hamas who as I have said I bear no great love for yet to lay the blame entirely on Hamas is just nonsense. One piece of history that is being ignored is that the election of Hamas was a direct result of the U.S.’ ignorant and ill-advised meddling with cultures that they neither understand nor wish to as if viewing the world through western eyes is all that is needed when involved in foreign affairs.


WASHINGTON — After making democracy a defining marker for American foreign policy, President Bush got a jolting message from Palestinian voters: Be careful what you wish for.
The United States promoted the democratic Palestinian election that now has produced an upset victory for the militant Islamic group Hamas. The election could install an organization the United States considers terrorist in place of a Palestinian leadership that, while weak, was pledged to work with Israel and with Washington.

The administration is caught between Bush's clarion rhetoric about spreading liberty even in unlikely places and the reality that self-determination can yield results that appear counter to U.S. interests. That's a challenge the United States may have to confront someday in other places as well, including Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Central Asia, the Balkans and — closer to home — South America.

"We in the United States have got to get used to the idea that other countries are going to have changes, and they may not be ones that" traditional Western thinking can readily grasp, said Council on Foreign Relations Mideast expert Judith Kipper.

Despite all our blunderings in the past the accepted role of the U.S. as the “guiding light” of the world is accepted almost universally by American citizens but most especially by our politicos on both sides of the isle. Obama has made it one of the mainstays of his speeches that this will also be an American Century where the U.S. will act as world leader. And almost all politicians, not just Obama, believe this rhetoric completely despite the serious blowback of such world views and the human suffering it has caused.

Because the past is ignored readers of the NYT and other publications will go away believing that the root cause for the Israeli bombing of Gaza is due to the unreasonableness of Hamas but this is simply not true.

For more history on the violence occurring I would recommend you read a recent post by Dennis Perrin and you should follow the excellent links he provides which sheds a lot of light on the roles of the Israeli government and Hamas that is by and large completely ignored by our mainstream news media.


It's interesting to note how all the excuses for slaughtering Palestinians when the PLO was Hitler are now being used to tar Hamas. They reject compromise, are bottomless Jew haters, are addicted to death, want to drive Israel into the sea, etc. Naturally, being human beings, there are Palestinians who match these descriptions (just as there are Israelis who view Palestinians as dogs, pigs, insects, and cancers). But accurate labeling isn't the goal here; finding excuses to justify attacks that were pre-planned is the overall point. Again, this goes back to the PLO period, when Fatah offers of two-state negotiation, beginning in 1976, were not only rejected by Israel, but were often answered with air strikes. When the PLO kept offering to talk, Israel found ways to undermine Palestinian moderation, from helping anti-PLO Muslims gain political/military traction (which led to Hamas), to outright attempts at physical annihilation, like the 1982 invasion of Lebanon. Now that Fatah has been reduced to Israeli-client status, the same bloody playbook is being used against Hamas, and will be used against whoever succeeds them.

Since most readers do not click on links here is an excerpt from the Richard Seymour post Dennis links.

The Qassam rockets were being used as one component of an array of military tactics deployed by Gazan groups before the pull-out, the Gush Katif colonies being the prominent target. This was a response to a wave of violence and expulsions in which, for example, 13,350 residents of Rafah had their homes and life belongings destroyed in the year preceding the withdrawal, courtesy of Israeli tanks and Caterpillar bulldozers. Parts of Gaza came to resemble Grozny. The Israelis frequently attacked ambulances, at one point using the argument that UNRWA had allowed Qassam rockets to be loaded on board one such vehicle (this turned out to be a lie, but it is still repeated on many a media outlet and website). The vast majority of casualties from their use date back to the period of formal colonialism. After the withdrawal, the rate at which these were used diminished dramatically. Their use has spiked in response to serial atrocities against Palestinians, such as the slaughter of the Ghaliya family on the Gaza beach, (in which Hamas broke an eighteen month unilateral ceasefire).

There were few such rockets fired during the six-month ceasefire, even though Israel didn't respect its terms, but their use was increased again as Israel broke the truce on November 4th (burn that date into your brain and remember it next time someone tells you that those nasty Hamas thugs wouldn't renew the ceasefire). Now, there are legitimate arguments about both the efficacy and ethics of using such weapons. To my mind, they have very little going for them as a tactic of resistance. But the apparently widespread belief that Qassam rockets are the vindictive and jubilant response of sneering Palestinian jihadists to Israeli mushiness is not justified by any evidence. In fact, if the aim were truly to end Qassam rocket fire, the logical option would to be engage in a unilateral ceasefire and invite Hamas to enter into a process of dialogue. But that brings us to another myth, the myth of Hamas rejectionism, which is for another post.

Also this.

Despite an international blockade and opprobrium from the Israeli leadership, Hamas repeatedly signalled its willigness to accept a two-state settlement. It imposed a unilateral ceasefire on its own cadre, refusing to be drawn by repeated Israeli provocations. A crippling blockade, habitual violence and naked attempts to destabilise the elected government did not deter Hamas from this course. Only this year, after a US-Israeli sponsored armed coup attempt in Gaza, a successful putsch in the West Bank, and repeated incursions by the IDF, Hamas offered Israel a ten year ceasefire if it could abide by the terms of a two-state settlement: this offer, just like every other peace overture, was contemptuously dismissed. And now, most recently, a ceasefire agreed on in June has been flagrantly overturned by Israel. No one noticed, at least no one who writes for a newspaper. The myth that Hamas ended the truce as just the latest example of its innate rejectionism now underwrites a depraved assault which has killed 300 people and is about to become a ground invasion. Israel's intransigence, brutality, recklessness, refusal to work with anyone or negotiate in any meaningful way, will continue to be projected onto its opponents for as long as Israel has the superior propaganda resources, and for as long as the colonial trope of 'native fanaticism' governs discursive responses to occupation and resistance.

But do go read Dennis Perrin’s post and the links he provides which I found very useful in understanding what is actually going down in this horrific assault against an essentially powerless group of people imprisoned in Gaza. It really is astonishing concerning the efficacy of the news media to turn reality upside down to the point where the brutal militaristic Israeli government is the victim when it has been Israel’s own desire to drive the Palestinians from their homes and lands to quench an unquenchable thirst for expansion by Israel through any means no matter how violent they might be that is the driving force for war between the Palestinians and Israel. Indeed the only peace that the Israeli government desires is a peace that requires the total eradication of the Palestinians from their land, or the peace of the dead.

And in the meantime we should all wonder what the future will bring from our own conceit manifested in the form of American Exceptionalism which will no doubt bear bitter fruit in who knows what kind of blowback at the U.S. support of Israel’s bloody and murderous military adventures. For the Arab world blames the U.S. as much as Israel and rightly so. For it is this monumental and unreasoning conceit that allows our politcos to continue to see the world as America’s playground to be used and abused, manipulated and coerced, into whatever vision our rather insane leaders wish to impose on the rest of the world in order to preserve those damnable “American interests.” Oddly it seems a bit unproductive to keep shooting ourselves in the foot as we continue to undermine any peace process that might have once been possible without our ignorant machinations.

On Gaza

When someone says that someone else's property belongs to them because God says so it always seems to end badly. And it hardly ever ends.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Gaza Blood Bath: Endgame

I suppose I should have expected the reactions by some over this latest atrocity committed by Israel against the Palestinians in Gaza. However I find myself amazed at the hubris and total lack of concern by many so-called liberals for what is happening. Yes, yes, yes, certainly Hamas has called for the destruction of Israel and Hamas has sent missiles into what is now Israel but as I keep trying to point out in vain is that Israel has stolen almost all of the Palestinian land over the last half century and been murdering untold numbers of Palestinians. This isn’t a game of retaliation between the Palestine and Israel it is the -- Complete. Elimination. Of. Palestine. By. Israel. Get it? Israel is backed by billions of U.S. dollars and is one of the most advanced militaries in the world. In fact the U.S. sends Israel 3 billion dollars a year but has done nothing for the Palestinians, nothing but utter mealy mouthed words about a two-state solution but how can there be a two state solution when the plan is to eliminate the Palestinians from the face of the earth? And look at the picture of the bloodied little Palestinian girl above (Via Chris Floyd). This is what all of us are paying for, we are all guilty for the immense suffering in Gaza. And what has our great blubbering savior Obama said? “No comment.” Now that is what I call leadership, a bold statement for the New Year and the new and improved government that so many voted for, bah.

Chris Floyd linked to an article in Haaretz which tells us that the Israel military had planned this attack against Gaza six months ago long before the cease-fire ended. In other words Israel was going to attack Gaza regardless. The truce was actually in place to give Israel time to prepare for this vicious attack against Gaza. This belies all the malarkey that a democratic government’s first job is to protect its citizens which Israel apologists are using to defend this murderous slaughter and genocide and yes it is genocide. Israel has been murdering Palestinians for more than half of a century. This is the endgame of the complete elimination of Palestine by Israel.


Long-term preparation, careful gathering of information, secret discussions, operational deception and the misleading of the public - all these stood behind the Israel Defense Forces "Cast Lead" operation against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, which began Saturday morning.

The disinformation effort, according to defense officials, took Hamas by surprise and served to significantly increase the number of its casualties in the strike.

Sources in the defense establishment said Defense Minister Ehud Barak instructed the Israel Defense Forces to prepare for the operation over six months ago, even as Israel was beginning to negotiate a ceasefire agreement with Hamas. According to the sources, Barak maintained that although the lull would allow Hamas to prepare for a showdown with Israel, the Israeli army needed time to prepare, as well.

Barak gave orders to carry out a comprehensive intelligence-gathering drive which sought to map out Hamas' security infrastructure, along with that of other militant organizations operating in the Strip.

I bear no love for Hamas but Hamas is not the issue, the issue is the brutal pogrom utilized by Israel against the Palestinians whose main guilt is being born Palestinian in a land ruled by European whites for the racist nature of this atrocity cannot not be overlooked. Would the government of Israel and the so-called “settlers” be upset by the presence of Palestinians if they were white and Jewish? Not very likely.

The U.S. and the European nations have been meddling with the people of the Middle East for centuries and all it has accomplished is human suffering on a huge scale. We have created nations, redrawn national boundaries, bombed, stolen from, assassinated leaders, engineered the overthrowing of governments, and all for the greater glory of our national interests which translated into English means for the profit of a few. So please, please, do not talk to me about how this one-sided crime against humanity is an equal battle between the Palestinians and Israel over disputed land for Israel has already taken all the land except for Gaza and a few other locations which it is now in the process of destroying utterly and for all time.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

You Can Help the Children of Iraq

Please go to this website and give what you can. 12 dollars buys a child a coat, 40 bucks feeds a family for a month.

Give here

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tales of the Jesus Woman

I recently received this email from a neighbor.

I will be making a conscious effort to wish everyone
a Merry Christmas this year ...
My way of saying that I am celebrating
the birth Of Jesus Christ.
So I am asking my email buddies,
if you agree with me,
to please do the same.
And if you'll pass this on to
your email buddies, and so on...
maybe we can prevent one more
American tradition from being lost in the sea of
"Political Correctness".

This is the same person who sent me an email about how the A-Rabs were trying to kill her and her family. Considering where I live this is entirely laughable for more than one of many reasons.

I met this neighbor at a meeting for a neighborhood watch group which had formed because of about six burglaries up and down our street in as many weeks. The meeting itself was more like a lynch party than anything else and I never bothered to go to more meetings. I also have lived to regret giving out my email to this person who believes in the birth of Christ and that Arabs are trying to kill her and her family.

This neighbor also has an extremely large American flag flying from the front of her house, the flag is actually larger than the house, maybe larger than the flags that fly from public buildings, it might be the largest flag in the nation though I cannot be sure of this.

Turns out the burglars live right across the street from me which includes a drunken construction worker, a mother dope addict, her two daughters -- one who is small enough to go through pet doors to unlock the regular door from the inside -- and the two sons of the husband from a previous marriage (made in hell no doubt) who are also dope addicts, when they aren’t burglarizing houses or stealing cars that is.

It occurs to me that it is a toss-up as to who I dislike more -- my patriotic neighbors (they all have flags but none as large as the Jesus woman’s) or the burglars. Personally I think they may deserve each other. As for myself I am moving this spring either to the Bay Area or Monterey. Spring cannot come too soon.

My advice to all and sundry is that if you ever get the hankering to move to a rural area with visions of quiet pastoral vistas and down to earth local yokels you should probably go get your head examined or at least find out if insanity runs in your family history. And while the demise of Christmas may indeed be at hand it isn’t exactly at the top of my list of important things to worry about. No offense to Jesus who was probably a real swell guy.

Monday, December 22, 2008

World Bank is Really, Really Worried about Gaza

Now the World Bank is worried about Gaza, not for humanitarian reasons mind you but because the blockade is fueling the growth of a black money market.


Israel's blockade of Gaza is pushing the territory to the brink of collapse and fuelling the growth of a black money market controlled by Hamas, the World Bank warned yesterday.

As tit-for-tat attacks across the Gaza border began to intensify following the end of a six-month truce on Friday, the World Bank said that an acute cash shortage in Gaza was playing into Hamas's hands. The militant Islamists, who took control of Gaza in June 2007 following violent street clashes with their more secular rival, Fatah, have large stashes of shekels which they have been selling on the black market at a premium because of the cash shortage.

There is also a worry that Hamas, with its dominant militant and bureaucratic control of Gaza, will begin to replace the shekel with US dollars, which are more easily obtained, to smuggle through the tunnels from Egypt in the south.

Indeed, who worries about the Palestinians who are being punished by Israel for holding a Democratic election which placed Hamas firmly in the Palestinian government? Not too many as you may well imagine for Israel is the Holy Cow of the Western world. Certainly not Obama who has pledged his allegiance to protecting Israel from the people Israel has been slaughtering for over 50 years. Over half of the 1.5 million Palestinians imprisoned in Gaza are living in poverty with people searching through garbage dumps for something, anything, to eat. Almost every time I read an news article in the New York Times or the Guardian or whatever news outlet the impression one would get from these news articles is that there is an equal battle, fight, war, between the Palestinians and the Israeli. And what is particularly irksome is the news articles are framed in such a manner as to be very non-committal not taking sides when indeed they most certainly are. For example this article in the Times is seemingly scolding both the Palestinians and Israel for the violence. While it is true that both sides are participating in the violence what is being completely ignored is the rather one-sided nature of what is actually happening. So by the very silence of the news it is most assuredly siding with Israel all they way. Take a look at this map. It shows quite clearly what is happening. It shows the progress of Palestinian lands being taken from them by Israel from the year 1946 to the year 2000.

Looking at the map one can see that for all intents and purposes Israel has taken almost all the Palestinian land which is now occupied by what is laughingly called “settlers” though thieves is what first comes to my mind. This is no “tit-for-tat” it is the brutal and complete elimination of Palestine at the hands of Israel. And the whole affair was conducted in front of the rest of the world, who has sat by and done nothing nor given any kind of protest except for a few whines here and there. And thanks to our ever vigilant mainstream news media a lot of people have the completely wrong idea of the true nature of the land grabs and murders. The New York Times has all the news that is fit to print while the News Hour is fair and balanced and Tinkerbell is sprinkling fairy dust in Never Never Land.

But what about our national leaders, I mean they have their intelligence agencies who brief them with reports simplified enough that a five-year-old could understand them perhaps complete with pretty colored graphs (or comic strips in the case of Bush). These bastions of justice spout on and on about Democracy, human decency, bringing light to the dark corners of the world, uplifting their fellow man, and working for peace and goodwill for all but what have they actually done -- anything besides greasing their palms with kickbacks and looking the other way while the death and destruction of an entire nation and people is occurring right under their noses? The problem for the Palestinians is they no longer have anything that the ruling class desires. They have already lost their land, have no money and thus no power to speak of so since there is no profit to be had from the Palestinians they have no friends among the ruling class. And besides, Israel can do no wrong in the eyes of the West.

Meanwhile, what is left of the Palestinians, who have been herded into Gaza very much like the Native Americans were herded onto Indian reservations, live in extreme poverty with no access to food cut off from the rest of the world whose leaders while away the hours sitting in ivory towers while congratulating themselves on their own magnificence. But the World Bank is worried about money of course and what a huge surprise that is.

What a great world. We of the west are up to our necks in hypocrisy the stench of which is unbearable but we have been living the lie for so long we no longer smell it. The news continues to warble on about the end of the truce while it is really the end of an half century old occupation for what is left of Palestine?

The picture at the top of this post is of a Palestinian father carrying his dead child, the handy-work of an Israeli attack in the Gaza Strip. However it could be any number of scenarios – perhaps an Iraq father carrying his dead child, or it could be a father in Afghanistan after one of our murderous air raids – take your pick for our “humanitarian” work is never done. This is, after all, what we do best -- murder – we have an entire industry devoted to it. But heaven forbid that we should ever question the morals of our beneficent calling, our white man’s burden, our destiny of bringing hope and change to the world. What is a little collateral damage compared to our great shining destiny for when we kill brown people we kill them for their own good. It certainly is difficult to understand why they don’t love us.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Via John Caruso at A Tiny Revolution


High school students in Israel have been imprisoned repeatedly for refusing to serve in the Israeli army. Normally I don’t think much of sending prewritten letters for whatever cause but in this case I make an exception. To refuse to take part in the state violence of any nation to the point of being jailed takes a lot of guts and conviction of one’s beliefs. I really admire the courage and the awareness of these kids.

One of them said "I will not lend my own hand to the occupation and to acts that contradict my most basic values: human rights, democracy and the personal responsibility each and every human being bears towards fellow human beings."

Though the mainstream news media has misrepresented or remained silent on the topic of the murder and removal of Palestinians for years the brutal state violence Israel has been committing against the Palestinians is one of the most disgusting crimes against humanity in modern times. So take a moment to go to this website and send the letter in your name. It is people like these Israeli youth that make the world seem like a less dark and dreary place.

Send your letter here

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Slaves of the State

Banishing Thought

Time and again we hear of that holy of holies which is all things military from our national leaders for ever since the defeat of the mighty U.S. military in the fields of Vietnam Americans, in particular our leaders, have been looking for a way to wash the stain of defeat from the history books. For it has been the U.S. role in WWII that until Vietnam has defined what the U.S. is, what it stands for, and our supposed greatness in our own eyes.

After the Gulf War where George H.W. Bush had led Saddam Hussein to believe that an attack on Kuwait was something he could do without fear of reprisal from the U.S. it was broadly discussed that the defeat in Vietnam was finally laid to rest for America had proven once again that she was the same super power that helped to defeat Nazi Germany. However, the Gulf War could have been entirely averted for like the present Iraq War it was entirely manufactured.

Philip Agee discusses how H.W. Bush set the stage for an unnecessary war.


During the Iraq-Iran war in the 1980s, the U.S. sided with Iraq and continued this policy right up to August 2, the day of the invasion. In April, the Assistant Secretary of State for the Middle East, John Kelly, testified before Congress that the United States had no commitment to defend Kuwait. On July 25, with Iraqi troops massed on the Kuwait border, the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie, met with Hussein. Minutes of the meeting were given by the Iraqis to the Washington Post in mid-August. According to these minutes, which have not been disputed by the State Department, the Ambassador told Hussein that Secretary of State James Baker had instructed her to emphasize to Hussein that the U.S. has "no opinion" on Iraqi-Kuwait border disputes. She then asked him, in light of Iraqi troop movements, what his intentions were with respect to Kuwait. Hussein replied that Kuwait's actions amounted to "an economic war" and "military action against us." He said he hoped for a peaceful solution, but if not, he said, "it will be natural that Iraq will not accept death..." A clearer statement of his intentions would be hard to imagine, and hardly a promise not to invade. The Ambassador gave no warning from Baker or Bush that the U.S. would oppose an Iraqi takeover of Kuwait. On the contrary she said, "I have a direct instruction from the President to seek better relations with Iraq." On the same day Assistant Secretary of State Kelly killed a planned Voice of America broadcast that would have warned Iraq that the U.S. was "strongly committed" to the defense of its friends in the Gulf, which included, of course, Kuwait. During the week between the Ambassador's meeting with Hussein and the invasion, the Bush administration forbade any warning to Hussein against invasion, or to the thousands of people who might become hostages. The Ambassador returned to Washington as previously scheduled for consultations. Assistant Secretary Kelly, two days before the invasion, again testified publicly before Congress to the effect that the U.S. had no commitment to defend Kuwait. And, according to press reports and Senator Boren, who heads the Senate Intelligence Committee, the CIA had predicted the invasion some four days before it happened.

I can still recall the television coverage of the Gulf War it was rather like a Monday night football game with the news media whipping up the usual insane patriotic garbage needed for all wars to proceed as planned. There was spectacular footage of the bombing of Baghdad at night with bombs bursting in air as the U.S blanket bombed the citizens of Iraq. There was even film of smart bombs flying down chimneys as Americans cheered the brutal slaughter of people they never met and knew nothing about. At work one of my co-workers told me that when you see a bully picking on a little guy wouldn’t you want to stop it, a reference to the Iraq invasion of Kuwait. Another co-worker asked me didn’t I think the people of Kuwait were nice. I in turn asked her if she had ever heard of Kuwait before the war, she had not. And throughout the whole spectacle cartoons of the most racist type were circulated throughout the workplace demeaning the people of Iraq rendering them as something not quite human. This is all par for the course when a nation goes to war without any real justification which there rarely is.

After the end of the Gulf War I can recall the parade of military vehicles rumbling down the city streets, tanks with their turrets twirling like so many phallic symbols, and people cheering the homecoming heroes. It was quite a sight and one that frankly made me sick to my stomach. For this was all part of the militarization of America, part and parcel with American exceptionalism at its worst, the fantasy, the fraud, the sickening soul grinding mystique of glamorizing war and all things military. How I despise patriotism in all its manifestations for it brings out the worst in people, the ignorance, the violence, the indoctrination, the destruction of any kind of thought, the double standards, the murder, the lies, and the rivers of human blood soaking the earth. And it ought to be shocking how little it takes to convince the gullible masses for the need of war. All it takes is a little propaganda. A few lies repeated over and over, the bogey man of manufactured non-existent threats. And ignoring history off we go on another ill-advised military adventure because here in the U.S. as in many other nations the military is sacred, a high calling, for there is no past in the minds of the conned, there is only the here and the now.


Even with the ending of the Gulf War the indoctrination continued full bore. Market stores hawked toys for the kiddies. There were little Desert Storm toy tanks, soldier figures, and play cards like the baseball cards that kids used to collect and trade when I was growing up. It would seem there never was enough propaganda or pledges of allegiance to a flag that all too few ever understood for what it stood for. Not too long ago I was at a friend’s house and there were toys for his kid scattered about the place including some action figure super hero dolls with huge bulbous muscular bodies and little tiny pinheads hilariously all out of proportion to the body. Truly these are some great values we instill in our youth. Don’t think, just smash and destroy with brute strength and never ever question that holy of holies the American military. And thus another generation is prepared for war, indeed it begins at a very early age. How easy we make it for our national leaders to wage war.

The indoctrination of our young people is a deluge propagated by television, movies, toy manufacturers, the news media, and if that weren’t enough the military sends recruiters to our public schools to fill young heads with all manner of lies and garbage about joining the military. Even organized sports is a tool to prepare young people for the military with its emphasis on team effort, being part of a team, following orders, and the glorification of ritualized violence as in football. It all seems innocent enough, after all, it’s only a game but it does condition the mind to accept the propriety of such thinking when a child becomes old enough to join the military. Thus individualism is actually de-emphasized and thoughts of the consequences of what war actually is are banished. Even the ritual of pledging allegiance to the flag induces a mindless state of obedience and why should anyone be required to pledge their allegiance to a piece of cloth? Don’t you trust your children? Are you afraid that without this mindless ritual that they will destroy the U.S.? How ridiculous. And so from an early age we are taught to trust in authority, trust and grovel before the figures of authority, don’t think just trust, and how easy it is and how comforting knowing we need not think. This is all mighty convenient to those who would send your children into the meat grinder of the endless wars that the U.S. has perpetuated for more than a century. Think of it, your children are nothing but cannon fodder to be used, mangled physically and mentally or killed outright at the whim and whimsy of national leaders who though in positions of authority represent the lowest and vilest form of life on the planet.

Even as I write another person of authority, the latest and greatest model, one Barack Obama, is confiding with a gathering of war hawks making plans for spreading the imperial footprint in Afghanistan by sending more and more troops to that war torn land. Even now Obama’s cronies like Robert Gates is telling us we shall be in Iraq long past the year 2011, perhaps as many as 40,000 strong defined as a residual force but then words and promises that propel leaders to the forefront are and have always been quite elastic in the world of national leaders. And as the imperial war spreads from Afghanistan to Pakistan and then on into Iran and God knows where else, possibly Russia, where will the warm bodies come from to feed the gaping and bloody maw of war? Could it be, is it possible that our new and improved anti-war imperial manager will reinstate the draft? It is not all that farfetched if you think about it. Bush Junior promised us endless war, the phony war on terror, for in his feeble mind he imagines that he war on terror will be never ending and in this instance he is quite correct for all we have done is to create animosity in every far away land that he has touched with the mindless destruction of human life. And so if our leaders are digging in for endless war they will need an endless supply of pliable and gullible young and warm bodies to toss into the fray. Oh, Obama wouldn’t do that now would he, he is the anti-war president isn’t he? Well then consider this excerpt from an interview at Colombia University.


But it’s also important that a president speaks to military service as an obligation not just of some, but of many. You know, I traveled, obviously, a lot over the last 19 months. And if you go to small towns, throughout the Midwest or the Southwest or the South, every town has tons of young people who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. That’s not always the case in other parts of the country, in more urban centers. And I think it’s important for the president to say, this is an important obligation. If we are going into war, then all of us go, not just some.

And there you have it, how much clearer can it be said that reinstatement of the draft is in the works and what a nice turn of phrase, “tons of young people” , why not oodles of young people, mountains of young people, a never ending supply of young people, and Obama is ever so anxious to sacrifice their lives though he never seriously considered risking his own neck much like the neocons who scream for war, none of them volunteered for the army, for they are indispensible to the well being of the nation so it is far better that they stay nice and comfy in the warmth of their homes than sacrifice their lives as they are so eager to sacrifice yours or your children’s. For you see once figures of authority attain power over other people’s lives it is oh so important that they retain their seat of power by being at the beck and call of the ruling class, those who put them in power in the first place. But there is another side to the draft and since we are all indoctrinated hardly anyone at all considers it. Arthur Silber illuminates this aspect very nicely.


About a draft, I will briefly note that most of its advocates and defenders will never acknowledge what compulsory national service of any kind actually is: slavery. If the government, backed by brute force and the threat of legal penalty (either imprisonment or in any other form), has the power to compel young men and women as to how they must spend several years of their lives -- and if the government can even order them into battle, perhaps in a cause they absolutely oppose, and possibly to be killed -- then individual rights have been obliterated at the most fundamental level. This kind of servitude to the state is slavery, pure and simple. Compulsory national service of any kind, including a military draft, is one of the greatest evils known to mankind, and it is no wonder that its defenders absolutely refuse to identify its true nature.

Slavery is such an ugly word yet so is war. How ironic it is that people are comparing Obama to Abraham Lincoln who sought to end the slavery of black people which shall forever be an ugly blot on our shining history and that Obama may well be planning to reinstate another form of slavery. How Americans love to speak of individuality, the sanctity of freedom, but how quickly do they throw it all to the wind in the name of patriotism despite that patriotism is merely a tool employed by the rapacious, the liars and villains, the murderers and thieves that we so admire and whose bloody faces appear on the only God that they revere, money. And in the end that is what the endless wars are about, profit for the ruling class and all you need do is to not think but sacrifice your very life so that they can stuff their coffers with more blood money than they could ever possibly need while the rest of the rabble scrabbles for their sustenance, the scraps left over from the rich man’s table. I know this much, if I had a child that was of age for the military I would do everything in my power to keep that child from joining the military or being drafted. There are already far too many desperate suckers of indoctrination as it is.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Quack, Quack

There was nothing all that funny about Muntathar al Zaidi throwing his shoes at Bush Junior. If that is all that happens to Bush for his role in the destruction of so many lives and people then there is no justice in the world.

There is no justice in the world.

Watching what followed the tossing of the shoes was even less funny, the shrieks of pain from Zaidi as the local Iraqi thugs kicked the shit out of him. More than anything it was an act of raging impotence because, after all, what power does any of us posses that could possibly affect the high and the mighty? No doubt the beating Zaidi received immediately following the incident is just the beginning of what will be happening to him. The liberal Democratic cheer leaders are in a tizzy over the shoe tossing, “he’s a hero, we are one with Zaidi, let’s send Bush a picture of our shoes” etc., you know the routine but actually they are not one with Zaidi as they sit in front of their computers thousands of miles from any danger to themselves. For what have the liberals done besides bleat about Bush and leave their stupid remarks on their favorite liberal website. You know the routine, Bush Bad/Obama good, or Democrats good/Republicans bad, or please sign this petition or this prewritten letter and send it by hitting enter. Lotta good that is but hey it didn’t take any effort and that is the main thing.

It really is pathetic that this is all the liberals have to glom onto these days for what have their Democratic Party masters given them other than a good swift kick much like the ones Zaidi obtained for his efforts? As for Bush it was like water off a duck’s back for he is so steeped in his own indoctrination that it is doubtful he even understands why anyone could possibly be angry with him, after all, he liberated those heathens. In fact nothing affects the ruling class for they control everything, the government, the news, the courts, the politicians, the police, the money, and they control you.

To be sure the ruling class will toss a few dry crumbs to the peons, let ‘em have their guns, extend unemployment insurance a few months while people scramble for a job that sill won’t be there but don’t expect much more than that. Why they’ll even let a black man play president as long as he kisses the butt of power long and hard enough. But step out of line and see where you end up. You’ll end up just like Zaidi, beaten, tossed into prison, and soon forgotten. Meanwhile the ruling class still rules.

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Booming Bust

It seems every time I read something about the economy it just keeps getting worse. More unemployment, the housing collapse isn’t improving, and the incredible expense of our idiotic nation building isn’t helping. Of course the defense industry is booming but that is only good for little pockets around this sad-sack nation. I’m no economist but one thing I do know is that a nation that doesn’t manufacture anything is doomed economically. We don’t manufacture much of anything anymore. In fact, I would say we have been sliding downhill for years now with the exodus of manufacturing companies to nations across the seas. I don’t think much of Obama’s ideas for fixing the economy or at least what I have read about it. Rebuilding the infrastructure is fine as far as it goes but it doesn’t go very far. That war is good for an economy is bullshit, just look around you. We are waging war on at least three fronts, Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq but the economy is a bust. If Obama can figure out a way to bring manufacturing back to the U.S. we might see some improvement but that will take time and I seriously doubt that Obama has the guts to go against his task masters who certainly have no interest in preserving the middle classes.

When industry leaves an area that area soon collapses economically like much of the North Eastern seaboard. The town I was born in, Utica, New York, is a perfect example. In the 19th century it was a center for the textile industry and later in the 20th century had a tool and die industry as well as General Electric. However when those industries relocated to the South East their local economy never recovered.


Like many industrial towns and cities in the northeastern Rust Belt, Utica has experienced a major reduction in manufacturing activity in the past several decades, and is in serious financial trouble; many public services have been curtailed to save money. Suburban Utica, particularly the towns of New Hartford and Whitesboro, have begun to experience suburban sprawl; this is common in many Upstate New York cities, which are suffering from what the Sierra Club termed "sprawl without growth," although recently notable efforts have been made to revitalize the Downtown and Oneida Square areas of Utica by planning the construction of quality apartment housing. The city's economy is heavily dependent on commercial growth in its suburbs, a trend that is characterized by development of green sites in neighboring villages and does little to revitalize the city itself. Because of the decline of industry and employment in the post-World War II era, Utica became known as "The City that God Forgot." In the 1980s and early 1990s, some of Utica's residents could be seen driving cars with bumper stickers that read "Last One Out of Utica, Please Turn Out The Lights," clearly taking a more humorous stand on their city's rapid population loss and continued economic struggles.

Most other industrialized nations like those in Europe have safety nets for their people in times of economic woes but not so here in the U.S. for when times are booming everything is fine for most of the middle classes but when times are bust there is no worse place on the face of the planet to be than here in the pull yourself up by the boot straps country. And of course when things are bad for the middle classes you can bet it is even worse for the poor as programs are cut which no doubt will be some of Obama’s “hard choices.” Obama will bail out the wealthy, that’s his job of course, but the poor and the middle classes are sure to get left behind in the dust. As for Congress, don’t make laugh, with gold plated tin gods like Pelosi I wouldn’t look for any help from that quarter. In the end what might start the U.S. down the road to economic recovery would be for the federal government to invest in the working middle classes, monetary stimulus to develop new manufacturing and industrialization to provide real jobs, jobs that manufacture goods that people need like cars, refrigerators, toasters, clothes, and what have you. It may not be as romantic as building bunker busters and hand grenades but it would at least be practical. Too bad our “government” won’t even consider such things, it’s a lot more fun to murder brown people in far away exotic lands.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Role of the Military Industrial Complex

While I firmly believe that the main problem and cause of our imperialism is American culture itself Bob in Pacifica makes a valid point on the role of the military industrial complex. Chalmers Johnson wrote about it over at Tom Dispatch and is worth a read.


With this book, Stephen Holmes largely succeeds in elevating criticism of contemporary American imperialism in the Middle East to a new level. In my opinion, however, he underplays the roles of American imperialism and militarism in exploiting the 9/11 crisis to serve vested interests in the military-industrial complex, the petroleum industry, and the military establishment. Holmes leaves the false impression that the political system of the United States is capable of a successful course correction. But, as Andrew Bacevich, author of The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War, puts it: "None of the Democrats vying to replace President Bush is doing so with the promise of reviving the system of checks and balances…. The aim of the party out of power is not to cut the presidency down to size but to seize it, not to reduce the prerogatives of the executive branch but to regain them."

“The aim of the party out of power is not to cut the presidency down to size but to seize it, not to reduce the prerogatives of the executive branch but to regain them."

I believe that is an important point to keep in mind and cannot be overstated for if you believe it then it explains much and will give you a good indicator as to where we are headed under the Obama regime. Indeed, according to the Guardian Obama is already planning the first stage of a lengthy military assault in Afghanistan which should be no surprise to anyone.


Hard-pressed British soldiers in southern Afghanistan will be reinforced by thousands of American troops early next year, under plans being drawn up by Nato and US commanders.
Alarmed by a resurgence of the Taliban, Washington is to send up to 10,000 troops to Helmand province, a force large enough to outnumber the 8,000-strong struggling British contingent.
The US defence secretary, Robert Gates, who will keep his job in Barack Obama's administration, confirmed the move onboard a flight to a Nato base in southern Afghanistan.
Asked about a request for more troops from the US general David McKieran, Nato's top commander in Afghanistan, Gates said: "We're going to try and get two additional brigade combat teams, in response to his request, into Afghanistan by summertime."
A further 10,000 American troops will be deployed elsewhere in southern and south-western Afghanistan, according to senior Pentagon officials. Commanders refer to the plan as a long-term troop "uplift", as opposed to a short-term "surge", such as that in Iraq last year.

The key phrase in the Guardian article is “Long-term troop uplift, as opposed to a short term surge.” That about says it all, more war, more lives wasted , and with every step of the way the U.S. is digging itself into a hole it will not be able to pull itself out of.

Sometimes it is good to sit down and look at the design of manufactured wars especially when it comes to the paths we took that led us to the insanity of the U.S. invasion of the Middle East. In the year 1961 Dwight D. Eisenhower made his famous military industrial complex speech where Eisenhower warned of the dangers that were inherent in the post WWII development of the military industrial complex.


Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

No matter your opinion of Eisenhower there is no doubt that he was quite correct and that his warnings were not frivolous. Today there have been 3,018 publicly reported defense contracts totaling at over a staggering 216 billion dollars since October of 2006. Some of the major players are Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Boeing, and McDonnell Douglas.

This is hardly chump change so the stakes are high. This would be a good time to review the history of the Department of Defense which in actuality is the Department of War especially when you consider U.S. history since the end of the cold war. The Department of War was created in 1789 which was renamed as the Department of Defense in 1949, so it would be good to keep in mind that when we say defense, we mean war. And indeed we have not been attacked since WWII unless you consider 9/11 but that was not an attack by any nation state which of course is why Bush must tell us we are waging a war against terror, there is no nation called terror on any global map.

The energy industry has also played a role in our path to the Middle East. Indeed most of Bush’s cabinet has some connection to the energy industry, so much so that it might not be too much of a stretch to infer that the energy industry along with so-called defense industry (war industry) is in charge of our foreign policy if it can thusly be dignified with that name. For really you could say that when we say foreign policy what we really mean is the use of brute force or the threat of brute force. From East Timor to the Middle East it has been a bloody path, and one that is paved with enormous amounts of cash for the war industry and energy industries.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Big Picture

The Civilized World

When discussing the problematic nature of government, or our government in particular, there are as many opinions as there are people, a result of our own experiences and perceptions which we have garnered as we travel the journey of life. One thing many agree on is that U.S. imperialism has become a huge problem not only for us as U.S. citizens but even more so for many nations around the globe. Some lay the blame on the military industrial complex, the CIA, the two different factions of the War Party (Republicans and Democrats), or the very nature of humanity itself. What is often neglected is the culture factor. Very few ever contemplate the influence of the culture that they exist in and the very real effect is has on how we think and how we view the world yet the influence of culture is all too real.

U.S. imperialism began when the first European colonists began to arrive in the new world. It began with the spreading of diseases that wiped out many of the Native Americans and continued with the wholesale slaughter of Native Americans as the white population spread across the continent displacing the original population and eventually herding what was left of them onto reservations where many still live in poverty. At the base of this expansion was the European world view which is that Western Civilizations are superior to all others the echoes of which we still see today in the form of what is often referred to as American Exceptionalism. Yet even American Exceptionalism itself was and is a form of self delusion used by politicians and citizens alike to belie the greed that drives imperialism in all of its myriad forms and is used as a justification for the horrors that imperialism inflicts on our fellow humans. So with that in mind I would say that the military industrial complex, the machinations of the CIA on the body politic, and the two political parties are not the root cause of our problems but symptoms of a more fundamental problem which is the very culture that we live in.

Today the Western world, not just the U.S., is convinced of its own superiority to the rest of the world. The West considers itself to be that world which is “civilized” and for proof we point to our systems of justice, our laws, our technology, science and arts. In regards to these aspects of Western culture most people assume we are tops. In the process of doing so older and more ancient cultures are seen as quaint and part of a primitive past with little or no value other than as interesting history. When we read about the Westernization of some of these older cultures such as China and India we take it for granted that their entrance into the industrial world is further proof that everyone wants to be like us because we have the superior culture. Most have heard the expression “the white man’s burden” which is the idea that it is our destiny and duty to bring the rest of the world up to our own lofty standards. The arrogance of such thinking is lost on most people because it is one of those givens which we are steeped in from the time of our birth. In the process of leading the rest of the world to the land of milk and honey the West has been invading, murdering, abusing, and stealing from what we call third world nations for over 600 years. This is a most peculiar type of enlightenment by any standard.

For Our Own Good

The following is a post I wrote over one year ago which I wrote to illustrate how our government deals with us in much the same way it dealt with the Native Americans.

While our noble national leaders enjoy chiding other nations on human rights as in the recent debate concerning the Armenian genocide we seem to have forgotten that this land belonged to someone else prior to the European invasion of the Americas. Any study of European history reveals itself to be primarily a tale of brutal violence amongst the Europeans themselves and against less technologically advanced nations around the world. America itself is a product of this violent nature of western civilization and the treatment of Native Americans by the invading Europeans is no exception.

It can be very instructive to look at the double dealings and broken promises regarding the Native Americans by the federal government because it is quite similar to the double dealing and lying that our present federal government is practicing today all for our benefit of course. For that reason let’s look at Andrew Jackson and his heartfelt love and respect he had for what he liked to call “savages” and how he dealt with them.

Here are some quotes of Jackson speeches where he expresses his benevolent love for the savages that were so near and dear to his heart.

March 4, 1829
"It will be my sincere and constant desire to observe toward the Indian tribes within our limits a just and liberal policy, and to give that humane and considerate attention to their rights and their wants which is consistent with the habits of our Government and the feelings of our people."

December 8, 1829
"Our conduct toward these people is deeply interesting to our national character. Their present condition, contrasted with what they once were, makes a most powerful appeal to our sympathies. Our ancestors found them the uncontrolled possessors of these vast regions. By persuasion and force they have been made to retire from river to river and from mountain to mountain, until some of the tribes have become extinct and others have left but remnants to preserve for awhile their once terrible names. Surrounded by the whites with their arts of civilization, which by destroying the resources of the savage doom him to weakness and decay, the fate of the Mohegan, the Narragansett, and the Delaware is fast overtaking the Choctaw, the Cherokee, and the Creek. That this fate surely awaits them if they remain within the limits of the states does not admit of a doubt. Humanity and national honor demand that every effort should be made to avert so great a calamity."

December 6, 1830
"Toward the aborigines of the country no one can indulge a more friendly feeling than myself, or would go further in attempting to reclaim them from their wandering habits and make them a happy, prosperous people."

Ah, can’t you just feel the love that wells up from the depths of Jackson’s soul? His tenderness is so touching as he refers to the humanity and national honor that is behind what is about happen to the Cherokee tribe.

In 1830 Andrew Jackson in lieu of his great love for the Native Americans pushed the Indian Removal Act through both houses of congress and while this was touted as being done for the good of the Native Americans it was actually a result of the desire by whites to have the land for themselves to raise cotton not to mention the gold that was reportedly sighted in the Cherokee territory in Georgia. This resulted in what is known as the Trail of Tears.

The term "Trails of Tears" was given to the period of ten years in which over 70,000 Indians had to give up their homes and move to certain areas assigned to tribes in Oklahoma. The tribes were given a right to all of Oklahoma except the Panhandle. The government promised this land to them "as long as grass shall grow and rivers run." Unfortunately, the land that they were given only lasted till about 1906 and then they were forced to move to other reservations.

The Trails of Tears were several trails that the Five civilized Tribes traveled on their way to their new lands. Many Indians died because of famine or disease. Sometimes a person would die because of the harsh living conditions. The tribes had to walk all day long and get very little rest. All this was in order to free more land for white settlers. The period of forcible removal started when Andrew Jackson became President in 1829. At that time there was reported to be sightings of gold in the Cherokee territory in Georgia which caused prospectors to rush in, tearing down fences and destroying crops. In Mississippi, the state laws were extended over Choctaw and Chickasaw lands, and in 1930 the Indians were made citizens which made it illegal to hold any tribal office. Also in Georgia, the Cherokee tribes were forbade to hold any type of tribal legislature except to ratify land cessions, and the citizens of Georgia were invited to rob and plunder the tribes in their area by making it illegal for an Indian to bring suit against a white man.

There are two points of interest here that relate to how our government deals with U.S. citizens in the present. Note how when the government is about to give us the shaft they always frame it in such a manner that makes it appear to be for own good as in the destruction of habeas corpus which was carried out to protect us from the boogey man of terrorists even though it deprives us of our most basic rights and freedom from arbitrary persecution by the state which is the first point of interest. The second point of interest is how it was made illegal for an Indian to bring a law suit against a white. This is eerily reminiscent of the tort reforms of today which prevents citizens from bringing law suits against major corporations.

Democrats to the Rescue

The so-called "Tort Reform Movement" started as an internal project of the Philip Morris (PM) tobacco company around 1992 and turned into a large-scale, corporate-funded effort to alter the American judicial system in favor of big business led primarily by Philip Morris. A privileged and confidential PM document titled Tort Reform Project Budget from 1995-96 shows how well-funded and ambitious PM's "Tort Reform" project was; it lists all the consultants, organizations, individuals and law firms the industry funded to promote alteration of the legal system in 1995-96.[1]

In 2002, the consumer advocacy organization Center for Justice & Democracy investigated the roots of the U.S. "tort reform" movement and found that the "movement" was actually a massive national PR effort initiated by the tobacco industry to reduce or eliminate exposure to liability law suits. The report was co-released by CJ&D and Public Citizen. [2] The tobacco industry enlisted the participation of other industries like chemical manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, automobile manufacturers, insurance companies and others to alter the U.S. system of laws ("tort") that give sick and injured consumers access the court system. The movement has been propelled ahead by massive tobacco industry funds; the same PM budget document reveals that the tobacco industry alone budgeted fully $21.8 million for the corporate tort reform effort in the single year of 1995.

But naturally, at least to Democratic leaders, Tort Reform is good for us citizens. John Kerry, John Edwards as well as Barack Obama thought it was good for us as well, naturally.

From the American Prospect:

Instead, Kerry simply said, “John Edwards and I support tort reform.” Kerry then referred Laurent to his Web site, where he said she could find a “tort-reform plan” outlining his proposals for reining in lawsuits.

It was a telling moment in the nation's conversation about the civil-justice system, and a sign of just how far the debate had swung. In putting himself and Edwards on record as tort-reform supporters, Kerry was explicitly endorsing the conventional wisdom put forth by George W. Bush and his business backers that Americans are too litigious, that too many frivolous lawsuits are driving doctors out of business, and that lawsuits are hindering America's economic progress. By embracing the term “tort reform,” Kerry was agreeing that Americans need to have their legal rights restricted, a view quite at odds with most of the core values traditionally expressed by Democrats, who like to campaign on their support of “the people, not the powerful.”

But it's not just Democratic values that Kerry betrayed in the fall campaign. It's also his party's financial viability. Along with unions, trial lawyers have long been the Democratic Party's most reliable and generous donors, and without them, the party, both at the state and federal level, would have few other funding options. Every time Kerry spoke up in favor of lawsuit restrictions, he risked cutting off what amounted to $36 million in contributions from lawyers to the national Democratic Party in 2004 and a whopping $123 million to individual Democratic candidates, $22 million of which went to Kerry's own presidential campaign, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Nor was Kerry's tort-reform embrace a renegade notion that put him at odds with the Democratic establishment. In February, 18 Democratic senators voted in favor of a sweeping bill to restrict consumer class actions against large corporations, including the party's new all-star, Barack Obama, and former presidential candidate Joe Lieberman. (Despite his declaration during the debate, Kerry voted against the bill.) Thirty-two Democrats in the House have also voted in favor of restricting class actions. Democratic governors in conservative states like West Virginia, Mississippi, and Alabama have all signed tort-reform legislation in recent years as well, primarily to restrict patients' rights to sue for medical malpractice.

Here again we see another trend toward the one party system that we now enjoy today as Kerry, Edwards, and Obama blew off the unions who I mentioned before as being traditionally affiliated with the Democratic Party in favor of the giant corporations and all for our own good! Obviously Americans have been spending way too much of our time in practicing frivolous acts, in fact too much for our own good. Aren’t we the silly ones? Thank God for the new Democrats who are saving us from certain doom. Note the main drive has been to remove our rights but just keep in mind it is for your own good just like the Cherokee Indians.

Manifest Destiny and the Jacksonian Democrats

This is another post I wrote over a year ago on one of my favorite topics manifest destiny and how this world view has shaped our own perceptions to this very day.

Most have heard the term “Manifest Destiny” and its usage to delineate America’s God given right to conquer the universe and beyond since there was really no other reason that could be given by reasoning people for the ruthless expansion of American territories during the nineteenth century.

The painting above (courtesy of Wikipedia) is intended as the personification of Manifest Destiny with the Indians and wild beasts scurrying out the way of a gigantic Columbia which is actually quite appropriate for the consequences of Manifest Destiny. American exceptionalism and Manifest Destiny go hand in hand with American imperialism which began with the expansion westward. It was our Manifest Destiny and it may also prove to be our undoing.

The phrase itself was coined by John L. O’Sullivan in 1845 in an essay entitled Annexation. However he was writing about America’s exceptionalism as early as 1839.

the following is an excerpt.

The American people having derived their origin from many other nations, and the Declaration of National Independence being entirely based on the great principle of human equality, these facts demonstrate at once our disconnected position as regards any other nation; that we have, in reality, but little connection with the past history of any of them, and still less with all antiquity, its glories, or its crimes. On the contrary, our national birth was the beginning of a new history, the formation and progress of an untried political system, which separates us from the past and connects us with the future only; and so far as regards the entire development of the natural rights of man, in moral, political, and national life, we may confidently assume that our country is destined to be the great nation of futurity.

It is so destined, because the principle upon which a nation is organized fixes its destiny, and that of equality is perfect, is universal. It presides in all the operations of the physical world, and it is also the conscious law of the soul -- the self-evident dictates of morality, which accurately defines the duty of man to man, and consequently man's rights as man. Besides, the truthful annals of any nation furnish abundant evidence, that its happiness, its greatness, its duration, were always proportionate to the democratic equality in its system of government. . . .

What friend of human liberty, civilization, and refinement, can cast his view over the past history of the monarchies and aristocracies of antiquity, and not deplore that they ever existed? What philanthropist can contemplate the oppressions, the cruelties, and injustice inflicted by them on the masses of mankind, and not turn with moral horror from the retrospect?

America is destined for better deeds. It is our unparalleled glory that we have no reminiscences of battle fields, but in defence of humanity, of the oppressed of all nations, of the rights of conscience, the rights of personal enfranchisement. Our annals describe no scenes of horrid carnage, where men were led on by hundreds of thousands to slay one another, dupes and victims to emperors, kings, nobles, demons in the human form called heroes. We have had patriots to defend our homes, our liberties, but no aspirants to crowns or thrones; nor have the American people ever suffered themselves to be led on by wicked ambition to depopulate the land, to spread desolation far and wide, that a human being might be placed on a seat of supremacy.

We have no interest in the scenes of antiquity, only as lessons of avoidance of nearly all their examples. The expansive future is our arena, and for our history. We are entering on its untrodden space, with the truths of God in our minds, beneficent objects in our hearts, and with a clear conscience unsullied by the past. We are the nation of human progress, and who will, what can, set limits to our onward march? Providence is with us, and no earthly power can. We point to the everlasting truth on the first page of our national declaration, and we proclaim to the millions of other lands, that "the gates of hell" -- the powers of aristocracy and monarchy -- "shall not prevail against it."

The far-reaching, the boundless future will be the era of American greatness. In its magnificent domain of space and time, the nation of many nations is destined to manifest to mankind the excellence of divine principles; to establish on earth the noblest temple ever dedicated to the worship of the Most High -- the Sacred and the True. Its floor shall be a hemisphere -- its roof the firmament of the star-studded heavens, and its congregation an Union of many Republics, comprising hundreds of happy millions, calling, owning no man master, but governed by God's natural and moral law of equality, the law of brotherhood -- of "peace and good will amongst men.". . .

Yes, we are the nation of progress, of individual freedom, of universal enfranchisement. Equality of rights is the cynosure of our union of States, the grand exemplar of the correlative equality of individuals; and while truth sheds its effulgence, we cannot retrograde, without dissolving the one and subverting the other. We must onward to the fulfilment of our mission -- to the entire development of the principle of our organization -- freedom of conscience, freedom of person, freedom of trade and business pursuits, universality of freedom and equality. This is our high destiny, and in nature's eternal, inevitable decree of cause and effect we must accomplish it. All this will be our future history, to establish on earth the moral dignity and salvation of man -- the immutable truth and beneficence of God. For this blessed mission to the nations of the world, which are shut out from the life-giving light of truth, has America been chosen; and her high example shall smite unto death the tyranny of kings, hierarchs, and oligarchs, and carry the glad tidings of peace and good will where myriads now endure an existence scarcely more enviable than that of beasts of the field. Who, then, can doubt that our country is destined to be the great nation of futurity?

And thus O’Sullivan sets America as above all other nations that exist or have existed as it was our “high destiny” where America is divine with the truth of God in our minds and all the rest of this putrid dribble whose arrogance and conceit is breathtaking. It is this philosophy that has imbedded itself in the American mind and has been passed on to this very day for most Americans would never question our superiority to all other peoples of the planet Earth. Today we see the echoes of this world view that has reverberated into ideas such as bringing democracy to the Middle East. We are superior, we are the agents of God and good, it is our destiny to spread our mindset and world view, our style of governance, our slavish obedience to the capitalist way to all other lands that inhabit this world. We must be sick in the head.

The belief in America’s Manifest Destiny was one of the cornerstones of the Jacksonian Democrat philosophy. And it was this belief in American exceptionalism that drove the imperialistic expansion of America from the Atlantic ocean to the Pacific. Manifest Destiny despite whatever O’Sullivan believed was merely the cosmetic overlay that hid the true non-idealistic motives of greed and avarice that was actually driving the disenfranchisement of the native peoples of an entire continent which included genocide on a grand and brutal scale.

One of the last Jacksonian presidents was James Polk. And like our present President Bush the Mexican American war that was provoked by Polk was done under not only the auspices of Manifest Destiny but in the guise of a defense against invasion.

Two months into the war,U.S. representative George Ashmun, from Massachusetts, rebuked the president. "It is no longer pretended that our purpose is to repel invasion," he protested, "The mask is off; the veil is lifted; and we see. . . invasion, conquest, and colonization, emblazoned upon our banners."

Ashmun and other Whigs could not reconcile Polk's course with ideals of innocence and exceptionalism. Democrats, however, replied that Polk was beyond reproach. When the war ended, Sen. Sidney Breese of Illinois argued that his country's historic commitment to peace and national honor had been maintained. "We have never, sir, since the birth of our nation, given occasion for war, not even with the barbarous tribes upon our borders," he insisted. "It is our pride. . . that our whole history may be explored, and no single act of national injustice can be found upon its page-no blot of that kind upon our national escutcheon."

Politicians, editors, soldiers, and citizens, wanted new terrirory for various reasons. In the case of Texas, the Tyler administration sought to prevent the abolition of slavery there, control a potential rival in cotton production, provide a haven for masters and their slaves, thwart Great Britain from keeping Texas independent, and comply with the wishes of most Texians to join the United States. In the Oregon dispute, Democrats hoped to dominate Asian commerce, provide land for future pioneers, and safeguard citizens already settled there. The war with Mexico and the strategy of conquest revealed a desire to secure a border at the Rio Grande, satisfy claims against Mexico, and acquire California to monopolize trade with Asia. Democrats wanted to supply abundant land to the nation's poor and to future immigrants. To attain this laudable goal, however, they relied on bribery, bullying, and warfare to wrest land from Native Americans and Mexicans. Often idealistic, they were also racist and materialistic.

Then as today many Americans are blind to the suffering, destruction, and death we have dealt the people of Iraq driving them from their homes as we drove the Native Americans from theirs, murdering them on a wholesale basis as we have been murdering the Iraqi people and indeed we hear less and less about the brutal inhuman occupation of Iraq in the papers and in liberal blogs rather it has been supplanted by the dog and pony show of a presidential election that is of little consequence since the major players are all owned and paid for by the giant corporations that run and own this nation we call the United States of America a nation that despite its pretense at holier than thou has long been bereft of any sense of decency with all of our double standards and double dealings. Our government has been lying to us and indeed to the rest of the world and it is no wonder that most people will not even discuss the atrocities that we are causing at this very minute and second and all the days and nights of our existence because it is not polite to speak of such matters. Oh no, we are good, we are of a mind with God, we are the saviors of the planet just don’t look too closely at the dead and dying, the bodies rotting in the noonday sun. It is much better to speak of more pleasant things or pass the time discussing the intricacies of our national elections and who is more suitable to be our next Murderer in Chief.

"It is our pride. . . that our whole history may be explored, and no single act of national injustice can be found upon its page-no blot of that kind upon our national escutcheon."

Presidents Then and Now

Today President Junior along with his partners in crime, the Democratic Party, has effectively made our Constitution a thing of the past, a joke. From the destruction of Habeas Corpus to illegal spying on U.S. citizens we are becoming a police state. At this point it might be helpful to compare today’s war president with another war president Woodrow Wilson who entered us into WW I. I think it is significant that it was two Democratic presidents that embroiled the U.S. in the two largest and most destructive conflicts of all history but let’s continue with our comparison.

George Junior despite his rhetoric about protecting the Constitution has destroyed it. Woodrow Wilson believed that the Constitution was pre-modern, cumbersome, and open to corruption. Wilson believed that a parliamentary system would be a better form of government. And in fact our government today is much closer to being a parliamentary style than before the Republican revolution. Though today we lament the demise of our checks and balances in government Wilson believed that these checks and balances were the cause of problems not the solution.

Domestic Affairs

Woodrow Wilson's presidency fulfilled the progressive reform agenda and laid the foundations of the modern activist presidency. Although he built upon the example of Theodore Roosevelt, and while his immediate successors would return to the caretaker model of the presidency, Wilson's administration fundamentally altered the nature and character of the presidency. He changed it from an equal or lesser partner with Congress to its superior -- the dominant branch of government. This is exactly what Wilson had in mind upon his assumption of office. He intended to lead his party and the nation much as the prime minister of England leads Parliament. Before setting forth his program, Wilson consulted extensively with congressional leaders to ensure that his programs would be dealt with sympathetically when Congress considered them. In April 1913, at the opening of a special session of Congress called by the President to consider tariff reform, Wilson appeared personally before a joint session of the House and Senate to explain his program. His speech made headlines because no President had addressed Congress personally since John Adams, and it demonstrated that Wilson intended to play a dominant role in policy making.

Today we have the results of Wilson’s precedent setting parliamentary style of governance with a president who has grabbed enormous amounts of power with the full aid of a Democratic Congress. Those results are endless war and slaughter. With permanent military bases in Iraq America is set to wage war in the Middle East for years to come. Iran is the next target and is likely to ignite a third world war by dragging China and Russia into open confrontation with the U.S. as they seek to secure their own “national interests” in Middle East oil.

At the onset of WWI it is true that Woodrow Wilson adopted an isolationist posture. Bush has made the same ridiculous claims of trying diplomacy before we attacked and invaded Iraq yet despite this “diplomacy” our national leaders always find a way to wage war in the end. While national interests are always the excuse for entering into warfare it is highly questionable as to exactly whose interest’s wars are fought over. Is it the interest of the common people or is it in the interests of the rich and powerful and I believe the answer is fairly obvious.

Both Bush and Wilson talked about spreading democracy to other nations both at the point of a gun.

The United States invaded Haiti in July 1915 and subsequently held the second oldest independent nation in the Western Hemisphere under military occupation for nineteen years. While in Haiti, marines installed a puppet president, dissolved the legislature at gunpoint, denied freedom of speech, and forced a new constitution on the Caribbean nation -- one more favorable to foreign investment. With the help of the marines, U.S. officials seized the customshouses, took control of Haitian finances, and imposed their own standards of efficiency on the administration of Haitian debt.[1] Meanwhile, marines waged war against insurgents (called Cacos) who for several years maintained an armed resistance in the countryside, and imposed a brutal system of forced labor that engendered even more fierce Haitian resistance. By official U.S. estimates, more than 3,000 Haitians were killed during this period; a more thorough accounting reveals that the death toll may have reached 11,500.[2] The occupation also reorganized and strengthened the Haitian military. Now called the Gendarmerie, the new military organization was officered by marines and molded in the image of the Marine Corps.[3]

An occupation is, in one sense, a temporary arm of the state created to carry out a series of specific tasks. In this case, those tasks were to bring about political stability in Haiti, to secure U.S. control over Haiti with regard to U.S. strategic interests in the Caribbean, and to integrate Haiti more effectively into the international capitalist economy. Of course, supporters of the occupation, and those responsible for it, proposed that these goals would also bring about specific gains for Haiti. They pointed, for example, to the work of the Navy Medical Corps and to the construction of roads, bridges, buildings, and telephone systems under the marines' supervision.[4] With these changes, U.S. policy makers indeed sought to create an infrastructure to serve as the foundation for economic development and modernization. They also professed the hope that on this basis a new Haitian democracy would flourish.

This then is the big picture of what is wrong, it is our world view, and it is our culture. The problems with our nation began long before the making of the military industrial complex and the establishment of the CIA. It has nothing to do with party politics and has everything to do with party politics because there is really only one party when it comes to waging war.

Monday, December 08, 2008


New York Times, December 5th:"Obama Hauls In Record $750 Million for Campaign, With Plenty Left to Spend"

...second-guessing is less likely this time because Mr. Obama won. He has several options for his remaining cash, Mr. Gross said, like transferring it to the Democratic National Committee or another party committee, or rolling it over to his 2012 re-election campaign.

What is not an option for Mr. Obama is to help Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton with paying off the debt from her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.

But the day before, in Forbes:"Obama's donor list asked to help pay Clinton debt"


Homer: This is your fault with your non threatening Bobby Sherman-style good looks. No girl could resist your charms.
Barach: This was her choice, Mr. Simpson...
Homer: I'm sorry, I wasn't listening. I was lost in your eyes.

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Saturday, December 06, 2008

Truth, Lies, and Everything Between

Though Obama has flip-flopped on many issues the one issue he has remained constant about is Iraq. As almost everyone knows, words can be quite malleable when spoken by politicians and Obama is no exception to this. Obama when speaking of the Iraq War chooses his words very carefully. When discussing what to do with U.S. troops he always has used the word “redeploy” as many others have done. Redeploy does not mean bringing the troops home, redeploy means moving them from one area in a battlefield and moving them to another place in a battlefield. In this case it is quite clear that Afghanistan is the new battlefield that Obama had in mind when he first began speaking of redeployment. Obama also spoke of ending the Iraq War. This was always the big lie though a consistent lie. Obama never intended to end the Iraq War but has consistently maintained that he would leave a residual force in Iraq. He bases his claim for ending the Iraq War on the premise that he would remove all “combat” troops from Iraq. Unfortunately those troops defined as combat troops consist of only about one half of all U.S. troops stationed in Iraq nor does it include the mercenaries (thugs) like Blackwater. Thus Obama may claim his desire to end the Iraq War without actually doing so.

Back in July Obama wrote an Op Ed for the New York Times.


The differences on Iraq in this campaign are deep. Unlike Senator John McCain, I opposed the war in Iraq before it began, and would end it as president. I believed it was a grave mistake to allow ourselves to be distracted from the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban by invading a country that posed no imminent threat and had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. Since then, more than 4,000 Americans have died and we have spent nearly $1 trillion. Our military is overstretched. Nearly every threat we face — from Afghanistan to Al Qaeda to Iran — has grown.

While it is true that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 however as is typical of all politicians there are lies mixed in with the truth which helps to make the lies more legitimate. The fact is that al Qaida has for the most part been dismantled, quite the opposite of growing, therefore Afghanistan poses no threat nor does Iran. As I have mentioned numerous times all the intelligence agencies agree that Iran is not pursuing nuclear weapons. Yet Obama repeats these same lies over and over. Either Obama is a moron or he is a liar and frankly I consider the latter to be the case.

Also this from the same Op Ed.

As I’ve said many times, we must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in. We can safely redeploy our combat brigades at a pace that would remove them in 16 months. That would be the summer of 2010 — two years from now, and more than seven years after the war began. After this redeployment, a residual force in Iraq would perform limited missions: going after any remnants of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, protecting American service members and, so long as the Iraqis make political progress, training Iraqi security forces. That would not be a precipitous withdrawal.

In carrying out this strategy, we would inevitably need to make tactical adjustments. As I have often said, I would consult with commanders on the ground and the Iraqi government to ensure that our troops were redeployed safely, and our interests protected. We would move them from secure areas first and volatile areas later. We would pursue a diplomatic offensive with every nation in the region on behalf of Iraq’s stability, and commit $2 billion to a new international effort to support Iraq’s refugees.

As you can see Obama has consistently said he would leave a “residual force” in Iraq and only a careless reader would interpret redeployment as bringing the troops home or that this means ending the Iraq War and occupation. Obama also carefully leaves himself an emergency exit with his reference to “tactical adjustments” meaning even a partial withdrawal of U.S. troops might be put for another day, month, year, or years.

Obama continues with…

Ending the war is essential to meeting our broader strategic goals, starting in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the Taliban is resurgent and Al Qaeda has a safe haven. Iraq is not the central front in the war on terrorism, and it never has been. As Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently pointed out, we won’t have sufficient resources to finish the job in Afghanistan until we reduce our commitment to Iraq.

As president, I would pursue a new strategy, and begin by providing at least two additional combat brigades to support our effort in Afghanistan. We need more troops, more helicopters, better intelligence-gathering and more nonmilitary assistance to accomplish the mission there. I would not hold our military, our resources and our foreign policy hostage to a misguided desire to maintain permanent bases in Iraq.

Here Obama contradicts himself, a common occurrence among habitual liars. He claims he would not maintain permanent military bases in Iraq but isn’t that what he just said he was going to do with his open-ended commitment to leaving residual forces? As for his statement of “finishing the job” in Afghanistan just what exactly does that entail? How does he define finishing the job? We don’t know what he means which in turn means that ending the bloody slaughter of Afghan people is something that will be determined in an indeterminate future by indeterminate goals. As most thinking people have already realized this War on Terror is merely a cover for rampant U.S. military aggression and has nothing at all to do with protecting anyone from terrorist attacks. Indeed, all our military aggression has done is to create even more terrorists. I have come to loath that word “terrorist” for it is a term we use for those people who object to being murdered by the U.S. military and having their land invaded and eternally occupied by foreign forces. Put the shoe on the other foot and ask yourself how would you like it if a foreign nation bombed your cities, murdered your friends and families and created a permanent military presence in your backyard? Would you consider yourself to be a terrorist by objecting to this?

At the end of his Op Ed Obama claims he would end this war yet it is quite clear that he intends to do no such thing. To the contrary he has quite clearly made his position clear that he will escalate the War on Terror with more troops, helicopters, and what have you in Afghanistan with no clear view as to when such imperialism would end and more recently has made his hawkish views on Pakistan well known. The questions people should be asking is how does Obama define withdrawal from Iraq, how does he define his goals for escalating military aggression and how much will this cost not only in money but also in terms of human suffering.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Mumbo Jumbo Mumbai

Just as in the build-up to the Iraq War the New York Times is fanning the flames of paranoia and fear as the focus on the phony War on Terror shifts from Iraq to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Pakistan in particular, while that other bogey man Iran is always in the background, lurking, scheming, to unleash terror against the righteous and oh so innocent Western World.

You really have to love this particular piece of fear mongering in this Times article. I truly appreciate the close-up picture of a crazed Pakistan man screaming with his mouth gaping seemingly full of sharp predatory teeth. The caption beneath the photo reads “A Pakistani in Islamabad on Wednesday shouted slogans against the United States and India.” I mean, really, these kinds of scare tactics are a bit transparent but no doubt are quite effective for the milling masses of Blackberry toting Americans.


LAHORE, Pakistan — Mounting evidence of links between the Mumbai terrorist attacks and a Pakistani militant group is posing the stiffest test so far of Pakistan’s new government, raising questions whether it can — or wants to — rein in militancy here.

Oh that is good, “whether it can—or wants to—rein in militancy here.” Obviously this leads to the idea that if Pakistan doesn’t want to well then America certainly can which fits in beautifully with all the tough talk about Afghanistan and Pakistan we have been hearing lately from our Democratic leadership and its new bevy of reconstituted Clinton warmongers and the neocons who have embraced the Democratic Party now that the Republicans have been turned out, mainly because of the same neocons and their big ideas about turning the rest of the globe into an U.S. territory.

The Times speaks of mounting evidence pointing to Pakistan and suggest that there might be a connection with al Qaida. Never mind that al Qaida has already been dismantled just the name itself is enough to make Americans shiver and quiver.


Although the administration continues to scare Americans with the specter of Al Qaeda, the organization that attacked the United States on 9/11 has been virtually wiped out. While Osama bin Laden and a number of Al Qaeda veterans are still at large, the force that assaulted New York and Washington has been effectively dismantled. "I personally don't believe Al Qaeda exists as a robust organization anymore," says Wayne White, a top intelligence official in the State Department who left the Bush administration last year.

The systematic elimination of Al Qaeda began within weeks of the 9/11 attacks. Going into Afghanistan in October 2001, the CIA had a fair understanding of Al Qaeda's strength, organization and location. "We had a pretty good idea of who was there," says a CIA veteran who asked not to be identified. "We weren't asleep. We had a list of Al Qaeda people going in, and it included a lot of people who'd passed through their training camps over the years."

CIA intelligence at the time suggested that Al Qaeda was about 5,000 strong in Afghanistan. According to U.S. intelligence officials, many - perhaps most - of the group's members were killed in the bombing raids unleashed by the U.S. military. "We had a lot of success with airstrikes," says a former CIA operations officer. "We came in with B-52s and F-16s, and at Tora Bora we dropped a 15,000-pound device on them. We blew them to bits. If you wanted to do a body count, you would have needed to pick up the pieces with Q-Tips."

According to Gary Berntsen, a longtime CIA operations officer and former CIA station chief, only a few hundred Al Qaeda members managed to get out of Afghanistan in 2001. "Before Tora Bora, some did slip out, a dozen here and a dozen there," says Berntsen, who led the CIA team in the field that was assigned the task of hunting down Al Qaeda. "In Tora Bora, we estimated there were about a thousand who fell back, and many of those were killed. They broke into two groups, finally. One group, of about 130, was captured in Pakistan. Another group, about 180 people, got away."

The few who managed to get out - including bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri - were barely able to scramble to safety. "It was a disorganized rout," says White, the former intelligence official.

In Afghanistan, the CIA reaped an intelligence bonanza, seizing Al Qaeda's computers, files and organizational records. "Once we got Al Qaeda's hard drives, our knowledge expanded exponentially," says a retired CIA station chief. That intelligence has enabled counterterrorism officers to target Al Qaeda operatives around the world, all but eviscerating the group's foreign presence. "We've killed or captured at least one or two terrorists a day for five years, all over the world," says an experienced CIA hand. "More than 4,000 in all." A relentless crackdown in 2003 by authorities in Saudi Arabia virtually eliminated Al Qaeda there, and a terrorist group in Algeria allegedly tied to bin Laden was smashed.

Well, well, we certainly can’t expect the Times to inform readers, that wouldn’t fit in with their claim for “breaking news” which seems to consist chiefly of breaking the news into little pieces so as to leave out key bits of information. The Guardian, not to be outdone by the New York Times, regales us with this headline “Terrorists could mount nuclear or biological attack within 5 years, warns Congress inquiry” and by golly who could ever doubt that bastion of honesty the U.S. Congress. Chilling isn’t it, a terrorist attack within the next five years, who could have predicted such a thing? Why the U.S. Congress of course. And amazingly enough the report just happens to focus on Pakistan as the new center of all things evil, what a coincidence!


It pointed to Pakistan, both at state level and among stateless groups, as one of the areas of most concern. "Were one to map terrorism and weapons of mass destruction today, all roads would intersect in Pakistan," the report said.

Talent told journalists: "It is the epicentre of a lot of these dangers." He said the report had been drawn up before the Mumbai attacks. The commission recommended that Pakistan be top priority for the Obama administration in terms of terrorism and proliferation.

Proposals include eliminating terrorist safe havens through military, economic, and diplomatic means, securing nuclear and biological materials in Pakistan, countering and defeating extremist ideology, and constraining a nascent nuclear arms race in Asia.

Actually it would be surprising that there wouldn’t be a “terrorist” attack in the next five years considering that since the implementation of the War on Terror terrorist attacks have been on the rise. So what is the point of all this fear mongering? Since there really is no War on Terror as presented by the news media rather what we have is U.S. imperialism in the form of dominating the Middle East this is just a lot of propaganda to bring the masses in line with our imperial endeavors and prepare the public for Obama’s insane plan for an open ended endless war in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and probably Iran as well (we’ll leave Russia out for now but they are also in the gun sights). But is Pakistan really to blame for the Mumbai tragedy as the NYT and the Guardian suggest? Justin Raimondo offers us an alternative view on this with his essay on this topic, one that is well worth reading.


In assigning responsibility for the Mumbai horror, we enter a world of murky ambivalence. Lashkar-e-Taiba is said to be affiliated, in some vague way, with "rogue" elements of Pakistani intelligence, which is, in turn, connected to the Taliban, the protector and ally of al-Qaeda. The War Party has its terrorist genealogy down to an exact science, but its precision comes into serious doubt when we look a little closer at this alleged "parent organization" of Lashkar-e-Taiba – which apparently wasn't a terrorist organization when they were working alongside American soldiers and relief workers in aiding victims of the devastating 2005 Pakistan-India earthquake.

The neat little narratives pumped out by war propagandists to rationalize acts of mass murder are an important part of any campaign to spark a conflict, so they have to be minimally convincing, or at least credible. Yet the story coming out of the Indian government is frankly incredible. The terrorists left a satellite phone conveniently placed next to the body of their ship's captain, whose throat they had slit, with the numbers of their handlers stored in memory. Very convenient. Even less convincing, however, is the assertion that even after Ajmal Kasab, the lone survivor of the terror squad, had been captured, he continued to get messages from his handlers. That little embellishment, I believe, gives the show away. Add to this the oddly unprepared – indeed, criminally negligent – role of the Indian security apparatus, and the whole thing reeks to high heaven. "Fishy" is putting it mildly.

A bad smell indeed and you thought change was in the air? The only thing that is changing is the targets as Iraq falls down the memory hole. But then our government never likes to look back (too painful) but always looks to the future, future endless war that is certain to bankrupt an already morally bankrupt nation now more concerned with its own insurmountable problems than the millions of murdered people it is responsible for. Raimondo finishes with the following.

The argument that we must end the war in Iraq so that we can concentrate on the "real" enemy, the amorphous and exaggerated al-Qaeda, which is supposedly hiding in the wilds of Pakistan's tribal areas, is leading to an even wider, more open-ended conflict, one so combustible that it could spark a nuclear exchange between Pakistan and India.

As bad as George W. Bush was, he never messed up that badly. One can almost hear the collective sigh of relief now that we are approaching the day when an easily-manipulated ignoramus is no longer in charge of American foreign policy. What may be even more dangerous, however, is a very smart president who thinks he and his advisers know more than they actually do.

The strategic shift in the balance of U.S. military forces in the region, away from Iraq and eastward to Afghanistan and Pakistan, seems almost to have been conceived in order to confirm the complaints of the anti-American forces in the region that the U.S. and its allies have launched a crusade to eliminate Islam from the map. From this perspective the pattern is clear enough: having exhausted their efforts in Iraq, now the West strikes from a different direction, in alliance with India. At the geographic center of it all, you'll note, sits Iran, which can look forward to being surrounded on both sides.

If Mr. President-erect Obama was really about change and really concerned about the dangers of a terrorist attack he could quickly defuse the dangers by pulling all the troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan, stop the attacks inside Pakistan’s borders, cut off all military aid and money going to Israel, in short stop the murderous slaughter that has created the enmity toward the U.S. and the West in the first place. Unfortunately for the rest of the world and for us that is not part of the Obama agenda.

Margaret Kimberley writes…


The scenes of dead bodies and bloody streets were painful but necessary to see. In five years of the Iraq occupation American television networks have not seen fit to broadcast images of dead and maimed Iraqis. That absence of vital information is shameful and keeps the country in a state of blissful ignorance. It makes already incurious and uninformed Americans more susceptible to propaganda from the government and the media.

The reaction to the Mumbai terror attacks is all too predictable. People are shocked at first, then saddened and frightened. Muslims feel compelled to apologize for their violent coreligionists. Christians and Jews are exempt from guilt by association, however. They are even permitted and encouraged to embrace the violent acts committed by individuals among them.

As always, Americans never see a connection between themselves, the acts of terror committed by their own government and anger directed at them around the globe. Empathy for terror victims in Mumbai is sadly not extended to the victims of the American government.

Warfare is the ultimate act of terror. It kills not just scores of people, but many thousands, or in the case of the Congo, millions. War is given a pass by religious groups, by politicians and by the media. It is considered an acceptable form of murder. The victims in Mumbai will be mourned by Americans, as they should be. The victims of the United States government in Iraq and Afghanistan are not.

But go read Kimberley’s essay in its entirety, well worth your time. It really is too bad that anyone who does not conform to the idea of American exceptionalism, which is the belief that America has the moral prerogative to shape the world in its own image, are considered outside of the norm, radicals (gasp), and relegated to being somehow at the fringes of society. For what lies at the root of such beliefs as American exceptionalism is nothing but propaganda for the care and feeding of more imperial wars.