Archive for the ‘warmongers’ Category

War Dominated US Foreign Policy Is Destroying the Economy and National Security

December 9, 2010

Join Peace Vet-Led Protest at White House on December 16th

by Kevin Zeese, Dissident Voice,  December 9th, 2010

The White House is in the midst of a strategic review of Afghanistan. This review is coming at a time when the reality is hard to ignore: Afghanistan cannot be won, the cost is escalating at a time when the U.S. economy is in collapse and the war is undermining U.S. national security and the rule of law.  It is time to end the war-based foreign policy of the United States.

Opposition to war is growing. Sixty-one House members wrote president Obama last month calling for an end to the Afghan war. The letter was co-signed by 57 Democrats and 4 Republicans.  They wrote: “This has become the longest war in US history. The rate of casualties is at an all-time high. And we have already spent $365 billion on this unwinnable war.”  This reflects the views of Americans.  A recent poll conducted by Quinnipiac University found that 50 percent of those surveyed said the United States should not be involved in Afghanistan, compared to 41 percent who opposed the war in September.

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Why Are We in Afghanistan – Still?

December 7, 2010

by Tom Gallagher, CommonDreams.org, Dec 7, 2010

You have to wonder what it might take to get the man in the White House to acknowledge just how absurd the current U.S. military effort in Afghanistan has become. Would the president of Afghanistan himself telling us to start getting our troops out do it? Nah. How about the leader of the last country to send its army there telling us “Victory is impossible in Afghanistan”? Nope. Finding out that some of the guards who protect NATO bases were Taliban — but the top Taliban guy we’d been negotiating with actually wasn’t? Neither. A Hollywood agent might push this story as farce. But it’s real life and that qualifies it as tragedy.

Given that candidate Obama was so widely seen as a man of “new thinking,” one to deliver the country from tired old debates and morasses, one hoped President Obama would listen hard to what Mikhail Gorbachev had to say about the damage that a fruitless nine-years-plus war in Afghanistan can do to a country. But if so, no evidence yet.

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Blowing Billions on War While American Workers Go Under

December 6, 2010

by Robert Greenwald and Derrick Crowe, The Huffington Post,  Dec 5, 2010

When asked by USA Today‘s pollsters last week, sixty-eight percent of Americans said we worry that the cost of the Afghanistan War hurts our ability to fix problems here in the U.S. This week, we learned just how right we were about that. Friday’s terrible jobs report shows that a crushing 9.8 percent of us are unemployed. And, millions of us are about to lose our lifeline because Congress refuses to extend unemployment insurance benefits. We’re spending $2 billion per week — per week! — in Afghanistan while millions of people face going hungry during the holidays.

Do our elected officials not get it? We’re drowning out here, and the administration is throwing money that could put Americans back to work at a failed war on the other side of the planet. In fact, that’s where the president was when the jobs report came out this morning — in Afghanistan, talking about “progress” again.

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Chomsky: The Real Threat Aboard the Freedom Flotilla

June 10, 2010

By Noam Chomsky, In These Times, June 8, 2010

The Freedom Flotilla defied Israel’s policy of blocking solutions to the Arab-Israeli conflict based on international decisions, and so it had to be crushed.

Israel’s violent attack on the Freedom Flotilla carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza shocked the world.

Hijacking boats in international waters and killing passengers is, of course, a serious crime.

But the crime is nothing new. For decades, Israel has been hijacking boats between Cyprus and Lebanon and killing or kidnapping passengers, sometimes holding them hostage in Israeli prisons.

Israel assumes that it can commit such crimes with impunity because the United States tolerates them and Europe generally follows the U.S.’s lead.

As the editors of The Guardian rightly observed on June 1, “If an armed group of Somali pirates had yesterday boarded six vessels on the high seas, killing at least 10 passengers and injuring many more, a NATO task force would today be heading for the Somali coast.” In this case, the NATO treaty obligates its members to come to the aid of a fellow NATO country—Turkey—attacked on the high seas.

Israel’s pretext for the attack was that the Freedom Flotilla was bringing materials that Hamas could use for bunkers to fire rockets into Israel.

The pretext isn’t credible. Israel can easily end the threat of rockets by peaceful means.

The background is important. Hamas was designated a major terrorist threat when it won a free election in January 2006. The U.S. and Israel sharply escalated their punishment of Palestinians, now for the crime of voting the wrong way.

The siege of Gaza, including a naval blockade, was a result. The siege intensified sharply in June 2007 after a civil war left Hamas in control of the territory.

What is commonly described as a Hamas military coup was in fact incited by the U.S. and Israel, in a crude attempt to overturn the elections that had brought Hamas to power.

That has been public knowledge at least since April 2008, when David Rose reported in Vanity Fair that George W. Bush, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and her deputy, Elliott Abrams, “backed an armed force under Fatah strongman Muhammad Dahlan, touching off a bloody civil war in Gaza and leaving Hamas stronger than ever.”

Hamas terror included launching rockets into nearby Israeli towns—criminal, without a doubt, though only a minute fraction of routine U.S.-Israeli crimes in Gaza.

In June 2008, Israel and Hamas reached a cease-fire agreement. The Israeli government formally acknowledges that until Israel broke the agreement on Nov. 4 of that year, invading Gaza and killing half a dozen Hamas activists, Hamas did not fire a single rocket.

Hamas offered to renew the cease-fire. The Israeli cabinet considered the offer and rejected it, preferring to launch its murderous invasion of Gaza on Dec.27.

Like other states, Israel has the right of self-defense. But did Israel have the right to use force in Gaza in the name of self-defense? International law, including the U.N. Charter, is unambiguous: A nation has such a right only if it has exhausted peaceful means. In this case such means were not even tried, although—or perhaps because—there was every reason to suppose that they would succeed.

Thus the invasion was sheer criminal aggression, and the same is true of Israel’s resorting to force against the flotilla.

The siege is savage, designed to keep the caged animals barely alive so as to fend off international protest, but hardly more than that. It is the latest stage of longstanding Israeli plans, backed by the U.S., to separate Gaza from the West Bank.

The Israeli journalist Amira Hass, a leading specialist on Gaza, outlines the history of the process of separation: “The restrictions on Palestinian movement that Israel introduced in January 1991 reversed a process that had been initiated in June 1967.

“Back then, and for the first time since 1948, a large portion of the Palestinian people again lived in the open territory of a single country — to be sure, one that was occupied, but was nevertheless whole. …”

Hass concludes: “The total separation of the Gaza Strip from the West Bank is one of the greatest achievements of Israeli politics, whose overarching objective is to prevent a solution based on international decisions and understandings and instead dictate an arrangement based on Israel’s military superiority.”

The Freedom Flotilla defied that policy and so it must be crushed.

A framework for settling the Arab-Israeli conflict has existed since 1976, when the regional Arab States introduced a Security Council resolution calling for a two-state settlement on the international border, including all the security guarantees of U.N. Resolution 242, adopted after the June War in 1967.

The essential principles are supported by virtually the entire world, including the Arab League, the Organization of Islamic States (including Iran) and relevant non-state actors, including Hamas.

But the U.S. and Israel have led the rejection of such a settlement for three decades, with one crucial and highly informative exception. In President Bill Clinton’s last month in office, January 2001, he initiated Israeli-Palestinian negotiations in Taba, Egypt, that almost reached an agreement, participants announced, before Israel terminated the negotiations.

Today, the cruel legacy of a failed peace lives on.

International law cannot be enforced against powerful states, except by their own citizens. That is always a difficult task, particularly when articulate opinion declares crime to be legitimate, either explicitly or by tacit adoption of a criminal framework—which is more insidious, because it renders the crimes invisible.

Why Israel Chooses Violence

June 6, 2010

Israel’s leaders, both civilian and military, are not fumbling, hysterical novices. Their actions are deliberate and carefully weighed. To realise its expansionist ambitions, Israel has always sought to avoid serious negotiations with the Palestinians because, if negotiations were to succeed, they would inevitably mean ceding territory, notes Patrick Seale.

Middle East Online,  June 4, 2010

Israel’s deadly commando assault last Monday on the Free Gaza flotilla has been variously denounced around the world as state terrorism, piracy, a war crime, and as the latest example of Israel’s arrogant contempt for international law and its criminal indifference for (non-Jewish) human life.

In view of the enormity of the act — and the toll of dead and wounded among unarmed activists seeking to break the three-year Gaza siege — these charges appear justified. But they do not explain why Israel chooses to behave as it does. Its leaders, both civilian and military, are not fumbling, hysterical novices. Their actions are deliberate and carefully weighed. So what is the cold-eyed strategy behind them?

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The Israelis Attacked the Ships Bringing Aid to These People (photo gallery)

June 5, 2010

Axis of Logic, June 4, 2010

By Various Photographers
Ma’an News Agency and IMEU

After the Israeli attack on the Freedom Flotilla on May 31, we would do well to remember the crimes of this rogue state for the last 60 years, including their 2009 slaughter of the Palestians in Gaza. The following photos were taken by various photographers and published in the Maan News Agency, after their 2009 rampage. These Palestinians were waiting in Gaza for the Freedom Flotilla with 10,000 tons of medicine and health care equipment, food, educational materials, building materials and other humanitarian supplies when Israel attacked the ships on May 31. Israel’s blockade of Gaza is meant to do one thing only: to drive all Palestinians from their land on which the Israelis dream of expanding their own Jewish State. The world simply cannot allow this to happen. If governments in other nations refuse to stop this genocide, we the people must force them to bring this great crime to an end, make reparations and receive justice, by whatever means necessary.

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The New York Times as War Mongers – Some favorite illustrations

June 4, 2010
By Edward Herman, ZNet, June 2010
The New York Times is a war-mongeringnewspaper,because its government is an aggressive imperial power that makes war on a continuing basis and the Times is an establishment institution that reliably follows the party line brought forth when the warfare state moves into action. Sometimes the paper’s closeness to the warfare state is so gross that its editors should be embarrassed at its failure to maintain even nominal independence and at its propaganda role. In 1945, New York Times reporter William L. Lawrence bragged in print about”the honor, unique in journalism, of preparing the War Department’s official press release [announcing the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, and deliberate slaughter ofmany more civilians than were killed in the Bosnian ‘genocide’ of 1992-1995] for worldwide distribution. No greater honor can come to any newspaperman” (quoted in the important but neglected book by Beverly Ann Deepe Keever, News Zero: The New York Times and the Bomb, 2004). Violating well-established ethical rules, Lawrence took money from both the government and the New York Times, without public disclosure.


U.N. Report Highly Critical of U.S. Drone Attacks

June 4, 2010

Charlie Savage, New York Times, June 2, 2010

A senior United Nations official said on Wednesday that the growing use of armed drones by the United States to kill terrorism suspects is undermining global constraints on the use of military force. He warned that the American example will lead to a chaotic world as the new weapons technology inevitably spreads.

In a 29-page report to the United Nations Human Rights Council, the official, Philip Alston,the United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, called on the United States to exercise greater restraint in its use of drones in places like Pakistan and Yemen, outside the war zones in Afghanistan and Iraq. The report — the most extensive effort by the United Nations to grapple with the legal implications of armed drones — also proposed a summit of “key military powers” to clarify legal limits on such killings.

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Israel’s Latest Violation

June 2, 2010

By Stephen Zunes, Foreign Policy In Focus, June 2, 2010

flotilla

Every time Israel’s right-wing government engages in yet another outrageous violation of international legal norms, it is easy to think, “No way are they going to get away with it this time!” And yet, thanks to the White House, Congress and leading American pundits, somehow, they do.

Israel’s attack on an unarmed flotilla of humanitarian aid vessels in the eastern Mediterranean — resulting in more than a dozen fatalities, the wounding of scores of passengers and crew, and the kidnapping of 750 others — has so far not proven any different.

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Itching to Fight Another Muslim Enemy

May 19, 2010

By Robert Parry, Consortiumnews.com, May 18, 2010

If you read the major American newspapers or watch the propaganda on cable TV, it’s pretty clear that the U.S. foreign policy Establishment is again spoiling for a fight, this time in Iran.

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Just as Iraq’s Saddam Hussein was the designated target of American hate in 2002 and 2003, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is playing that role now. Back then, any event in Iraq was cast in the harshest possible light; today, the same is done with Iran.

Anyone who dares suggest that the situation on the ground might not be as black and white as the Washington Post’s editors claim it is must be an “apologist” for the enemy regime. It’s also not very smart for one’s reputation to question the certainty of the reporting in the New York Times, whether about Iraq’s “aluminum tubes” for nuclear centrifuges in 2002 or regarding Iran’s “rigged” election in 2009.

It’s much better for one’s career to clamber onto the confrontation bandwagon. Nobody in the major U.S. media or in politics will ever be hurt by talking tough and flexing muscles regarding some Muslim “enemy.” And, if the posturing leads to war, it will fall mostly to working-class kids to do the fighting and dying while the bills can be passed along to future generations.

Even groups that should know better – like Votevets.org representing veterans of the Iraq and Afghan wars – have been piggybacking on the organized hate campaign against Ahmadinejad and Iran to advance other political agendas. In cable TV ads, Votevets.org uses Ahmadinejad’s face and Iran’s alleged manufacture of some IEDs to press the case for alternative energy.

Indeed, looking at this American propaganda campaign objectively, you would assume that the only acceptable outcome of U.S. differences with Iran is another Iraq-like ratcheting up of tensions, using Washington’s influence within the UN Security Council to impose escalating sanctions, leading ultimately to another war, as if the lessons of Iraq have already been forgotten.

Fearing Negotiations

This warmongering attitude was on display again Monday, when a possible breakthrough regarding Iran’s refining of nuclear material – its agreement to ship a substantial amount to Turkey in exchange for nuclear rods for medical research – was treated more as a negative than a positive.

The New York Times promptly framed the agreement reached by Iran, Turkey and Brazil as “complicating sanctions talk,” while the Washington Post rushed out an analysis with the headline, “Iran creates illusion of progress in nuclear negotiations.

The Post’s analysis followed a Saturday editorial denouncing Brazil’s President Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva for even trying “yet another effort to ‘engage’ the extremist clique of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. “

The Post’s neocon editorial writers reprised the usual anti-Iran propaganda themes with all the arrogance that they once showed in declaring as flat fact that Saddam Hussein possessed stockpiles of WMD. After the U.S. invaded Iraq and found no WMD caches, the Post’s editorial page editor Fred Hiatt acknowledged to CJR that if there indeed were no WMD, “it would have been better not to say it.”

(To date, 4,401 American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died, in part, because of Hiatt’s mistake.)

On Saturday, an unchastened Hiatt and his crew were back again spouting more fictions, this time about Iran, like the oft-repeated claim that the Iranian election last June was “fraudulent,” apparently because the Post’s preferred candidate, Mir Hossein Mousavi, lost.

An analysis by the University of Maryland’s Program on International Policy Attitudes earlier this year found that there was little evidence to support allegations of fraud or to conclude that most Iranians viewed Ahmadinejad’s reelection as illegitimate.

Not a single Iranian poll analyzed by PIPA – whether before or after the June 12 election, whether conducted inside or outside Iran – showed Ahmadinejad with less than majority support. None showed the much-touted Green Movement’s candidate Mousavi ahead or even close.

“These findings do not prove that there were no irregularities in the election process,” said Steven Kull, director of PIPA. “But they do not support the belief that a majority rejected Ahmadinejad.” [For details, see Consortiumnews.com’s “Ahmadinejad Won, Get Over It!”]

So, while many in the West may agree that Ahmadinejad is an unpleasant politician who foolishly questions the historical accuracy of the Holocaust and makes other bombastic statements, it is nevertheless a propaganda fiction to continue asserting that he was not the choice of most Iranian voters.

The point is not insignificant, because the claim about Iran’s “fraudulent” election has been cited repeatedly as fact by the Post, the Times and other major U.S. news outlets, feeding the rationale of Israel and U.S. neocons in demanding “regime change.”

If Ahmadinejad was actually elected – even if the process had flaws – then the goal of “regime change” would involve ousting a popularly chosen leader, much like the CIA helped do in 1953 when another anti-Western Iranian leader, Mohammed Mossadegh, was removed from office and replaced by Washington’s preferred choice, the Shah of Iran.

But the American hostility toward Ahmadinejad – and the U.S. media’s annoyance at any rapprochement between Washington and Tehran – present other dangers, particularly now that Iran has agreed to a previous Western demand that it transfer 1,200 kilograms (2,640 pounds) of low-enriched uranium out of the country, in this case to Turkey, where it would be stored.

The Iran-Turkey-Brazil agreement would then give Iran the right to receive about 265 pounds of more highly enriched uranium from Russia and France in a form that could not be used for a nuclear weapon, but could be put to use for peaceful purposes, such as medical research.

Even though this new deal parallels a plan that the Obama administration favored last October, U.S. officials have indicated that they might balk at the agreement now because the 2,640 pounds of low-enriched uranium represents a lower percentage of Iran’s total supply than it did last fall, possibly more like half than two-thirds.

“The situation has changed,” one diplomat told the New York Times.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs also indicated that the new agreement would not stop the United States from seeking harsher sanctions against Iran.

“The United States will continue to work with our international partners, and through the United Nations Security Council, to make it clear to the Iranian government that it must demonstrate through deeds — and not simply words — its willingness to live up to international obligations or face consequences, including sanctions,” Gibbs said.

Victory/Defeat

The Washington Post’s analysis by Glenn Kessler portrayed the new agreement as “a victory” for Iran that has allowed it to create “the illusion of progress in nuclear negotiations with the West, without offering any real compromise to the United States and its allies.”

However, perhaps the bigger concern among American neocons is that the Iran-Turkey-Brazil accord might weaken the rationale for pressing ahead either with a military attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities or with a “regime change” strategy that would use sanctions and covert political operations to turn the Iranian people against their government.

By reducing the prospects of Iran building a nuclear weapon – something that Iran has vowed that it has no intention of doing and that U.S. intelligence agencies concluded in 2007 that it wasn’t doing – the new agreement could remove the scariest claim that Israel and its supporters have used in justifying a confrontation with Iran.

So, what might otherwise appear as good news – i.e. an agreement that at minimum delays the possibility of an Iranian bomb and could be a first step toward a fuller agreement – is presented as bad news.

“The Obama administration now faces the uncomfortable prospect of rejecting a proposal it offered in the first place — or seeing months of effort to enact new sanctions derailed,” Kessler explained.

As usual, too, the articles by the Washington Post and the New York Times left out the relevant fact that Israel, which has been aggressively pushing for greater transparency from Iran over its suspected interest in nukes, itself has one of the world’s most sophisticated – and undeclared – nuclear arsenals.

Even as President Barack Obama has demanded more nuclear transparency from all countries, he himself continues the longstanding charade of U.S. presidents, dating back to Richard Nixon, pretending that they don’t know that Israel has nuclear weapons.

In line with that history of double standards, Washington’s neocon opinion leaders now are framing what could be a positive step toward peace – the Iran-Turkey-Brazil accord – as another failure.

But the larger truth may be that the neocons are simply chafing under the possibility that their hunger for a new conflict in the Middle East might be delayed indefinitely and that – heaven forbid – cooler heads might prevail.

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at neckdeepbook.com. His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & ‘Project Truth’ are also available there. Or go to Amazon.com.


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