Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 27, 2007


News & views - an open thread ...

Posted by b on January 27, 2007 at 8:05 UTC | Permalink

next page »

More about the abducted then killed US soldiers in Karbala:

McClatchy: U.S. soldiers were abducted, then executed in Karbala

New details indicated that the attackers spoke English and posed as Americans to get past Iraqi security in one of the most sophisticated operations against American soldiers since the Iraq war began in 2003. They apparently were well enough informed about the compound, known as the Provincial Joint Coordination Center, that they went directly to where the Americans were in the compound, attacking with a barrage of grenades and rifle fire. Three American Humvees were destroyed.

"The precision of the attack, the equipment used and the possible use of explosives to destroy the military vehicles in the compound suggests that the attack was well rehearsed prior to execution," Bleichwehl was quoted as saying. "The attackers went straight to where Americans were located in the provincial government facility, by-passing the Iraqi police in the compound."
The guard, who asked not to be identified because he also is a suspect, said he'd handed his weapon to the attackers and allowed the men into the compound because they were dressed in American military uniforms, spoke English and were using interpreters. He said it was customary not to challenge Americans.

Babel police spokesman Capt. Muthana Ahmed told McClatchy Newspapers on Monday that the attackers had first gathered weapons at the police headquarters in Karbala before attacking the provincial compound. U.S. Humvees are now stationed at the police headquarters and Iraqi police commandoes are now providing security at both the police headquarters and the provincial headquarters.

Hilla police chief Maj. Gen. Qais al-Maamuri told McClatchy Newspapers that five vehicles used in the attack were found on Saturday and two vehicles were found the next morning.

Al-Maamuri said one of the vehicles bore a license plate registered to Iraq's minister of trade, Abdul Falah al-Sudani, a Shiite who belongs to the Dawa party whose members include Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. But it was unclear how the plate might have become attached to the vehicle. A spokesman for al-Sudani, who lives in the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad, denied that the plate had been stolen.

Larry Johnson: A Growing Military Credibility Gap?

As far as the first version is concerned, NEVER MIND. Instead of 30 attackers there were only 12. But it is the other details that makes the story truly alarming.
At the very moment we are surging troops into Baghdad, who will be scattered in small outposts throughout the city and will have to rely on Iraqi soldiers to protect them, we learn belatedly that someone in Iraq is dressing up in US military uniforms, carrying US weapons, and speaking English like a gringo. You know what this means? U.S. soldiers who were already skeptical about the trustworthiness of their Iraqi counterparts will now also have to question whether the U.S. soldier coming towards them is really a U.S. soldier.

Posted by: b | Jan 27 2007 8:32 utc | 1

Pelosi, Maliki Discuss Timing of Drawdown

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki told Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), visiting Baghdad on Friday in her new capacity as House speaker, that he would like to see 50,000 U.S. troops leave by the end of the year, Iraqi officials said.

Pelosi's primary concern in meeting Maliki appeared to be to determine how soon he thought the United States could withdraw its soldiers from Iraq, said Ali Dabbagh, the prime minister's spokesman.

Posted by: b | Jan 27 2007 9:39 utc | 2



Not Found
The requested URL was not found on this server.

We're sorry, but the address you were trying to reach has been misspelled or page you were trying to view does not exist. Please check the address and try again.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 27 2007 10:02 utc | 3

Our Mercenaries in Iraq: Blackwater Inc and Bush's Undeclared Surge

We speak with Jeremy Scahill, author of the forthcoming “Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army.” [includes rush transcript]

Blackwater Down

Blackwater Down: Update--Jihidist Claims & Video

The Jawa report has an interesting analysis of the jihidist groups taking credit for the helicopter downing:

[T]hese two counter-claims may speak to a larger phenomenon in Iraq: the freelance jihadi propagandist. There is general consensus that jihadi groups will pay for videos of attacks on U.S. and Iraqi targets. My guess is that the video posted by the 1920s Revolutionary brigade was obtained this way.

They also caught an intriguing claim by Ansar al Sunna:

[T]hey said that one of the Americans "got away", but that they were "hunting him down". No news reports of survivors, but we certainly hope there were.

Jawa Report has posted two id pictures of two of the KIA and as well as a graphic cell phone video of the crash site obtained from one of the jihidist website, which a Kuwaiti web host has since taken offline. Warning: the video is graphic.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 27 2007 10:04 utc | 4

Senate">">Senate Intelligence chairman quietly 'fixed' intelligence, and diverted blame
from White House over Iraq

held up Iraq probe, senator says

Vice President Dick Cheney exerted ''constant'' pressure on
the Republican former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee to
stall an investigation into the Bush administration's use of flawed
intelligence on Iraq, the panel's Democratic chairman charged

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 27 2007 10:06 utc | 5

Ghaith Abdul-Ahad meets the commander of a Shia death squad: 'If they pay we kill them anyway' - the kidnapper's story

Kidnapping in Baghdad these days is as much about economics as retribution or sectarian hatred. Another Shia man close to the Mahdi Army told me: "They kidnap 10 Sunnis, they get ransom on five, and kill them all, in each big kidnap operation they make at least $50 000, it's the best business in Baghdad."

One day as we chatted in a small squatters' community to the east of Baghdad, Fadhel showed me his badge - a square laminated card that identified him as a "Amer Faseel" or "platoon commander" in charge of a unit of around 35 fighters. He is particularly valuable to the Shia militia because he grew up in a predominantly Sunni area south of Baghdad and still has an ID card registered in the Sunni town of Yossufiya. "I can speak in their accent, so I can come and go to Sunni areas without anyone knowing that I am a Shia."

Posted by: b | Jan 27 2007 10:07 utc | 6

in London: Ahmadinejad must be tried in Hague

Likud Chairman Member of Knesset Benjamin Netanyahu, who is
currently visiting London, met with Canadian and British members of
parliament in order to harness their support for his initiative that
calls to put Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on trial for inciting

Apparently, threatening to wipe Israel off of the map is such a serious
crime that the fact that Ahmadinejad never actually said that is not
considered a defense.

"Wipe Israel Off The Map" Big Lie

Barely a day goes by that one can avoid reading or hearing
yet another Israeli, American or British warhawk regurgitate the broken
record that Iran's President Ahmadinejad threatened to "wipe Israel off
the map," framed in the ridiculous context that Israeli's are being
targeted for a second holocaust. This baseless rallying call for
conflict holds about as much credibility as Dick Cheney's assertion that
Saddam Hussein was planning to light up American skies with mushroom

tries to cut off Tehran from world markets

Israel is launching a campaign to isolate Iran economically
and to soften up world opinion for the option of a military strike aimed
at crippling or delaying Tehran's uranium enrichment

Israeli">">Israeli billionaire Saban biggest donor to US politicians

for 2008 courting Jewish support

It's a Washington ritual as reliable as the cherry blossoms,
if nowhere near as pretty: Midterm congressional elections are over and
aspirants for the most powerful job in the world are throwing their hats
into the race for the US presidency.

Another ritual within the ritual is lining up Jewish support, and this
year is no different. Some candidates are acting immediately: This
month, US Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) plucked Jay Zeidman, President
Bush's popular Jewish outreach official, to lead his Jewish

Forgive me, but is there one - count them, one - "America FIRST"
candidate in this race?

It's really interesting to see the interests driving American foreign
policy (like the debacles in in Iraq, Afghanistan, and soon Iran), and
the American politicians who pander to them.

I want all of their close families of appropriate military age signing
up for military service, refusing any less than front-line duty in any
of these conflicts that have been largely fabricated to benefit Israel.

Of course, that won't happen; its's always other people's families who
get killed in these wars, not their own.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 27 2007 10:07 utc | 7

YouTube - Shia Iraqi soldier beat Sunnis as US trainers watch

Posted by: b | Jan 27 2007 11:00 utc | 8

the category is, you can't make this shit up

In August 2004, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, which was investigating an Oregon charity, al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, inadvertently provided a copy of a classified document to a foundation lawyer, Lynne Bernabei.

That document indicated, according to court filings, that the government monitored communications between officers of the charity and two of its lawyers without a warrant in spring 2004.


The F.B.I. learned of the disclosure almost immediately in August 2004, Judge King said at a court hearing last year, but made no effort to retrieve copies of the document for about six weeks.

When it did, everyone it asked apparently returned all copies of the document. In a statement reported in The Post in March, for instance, Mr. Ottaway said he the F.B.I. had told him that the document had “highly sensitive national security information.”


He added, “The document must be completely removed from the case, and plaintiffs are not allowed to rely on it to prove their claims.”

Judge King wondered aloud about the implications of that position, saying, “There is nothing in the law that requires them to purge their memory.”

Secrecy Is at Issue in Suits Opposing Spy Program

Posted by: dan of steele | Jan 27 2007 14:04 utc | 9

A friend sent me this:

Mogadishu Madness

After 15 years of anarchy, Current's Kaj Larsen and Christof Putzel venture into Mogadishu, Somalia to explore how the city is adjusting to the new self-proclaimed government, the Islamic Court Union.

Can anyone guess, why this pissed me off?

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 27 2007 14:30 utc | 10

there is a wonderful poster who goes by the name of clownsense over at glengreenwald and this morning he invited people to look at something he wrote using his real name.

I am certain anna missed can relate to his words. for those of us who have never directly killed another human this is about as close to experiencing it as is possible.

Atlantic Free Press

Posted by: dan of steele | Jan 27 2007 15:12 utc | 11

Doing a little research on the Karbala attack.

Agence France Press report:

In an initial statement released on January 21, the military had said five US soldiers were killed and three wounded "while repelling the attack."

The Internet site, which tracks US losses in Iraq, identified the five as Captain Brian Freeman, Lieutenant Jacob Fritz, Specialist Johnathan Chism, Private 1st Class Jonathan Millican and Private Shawn Falter.

Saturday's statement said "an estimated nine to 12 armed militants" with US-type weapons had stormed the Provincial Joint Coordination Centre in Karbala, where they opened fire and hurled hand grenades at US troops.

After damaging three US vehicles with explosives, "the attackers broke off the assault, withdrawing from the compound with four captured US soldiers.

"The precision of the attack, the equipment used and the possible use of explosives to destroy the military vehicles in the compound suggests that the attack was well rehearsed prior to execution," US spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Scott Bleichwehl said in the statement.


The attackers captured four soldiers and fled with them and the computer east toward Mahawil, the U.S. military officials said.

The Iraqi officials said the four were captured alive and shot just before the vehicles were abandoned.


Three days afterward, the U.S. military in Baghdad announced the arrest of four suspects in the attack and said they had been detained on a tip from a Karbala resident. No further information was released about the suspects.

Guardian Profiles Those Killed (This same article also appears in some US papers and was probably taken from there.)

I am not sure what all this adds up to, just putting it out here for the record. Perhaps later something will seem important that is not clear now. The incident is very bizarre indeed.

Posted by: Bea | Jan 27 2007 15:31 utc | 12

Didn’t watch the whole thing Uncle Scam. It is just war porn, plus the regular ‘oh those primitive darkies they can’t govern themselves, be sensible and smart, or even use proper hygiene!

Posted by: Noirette | Jan 27 2007 15:34 utc | 13

Helena Cobban has a long detailed post up about the Karbala raid and its possible significance. Essentially she is speculating that this might have been an Iranian effort to retaliate for the US arrests of Iranians in Arbil earlier.

However she rightfully asks:

If that was the plan, wouldn't it have made more sense for the assailants to have kept the captured US soldiers alive? (And the question then would be: where? In a "liberated zone" within Iraq, or in Iran?) But anyway, something evidently caused the assailants not to proceed with such a plan, if indeed that had been their first option.

**Puts tin foil hat firmly on head**

Just wrote something that I have deleted because I don't want to post it. Let's just say I put this together with the Democracy Now! interview that Uncle posted earlier and came to a very scary conclusion.

No. I don't want to go there...

Posted by: Bea | Jan 27 2007 16:07 utc | 14

Former Senator Jim Abourezk: The hidden cost of free congressional trips to Israel

The pro-Israel lobby does most of its work without publicity. But every member of Congress and every would-be candidate for Congress comes to quickly understand a basic lesson. Money needed to run for office can come with great ease from supporters of Israel, provided that the candidate makes certain promises, in writing, to vote favorably on issues considered important to Israel. What drives much of congressional support for Israel is fear – fear that the pro-Israel lobby will either withhold campaign contributions or give money to one's opponent.

In my own experience as a US senator in the 1970s, I saw how the lobby tries to humiliate or embarrass members who do not toe the line.

Pro-Israel groups worked vigorously to ensure that the new reforms would allow them to keep hosting members of Congress on trips to Israel.
These trips are defended as "educational." In reality, as I know from my many colleagues in the House and Senate who participated in them, they offer Israeli propagandists an opportunity to expose members of Congress to only their side of the story. The Israeli narrative of how the nation was created, and Israeli justifications for its brutal policies omit important truths about the Israeli takeover and occupation of the Palestinian territories.

What the pro-Israel lobby reaps for its investment in these tours is congressional support for Israeli desires. For years, Israel has relied on billions of dollars in US taxpayer money. Shutting off this government funding would seriously impair Israel's harsh occupation.

One wonders what policies Congress might support toward Israel and the Palestinians absent the distorting influence of these Israel trips – or if more members toured Palestinian lands.
If Congress is serious about ethics reform, it should not protect the Israel lobby from the consequences. A totally taxpayer-funded travel budget for members to take foreign fact-finding trips, with authorization to be made by committee heads, would be an important first step toward a foreign policy that genuinely serves America.

Posted by: b | Jan 27 2007 17:10 utc | 15

dc rally on cspan

jesse jackson just made me cry - "KEEP HOPE ALIVE - THIS LAND IS OUR LAND"

Posted by: conchita | Jan 27 2007 18:08 utc | 16

b & the gang

so much work, so many connections you are establishing

as the empire walks into a moral, political & economic abyss - the abyss as nietzsche sd - is looking back

the researches you are doing here prove it beyond any shadow of doubt

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jan 27 2007 18:09 utc | 17

bea#14, will you email you your idea?

conchita, thanks for linking. i've been listening for awhile . inspiring

Posted by: annie | Jan 27 2007 18:30 utc | 18

& there is a substantial documentary on aljazeera international on the 66,500,000 gallons of agent orange bompbed & sprayed over vietnam & the vietnamese

with a dr hexter - a dioxin expert stating the obvious - that it is an instance of the use of chemical warfare against an innocent population that still has effect 30years after

a contamination of a land & people that is without question - a war crime of the most profound gravity - because the saùe people who did the killing & the profiteering then are exactly the same as those today in the middle east

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jan 27 2007 18:51 utc | 19

just an addendum on that - on aljazeera international - they seem to be bending over backwards to be reasonable & that makes them sometimes not so qualitatively different from the bbc - but their documentaries & consistently are the most rigorous i have ever witnessed in 30 years of work around film

& it is also true that their coverage of latin america especially but also of africa & asia is without precedent - if i was an old bbc hand - i would watch al jazeera with profound shame at what the bbc has become

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jan 27 2007 18:57 utc | 20

(another addendum - markfromireland has sent me email -saying that his email is receiving a quantitative increase in spam - it is my experience too - does dismal science or anyone else know of an anti spam logiciel that will work on mac)

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jan 27 2007 19:01 utc | 21

yet more information suggesting why a u.s. pullout is unwise.

Posted by: slothrop | Jan 27 2007 19:12 utc | 22

yet more information suggesting why a u.s. pullout is unwise.

Posted by: slothrop | Jan 27 2007 19:15 utc | 23


the us will not have a choice whether it leaves or stays - it will be forced out

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jan 27 2007 19:16 utc | 24

re #5 uncle, it's incredible to watch larrisa/everyone's work from 04/ 05 is finally coming to fruition.

thanks again for all your great links. i am going on a search for one of your others right now.

Posted by: annie | Jan 27 2007 19:23 utc | 25

forced out? by whom, I wonder?

I deplore u.s. power as much as anyone here, and do not argue to justify the brutality of its uses. but it is obvious the retreat of u.s. will likely cause greater chaos. I wish it were some other way, but I prefer to have my ideas guided by evidence.

Posted by: slothrop | Jan 27 2007 19:25 utc | 26

seriously. forced out by whom? It was a bad month last month for u.s. casualties, 110, but that's a statistical nonevent in the bigger picture of the conflict. The "iraqis"? will they "force" the u.s. out? no. of course not. too busy slaughtering each other. hmmmm. I don't know. public opinion? no. it's a volunteer army, baby. just as in vietnam, only the soldiers' resistance to war can stop the war. and we're very far from that, I think.

Posted by: slothrop | Jan 27 2007 19:41 utc | 27

slothrop, you have yet to win, and still are very far from winning, me over with your arugment that the u.s. leaving would be cause greater chaos. how bad does it have to get? exactly what are you and joe lieberman waiting for? it was an illegal and immoral invasion that has accomplished nothing but to create a killing fields. and you argue we should stay - till what, till the last iraqi? !ya basta!

Posted by: conchita | Jan 27 2007 20:06 utc | 28

it's a volunteer army, baby. just as in vietnam, only the soldiers' resistance to war can stop the war.

no, it isn't just a volunteer army just like vietnam. 25% of the forces there are private. maybe 1/2 the military forces are involved in combat, the rest support. that evens out to 1/3 private 2/3 military forces involved in combat. very different make up. although not many forces have resisted yet the tide has turned and majority are polled against the conflict. it took a decade to get serious resistance from soldiers during the vietnam era, things seem to be on escalation mode this time around.

Posted by: annie | Jan 27 2007 20:12 utc | 29

the nation
Unintended Consequences: A Forum on Iraq and the Mideast

The liberal community seems to be divided about what to do in Iraq, in particular over the issue of an American withdrawal. What is your view?

We have asked four leading experts on the Middle East to offer their assessments of the consequences of the Administration's policies for the region and for America's standing within it. The four are: Helena Cobban, Juan Cole, Nir Rosen, and Shibley Telhami 


Posted by: annie | Jan 27 2007 20:18 utc | 30

It would be interesting to know what the 'pressure' was that Cheney used on Congress. How often did it cross the line into blackmail? Does he still do it?

Posted by: Dick Durata | Jan 27 2007 20:32 utc | 31

conchita, the situation is not what i want. I'm just acknowledging the contradictions. i'm also interested to understand just what replaces western occupation.

speaking of polls,>the pipa's most recent iraqi poll. compare this poll to jan. 2006 version. very interesting. opposition to occupation is clear cut, but the reasons are intriguing.

Posted by: slothrop | Jan 27 2007 20:32 utc | 32

again, please tell me, "forced out" by whom?

Posted by: slothrop | Jan 27 2007 20:33 utc | 33

seriously. forced out by whom?

Well, let's see....On the one hand, 200-300,000 monoglot anglophone invaders, armed to the teeth and slaughtering folks at will--not with the unanimous support of their home populations; on the other hand, 25 million non-anglophone inhabitants in a state of disarray....

I guess the invaders be "forced out," whatever that means, in two or three years--unless, of course, they learn to speak fluent Arabic in the meantime.

Posted by: alabama | Jan 27 2007 20:43 utc | 34

also, please tell me who replaces the occupation? referring to said's book on racism does us no good to answer the question, either. i'm all for eviscerating the fables of euro-colonialism. what a world-historical fuckup that was. but, knowing this doesn't help to mitigate the sad fact that iraq, indeed the region, is exploding in internecine war. the threat to global stability is real. we are warned repeatedly by regimes (from khatami in iran, mubarak, sa royals, turks, et al.) that american retreat will ignite a region-wide war.

so, annie, i'm all ears. tell me why u.s. withdrawal is "better than..."

Posted by: slothrop | Jan 27 2007 20:44 utc | 35

does anyone know if Billmon went to Davos this year? if so, would you have a link to any of his professional work? we have pretty much ignored this meeting but some interesting things happened there too.

I have no clue about all that world finance stuff but would enjoy a Davos for Dummies kind of breakdown.

Posted by: dan of steele | Jan 27 2007 20:45 utc | 36

exactly. forced out by none. glad we moved beyond that little fiction.

Posted by: slothrop | Jan 27 2007 20:48 utc | 37

Craig Paul Roberts: Bush Is About to Attack Iran

Rather than winding down one war, Bush is starting another. The entire world knows this and is discussing Bush's planned attack on Iran in many forums. It is only Americans who haven't caught on. A few senators have said that Bush must not attack Iran without the approval of Congress, and postings on the Internet demonstrate world wide awareness that Iran is in the Bush Regime's cross hairs. But Congress and the Media – and the demonstration in Washington – are focused on Iraq.

What can be done to bring American awareness up to the standard of the rest of the world?

In Davos, Switzerland, the meeting of the World Economic Forum, a conference where economic globalism issues are discussed, opened January 24 with a discussion of Bush's planned attack on Iran. The Secretary General of the League of Arab States and bankers and businessmen from such US allies as Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates all warned of the coming attack and its catastrophic consequences for the Middle East and the world.

Writing for Global Research, General Leonid Ivashov, vice president of the Academy on Geopolitical Affairs and former Joint Chief of Staff of the Russian Armies, forecasted an American nuclear attack on Iran by the end of April. General Ivashov presented the neoconservative reasoning that is the basis for the attack and concluded that the world's protests cannot stop the US attack on Iran.

There will be shock and indignation, General Ivashov concludes, but the US will get away with it. He writes:

"Within weeks from now, we will see the informational warfare machine start working. The public opinion is already under pressure. There will be a growing anti-Iranian militaristic hysteria, new information leaks, disinformation, etc.... The probability of a US aggression against Iran is extremely high. It does remain unclear, though, whether the US Congress is going to authorize the war. It may take a provocation to eliminate this obstacle (an attack on Israel or the US targets including military bases). The scale of the provocation may be comparable to the 9/11 attack in NY. Then the Congress will certainly say 'Yes' to the US president."

Posted by: Bea | Jan 27 2007 20:48 utc | 38

slothrop, i need to get to the green market before it closes. my silence does not mean that i agree. it is complex, and there are no easy answers, but i do not agree that that this means we should continue with the status quo in iraq. bottomline, it is not our country, we do not belong there. if we were doing the real work of reparations and reconstruction, that would be one thing, but we are not. we are sending people to kill and be killed. no good has come of that and no good will.

Posted by: conchita | Jan 27 2007 20:54 utc | 39

Scott Ritter: Stop the Iran War Before It Starts

If I were to address a Democrat Theme Team equivalent, I would focus my effort on trying to impress them with the issue that will cost them political power down the road. This issue is Iran. While President Bush, a Republican, remains Commander in Chief, a Democrat-controlled Congress shares responsibility on war and peace from this point on. The conflict in Iraq, although ongoing, is a product of the Republican-controlled past. The looming conflict with Iran, however, will be assessed as a product of a Democrat-controlled present and future. If Iraq destroyed the Republican Party, Iran will destroy the Democrats.

I would strongly urge Congress, both the House of Representatives and the Senate, to hold real hearings on Iran. Not the mealy-mouthed Joe Biden-led hearings we witnessed on Iraq in July-August 2002, where he and his colleagues rubber-stamped the President's case for war, but genuine hearings that draw on all the lessons of Congressional failures when it came to Iraq. Summon all the President's men (and women), and grill them on every phrase and word uttered about the Iranian "threat," especially as it has been linked to nuclear weapons. Demand facts to back up the rhetoric.

Summon the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), or any other lobby promoting confrontation with Iran, to the forefront, so that the warnings they offer in whispers from a back room can be articulated before the American public. Hold these conjurers of doom accountable for their positions by demanding they back them up with hard fact. See if the US intelligence community concurs with the dire warnings put forward by these pro-war lobbyists, and if it doesn't, ask who, then, is driving US policy toward Iran? Those mandated by public law and subjected to the oversight of Congress? Or others, operating outside any framework representative of the will of the American people?

If a real case, based on facts as they pertain to the genuine national security interests of the United States, can be made for a confrontation with Iran that leads to military conflict, so be it. America should never shy away from defending that which legitimately needs defending. The sacrifice expected of our military forces, while tragic, will be defensible. But if the case for war with Iran is revealed to be as illusory as was the case for war with Iraq, then Congress must take action to stop this conflict from occurring. This is the Democrats' issue now, the one that will make or break them in 2008 and beyond.

Posted by: Bea | Jan 27 2007 20:58 utc | 40

one more thing - the way you speak is almost with complete disregard for iraqis. they have been there for centuries. who are we to come in and tell them how to live their lives and run their country? and you know better than i that the only reason why we even "bother" to do this is for economic gain.

as for region-wide war - you think that by being there exacerabating the situation with a brutal occupation, parking naval carriers in the gulf, threatening iran, etc. we are stabilizing the situation??? please.

Posted by: conchita | Jan 27 2007 20:58 utc | 41

Gonzalez Questions Right to Habeas Corpus in Judiciary Hearing

Responding to questions from Sen. Arlen Specter at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Jan. 18, Gonzales argued that the Constitution doesn’t explicitly bestow habeas corpus rights; it merely says when the so-called Great Writ can be suspended.

“There is no expressed grant of habeas in the Constitution; there’s a prohibition against taking it away,” Gonzales said.

Gonzales’s remark left Specter, the committee’s ranking Republican, stammering.

“Wait a minute,” Specter interjected. “The Constitution says you can’t take it away except in case of rebellion or invasion. Doesn’t that mean you have the right of habeas corpus unless there’s a rebellion or invasion?”

Gonzales continued, “The Constitution doesn’t say every individual in the United States or citizen is hereby granted or assured the right of habeas corpus. It doesn’t say that. It simply says the right shall not be suspended” except in cases of rebellion or invasion.

Posted by: Bea | Jan 27 2007 21:08 utc | 42

one more thing - the way you speak is almost with complete disregard for iraqis. they have been there for centuries.

tell me who "they" are? that's the problem.

well. I'll answer my earlier question. bush could "force us out" by throwing his army at iran/syria. who's the roman praetor who wandered out into the mesopotamian desert and lost his legion? can't remember just now. we'll soon see...

Posted by: slothrop | Jan 27 2007 21:12 utc | 43

For Slothrop:

Our Soldiers, Hard at Work Safeguarding the Security of Iraqi Civilians

01/24/07 -- - BAGHDAD, 22 January (IRIN) - "My name is Lina Massufi. I'm a 32-year-old laboratory assistant who works 10 hours a day just to make enough money to raise my children.

"My life has been like hell over the past three months. US and Iraqi soldiers have raided my house more than 12 times.

"My husband, Khalil, was killed during the US invasion in 2003 when he drove through a closed road and soldiers shot him dead.

"I live in Haifa Street, one of the most dangerous places to live in Baghdad today. The area is infamous for its huge number of insurgents. This is why Iraqi and US soldiers have increased their activity in the area, constantly raiding homes and arresting men for interrogation.

"Last month, they arrested my 23-year-old brother Fae'ek, who lives with me. He is a pharmacy student but nonetheless they took him and kept him in prison for more than a week - even after knowing he was innocent. He returned with signs of torture on his body and was crying like a baby because of the pain.

"I cannot stand the constant military raids in my home. Every time they [the soldiers] raid my house, they break the door. They don't know how to knock at a door. One day, when I asked them why they were entering like that instead of ringing the bell, they laughed at me and called me an idiot.

"My furniture is all broken into pieces because of the way they conduct their searches. I no longer have dishes or glasses to speak of because they destroyed most of them during the raids.

"I have two children and for most of the time, they are scared. Muhammad, a four-year-old, cannot sleep well at night. He has nightmares every day and when he wakes up he cries, asking me not to let the soldiers take him as they took his uncle.

"Fadia, my daughter, who is only eight years old, doesn't want to go to school because she says that if they raid our home and I'm not around, they would do something bad to her brother. But with her at home, she can help him not be afraid.

"Our neighbourhood is in the middle of a constant war. It is not safe for us to leave or enter our houses. Most of the shops around here are closed. We have to walk about 5km to buy food like vegetables and rice.

"Sometimes, when I return by taxi from my job, which is about 45 minutes from my home, I find the street closed and bullets flying around everywhere.

"I start to cry as I become afraid that something might have happened to my children even though I know that my brother is there. I know that when I get home, I will find Muhammad crying and Fadia scared but I cannot stay all day at home because if I leave my job, there will be no one to feed them.

"It is common to see at least three corpses on Haifa Street each day and sometimes up to eight, as happened last week. They are fighters, innocent civilians or soldiers. No one takes care of them [the bodies] because if you tried to get closer, you could become the next victim.

"I have no where to run to. I have to withstand this desperate situation hoping that one day we will live in peace again, even if it seems that it might take dozens of years for that to happen."

Posted by: Bea | Jan 27 2007 21:14 utc | 44

Forced out, by default:

6-8 billion per month economic bleed by the occupation.

Failure to secure economic hegemony over host assets.

Political suicide for war hawk position.

Continued loss of "soft power" social leverage, internationally.

Continued erosion of international coalition members, failure to secure new.

Cascading loss of intelligence, and assets.

"Broken Army" syndrome, characterized by:
loss of moral
over worked, under motivated
breakdown of disipline
increase in casualities
recrutment falloff
politilization within the ranks

Forced out? Let me count the ways. This is a political war of colonial interests, to be weighed against the costs -- not as bush/cheney would claim it, as a war of survival.

Posted by: | Jan 27 2007 21:28 utc | 45


i reacte as you do, w/ revulsion and sorrow, to these endless anecdotes of suffering. but, affirming these stories with my own horror contributes nothing to understanding the macro-disaster of post-colonial politics in the the "global balkans" strteching from timbuktu to samarkand. "u.s. out of iraq" or the pleasure some here would find in the defeat of the "empire" and coterminous destruction of their own western privileges, contributes even less to an understanding of this enormous crisis.

Posted by: slothrop | Jan 27 2007 21:32 utc | 46

I agree the "broken army" can end this thing...and this is what we do to ourselves. but, we are not forced out by any regional military opposition. that's rgiap's fantasy. and if you believe that stuff long enough, pretty soon you'll have no comrades to man the barricades.

Posted by: slothrop | Jan 27 2007 21:38 utc | 47

#45 me a.m.

Posted by: anna missed | Jan 27 2007 21:47 utc | 48

anna missed

put another way...this unraveling disaster is the result of historic inertia only partly caused by u.s. occupation. that's a fact. there is no panarabism or secular consciousness animating collective resistance. that's a fact. a policy of nonintervention is effete and naive. the u.s. is the only military power that can intervene. that's a fact. we're there one fucking way or the other. we know the colassally insane scope this interventiolon takes under neocon supervision. among b's new-found realism friends like brzezinski, the "choice" is leadership, not occupation. whatever. but, to be sure, given the facts, "going home" is not an option.

I assume you'd agree that the projection of u.s. power could achieve some better result? sure. but, this business we go home is naive.

Posted by: slothrop | Jan 27 2007 22:00 utc | 49

so, annie, i'm all ears. tell me why u.s. withdrawal is "better than..." well, these are 2 good reasons from the link @ #30 pg 6. below them , is mine.

Rosen: Every day the American occupation of Iraq continues, the crimes inherent in such an occupation continue. More innocent Iraqis will be wounded, killed, tortured or arrested. The Iraqi resistance will continue to have ready justification for its own violence and crimes, and the Iraqi government will continue to be perceived as a weak and illegitimate collaborator. The occupying powers must therefore promulgate a timetable for an expeditious withdrawal. Such an announcement would allow for Sunni participation in the political process and convince all Arab Iraqis that America is not in Iraq seeking the country's oil or permanent bases. The majority of the Iraqi resistance would have a strong incentive to pursue negotiations and lay down their weapons, because there would be no occupation to fight. They could unite with other Iraqis in opposing foreign radical Islamic movements, which would lose both a motivating factor and a major opportunity to engage in jihad. This is not to imply that all will end well. If the Americans leave, Iraqis may end up fighting one another before responsible religious, tribal and political leaders establish order, based on the strong sense of Iraqi nationalism among both Sunni and Shiite Iraqi Arabs. Either way it will take decades for the region to recover from the ill-fated and traumatic American adventure.

Cobban: I strongly agree that the US should withdraw its troops completely from Iraq, and as fast as is humanly possible. The troops have no right to be there, because their presence is the result of a war that was illegitimate under any reasonable reading of international law. Their presence there is doubly illegitimate because, in the postinvasion era, they have been used to buttress a US Administration inside Iraq that has disregarded the entire legal structure that regulates what is permissible during a military occupation. I am aware of the argument that a too-early US withdrawal may leave the country mired in civil war and that therefore Americans have some kind of "duty" to stay in Iraq to "make things right." I believe this argument is based on the completely false premise that the American presence has a stabilizing influence within the country. My reading of the situation there is that exactly the opposite is true.

my reasons are multi fold. the main reason is i believe it is inherently racist to assume iraqis do not know what is best for their country.

that stated, i do not trust our involvement there. i do not belive it is (or ever was) designed to succeed. all signs point in the opposite direction. everything that was done starting with ignoring the initial state department reports on consequences of invasion, relying on false documents to justify invasion, everything bremmer/cpa did, choice of slimy characters we have aligned ourselves with inside and outside of our government/iraq, use of huge private unaccountable army, specifically designing coverage based on total illusion and deception, you catch my drift.. we created mayhem , why?

may i assume without too much doubt iraq is still being used to launch our new middle east campaign? i personally, have no desire to remake the middle east into a playground with which to control the worlds resources. obviously the lives of individuals means nothing to the PTB. the enemy we have inspired, trained,fed, all chances are they will loose much of their support when we go.

i am well aware things could go horribly if we go. i guess that is just a chance i am willing to take wrt my conscious. i am certain if we do not go things will go horribly. so, i am gambling uncertain death and destruction against certain death and destruction. i would rather gamble. why support the enemy you know when you could end up with a friend by choosing stage B?


there, does that answer your question.

Posted by: annie | Jan 27 2007 22:05 utc | 50

rosen: "based on the strong sense of Iraqi nationalism among both Sunni and Shiite Iraqi Arabs."

really. that's ridiculous.

and cobban's position is just wishful thinking.

i really wish they were right. i really do.

Posted by: slothrop | Jan 27 2007 22:11 utc | 51

As Clausewitz said "war is politics by other means", especially wars of choice. Was the U.S. forced out of Vietnam? Was Israel "forced" out of Lebanon last summer? In all likelyhood, the U.S. will be "forced" out of Iraq in much the same manner, and in the end it boils down to semantic triviality -- like a Seinfeld episode where Elaine and Jerry argue about who initiates a relationship breakup -- first. As if the initiater holds the higher ground in not being "left", by being "first" to want a breakup.

But then it is also important how the U.S. "looks" when it does eventually leave. In Vietnam they waited to long, and the supposed orderly withdrawl ("peace with honor") looked like a rout. Personified by helicopters on the embassy roof. Unfortunatly, in Iraq the enemy is not closing in tens or hundreds of miles from the capital -- this time, they're a couple hundred yards from the embassy, right now.

Posted by: anna missed | Jan 27 2007 22:14 utc | 52

humph, you said nothing of my opinion. that speaks for itself!

Posted by: annie | Jan 27 2007 22:15 utc | 53

that comment #53 was addressed to #51

Posted by: annie | Jan 27 2007 22:17 utc | 54

sorry for not agreeing w/ your opinions.

Posted by: slothrop | Jan 27 2007 22:21 utc | 55

that's ok. common sense is my specialty, some people just can't relate. ;)

Posted by: annie | Jan 27 2007 22:32 utc | 56

annie, I am not so sure that it was intended to fail. I am quite positive the republicans and their corporate sponsors thought they could go in and establish a sycophantic government and then just hang out and make sure everyone was on the same sheet of music.

they believed their own propaganda. and they wanted to do it on the cheap.

but they are terribly incompetent and not ruthless enough when it came to being absolutely brutal...they had to be even more vicious than SH himself in order to control the country. they could not keep that up because it looks bad even on faux news. so they changed course a couple of times and SH had prepared quite well for the invasion. there are a lot of other players who really don't want the US to succeed in Iraq for obvious reasons.

yes, it is a fine mess we are in. slothrop is not being helpful, that we stay in Iraq for eternity should not even be a possibility. if it is not eternity then there has to be a day when we pull out and I do mean that in the sexual way. whether that day is a month from now or 10 years from now the effect will be the same.

pay me now or pay me later.

Posted by: dan of steele | Jan 27 2007 22:38 utc | 57

@slothrop #51
"and cobban's position is just wishful thinking"

hhmmm... and what part of her position - or, is it all - that is just wishful thinking?

I read her comments to be reality-based... nothing 'wishful' there. And she's very cogent.

Posted by: crone | Jan 27 2007 22:39 utc | 58

@ slothrop

rosen: "based on the strong sense of Iraqi nationalism among both Sunni and Shiite Iraqi Arabs."

really. that's ridiculous.

Why is that statement ridiculous? If you actually have some reasons or evidence to back up your position I'd be interested to read them. However, from everything I've read, it looks to me like Iraqi's loved and were proud of their country before we invaded. They rebuilt the devistation caused by the first war in an unbelievably short time. Religeous sectarianism didn't used to be an issue. But perhaps you've lived there and know better than the Iraqi's living there now?

Posted by: Chemmett | Jan 27 2007 22:57 utc | 59


i think the greatest difficulty i have with your arguments - is your contempt for specificity & in regard to the situation in iraq - an almost complete disorientation - in both depth & context(s)

for all your economic determinism you do not see it (as anna missed has pointed out) as a resource war but as a war of survival against islamic fascism with all its supposed connection - with the war against fascism. & here just a few salutary points - most ruling classes in europe & america were allied politically & economically with german fascism & with all its intentions. the western world paid relatively little for the interimperial struggle. anything east of warsaw paid the real price of that war & carried out the only effective resistance & finally destruction of fascism

i wonder sometimes just in a quotidian sense whether you know work & speak to people of mthe middle east because there is no hint of it in your posts - on the contrary there seems to be a complete absence of that human context(what i suppose you might call my barborous humanism)

i work here with people of northern africa, iran & of iraq & syria & there is no one, not one of a multitdue of those people that mirror your opinion & one of those whom i know well lost a father & a brother to the son od saddam hussein - they all without exception oppose american intervention in either the short or long term & they almost without exception see it as the resource war it is

a resource war can also be a war of anhilation as was operation barbarossa - underpinned by a savage conception of the slavic people it allowed for the starvation of those people as a military necessity & as the sole means of being able to control the resources of baku for example, or of the agricultur of ukraine etc

this resource war is about oil & it is as i have often inferred - just one step in the long war against china

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jan 27 2007 22:59 utc | 60


according to cobben, saddam forever!


it is you who is drowned by moral absolutism--who finds only americans guiding the world's good people through the labyrinth of hell. your account of history is childishly manichean. and i am searching as always in your claims of how the "people" you chauvanistically universalize as the essence of innocent "other" of "american empire" satisfy the conditions of your idea of ideological purity. i believe the facts repeated daily in iraq denounce this naivete. every day, your belief in some kind of enlightened opposition--sodality and solidarity of virtuous negation of american power--is contradicted by facts. and to to this continous incapacity of reality to confirm your view, you blame america for having constructed every impasse you meet on the road to the emerald city of your mind.

but, i share as always your volcanic disgust w/ the needless stupidity and outright evil of the uses of american power. europe and russia are too disorganized and china too weak. american power is all that is left to achieve global security. i hate bush's use of this power as much as you, though do not pray, as you might, for my destruction, and the nighttime of history drawn down by collapse of this power. i'm more terrified than you of the consequences and am saddened we are led by such jackals.

btw...i suffer as much as the next person and would not insist my experience has purchased me access to any special truth about anything. and i'd probably resent it if you entered a selection of my stories, if you heard them, into your calculus of justice.

Posted by: slothrop | Jan 27 2007 23:54 utc | 61

" american power is all that is left to achieve global security. "

you should'nt have let that slip out.

Posted by: | Jan 28 2007 1:52 utc | 62

Toll Road Giant Buys Newspapers to Silence Critics Critics charge that the Macquarie purchase of American Consolidated Media is designed to silence critics of a Texas toll road project.

Trans Texas CorridorAustralian toll road giant Macquarie agreed Wednesday to purchase forty local newspapers, primarily in Texas and Oklahoma, for $80 million. Macquarie Bank is Australia's largest capital raising firm and has invested billions in purchasing roads in the US, Canada and UK. Most recently the company joined with Cintra Concesiones of Spain in a controversial 75-year lease of the 157-mile Indiana Toll Road.

Sal Costello, the leading opponent of toll road projects as head of the Texas Toll Party, says the move is directly related to a 4000-mile toll road project known as the Trans-Texas Corridor. It will cost between $145 and $183 billion to construct the road, expected to be up to 1200 feet wide, requiring the acquisition of 9000 square miles of land in the areas through which it will pass.

"The newspapers are the main communication tool for many of the rural Texan communities, with many citizens at risk of losing their homes and farms through eminent domain," Costello wrote.

Many of the small papers purchased, most have a circulation of 5000 or less, have been critical of the Trans-Texas Corridor. An article in the Bonham Journal for example, states, "The toll roads will be under control of foreign investors, which more than frustrates Texans."

Roads, water, the air you breathe. It's not the 'foreign' investor bit that should be a worry. They are just as foreign to Australia as to the US.

Posted by: DM | Jan 28 2007 1:53 utc | 63

i'm not selling stories, dear slothrop nor notating a narrative based on some calculus of loss. it seems that for some time you deny the centrality of u s imperialism but then repeatedly speak of it as the guarantor of global security, as the sole guarantor of global security

& it also seems that the more intense this struggle gets the more you yearn for cohesion by that same american power

as i sd earlier today the work done by b uncle scam, & many many others here - offers the concrete evidence that solidifies a position i have long held & never hidden - that the united states is the principal threat to humanity

& i repeat again that the thing that makes me a little irritated is your refusal to speak of specificities whether it is the war on iraq, the furute war on iran - or indeed of the fundamental & daily toll of capital

you are here, as am i - to pose questions, to interrogate, to try to offer clarity but you are also here because you oppose the criminality & the immorality of your government & sometimes in your crazed defence of an imagined cohesive capacity of american power to 'restore' security - that fact is forgotten

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jan 28 2007 2:08 utc | 64

Greetings, comrades. Just checking in here and catching up. Went to the demonstration in DC today - it was large and appeared to have an immense diversity of representation both age-wise and geographically. Montana, Michigan, Kentucky, Maine, Vermont...some of the specifically organized state groups I saw.

My two cents on the discussion about "U.S. withdrawal will just make things worse in Iraq, and the region..."
We don't know for sure how things will turn out when we leave, as we surely will. (Only questions about it are timing and terms.) There is a pretty high probability that at least for a while it would be worse in terms of chaos and killing.

But, tragic and criminal as that would be, it is not a reason for the U.S. to continue occupying Iraq.

The original invasion and occupation were criminal and also disastrous for United State long term interests in the world. We do not belong there and have no legitimate, legal reason to be there.

Therefore, we should get out pronto, in as orderly a way as can be managed. Staying because, maybe, this forestalls more chaos is not a legitimate rationale for something that was and still is fundamentally illegitimate.

Posted by: Maxcrat | Jan 28 2007 2:16 utc | 65

Greetings, comrades. Just checking in here and catching up. Went to the demonstration in DC today - it was large and appeared to have an immense diversity of representation both age-wise and geographically. Montana, Michigan, Kentucky, Maine, Vermont...some of the specifically organized state groups I saw.

My two cents on the discussion about "U.S. withdrawal will just make things worse in Iraq, and the region..."
We don't know for sure how things will turn out when we leave, as we surely will. (Only questions about it are timing and terms.) There is a pretty high probability that at least for a while it would be worse in terms of chaos and killing.

But, tragic and criminal as that would be, it is not a reason for the U.S. to continue occupying Iraq.

The original invasion and occupation were criminal and also disastrous for United State long term interests in the world. We do not belong there and have no legitimate, legal reason to be there.

Therefore, we should get out pronto, in as orderly a way as can be managed. Staying because, maybe, this forestalls more chaos is not a legitimate rationale for something that was and still is fundamentally illegitimate.

Posted by: Maxcrat | Jan 28 2007 2:17 utc | 66


you have been wrong from the beginning about what constitutes opposition to your dreadful empire. totally wrong. i don't know how else to put it. completely wrong.

the only power available to provide global security is nato nd multilateral agreement w/ u.s. military as the dominant partner. that's just the way it is. i don't like it. but that's the way it is.

Posted by: slothrop | Jan 28 2007 2:26 utc | 67

slothrop, the long walk to and from the green market allows me time to think. acknowledging the complexity of the situation in the middle east with the mulitplicity of ethnic, religious, and nationalistic derivations and combinations, it is no simple task to predict the outcome of the u.s. leaving iraq. i have read (here and beyond) so many analyses and theories that i have stopped keeping track. however, one theory that i return to repeatedly is josh marshall's about the usuk objective of engendering chaos in the region through the invasion of iraq. and it seems to me that you, like many in the corporate media who either parrot or promulate the stance that the u.s. must remain to stabilize iraq, are buying into the pnac plan. as anon @ 62 said, you should not have let that slip out. "american power is all that is left to achieve global security." if i didn't already know that you have shunned cars for 15 years or so, i'd be imagining you at the wheel of a hummer.

Posted by: conchita | Jan 28 2007 2:33 utc | 68

Dear me, Slothrop. So dark. So grim. "Global security" will never be provided by military power - whether the U.S. and Nato's or anyone elses. Global slavery perhaps. Global destruction, also a possibility. Global chaos and privation, certainly. But not security.

Posted by: Maxcrat | Jan 28 2007 2:35 utc | 69

glad to see your comment, maxcrat. I wish I could have been there. I'll be thinking about you as I work tomorrow. :/

slothrop- your analysis of the dominance of US military power would seem to contradict Emmanual Todd's prediction about the problems of the US as a nation whose reason for being resides in military colonialism. how far into the future do you project this stability? from Todd

the US is still the most powerful nation in the world today, but there are many indicators that they are about to relinquish their position as solitary superpower. In my 1976 book, La chute finale (Before the Fall: The End of Soviet Domination), I based my prediction of the fall of the Soviet Union on the relevant indicators of the time. An analysis of current demographic, cultural, military, economic, and ideological factors leads me to conclude that the remaining pole of the former bipolar world order will not remain alone in its position. The world has become too large and complex to accept the predominance of one power. There will not be an American Empire.

Nevertheless, if others are to believed, this empire has already been long in existence. "Get Used to It" was a recent headline in the New York Times Weekend Magazine.

That is very interesting. Now that the concept no longer corresponds to reality, it becomes commonplace. While there actually was a basis in reality, there was scarcely a mention of the concept.

...he US no longer has the might to control the large strategic players, primarily Germany and Japan. Their industrial capacity is clearly smaller than that of Europe and approximately equal to that of Japan. With twice the population, this is no great accomplishment. Their trade deficit meanwhile, is in the order of $500 billion per year. Their military potential is nevertheless still the largest by far, but is declining and consistently over estimated. The use of military bases is dependant on the good will of their allies, many of which are not as willing as before. The theatrical military activism against inconsequential rogue states that we are currently witnessing plays out against this backdrop. It is a sign of weakness, not of strength. But weakness makes for unpredictability. The US is about to become a problem for the world, where we have previously been accustomed to seeing a solution in them.

In other words, it is precisely AT THIS POINT that the US may overplay their power with nations who do not wish to have total war in the middle east. and it is at this point that the US may be seen as more harmful than helpful with their military dominance.

in addition, as far as economic issues.... The United States of Europe was a pretty interesting book that looked at cooperation in Europe as a way that they have created better economies...such as a standard nokia system rather than competing that communication is facilitated rather than impeded.

the same with the initiatives on alternative energy (this does not include England as part of Europe, for me, btw, b/c they want to remain Brittania long after the empire is gone...hmmmmmm....

in addition, this militarism is greatly responsible for the enormous redistribution of wealth accumulated among the few... the interests of the current powers are co-mingled with dynacorp or halliburton or KBR (which, if what i heard is true, is actually a front and not a company apart from the US anyway.... a slush fund that has surely lined many a crooked pols pocket, whether elected or bureaucratic) and Bush has failed to keep up with the sputniking of alternative energy because his vested interest is oil.

and beyond these issues, I agree with maxcrat, who did not call this invasion by name, but it was and remains a violation of the Nuremberg Principles, as far as I understand them. Of course, Gonzalez and Yoo will find a way to do a legal backbend/toe suck to prove no laws apply, but how can a continuation of this mess be a good thing?

the harm has been done. I think the "tipping point" has past and it is now simply a matter of coming to accept this reality, and the horrible consequences, no matter when the US leaves.

Posted by: fauxreal | Jan 28 2007 2:49 utc | 70

i have been haunted all day today by antifa's insightful comment on the stalemate thread about the complicity and cynicism of the henchmen of the corporate media today:

Then, when the lie is soon enough proven a big lie and made public, each listener either has to admit to themselves that they are a fool -- they have to inwardly see themselves as a jackass, standing there with their pants around their ankles and their thumb in their mouth -- or they can become completely cynical about the whole situation, about their profession. "I knew it all along. Of course they lie. It is all a lie, not real at all."

They are thereafter partners in cynical government-by-lying. They subconsciously join the 'winning' side, the side of the ones clever enough to lie with a straight face. They offer no resistance to evil thereafter, no matter the size, shape or price of the lies. The lies can be repeated endlessly after that, and they will treat them as what's real. You can fax them lies over the wires, and they will print them as reality.

They will resist with all their powers any attempt to portray them as jackasses with their pants around their ankles. They can't go there.

and i can't help but wonder how applicable this is to many of the intelligent readers of the media as well. more importantly, it reminds me of how critical it is to act, to engage, to stand your ground, to call bs when you see it. this means continuing to read with skepticism, connecting the dots when it's not done for you, attending the marches, writing the letters to the editor, signing petitions, gathering signatures, lobbying congress critters, making and displaying signs, engaging neighbors and strangers in conversations, forwarding emails, participating in or even initiating acts of civil disobedience, etc., etc. whatever it takes not to give in to the cynicism and the fear and the complacency, somehow you have to find it and do something with it and then this can only grow, because if you don't, what you know in your heart will shrink and shrivel until you don't recognize yourself or the world around you.

sorry to go so meta, and sorry for not being able to phrase this better, but it's been on my mind and had to be said.

Posted by: conchita | Jan 28 2007 3:01 utc | 71

conchita, i don't like it more than you, but some international security arrangement w/ u.s. power at its core is needed to impose order in a world threatened by resource depletion and nuclear proliferation. according to you, darfur, the chaos in pakistan and central asia, wars in cenbtral africa and starvation in the sahel, etc. is "none of our business." this to me is cruel neglect of global responsibilities among western powers.

i think much too often, the hatred of "empire" inspires a love for destruction. i understand this impulse but also recognize it as mere nihilism.

Posted by: slothrop | Jan 28 2007 3:07 utc | 72


i believe what you say is regretably true. it could be different, but isn't. bush has wasted entirely a moment in history in which american power could make a difference in a positive way. and it's probably too late.

Posted by: slothrop | Jan 28 2007 3:10 utc | 73

slothrop, you hav'nt gone through one of those Trotsky -- neocon transformations have you?

Posted by: anna missed or --> | Jan 28 2007 3:18 utc | 74

slothrop, i honestly cannot believe that you, a marxist, asre saying these things. do you seriously believe that the us ptb have any plans to maintain any kind of order which will not benefit their elite? what exactly do you think is their perspective on global responsiblities? well,i suppose you can take comfort in that there will be a place for you to make your contribution to global security. when the bushco/blackwater institute the civilian service or whatever they call it, you must remember to register your skill set - i am certain they will need talented teachers to train the masses. you will feel safe then knowing that the u.s. military and blackwater will be out there providing global security for you and your ilk.

Posted by: conchita | Jan 28 2007 3:18 utc | 75

thanks, anna missed @74, pretty much what i was trying to say with way too many words.

Posted by: conchita | Jan 28 2007 3:19 utc | 76

...and along the lines of this unpredictable militarism, uncle probably linked to Democracy Now! already about blackwater, so apologies if so...I haven't been able to keep up with MoA over the last week.

this documentary is a larger view of this issue: Iraq For Sale

and this one is good for a look back.

Imperialism provoked the crisis that destroyed the Roman republic. After slowly consolidating its power over all of Italy and conquering the Greek colonies on the island of Sicily, the republic extended its conquests to Greece itself, to Carthage in North Africa, and to what is today southern France, Spain, and Asia Minor. By the first century BC, Rome dominated all of Gaul, most of Iberia, the coast of North Africa, Macedonia (including Greece), the Balkans, and large parts of modern Turkey, Syria, and Lebanon. "The republic became enormously rich on the spoils of empire," Everitt writes, "so much so that from 167 BC Roman citizens in Italy no longer paid any personal taxes." The republic also became increasingly self-important and arrogant, believing that its task was to bring civilization to lesser peoples and naming the Mediterranean Mare Nostrum (our sea)

...The problem was that the Roman constitution made administration of so large and diverse an area increasingly difficult and subtly altered the norms and interests that underlay the need for compromise and consensus. There were several aspects to this crisis, but the most important was the transformation of the Roman army into a professional military force and the growth of militarism. During the early and middle years of the republic, the Roman legions were a true citizen army composed of small, conscripted landowners. Differing from the American republic, all citizens between the age of 17 and 46 were liable to be called for military service. One of the more admirable aspects of the Roman system was that only those citizens who possessed a specified amount of property (namely, a horse and some land) could serve, thereby making those who had profited most from the state also responsible for its defense.

...the problem for an empire, it seems, is the need for a standing army, rather than a citizen army created in times of war that threaten a nation on its shores. the move to a private or mercenary military is the most dangerous thing going now, imo, both for the US and the rest of the world.

this is a key issue in ways that the US may be more dangerous now than at any other time. these same people were in New Orleans, iirc. I don't know the outcome of the charge that one of them shot a man in cold blood who posed no threat, but would that really surprise anyone at this stage of the Bush junta's rule?

Posted by: fauxreal | Jan 28 2007 3:25 utc | 77

slothrop @72 - i think much too often, the hatred of "empire" inspires a love for destruction. i understand this impulse but also recognize it as mere nihilism.

okay, now i am getting worried about you. the only destruction that has been discussed on this thread today was how the u.s. has destroyed the country of iraq. exactly where has anyone evinced a love for destruction? you haven't been here much the last week or so, it's beginning to make me wonder where on the internet you have been traveling.

Posted by: conchita | Jan 28 2007 3:42 utc | 78

LMAO!! @Anna Missed #74

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 28 2007 3:44 utc | 79

I've never claimed to be a marxist. i find marx's analysis of capital to be the most precise we have. i'm aware also militarism is conjoined with the rise of the capitalist modern state.

but, as a result of understanding more about this conflict, i am concerned the collapse oif this power will be a disaster. this would not be so, if it were true the world's dispossesed were lead by ho chi minhs and a passion for social justice and resource equity. sadly not.

i don't know what else to add, except a desire to believe as many here do the solution is a sudden collapse of what passes as postwar institutional order. i don't think that will be a friendly world to live in. hope i'm wrong. but i think it far more prudent to sustain a status quo revisable to a limited degree by shifting political reactions to capitalist crisis, rather than wholesale rejection of an ugly order in favor of an unknown radical adjustment led by too many people who read bibles and korans and who use trotsky to justify neoliberal revolution.

truly fucked, we are.

Posted by: slothrop | Jan 28 2007 3:48 utc | 80

anna missed

my views have been consistent here and i have been willing to learn as much as possible and count the people here as a resource i value. but lately i sense enthusiasm for lockstep agreement i cannot abide by.

but i've also learned enough if i return insults, which is a pasttime i sometimes enjoy, i will be banned by the man after i hurt your feelings. geez. wouldn't want to do that.

Posted by: slothrop | Jan 28 2007 3:59 utc | 81

Who rules the planet? Who is ordained, chosen, destined, selected to rule the world? Who was left holding the bag with a World Policeman Badge in it? Who ran for Planetary Sheriff, and won the vote?

Nobody. No one.

The million daily interactions between 193 sovereign nation states has its own natural default, which is to look out for yourself, your friends, and your allies -- and to watch out for your enemies. Things work themselves out via myriad complex interactions in this multi-polar world, and we all see what comes of it.

This is known as the Pollyanna Perspective. They teach it at the elementary school level, and they pretend to observe it at the UN and other public forums.

The facts on the ground, here on Earth, are more in line with Mao's dictum that, "All political power stems from the barrel of a gun."

This world is ruled by violence.

And what brings out the guns? What sparks fighting between nation states? Historically, factually, it's always elbows. Jockeying for positions of economic advantage. The battle to not lose economic strength. Or, to get some that's there for the taking. That's irresistible.

"In the land of milk and honey, the cows do not give their milk, and the bees do not surrender their honey. Of course, if you are wily, strong, and ruthless it is yours for the taking."

Economics is described as the science that studies choices. Options. Politics is the carrying out of policies stemming from economic calculations and choices made. War is an extension of politics; indeed it is the core of politics, which is brute force.

Nation wars upon nation when they choose to use force to gain, or maintain, economic leverage either against that nation, or in the community of nations in general. Historically, this means nations attack their immediate economic rivals almost invariably. It's the logical place to use force.

Nations harvest lesser nations the way a vintner gathers in the grapes of autumn.

The American war on Syriana (the swath of oily nations between the Mediterranean and Pakistan), is to maintain the Oil Dollar System which allows America to spend twice as much as would be possible otherwise. It allows America to pretend to Planetary Officer; it allows America to vow death and destruction unto its every economic rival now and forever.

There is no interest on the American side in the political, ethnic, religious, tribal or any other aspect of these nations. Their very borders are fungible to these American nation builders. The American interest in entirely geological -- the oil and natural gas underneath Syriana needs to be extracted and sold under American terms, or America loses economic, political and military power. That is inconceivable to the economic elites of the United States.

Whatever nation states, fiefdoms, kingdoms, dictatorships, failed states, protectorates or other novel political regimes need to be set up across this region will be set up, maintained, and dissolved entirely to convenience the American elites, when and as needed, over the coming several decades.

When the petro-resources are gone, America will leave the region, taking along every pretense of spreading democracy or liberty or civilization or religion or prosperity. Pollyanna will go home when the warriors do. The Bush Doctrine of Universal Freedom Spreadery is only a facade for force. Force is only in play to obtain market domination of the oil resources waiting in the ground.

If anyone on our warring planet conceives that the presence or absence of Americans in Iraq is negotiable by Pollyanna standards, they are living a delusion. They are waving flowers at the barel of a gun. If they think Iraq is the end of the war on Syriana -- even if Iraq descends into full scale civil war and mayhem -- they are dreaming. If they think America is ever leaving that region, militarily, while there is oil in the ground they are as mad as hatters.

Either Syriana falls to the Americans, or America falls.

That is the only way out of where we are going.

Posted by: Antifa | Jan 28 2007 4:02 utc | 82


yes. we do not live in a multipolar world. well done.

Posted by: slothrop | Jan 28 2007 4:12 utc | 83

slothrop @ -but i've also learned enough if i return insults, which is a pasttime i sometimes enjoy, i will be banned by the man after i hurt your feelings. geez. wouldn't want to do that.

just wondering, why even put bernhard in a position like that? afaik, there are no real rules here and it seems a modicum of mutual respect goes a long way.

Posted by: conchita | Jan 28 2007 4:15 utc | 84

the hegemon, complicated as it is by globalization, delimits the scope of multilateralism. but as a matter of historical fact, such centrally organized international institutions have been effective in improving the lives of people. it's not imposible.

Posted by: slothrop | Jan 28 2007 4:20 utc | 85

the reason many trots could switch so quickly to neoconservativism is b/c, for them, it's basically the same position - just a change in perspective as to where the real power lay. at least that's how it looks.

Posted by: b real | Jan 28 2007 4:24 utc | 86

"There are three kinds of people in this world. Those who can count, and those who cannot."

Those who imagine that we do not live in a multi-polar world are among those who cannot count.

There are 192 nations with no abiding interest whatsoever in allowing America to actually succeed in its mad plans for world domination.

America will win Syriana or fall.

America will not win Syriana.

Do the math.

Posted by: Antifa | Jan 28 2007 4:28 utc | 87

slothrop- what you say in comments 72 and 73 seem to be something of a contradiction.

...and I don't think nihilism is a part of recognizing the dangers of empire for the U.S. rather, failing to acknowledge the seeds of its own destruction lie in that path make empire for the US a tragedy for those who would like to have a hope that people will not devolve to totalitarianism yet again.

and as far as the issue of nuclear proliferation goes, the US has been the INSTIGATOR not the problem-solver for the latest escalations. surely you know this. this current administration has upped the ante on nuclear weapons simply by their "axis of evil" rhetoric combined with the Bush junta's actions toward Iraq vs N. Korea.

N. Korea is arguably a bigger issue than Iran as far as nuclear weapons go...and the following shows just how inept this administration is, or how much they are bent on creating hell on earth:

At the center of the nonproliferation regime is the 1970 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). What most Americans don’t know is that this treaty is based upon an important tradeoff. The nonnuclear weapons states agree not to develop or acquire nuclear weapons, and the nuclear weapons states agree to engage in good faith negotiations for nuclear disarmament.

Every five years, the parties to this treaty, now 188 countries, meet at the United Nations to review progress. At the 2000 Review Conference, the parties agreed by consensus to 13 practical steps for nuclear disarmament. Unfortunately, the nuclear weapons states, and particularly the United States, seem to have made virtually zero progress in the past five years. Despite its pledges to do otherwise, the United States has failed to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty; opposed a verifiable fissile material cutoff treaty; substituted the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT), which is fully reversible, for the START treaties; scrapped the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, opening the door for deployment of missile defenses and moves toward placing weapons in outer space; kept nuclear weapons at the center of its security policies, including research to create new nuclear weapons; and demonstrated no political will toward the elimination of its nuclear arsenal.

The only small glimmer of hope in U.S. nuclear policy was Congress’ cutting the funding requested by the administration in the 2005 budget for “bunker buster” and low-yield nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, the administration is already back seeking the inclusion of this research in the 2006 and 2007 budgets.

and, again, the issue of resource depletion is also an issue of the failure of the current US powers to care more about future security (both national and if they were different in most eyes) than about profits and a dogmatic, cult-like adherence to the myth of a "free market" in the US when obviously monopolies are the issue in terms of military/energy industries.

the United States govt has failed to create a vision for the future that does not rely on exploiting and coercing others. why can't these so-called leaders lead as though their children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren will inherit the good or bad decisions they make? why have they failed to appeal to this affliative impulse in order to implement a future that isn't a feudal globalism (a feudalism that includes the US middle class as serfs as their position declines.)

part of the reason for this failure is the blindness inherent in current power structures that include the idea of the US as an importer, whether by force of war or force of labor exploitation. nuclear non-proliferation requires cooperation among nations and international intelligence entities that can infiltrate groups that would seek to use nuclear weapons.

the US has to offer something other than bigger bombs in order to help stabilize the world, in other words, AND the right wing has consistently used war and the threat of war as a way to acquire and keep power. so, the idea that we "must" be in command is, to me, a failure to have a vision, too.

as far as darfur, etc. Samantha Power makes a powerful argument for intervention in A Problem From Hell. However, when did any nation ever intervene in others' conflicts unless they thought it was in their immediate interests to do so?

I know it sounds ridiculous, but if the world's peacekeeping troops, etc. were used to guard schools that allowed females to get an education, the pay off would be a more peaceful and democratic world. (.pdf) at least that's what the trend has been in the recent past...Russia and central Europe, in Latin America...and these women aren't necessarily of one mind, and their positions in democracies don't compose a monolithic pov. Asia has also seen the impact of females (.pdf)

what happens with war/militarism, however, is that women overall consistently find their positions weakened.

you have to be able to imagine other options...a world which isn't male-centered/defined, war-centric to meet needs, but instead consciously decides to use cooperation -- based upon a recognition of the benefit to oneself, because obviously the benefit to others will not motivate anyone on issues of security.

this may be seen as a non-weaponary version of mutually-assured destruction creating a standoff... other solutions exist. mutually-assured existence sounds better to me.

Posted by: fauxreal | Jan 28 2007 4:40 utc | 88

antifa et al, there is an excellent diary on dkos by ToqueDeville about Jim Webb's rebuttal to the sotu and the coverage of it in the corporate media. i hope you do not mind but based on your response when i have wanted to quote you in the past, i quoted your comment on stalemate in the comments on ToqueDeville's diary. in the diary, ToqueDeville more or less characterizes webb's speech as a step towards class warfare and then looks at the corporate media response to it, concluding:

Webb's speech should have spurred a lively discussion on the issues he raised. But instead is was effectively blacked out. So determined to sweep him under the rug, our Wall Street press even forfeited, to a large extent, the opportunity to champion his forceful and resounding opposition to George Bush's Iraq policy - which is something Wall Street, for the most part, does support.

So this is the situation we find ourselves in in 2007 America: a handful of Wall Street corporocrats, who have so infiltrated our mass media that they can almost make a speech broadcast live to millions of Americans disappear.

How could they do this you may ask? Is it a grand conspiracy? No. They do it with a wink and a nod. Rule number one in becoming a TV personality is you never bite the hand that feeds. And the same goes at the Post, the Times and all the main news outlets.

Everyone knows the game and everyone who values their careers plays along. But Jim Webb, by breaking the rules for one evening, gave us a glimpse in the dugout. A look behind the curtain if you will. That look on Anderson Cooper's face, as they cut back to him following the speech, reminded me of a scene from The Truman Show when Truman has figured out that his whole world is a facade. That illumination is what Jim Webb gave us Tuesday night. An opportunity to see, with blinding clarity, the facade that is the Wall Street owned, corporate controlled, national media.

well written and thought provoking like antifa's comment on stalemate, i cannot recommend this diary more.

Posted by: conchita | Jan 28 2007 4:58 utc | 89

@ Antifa #87

Per your parrhesia. Your house made of dawn?

So, America will last forever will fall?

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 28 2007 5:04 utc | 90

again, slothrop, at 83- your statement (beyond antifa noting others' interests and votes) isn't supported by Todd's analysis.

power never achieves stasis, does it...even in a so-called uni-polar world, which we see and are living through at this moment. Russia is using its power as an energy supplier to achieve goals, as much as the US is using military power to try to control oil in the middle east. (the us version seems less efficient, doesn't it?) how much oil is Iraq producing/exporting now anyway?

as far as uniformity of opinion on moa- that's always been one part of this or any other forum. The "USuk" labelers often cannot abide an opinion that does not position the US as the sole source of evil in this world. Anger doesn't make for good analysis, however, imo. And in terms of rhetoric, it only preaches to the choir.

personal attacks, however, aren't the same as looking at issues. those of us evil enough to have been born in the US are not united in opinions either, right?

Antifa- Mao is surely rolling in his grave as he sees oligarchic China exert power by the barrel of exported goods. maybe it's those toy plastic guns that are available in WalMart?

Posted by: fauxreal | Jan 28 2007 5:08 utc | 91

Not that the following essay is outstanding by any stretch of the imagination, but it may help in the current discussion on this Open Thread.

Is Government Organic or Artificial? – Lew Rockwell

…the state is unstable without an ideology to back it up, and convince people that it is necessary. But ideology is not all it needs. It must also put together a matrix of interest-group privilege, as a means of placating the opposition.”

Interesting thoughts on what constitutes a viable government/state. Such a hierarchal situation of privilege is a somewhat depressing view on the human condition as to what is necessary for a viable state. Although this is a realistic definition, I strongly object to Mr. Rockwell using the word “must” in the last sentence on the above quote. As a general rule, I would state that such human conditions are sufficient but certainly not necessary for a stable government; that is, in a more perfect union, those in high levels of government would not necessarily be dominate members of a privileged power group or leeches of people who exist in some sort of economic hierarchy.

Yet such realism does seem to pertain to the current Iraqi situation. As Lew Rockwell continues:
…the very possibility of a new central state is precisely what has set off the bloodshed. It is not the case that the groups in Iraq cannot get along. What they cannot do is get along under a central state ruled by some other group. This is the basis of the bloodshed.”

And of course, considering “some other group” is the uninvited U.S. military, there can be no doubt that a stable Iraq is not even a possibility while under U.S. occupation.
As noted in my post “Stalemate”, sorely missing from either State of the Union speeches were honest assessments of Iraq’s future.

Lew Rockwell continues:
The US should abandon Baghdad. It should, in effect, allow the country to "fall apart" in the same way that Gorbachev let his empire dissolve. Iraq would split into many states, some of them noncontiguous. Governing units of all shapes and sizes would appear. The main reason for the ghastly killing – fear of the rule by one group over another – would vanish. Here is the highest hope for peace in Iraq.

Rockwell’s assessment for an Iraqi future may not be incorrect. I definitely agree that the U.S. should leave Baghdad, but not only Baghdad, but all of Iraq and all of the Middle East unless at an invitation of a true democratic nation. Of course, such invitations would never happen, except perhaps in extreme emergencies of natural disasters or defensive alliances to assist after a foreign act of war.

However, I strongly disagree with Lew Rockwell’s concluding statement:
Bush was wrong, but in a way that is usually not understood. His mistake was not in overthrowing the state but in hoping to create and control a new one.

Just how self-righteous and arrogant can Rockwell be? It cannot be emphasized enough how wrong Bush was to overthrow the state of Iraq.Please let Rockwell explain exactly why having U.S. oil interests colluding with an elite ruling Bath Party (after this “imagined” successful overthrow) justifies the blood of innocent Iraqis via an illegal war and occupation. This was an immoral war of choice, preceded by immoral sanctions upon the Iraqi people. Annie’s statement in post 50 was very clear and is similar to what I said years ago before the first invasion, “IT IS NONE OF OUR GOD DAMNED BUSINESS”

Again, I ask, where is America’s soul?

Posted by: Rick | Jan 28 2007 5:25 utc | 92

Slight clarification: And of course, considering “some other group” is the uninvited U.S. military
Probably should say something like: “some other group” is controlled/maintained/or supported by the uninvited U.S. military...

Also: ..."unless at an invitation of a true democratic nation", probably should add some clarification, i.e. whether democratic nation or not, if people are in need and help is requested, I have no qualms with U.S. assisting THE PEOPLE.

Posted by: Rick | Jan 28 2007 5:49 utc | 93

rick- rockwell's article seems to have been written after a coma? ...sort of like the mother in "Goodbye Lenin" who fell into a coma before the fall of the Berlin wall and woke afterward...

because Rockwell seems to have forgotten that the Bush League in fact planned to install Chalabi as their figurehead, ala the Shah, et al. Chalabi's guys were used to stage one of the destructions of a Saddam statue - a moment that was one of the chief propaganda tools at that point in time in the american media.

Bremer, in turn, made his first priority the privitization of Iraqi industry....and he was called in to replace Garner when Garner wanted early Iraqi elections and opposed privitization of said he lasted one month... Rockwell must have still been in that coma then, too.

in addition, Rockwell seems to have forgotten that the US is a signatory to the Nuremberg Principles...and helped to write them, and they include these provisions:

Principle VI

The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under international law:

(a) Crimes against peace:
(i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;
(ii) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i).

(b) War crimes:
Violations of the laws or customs of war include, but are not limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation to slave-labour or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory, murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war, of persons on the seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity.

(c) Crimes against humanity:
Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation and other inhuman acts done against any civilian population, or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds, when such acts are done or such persecutions are carried on in execution of or in connexion with any crime against peace or any war crime.

Principle VII

Complicity in the commission of a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity as set forth in Principle VI is a crime under international law.

Rockwell's position on most issues seems to be informed by a sort of infatuation with Ayn Rand and her heroic bullshitism that most people get over by their senior year in high school... catlady has some interesting background on objectivism. But, Rockwell's remarks are perfectly in keeping with a libertarian* view of govt and a willfully naive view of the motherfuckers of the Bush junta.

*libertarian as a view of govt, and not in the common definition of libertarian as a republican who inhaled.

Posted by: fauxreal | Jan 28 2007 6:28 utc | 94


You are totally correct. Rockwell definetly "mothers" his idea of a Libertarian. It is obvious how it clouds his judgement. Hopefully, this can serve as an example for all of us not to "mother" any political ideology or persuasion as a substitute for moral principles and human dignity.

Posted by: Rick | Jan 28 2007 7:02 utc | 95


No argument again, just further comments - My guess is the Bush/Cheney people could care less who/what was/is installed as the regime in Iraq - just so they will play ball by the U.S. rules (i.e. oil/corporatism). Same thing in all the U.S. claimed spheres of influence. Nothing new under the sun.

It was oh so obvious to me that the Saddam Statue falling in Baghdad was a fake show. There were no panoramic scenes of the crowd, just short shots at small groups of people. The whole scene haunts me to this day - - it was/is scary the way the bluff was pulled off and accepted by media and U.S. public.

Posted by: Rick | Jan 28 2007 7:26 utc | 96

Where a community has embarked upon organized lying on principle, and not only with respect to particulars, can truthfulness as such, unsupported by the distorting forces of power and opinion, become a political factor of the first order. Where everybody lies about everything of importance the truthteller, whether he knows it or not, has begun to act.
~Hannah Arendt, ‘Truth and Politics’

A Question of Two Truths?* (pdf)

Michel Foucault’s last works tell us that parrhesia is the act of fearlessly speaking the truth.To engage in parrhesia is never, however, a ‘neutral’ act. Parrhesia simultaneously incorporates aesthetic and ethical
dimensions. The parrhesiast is someone whose fidelity to the truth
becomes the pivot of a process of self-transformation.[For themselves and others, I might add].

Looking for God’s eye I found only a socket—
Huge, pitch dark, and bottomless. Such night
Seethes there it seeps into this world, deepening always;

And around this pit arches a strange rainbow,
The sill of Old Chaos. The void is a mere shadow
Of that vortex devouring our worlds and days!

Best we submit, give up our will, make ourselves tasty, salt ourselves for fates ravenousness hunger. The Eye of Brahma grooms us with appetition.

rgiap's abyss speaks of looking back, but what does a rabbit see while being devoured by the white wolf...

Does a mango feel pride at the lips of Insatiable greed?

I remember the night one of my fathers died, more vividly than kissing my mothers corpse. And to this day still feel a twinge of guilt, because I didn't feel anything the night I pressed my lips to her cold lifeless cheek. I was not there when my mother died but arrived soon after. Rationally, I know looking back, it was because I was in shock.

He died of brain cancer in a make of weeks. One sky blue day at the doctor, gone two weeks later. Surprising how fast we submit. But etched in my soul is the night he died. So drugged on morphine he was catatonic. His body fuctions were slowly shutting down, I massaged his feet. He was a good man, a hard working man. He was an ink setter for a printing company who worked 70/80 hours a week just to make ends meet. I suspect his company killed him. Poisoned him, as they had others, but alas, that is a different story.

All he could manage to do on his off hours--which were few-- was sit in front of the box, the tit. That became his world, his world view, all he could manage tired and torn down as his was, from working so much for shit pay; his world became small. Sad, but hardly unexpected, in todays times. But I digress, the night before he died I had had a heated scene, an exchange with his pretentious doctor. I had not known that the man was terminal. Doctor X had stopped feeding him two or three days before I got into town, however, Doctor X didn't bother to tell the family that pop was a gonner and didn't have the need?

When I found out he had not been fed, even intravenously, I went into a rage! Not knowing AMA protocal for a terminal human. Within what seemed like hours afterwards, but was only minutes, they fed him at my request, more like demand. I didn't have the wherewithal at the time to understand that the tube in his arm wasn't food, but high doses of drip morphine. I was completely aghast, in my stupor all I could think was that this man was dying and they were denying him at least the presious gift of food, life afirming water; in my mind not only was he doped beyond the pail, I kept thinking, what if underneath, somewhere that we don't know about yet, or talk about, what if he knew he was dying and more, if he would rather not be drugged.

Anyone who has gone through these kinds of life/death ordeals knows of the crazy thoughts that goes through ones mind. I kept thinking , he can't talk, he is to drugged to talk, what if he wants to talk, to communicate in some way, one last time. Visions of what it must be like being trapped or buried alive ran through my head. Does he feel like that? Would he rather go not in a drugged induced state? As I said above, I massaged his feet, I didn't know what else to do.

At some point, as time semed to sit still, though I continued to rub his feet, It occured to me to pinch the inner arch of his right foot, there was a reaction, he could feel it! I gripped it harder, not out of meanness, or cruelty, but , well, I don't really know why, it was like the proverbial pinching oneself to see if your real.. to see if your dreaming this... why was I PINCHING HIM AND NOT MYSELF? What if he wants to talk, but can't, trapped under man's opium. The other synthetic God. I remembered writing a paper in school about the opium wars, the trade wars, the building and financing of Princeton, the West tends to forget the atrocities and pian of death it has done to other countries, the East never does...

"quinine for malaria, hartshorn for snkebites...and opium and whiskey for everything else." (Haun 1996)

is this all we can do, bake (Chemo-thearpy) and dope them? Is this our medical practice? I sthis how far humanity has advanced?

Can he recognize me? Does he know where he is at? Does he know he's dying? what if, what if... it was maddening. But the thing, that got me, the thing that will forever be imprinted on my soul, was looking up and realizing that his lips were dry, it dawned on me in that way that snaps you out of one trance and into the liminal state before another, he can't even drink. O' what cruelity of death, and of life, I thought. I moved to his side, thinking, how many days, hours, minutes has he lain here without water. His parched lips, were magnified in my reeling mind. My mother, walked in about that time, turning, I asked, "mother, how how has it been since he's had a drink"? She replied, 'son he can't drink'. I burst into tears.

It was like being hit with a hammer in the face. Goddamn, Goddamn you God! I moved to his side table there was water there, it was within reach, what if he wanted water but couldn't reach it. My mind was on fire, I was screaming inside my head, what if he's thirsty? What if he's thirsty, what if he's ... and can't even reach for water, thoughts tumbling upon other unfinished thoughts, to be that close to water and not be able to even drink! It was beside his head! On the table beside his head. Imagine not even being able to... the things we take for granted.

I looked back at his dry cracked and parched lips, there was spittle in the corners of his mouth, but the rest of his lips were white and chalky. I picked up his water cup, there was a dabber sponge on a stick in it, I slowly and gently put it to his lips, tears flowing from my eyes, this man, this man was 6'6, a hugh bear of a man, he moaned a sound like a coo of a baby, an infant, an silient
orgasism and then a sigh. He suckeled on the dabber stick sponge like it was the last thing he would ever do. It was. I cried for hours and days, the waves of that night washed over me again and again, deeper it went each time, in the days afterward and even as I write this, it comes, it envelops me like the air I still breath. It is painful, yet I am grateful for it.

And if the great agora (αγορά)does fall another will take hir place and another... such is the world.

I have said before, "AMERICA FEELS LIKE IT'S UNRAVELING..." Because it is. To see it, --It seems-- one must look back at it. It seems one must look (read: see) with the eyes of an MC Escher; this impossible chessboard. It is being unraveled. A POLARISATION method of the grand shellgame. "Suicidally beautiful."

Many can't see, most will not even look, And here we are, with one and a half political parties dividing up the
spoils, pushing the empire ever outwards, apologizing for constant collateral damage, justifying jail and worse for dissenters, claiming citizenship itself is a revocable privilege of good behavior. We are watching the American sun come up on Oskar's view.

Through Oskar's eyes, there could be no illusion of salvaging or steering
the situation in certain directions. Just the certainty of waiting it out,
getting through the day, week and month. Acting no longer as a participating citizen of a state or society but as a roving soul seeking only to stay on its feet until the storm passed, until the madness burned

A view he did not choose, or think up, or convince himself to hold. It came
to him when he opened his eyes. It was there one morning.

America can no more back down from conquering the Middle East than give up
the American way of life, the American seat atop the human pile. This madness of our nation will continue to burn until it burns out. No amount of discussion will derail it. The world is being taken step by step into total war, by America.

We are all Oskar now.

*Us or them. Our house made of dawn.

[This comment has been lifted to its own thread - please respond here - b.]

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 28 2007 9:04 utc | 97

General Odom - Text of testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, 18 January 2007:

Strategic Errors of Monumental Proportions - What Can Be Done in Iraq?

Several critics of the administration show an appreciation of the requirement to regain our allies and others' support, but they do not recognize that withdrawal of US forces from Iraq is the sine qua non for achieving their cooperation. It will be forthcoming once that withdrawal begins and looks irreversible. They will then realize that they can no longer sit on the sidelines. The aftermath will be worse for them than for the United States, and they know that without US participation and leadership, they alone cannot restore regional stability. Until we understand this critical point, we cannot design a strategy that can achieve what we can legitimately call a victory.

Any new strategy that does realistically promise to achieve regional stability at a cost we can prudently bear, and does not regain the confidence and support of our allies, is doomed to failure. To date, I have seen no awareness that any political leader in this country has gone beyond tactical proposals to offer a different strategic approach to limiting the damage in a war that is turning out to be the greatest strategic disaster in our history.

Posted by: b | Jan 28 2007 10:17 utc | 98

Your regular Sunday dose of Frank Rich (liberated version): Hillary Clinton’s Mission Unaccomplished

As we’ve been much reminded, the most recent presidents to face Congress in such low estate were Harry Truman in 1952 and Richard Nixon in 1974, both in the last ebbs of their administrations, both mired in unpopular wars that their successors would soon end, and both eager to change the subject just as Mr. Bush did. In his ’52 State of the Union address, Truman vowed “to bring the cost of modern medical care within the reach of all the people” while Nixon, 22 years later, promised “a new system that makes high-quality health care available to every American.” Not to be outdone, Mr. Bush offered a dead-on-arrival proposal that “all our citizens have affordable and available health care.” The empty promise of a free intravenous lunch, it seems, is the last refuge of desperate war presidents.
Though he’s not a candidate for national office, Mr. Webb’s nine-minute Democratic response not only upstaged the president but also, in an unintended political drive-by shooting, gave Mrs. Clinton a more pointed State of the Union “contrast” than she had bargained for.
Mrs. Clinton cannot rewrite her own history on Iraq to match Mr. Obama’s early opposition to the war, or Mr. Webb’s. She was not prescient enough to see, as Mr. Webb wrote in The Washington Post back in September 2002, that “unilateral wars designed to bring about regime change and a long-term occupation should be undertaken only when a nation’s existence is clearly at stake.” But she’s hardly alone in this failing, and the point now is not that she mimic John Edwards with a prostrate apology for her vote to authorize the war.
Compounding this problem for Mrs. Clinton is that the theatrics of her fledgling campaign are already echoing the content: they are so overscripted and focus-group bland that they underline rather than combat the perennial criticism that she is a cautious triangulator too willing to trim convictions for political gain.
The issue raised by the tragedy of Iraq is not who’s on the left or the right, but who is in front and who is behind. Mrs. Clinton has always been a follower of public opinion on the war, not a leader. Now events are outrunning her.
Should Mrs. Clinton actually seek unfiltered exposure to voters, she will learn that they are anxiously waiting to see just who in Washington is brave enough to act.

Posted by: b | Jan 28 2007 10:43 utc | 99


Mortar attack on Baghdad girls school kills five

Five female pupils were killed in a mortar strike on a secondary school in the predominantly Sunni Adil district of western Baghdad on Sunday, the school's principal told Reuters.

Principal Fawziya Swadi said two mortars landed in the schoolyard where many pupils were gathered. The blasts blew in classroom windows, spraying pupils with glass shards that accounted for some injuries. She said 20 people were wounded.

Police confirmed the attack, one of many tit-for-tat mortar strikes in Sunni and Shi'ite areas of the capital every day.

Posted by: b | Jan 28 2007 10:59 utc | 100

next page »

The comments to this entry are closed.