Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 01, 2007

Some News & Links on Iranq

Some loosely connected news and links on Iranq:

Who is fighting the U.S. in Iraq?

Nobody really knows I guess - the recent fight near Najaf is at least open to interpretation. According to the Boston Globe the U.S. has identified some 28 militia groups of various motives and background.

Is the group that fought in Najaf one of them? We do not know and it may be a save assumption that the list is incomplete.

As background Pat Lang's primer on Islam helps to understand how easy such groups form within the wide range of Islamic beliefs.

Ed Herriman says US troops will stay in Iraq, and the war will get worse. That sounds like  a safe assumption. Patrick Cockburn reports how Iraqis abandon their homes in Middle East's new refugee exodus. If you have a donation list you may want to add the UNHCR to it to help a bit.

LAT takes a look at Kirkuk. There is supposed to be a referendum at the end of the year about Kirkuk being part of the Kurdish province or not. Either that referendum takes place and the city explodes over it, or the referendum will not be held and the city will explode - nice choice.

Ex-neocon Francis Fukayama looks at his former friends and doesn't like what he sees: The neocons have learned nothing from five years of catastrophe. But to them it is not a catastrophy. They have learned that they are capable of stiring the cauldron and they want to stir it more. The U.S. staying in Iraq is a precondition for that and the current fights in Washington are all about that.

So on to the "n" in Iranq. UK foreign minister Hague calls for tough Iran sanctions. The NYT editors warn on (sort of) escalation but they start with this baseless stuff:

We have no doubt about Iran’s malign intent ...

Of course they had no doubt about WMD in Iraq either ...

There are usually three accusations towards Iran: The nuclear ambitions, general meddling in Iraq and material support for the insurgent groups.

But Nuclear plans in chaos as Iran leader flounders and Fears of Iran Meddling in Southern Iraq Appear Overblown show that both accusations are simply hot air. As for insurgence group support USA Today this yesterday: U.S. blames Iran for new bombs in Iraq

A sophisticated type of roadside bomb that U.S. officials have linked to Iran has been used increasingly against U.S. troops in Iraq. The device is called an explosively formed projectile (EFP).

They cite three cases of EFP use against U.S. troops. Two in Baghdad and one in Baqubah. Now that is a problem. In Baghdad the U.S. is fighting Sunnis in Haifa Street and Baqubah is a Sunni city. Why would Iran support a Sunni insurgency?

And if you want to know how to build a shaped-charge EFP, why not check out hundreds of new ideas in the U.S. patents database instead of relying on third grade Iranian know-how. But dear insurgent - no patent infringements please.

All explanations for Iran evilness are terribly overblown and nobody would trust any U.S. government report about them anyhow. That is why the U.S. delays report on Iranian role in Iraq

U.S. military and embassy officials in Baghdad have been trying to build a case with a variety of evidence, according to officials.

But officials involved in interagency meetings on the issue in Washington, including some in the State Department and intelligence agencies, believe that some of the material overstates murky evidence and casts a negative light on Iranians who may not be guilty.

But it is budget time in the Pentagon and everybody wants to bomb and to prove their usefulness. So LAT says the Air Force's role in Iraq could grow, but the piece is more marketing than serious reporting. Unfortunately for the Air Force and its suppliers, jets are inefficient against insurgencies. But some find better uses:

Thomas G. McInerney, a retired Air Force lieutenant general who advocates military strikes in Iran, said U.S. planes along the border could be better used to keep bomb-making materials out of Iraq.

"We know they are doing this. Why do we accept it?" McInerney said. "For every [improvised explosive device] that goes off in Iraq, a bomb should go off in Iran."

McInerney is a neocon and a weapon producer lobbyist.

General McInerney is a member of the Board of Directors of Alloy Surfaces Company, Kilgore Flares Co, Nortel Government Solutions Inc. Pan American International Academy (Flight Simulators), Agusta Westland NA, and Crescent Partnerships.

McInerney simply profits from war and more war. LAT interviewed a pusher about the dangers of Heroin consumption. No danger at all he says. He said it before:

[T]his will be the most massive precision air campaign in history, achieving rapid dominance in the first 72 hours of combat. . . . [A]ll the Iraqi military forces will be told through the opposition forces in our information operations campaign that they have two choices: either help us change regime leadership and build the democracy, or be destroyed.

Rapid dominance - indeed ...

Posted by b on February 1, 2007 at 01:29 PM | Permalink

Comments

yuk, sorry for not previewing

b , IRANQ? good one

Posted by: annie | Feb 1, 2007 1:50:16 PM | 2

Interesting idea - possible: (scroll down)
Wag-The-Dog Iran Attack Worries Democrats

The US News Political Bulletin has learned Democrats on Capitol Hill are increasingly concerned that President Bush will order air strikes against targets in Iran in the next few months or even weeks. They cite as evidence the tough warnings from senior Administration officials, including the Commander in Chief, that Iranian help for insurgents in Iraq is leading to the deaths of US troops and Iraqi civilians. Democratic insiders tell the Political Bulletin that they suspect Bush will order the bombing of Iranian supply routes, camps, training facilities, and other sites that Administration officials say contribute to American losses in Iraq. Under this scenario, Bush would not invade Iran with ground forces or zero in on Iranian nuclear facilities. But under the limited-bombing scenario, Bush could ask for a congressional vote of support, Democratic insiders predict, which many Democrats would feel obliged to endorse or risk looking like they weren't supportive of the troops. Bombing Iran would also take attention away from the troubled situation in Iraq and cause a rally-round-the-president reaction among Americans, at least for a while. But Democrats add that an attack on Iran would probably be condemned around the world and would precipitate an Iranian response that could dramatically worsen Mideast turmoil and have unforeseen consequences that could be extremely damaging to the United States.

Posted by: b | Feb 1, 2007 2:05:45 PM | 3

hard to make this stuff up

“The great supreme clerics had issued fatwas on the fate of anyone who claims to be the Mahdi. They have also given a clear description of the promised Imam Al-Mahdi and the circumstances of his appearance. This imposter had apparently studied these descriptions for years to succeed in his impersonation. Dhiaa’ Abdul Zahra Al-Gar’awi was a graduate of the Fine Arts College and not a descendant of the Prophet’s household (peace be upon them).

Regarding documents discovered at the camp, Abu Gilel said that they found British and Arab passports and documents, proving the involvement of “a certain neighboring Arab country.” A barber was brought from the UK to adorn the leader of the armed group so that he would look close to Imam Mahdi, according to his descriptions in Shia tradition. “We also found musical CDs that confirmed for us that he is a graduate of Fine Arts, specifically Theater, because he perfected the impersonation and was able to deceive his followers,” Abu Gilel said.

Posted by: annie | Feb 1, 2007 2:06:40 PM | 4

Vanity Fair (and even Norquist is saying something sensible):
From the Wonderful Folks Who Brought You Iraq
The same neocon ideologues behind the Iraq war have been using the same tactics—alliances with shady exiles, dubious intelligence on W.M.D.—to push for the bombing of Iran. As President Bush ups the pressure on Tehran, is he planning to double his Middle East bet?

"Everything the advocates of war said would happen hasn't happened," says the president of Americans for Tax Reform, Grover Norquist, an influential conservative who backed the Iraq invasion. "And all the things the critics said would happen have happened. [The president's neoconservative advisers] are effectively saying, 'Invade Iran. Then everyone will see how smart we are.' But after you've lost x number of times at the roulette wheel, do you double-down?"
...
Nevertheless, neoconservatives still advocate continuing on the path Netanyahu staked out in his speech and taking the fight to Iran. As they see it, the Iraqi debacle is not the product of their failed policies. Rather, it is the result of America's failure to think big. "It's a mess, isn't it?" says Meyrav Wurmser, who now serves as director of the Center for Middle East Policy at the Hudson Institute. "My argument has always been that this war is senseless if you don't give it a regional context."
...
Reza Pahlavi, the son of the late Shah, has been shopped around Washington as a prospective leader of Iran. And Farid Ghadry, a Syrian exile in Virginia who founded the Reform Party of Syria, is the neocon favorite to rule Syria. Ghadry has an unusual résumé for a Syrian—he's a member of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the right-wing pro-Israel lobbying group—and he has endured so many comparisons to the disgraced leader of the I.N.C. that he once sent out a mass e-mail headlined, "I am not Ahmad Chalabi."

Nevertheless, according to a report in The American Prospect, Meyrav Wurmser last year introduced Ghadry to key administration figures, including the vice president's daughter Elizabeth Cheney, who— as principal deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs and coordinator for broader Middle East and North Africa initiatives—plays a key role in the Bush administration's policy in the region
...
In hopes of avoiding that, the Iraq Study Group advised Bush to open direct talks with Iran. Members of both parties in Congress have publicly given similar advice, as have former secretary of state Colin Powell and Robert Gates, the new secretary of defense. Still, it would be naïve to think that either a wall of opposition or the possibility of dire consequences would necessarily deter this president. Even before his January 10 speech, many inside the military had concluded that the decision to bomb Iran has already been made. "Bush's 'redline' for going to war is Iran having the knowledge to produce nuclear weapons—which is probably what they already have now," says Sam Gardiner, a retired air-force colonel who specializes in staging war games on the Middle East. "The president first said [that was his redline] in December 2005, and he has repeated it four times since then."
...
Adds former C.I.A. officer Philip Giraldi, "I've heard from sources at the Pentagon that their impression is that the White House has made a decision that war is going to happen."

According to Sam Gardiner, the most telling sign that a decision to bomb has already been made was the October deployment order of minesweepers to the Persian Gulf, presumably to counter any attempt by Iran to blockade the Strait of Hormuz. "These have to be towed to the Gulf," Gardiner explains. "They are really small ships, the size of cabin cruisers, made of fiberglass and wood. And towing them to the Gulf can take three to four weeks."
...
Bush has directed StratCom to draw up plans for a massive strike against Iran, at a time when CentCom has had its hands full overseeing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. "Shifting to StratCom indicates that they are talking about a really punishing air-force and naval air attack [on Iran]," says Lang.

Moreover, he continues, Bush can count on the military to carry out such a mission even without congressional authorization. "If they write a plan like that and the president issues an execute order, the forces will execute it. He's got the power to do that as commander-in-chief. We set that up during the Cold War. It may, after the fact, be considered illegal, or an impeachable offense, but if he orders them to do it, they will do it."
...
According to Gardiner, by the end of February the United States will have enough forces in place to mount an assault on Iran. That, in the words of former national-security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, would be "an act of political folly" so severe that "the era of American preponderance could come to a premature end."

The Bush White House has already built the fire. Whether it will light the match remains to be seen.

It's a long piece ... unfortunately not about peace.


Posted by: b | Feb 1, 2007 3:11:28 PM | 5

pepe escobar: The 'axis of fear' is born

Posted by: b real | Feb 1, 2007 3:22:51 PM | 6

b #3,

They cant seem to put the Vietnam playbook down, can they? So its a sure sign it's the end of the line, when all they got is bombing the Ho Chi Minh Trail and all those enemy sanctuaries. Gooood evening Vietnam.

Posted by: anna missed | Feb 1, 2007 3:54:01 PM | 7

The Asia Times (article by Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily) has another take on Najaf:
"Pilgrims massacred in the 'battle' of Najaf"
In short, the whole story was a lie. But by now the media has moved on so it's still a great victory.

Posted by: Dick Durata | Feb 1, 2007 5:03:54 PM | 8

i find it unbelievable that our slothrop can try to suggest spuriously that no american empire exist - while sd empire is clearly prepared to attack iran

what will be your argument then my dear slothrop - that the empire that isn't is just protecting us & securing us from the savage arab & persian peoples

i have been following b on the intentions of an iran attack & have thought given current contexts that they would not be stupid enough to attempt it - i have just hear a sobre commentator in france (who is normally not very sympathetic to the iranians, though) suggest today that a war with iran is now inevitable & that america is putting in place hurriedly the means to do so

go over with me again dear slothrop the question of sovereignty, national independance & self determination - antiquated i suppose?

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Feb 1, 2007 5:16:53 PM | 9

Question, albeit rhetorical.

Persia! Maths, chess, and weaving rugs (over the course of millenia) and all.

All that oil. All that time. Never conquered?

Surely there must be a "nuke" to test in this poker-play in the ME?

Or, are the US so bloody incompetent?

Posted by: Cloned Poster | Feb 1, 2007 5:17:45 PM | 10

& would suggest strongly for people to read robert fisk's brick of a book on the middle east & us - to really see the utterly compelling resonances

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Feb 1, 2007 5:20:58 PM | 11

attack of iran is horrendous and evil. even based on the neocon, realist asnd zionist args, the attack is unjustified. iran will evolve more free society, the threat to u.s. forces by iranians in iraq is unproven, and iran doesn't have the bomb and even if it did would deter israel.

incredible, evil. and the republicans have ceded bush all the authority he needs to commit these atrocitiezs. he can't be stopped, except by coup, by force. tragic.

Posted by: | Feb 1, 2007 6:21:03 PM | 12

me

Posted by: slothrop | Feb 1, 2007 6:22:09 PM | 13

yes. tragic. beyond belief

but i think b & others are correct

it will happen

sooner rather than later

& what is happening in the occupied territories must be giving great pleasure to the israeli right & those who have helped organise this mayhem in mossad

tragic

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Feb 1, 2007 6:29:06 PM | 14

Drip, drip, drip

Two officials from separate U.S. government agencies said Tuesday the Pentagon is investigating whether the attack on a military compound in Karbala was carried out by Iranians or Iranian-trained operatives.

"People are looking at it seriously," one of the officials said, adding that the Iranian connection was a leading theory in the investigation.

The second official said: "We believe it's possible the executors of the attack were Iranian or Iranian-trained."

The five soldiers were abducted and killed in the sophisticated attack by men wearing American-style uniforms, according to U.S. military reports. (Watch how attackers got into the compound Video)

Both officials stressed the Iranian-involvement theory is only a preliminary view, and there is no conclusion. They agreed this possibility is under consideration because of the sophistication of the attack and the level of coordination.

"This was beyond what we have seen militias or foreign fighters do," the second official said.

So predictable it would be laughable...if the fate of the world were not hanging in the balance.

Winter Patriot agrees.

Posted by: Bea | Feb 1, 2007 8:02:36 PM | 15

Keith Obermann said tonight, Feb. 1, on his Countdown TV show that Bush has misled the American Public on the troop increase -closer to 35,000 to 48,000 troops. Bush only stated the combat troops in his 21,000 troop increase, the additional support personnel (still technically troops) were not included in the number. That would put the number over 200,000 in Iraq if it happens.

Posted by: Rick | Feb 1, 2007 8:09:03 PM | 16

@Rick #16

Double the Troops in Surge

President Bush and his new military chiefs have been saying for nearly a month that they would "surge" an additional 21,500 troops to Iraq, in a last, grand push to quell the violence in Baghdad and in Anbar Province. But a new study by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office says the real troop increase could be as high as 48,000 -- more than double the number the President initially said.

That's because the combat units that President Bush wants to send into hostile areas need to be backed up by support troops, "including personnel to staff headquarters, serve as military police, and provide communications, contracting, engineering, intelligence, medical, and other services," the CBO notes.
t 15,000 support personnel and bringing the total additional forces to about 35,000.

According to the study, the costs for the "surge" would also be dramatically different than the President has said. The White House estimated a troop escalation would require about $5.6 billion in additional funding for the rest of fiscal year 2007. Of that, about $3.2 billion was supposed to go to the Army and Marines for their escalated activity.

But that figure appears to have been grossly underestimated. The CBO now believes "that costs would range from $9 billion to $13 billion for a four-month deployment and from $20 billion to $27 billion for a 12-month deployment." There's a more detailed analysis of the numbers on pages 3 and 4 of the study, which was sent to House Budget Chairman John Spratt today.

Posted by: Bea | Feb 1, 2007 8:53:17 PM | 17

The Iraq war only makes sense in a regional scenario. It only adds up within a scheme aimed at installing American-friendly regimes in the oil-bearing nations of the Middle East.

If all those oil-bearing nations become America-friendly, that means China and India and Japan will have to buy their energy on American terms -- which means they keep on turning over obscenely high mountains of worthless Treasury Bonds, knowing full well they will never be bought back, just recycled.

The military assets to bomb Iran into rubble will be in place about March 1st. If you consider the alternative to attacking Iran, which is to carry on bravely losing our pants, shirts, and shorts in Iraq -- well, that's no alternative.

In short, America either quits this whole adventure, or goes medieval on the Persians.

To quit is to fail, is to admit failure and error and disgrace and defeat.

Bushie don't play that game.

So here we go.

Posted by: Antifa | Feb 1, 2007 9:41:33 PM | 18

The Iraq war only makes sense in a regional scenario. It only adds up within a scheme aimed at installing American-friendly regimes in the oil-bearing nations of the Middle East.

Yes, yes, and yes. Most people look at the situation rationally and think, "no f***ing way would they attack Iran." But they fail to see it through the eyes of the Planners, and from their perspective, this is exactly, exactly how they see it.

Posted by: Bea | Feb 1, 2007 9:45:02 PM | 19

this is exactly, exactly how they see it.

'faster please' is how they see it.

Posted by: annie | Feb 1, 2007 9:52:03 PM | 20

bea #15 kurt nimmo has a post..
Iran Blame Game Shifts into High Gear

In other words, CNN, as a faithful propaganda handmaiden, is speculating, thus adding fuel to the attack Iran fire now smoldering, ready to break out into a five alarm conflagration, as planned, with the appropriate admixture of irresponsible speculation, as usual backed up with little more than thin air.

Posted by: annie | Feb 1, 2007 10:02:54 PM | 21

I think Antifa et al are over-simplifying/trying desperately to make sense of the Strangelovian Madness of it all. James Baker is very much against military solution for Iran. He advocated diplomacy w/Iran & Syria.

Everybody spoke of Bu$h/Cheney outing Valerie Plame simply as an act of retaliation. What if they destroyed her cover because she was working to figure out where Iran was in nuclear development? If they're nowhere, this would make the task of fabricating intel. for more slaughter that much more difficult.

Posted by: jj | Feb 2, 2007 1:51:36 AM | 22

Mahdi Army gains strength through unwitting aid of U.S.

A soldier with a U.S. Army tactical human-intelligence team - who goes only by his last name, Brady, because of the sensitivity of his work - gathered a group of Sunni men to ask about neighborhood security.

One of the men, who said his name was Abbas al Dulaimi, asked, "When the Mahdi Army comes here, why does the Iraqi army help them shoot people?"

"I was behind a car at the checkpoint on the bridge. I saw an Iraqi army soldier open the trunk," said another man, who gave only his first name, Ahmed. "There were two men in there. The driver showed the soldier his Mahdi Army ID, and the soldier saluted him and let him drive away."

Brady didn't contradict any of the accounts. He took careful notes, shaking his head sympathetically at their stories of an Iraqi army gone astray.

He handed out a business card with a cell phone number to call in case of another Mahdi Army attack.

"We will send Iraqi army units that we trust," Brady said.

Abbas al Dulaimi stared at Brady, a blond man sitting in a circle of Iraqis, and spoke as if he were explaining something to a child.

"But if the Mahdi Army comes in here," Abbas al Dulaimi said, "they will come with the support of the Iraqi army."

Brady didn't contradict him.

Posted by: b | Feb 2, 2007 3:13:03 AM | 23

I'll have to agree with jj's point here, with one little caveat, it is my belief that Valerie Plame and her crew stood in the way of the neocons of Team B. The real problem is not the organization of intelligence but, the Team B concept of intelligence which began in 1976, and the real villains are those hardliners who refuse to accept the unbiased and balanced judgments of intelligence professionals about the threats facing the country.

Now years years later and we know for a fact that the analysts, including Wilson, who said the Niger deal was bullshit were right and we know that the analysts who doubted the evidence about Saddam's WMD were right too.

Not that this will stop the Team B neocons from insisting that "they were proved fucking right." They really are delusional and they always have been. Karl Rove, and his clique however, are a lot of things, but delusional isn't one of them. He just put out the hit on Plame and Wilson to shut down the questions Wilson was raising. He was taking care of business. But others in the administration may have made a good case, at least in their own beautiful minds, that they were the victims. God knows these people love to be victims, and they love, love, love their increasing and unfettered power.


A few sentences about here at home, taken out of context by me, of Anatoly Medetsky, in this article reminded me the following idea, in it he very cognizantly point's out what we should start referring to America as, imho. He writes, "The key, I think, lies in describing Israel as an “ideology.” It’s not simply a state and it’s not even simply “Jewish.” Instead, it’s a political, social, and religious ideology"... Likewise, being as America is tied to the hip of Israel, we could very easliy say, the key, --at the very least, since 911-- lies in describing America as an “ideology.” It’s not simply a republic and it’s not even simply an "American" republic anymore, Instead, it’s a political, social, and religious ideology". A forced meme. A psychological imprint which is being and has been forced on us. Every bit as much as a cult indoctrinates it's mark. It is the cementing of The Rise of Rove's Republic: one of Money and Influence, controlled chaos. A Master plan. The basis of Rove's Republic will not only be the massive debt, but the 'fire-sale' of the entire countries infrastructure, of privatizing everything. All that it can pawn, beg, borrow or steal from the current and future Eco-sphere and landscape and it's people. Using the advanced technology gained from decades of secret black budget programs, It not only will be the death of liberal democracy as we know it, but the glorious introduction of new mad max type civilization. The sci-fi equivalent of the Imperial Politics of Herbert's Dune, or Bladerunner, Brazil, or any untold other myopic futures. One big Kafka castle from cradle to grave. Oh, not for you dear reader, but for your children and thier's. For you there will be the slow rot of seeing 'hope' systematically and methodically washed out of your conscience while it imprisons us body, soul a spirit, they want our dreams. See, once our empire falls, --our lady, America,-- that is when the plan really gets started. Because you see, they have set the black magic into motion and even if they fall from grace, they have accomplished the work.

Anyone remember the docu 'Power Of Nightmares' and Team B's ascessment of Russian defence and military? Israel, Team B, and the rest of the neocons are drunk with the maddness of power, the power of nightmares and their own shadows. They project their fears, and in doing so justify their wounds and hate.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Feb 2, 2007 5:13:16 AM | 24

James Baker and the ISG committee of non-experts wish to negotiate with Syria and Iran now. They weren't against it before, but they are now.

Now being now that this PNAC thing isn't going to plan.

Everything happening in the Middle East since January of 2001 was clearly spelled out in 1995 in the Project for a New American Century.

Two stages to the project -- One, install America-friendly regimes from Lebanon all the way through to Pakistan.

Two, confront Russian expansion into the Caspian and Caucasus. Lots of natural gas north of Persia. Put American-friendly regimes in there as well.

Hitler wrote Mein Kampf, and then he set out to fulfill it. These neocon clowns are doing the same thing. They see themselves as history's actors, and the rest of us as chattel.

Posted by: Antifa | Feb 2, 2007 5:37:43 AM | 25

grrr, I got distracted, however, to finish my train of thought, as I was saying, these fucks have set up an ideological network grid, one in which the system carries on and is self perpetuating even if the head is cut off, in other words, even if Cheneyco Bush , whomever, is taken out of the picture the system will merely see it as dammage and route's around that damage, around any stovepipes that keep it from ever more power and it's intrinsic values and ideology goes on; the pre manifest become manifest. It's their post abundance Manifesto. Gated communities for them and mad max for us, our children and our children's children.

A few words On hope, as talked about above...

THE MOST COMMON WORDS I hear spoken by any environmentalists anywhere are, We're fucked. Most of these environmentalists are fighting desperately, using whatever tools they have—or rather whatever legal tools they have, which means whatever tools those in power grant them the right to use, which means whatever tools will be ultimately ineffective—to try to protect some piece of ground, to try to stop the manufacture or release of poisons, to try to stop civilized humans from tormenting some group of plants or animals. Sometimes they're reduced to trying to protect just one tree.

Here's how John Osborn, an extraordinary activist and friend, sums up his reasons
for doing the work: "As things become increasingly chaotic, I want to make sure some doors remain open. If grizzly bears are still alive in twenty, thirty, and forty years, they may still be alive in fifty. If they're gone in twenty, they'll be gone forever."

But no matter what environmentalists do, our best efforts are insufficient. We're losing badly, on every front. Those in power are hell-bent on destroying the planet, and most people don't care.

Frankly, I don't have much hope. But I think that's a good thing. Hope is what keeps us chained to the system, the conglomerate of people and ideas and ideals that is causing the destruction of the Earth.

To start, there is the false hope that suddenly somehow the system may inexplicably change. Or technology will save us. Or the Great Mother. Or beings from Alpha Centauri. Or Jesus Christ. Or Santa Claus. All of these false hopes lead to inaction, or at least to ineffectiveness. One reason my mother stayed with my abusive father was that there were no battered women's shelters in the '50s and '60s, but another was her false hope that he would change. False hopes bind us to unlivable situations, and blind us to real possibilities.

Does anyone really believe that Weyerhaeuser is going to stop deforesting because we ask nicely? Does anyone really believe that Monsanto will stop Monsantoing because we ask nicely? If only we get a Democrat in the White House, things will be okay. If only we pass this or that piece of legislation, things will be okay. If only we defeat this or that piece of legislation, things will be okay. Nonsense. Things will not be okay. They are already not okay, and they're getting worse. Rapidly.
But it isn't only false hopes that keep those who go along enchained. It is hope itself. Hope, we are told, is our beacon in the dark. It is our light at the end of a long, dark tunnel. It is the beam of light that makes its way into our prison cells. It is our reason for persevering, our protection against despair (which must be avoided at all costs). How can we continue if we do not have hope?

We've all been taught that hope in some future condition—like hope in some future heaven—is and must be our refuge in current sorrow. I'm sure you remember the story of Pandora. She was given a tightly sealed box and was told never to open it. But, being curious, she did, and out flew plagues, sorrow, and mischief, probably not in that order. Too late she clamped down the lid. Only one thing remained in the box: hope. Hope, the story goes, was the only good the casket held among many evils, and it remains to this day mankind's sole comfort in misfortune. No mention here of action being a comfort in misfortune, or of actually doing something to alleviate or eliminate one's misfortune.

More at link.

Because I didn't post the entire dialogue, in case people arrive at the false conclusion the writing's inherently negative, I should post a bit more, this from the end:

When you give up on hope, something even better happens than it not killing you, which is that in some sense it does kill you. You die. And there's a wonderful thing about being dead, which is that they—those in power—cannot really touch you anymore. Not through promises, not through threats, not through violence itself. Once you're dead in this way, you can still sing, you can still dance, you can still make love, you can still fight like hell—you can still live because you are still alive, more alive in fact than ever before. You come to realize that when hope died, the you who died with the hope was not you, but was the you who depended on those who exploit you, the you who believed that those who exploit you will somehow stop on their own, the you who believed in the mythologies propagated by those who exploit you in order to facilitate that exploitation. The socially constructed you died. The civilized you died. The manufactured, fabricated, stamped, molded you died. The victim died.

And who is left when that you dies? You are left. Animal you. Naked you. Vulnerable (and invulnerable) you. Mortal you. Survivor you. The you who thinks not what the culture taught you to think but what you think. The you who feels not what the culture taught you to feel but what you feel. The you who is not who the culture taught you to be but who you are. The you who can say yes, the you who can say no. The you who is a part of the land where you live. The you who will fight (or not) to defend your family. The you who will fight (or not) to defend those you love. The you who will fight (or not) to defend the land upon which your life and the lives of those you love depends. The you whose morality is not based on what you have been taught by the culture that is killing the planet, killing you, but on your own animal feelings of love and connection to your family, your friends, your landbase—not to your family as self-identified civilized beings but as animals who require a landbase, animals who are being killed by chemicals, animals who have been formed and deformed to fit the needs of the culture.

When you give up on hope—when you are dead in this way, and by so being are really alive—you make yourself no longer vulnerable to the cooption of rationality and fear that Nazis inflicted on Jews and others, that abusers like my father inflict on their victims, that the dominant culture inflicts on all of us. Or is it rather the case that these exploiters frame physical, social, and emotional circumstances such that victims perceive themselves as having no choice but to inflict this cooption on themselves?

But when you give up on hope, this exploiter/victim relationship is broken. You become like the Jews who participated in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

When you give up on hope, you turn away from fear.

And when you quit relying on hope, and instead begin to protect the people, things, and places you love, you become very dangerous indeed to those in power.

In case you're wondering, that's a very good thing.

The point of all this is, is it's either their dark ideology that preveils
or ours. Or as I Imagine something in between. Like it or not, this is a 'belief systems' war.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Feb 2, 2007 5:48:40 AM | 26

Joschka Fischer - And now for Iran

The surprise of Bush's new policy is its shift of political focus from Iraq to its two immediate neighbors. Bush accuses Syria and Iran of interfering in Iraq, threatening its territorial integrity and endangering American troops, and, more generally, of seeking to undermine America's allies in the region. If you add to this the seizure, on President Bush's orders, of Iranian "diplomats" by U.S. forces in the northern Iraqi town of Erbil, a completely new picture of the president's plan comes to the fore: The "new strategy" does not follow the advice of the Baker-Hamilton report, but harks back to the disastrous strategy of the neocons. Iran is now in the superpower's sights, and the U.S. approach brings to mind the preparatory phase of the Iraq war - down to the last detail.
...
Since the Bush administration views Iran's nuclear program and hegemonic aspirations as the major threat to the region, its new strategy is based on a newly formed, undeclared anti-Iranian alliance with moderate Sunni Arab states and Israel. The nuclear program is the dynamic factor here, because it will set a timeline for action.

But air strikes on Iran, which America may see as a military solution, would not make Iraq safer; they would achieve exactly the opposite. Nor would the region as a whole be stabilized; on the contrary, it would be plunged into an abyss. And the dream of "regime change" in Tehran would not come true, either; rather, Iran's democratic opposition would pay a high price, and the theocratic regime would only become stronger.

The political options for stabilizing Iraq, and the whole region, as well as for securing a long-term freeze of Iran's nuclear program, have not yet been exhausted. The current state of Iran's nuclear program does not call for immediate military action. Instead, the focus should be on diplomatic efforts to detach Syria from Iran and isolate the Tehran regime. But this presupposes American willingness to return to diplomacy and to talking to all the parties involved. Tehran is afraid of regional and international isolation. Moreover, the recent municipal elections in Iran have shown that betting on diplomacy and a transformation of Iran from within is a realistic option. So why the current threats against Iran?

The debacle in Iraq was foreseeable from the beginning, and America's numerous partners and friends predicted it quite clearly in their warnings to the Bush administration. The mistake that the U.S. may be about to make is equally predictable: A war that is wrong will not be made right by extending it - that is the lesson of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

The ideologically driven strategy of regime change by means of military force led the U.S. into the Iraq war disaster. Getting into Iraq and defeating Saddam was easy. But today, America is stuck there and knows neither how to win, nor how to get out. A mistake is not corrected by repeating it over and over again. Perseverance in error does not correct the error; it merely exacerbates it.

Posted by: b | Feb 2, 2007 6:51:28 AM | 27

Holy Roman Empire, Take 2

[W]hen you hear Condoleeza Rice talking about overthrowing the old Westphalian notion of sovereign states; when you hear her talking about abandoning extant international institutions–flawed though they may be–for variously described coalitions of “democracies”; what you’re hearing is the description of an essentially medieval-feudal worldview, with the United States as monarch and the rest of the “democratic” world as a collection of fiefdoms paying tithes and raising armies when called upon to do so. Those in the not-so-democratic world, of course, are fair game.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Feb 2, 2007 9:15:40 AM | 28

Here is something HRC will have to deny in a couple of years too.

Hillary Clinton calls Iran a threat to U.S., Israel

the drums are beating again.

Posted by: dan of steele | Feb 2, 2007 9:58:49 AM | 29

Agreed, Antifa. But this is now. Sane people change their minds when experience disproves the possibility of their previous plans. JBaker has done so. NeoNuts are so lost in their ideology they refuse to do so.

It's puzzling why Congress isn't even demanding that the Baker approach be followed.

Posted by: jj | Feb 2, 2007 12:25:19 PM | 30

The complete nuttiness of the PNAC plan is that it assumes the locals are of no consequence and only the rulers matter. Well, there's a slight problem with this, but I'll let Bush discover it himself in a few months.


The Orion piece of Uncle is a very good one.
The current system is totally unable to save us. In fact, by essence, the system that brought us to this degree of chaos and shit, on the brink of annihilation, simply cannot save us, save the world, save mankind, can't even save itself.
Basically, the system has to go and be replaced by something else, so different from the current one that even the most radical revolution in past history won't come close to it.
For a starter, let's stop pretending that if only we could speak with everyone, we would convince them of their lunacies. This is a criminally stupid reasoning which has been proven wrong throughout history; the fact that there are still creationists in a Western post-industrialised highly advanced society is proof enough of it. The Earth can only be saved despite the wills of many, and not thanks to them.

Posted by: CluelessJoe | Feb 2, 2007 3:23:30 PM | 31

along the line of what cluelessjoe is saying, the reality struck me the other day is that this talk of exceptionalism really does have some truth to it, that americans - for lack of a better term to refer to u.s. citizens - really are some of the most generous people on earth. not generous toward the rest of the world, mind you, but generous toward the sociopaths that we allow to design & rule our country. i mean, how else to explain the tolerance & forgiveness they afford to leaders, industries, experts, and on & on that lie to our faces, poison our children, render our landbases uninhabitable, kill people around the world that we don't even know in our names, waste our hard-earned money, and on & on. we seem to not have enough of a problem w/ our so-called leaders destroying the lives of other people that we cannot find it in ourselves to continue to give them the benefit of the doubt or allow them to continue acting in our name. we are way too generous. too kind. too too kind. for not only are they killing others around the world, they are killing us. because we let them. because we tolerate it. we're too generous w/ accepting the rhetoric of these people that they are leaders when their actions and the results of their "leadership" prove otherwise again & again & again. we're too generous in thinking that somebody else is going to handle what needs to be done. we're too generous in a faith that assumes that somehow, some way, things will turn out all right. that in the end, greedy, sociopathic predators will have a change of conscious & do what is right. that reason will appeal to unreasonable people. that insane people w/ an insane worldview will eventually become sane. madness!

Posted by: b real | Feb 2, 2007 4:32:35 PM | 32

A thght. for barflies who frequent Kos, etc - Conchita, etc. Why aren't activists taking the simplest possible position: You wanna send more troops - well, it's pay as you go now, assholes. And NO, YOU ARE NOT CUTTING DOMESTIC PROGRAMS - you wanna the war, you tax the corporations that are making out like bandits, and yr. rich friends similarly making a fortune on the war.

Why the hell is no one speaking of this dimension?

Posted by: jj | Feb 3, 2007 1:39:55 AM | 33

Greenwald is obviously an antisemite.

Posted by: b | Feb 3, 2007 3:55:18 PM | 34

b #34

he certainly will get criticised by the likudniks and foaming at the mouth commenters at faux news. they will of course skew or misrepresent what he wrote and totally ignore the fact that he is quoting the NY Sun.

he is smart enough to do it on a Saturday so by Monday morning this is already old news.

Posted by: dan of steele | Feb 3, 2007 6:54:12 PM | 35

@jj 33. Yes.

Posted by: beq | Feb 3, 2007 7:47:49 PM | 36

jj - #33,

I don't think you'll hear anything like what you are suggesting. But if pigs start to fly, why not take some of the money allocated to Israel for foreign (military) aid and move that to the Iraq war (and reconstruction) effort?

Posted by: Rick | Feb 3, 2007 8:50:51 PM | 37

Mysterious death of Iranian Nuclear Scientist

This is from the Sunday Times, but gives a possible explanation for the death of Iran's top nuclear scientist that was announced about two weeks ago.

Posted by: ww | Feb 3, 2007 11:30:49 PM | 38

he [Dubya] can't be stopped, except by coup

was at dinner w/ a couple of serious activists on friday, one from the us, both of whom did not think us attack on iran can progress because pentagon generals will not support it - will not go into iran apparently unless all us troops out of iraq first, that a coup of sorts is a real possibility - i was surprised to hear this, naturally enough

argument was that us generals can reading the administration's poll ratings, know that escalation into iran would have zero support from the us public

also, us military families will go nuts to prevent it

so is the us the new venezuela? a coup from the us armed forces the only thing to stop the madness of king dubya, and that such an event is actually, currently on the table?

Posted by: Dismal Science | Feb 4, 2007 7:26:14 PM | 39

and you're right, b

iranq

waht has been done to that region is RANK

Posted by: | Feb 4, 2007 7:27:13 PM | 40

oops, rank was mine

Posted by: Dismal Science | Feb 4, 2007 7:28:28 PM | 41

either the dates are off in this article, or teh doctor has amazing talents for prognosis, but the data in this article is interesting nonetheless

The Plan for Economic Strangulation of Iran

It is said that there is more than one way to skin a cat. It seems that United States is trying to skin this cat -Iran- in anyway that it can, including economic strangulation. While people are concerned with Iraq and the gathering armada in the Persian Gulf, United States has been quietly carrying out a not so covert economic war against Iran.
...
The current US strategy is to starve the Iranian oil and gas industries of new investments, thereby reducing the Iranian government’s revenues which are hoped will in turn reduce Iran’s ability to maintain not only its armed forces, but also the government’s social obligations to its people (subsidies, salaries, etc.). It is hoped that this combined with international isolation and (with the help of Saudi Arabia) a reduction in oil prices (OPEC crude basket price: $51.25 per barrel on 8/1/07) will not only cripple the Iranian economy, but also (possibly) lead to a regime change. All attacks on the economy was being presented under the guise of stopping Iran from developing WMDs, and in particular Nuclear weapons.

The attack on Iranian economy started in earnest in early 2006. United States began putting considerable pressure on international banks and financial institutions to cut their ties with Iran. Countries also were pressured to reduce their economic contact with Iran. For example beside the usual behind the scene warnings and threats, in September 2006, the US treasury secretary M. Paulson Jr, used his first meeting of world finance chiefs as a venue for the Bush administration’s mission to isolate Iran.

“Emerging from a meeting of finance ministers representing the Group of Seven industrialized nations, Paulson said he urged his counterparts to intensify efforts to prevent banks and private companies in their countries from being used as unwitting conduits for financing and materials aiding Iran’s ambitions.”[5]

Later under pressure from the US some three top Japanese banks: Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Mizuho Corporate Bank and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp announced that, in line with US financial sanctions, they will refrain from working with Iran’s state-run Bank Saderat of Iran (with 3400 branches in Iran). Recently another major Iranian Bank with some foreign branches is being targeted for freeze of assets and sanctions. “Bank Sepah International Plc (BSIP), incorporated in the United Kingdom, specializes in providing finance and services for international trade worldwide with a particular focus on Iran and the Persian Gulf region, according to its Web site. The bank is a wholly owned subsidiary of Bank Sepah, Iran, which was established in 1925 and is the oldest of the Iranian banks. Bank Sepah has a large network of branches in Iran as well as offices in Paris, Frankfurt and Rome”.[6]

The pressure was also felt by Indian and Swiss banks as well. In mid 2006 the State Bank of India (SBI), the only Indian bank operating in Iran (with a token presence) came under intense pressure to quit Iran [7].

Other banks that succumbed to the pressure were USB AG (took over Banco Pactual S.A. in 2006) and Credit Suisse Group of Switzerland (controlling group of other banks such as: Bank Leu, Schweizerische Volksbank, Neue Aargauer Bank, Winterthur, and Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Inc.). UBS AG, Europe’s largest bank by assets, also cut all business ties with Iran in January 2006 and met with U.S. legislators in April 2006 about its transfers of U.S. banknotes to the Islamic Republic. Credit Suisse Group, Switzerland’s second-biggest bank, also quit Iran in January. Other Banks to quit or restrict their activities in Iran were: ABN AMRO of Holland and London-based HSBC.

These were just a few example of United States’ indirect financial pressure on Iran. Governments, companies and financial institutions are under intense pressure to terminate all dealings with Iran. But so far Iran has managed to sustain, albeit with great difficulty, its oil industry and financial institutions functioning.


Ahmadinejad’s Achilles Heel: The Iranian Economy

Posted by: b real | Feb 4, 2007 11:15:30 PM | 42

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