The Anti-Empire Report-Read this or George W. Bush will be president the rest of your life by William Blum

Dandelion Salad

by William Blum
July 9, 2007

Neocons, theocons, Demcons, excons, and future cons

Who do you think said this on June 20? a) Rudy Giuliani; b) Hillary Clinton; c) Mitt Romney; or d) Barack Obama?

“The American military has done its job. Look what they accomplished. They got rid of Saddam Hussein. They gave the Iraqis a chance for free and fair elections. They gave the Iraqi government the chance to begin to demonstrate that it understood its responsibilities to make the hard political decisions necessary to give the people of Iraq a better future. So the American military has succeeded. It is the Iraqi government which has failed to make the tough decisions which are important for their own people.”[1]

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Eat, Fight, Fuck, Pray – An Interview with Joe Bageant by Joshua Frank

Dandelion Salad

by Joshua Frank
July 9th, 2007

Joe Bageant is author of Deer Hunting With Jesus: Dispatches from America’s Class War just published by Random House Crown. He recently spoke with DV co-editor Joshua Frank about his new book, religion, rednecks and what it’s like to serve beer to an underage horse.

Joshua Frank: So Joe, what the hell is going on with the redneck strain of the working class anyway? Why do they seem more apt to embrace evangelism rather than a labor union? Is it, as psychologists would say, learned helplessness, or worse, idiocy?
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Kucinich: ‘Imperial’ vice president needs to be impeached (video)

Dandelion Salad

by David Edwards and Nick Juliano
Published: Monday July 9, 2007

Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, continued to stress his case for impeaching Vice President Dick Cheney, saying his role in pushing the false case for war is akin to a high crime against the constitution.

“To me it’s about the constitution, it’s not about the personality,” Kucinich said Monday morning on Joe Scarborough’s MSNBC show. “And the constitution requires the highest office holders to have the highest standards and obedience to the law, and I think serious questions have been raised, which is why I introduced the resolution.”

Kucinich predicted more members of Congress would join his impeachment push after a poll showed last week that a majority of Americans support the vice president’s impeachment, as RAW STORY previously reported.

The long-shot presidential candidate reminded Scarborough that he was among 31 Democrats who supported inquiries that led to former President Bill Clinton’s impeachment in pointing out that partisan motives were not behind his current push.

Because Cheney had “enormous influence” in pushing the US into war with Iraq and made “unequivocal statements” about Saddam Hussein’s stockpiles of weapons mass destruction, he has abused the trust of the American people and no longer deserves to be in office, Kucinich said.

“There’s kind of an imperial vice presidency that’s moved in,” he said. “And I think that congress has to move forward to use the remedies that our founders set forth in the early debates about making those that hold the highest offices accountable.”

The following video is from MSNBC’s Morning Joe, broadcast on July 9.

Vodpod videos no longer available. from posted with vodpod






Garrett Reppenhagen on GI Resistance to the War (video)

Garrett Reppenhagen, Chair of the Board of Iraq Veterans Against the War, spoke at Socialism 2007: Socialism for the 21st Century in Chicago, IL on June 16, 2007.
http://www.socialismconference.orgReppenhagen was a Scout Sniper with the 1st Infantry Division who served at FOB Scunion, Baquaba, Iraq from Feb. 2004 to Feb. 2005. Garett also completed a 9 month peace keeping tour in Kosovo.

He addressed a packed room at the 2-part Roundtable – Iraq: the Soldiers’ Rebellion – on a panel with other IVAW veterans. Much more video is coming from the 3 hour roundtable.

The conference was sponsored by:

International Socialist Review
Haymarket Books
Socialist Worker
Obrero Socialista…
International Socialist Organization
Center for Economic Research and Social Change

Video recorded and edited by Charles Jenks

© 2007 Traprock Peace Center; all rights reserved
websites are welcome to embed the video with notice to Traprock at
Notice of embedding is not a request for permission; rather, it is a way to allow us to determine the reach of this program. Thanks you.

Lebanon ‘to erupt in 1 week’ by Yaakov Lappin

Global Research, July 9, 2007

Lebanon ‘to erupt in 1 week’

Syria calls on citizens to evacuate Lebanon, reports say; Expert: Civil war possible

by Yaakov Lappin

The media reports were translated and made available by MEMRI in a special dispatch on Sunday.

“In the past few days, Arab and Iranian media reports have pointed to the possibility that Lebanon’s current political crisis may become a violent conflict after July 15, 2007,” the MEMRI dispatch said.

July 15 comes one day before a special UN Security Council meeting which is expected to discuss the possibility of stationing international experts on the Syria-Lebanon border, in order monitor the ongoing illegal cross border arms traffic to Hizbullah, thought to be originating from Iran and Syria.

The UN Security Council is also expected to meet next week to discuss a key report on the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, a development which may bode badly for Syria.

“On July 5, 2007, the Iranian news agency IRNA reported that Syrian authorities had instructed all Syrian citizens residing in Lebanon to return to their country by July 15, 2007. The next day, the Israeli Arab daily Al-Sinara similarly reported, on the authority of a Lebanese source close to Damascus, that Syria was planning to remove its citizens from Lebanon. Also on July 5, the Lebanese daily Al-Liwa reported rumors that Syrian workers were leaving Lebanon at the request of the Syrian authorities. In addition, the Syrian government daily Al-Thawra reported that Syrian universities would accept Syrian students who were leaving Lebanon due to the instability there,” MEMRI said in its report.

Within Lebanon itself, the Hizbullah-led opposition threatened to establish a “second government” through “historical steps” in mid July, according to senior Hizbullah officials quoted in the Lebanese media, MEMRI added.

‘Civil war possibility’

A violent clash next week in Lebanon is a real possibility, but would not be aimed at Israel, General (res.) Yaakov Amidror, a former senior officer in the IDF’s Military Intelligence Directorate, told Ynetnews. He added, however, that such an internal conflict could “deteriorate” to the point where Israel is targeted by rocket fire.

“This is a warning and a threat, directed not towards not us, but towards the Lebanese government, and against activities by the UN, the US, and the Europeans in Lebanon,” Amidror said. “Can this deteriorate to the point of firing on Israel? It doesn’t look like it now, but it can get there,” he said.

“This signals distress more than power,” Amidror said. “If they (Iran, Syria and Hizbullah) were confident, they wouldn’t go for such extreme maneuver that would expose them to the fury of Sunnis and Christians in Lebanon. Few in Lebanon want Nasrallah to take power. Shiites are the largest sect, but they make up 40 percent of the population. There are 60 percent who don’t like the idea of a Shiite takeover at all,” Amidror explained. He added that tensions could erupt into a full scale civil war in Lebanon, with Shiites on one side and Sunnis, Christians, and Druze on the other. “Civil war occurred in Lebanon in the past, there is no reason to think it can’t happen again,” he warned.

Amidror added that Shiites were determined to take power in Lebanon out of an ideological motivation, and a wish to mimic events in Iraq.

“What’s happening in Lebanon is part of a wider Middle Eastern conflict in which Shiites are trying to push Sunnis out of power. This is part of a conflict against Israel in a wider context, but it is primarily a Shiite-Sunni struggle. This is more proof that Israel is not the source of strife in the Middle East, but rather it is the Sunni-Shiite conflict,” he added.


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Making Gaza “Scream” by Stephen Lendman

by Stephen Lendman

Making Gaza “scream” is same kind of scheme the Nixon administration planned for Chile after social democrat Salvador Allende won a plurality of the votes in September, 1970. Before the Chilean Congress confirmed him as president in October, an infamous Nixon CIA Director Richard Helms handwritten note read: “One in 10 chance perhaps, but save Chile!…not concerned with risks involved…$10,000,000 available, more if necessary…make the economy ‘scream.’ ” By it, he meant saving the country from a socially responsible leader, like Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, using his nation’s wealth equitably and not just for its privileged elites. “Scream” it did through Nixon’s “soft line” scheme “to do all within our power to condemn Chile and Chileans to utmost deprivation and poverty,” in the words of his Chilean ambassador Edward Korry.

It lasted three years until a “hard line” one replaced it on another September 11 Chileans won’t soon forget in 1973. It was when a CIA-orchestrated military coup ended the most vibrant democracy in the Americas, replacing it with the brutal 17 year reign of General Augusto Pinochet.

The US has a notorious record of imposing economic or political sanctions against any nation daring to operate outside of Washington Consensus political and market rules. It’s also quick to levy trade sanctions for corporate friends whose notion of “free trade” is the one-way kind benefitting them. The Clinton administration was a frequent abuser of these practices imposing them unilaterally against 35 or more countries during its eight years in power. They were also in place against the Soviet bloc during the Cold War and other nations aligned with it. The Bush administration currently has them in place against such countries as Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Syria, Burma, Belarus, Sudan, and Venezuela. It’s our way of saying we’re boss, what we say goes and no outliers are tolerated even when they only wish to govern independently from us or are targeted by a close ally we support.

That’s the plight of the Palestinians who’ve been “screaming” for six decades following Israel’s “war of independence” they call al-Nakba, the catastrophe. In May, 1948, they were deprived of four-fifths of their former land and the remainder for the past 40 years. Conditions then became especially harsh after January 25, 2006 when they rejected ruling Fatah’s institutionalized corruption and willingness to be Israel’s enforcer for the benefits it afforded its leaders. They defied predictions and democratically elected a majority of Hamas members to Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) seats because they promised to do what Fatah wouldn’t – serve their own people, not the state of Israel against them.

Ever since, they’ve paid dearly for their choice. Israel, the US and West ended all outside aid, imposed an economic embargo and sanctions, and politically isolated the ruling Hamas government. Repressive Israeli rule was tightened and harsh intervention and daily attacks in the Territories followed. It included fomenting internal conflict on Gaza streets leading up to Hamas defeating the heavily US and Israeli-armed opposition Fatah insurgent forces, regaining control of its own territory in a surprising show of strength.

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, in league with Israel and the US, then declared a “state of emergency” June 14 and illegally dismissed Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh and his national unity government. On June 15, he appointed former IMF and World Bank official Salam Fayyad prime minister (whose party won 2% of the 2006 election votes), and on June 17 swore in a new 13 member illegitimate “emergency” cabinet with plans for future elections excluding Hamas. On June 16, the US said it would lift its ban on the Abbas government and did it formerly on June 18.

On July 1, Israel began releasing frozen Palestinian tax funds transferring $120 million in a first installment to Abbas in the West Bank. The amount is one-sixth what Palestinians say they’re owed (around $700 million) from tax revenues Israel illegally withheld beginning February 1, 2006 after Hamas’ election January 25. Hamas is denied all aid from Israeli and western sources in a continuing effort to keep its Gaza-led government isolated, economic sanctions on it in place, and its people kept in desperate need of help not forthcoming.

More on that below. In the meantime, Israeli prime minister Olmert spokeswoman Miri Eisin said “Israel is committed to working with the new Palestinian government. We hope that together they (meaning the Abbas West Bank self-imposed government) will be able to build a strong administration which will give them a better capability to enter into full negotiations.”

She neglected to mention Abbas’ “emergency” government has no legitimacy, its US and Israeli funded and supported action was a brazen coup d’etat against a democratically elected government, and by “full negotiations” she means bowing to Israeli demands and abandoning the rights and needs of the Palestinian people.

Hamas called Israel’s disbursement to Abbas “financial bribery (and) political blackmail” meant to keep Gaza and the West Bank divided and Palestinians in a state of internal conflict saving Israel some of the bother of stirring it up itself. Prime minister Ismail Haniyeh says the Palestinians’ only recourse is “resistance. The Americans won’t give us anything. Israel won’t give us anything. Our land, our nation will not come back to us except with steadfastness and resistance” against what Israeli prime minister Olmert calls “cooperation (from Abbas in the West Bank that) will….enable us to make progress on the diplomatic track.” Of course, it’s to benefit Israel at the expense of the Palestinian people who aren’t likely to accept the fate its quisling president and Israel have in mind for them.

Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza Deepens

Here’s how several concerned NGOs headline Gaza’s deepening crisis. It won’t improve as long as Israel, the US and West continue their war against the democratically elected Hamas government most Palestinians still strongly support.

Oxfam Great Britain is a member of Oxfam International, a development and relief organization working to alleviate poverty, human suffering and injustice worldwide, currently operating in over 30 countries. It highlights the crisis in Gaza in its June 19 article titled “Locked in Gaza” describing the “increasing desperation of Gazans as shortages of fuel, water and food are reported.” Israel keeps people there “locked in Gaza,” unable to move even for those desperately needing medical care in Israel for what’s unavailable at home.

It mentions two Palestinians were shot dead June 18 trying to cross the checkpoint separating Gaza from Israel, almost a daily occurrence in the Territories. It says water in Gaza is a major problem as there’s little electricity to pump it. Food is running out as well as all of it comes from outside Gaza city. Markets are empty, people have little or no money, borders are closed, the threat of starvation for many is real. Israel allows no international NGOs to operate in Gaza so the people aren’t being helped when their need is greatest.

On July 6, Oxfam issued an updated press release. Its assessment of conditions in Gaza was grim warning “thousands of refugees across Gaza will face imminent cuts in water and sewage services if more fuel is not provided in the coming days and weeks.” It said the Gaza Coastal Municipality Water Utility (CMWU) had to cut its water supply in half from eight to four hours a day because of fuel shortages affecting 65,000 people in the Strip’s largest camp. Fuel is also running out for sewage drainage pumps in the Saflawi neighborhood. Without it, “sewage (may spill) into the streets….in days, contaminating the remaining water supply….spreading life-threatening disease (in) the densely-populated camp.”

It continued saying other parts of Gaza face the same problem, affecting its entire 1.5 million population. Fuel may be exhausted in days at the hottest time of year when water demand is highest. In the face of this impending crisis, the Abbas government in the West Bank is doing nothing to alleviate it. Gaza is totally dependent on outside help unable to do its job because Israel closed border crossings and sealed off the entire Territory from the outside world.

A UN report is no more encouraging from an article on Media for Global Development June 15. It says the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestinian refugees was forced to scale back its work while Gaza was in conflict. It “severely limited its ability to (bring in vitally needed) humanitarian supplies” to the 80% of Gazans dependent on them. It calls 40% of the population “food insecure” meaning they could starve without help. It explained even in the absence of street fighting there are critical shortages of food, water, medical supplies, fuel and other essentials. Outside help is critically needed, but Gazans aren’t getting it because Israel closed the entry points between Egypt and the Strip stopping critically needed supplies from entering.

The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, B’Tselem, raised its alarm as well June 17 with an article titled “Urgent Appeal from Israeli Human Rights Groups to Israeli Defense Minister: Open Gaza’s Borders to Prevent a Humanitarian Crisis.” It says hundreds of refugees are trapped between the sealed Erez crossing and Hamas inside Gaza, including the sick and injured from recent events in the Territory. It also cites critical food and medical supply shortages and urgently says: “The state of Israel cannot stand idly by at a time when the fundamental human rights of Gaza residents are being violated and the right to life is being threatened.”

It mentions eight Israeli human rights organizations warning of a crisis that will worsen as long as Israel “continues to close borders and isolate Gaza from the outside world by preventing the supply of essential goods, trapping residents inside the Gaza Strip, and preventing Gaza residents who traveled outside the Strip from returning home” including the chronically sick and injured.

With essential border crossings closed, supplies aren’t coming in. Fresh food, such as meat, fruit and dairy products are disappearing. The World Food Program warns of dangerous food shortages. B’Tselem calls Israel’s border closings and disconnect of Gaza’s electricity and water grid an act of collective punishment against all Gazans in violation of international law. The Israeli human rights organization calls on the state of Israel to end these actions.

The Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy (MIFTAH) is a Jerusalem-based NGO “dedicated to fostering democracy and good governance within Palestinian society.” It aims “to serve as a Palestinian platform for global dialogue and cooperation guided by the principles of democracy, human rights, gender equity, and participatory governance.”

That said, MIFTAH’s article June 23 headlined “Growing Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza.” It warns of a major humanitarian disaster being inevitable unless Israel eases its border crossing restrictions and allows in vitally needed supplies. At present, only a two to four week supply of food remains. Essential food and other supplies “are waiting to enter Gaza” but have been denied entry by Israel since Hamas’ takeover in June. It mentions the German chapter of UNICEF reporting on the “deteriorating condition of Gaza’s children (from) lack of proper sanitation.” It heightens the risk of diseases and contagion from some of them with limited medications on hand. So far, Israel is adamant citing “security considerations” for keeping border crossings closed. By that it means it intends to keep punishing all Palestinians collectively for having elected Hamas its government.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) offers the most detailed and harrowing account of how desperate conditions now are in Gaza. It says how “gravely concerned” it is since Israel tightened its siege by closing all border crossings, including the Rafah International Crossing Point on the Egyptian border. It urgently calls on all states, UN agencies and all international humanitarian organizations “to immediately take steps to pressurize (Israel) to allow the normal flow of basic supplies, including foodstuffs and medical supplies, into the Gaza strip to avoid an imminent crisis that threatens” 1.5 million Gazans. Three-fourths of them live in poverty and nearly as many are unemployed and have no other source of help. Gaza is the most densely populated place on earth. It’s also the world’s largest (Israeli-imposed) open-air prison. It’s more locked down than ever with all border crossing points closed and sealed and Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) attacking the Strip daily.

As long as Israel is unwilling to open them, food, medicines, fuel and other essential supplies can’t get in. Palestinians desperately needing medical care outside the Strip can’t travel to get it. Gaza hospitals and health centers can’t provide essential medical services. PCHR lists the site closures:

— the Rafah International Crossing Point on the Egyptian border through which Palestinians travel back and forth;

— the Karni commercial crossing gravely affecting food and other essential deliveries. Mentioned is the shortage of wheat with mills running out and having to shut down. Gaza needs 600 tons of wheat daily;

— the Sofa crossing through which raw materials enter halting most construction projects;

— the Kerem Shalom crossing through which food and medicines come;

— the Erez crossing affecting international and local organizations, patients and commercial traders; and

— the Nahal Oz crossing through which fuel transits.

PCHR calls on Israel to reconnect Gaza to the outside world and avoid a humanitarian disaster. It wants the “economic siege” on Gaza ended; human rights to be respected; and international law obeyed, including the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention (GCIV – ratified and accepted by 194 countries as of June, 2006) relating to the rights and protections of civilians in times of war “in the hands” of an enemy and under occupation by a foreign power.

It further calls for increasing essential aid from international humanitarian organizations to relieve the deteriorating conditions in the Territory and human suffering. It asks that the rights of all Palestinians be respected and that all efforts be made to ensure them.

PCHR also publishes daily reports and a weekly summary of events on the ground in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). They always center on Israeli Defense Forces’ (IDF) “continue(d) systematic attacks on Palestinian civilians and property.” Its latest weekly summary runs through July 4 and cites the following violence in Gaza and Fatah-run West Bank from daily Israeli incursions in both areas.

In Gaza and the West Bank:

— 10 Palestinians, including 6 civilians, were killed by Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), 3 by extra-judicial assassination in Khan Yunis;

— 27 Palestinian civilians were wounded by IDF gunfire;

— IDF conducted 31 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 3 others in Gaza;

–IDF conducted a 2-day incursion into Nablus and neighboring refugee camps;

— IDF arrested 92 Palestinian civilians, including 19 children, in the West Bank;

— IDF continued imposing a total siege on the OPT;

— 12 Palestinians trapped on the Egyptian side of the Rafah International Crossing Point died for lack of attention to their medical needs;

— A Palestinian wounded in a car died as IDF obstructed his evacuation to a hospital; ambulances attending the sick and wounded are routinely attacked;

— IDF arrested 6 other Palestinians at various checkpoints; and

— In addition to a strict siege on Gaza discussed above, IDF tightened a similar one on Fatah’s controlled West Bank isolating Jerusalem from the rest of the Territory. Severe restrictions on movement are in place and additional checkpoints have been erected on main roads and at intersections. These events are part of daily life imposed on Palestinians by their Israeli occupiers making life for them intolerable and the reason they resist.

— After this report was released, IDF killed at least 11 Palestinians and wounded 25 others on July 5 in what Israeli military officials dismissively called “a routine operation.” In response, Hamas officials accused Israel of provoking conflict while they’re trying to end it and maintain law and order.

The Palestinian people have endured unbearable hardships and suffering like this for nearly six decades, the result of cruel unremitting Israeli repression of them. Yet they endure, resist and continue working for what they want most – to live freely and securely in peace in their own unoccupied land ruled by governments they elect to serve them. It’s the dream of all oppressed people – to one day have the equity and social justice they deserve. By now, Israeli and western governments should know Palestinians won’t ever stop struggling for the rights no nation has the right to deny them. One day they’ll prevail because they won’t give up resisting until they do.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at

Also visit his blog site at and listen to The Steve Lendman News and Information Hour on Saturdays at noon US central time.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

Prescribing world terrorism By ERIC MARGOLIS

Sun, July 8, 2007

Pundits and self-appointed experts on Islam are wringing their hands and trying to explain why two Muslim doctors and at least six other medical workers were involved in this week’s failed bombings in London and Glasgow.

It certainly sounds horrific and counter-intuitive. Physicians, trained to heal, turned into would-be mass murderers with cars packed full of explosive materials and nails. Since I’m writing a book on why the Muslim world is so angry at the West, let me venture some heretical thoughts.

First, there is nothing sacrosanct about doctors. Behind carefully cultivated veneers of icy detachment, they have the same emotions as ordinary mortals. The most evil, frightening man I ever met — and I’ve met a lot — was Haiti’s tyrant, “Papa Doc” Duvalier, who was a crusading country doctor before he turned into a Voodoo-crazed despot.

Second, the amateur, would-be killers who staged these bungled attacks were not, as many Western pundits claim, driven by some sort of homicidal perversion native to Islam. An entire cottage industry of publicity-seeking anti-Muslim writers is at work seeking to confirm the increasingly popular prejudice that Islam is a sick, demented, homicidal faith. These pundits are merely licking the hand that pays them.

The two accused doctors now under arrest in Britain were most likely driven by rage over the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, pure and simple.

Nothing ever excuses killing civilians. Those who stage horrific bombings against Israelis, Europeans, Americans and fellow Muslim civilians are criminals. Nothing excuses their behaviour. But we must understand why it happens and why it will continue.

Right response

Britain’s new prime minister, Gordon Brown, responded the right way to the London and Glasgow incidents. Unlike Tony Blair, who raised anti-Western attacks to hysterical, apocalyptic levels, declaring civilization in peril, the dour Brown properly characterized the latest outrages as “criminal” acts to be handled by the police.

The two doctors suspected of trying to kill British civilians were most likely motivated by the same ferocious fury as the suicide squads who attacked New York and Washington on Sept. 11, 2001.

Their attacks were not the result of some innate sickness in Islam, misreading the Koran, brainwashing, or hatred of Western shopping habits. Our governments and media just refuse to face the ugly reality that such attacks are a direct reaction to our own violent actions in the Mideast and South Asia.

We can’t expect to go on bombing and shooting up Iraq, or shredding Afghan villages with cluster bombs and 20mm gatling guns, and not expect violent reaction. The increasing deaths of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the ongoing agonies of Palestine, have enraged the Muslim world against the West.

Most Muslims simply complain. But a tiny number, as in Britain, forget rationality, humanity, or common sense and try to strike back at what they believe are the oppressors of the Muslin world.

Such violence is criminal and, worse, to paraphrase Tallyrand, a mistake. They undermine whatever cause the militants are fighting for, making them into criminals with no possible justifiable grievances. In the end, innocent Muslims in Britain and other Western nations become victims of these mindless attacks.

But revenge attacks will continue, and even intensify, until the West reassesses its policies in the regions that are generating such anti-Western violence.

Intensified police work is needed at home to prevent more attacks. Muslim leaders must keep telling their people that attacks against civilians are immoral and self-defeating.

But Western governments have to face the fact that the wars they are waging against the Muslim world are the primary generators of terrorism. In the intelligence business, it’s called blowback.

Blaming every violent incident on the shadowy al-Qaida is a handy excuse for avoiding reality and responsibility.

But it won’t change the fact that a good 20% of the world’s population is increasingly enraged at the U.S., Britain and Australia.

And, now, Canada.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

Bone Dance: A Late Ephiphany at the New York Times by Chris Floyd

Written by Chris Floyd
Monday, 09 July 2007


This is the sound of a very large bone, lodged for a very long time, being hocked up at last:

“It is time for the United States to leave Iraq, without any more delay than the Pentagon needs to organize an orderly exit.” —the New York Times, July 8, 2007.

Only four years — and hundreds of thousands of dead bodies — too late, of course. And it might have been nice if the Times editorialists had noted the very large part their own paper played in what they now call — they now call — “this unnecessary invasion.”

Still, one can only hope — wanly, I’m afraid — that this turnaround will embolden the timorous spirits now guiding the Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress. Sure, they blithely ignored the will of the anti-war majority of the American people who elected them, and not only did not take concrete steps to end the war, but even acquiesced in a major escalation of the crime. What did you expect? Nobody cares what the rubes out there have to say. But the New York Times now, that’s a different matter! If they say it’s OK to end the war, if you have that Establishment seal of approval, why then, you might be able take a few steps toward reining in this thing — without risking the ire of your corporate donors.

So we shall see. I would imagine that we are now headed for the kind of “grand compromise” already being mooted by Bob Gates and others: a large-scale withdrawal of combat troops before the end of Bush’s term, in exchange for leaving a hefty “residual force” behind. The final, panicky bugout will be left to the Crawford Caligula’s successor.

But no matter what form the inevitable withdrawal (or partial withdrawal) takes, one thing is almost certain: the Bushists will rain mountains of fire and death on Iraq before the pullout, in a spate of frenzied attacks and offensives and air strikes that will be billed as “cracking down hard on the terrorists before handing over responsibility for security to our Iraqi allies” or some such — but will in fact be a harsh and brutal act of revenge on the Iraqis for making America look bad.

Then of course, there’s always the Iran option…and the Times is showing every indication of being on board for that. There is much more fall of blood to come before we even begin to see the beginning of the end of Bush’s war.


About that “grand compromise,” it looks like the White House is laying the groundwork — through the ever-reliable news pages of the increasingly schizoid NYT — for a few cosmetic changes that will lower some of the political heat it’s getting from worried Republicans in Congress, who are suddenly afraid that the war of aggression they have enthusiatically cheered for years might now cost them their cozy perches at the public trough. Read the story here — if you can make your way through the self-serving spin coming at you from all directions. In the end, however, all of these Republican “defectors” support leaving “residual forces” in Iraq, thus achieving one of the Bush Faction’s primary war aims, clearly stated even before L’ilPutzy was installed in office: an American military presence in Iraq, propping up a friendly government willing to open up the nation’s oil fields to Western companies.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

NYT: The Road Home

NYT on Iraq: Better Late Than Never? By Robert Parry

The ongoing journalistic scandal at the New York Times by Glenn Greenwald

NYT on Iraq: Better Late Than Never? By Robert Parry

By Robert Parry
July 8, 2007

In an extraordinary full-length editorial, the New York Times has called for an end to the U.S. military occupation of Iraq, a step that some anti-war Americans may praise as a turning-point while others will be left wondering why it took the nation’s leading newspaper more than four years – and scores of thousands of dead – to figure this out.

To its credit, the Times does acknowledge that its previous pro-occupation positions – favoring rebuilding what the U.S. invasion had destroyed and worrying about the dire consequences that might result from a U.S. withdrawal – were faulty.

The Times concedes that whatever horrors might follow the end of the U.S. military occupation, they are not likely to be avoided by an indefinite continuation; that it is time to admit that a grotesque mistake in U.S. national security policy was made in 2003 and readjust strategy to make the best of it.

“It is time for the United States to leave Iraq, without any more delay than the Pentagon needs to organize an orderly exit,” the editorial states.

Many anti-war Americans are sure to welcome the belated support of a newspaper whose own credulous reporting about Iraq’s mythical weapons of mass destruction played a key role in opening the path to war. The editorial also is certain to be denounced by the dwindling members of George W. Bush’s political cult as surrender or treason.

But a deeper question, which the United States eventually must face, is why so many of its leading journalistic institutions performed so badly in the run-up to the Iraq War and what can be done about it.

Why were small, under-funded news outlets, like our own, able to get these big stories mostly right, both before and after the invasion, while the prestige news organizations got the stories almost completely wrong – in both their reporting and opinion columns?

In 2002 and 2003, was even operating on a part-time basis – because we had run out of money in 2000. But simply by filtering out the nonsensical propaganda and doing some old-fashioned reporting, we were able to avoid many of the pitfalls of the Times, the Washington Post and the major networks.

For instance, near the start of the U.S. invasion, I contacted a number of my old military and intelligence sources, who voiced near unanimous concern about the WMD rationale behind the war and the rationality of a U.S.-British-led conquest of an Arab nation.

The only hope for meaningful success, these sources felt, was the unlikely possibility that Iraqis indeed would welcome the Americans as liberators and that WMD stockpiles would be discovered, thus justifying the invasion in the world’s eyes. In the opening days of the invasion, however, it became clear that neither eventuality was likely.

Iraqi Resistance

The unexpectedly strong Iraqi resistance despite the overwhelming firepower of the U.S. invasion force was an early warning sign of what was to come. Also, the absence of any Iraqi counterattack with chemical or biological weapons underscored how hollow the Bush administration’s alarmist rhetoric was.

So, only 10 days into the invasion, I compiled the doubts of my sources, along with the early reality of the invasion, into a article entitled “Bay of Pigs Meets Black Hawk Down,” which asserted that the war was already effectively “lost” and that the wisest course would be to start looking for an early exit strategy.

But the Bush administration propagandists and the compliant U.S. news media were not finished misleading the American people.

When the invading forces ousted Saddam Hussein’s government in April 2003, the American press corps continued to collaborate with the Bush administration’s image-manipulators by making a handful of Iraqis helping to pull down Hussein’s statue look like a massive public uprising. The trick was accomplished by showing only close-ups, not a wide-angled look at the small knot of people actually participating.

Then, not wanting to challenge the post-statue-toppling public opinion polls, the U.S. media shifted into full triumphal mode, hailing Bush as some kind of conquering hero and fawning over his P.R. stunt of a tail-hook landing on the USS Abraham Lincoln, where he declared victory under a giant “Mission Accomplished” banner.

Amid this premature euphoria, the warning signs of impending disaster were missed. When the evidence kept growing of the emerging calamity, even pre-war skeptics like the New York Times editorial writers offered arguments for why the United States must now succeed in Iraq.

A favorite battle cry during this middle period was “failure is not an option,” although I noted in one article in August 2005 that “no one in Washington has made a convincing case that failure is not at least a strong possibility.”

Though widely ignored by the U.S. news media, the evidence actually pointed to an al-Qaeda desire for the Americans to remain bogged down in Iraq as a way for the terrorist organization to attract new recruits, raise more money and rebuild its organizational infrastructure along the Afghan-Pakistani border.

According to one key intercepted al-Qaeda document, the view of the senior leadership was that “prolonging the war [in Iraq] is in our interest.”

Al-Qaeda’s greatest fear in Iraq was that the United States would withdraw its forces quickly, depriving the terrorist group of its chief recruiting pitch, causing many of its young recruits to go home, and prompting nationalist Iraqis to root out al-Qaeda operatives trying to establish an enclave. [See’s “Bush Is Losing the War on Terror.”]

Contrary to Bush’s claim that al-Qaeda’s plan was to oust U.S. forces from Iraq and then “follow us home,” the terrorist group’s actual strategy appears to be: trap the Americans in Iraq indefinitely, harden a new generation of terrorists, and exploit Muslim anger about the Iraq occupation to justify terrorist strikes against the West.

In its July 8 editorial, the New York Times finally has come to grips with this reality. The tragedy is that the Iraq War already has claimed the lives of more than 3,500 American soldiers and possibly hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.

Before the war is finally brought to an end, the total death toll is likely to put George W. Bush in the Pol Pot category of mass butchers.

But what historical infamy should fall on the heads of the major U.S. news organizations that were the handmaidens to the slaughter? And what can Americans do to ensure that a similar catastrophe never befalls the nation?

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, can be ordered at It’s also available at, as is his 1999 book, Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & ‘Project Truth.’

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.


The ongoing journalistic scandal at the New York Times by Glenn Greenwald

NYT: The Road Home

New York Times Editorial

07/08/07 “New York Times

It is time for the United States to leave Iraq, without any more delay than the Pentagon needs to organize an orderly exit.

Like many Americans, we have put off that conclusion, waiting for a sign that President Bush was seriously trying to dig the United States out of the disaster he created by invading Iraq without sufficient cause, in the face of global opposition, and without a plan to stabilize the country afterward.

At first, we believed that after destroying Iraq’s government, army, police and economic structures, the United States was obliged to try to accomplish some of the goals Mr. Bush claimed to be pursuing, chiefly building a stable, unified Iraq. When it became clear that the president had neither the vision nor the means to do that, we argued against setting a withdrawal date while there was still some chance to mitigate the chaos that would most likely follow.

While Mr. Bush scorns deadlines, he kept promising breakthroughs — after elections, after a constitution, after sending in thousands more troops. But those milestones came and went without any progress toward a stable, democratic Iraq or a path for withdrawal. It is frighteningly clear that Mr. Bush’s plan is to stay the course as long as he is president and dump the mess on his successor. Whatever his cause was, it is lost.

The political leaders Washington has backed are incapable of putting national interests ahead of sectarian score settling. The security forces Washington has trained behave more like partisan militias. Additional military forces poured into the Baghdad region have failed to change anything.

Continuing to sacrifice the lives and limbs of American soldiers is wrong. The war is sapping the strength of the nation’s alliances and its military forces. It is a dangerous diversion from the life-and-death struggle against terrorists. It is an increasing burden on American taxpayers, and it is a betrayal of a world that needs the wise application of American power and principles.

A majority of Americans reached these conclusions months ago. Even in politically polarized Washington, positions on the war no longer divide entirely on party lines. When Congress returns this week, extricating American troops from the war should be at the top of its agenda.

That conversation must be candid and focused. Americans must be clear that Iraq, and the region around it, could be even bloodier and more chaotic after Americans leave. There could be reprisals against those who worked with American forces, further ethnic cleansing, even genocide. Potentially destabilizing refugee flows could hit Jordan and Syria. Iran and Turkey could be tempted to make power grabs. Perhaps most important, the invasion has created a new stronghold from which terrorist activity could proliferate.

The administration, the Democratic-controlled Congress, the United Nations and America’s allies must try to mitigate those outcomes — and they may fail. But Americans must be equally honest about the fact that keeping troops in Iraq will only make things worse. The nation needs a serious discussion, now, about how to accomplish a withdrawal and meet some of the big challenges that will arise.

The Mechanics of Withdrawal

The United States has about 160,000 troops and millions of tons of military gear inside Iraq. Getting that force out safely will be a formidable challenge. The main road south to Kuwait is notoriously vulnerable to roadside bomb attacks. Soldiers, weapons and vehicles will need to be deployed to secure bases while airlift and sealift operations are organized. Withdrawal routes will have to be guarded. The exit must be everything the invasion was not: based on reality and backed by adequate resources.

The United States should explore using Kurdish territory in the north of Iraq as a secure staging area. Being able to use bases and ports in Turkey would also make withdrawal faster and safer. Turkey has been an inconsistent ally in this war, but like other nations, it should realize that shouldering part of the burden of the aftermath is in its own interest.

Accomplishing all of this in less than six months is probably unrealistic. The political decision should be made, and the target date set, now.

The Fight Against Terrorists

Despite President Bush’s repeated claims, Al Qaeda had no significant foothold in Iraq before the invasion, which gave it new base camps, new recruits and new prestige.

This war diverted Pentagon resources from Afghanistan, where the military had a real chance to hunt down Al Qaeda’s leaders. It alienated essential allies in the war against terrorism. It drained the strength and readiness of American troops.

And it created a new front where the United States will have to continue to battle terrorist forces and enlist local allies who reject the idea of an Iraq hijacked by international terrorists. The military will need resources and bases to stanch this self- inflicted wound for the foreseeable future.

The Question of Bases

The United States could strike an agreement with the Kurds to create those bases in northeastern Iraq. Or, the Pentagon could use its bases in countries like Kuwait and Qatar, and its large naval presence in the Persian Gulf, as staging points.

There are arguments for, and against, both options. Leaving troops in Iraq might make it too easy — and too tempting — to get drawn back into the civil war and confirm suspicions that Washington’s real goal was to secure permanent bases in Iraq. Mounting attacks from other countries could endanger those nations’ governments.

The White House should make this choice after consultation with Congress and the other countries in the region, whose opinions the Bush administration has essentially ignored. The bottom line: the Pentagon needs enough force to stage effective raids and airstrikes against terrorist forces in Iraq, but not enough to resume large-scale combat.

The Civil War

One of Mr. Bush’s arguments against withdrawal is that it would lead to civil war. That war is raging, right now, and it may take years to burn out. Iraq may fragment into separate Kurdish, Sunni and Shiite republics, and American troops are not going to stop that from happening.

It is possible, we suppose, that announcing a firm withdrawal date might finally focus Iraq’s political leaders and neighboring governments on reality. Ideally, it could spur Iraqi politicians to take the steps toward national reconciliation that they have endlessly discussed but refused to act on.

But it is foolish to count on that, as some Democratic proponents of withdrawal have done. The administration should use whatever leverage it gains from withdrawing to press its allies and Iraq’s neighbors to help achieve a negotiated solution.

Iraq’s leaders — knowing that they can no longer rely on the Americans to guarantee their survival — might be more open to compromise, perhaps to a Bosnian-style partition, with economic resources fairly shared but with millions of Iraqis forced to relocate. That would be better than the slow-motion ethnic and religious cleansing that has contributed to driving one in seven Iraqis from their homes.

The United States military cannot solve the problem. Congress and the White House must lead an international attempt at a negotiated outcome. To start, Washington must turn to the United Nations, which Mr. Bush spurned and ridiculed as a preface to war.

The Human Crisis

There are already nearly two million Iraqi refugees, mostly in Syria and Jordan, and nearly two million more Iraqis who have been displaced within their country. Without the active cooperation of all six countries bordering Iraq — Turkey, Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria — and the help of other nations, this disaster could get worse. Beyond the suffering, massive flows of refugees — some with ethnic and political resentments — could spread Iraq’s conflict far beyond Iraq’s borders.

Kuwait and Saudi Arabia must share the burden of hosting refugees. Jordan and Syria, now nearly overwhelmed with refugees, need more international help. That, of course, means money. The nations of Europe and Asia have a stake and should contribute. The United States will have to pay a large share of the costs, but should also lead international efforts, perhaps a donors’ conference, to raise money for the refugee crisis.

Washington also has to mend fences with allies. There are new governments in Britain, France and Germany that did not participate in the fight over starting this war and are eager to get beyond it. But that will still require a measure of humility and a commitment to multilateral action that this administration has never shown. And, however angry they were with President Bush for creating this mess, those nations should see that they cannot walk away from the consequences. To put it baldly, terrorism and oil make it impossible to ignore.

The United States has the greatest responsibilities, including the admission of many more refugees for permanent resettlement. The most compelling obligation is to the tens of thousands of Iraqis of courage and good will — translators, embassy employees, reconstruction workers — whose lives will be in danger because they believed the promises and cooperated with the Americans.

The Neighbors

One of the trickiest tasks will be avoiding excessive meddling in Iraq by its neighbors — America’s friends as well as its adversaries.

Just as Iran should come under international pressure to allow Shiites in southern Iraq to develop their own independent future, Washington must help persuade Sunni powers like Syria not to intervene on behalf of Sunni Iraqis. Turkey must be kept from sending troops into Kurdish territories.

For this effort to have any remote chance, Mr. Bush must drop his resistance to talking with both Iran and Syria. Britain, France, Russia, China and other nations with influence have a responsibility to help. Civil war in Iraq is a threat to everyone, especially if it spills across Iraq’s borders.

President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have used demagoguery and fear to quell Americans’ demands for an end to this war. They say withdrawing will create bloodshed and chaos and encourage terrorists. Actually, all of that has already happened — the result of this unnecessary invasion and the incompetent management of this war.

This country faces a choice. We can go on allowing Mr. Bush to drag out this war without end or purpose. Or we can insist that American troops are withdrawn as quickly and safely as we can manage — with as much effort as possible to stop the chaos from spreading.

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.


NYT on Iraq: Better Late Than Never? By Robert Parry

The ongoing journalistic scandal at the New York Times by Glenn Greenwald