The men planning America’s next air war by Eric Margolis

Dandelion Salad

by Eric Margolis
The Sunday Times
Times Online
September 22, 2007

An invitation to visit “Checkmate”, the US air force’s most important and secretive strategic planning group, was an offer that, as a veteran military analyst, I could not refuse. A few weeks earlier, I had written that the air force was the supreme instrument of America’s global power, likening it to the 19th-century Royal Navy. Were it not for the USAF’s 24-hour close air support, I said, US and British ground forces in Iraq and Afghanistan would be unable to defend their long, vulnerable supply lines, and might even face defeats like those suffered by imperial Britain at Kut and in the Afghan wars.

My column ricocheted around the Pentagon’s top brass and received a positive response from General Michael Moseley, the air force chief of staff. I was invited to the Pentagon to brief Checkmate’s senior officers on strategic developments in my speciality areas, the Middle East and South Asia. Soon after, I was in the Pentagon’s 17.1-mile maze of corridors amid 23,000 military and civilian personnel. The Checkmate group planned the devastating 1991 air force attack on Iraq, and the 2003 strike aimed at decapitating Iraq’s leadership. Its austere, high security offices are deep in the Pentagon’s prestigious inner rings, heavily shielded against electronic penetration. As I walked through each new section of Checkmate’s headquarters, a major preceded me, warning fellow officers to cover secret documents on their desks, and ensuring I did not stray into forbidden areas. I wryly recalled that security had not been this tight when I was the first western journalist invited into the Lubyanka, the KGB’s headquarters. Checkmate’s staff work close to the Pentagon’s Mount Olympus, the offices of the joints chiefs of staff. Brigadier General Lawrence Stutzriem, Checkmate’s brainy commander, reports directly to Moseley, who advises the president. In the Pentagon, reporting line can be more important than rank. Unlike other military bureaucracies, Checkmate has the ear of the gods of war. Its 20-30 young, high-energy officers have advanced academic and military degrees and are on the fast track to the top of America’s most forward-thinking, smartest service.

While the army and navy plan to re-fight America’s last wars, Checkmate is busy planning the next ones. Checkmate’s mission is to “think out of the box”, develop new, often unorthodox ideas, outflank bureaucracy and ensure they remain “air warriors”. Checkmate officers were eager to tell me about the fast-advancing decrepitude of their air fleet, whose average age is nearing 25 years. The air force has been in almost non-stop combat for 17 years. Many aircraft, scuh as the B-52 heavy bombers, America’s version of the Royal Navy’s Dreadnoughts, and tanker aircraft, are older than the pilots flying them.

I asked when the Bush administration’s widely expected air war against Iran would begin. This was not a subject my hosts cared to discuss. Smiles vanished. Dr Lani Kass, Checkmate’s formidable senior civilian official, a former Israeli military officer who had somehow morphed into a senior Pentagon advisor, dismissed my question, insisting no decision to attack Iran had been made. She called a possible air war “unlikely”. But I was ready to bet plans to blitz Iran were being drawn up in an adjoining office. One could feel a buzz of excitement among Checkmate’s hard-eyed officers who wore combat flight suits and tensed up every time I mentioned Iran. Pentagon sources say the air force has selected 3,000-4,000 targets in Iran, and that some US and British special forces are already operating there. However, Washington sources also report strong opposition to war against Iran among the Pentagon’s brass, and high-ranking officials in the CIA, Treasury, and state department. They view war with Iran as unpredictable, unwise and dangerous at a time when US ground and air forces are stretched to breaking point in Iraq and Afghanistan. “We can defeat Iran,” insisted Dr Kass, `but are Americans willing to pay the price?”

So far, apparently not. Congress has not been renewing the air force’s fleet and will baulk at the cost of a new war. Ironically, the air force is victim of its own success. The last time US ground forces came under enemy air attack was in 1953 during the Korean war. America’s air force fights and operates so efficiently the public and congress do not understand the enormous efforts and cost of keeping American domination of most of the world’s skies, space and cyberspace. Today, the air force has no real enemies left because it shot them all down. If the balloon goes up, Checkmate are likely to target the initial waves of devastating strikes against either Iran, or, as I was told, “the next enemy of America that sticks up its head”.

Copyright Eric Margolis

Eric Margolis is contributing foreign editor of Sun National Media, Canada

h/t: Antiwar.com

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.

TPMtv: Lieberman’s Bomb Iran Bill (video) + Action Alert (updated)

Dandelion Salad

Veracifier

Did you hear about the War on Iran Authorization bill the Senate is going to vote on perhaps as early as today? No, that’s not how it’s getting bil… Did you hear about the War on Iran Authorization bill the Senate is going to vote on perhaps as early as today? No, that’s not how it’s getting billed. But that’s what the ‘Kyl-Lieberman’ amendment is. In fact, the supporters of going to war against Iran are using exactly same strategy with this amendment that they did to lay the ground work for the Iraq War.

***

In case you thought it was just an aberrant moment of lunacy last week when Lieberman pressed General Petraeus for an attack on Iran, just before the weekend he introduced an amendment to the defense bill to authorize exactly that.

No, we are not kidding. He has drafted language that any impartial observer would interpret as a DECLARATION OF WAR against Iran, and he is pressing for a vote as fast as possible.

ACTION PAGE:
Stop Lieberman From SNEAKING An Iran War Declaration Through The Senate
9,161 Submissions so far

action page

h/t: Ratman From Myspace

see

U.S. Senate to vote on Iraq division plan: The US Senate is expected to vote as early as Tuesday on a Bosnia-style plan to subdivide Iraq on ethnic lines, touted by backers as the sole hope of forging a federal state out of sectarian strife. h/t: ICH

Update:

US Congress denounces Iranian president, votes to tighten sanctions

ynet
Published: 09.25.07, 18:07 / Israel News

The US Congress moved quickly Tuesday to signal its disapproval of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, calling for tighter sanctions against his government and designation of his military as a terrorist group.

The swift rebuke was a rare display of bipartisan cooperation in a Congress bitterly divided on the Iraq war. It reflected lawmakers’ long-held nervousness surrounding Tehran’s aggression in the region, particularly toward Israel – a sentiment fueled by the pro-Israeli lobby in Congress whose influence reaches across party lines. (AP)

h/t: CLG

Leahy to McConnell: Stop ‘Irresponsible Statements’ (videos; spying)

Dandelion Salad

Veracifier

Mike McConnell testifies before Senate Judiciary Committee, September 25, 2007

McConnell: Debate Really Will Kill Americans

McConnell: We Won’t Rush in Surveillance Emergency

see
Domestic Spying: Intel Chief Testifies on FISA (videos; links)

NSA ‘may not realize’ it collected info on innocent Americans, top US spy says by David Edwards & Nick Juliano

Have to Act While I Still Can by Bruce Gagnon

Bruce
Bruce

Dandelion Salad

by Bruce Gagnon
Bruce’s blog
Sept. 24, 2007

Democrats are blocking efforts to impeach Bush-Cheney. They want to keep the crooks around through the 2008 election figuring that having them in place will ensure that Hillary Clinton wins the White House and that they can widen their control over the Senate and the House of Representatives. So when the Dems say impeachment is a “distraction” they mean it. Impeachment is a distraction from their cynical plan to ride the public’s intense dislike of Bush-Cheney to power.

This is a despicable strategy as it ensures that the worst administration in the nation’s history will be be allowed to continue to work their evil ways for some time to come. We all know that the American people are now being prepared for the Iran attack. What are the Dems going to do about that? Nothing. Let Bush-Cheney play it out the Dems say. If more people (American GI’s and innocent Iraqi’s) die then no big deal. Political power for the Dems is job 1.

I’ve long ago reached the end of my rope with the Democratic Party. I am now totally committed to supporting any and all opposition to the Dems on every level in 2008. In my free time I will be supporting any Independent or Green candidate willing to stand against the pitiful Dems who claim to be anti-war candidates but keep enabling the Bush pirate team’s occupation of Iraq.

I’ve got to stand up even more and speak out even louder. I’ve got to be counted in this historic moment as our Constitution is being torn to shreds while the Dems cower in the corner of the Capitol building in Washington. I am very clear that if we are to be “saved” it will not be by a politician. It is now completely up to the people to save us from this slide. We either do it or we don’t. I don’t ever want it to be said that I was sitting on my ass during the most important moment in our country’s history.

So tomorrow I will join a group of people who will deliver letters to our “liberal” Democratic Party Congressman calling on him to support impeachment. Some of us will sit-in Tom Allen’s office demanding that he support impeachment. He’s already made it clear that he is not going to support impeachment – even though he has told several key impeachment activists in the state that he believes Bush-Cheney “have committed” multiple impeachable offenses.

But Tom Allen has gotten his marching orders from the national party and he is running for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Sen. Susan Collins (Republican). Allen’s strategy is to move toward the middle. He has a yellow stripe down the center of his back. He will talk a good peace game but fail to deliver.

I am not so desperate that I will just vote for anyone. I’ve worked as an activist way too long to give my sacred vote to any slimy politician who says one thing and does another.

No one wants to get arrested. No one wants to go to jail. But sometimes you have to stand up and be real. I feel that I have no other choice. I can’t wait for everyone else to turn things around. I have to act now, while I still can.

The Sino-Russian Alliance: Challenging America’s Ambitions in Eurasia by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

Dandelion Salad

by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya
Global Research, September 23, 2007
– 2007-08-26

“But if the middle space [Russia and the former Soviet Union] rebuffs the West [the European Union and America], becomes an assertive single entity, and either gains control over the South [Middle East] or forms an alliance with the major Eastern actor [China], then America’s primacy in Eurasia shrinks dramatically. The same would be the case if the two major Eastern players were somehow to unite. Finally, any ejection of America by its Western partners [the Franco-German entente] from its perch on the western periphery [Europe] would automatically spell the end of America’s participation in the game on the Eurasian chessboard, even though that would probably also mean the eventual subordination of the western extremity to a revived player occupying the middle space [e.g. Russia].”

-Zbigniew Brzezinski (The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives, 1997)

Sir Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Motion states that “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” These precepts of physics can also be used in the social sciences, specifically with reference to social relations and geo-politics.

America and Britain, the Anglo-American alliance, have engaged in an ambitious project to control global energy resources. Their actions have resulted in a series of complicated reactions, which have established a Eurasian-based coalition which is preparing to challenge the Anglo-American axis.

Encircling Russia and China: Anglo-American Global Ambitions Backfire

“Today we are witnessing an almost uncontained hyper use of force – military force – in international relations, force that is plunging the world into an abyss of permanent conflicts. As a result we do not have sufficient strength to find a comprehensive solution to any one of these conflicts. Finding a political settlement also becomes impossible. We are seeing a greater and greater disdain for the basic principles of international law. And independent legal norms are, as a matter of fact, coming increasingly closer to one state’s legal system. One state and, of course, first and foremost the United States, has overstepped its national borders in every way.”

-Vladimir Putin at the Munich Conference on Security Policy in Germany (February 11, 2007)

What American leaders and officials called the “New World Order” is what the Chinese and Russians consider a “Unipolar World.” This is the vision or hallucination, depending on perspective, that has bridged the Sino-Russian divide between Beijing and Moscow.

China and Russia are well aware of the fact that they are targets of the Anglo-American alliance. Their mutual fears of encirclement have brought them together. It is no accident that in the same year that NATO bombarded Yugoslavia, President Jiang Zemin of China and President Boris Yeltsin of Russia made an anticipated joint declaration at a historic summit in December of 1999 that revealed that China and the Russian Federation would join hands to resist the “New World Order.” The seeds for this Sino-Russian declaration were in fact laid in 1996 when both sides declared that they opposed the global imposition of single-state hegemony.

Both Jiang Zemin and Boris Yeltsin stated that all nation-states should be treated equally, enjoy security, respect each other’s sovereignty, and most importantly not interfere in the internal affairs of other nation-states. These statements were directed at the U.S. government and its partners.

The Chinese and Russians also called for the establishment of a more equitable economic and political global order. Both nations also indicated that America was behind separatist movements in their respective countries. They also underscored American-led amibitions to balkanize and finlandize the nation-states of Eurasia. Influential Americans such as Zbigniew Brzezinski had already advocated for de-centralizing and eventually dividing up the Russian Federation.

Both the Chinese and Russians issued a statement warning that the creation of an international missile shield and the contravention of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM Treaty) would destabilize the international environment and polarize the globe. In 1999, the Chinese and Russians were aware of what was to come and the direction that America was headed towards. In June 2002, less than a year before the onslaught of the “Global War on Terror,” George W. Bush Jr. announced that the U.S. was withdrawing from the ABM Treaty.

On July 24, 2001, less than two months before September 11, 2001, China and Russia signed the Treaty of Good-Neighbourliness and Friendly Cooperation. The latter is a softly worded mutual defence pact against the U.S., NATO, and the U.S. sponsored Asian military network which was surrounding China. [1]

The military pact of the Shanghai Treaty Organization (SCO) also follows the same softly worded format. It is also worth noting that Article 12 of the 2001 Sino-Russian bilateral treaty stipulates that China and Russia will work together to maintain the global strategic balance, “observation of the basic agreements relevant to the safeguard and maintenance of strategic stability,” and “promote the process of nuclear disarmament.” [2] This seems to be an insinuation about a nuclear threat posed from the United States.

Continued…

© Copyright Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Global Research, 2007
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=6688

see
America’s “Long War”: The Legacy of the Iraq-Iran and Soviet-Afghan Wars by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

War and the “New World Order” by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

‘The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy’ by John Mearsheimer & Stephen Walt

Dandelion Salad

By JOHN J. MEARSHEIMER and STEPHEN M. WALT
Published: September 23, 2007

First Chapter

America is about to enter a presidential election year. Although the outcome is of course impossible to predict at this stage, certain features of the campaign are easy to foresee. The candidates will inevitably differ on various domestic issues-health care, abortion, gay marriage, taxes, education, immigration-and spirited debates are certain to erupt on a host of foreign policy questions as well. What course of action should the United States pursue in Iraq? What is the best response to the crisis in Darfur, Iran’s nuclear ambitions, Russia’s hostility to NATO, and China’s rising power? How should the United States address global warming, combat terrorism, and reverse the erosion of its international image? On these and many other issues, we can confidently expect lively disagreements among the various candidates.

Yet on one subject, we can be equally confident that the candidates will speak with one voice. In 2008, as in previous election years, serious candidates for the highest office in the land will go to considerable lengths to express their deep personal commitment to one foreign country-Israel-as well as their determination to maintain unyielding U.S. support for the Jewish state. Each candidate will emphasize that he or she fully appreciates the multitude of threats facing Israel and make it clear that, if elected, the United States will remain firmly committed to defending Israel’s interests under any and all circumstances. None of the candidates is likely to criticize Israel in any significant way or suggest that the United States ought to pursue a more evenhanded policy in the region. Any who do will probably fall by the wayside.

Continued…

h/t: Antiwar.com

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.

see:

Just How Powerful is the Israel Lobby? Only Cheney Knows for Sure By SHERWOOD ROSS h/t: ICH

So Who’s Afraid of the Israel Lobby? By Ray McGovern

Israel Lobby

Red State Update: Ahmadinejad Hearts NY (video)

Dandelion Salad

travisandjonathan

Jackie and Dunlap on the president of… Jackie and Dunlap on the president of Iran’s visit to America.

see:

Turning Ahmadinejad into public enemy No. 1 By Juan Cole

Full Interview With Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (videos)

Columbia President Bollinger Introduces Ahmadinejad (video)

4 questions the media needs to start asking by Rich

Rich

Featured writer
Dandelion Salad

by Rich
Rich’s blog
Thumb Jig

Why Iraq?

First a shout out to Greenspan’s loose lips, without them journalists would have continued their indefensible silence on the giant turd in the room namely our manifest energy interests in the cradle of civilization. Even with big Al’s feeble back-peddling his initial candor should be acknowledged. However, oil isn’t the only reason we chose to unseat Saddam. The answer to “Why Iraq” is a confluence of factors. Greed. Ignorance. Racism. Oh, how people squirm when someone utters the “R” word. But I submit for your consideration: Would we have as quickly invaded a white, Christian nation? Or would we allow over 1 million European civilians die during an American military occupation? Be it Korea, Vietnam, Panama or Nicaragua, the current war is just an extension of an egregiously racist foreign policy. We feel Western lives hold more value than everyone else. And this approach has more than once doublebacked and hit us where the good Lord split us.

What is the best way to end the occupation?

If you only listen to the two options presented by the mainstream media it looks like we’re jolly well fucked. We’ve got two choices: 1) stay in Iraq until the second coming of Christ or 2) leave Iraq and watch the inevitable genocide ensue. What we need to do is make friends with the neighboring countries like Syria and Iran, who are creeps to be sure, but has that ever stopped us before? Suharto of Indonesia was an unsavory character and we supplied him with arms, or Davalier of Haiti wasn’t exactly a saint but we spirited him away to France when the peasants came for his head. These men were the worst our species can offer who so happened to be BFFs with our country. So why not recruit Ahmadinejad and al-Assad? They’re willing to lend a helping hand. Think about it, none of the surrounding states want to see a renegade Iraq next door endangering their stability. If there’s any trepidation to whether or not we can trust Ahmadinejad, the head of the I.A.E.A., Mohamed ElBaradei, came out as a closeted freedom hater by stating the obvious, that there’s no evidence supporting a “weaponized” Iranian nuclear program. But what does he know, he only heads the International Atomic Energy Agency. He doesn’t realize diplomacy is for wimps, momma’s boys and the French.

What is the best way of defending ourselves?

Thanks to the imprudent policies of Reagan and every president thereafter militant Islamists rose from the margins of Arab society into an influential sect. Legitimized as a defense against American imposition, our incessant bullying makes bin Laden’s message attractive to antagonized, young Muslims. That’s why we need to kiss our military palaces goodbye and exit Iraq immediately. This threat cannot be confronted with a bludgeon, we need to implement laser-like delicacy with police, not military, tactics, punish those who attacked us, not non-combatants. With our spying technology – which can be used lawfully under third party supervision – soft targets could be secured, and the criminals apprehended. The only person I know of on T.V. who’s saying any of this is my president, Mike Gravel. He even broke the taboo and called for a resolution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Which is smart because what do people like bin Laden say in every third video they release? Free Palestine. Holocaust denial is energized by the conflict as well. If there were to be a tenable, two-state solution extremists around the world would lose a lot of their purchase.

Can America really do that?

American Exceptionalism. This one is untouchable. Ironically, most of our entanglements could be avoided if the press applied this question more often. Fact – America is just another country like Estonian. We shouldn’t be granted entitlements on an international level just because we’re a graceless giant. Does the U.S. have the right to demand a military base in Turkey or Russia? No! Can we dictate who should or shouldn’t have the bomb? No! Should we be able to violate a nation’s sovereignty? No! A little humility goes a long way. While the car bombs we detonate, the democratically elected leaders we depose and the ethnic cleansing we support may go unnoticed or is readily forgotten by us, the victims left in our wake are rarely as forgiving as we are to ourselves.

Marrying Experience Isn’t the Same as Having It by Glitzqueen (aka The Other Katherine Harris)

glitzqueen

Featured writer
Dandelion Salad

Glitzqueen’s blog post
Sept. 24, 2007

Otherwise, instead of being the arts-communications-and-philosophy type that I am, I’d be an incredible pastiche of government auditor, psychologist, elementary schoolteacher and physicist! In the relationships, I learned a certain amount about each of these disciplines — but about as much as the husbands in question learned about writing, acting, marketing and existential aesthetics. Which is to say, something but not a great deal. You wouldn’t want me balancing your books, analyzing and counseling you, educating your children or, gawds forbid, operating a laser, in which case I’d probably mow a city down.

I’ve also had long-term liaisons with an architect, a venture capitalist and a dermatologist. While I know much more about their fields than I did going in, I didn’t magically acquire those professional skills by osmosis. If you need a building designed, a company financed or your zits cleared up, I’d be the wrong person to call.

After both Bill and Hillary got law degrees, the road before them forked. As she’s said, she wasn’t baking cookies while he governed Arkansas and then America, but she wasn’t anybody’s elected official, either, until lately. Although she made speeches and naturally got better at electioneering as Bill’s sidekick, she’s still nowhere near his league for charming a crowd — and, while he surely listened to her ideas with the respect due a spouse, she’s never actually run anything but her household and, for a few years, a senatorial office.

Why is nobody saying this? Why is she getting away with claiming her husband’s experience as hers?

That Hillary keeps being rammed down our throats as the Inevitable Democratic Candidate makes me want to scream. Clearly, the corporatists trust her more than any other Democrat, based on her presumed adherence to Bill’s triangulating policies (most notably in loosing NAFTA and media conglomeration on us) and they also consider her the easiest to defeat, as matchup polls show she is. So they win, either way — and we lose, either way, if daft enough to nominate her.