Edwidge Danticat on the US war on immigrants (videos)

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Democracy Now!
Friday, October 5th, 2007

In New Memoir, Award-Winning Haitian Novelist Edwidge Danticat Chronicles Death of Her Uncle at Federal Immigration Jail

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Edwidge Danticat is an award-winning Haitian-born writer who now lives in Miami. In November 2004, Danticat’s 81-year-old uncle, Reverend Joseph Dantica, died in the custody of immigration officials. He had arrived from Haiti seeking political asyslum following threats on his life. Denied his medicines and accused of faking an illness, he died just days after his detention. Edwidge Danticat tells this devastating story in her latest book, “Brother, I’m Dying.” [includes rush transcript]

Immigrant detention centers constitute one of the fastest growing forms of incarceration in the United States. Currently there are 30,000 immigrants in detention, and nearly 300,000 are detained each year. They are held in private, federal or county prisons across the country for weeks, and even months, while the government decides whether to deport them. According to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, which is a division of the Department of Homeland Security, one quarter of the people they detain suffer from chronic health conditions. ICE claims to spend $98 million a year on healthcare for detainees and to provide them with “humane and safe detention environments.” But at least 65 people have died in ICE custody since 2004. The House Judiciary Committee organized a hearing Thursday afternoon on this subject. Tom Jawetz of the ACLU prison project called the care at the detention centers “grossly deficient, inexcusable, and immoral.”Edwidge Danticat is an award-winning Haitian-born writer who now lives in Miami, Florida. She also testified at Thursday’s congressional hearing. In November of 2004, her 81-year-old uncle, Reverend Joseph Dantica, died in the Krome detention center in Miami. He had just fled Haiti after hiding from an armed gang that threatened to kill him because United Nations and Haitian police forces had fired shots from the roof of his church. Reverend Dantica arrived at Miami International Airport with a multiple-entry visa and said he was applying for temporary political asylum. He was immediately detained, and his medicines were taken away from him. A medic at Krome accused him of “faking his illness.” He died a few days later.Edwidge Danticat tells this devastating story in her latest book. It’s a memoir called “Brother, I’m Dying.” She joins me now from Miami, Florida.

  • Edwidge Danticat. Award-winning Haitian American novelist. She is the author of several books including “Breath, Eyes, Memory”, “The Farming of the Bones”, “Krik? Krak!” and “The Dew Breaker.” Her latest book is a memoir called “Brother, I’m Dying.” It tells the story of her uncle, Joseph Dantica, dying in the custody of the Department of Homeland Security.



Edwidge Danticat on the US war on immigrants


The Daily Show: Bush’s SCHIP Veto By Manila Ryce (link)

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By Manila Ryce
Published Friday, October 5th, 2007, 12:40 pm

Stewart describes Bush’s villainy as rivaling that of a cartoon character after he has recently refused to tax smokers in order to give poor children healthcare. Oh, did we mention that these children are communists? It’s true. They’re like a miniature Red Army trying to impose the horrors of socialized medicine on you and your loved ones. Doctors will abandon their scalpels for sickles, and iron curtains will be placed around each patient’s bed. Bush further articulates his reasons for vetoing the bill. Enjoy.

Stewart’s Money Quote: “It’s foolproof. Wait, unless we convince poor kids to start smoking. Then they would pay for their own healthcare.”

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Murdering Butter with Guns By David Michael Green

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By David Michael Green
10/05/07 “

A funny thing happened on the way to the White House in 1981.

Ronald Reagan had been talking throughout the previous year’s campaign about taking a meat-axe to federal taxes (and therefore, also, revenue, but that part somehow never got mentioned), about massively increasing military spending, and about balancing the budget. And doing all at once, no less.

Even a Republican could figure out – if they allowed themselves to – that the numbers couldn’t possibly add up. Indeed, no less a Goppy than Poppy (one George Herbert Walker Bush) referred to this preposterous suite of promises as “voodoo economics”. Er, he did that is, during the primaries, when he was competing with Reagan for the nomination. Once he had lost and was hungering for the newly nice and oh-so wise Saint Ron to offer him the vice-presidency, he all of a sudden became strangely silent on the topic, reminding the rest of us once again what is mankind’s second-oldest profession – a gig very much not unlike the first.

The mystery of how Reagan could possibly do all of these things was finally solved when the administration proposed its first budget and he absolutely didn’t. It couldn’t, of course, and not only did Reagan fail to balance the federal budget as promised, he actually went on to quadruple the national debt, choosing instead to avidly pursue the two more important remaining goals of his troika, tax-slashing and military spending.

Many people wondered at the time how the Republican Party could sustain this debt-crazed apostasy (not to mention hypocrisy), particularly after so many years of hammering the Democrats as “tax-and-spend liberals”. (Oh, and by-the-way Item Number One: The numbers involved would pale against those of today’s borrow-spend-and-giveaway Republicans.) (Oh, and by-the-way Item Number Two: Nevertheless, in an attempt to demonstrate that there truly is absolutely no bottom whatsoever to the well of GOP hypocrisy, this week we have Righteous George, Protector of the Purse, vetoing S-CHIP legislation and replaying the party’s tired old and now jaw-droppingly absurd tune as he claims that the Democratic Congress is being profligate with the public’s tax dollars. No-bid billions for the Blackwater black-hole? Absolutely. Money for sick kids? Irresponsible!)

When Reagan first went down this path it was so weird that a conspiracy theory of sorts arose. The notion was that Republicans knew they could not possibly go through the front door to successfully kill popular programs like Social Security and Medicare, even if they were willing to risk political suicide to do so. So Reagan’s agenda was a back-door approach, instead. Driving up the debt to completely unsustainable levels, the story went, America would be faced with a series of uncomfortable choices as collectors came demanding their payments. The country could either raise taxes, cut military spending, or slash social programs. The idea was that, of the three, the last of these would seem to the public like the least worst choice. And then conservatives could surreptitiously achieve a long-held goal, best expressed by Grover Norquist, right-wing tax crusader extraordinaire: “I don’t want to abolish government, I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.” By “government”, of course, he means the parts that help people, not the parts that kill people. For the right, those parts are okay. If not beloved.

Perhaps this conspiracy was real all along. Boy Bush has made Reagan look like Leona Helmsley’s accounts-payable supervisor by comparison when it came to deficit spending, managing to borrow more than all other American presidents (that’s 42 of them, if you’re keeping score here), combined. Ouch. That’s a lot of cash, dude. Indeed, about nine trillion bucks or so now on the national credit card, and rapidly rising. Plus, of course, interest. Trust me, you don’t want to be handed the bill for this party of the millennium, and neither do your children (”Excuse me, you did what to us?”).

But even if the alleged conspiracy was actually real, it seems likely to have been a bad bet all along. That is, I don’t think it’s a given that, presented with these three options, Americans would necessarily acquiesce to the destruction of the country’s social safety net, especially the massive cohort of Baby Boomers who are just now approaching the age where their hands are going to be extended outward, palm up. I think that given such a stark choice, something miraculous might occur. Americans might choose to finally give up their empire instead, just as the British did when they could no longer afford to pay for both guns and butter after the two world wars. This conservative plan, if it was ever real, could backfire quite nicely into forcing the country to think seriously about excessive military spending for the first time since World War II, and then perhaps to, in the words of Colin Powell, “cut it off, and then … kill it”.

To see what I mean, let’s pull Joe Six Pack – or preferably, the Baby Boomer version of Joe Six Pack (Joe Dime Bag?) – off the street and ask him some basic questions about his priorities for American government:

Joe, which would you prefer, to receive your Social Security payments, or to bring democracy to the Middle East (even assuming it could be done by American military force, which it quite clearly cannot)?

Which would you prefer, Joe, to fully fund Medicare, or to protect the ability of American corporations to pillage third world countries unhampered by inconveniences like, say, the governments of those countries?

Which would you prefer, education for your children and grandchildren, or continued tax breaks for Americans who are already fabulously wealthy?

Which would you prefer, national infrastructure that isn’t crumbling, or corporate welfare programs for well connected defense industry firms?

These may seem like tongue in cheek pokes at America’s national priorities, but they will actually become very real choices in the near future, especially if there is a progressive party or other force in America able to articulate the obvious options, and provided the the word can get out. Given the performance of the Democratic Party and the media of late, these are far from foregone conclusions. (Heck, I’m far from even being convinced that Bush and Cheney will actually leave office on January 20, 2009. Watch for them to pull a Putin.) But apart from those major caveats, these questions will rapidly become all too real.

When the bill for the fiscal blow out comes due, hard choices are going to have to be made. Americans are not big on taxes, but they don’t support the idea of the rich getting a free ride. That hard choice is likely to be an easy choice.

Americans will never accept a weak defense apparatus that leaves the country vulnerable to attack. But beyond that, they may well finally be open to some thoughtful discussion about what is needed to achieve that end – and where the rest of the money is going – especially if such a dialogue is prompted by the requirements imposed by an encroaching reality, forcing decisions like the ones posited above.

Right now, it’s a safe guess that the public has only the vaguest notion of the costs and capacities of the American military, especially in any relative sense. Most people probably understand that the United States has the most powerful military in the world, and they support that. On the other hand, they might well be horrified to learn just how expensive that military is, how ridiculously disproportionate it is to the others in the world, and how removed those costs are from any real threat facing the country. In times of plenty – or faux plenty – when your government is giving you tax money back even while it is fighting two wars simultaneously, those questions don’t need to be asked (or at least one can be so deluded into thinking). But those days will soon be gone, and – as they say – payback’s a bitch.

It’s harder than might be imagined to track federal expenditures, because there are lots of accounting choices (and nifty tricks, if you so desire to trick people) involved. But, near as I can tell, the US is now contemplating a budget of $672 billion this year for ‘defense’. That, by the way, is up from $385 billion in 2000, measured in constant (2007) dollars. And that, of course, is nearly a doubling, from what was already a huge amount. These numbers don’t include the costs of past wars (principally debt from loans), estimated in 2006 to be about $264 billion. If you add that figure to the $572 spent last year for last year’s military, you get $837 billion spent on the military in 2006, or 41 percent of the federal budget.

How does that stack up comparatively? Social Security took $595 billion in 2006. Twelve percent of the budget went to poverty initiatives, five percent to community and economic development, and two percent to science, energy and environmental programs.

How does that stack up internationally? In 2004, while the rest of the world’s military expenditures equaled $500 billion, the US was spending $534 billion. That is to say, more than all the rest of the entire world. Combined.

Americans might even be fine with a military budget that dwarfs the sum total for entire rest of the world – nearly 200 other countries – assuming unlimited resources to provide butter as well as guns (though if they knew the relative figure was quite that big, they might choke a bit on the expenditures even with low taxes and adequate social spending). But when you reach the point where you start having to choose one or the other – a point we actually reached long ago, but have hidden from ourselves by borrowing – everything is different, hence the above alternatives for Joe Six-Pack to ponder.

What is sorely missing today, and would be even more so at the moment when our fiscal recklessness is no longer sustainable even under conditions of mass societal hallucination, is simply a rational discussion of the purposes of the United States military. Once that happens, programmatic and budgetary choices then follow in the logical order which they should in any universe where people are even remotely in touch with reality.

In fact, the current military budget could easily be slashed, because the only reason for its ridiculously bloated proportions is to pursue missions far beyond those Americans would support even during conditions of plenty, let alone when the alternative becomes giving up their expected benefits.

If we think about military priorities from the ground up, without any built-in assumptions, and without the necessity of maintaining existing programs on the basis of inertia alone, I don’t think we’d get very far before the public would shout out “enough”, especially if they were faced with the choice of having their Social Security checks bounce in order to instead fund some obscure military objective on behalf of corporate interests in Burkina Faso.

What do Americans want? They want defense, in the true meaning of the word. To begin with, I have little doubt that Americans would be willing to spend whatever it takes to defend American soil from foreign attack. When it comes to state-based violence, that need could be fairly easily addressed by a nuclear deterrent force a tenth of the size of the current one, along with a moderate contingent of land and naval forces. The cost of these represent a small fraction of the current total military budget. No country is ever going to attack the United States in either a traditional operation using conventional forces or by means of non-conventional weapons, of course, because to do so would mean their instant obliteration. Whatever else one can say about nuclear weapons and all the real and potential horrors of mass annihilation, they do give pause to those who would contemplate an attack, in all but the most dire conflicts or screw-ups. (And this works both ways, of course. It is no accident that the US never attacked the Soviet Union or China, for instance, or that Bush did go into Iraq, but not North Korea.) Perhaps some day nuclear weapons can be eliminated from the planet. In the meantime, though, a small quantity of them could form part of a defense structure that permitted the US to dramatically cut military spending while allowing Americans to feel secure from external threat.

Americans would also support, I think, the military having the capability to respond to certain emergencies abroad – say, enough force for the early stages of a scenario where an ally was invaded, or US diplomats or nationals needed to be rescued from some sort of foreign incident. This means some special forces – again, a relatively small and inexpensive portion of the current military budget – and the same small to moderate land and naval forces charged with defending the national borders.

Clearly, the public would also support whatever force is necessary to effectively attack and destroy non-state actors, such as al Qaeda, who seek to harm the United States through non-conventional assaults. John Kerry of course paid the price for speaking honestly about this in 2004, back when this country was still shaking off the hangover from the Bush Binge of 9/11 and beyond, but he was right in asserting that terrorist threats are best resisted by means of intelligence and law enforcement (and sometimes small scale military action, when useful), which is also a relatively low-cost affair, comparatively speaking. (Throw in a little global justice and economic development, moreover, and you might find you’ve eliminated most such threats before they ever come to exist. What a concept, eh?)

Finally, unquestionably, there would be support in the United States for the capacity to rapidly increase US military capability in response to a major unexpected scenario. Americans will want a National Guard, Reserves, and the infrastructure necessary for a Post-Pearl Harbor-like draft and rapid militarization in the event of such an unanticipated attack. But again, maintaining this capacity – as opposed to the actual forces – is not a terribly expensive proposition.

And that, I suspect, is it. A moderate base force, a small nuclear deterrent capability, the Guard and Reserves, and the capacity to rapidly add more as needed. In sum, a vastly smaller military than today’s.

This is not World War II we’re in today, and it’s not the Cold War. There is no need for a massive military armada to be fielded or even to stand in readiness, as there is no massive implacable enemy to be vigilant against, let alone a massive implacable enemy which we would fight with conventional set-piece armies to be landed at places like Normandy, and to fight territorial struggles like the Battle of the Bulge.

What is the difference, then, between this American military that the public would support and the one we’ve got, besides of course hundreds of billions of dollars per year? The short answer is the capacity to ‘protect’ American ‘interests’ abroad. Does the American public care whether Botswana is a democracy or not? Probably a little – not that anyone would have the slightest clue where or what it is – but not enough to invest their tax dollars in it, not enough to forego the government services they want at home, and not enough to spill their children’s blood there. Turns out their government doesn’t care either, though it may well pretend to on occasion. It doesn’t even care whether Botswana – democracy or autocracy – is particularly ‘pro-American’.

What the American government cares about, above all, is that Botswana plays ball with those economic actors (who nowadays might not even necessarily be American-based) with a pipeline to power in Washington. Usually that means that a neat little dictatorship is in fact preferable to a democratically elected government, particularly one that makes the mistake of having the real interests of the local people in mind. Folks in Iran, Chile, Guatemala, Nicaragua and beyond will be happy to verify this proposition, in case you have any doubt.

Which brings us back to the absurd levels of military spending the United States has been indulging in latter years, like an insatiable crack addict. I hate to break up the acid test party with a mild dose of reality, but it’s pure lunacy to spend considerably more than all of nearly 200 other countries in the world on your national defense. I mean, isn’t it? Is there really no limit to the depths of America’s national paranoia? Well, as a matter of fact, it gets far stranger yet when you contemplate that none of those countries – not even North Korea, Cuba or Iran – have expressed anything approaching a genuine hostility toward your country which could plausibly lead to an attack on their part. Then it becomes the very definition of insane when you have a nuclear deterrent force that prevents any of those countries from attacking you even if they wanted to. And it makes the insane look downright wholesome when you spend these obscene sums to fight a non-existent enemy, but cannot afford a children’s healthcare program at home. If you needed to write a definition of a society gone mad, surely this would be the textbook case.

Let’s face it, probably three-fourths of the Pentagon budget is spent to enrich contractors at home and bust down doors for corporate predators abroad. China spends about $60 or $70 billion a year on protecting the same geographical area as the US and more than four times the number of people. Who is going to mess with that country? Not even the United States, with tens times the military budget, would dare. Surely America could easily procure the same degree of security as the Chinese do for – let’s be generous – say, double their expenditure, if its true interests were purely defensive.

Nor would such a formula be a prescription for disarmament or a wimpy defense posture. This is still double the amount of any other country in the world. Certainly many would argue that far less than even that much should be spent. I’m one of them, but right now I’d gladly settle for a 75 percent reduction in military spending.

Of course, there are those who would claim that the United States is the ‘indispensable nation’, the one that provides the glue for keeping peace in the international system, and the only one capable of mounting an operation like the Iraq war. Let’s leave aside for the moment the poor performance of keeping peace during the ‘American century’, which often seemed rather more like the American adventure series, and let’s leave aside also the disasters of Afghanistan, Vietnam and Iraq. What a critique such as this actually reveals is three things. First, that other developed countries have been able to buy butter like national healthcare and such, while we have stupidly forsaken it for guns. Second, that the result of our spending the last decades undermining the creation of a legitimate and functional international force to clean up international messes is – surprise, surprise – that no such forces now exist to carry this burden. And third, that we’re too arrogant and narcissistic to pay attention to the wake-up call that non-interest in our wars among potential allies represents.

This is where multilateralism comes into play in a crucial and cognitive fashion. If we can’t attract serious allied support for a war, it’s certainly worth asking whether we should be engaged in such a conflict at all. Neocon blowhards love to argue that Europeans have gone soft and are all from Venus, while tough-guy Americans are from Mars. The truth is that Europeans were fighting wars long before America was even in diapers, and they’ve learned more from the experience than have we. They’re not soft. Rather, it’s that they’re not indiscriminate. They went to Afghanistan. They didn’t go to Iraq. Or at least a lot of them didn’t. The others only went because they wanted to keep the hyperpower happy. The next stop was regret, followed by withdrawal of what were mostly token forces anyhow. In any case, for a legitimate threat or a legitimate emergency (the antithesis of Iraq), the Europeans and many others would stand shoulder to shoulder with America, as has happened many times previously, including those wimpy cheese-eating French who were there at America’s birth, and without whom, indeed, the country would likely not have been born at all.

But wouldn’t cutting American military spending dramatically make the country weaker? To the contrary, our current approach makes us weaker. We have lost the capacity to exert soft power by over-reliance on hard power. Nobody follows us anymore unless they have to because we have twisted their arm nearly out of its socket, or unless they’re into committing career suicide, like Tony Blair did. And, increasingly, that simply means that nobody follows us anymore at all. The tauntings of Hugo Chávez or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would have been inconceivable not so long ago. Now they represent leadership to a resentful world where the arrogant and impotent superpower has hobbled itself, and can do nothing to respond. Meanwhile, China and Russia quietly build power and influence, wondering what they ever did to get so lucky as to have a rival apparently quite devoted to destroying itself.

In addition to being so diplomatically, we are also weakened economically. Dollars spent on bombs instead of education mean a dummer ‘Muricah, bro. Dollars spent on napalm instead of education mean a sicker America. And ask the Soviets what happens to a national economy when it is dominated by military spending. If you can find the Soviets, that is, which you can’t (hint, hint). National security in the modern era depends on economic power as well as on legions and hardware. In a very real sense, therefore, we are diminishing our capacity to provide sustained military security should we need it tomorrow, by bloating it out of all recognition today.

Finally, it is pretty impossible to argue that recent choices have made the America militarily stronger in even the most narrow sense. When all your land forces are bogged down in a worse than useless war, you’ve got a problem should a real crisis come ‘round the corner. When even a sycophant like Colin Powell can say that your Army is “broken”, surely it is and worse. When your own intelligence agencies affirm that your actions in Mesopotamia are actually creating terrorists with a vengeance (and with a vengeance), you screwed up bad, pal. When nobody believes you anymore including your own public, and you have to pay exorbitant sums to get people otherwise headed to jail to join your ‘volunteer’ military, it’s no longer clear which is scarier – your army or theirs. Hey everybody, raise your hand right now if you feel safer today than before Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld got hold of US national security policy. Yeah, that’s what I thought.

All this obscenely exorbitant military spending represents one helluva lot of bad news, but the good news is that the entire scenario is unsustainable. One day, not long from now, Americans will have to make tough choices that they are avoiding (and therefore exacerbating) today. But in all probability, such choices may not actually wind up being so tough, after all.

We want our MTV, and we want our Social Security.

And if we have to sacrifice protecting Chiquita Brands’ exorbitant profits in Guatemala or Colombia to get them, we will.

David Michael Green is a professor of political science at Hofstra University in New York. He is delighted to receive readers’ reactions to his articles (dmg@regressiveantidote.net), but regrets that time constraints do not always allow him to respond. More of his work can be found at his website, www.regressiveantidote.net.

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.

10.04.07 Uncensored News Reports From Across The Middle East (video; over 18 only)

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This video contains images depicting the reality and horror of war and should only be viewed by a mature audience.

Selected Episode

Oct. 4, 2007


“Bush Offers Iran a Diplomatic Solution,” Al Arabiya TV, UAE
“Hariri Meets with Bush,” Future TV, Lebanon
“Families of Lebanese Prisoners Stage Sit-ins,” LBC TV, Lebanon
“Bhutto & Musharraf Strike a Deal,” Al Jazeera TV, Qatar
“Fatah & Hamas Clash in Lebanon,” Dubai TV, UAE
“UN Condemns Attack on African Union Forces,” Sudan TV, Sudan
“Mauritanian Prisoner Released from Guantanamo,” Al-Alam TV, Iran
“Violence in Afghanistan Worse than Ever,” Al Jazeera English, Qatar

Kucinich: About the Imagine Peace Tower (video)

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Dennis Kucinich talks about the IMAGINE PEACE TOWER in Reykjavik, Iceland, which Yoko Ono will unveil and dedicate to John Lennon on his birthday, …

Dennis Kucinich talks about the IMAGINE PEACE TOWER in Reykjavik, Iceland, which Yoko Ono will unveil and dedicate to John Lennon on his birthday, October 9th 2007.
Video by Chad Ely

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Get Educated: Confessions of an Economic Hit Man By William Mac (videos)

By William Mac
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
The Mac Manifesto (William Mac)
Oct. 5, 2007

ThisWeekInTime William Mac from The Mac Manifesto at…

William Mac from The Mac Manifesto at William-Mac.com turns people on to the book “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” written by John Perkins. He reads a chosen excerpt from Chapter two “In For Life” and explains why this book is important to read. It details real life corruption in government and corporations from a man who was there and who operated on the front lines, and the book sheds light on a wide array of subjects including the ongoing Iraq war and how this war was actually a failed “Economic Hit”.

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“We Don’t Speak To Evil” By Ted Rall

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By Ted Rall

The nation is Iran. And the reaction is ridiculous.

“The Evil Has Landed,” shrieked the headline of the New York Daily News on the occasion of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s speeches at the United Nations and Columbia University. A “madman,” Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post spat, setting the tone for a week of Bizarro News. On “60 Minutes,” the Iranian president said there was no reason his country and ours couldn’t be friends–even the best of friends.

“La la la la–we can’t hear you” was the response.

“Is it the goal of your government, the goal of this nation to build a nuclear weapon?” CBS News’ Scott Pelley asked Ahmadinejad.

He replied: “You have to appreciate we don’t need a nuclear bomb. We don’t need that. What need do we have for a bomb?”

Pelley followed up: “May I take that as a ‘no,’ sir?”

Ahmadinejad: “It is a firm ‘no.'”

Some Americans would pay good money to hear an answer as honest and straightforward as that from their leaders. Yet, minutes later, Pelley kept badgering: “When I ask you a question as direct as ‘Will you pledge not to test a nuclear weapon?’ you dance all around the question. You never say ‘yes.’ You never say ‘no.'”

Weird. Is Pelley hard of hearing? But what I really can’t figure out is how Iran qualifies as our–Very Big Word coming–“enemy.” We’re not at war with Iran. Neither are our allies. What gives?

Capitalizing on the reliable ignorance of the American public and the indolent gullibility of its journalists, the Bush Administration regularly conflates its numerous targets of regime change, pretending they love each other to death and are united only in their desire to slaughter innocent American children. There are gaping chasms in this narrative, but they vanish into our national memory hole.

After the 9/11 attacks turned the U.S. against the Taliban, U.S. media outlets put footage of a handful of jeering Palestinians on heavy rotation. Meanwhile, “In Iran, vast crowds turned out on the streets and held candlelit vigils for the victims. Sixty-thousand spectators respected a minute’s silence at Tehran’s football stadium.”

Wondering why you never heard that? The above quote comes from the BBC. Fox News didn’t report. American news consumers didn’t know, much less decide.

Finding an opportunity for rapprochement and a mutual foe in the Taliban, Iran became a silent America ally after 9/11. The Iranian military offered to conduct search and rescue operations for downed U.S. pilots during the fall 2001 war against the Taliban. It used its influence with the Afghanistan’s Dari population to broker the loya jirga that installed Hamid Karzai as president of Afghanistan.

Everyone expected U.S.-Iranian relations to thaw. There was even talk about ending sanctions and exchanging ambassadors. A few weeks later, however, White House neocons had Iran named as a member of an “Axis of Evil” in Bush’s 2002 State of the Union address. “We were all shocked by the fact that the U.S. had such a short memory and was so ungrateful about what had happened just a month ago,” remembers Javad Zarif, now the Iranian ambassador to the U.N.

Bush accused Shiite-majority Iran, a mortal enemy of Sunni-dominated Al Qaeda, of offering sanctuary to Al Qaeda fighters fleeing Afghanistan. “Iran must be a contributor in the war against terror,” Bush railed. “Either you’re with us or against us.” The allegation was BS. No one–not the CIA, not one of our allies, no one–believed that Iran would harbor, or had harbored, members of Al Qaeda. “I wasn’t aware of any intelligence supporting that charge,” says James Dobbins, Bush’s special envoy to Afghanistan. But we never took it back.

In May 2003, Iran shook off its annoyance and again tried to make nice. The Iranian overture came in the form of a letter delivered to the State Department after the fall of Baghdad. “Iran appeared willing to put everything on the table–including being completely open about its nuclear program, helping to stabilize Iraq, ending its support for Palestinian militant groups and help in disarming Hezbollah,” reported the BBC.

U.S. officials confirm this overture.

“That letter went to the Americans to say that we are ready to talk, we are ready to address our issues,” says Seyed Adeli, an Iranian foreign minister at the time. Larry Wilkerson, chief of staff to then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, says the Bushies made a conscious decision to ignore it. “We don’t speak to evil,” he recalls that Administration hardliners led by Donald Rumsfeld said.

In the minds of the hard right, the case for Iran’s evilness rests on three issues: the 1979 hostage crisis, its opposition to Israel, and its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Readers of Mark Bowden’s “Guests of the Ayatollah” can’t help but sympathize with the American embassy staffers who spent 444 days in captivity from late 1979 to early 1981. But the right-wingers’ real beef over this episode concerns our wounded national pride.

What they fail to mention is that President Carter brought the mess upon himself, first by continuing to prop up the corrupt and brutal regime of Reza Shah Pahlavi long after it was obviously doomed, and then by admitting him to the U.S. for cancer treatment. Carter knew that his decision to coddle a toppled tyrant could stir up trouble.

“He went around the room,” said then-Vice President Walter Mondale,” and most of us said, ‘Let him [the Shah] in. And he said, ‘And if [the Iranians] take our employees in our embassy hostage, then what would be your advice?’ And the room just fell dead. No one had an answer to that. Turns out, we never did.”

Iran finances and arms Hezbollah, the paramilitary group-cum-nascent state based in Lebanon that wages sporadic attacks against Israel. If proxy warfare and funding Islamist terror organizations that despise Israel were a consideration, however, the U.S. would cut off relations with and impose sanctions against Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. (Can we stop talking to ourselves? We supported the Afghan mujahedeen.) It is possible to maintain friendly relations with nations that hate one another, and we do.

There are two points missing from most discussions of Iran’s nuclear energy program and whether it’s a cover for a weapons program. First, Iran ratified the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1970. Leaders of the Islamic Republic inherited the NPT from the Shah. The revolutionaries voluntarily chose to honor the agreement after they threw him out.

Second, the U.S. practices a double standard by threatening war against Iran while ignoring Israel’s refusal to obey a U.N. resolution calling for a nuclear-free Middle East passed in 1996. As of the late 1990s, U.S. intelligence agencies believed Israel to possess between 75 and 130 nukes. Iran has zero. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, there’s even less evidence against Iran than there was against Saddam’s Iraq.

There are many legitimate reasons to criticize the government of Iran. They’re just a regional rival in the Middle East–another frenemy.

(Ted Rall is the author of the new book “Silk Road to Ruin: Is Central Asia the New Middle East?,” an in-depth prose and graphic novel analysis of America’s next big foreign policy challenge.  His website:
Ted Rall)

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.


Full Interview With Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (videos; transcript)

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at Columbia University (video link)

The Burmese Regime’s Lifeline – Chevron’s Pipeline By Amy Goodman

Dandelion Salad

By Amy Goodman
10/05/07 “ICH

The barbarous military regime depends on revenue from the nation’s gas reserves and partners such as Chevron, a detail ignored by the Bush administration.

Continue reading

Imagine Peace by Cindy Sheehan

by Cindy Sheehan
Dandelion Salad
featured writer
October 5, 2007

Imagine all the people, living life in peace.
John Winston Ono Lennon
October 9, 1940-December 8, 1980

A dream you dream alone is only a dream.
A dream you dream together is reality.
Yoko Ono Lennon

On October 9th, on what would have been John Lennon’s 67th birthday, his widow, Yoko Ono is dedicating a peace tower in Reykjavik, Iceland in the memory of her husband. There will also be almost a half a million peace wishes buried in capsules around the tower which is a blue tower of light extending up to the sky above us.

I received the link to the Imagine Peace website while I was on a layover in the airport in Las Vegas, Nv. Still reeling from the reports of hundreds, if not thousands of Burmese monks and other humans being slaughtered for protesting against their oppressive government, it was hard for me to watch all the people sitting hypnotized at the slot machines, pulling the handles or pushing the buttons as if the world is not going to hell in George’s hand basket. The dichotomy of business as usual in America compared with genocides in Darfur and Iraq while I am still and always will be mourning my son makes me dizzy sometimes.

So, I made myself close my eyes for a few minutes between planes and tried to shut out the bells and whistles of the slots and “imagined” peace. What would a world at peace look like? What would a world at peace be like to live in? I have a great imagination but I knew this exercise would be challenging.

John Lennon called his song Imagine an “anti-religious, anti-nationalism, anti-conventional, anti-capitalist” sort of a “Communist manifesto.” It is for sure a utopian vision of a perfect society that unfortunately can not be achieved by imagining, and probably not at all—but how close can we get to this world and how much sacrifice will a world at peace take from each and everyone of us?

First of all, imagine a world with no religion. A world where sick and evil people could not manipulate the masses into believing that the set of myths and beliefs that they profess are more important or powerful than the other’s set of myths or beliefs. Israelis could not (with the help of Christian extremists) tell Palestinians that it is okay to occupy them or kill them so that the Jews could claim their “Promised Land.” Land promised to whom by whom? Muslims could not proclaim “jihad” against infidels. There would have been no Nazi holocaust against Jews; no Crusades; no holocaust against our own native population; no black slavery justified by the Christian scriptures; no George Bush saying that his Christian God is like a mob-boss ordering him to “hit” the world. Imagine that!

Secondly, imagine no countries. No jingoistic worship of banners made of mere cloth (not spun gold) or arrogant nationalism that gives leaders the right to kill other human beings just because they do not happen to live within the same false borders that were artificially drawn many years ago by empires that have long ago fallen. In this homeland-istic fervor it is especially correct to kill those other people if they are not the same religion as the religion of your state (and don’t kid yourself that the US does not have a state sanctioned religion). Imagine no armies that in reality kill and get killed for the imperialistic neo-liberalism that has crept around our globe like a flesh eating bacteria since the Reagan years. Imagine that.

Imagine no possessions: This is the crux of our problem. Going back to my brothers and sisters at the slot machines in Vegas, pulling almost catatonically on the lever of the One Armed Bandit, for what? To win the “jackpot” of course! How nice is it of the State of Nevada to allow gambling machines in their airports, so we can perchance live the American dream of buying higher stacks of stuff! On a day that George vetoed the health of over six-million children here in America, 16,000 children around the world died of starvation. In a week that we saw murder on a horrendous scale in Burma, more Iraqis were killed or forced from their homes by violence: to wander in the desert, or probably off to Syria where their daughters may be forced into prostitution to help support the family which should be able to live in peace and relative prosperity in their own country. Imagine that.

It was hard for me to imagine or envision peace when I am terrified because BushCo is contemplating even more slaughter in the Middle East in Iran and when Congress, Inc is busy supporting a murderous status quo that hurts humans within all borders, even our own.

Peace will only happen when every member of humanity is guaranteed prosperity, health and security which will not happen when we here in the US can’t even get off our asses to protest a war that is four and a half years and hundreds of thousands of bodies old, now.

We can imagine peace all we want but until each and everyone of us is willing to sacrifice some of our prosperity (because we have already had our security robbed from us by the rotten Republicans and complicit corporate Democrats) true peace—not just the absence of war—will be as elusive as a morsel of truth or modicum of courage coming out of Washington, DC.

Voluntary sacrifice is truly a revolutionary concept here in the United States of America.

So you say you want a revolution? Imagine that.

Contact Cindy at: Cindy@CindyforCongress.org

Bush on Torture (video) + Bush: Torturing the Truth by Dave Lindorff

Dandelion Salad




Bush: Torturing the Truth

by Dave Lindorff
Oct 5, 2007
After Downing Street

President Bush says America “doesn’t torture people.”

He has said this before. The last time it was when Congress had been confronted with the atrocities at the US military-run Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, and was passing legislation that would outlaw torture.

That was when we learned for the first time about the president’s unique and un-Constitutional practice of issuing a “signing statement” upon signing a bill into law, declaring quietly that since he is commander in chief in the so-called “war” on terror, he doesn’t have to enact laws passed by Congress. He issued one of those little addenda to the torture bill, recall, in which he said he wouldn’t be bound by it.


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.

Leading Americans Ask Military to Refuse to Attack Iran and Start a Global Catastrophe

Dandelion Salad

Global Research, October 5, 2007

AfterDowningStreet.org – 2006-10-02

Country music legend Willie Nelson, literary icon Gore Vidal, Gold Star Mother Cindy Sheehan, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, retired U.S. Army Colonel Ann Wright, former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, former federal prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega, author and radio host Thom Hartmann, Rabbi Michael Lerner, Rabbi Steven Jacobs, and dozens of other prominent Americans have signed a letter asking the Joint Chiefs of Staff and all U.S. military personnel to refuse orders to launch an aggressive war on Iran.

The letter has been posted as a petition for others to sign at


The text of the letter follows:

ATTENTION: Joint Chiefs of Staff and all U.S. Military Personnel:

Do not attack Iran.

Any preemptive U.S. attack on Iran would be illegal.
Any preemptive U.S. attack on Iran would be criminal.

We, the citizens of the United States, respectfully urge you, courageous men and women of our military, to refuse any order to preemptively attack Iran, a nation that represents no serious or immediate threat to the United States. To attack Iran, a sovereign nation of 70-million people, would be a crime of the highest magnitude.

Legal basis for our Request – Do not attack Iran:

The Nuremberg Principles, which are part of US law, provide that all military personnel have the obligation not to obey illegal orders. The Army Field Manual 27-10, sec. 609 and UCMJ, art. 92, incorporate this principle. Article 92 says: “A general order or regulation is lawful unless it is contrary to the Constitution, the law of the United States …”

Any provision of an international treaty ratified by the United States becomes the law of the United States. The United States is a party and signatory to the United Nations Charter, of which Article II, Section 4 states, “All members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state…” As Iran has not attacked the United States, and as the U.S. is a party and signatory to the Charter, any attack on Iran by the U.S. would be illegal under not only international law but under the U.S. Constitution which recognizes our treaties as the Supreme Law of the Land. When you joined the military, you took an oath to defend our Constitution.

Following the orders of your government or superior does not relieve you from responsibility under international law. Under the Principles of International Law recognized in the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal, complicity in the commission of war crime is a crime under international law.


The Bush Administration’s charges against Iran have not been proven. Neither the development of nuclear weapons, nor providing assistance to Iraq would, if proven, constitute justification for an illegal war.

An attack on Iran might prompt the formidable Iranian military to attack U.S. troops stationed in Iraq. Thousands of our soldiers might be killed or captured as prisoners of war. A U.S. attack against Iranian nuclear facilities could also mean the deaths, from radiation poisoning, of tens of thousands of innocent Iranian civilians. The people of Iran have little control over their government, yet would suffer tremendously should the U.S. attack. Bombing raids would amount to collective punishment, a violation of the Geneva Convention, and would surely sow the seeds of hatred for generations to come. Children make up a quarter of Iran’s population.

Above all, we ask you to look at the record of our actions in Iraq, which U.S. intelligence admits is “a cause celebre for jihadists” – a situation that did not exist before we attacked. We must face the fact that our rash use of military solutions has created more enemies, and made American families less safe. Diplomacy, not war, is the answer.

Know the Risks Involved in Refusing an Illegal Order or Signing This Statement:

We knowingly and willingly make this plea, aware of the risk that, in violation of our First Amendment rights, we could be charged under remaining sections of the unconstitutional Espionage Act or other unconstitutional statute, and that we could be fined, imprisoned, or barred from government employment.

We make this plea, also aware that you have no easy options. If you obey an illegal order to participate in an aggressive attack on Iran, you could potentially be charged with war crimes. If you heed our call and disobey an illegal order you could be falsely charged with crimes including treason. You could be falsely court martialed. You could be imprisoned. (To talk to a lawyer or to learn more about possible consequences, contact The Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors, Courage to Resist, Center on Conscience and War, Military Law Task Force of the National Lawyers Guild 415-566-3732, or the GI Rights Hotline at 877-447-4487.) **

Final request:

Our leaders often say that military force should be a last resort. We beg you to make that policy a reality, and refuse illegal orders to attack Iran. We promise to support you for protecting the American public and innocent civilians abroad.

Our future, the future of our children and their children, rests in your hands.

You know the horrors of war. You can stop the next one.


The letter has been posted as a petition for others to sign at http://www.dontattackiran.org


2. Please sign Petition to President and Vice President below.

Dear President Bush and Vice President Cheney,

We write to you from all over the United States and all over the world to urge you to obey both international and U.S. law, which forbid aggressive attacks on other nations. We oppose your proposal to attack Iran. Iran does not possess nuclear weapons, just as Iraq did not possess nuclear weapons. If Iran had such weapons, that would not justify the use of force, any more than any other nation would be justified in launching a war against the world’s greatest possessor of nuclear arms, the United States. The most effective way to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons would be to closely monitor its nuclear energy program, and to improve diplomatic relations — two tasks made much more difficult by threatening to bomb Iranian territory. We urge you to lead the way to peace, not war, and to begin by making clear that you will not commit the highest international crime by aggressively attacking Iran.

PLEASE SIGN IT NOW: Sign This Petition.


For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright , AfterDowningStreet.org, 2006
The url address of this article is:

Two Knights and a Dragon By Uri Avnery

Dandelion Salad

By Uri Avnery
10/04/07 “ICH

THERE ARE books that change people’s consciousness and change history. Some tell a story, like Harriet Beech Stowe’s 1851 “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”, which gave a huge impetus to the campaign for the abolition of slavery. Others take the form of a political treatise, like Theodor Herzl’s “Der Judenstaat”, which gave birth to the Zionist movement. Or they can be scientific in nature, like Charles Darwin’s “The Origin of Species”, which changed the way humanity sees itself. And perhaps political satire, too, can shake the world, like “1984” by George Orwell.

The impact of these books was amplified by their timing. They appeared exactly at the right time, when a large public was ready to absorb their message.

It may well turn out that the book by the two professors, John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, “The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy”, is just such a book.

It is a dry scientific research report, 355 pages long, backed by 106 further pages containing some thousand references to sources.

It is not a bellicose book. On the contrary, its style is restrained and factual. The authors take great care not to utter a single negative comment on the legitimacy of the Lobby, and indeed bend over backwards to stress their support for the existence and security of Israel. They let the facts speak for themselves. With the skill of experienced masons, they systematically lay brick upon brick, row upon row, leaving no gap in their argumentation.

This wall cannot be torn down by reasoned argument. Nobody has tried, and nobody is going to. Instead, the authors are being smeared and accused of sinister motives. If the book could be ignored altogether, this would have been done – as has happened to other books which have been buried alive.

(Some years ago, there appeared in Russia a large tome by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the world-renowned laureate of the Nobel Prize for Literature, about Russia and its Jews. This book, called “200 Years Together”, has been completely ignored. As far as I know, it has not been translated into any language, certainly not into Hebrew. I asked several of Israel’s leading intellectuals, and none of them had even heard of the book. Neither does it appear on the list of Amazon.com, which includes all the author’s other works.)

THE TWO professors take the bull by the horns. They deal with a subject which is absolutely taboo in the United States, a subject nobody in his right mind would even mention: the enormous influence of the pro-Israel lobby on American foreign policy.

In a remorselessly systematical way, the book analyzes the Lobby, takes it apart, describes its modus operandi, discloses its financial sources and lays bare its relations with the White House, the two houses of Congress, the leaders of the two major parties and leading media people.

The authors do not call into question the Lobby’s legitimacy. On the contrary, they show that hundreds of lobbies of this kind play an essential role in the American democratic system. The gun and the medical lobbies, for example, are also very powerful political forces. But the pro-Israel lobby has grown out of all proportion. It has unparalleled political power. It can silence all criticism of Israel in Congress and the media, bring about the political demise of anyone who dares to break the taboo, prevent any action that does not conform to the will of the Israeli government.

In its second part, the book shows how the Lobby uses its tremendous power in practice: how it has prevented the exertion of any pressure on Israel to for peace with the Palestinians, how it pushed the US into the invasion of Iraq, how it is now pushing for wars with Iran and Syria, how it supported the Israeli leadership in the recent war in Lebanon and blocked calls for a ceasefire when it didn’t want it.

Each of these assertions is backed up by so much undeniable evidence and quotations from written material (mainly from Israeli sources) that they cannot be ignored.

MOST OF these disclosures are nothing new for those in Israel who deal with these matters.

I myself could add to the book a whole chapter from personal experience.

In the late 50s, I visited the US for the first time. A major New York radio station invited me for an interview. Later they cautioned me: “You can criticize the President (Dwight D. Eisenhower) and the Secretary of State (John Foster Dulles) to your heart’s content, but please don’t criticize Israeli leaders!” At the last moment the interview was cancelled altogether, and the Iraqi ambassador was invited instead. Criticism was apparently tolerable when it came from an Arab, but absolutely not coming from an Israeli.

In 1970, the respected American “Fellowship of Reconciliation” invited me for a lecture tour of 30 universities, under the auspices of the Hillel rabbis. When I arrived in New York, I was informed that 29 of the lectures had been cancelled. The sole rabbi who did not cancel, Balfour Brickner, showed me a secret communication of the “Anti-Defamation League” that proscribed my lectures. It said: “While Knesset Member Avnery can in no way be considered a traitor, his appearance at this time would be deeply divisive…” In the end, all the lectures took place under the auspices of Christian chaplains.

I especially remember a depressing experience in Baltimore. A good Jew, who had volunteered to host me, was angered by the cancellation of my lecture in this city and obstinately insisted on putting it on. We combed the streets of the Jewish quarters – mile upon mile of signs with Jewish names – and did not find a single hall whose manager would agree to let the lecture by a member of the Israeli Knesset take place. In the end, we did hold the lecture in the basement of the building of my host’s apartment – and functionaries of the Jewish community came to protest.

That year, during Black September, I held a press conference in Washington DC, under the auspices of the Quakers. It seemed to be a huge success. The journalists came straight from a press conference with Prime Minister Golda Meir, and showered me with questions. Almost all the important media were represented – TV networks, radio, the major newspapers. After the planned hour was up, they would not let me go and kept me talking for another hour and a half. But the next day, not a single word appeared in any of the media. Thirty-one years later, in October 2001 I held a press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, and exactly the same thing happened: many of the media were there, they held me for another hour – and not a word, not a single word, was published.

In 1968, a very respected American publishing house (Macmillan) brought out a book of mine’ “Israel Without Zionists”, which was later translated into eight other languages. The book described the Israeli-Arab conflict in a very different way and proposed the establishment of a Palestinian state next to Israel – a revolutionary idea at the time. Not a single review appeared in the American media. I checked in one of the most important book stores in New York and did not find the book. When I asked a salesman, he found it buried under a heap of volumes and put it on top. Half an hour later it was hidden again.

The book dealt with the “Two States for Two peoples” solution long before it became a world-wide consensus, and with my proposal for Israel’s integration in “the Semitic Region”. True, I am an Israeli patriot and was elected to the Knesset by Israeli voters. But I criticized the Israeli government – and that was enough.

THE BOOK by the two professors, who criticize the Israeli government from a different angle, cannot be buried anymore. This fact, by itself, speaks volumes.

The book is based on an essay by the two that appeared last year in a British journal, after no American publication dared to touch it. Now a respected American publishing house has released it – an indication that something is moving. The situation has not changed, but it seems that it is now possible at least to talk about it.

Everything depends on timing – and apparently the time is now ripe for such a book, which will shock many good people in America. It is now causing an uproar.

The two professors are, of course, accused of anti-Semitism, racism and hatred of Israel. What Israel? It is the Lobby itself that hates a large part of Israel. In recent years is has shifted even more to the Right. Some of its constituent groups – such as the neo-cons who pushed the US into the Iraq war – are openly connected with the right-wing Likud, and especially with Binyamin Netanyahu. The billionaires who finance the Lobby are the same people who finance the extreme Israeli Right, and most of all the settlers.

The small, determined Jewish groups in the US who support the Israeli peace movements are remorselessly persecuted. Some of them fold after a few years. Members of Israeli peace groups who are sent to America are boycotted and slandered as “self-hating-Jews”.

The political views of the two professors, which are briefly stated at the end of the book, are identical with the stand of the Israeli peace forces: the Two-State Solution, ending the occupation, borders based on the Green Line, and international support for the peace settlement.

If this is anti-Semitism, then we here are all anti-Semites. And only the Christian Zionists – those who openly demand the return of the Jews to this country but secretly prophesy the annihilation of the unconverted Jews at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ – are the true Lovers of Zion.

EVEN IF not a single bad word about the pro-Israel lobby can be uttered in the US, it is far from being a secret society, hatching conspiracies like the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”. On the contrary, AIPAC, the Anti-Defamation League, the Zionist Federation and the other organizations vociferously boast about their actions and publicly proclaim their incredible successes.

Quite naturally, the diverse components of the Lobby compete with each other – Who has the biggest influence on the White House, Who scares the most senators, Who controls more journalists and commentators,. This competition causes a permanent escalation – because every success by one group spurs the others to redouble their efforts.

This could be very dangerous. A balloon that is inflated to monstrous dimensions can one day burst in the face of American Jews (who, by the way, according to the polls, object to many positions adopted by the Lobby that claims to speak in their name.)

Most of the American public now opposes the Iraq war and considers it a disaster. This majority still does not connect the war with the actions of the pro-Israel lobby. No newspaper and no politician dares to hint at such a connection – yet. But if this taboo is broken, the result may be very dangerous for the Jews and for Israel.

Beneath the surface, a lot of anger directed against the Lobby is accumulating. The presidential candidates, who are compelled to grovel at the feet of AIPAC, the senators and congressmen, who have become slaves of the Lobby, the media people, who are forbidden to write what they really think – all these secretly detest the Lobby. If this anger explodes, it may hurt us, too.

This lobby has become a Golem. And like the Golem in legend, in the end it will bring disaster on its maker.

If I may be permitted to voice some criticism of my own:

When the original article by the two professors appeared, I argued that “the tail is wagging the dog and the dog is wagging the tail”. The tail, of course, is Israel.

The two professors confirm the first part of the equation, but emphatically deny the second. The central thesis of the book is that the pressure of the Lobby causes the United States to act against its own interests (and, in the long run, also against the true interests of Israel.) They do not accept my contention, quoted in the book, that Israel acted in Lebanon as “America’s Rottweiler” (to Hizbullah as “Iran’s Doberman”).

I agree that the US is acting against its true interest (and the true interests of Israel) – but the American leadership does not see it that way. Bush and his people believe – even without the input of the Lobby – that it would be advantageous for the US to establish a permanent American military presence in the middle of this region of huge oil reserves. In my view, this counter-productive act at was one of the main objectives of the war, side by side with the desire to eliminate one of Israel’s most dangerous enemies. Unfortunately, the book deals only very briefly with this issue.

That does not diminish in any way my profound admiration for the intellectual qualities, integrity and courage of Mearsheimer and Walt, two knights who, like St. George, who have sallied forth to face the fearful dragon.

Uri, is an Israeli author and activist. He is the head of the Israeli peace movement, “Gush Shalom”.

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.


‘Warfare’ – 1984 by George Orwell (video)

Dissenting at your own risk By Cecilie Surasky + The Israel Lobby (MP3)

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

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