Memo to Obama, McCain: No One Wins in a War By Howard Zinn

Dandelion Salad

By Howard Zinn
ICH
07/17/08 “Boston Globe”

Barack Obama and John McCain continue to argue about war. McCain says to keep the troops in Iraq until we “win” and supports sending more troops to Afghanistan. Obama says to withdraw some (not all) troops from Iraq and send them to fight and “win” in Afghanistan.

For someone like myself, who fought in World War II, and since then has protested against war, I must ask: Have our political leaders gone mad? Have they learned nothing from recent history? Have they not learned that no one “wins” in a war, but that hundreds of thousands of humans die, most of them civilians, many of them children?

Did we “win” by going to war in Korea? The result was a stalemate, leaving things as they were before with a dictatorship in South Korea and a dictatorship in North Korea. Still, more than 2 million people — mostly civilians — died, the United States dropped napalm on children, and 50,000 American soldiers lost their lives.

Did we “win” in Vietnam? We were forced to withdraw, but only after 2 million Vietnamese died, again mostly civilians, again leaving children burned or armless or legless, and 58,000 American soldiers dead.

…continued

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. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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Obama’s Brave New World

Countdown: McAuthentic The Joker + Complaining About Media

Dandelion Salad

July 17, 2008

videocafeblog

McAuthentic The Joker

Keith reports on John McCain’s “jokes” and Rachel Maddow weighs in on the media’s response to them.

McCain Campaign Complaining About Media Coverage

Keith reports on the McCain campaign whining about the media coverage Barack Obama is getting on his trip overseas. Dana Milbank weighs in.

Bushed!

Tonight’s: Library-Gate, Justice-Gate and Appeasement-Gate.

Worst Person

And the winner is….Bill O’Reilly. Runners up John Ashcroft and the TSA.

Suicide Bombing in Anbar (link; graphic pics)

Dandelion Salad

http://www.zoriah.net/blog/
June 30, 2008

Suicide Bombing in Anbar – Eye Witness Account – Iraq War Photographer Diary – Graphic Images

On Thursday, June 26th, I witnessed the immediate aftermath of an Al-Qaeda suicide bomb attack.  Several dozen people lost their lives… children, old men, civilians, police, and military men.  The scene was horrific beyond words, even for someone like me who has a fairly high threshold for such things.

I found it nearly impossible to look through the viewfinder.  What I saw was abhorently graphic, yet far too important for the world to ignore.  I present images that provide an uncensored view of a terrible event, and some small measure of dignity to those who lost their lives.

…continued

h/t: After Downing Street

David Sirota: The Uprising on Lou Dobbs + Town Hall Meetings

Dandelion Salad

davidsirota

I appeared on CNN’s Lou Dobbs Tonight to discuss my new book, THE UPRISING, in the context of the housing and credit market crises.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

h/t: COOLCAT©

Discussing Obama, McCain and Town Hall Meetings on Fox News

July 16, 2008

I appeared on Fox News to discuss whether Barack Obama and John McCain should conduct a series of townhall meetings in the lead up to the presidential election.

see

Did Colbert Really Just Call Me Che Guevara? by David Sirota

Socialism for Speculators by Ralph Nader

How bad will it get? by Lee Sustar

Workers need bailout plan – Fed payouts to mortgage banks are a crime

Richard C. Cook: On The Eve of WW3 (videos)

Status Report on the Collapse of the U.S. Economy by Richard C. Cook

With Crises in Fuel, Food, Housing and Banking, What Gvt. Policies Are Being Pushed Through? (Naomi Klein)

The Economy Sucks and or Collapse

Bush: Talking with Iran not appeasement, step toward invasion

Satire

Robert

by R J Shulman
Dandelion Salad
featured writer
Robert’s blog post

July 18, 2008

WASHINGTON – The Bush Administration has come under fire for planning talks with Iran after stating that such a meeting was like appeasing the Nazis before World War II. “Those folks who see this as an apeasication are erroneously wrong,” said President Bush, “The people who we are trying to apeasify are the liberal press who say we should talk first before we shock and awe them, so it is our domesticated criticizers for who we will perform this appeasiotomy.”

“The Bush Administration is giving these talks every opportunity to succeed” said Presidential Press Secretary Dana Perino, “so we’re sending John Bolton and Hulk Hogan to talk some sense into the Iranians.” When asked why she would not join the discussion, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said, “what would be the point? They don’t make very good shoes over there.”

Presumed Republican Presidential candidate John McCain, who has scoffed at talking with Iran, said, “talk is cheap, I wish gas prices were. That’s a little joke,” he told a suddenly silent crowd in Colorado Springs, “Look, my friends, what I mean is why bother to have a conversation with them when our bombs will be doing the talking in Iran for at least a hundred years.”

“By staging these talks first,” said Vice President Dick Cheney, “we will always be able to say, we tried before they died.”

Topics that Bush says will be discussed will be who should have won American Idol, whether Hulk Hogan’s wife is a bitch and how Iran will meet the deadline of next Thursday to name George W. Bush the “Decider for Life.” “Nuclear proliferation was originally on the table,” said a White House spokesperson, “but Nancy Pelosi just yanked back that table saying it now may be needed for impeachment.”

see

Message of peace and friendship to the people of US: Request for the Congress & President

This Weekend: Speak Out Against War on Iran

U.S. Envoy to Meet with Iranians at Nuclear Talks

Speaker Pelosi: Oil, Bush and Impeachment

Iran

Speaker Pelosi: Oil, Bush and Impeachment

Dandelion Salad

VOTERSTHINKdotORG

http://cspanjunkie.org/
July 17, 2008 CNN

Vodpod videos no longer available.

see

Impeach

Socialism for Speculators by Ralph Nader

Dandelion Salad

by Ralph Nader
Wednesday, July 16. 2008

Here they go again! Financial capitalism is crashing. So the lights are on late in Washington’s Federal Reserve, SEC and Treasury Department trying to figure out how socialism (your tax dollars and credits) can once again bail out these big time gamblers with our money.

Every cycle of casino capitalism that heads for, or goes over, the bankruptcy cliffs gets larger and larger. This year’s collapse towers over the bailout of the Savings and Loan banks in the 1980s.

This unfolding cycle of the Washington to Wall Street gravy train is not based on a huge spike in interest rates that tanked so many thrift institutions nearly twenty years ago. It is based on unbridled greed by the bosses of these big commercial banks, investment banks, brokerage giants and those two goliaths—Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

“Unbridled” because the financial institutions got themselves unregulated during the reign of Bill Clinton and his Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin. Rubin skipped out of town to become a wildly overpaid official with Citigroup—the leading lobbyist for his disastrous, so called Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999.

Fannie and Freddie have been deeply unregulated for decades which allowed their capital ratios to be lower—far lower—than even investment banks like Morgan Stanley. With that long-time implicit guarantee by the federal government, these two secondary marketers for home mortgages became more and more reckless so as to raise the corporate profits that their top executives need to skyrocket their personal compensation packages!

In 1991, lawyer Tom Stanton warned about the risks and non-regulation of Fannie and Freddie in his prophetic book—A State of Risk (Harper Business).

A decade ago, our banking specialists warned about the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) under assessing its member banks thus leaving its reserves at the risk of being perilously low when needed. Today, these reserves are very much needed and perilously low.

Combined with the limitless greed, unbridled corporate power can wreak havoc with our entire economy. As it is doing now. The domino effect is underway.

So the Bush boys and the Congressional leaders, so to speak, are busy reassuring the investors that they will in some way make things stable. This time, however, they seem to be offering too little too late and the investors aren’t buying.

The stocks of the banks keep plunging down anywhere from seventy to ninety percent from their last year’s high.

The nation’s largest savings bank—Washington Mutual—closed at under $4.00 per share down from over $40 last year.

Again and again, year after year, the CEOs and the patsy federal agency heads have lied to the people about the financial status of these corporations. There is no credibility left and therefore no confidence. Over three trillion dollars is sitting in disbelief on the sidelines. Trillions of dollars have been looted or lost in the meantime, draining worker pension funds, mutual funds and the savings of small investors.

None of this had to happen. Regulation against conflicts of interest and hyper risk taking could have stopped it, including preventing the housing mortgage crisis. Empowering investor-owners could have headed it off. But Washington-based right wing corporate funded think tanks and the banking lobbies battered down the regulatory guards and the federal cops.

So now only the American taxpayers and their creditworthiness inside a deficit-ridden government and a debt-loaded Federal Reserve stand in the way of a far bigger financial collapse than the stock market crash of 1929. Will it be done smartly this time around?

Reckless, self-enriching capitalists get on your knees and thank the rescuing Washington socialists, for without them, you would surely be in chains.

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. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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How bad will it get? by Lee Sustar

Workers need bailout plan – Fed payouts to mortgage banks are a crime

Interview: Ralph Nader Says We’re Living Under Corporate Fascism (link)

Bailout Bonanza by Ralph Nader

Richard C. Cook: On The Eve of WW3 (videos)

Status Report on the Collapse of the U.S. Economy by Richard C. Cook

The Economy Sucks and or Collapse

Nader for President 2008

www.votenader.org/

The Termi-Nader

Ralph Nader Posts & Videos

Zimbabwe, Iran, And The ‘International Community’ by Michael Faulkner

Dandelion Salad

by Michael Faulkner
TPJ
July 17, 2008

Two weeks ago in my regular in TPJ column I dealt with the international response to the situation in Zimbabwe. Due to an error on my part, only the first few paragraphs of my article (Mugabe and Mandela) were posted. I hope that TPJ readers will have the opportunity to read the article in full this week. I concluded that column with the following comments:

‘When, in a few days from now, Robert Mugabe declares himself the victor after an election in which the opposition was bludgeoned into silence, his claim will lack credibility and the result will lack legitimacy. But, equally lacking in credibility will be the protests of those who claim to be champions of freedom and democracy: George W. Bush, appointed President of the United States in 2000 by the Supreme Court, who in 2003 launched an illegal war against a defenceless country, and his staunchest allies in this criminal venture, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.’

Mugabe won the election with 98% of the vote – hardly surprising since the opposition MDC candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai had withdrawn from the contest in the face of a campaign of terror against his supporters, many of whom were murdered and others forced into hiding. The outcome has been widely condemned. Mugabe is now fully exposed as a thug presiding over a country reduced to bankruptcy and impoverishment. He has no defenders. South Africa’s outgoing president, Thabo Mbeki, who has doggedly refused to criticise him publicly, has lost credibility in the African Union. But how credible are those Western politicians who have been vociferous in their denunciations of Mugabe? On July 11th the U.K. and U.S. governments failed in their attempt to win UN security council approval for a resolution to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe. The resolution would have imposed an arms embargo and financial and travel restrictions on the regime and its leaders. It was vetoed by China and Russia, both of whom export weapons to Zimbabwe. Their motives were hardly noble, but also, hardly unprecedented in the use of the veto in the security council. The break-down in the vote seemed to echo the old days of the Cold War. Russia and China were supported by Libya and Vietnam. France, Belgium, Italy, Croatia, Costa Rica and Panama voted with the U.S. and U.K. It was very much ‘business as usual.’

Adopting, as usual, a tone of moral indignation, Britain’s foreign secretary, David Miliband, said it would be ‘incomprehensible’ to the people of Zimbabwe. Following the farcical second election in that country, British Prime Minister Brown, Condoleezza Rice and others confidently asserted that ‘the international community’ would not allow Mugabe to get away with this blatant assault on his own people and on democracy itself. Last week’s G.8 summit in Japan found time to call for action against him in the name of ‘the international community.’

We have heard a lot recently about ‘the international community.’ It is one of those terms with which we are all familiar and its meaning is assumed to be self evident. To question its meaning is regarded as a sign of political illiteracy. But, as with so many other ‘communities’, once we begin to examine the term more carefully it becomes clear that it serves to obfuscate rather than clarify. This may be dismissed as a mere exercise in semantics, but it is more important than that. Those who use the term most frequently and speak as though they are the prime representatives of the ‘community’ tend to be the leaders of the U.S., the U.K. and certain states in the E.U. Recently, they have invoked the ‘international community’ in relation to Iran: the international community, it is said, will not permit Iran to develop a nuclear weapon. Should Iran ignore this warning, the consequences will be dire.

Let us assume what to many may seem obvious – by ‘the international community’ is meant the United Nations. That seems reasonable. Further, it may be argued, the will of the international community is expressed in the resolutions of the U.N. security council. But, according to the self-appointed champions of the international community, this cannot be so, because if the security council vetoes something they regard as self evidently right and proper, then they say that the security council has ‘failed’ the international community. This is the stance taken by the U.S. and U.K governments prior to the Iraq war. They realised that the security council would veto a second resolution sanctioning an invasion, so they abandoned the security council in favour of an ‘alliance of the willing’ – that is, those willing to act without a U.N. mandate, effectively against their own vaunted ‘international community.’ Of course, when the veto is used, as has been the case most frequently since its foundation, by the U.S. and the U.K., they claim to use it in the real interests of the international community. So, if there can be no consensus about the security council expressing the will of the international community, perhaps it may be found in the General Assembly. A resolution passed by all members of the United Nations must come closest to expressing the will of the elusive ‘international community.’ Surely this is democracy in action on an international scale. However, from the standpoint of the U.S. government, this is far from so. One example will suffice to make the point.

Every year the Cuban government brings to the General Assembly a motion calling for the lifting of the 46 year old U.S. blockade of their country. Every year the motion is carried with overwhelming majorities. The only countries who vote regularly with the U.S. against the motion are Israel and the Marshall Islands. Thus, according to this reading, the international community regularly calls for the lifting of the blockade, and its resolutions are regularly ignored by the United States. There are other examples, too numerous to mention, but familiar I am sure to TPJ readers, where U.N. resolutions perceived to be hostile to the interests of the U.S. and its allies, are ignored.

If the neither the U.N. security council nor the general assembly provide a satisfactory explanation of what the U.S. and U.K. governments mean when they refer to the ‘international community’, then clarification must be sought elsewhere. One thing is clear: there are certain (many) countries who are not considered to be part of the community; those countries that have been variously described by the Bush administration and its allies as Rogue States and those belonging to an Axis of Evil. In addition to these, there are others that do not qualify. Here are a few countries that are obviously not regarded as members of ‘the international community.’: Afghanistan, Bolivia, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Serbia, Syria, Venezuela. The criterion for membership has little or nothing to do with a country’s democratic credentials, though promoting democracy is supposedly one of the main aims of Bush’s foreign policy. One could name many, but a few will do. The systematic violation of human rights in Saudi Arabia, seat of one of the world’s most benighted medieval despotisms, has not led for calls from the U.S. and the U.K. for sanctions against the Saudi regime; indeed it is one of ‘our closest allies.’ Pakistan, through its long years of military dictatorship was supported and armed to the teeth by the U.S. Such states are firm bastions of ‘the international community.’

The only conclusion one can draw from this is that the international community is composed of those states whose governments are deemed acceptable, or sufficiently submissive, by the U.S. and its allies. Membership may change from time to time according to the stance taken by particular governments towards U.S. foreign policy. Now, to Iran.

The Bush administration, supported by the British government, seems to be moving towards a dangerous confrontation with Iran. Both the U.S. and the U.K. have an unfortunate historic involvement with that country and the role they have played since the second world war in stifling democracy there has not been forgotten by Iranians. Indeed, the long years of support for the despotic Shah largely accounts for the triumph of the Islamic revolution in 1978. The U.S. and U.K. charges against Iran are that the regime is interfering in Iraq and enriching uranium in order to make a nuclear weapon. Neither of these charges is proven. The first, even if true, is laughable coming from those who invaded Iraq and maintain occupation forces there against the will of the Iraqis. The second, according to the findings of the U.S. Intelligence services investigation last year, is unfounded, but those findings have been ignored by the Bush administration. The Iranians claim that they are enhancing and enriching uranium in order to meet their energy needs. This may, or may not be true, but countries like Britain and the U.S. who themselves are in breach of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, have no moral right to criticise Iran. Neither, for that matter, does Israel.

The consensus amongst those who are supposed to know, seems to be that the U.S. and/or Israel, is unlikely to launch an attack on Iran to destroy its nuclear plants. They may be right, but I wouldn’t bet on it. I’ll conclude with an alternative ‘nightmare’ suggestion, which, needless to say, I hope does not materialise.

Bush and Cheney are determined to go out with a ‘bang.’ They calculate that if they don’t attack Iran’s bases, Israel may well act alone. They also calculate that they can destroy the nuclear plants without too much difficulty. This would lead to political turmoil in Iran and Ahmadinejad and the ‘hard-liners’ would be overthrown. The Revolutionary Guard would be dismantled and the ‘threat’ to Iraq removed. Israel would be satisfied without launching any attack itself. Also, a successful strike against Iran would be very popular and hand the initiative to McCain in the presidential election campaign, thus pretty much guaranteeing a Republican victory.

There are a few flaws in this scenario. Should it be undertaken, the outcome is likely to be an escalating catastrophe. New Yorker journalist Seymour Hersh has just published a long article detailing covert CIA operations inside Iran intended to destabilise the regime. So much for Bush’s charges that Iran is interfering in Iraq. Hersh also makes clear that top military officers are totally opposed to an attack on Iran, regarding it as insane. In the past few days, the Iranians have warned of the consequences that would follow from such an attack. They point out that Tel Aviv is within reach of their rockets. They also say that they would respond by attacking the U.S. fleet in the Persian Gulf. They could close the Straits of Hermuz, cutting of f the West’s oil supplies. In addition, such an attack would ignite Shia and Sunni terrorism throughout the Middle East and beyond.

In the face of such a finale to 2008, the outcome of the presidential election may seem somewhat academic.

TPJ is not subject to copyright. Anyone is welcome to freely quote and use material from TPJ. In reproducing or using material from the TPJ proper attribution is appreciated.

see

Mandela and Mugabe by Michael Faulkner

Robert Mugabe, yet another man the West loves to hate by William Bowles

Obama’s Brave New World + Ex-CIA Ray McGovern on Obama’s ‘new world’

Dandelion Salad

Updated: July 18, 2008 added another video

TheRealNews

Pepe Escobar on Obama’s speech on Iraq and Afghanistan

Continue reading

Nader on Obama and Israel (video)

Dandelion Salad

votenader08

2008 Presidential candidate Ralph Nader discusses the situation in the Gaza strip and challenges Senator Barack Obama’s comments to AIPAC. Music: Wassaic by Atmospheric Diver.
http://www.votenader.org

Continue reading

Al-Marri and the power to imprison U.S. citizens without charges

Dandelion Salad

By Glenn Greenwald
ICH
07/17/08 “Salon”

Of all the constitutionally threatening and extremist powers the Bush administration has asserted over the last seven years, the most radical — and the most dangerous — has been its claim that the President has the power to arrest U.S. citizens and legal residents inside the U.S., and imprison them indefinitely in a military prison, without charging them with any crime, based on his assertion that the imprisoned individual is an “enemy combatant.” Beginning with U.S. citizen Yasser Esam Hamdi (detained in Afghanistan), followed by U.S. citizen Jose Padilla (detained at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport), followed by Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri (in the U.S. on a student visa and detained at his home in Peoria, Illinois), the Bush administration has not only claimed that power in theory but has aggressively exercised and defended it in practice.

The Bush administration’s strategy of imprisoning these “enemy combatants” in a South Carolina military brig has (by design) ensured that subsequent legal challenges are heard by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, the most right-wing judicial circuit in the country. In September, 2005, a three-judge panel from that circuit issued a ruling in the Jose Padilla case (.pdf) that actually upheld the President’s power to arrest and indefinitely detain even U.S. citizens arrested on U.S. soil without charging them with any crime — a decision which the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review (because the Bush administration, after 3 1/2 years of lawless imprisonment, avoided that review by finally charging Padilla with a crime), thus leaving that Padilla decision as still-valid law in this country.

…continued at

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. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Israel Planning a September/October Surprise? By Ray McGovern

Dandelion Salad

By Ray McGovern
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article20300.htm
07/17/08 “ICH”
http://www.Consortiumnews.com

You say you expected more rhetoric than reality from Senators Obama and McCain yesterday in their speeches on Iraq and Afghanistan? Well, that’s certainly what you got.

What I find nonetheless amazing is how they, and the pundits, have taken such little notice of the dramatic change in the political landscape occasioned by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s bombshell on July 7 — his insistence on a “timetable” for withdrawal of US troops before any accord is reached on their staying past the turn of the year.

Responding to a question at his press conference yesterday, President George W. Bush showed that he was vaguely aware that the timetable is, as Robert Dreyfuss says (in Truthout, July 7), a “big deal.” Bush even alluded haltingly to the possibility of extending the UN mandate still further.

But it is far from clear that Maliki, who is under great domestic pressure, would be able to sell that to the various factions upon which he depends for support, much less to those which he must keep at bay. As Dreyfuss points out, Maliki and his Shiite allies are also under considerable pressure from Iran, which remains the chief ally of the ruling alliance of Shiites. Most important, Maliki is by no means in control of what happens next.

Israel

Here’s where it gets sticky. No one who knows about third rails in US politics would expect the candidates or the fawning corporate media (FCM) to address how those now running Israel are likely to be looking at the implications of a large US troop withdrawal from Iraq next year.

I am remembering how I was pilloried on June 16, 2005, immediately after Congressman John Conyers’ rump-Judiciary Committee hearing in the bowels of the Capitol, for a candid answer to a question from one of his colleagues; i. e., if the invasion of Iraq was not about WMD, and not about non-existent ties between Iraq and al-Qaeda, then why did we attack?

In answer, I used the acronym OIL. O for oil; I for Israel; and L for Logistics, meaning the military bases deemed by neoconservatives as necessary to protect both. Neither the House members present nor the media people seemed to have any problem with oil and military bases as factors-in itself an interesting commentary.

However, the suggestion that one main motive was an attempt to make that part of the Middle East safer for Israel (yes, folks, the neocons really thought that attacking Iraq would do that) — well, that was anathema.

As it is anathema today to suggest that this is still one of the main reasons, besides oil, that Elliott Abrams, other neocons — not to mention Vice President Dick Cheney and his team — insist we must stay, Maliki and his associates be damned. (See the cartoon in the Washington Times today showing Maliki and words telling him “We are NOT leaving.”)

Here in Washington we can sit back and quibble over the implications of such remarks by Maliki and other Iraqi leaders. The Israelis have to take such statements seriously. No agreement on US forces staying into 2009 without a timetable for withdrawal? For Tel Aviv, this is getting very serious.

My guess is the Israeli leaders are apoplectic. The fiasco in Iraq clearly has made the region much more dangerous for Israel. There are actually real “terrorists” and “extremists” now in Iraq, and the prospect of US troops leaving has got to be a cause of acute concern in Tel Aviv.

Keeping the US Entangled: Iran

This dramatic change — or even just the specter of it — greatly increases Israel’s incentive to ensure the kind of US involvement in the area that would have to endure for several years. The Israelis need to create “facts on the ground” — something to guarantee that Washington will stand by what U.S. candidates, including Sen. Obama, call “our ally.” (Never mind that there is no mutual US-Israel defense treaty.) Israel is all too painfully aware that it has only six more months of Bush and Cheney.

The legislation drafted by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) being so zealously promoted in Congress calls for the equivalent of a blockade of Iran. That would be one way to entangle; there are many others.

The point is that the growing danger that the Israelis perceive will probably prompt them to find a way to get the US involved in hostilities with Iran. Cheney and Bush have pretty much given them that license, with the president regularly pledging to defend “our ally” if Israel is attacked.

All Israel has to do is to arrange to be attacked. Not a problem.

There are endless possibilities among which Israel can choose to catalyze such a confrontation — with or without a wink and a nod from Cheney and Abrams. The so-called “amber light” said to have been given to the Israelis is, I believe, already seen as quite sufficient; they are not likely to feel a need to wait until it turns green.

So far, the resistance of U.S. senior military has been the only real obstacle to the madness of hostilities with Iran. (And one need only read Scott Ritter’s article on Truthdig this week to get a sense for why they would be chary.)

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, Adm. Mike Mullen, has been described as warning the Israelis that a “Third Front” in the Middle East would be a disaster. I think, rather, he was trying to warn anyone who might listen in Washington, including until now tone-deaf lawmakers.

Even if the pundits are correct in suggesting that Mullen is joined by Defense Secretary Robert Gates in trying to resist the neocons and Cheney, Mullen’s tone at his press conference two weeks ago suggested he is fighting a rear guard action-against the “crazies” in the White House, as well as those in Tel Aviv. And when is the last time the crazies lost a political battle with such implications for Israel?

Mullen had just returned from Tel Aviv. He appreciates better than most the fecklessness of endless speculation over whether Israel or the U.S. might strike Iran first. Even if the Israeli leaders have no explicit assurances from the White House, they almost certainly calculate that, once a casus belli is established, their friends in Washington — and the troops they command — are likely to be committed to the fray big time.

Seatbelts Please…

Viewed from Tel Aviv it appears an increasingly threatening situation, with more urgent need to “embed” (so to speak) the United States even more deeply in the region — in a confrontation involving both countries with Iran.

A perfect storm is brewing:

– Petraeus ex Machina, with a record of doing Vice President Dick Cheney’s bidding, takes command of CENTCOM in September;

– Sen. McCain’s numbers are likely to be in the toilet at that point (because of the economy as much as anything else);

– McCain will be seen by the White House as the only candidate with something to gain by a wider war (just as by another “terrorist incident”);

– The Bush/Cheney months will be down to three;

– And Maliki will not be able to cave in to Washington on the timeline requirement he has publicly set.

In sum, Israel is likely to be preparing a September/October surprise designed to keep the US bogged down in Iraq and in the wider region by provoking hostilities with Iran. And don’t be surprised if it starts as early as August. Israel’s leaders may well plead for understanding on the part of those U.S. officials not tipped off in advance, claiming that they could not distinguish amber from green with their night-vision goggles on.

Would they hesitate? Please tell me who…just who is likely to turn on the siren, pull them over, and even think of giving them a summons-once the patrol car computer confirms their privileged licenses?

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. A former Army intelligence officer and CIA analyst, he is now on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

A shorter version of this article appeared first on http://www.Consortiumnews.com.