Slip-Sliding Away By Charley Reese

Dandelion Salad

By Charley Reese
ICH
05/08/08 “Lewrockwell”

Despite all the blather about democracy, we did not invent it, do not support it and have, during the recent administration, become less democratic than we were before.

We are and always have been too large a country for a true democracy. That’s why the Founding Fathers created a republic. In a true democracy, the people would decide practically all the issues. In a republic, the people delegate that power to elected representatives who serve for a fixed term.

A republic is a good form of government provided the people pay attention, fairly judge the performance of their elected officials and boot ’em out of office when they don’t cut the mustard. It is a good form of government provided the best people, not the worst, offer themselves to serve in public office.

Our government really does not support democracy, except rhetorically. When the Palestinians had a free and fair election and chose Hamas members to man their government, we refused to recognize the new government. Apparently, the Bush administration’s definition of a free election is one that provides the results the president wants.

…continued

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Pull the Plug on the War State By Charley Reese

Dandelion Salad

By Charley Reese
ICH
07/28/08 “Anti War

Hopefully, the next president, whoever he is, will have sense enough to realize that an anti-missile site in Eastern Europe is not worth rekindling the Cold War with Russia.

Though the press pays little attention to it, the Bush administration has already practically wrecked relations with Russia by insisting on adding the Eastern European countries to NATO and siting his anti-missile system in the Czech Republic and in Poland. The Russians are right that it represents a threat to their security.

President Bush’s lame excuse that the system is designed to protect Europe from Iranian missiles is no doubt another deliberate lie. I can’t think of any reason whatsoever for Iran to attack Europe, and I’m sure the Iranians can’t, either. Iran hasn’t attacked anybody for more than 100 years. They would have absolutely nothing to gain by firing a few missiles at Europe. It doesn’t make any sense at all.

Nor does it make any sense to add the small countries of Eastern Europe to NATO. This was a war-fighting alliance set up at the end of World War II specifically to deter and, if necessary, go to war with the Red Army. The Soviet Union set up its own alliance, the Warsaw Pact.

…continued

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America Is the Rogue Nation By Charley Reese

Dandelion Salad

By Charley Reese
ICH
06/29/08 “Antiwar

One gets the impression that there are some people in Washington who believe that Israel or the U.S. can bomb Iran’s nuclear reactors, fly home, and it will be mission complete.

It makes you wonder if perhaps there is a virus going around that is gradually making people stupid. If we or Israel attack Iran, we will have a new war on our hands. The Iranians are not going to shrug off an attack and say, “You naughty boys, you.”

Consider how much trouble Iraq has given us. Some 4,000 dead and 29,000 wounded, a half a trillion dollars in cost and still climbing, and five years later, we cannot say that the country is pacified.

Iraq is a small country compared with Iran. Iran has about 70 million people. Its western mountains border the Persian Gulf. In other words, its missiles and guns look down on the U.S. ships below it. And it has lots of missiles, from short-range to intermediate-range (around 2,200 kilometers).

…continued

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It’s Occupation, Not War By Charley Reese

Dandelion Salad

By Charley Reese
ICH
3/04/08 “
Antiwar

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan ended some years ago. In Iraq, the war ended with the fall of Saddam Hussein’s government; in Afghanistan, with the fall of the Taliban government. What’s been happening since is occupation and resistance to occupation.

It’s always helpful to call things by the right name. One of the ways using the wrong word can trip us is illustrated by John McCain’s campaign theme. We have to win the war in Iraq, he keeps saying. Ending a war implies either winning or losing. No such baggage is attached to an occupation. You can end an occupation without either winning or losing. You just withdraw your troops.

The fact that what is going on in Iraq is an occupation is proven by the nature of the conflicts. They are between factions of Iraqis. Our guys are caught in the crossfire or killed by Iraqis who oppose our presence. There are no large-scale attacks directed against us.

…continued

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The Three Trillion Dollar Shopping Spree (video)

No Peace By Charley Reese

Dandelion Salad

By Charley Reese
18/01/08 “ICH

To understand the failure of the president’s trip to the Middle East, which is foreordained and doesn’t have to be completed in order to fail, take note of two words that the president will not utter: “occupied territories.”

Let’s review the situation from the standpoint of international law. The West Bank, Gaza, the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem and a smidgen of Lebanon the Israelis still occupy are officially designated as occupied territories. They were seized in war. Jerusalem is officially an international city, so designated by the United Nations partition resolution that created the state of Israel. The Israelis, of course, long ago declared the resolution null and void.

As occupied territories, they fall under the Geneva Conventions. An occupying power is not allowed to take land or to build settlements in occupied territory. It is not allowed to destroy homes, to uproot olive groves, to deport people, and to wall the area off – all of which the Israelis have done and are continuing to do.

This brings us to the question of negotiations. It is impossible for the Palestinians, whose land is occupied and whose lives are totally controlled by the most powerful military state in the Middle East, to make any concessions. To make a concession, you have to have something. They have nothing. They have no power. They don’t control their land, their borders, their access to the sea or the air, the water or even their movements within the territories. Thanks to the American vetoes, they don’t even have any recourse in the U.N.

The only party, then, that can make concessions is Israel, and Israel is not making any concessions, since it far prefers land to peace with an enemy that is virtually powerless.

Therefore, if the U.S. refuses to pressure Israel, there will be no peace. President Bush’s trip is nothing more than a public-relations ploy to simulate an interest in peace. Bush is, however, unwilling to say or do anything that might actually result in Israeli concessions and therefore in peace. In fact, the main purpose of Bush’s visit is to harangue the Arabs about the alleged dangers of Iran. He refuses to talk to the elected representatives of the Palestinians, who are Hamas members.

I see no change in Bush’s thinking, if you can call it that, at all, but I do notice that he looks depressed. The last two public appearances I’ve watched on television show an unhappy man. The old cockiness and the silly smiles seem to have vanished. It could be that slowly the news is trickling into his brain that his administration has been a flop.

In the meantime, the Palestinians continue to suffer, the world continues to ignore their suffering, and the kettle that is the Middle East continues to simmer. It is never wise for either an individual or a country to believe that because it is powerful today it will always be powerful. The Middle East is an open-air museum of the ruins of past conquerors.

We Americans should pay particular note to the fact that time is not reckoned in the Middle East as it is in the West, where it was shaped by industrial factory life. There is an Arab story about a man who returned to his village after an absence of some weeks.

“Do you remember that man who insulted me 30 years ago?” he asks a friend. “Well, I just killed him.”

“Why were you in such a hurry?” his friend asks.

It’s quite a sad situation for everyone concerned. If I were an Israeli, I’d be concerned about forcing another generation of Palestinians to live in poverty and bitterness. I’d be concerned that another generation of Israeli children is going to have to grow up in a militarized state in the midst of a larger population that hates them. As an American, I’m concerned that cowardly politicians are putting Americans at risk out of fear of a domestic lobby.

Charley Reese has been a journalist for 49 years.

© 2008 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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America’s “Divide and Rule” Strategies in the Middle East by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

Cut Israel Off By Charley Reese

Dandelion Salad

By Charley Reese
ICH
11/16/07 “Antiwar

It is long past time for American politicians to quit carrying water for the state of Israel and its powerful U.S. lobby. Congress’ craven obedience to the lobby is a disgrace.

America’s strategic interests in the Middle East lie with the Arab countries. Israel is a strategic and economic liability. The U.S. government’s slavish support of Israel brands us as a hypocrite and is responsible for most of the hostility toward the U.S.

Americans have been brainwashed into believing that it’s the Arabs, and the Palestinians in particular, who don’t want peace. That is a big lie. The Palestinians made an enormous concession when they agreed to settle for a state on 18 percent of Palestine. Saudi Arabia proposed several years ago a peace plan in which all of the Arab countries would recognize Israel in exchange for Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories. The Israelis rejected it out of hand, just as they reject Arab efforts to have the Middle East a nuclear-free zone.

Israel’s goal is and always has been to take all of Palestine and to get rid of the Palestinians. The Israelis employed ethnic cleansing in 1948 and again in 1967 to make hundreds of thousands of Palestinians refugees. For 40 years, the Israelis have refused to give back the Palestinian and Syrian lands they seized in war. They have blatantly violated international law by building settlements on occupied land, and by violating the airspace of other sovereign countries.

Palestinians are the victims, not the villains, in this case. The Israelis make their lives miserable in the hope they will give up and leave. At the same time, the Israelis, in cahoots with the American government, maintain a charade of proposed peace talks. They of course never come to fruition. The Israeli government is not about to allow the Palestinians to have a viable state. If they give the Palestinians anything, it will be a patchwork of enclaves completely surrounded and controlled by Israel. Having created 700,000 Palestinian refugees, the Israelis have from the beginning refused to allow them to return to their homes, farms and businesses, all of which Israel confiscated on the specious grounds that they were “abandoned property.”

Without U.S. aid, which now is conservatively estimated to total $108 billion (think of the infrastructure and schools that amount could build in the U.S.), and without the U.S. wielding its veto every time the United Nations tries to act, none of this would be possible.

It is not just the Muslim world that hates our pro-Israel foreign policy, for sound reasons that it is unjust and cruel. Europeans and others around the world are contemptuous of America’s slavelike obedience to a small foreign power. It has gotten to the point that to be seen as an ally of the United States is viewed negatively.

The Arab and Muslim people, with the exception of al-Qaeda, don’t hate America or Americans. It is the pro-Israel foreign policy and, of course, our invasions of two Muslim countries that they hate. Virtually all of the anti-Arab and anti-Muslim propaganda generated in this country has its source in the Israeli lobby and in Israel itself.

Thanks to the unconstitutional largess of the cowardly Congress, Israel is a rich country and one of the world’s leading military powers. It doesn’t need American aid. It is time to quit dancing to the tune of a lobby with dual loyalties and to pursue America’s interests.

Americans are being betrayed by their own politicians, and it’s time to treat those scoundrels with the contempt they deserve.
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Time To Choose By Charley Reese

Dandelion Salad

By Charley Reese
ICH
10/23/07 “KFS

Most politicians, when they talk about reducing spending, chatter on about cutting waste and fraud. That’s OK, but it’s a mere nick on the federal budget. If you really want to reduce spending, you must dismantle the overseas empire.

Excluding Iraq, Afghanistan and the other facilities in the Gulf states that have been built since the Republican war, the Pentagon lists 702 overseas bases in 130 foreign countries on which are stationed more than 250,000 uniformed troops. There are also dependents and civilian employees on many of those bases.

One of the oldest military clichés is that the generals always want to fight the last war over again. Well, there’s some truth to that. In fact, though, we will never again fight World War II, so why in the heck do we have bases still in Germany, Italy, Japan, Guam and South Korea?

Just whom do we expect to fight from these bases? How do they contribute to the defense of the U.S.? They don’t. They are, frankly, a residue of World War II and a reminder that the military is, after all, a bureaucracy and hates the very idea of “losing” any facilities and billets. We don’t need to have troops permanently stationed in any of these countries. Nor do we need to maintain our membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which is a residue from the Cold War.

I don’t wish to disillusion anyone, but Asia and Europe are not our responsibilities. If there is any need for defense, it is the responsibility of the countries on those continents. We know from personal experience that Japan and Germany can field large and competent armies if they should decide they need them. They do not need our protection.

At the present, there are only two countries in the world that have the capability of waging war against us. Those are China and Russia. In both cases, the war would be fought with intercontinental ballistic missiles. We are never going to see a land war with either of those countries. It should be the No. 1 priority of our foreign-policy establishment to see that we never have a war at all with either of these countries.

Wars start when empires wish to expand. That was the cause of the Spanish-American War, World War I and World War II. The Korean and Vietnam wars were civil wars in which our politicians involved us. The wars against Afghanistan and Iraq are again wars of an empire trying to expand. In these cases, we are the empire, and you might as well face the ugly truth that our invasions of both countries were no different from the Nazi invasions that led to World War II. Neither Afghanistan nor Iraq had attacked us or were even capable of attacking us.

In Afghanistan, we could have gone after al-Qaeda without overthrowing the Taliban government. In the case of Iraq, like Adolf Hitler did with Poland, we simply published a pack of lies to justify our invasion.

Americans need to realize that we are not the police force of the world. It is not our responsibility to overthrow dictators or effect regime change in other people’s countries. It is not our responsibility to stop slaughters such as seem to be a permanent feature of Africa.

If we could only learn to mind our own business and see to the needs of our own people, we could lead a peaceful, prosperous and happy existence. As for the terrorists, they are mainly a problem for intelligence and police. If any military force is necessary, one company of Rangers or Marines would be enough.

You can’t have a free republic and an empire. It is time to choose.

Charley Reese has been a journalist for 49 years.

© 2007 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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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Ecuador wants military base in Miami By Phil Stewart

The Imperial Presidency by Ralph Nader

The 545 People Responsible For All Of U.S. Woes By Charley Reese (older article)

Dandelion Salad

By Charley Reese
ICH
10/16/07
(Date of original publication unknown)

Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.

Have you ever wondered why, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, we have deficits? Have you ever wondered why, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, we have inflation and high taxes?

You and I don’t propose a federal budget. The president does. You and I don’t have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does. You and I don’t write the tax code. Congress does. You and I don’t set fiscal policy. Congress does. You and I don’t control monetary policy. The Federal Reserve Bank does.

One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president and nine Supreme Court justices – 545 human beings out of the 235 million – are directly, legally, morally and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.

I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered but private central bank.

I excluded all but the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman or a president to do one cotton-picking thing. I don’t care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it.

No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislation’s responsibility to determine how he votes.

A CONFIDENCE CONSPIRACY

Don’t you see how the con game that is played on the people by the politicians? Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.

What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of Tip O’Neill, who stood up and criticized Ronald Reagan for creating deficits.

The president can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it. The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating appropriations and taxes.

O’neill is the speaker of the House. He is the leader of the majority party. He and his fellow Democrats, not the president, can approve any budget they want. If the president vetos it, they can pass it over his veto.

REPLACE SCOUNDRELS

It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 235 million cannot replace 545 people who stand convicted — by present facts – of incompetence and irresponsibility.

I can’t think of a single domestic problem, from an unfair tax code to defense overruns, that is not traceable directly to those 545 people.

When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.

If the tax code is unfair, it’s because they want it unfair. If the budget is in the red, it’s because they want it in the red. If the Marines are in Lebanon, it’s because they want them in Lebanon.

There are no insoluble government problems. Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take it.

Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exist disembodied mystical forces like “the economy,” “inflation” or “politics” that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.

Those 545 people and they alone are responsible. They and they alone have the power. They and they alone should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses – provided they have the gumption to manage their own employees.

This article was first published by the Orlando Sentinel Star newspaper

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The Empire Is Over By Charley Reese

Dandelion Salad

By Charley Reese
ICH
09/29/07 “Lew Rockwell

The American government has come to resemble the characters in The Wizard of Oz. We have the Cowardly Congress, a president without a brain, and a foreign-policy establishment without a heart.

Our politicians are still trying to play the empire game long after the age of empires has ended. Blinded by arrogance, they cannot see that with every passing day, the world needs us less and less and hates us more and more. We are passing through that phase when the grandeur of the empire exists only in the minds of politicians who have insulated themselves from reality.

A friend of mine, a classical scholar, sometimes tells his students, “No one woke up one morning in 476 A.D. and said, ‘Gee, I’m in the Dark Ages.'” The transition from the heyday of Roman power to a stage of barbarism was a gradual process. We are in a process of change. No one is going to announce on TV that the U.S. is no longer a superpower.

Nevertheless, the signs are there if you look for them. A nation that was able to help crush the Axis powers in three and a half years hasn’t won a war since then. We have had four years of struggling with an insurgency in a small, poor and broken country. Our economy is shaky under mountains of debt. Half of our people make less than 42,000 inflated dollars a year.

Where we were once the arsenal of democracy, today there is hardly a major weapons system that doesn’t rely on imports of one kind or another. Much of the industry that is left is foreign-owned. Japan, which once lay prostrate, dominates the American car market. It is extremely difficult to find anything today that is not made in China or some other cheap-labor country.

In the meantime, the cowardly Congress doesn’t have the guts to tackle any of the major problems confronting the American people. Our president continues to embarrass us practically every time he opens his mouth in public. The foreign-policy establishment is riddled with aging draft dodgers agitating for more wars – against small countries, of course.

True, we still have lots of nuclear weapons, but do you think any American president would want to get into a nuclear shooting match with China or Russia? Look at how we reacted to two airplanes crashing into two office buildings. What do you think we would do if San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco became radioactive ruins with millions of casualties? We are not prepared mentally, spiritually or materially to deal with a nuclear war.

We are like all empires in their final stages. We have grown soft. We like our comforts. We don’t wish to be inconvenienced. We like poor Mexicans to do our stoop work and poor Americans to do our fighting, provided they do it far away so we won’t be disturbed by explosions and screams. We enjoy our decadence, and there are always people in the media who can rationalize anything, no matter how sick and revolting it is.

As for trying to understand the world, we are just too busy being amused and following the adventures of Britney Spears and other celebrities. We like to let the TV and the politicians do our thinking for us. It saves energy. They tell us whom to hate.

The only way to avoid a bad end is to find some realists and put them in public office. We need a brave Congress, not a pack of cowards. We desperately need a president with a brain. We need to retire the warmongers in the foreign-policy establishment. Otherwise, we will join the other third-rate countries, once empires, on history’s discard pile.

Charley Reese has been a journalist for 49 years.

© 2007 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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.

Republic to Empire By Charley Reese

Republic to Empire

By Charley Reese

07/03/07 “
Lew Rockwell

 

When President Teddy Roosevelt attended the funeral of a member of British royalty, he declined the offer of a gilded carriage for the funeral procession. Roosevelt told his British hosts that it would be inappropriate for the head of a republic. He would therefore walk.

One of President Franklin Roosevelt’s favorite things to do was to pack a lunch, drive up into the Pine Mountains, pull off the road, spread a blanket and enjoy a picnic lunch with two or three of his friends.

In 1933, an assassin opened fire on Roosevelt during an appearance in an open car in Miami. The mayor of Chicago, however, was in the way and took the bullets. The Secret Service members immediately started to speed away, and Roosevelt ordered them to stop and retrieve the wounded mayor. At first they didn’t, until he shouted, “Damn it, back this car up and get the mayor!” They did, and carried the wounded mayor to the hospital in the president’s car. The mayor later died.

President Harry Truman always took a vigorous daily walk – on the streets of Washington. When his term ended, he and his wife took a cab to the train station, where they returned to Missouri. Truman, by the way, refused all offers to serve on corporate boards of directors. “You don’t want me, you want the presidency, and that’s not mine to sell,” he said.

If you will recall the funeral procession for Princess Diana, you will remember that the royal princes walked the route to Westminster Cathedral. Imagine that – British royalty walking down a street jammed with common people.

The last time President George W. Bush visited the British Isles, the Air Force had to fly over a fleet of 16 armored limousines for use of the president and his entourage.

If you are young and don’t like to read (I hope this hasn’t become a redundancy), then you are probably unaware of the transition from a republic to an empire. One of the reasons I’m so contemptuous of modern politicians is that I don’t compare them with each other; I compare them with the great men of the past. The last elected president who had genuinely great accomplishments on his résumé was Dwight Eisenhower.

There is no such thing as a flawless politician. We should never expect perfection in anything involving human beings. But there very much is such a thing as character, and that’s where we’ve gotten careless in our choice of leaders.

The foundations of character are honesty, courage and fidelity. An adulterer who is unfaithful to his wife is hardly likely to be faithful to his oath of office. John F. Kennedy was an adulterer and a playboy, but he was the first president to be marketed like a bar of soap or a tube of toothpaste. It becomes more and more difficult these days to distinguish between accomplishment and image.

To get even an idea of a person’s character, you have to look at his whole life, not just the public image. People rarely, if ever, change their character after adolescence. Hopefully, they will grow in knowledge and perhaps wisdom, but most people remain the same people they always were as far as character is concerned. Self-indulgent cowards don’t become brave stoics.

Viktor Frankl, a Jewish psychiatrist who survived the Holocaust, discovered that the hellish experience didn’t change anybody. Those who were bad remained bad, and those who were good remained good. I suppose the question for us today is, Have we lost the ability to distinguish between good and bad?

Charley Reese has been a journalist for 49 years.

© 2007 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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.