Special Report: War or Peace? The World After the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election By Richard C. Cook

by Richard C. Cook
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
richardccook.com

October 26, 2008

With the presidential election only a week away, the financial crisis has been dominating the news, but behind it is an even larger question of war vs. peace. This article will appear in a forthcoming issue of Eurasia Critic magazine.

INTRODUCTION

World war or world peace is the blunt choice that will face either Barack Obama or John McCain when one of them is elected president of the United States on Tuesday, November 4, 2008.

For a major eruption of violence to be averted, the new president must deal positively with the reappearance of Russia on the world stage, the emergence of China as an economic force, and the aspirations of all the nations on earth for a decent and secure way of life.

Making matters much more dangerous are the ongoing financial crisis, along with what appears to be the start of a worldwide economic recession of as yet undetermined depth and duration.

It is Europe, not the U.S., from which proposals are emerging for a transformative approach to the most compelling issues. But will it be enough?

THE DISASTROUS PRESIDENCY OF GEORGE W. BUSH

In December 2000, at the time the U.S. Supreme Court was intervening in the disputed vote count in Florida to name Republican George W. Bush president over Democrat Al Gore, the stock market began to crash. The “dot.com” bubble, based largely on foreign investment in internet companies and technology stocks, deflated. By the time Bush was inaugurated in January 2001, signs of a recession were appearing.

This did not prevent the Bush administration from initiating a $450 billion tax cut for the upper income brackets that Congress approved in March 2001. A similar cut was subsequently enacted in May 2003.

On September 11, 2001, the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers in New York City were attacked by airplanes flying into them, followed that morning by an air attack on the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

Terrorists from Al Qaeda, an organization of Islamic extremists associated with the Afghan mujaheddin, and a Saudi figure, Osama bin Laden, alleged to be their leader, were blamed. The wealthy bin Laden family had close ties to the U.S. and the Bush family.

Within a few weeks, the Bush administration pulled a battle plan from the shelves of the Pentagon and invaded Afghanistan. The object was to wrest control of that nation from the Taliban, supposedly Al Qaeda collaborators. A new U.S. Asian land war had begun.

Continue reading

A Picture Worth A Thousand Words by Helen Thomas

Dandelion Salad

by Helen Thomas, Hearst White House columnist
http://www.wesh.com
May 7, 2008

Newspaper Criticized For Publishing Photo

WASHINGTON — Some readers resented The Washington Post for publishing an Associated Press photograph of a critically wounded Iraqi child being lifted from the rubble of his home in Baghdad’s Sadr City “after a U.S. airstrike.”

Two-year-old Ali Hussein later died in a hospital.

As the saying goes, the picture was worth a thousand words because it showed the true horrors of this war.

…continued

It’s an Election, Not a Coronation by Rosemarie Jackowski

Dandelion Salad

by Rosemarie Jackowski
Dissident Voice
February 26th, 2008

Democrats are once again experiencing Nader angst. In fact, many of them are suffering so much anxiety that they not only attack Nader, but also Nader supporters. The Democratic Party needs to be reminded that it is an election, not a coronation.

No one automatically deserves a vote simply because of Party affiliation. Hillary and Obama will get the votes of the Party faithful. Other voters will cast their ballots based on issues. On the issues, is any candidate better than Nader? No major party candidate even compares. That is why they have refused to allow Nader to debate.

The Democrats had their chance, and once again they blew it. They started out with Kucinich who called for the immediate withdrawal from Iraq — not only withdrawal across the Iraq border — but Kucinich called for bringing all troops home now. He also supported a Single Payer Health care system. That would save the lives of 18,000 U.S. citizens every year.

The Democrats also had Edwards who had promised to fight the wave of corporate crime — a major problem. Would there be war if the corporations did not profit from the killing?

Instead of voting for Kucinich or Edwards, the Party faithful cast their votes for candidates with a questionable history of support for peace, health care, and economic justice. This has created a vacuum of ideas. Nader is now filling that vacuum. The Democrats could have had it all — a peace candidate and an easy win against a weakened Republican candidate. Instead, they will again blame Nader, while refusing to accept the inevitable results of the votes of the Party faithful. They have ignored one of the most fundamental lessons of politics — you get what you vote for.

The Democrats have turned their backs on a large segment of the population — the anti-war groups. No self-respecting peace advocate can vote for either Democratic candidate. One candidate wants to increase the size of the military. The other stood by in silence while the Clinton administration was responsible for the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children. Both Democratic candidates have foreign policy positions that are to the far right of Republican Ron Paul.

Nader is not only correct on issues of Foreign Policy, but he is also the world’s greatest consumer advocate. His candidacy is perfect timing. We are all consumers — consumers of war and peace, consumers of public utilities, consumers of agricultural products, the list could go on and on.

How’s NAFTA working for you? Have you read the fine print on your credit card statement recently? Are you happy with your public utility company — what about your cable company, your Internet provider? What about health care insurers who try to maximize profits by denying medical care to the seriously ill? What is the salary of the CEO of your health insurance company?

Lack of vigilant consumer protection has led to a culture of distrust. We live in a red tape jungle. Only Nader can bring about the necessary changes so that consumers can develop a sense of trust and confidence in the corporations that provide essential goods and services.

Ralph Nader has been a national treasure for decades. He has worked quietly — without publicity or fanfare — helping ordinary citizens. I first met him many years ago. The public utility had a plan to build a floating nuclear power plant off the coast of Atlantic City, New Jersey. Ralph came to Cape May. He met with the citizens. Because of his help, the floating power plant was not built.

Members of the Press have shown a lack of interest in, and knowledge of, the issues. Some TV interviewers are so uninformed that they avoid the real issues. Watching them is sometimes painful. The problem is not limited to FOX. Tim, Chris, and the others make me wish for a real journalist such as Helen Thomas.

Nader is not the only candidate who has been the victim here. Ron Paul and Mike Gravel have also been marginalized and disrespected. The voters are the ultimate victims. They never get to hear the platforms of all candidates. Cynthia McKinney has a powerful message that most voters have not heard. How about a Nader/McKinney team! Race, gender, and party affiliation barriers can be broken down with support for a Nader/McKinney candidacy.

The Democrats have a history of using unethical, strong-arm legal tactics to keep Nader off the ballots and out of the debates. Is there anything that they won’t try in order to silence an opposing candidate? Nader supporters will have to come up with a nation-wide network of Pro Bono lawyers to help with any assault from the Democrats. That’s not how democracy is supposed to work. Freedom of speech should not have to be purchased in a court room. Open the debates. Allow all candidates to be heard.

Nader’s announcement as a candidate has given an opportunity to demand the truth — but in the words of Jack Nicolson, maybe the voters “can’t stand the truth.”

Rosemarie Jackowski is an advocacy journalist living in Vermont. Read other articles by Rosemarie.

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.

see

Pariah or Prophet? By Chris Hedges

On the Issues: Ralph Nader

Road Trip for Ralph

The Audacity of Revolution VS The Hope of Chumps by Manila Ryce (video)

An Unreasonable Man (must-see videos; Nader) Parts 1-4

Ralph Nader Announces Candidacy (videos) (updated)

Ralph Nader: It’s not always about winning by Mark Silva

Nader-Ralph

www.votenader.org/

Helen Thomas gives the White House Press Secretary a shellacking

Dandelion Salad

JDinNYC01

Helen Thomas, shown here at a sprightly 85 years old, puts The White House Press Secretary, Scott McClellan on the spot for Bush’s illegal surveillance. She demonstrated more guts than the rest of the White House press corps combined. An inspiration, and an example of how a real journalist works. As opposed to “correspondents”, who take notes on whatever is said, and then just regurgitate them to the Public; a journalist endeavors to get the truth, and put information into broader and meaningful context. Watch “The Dean” of the press corps at work enjoy! Video is Public Domain

Vodpod videos no longer available. from www.youtube.com posted with vodpod

.

h/t: After Downing Street

2007 in Review: Power, Politics and Resistance Part 2 (videos)

Dandelion Salad

Democracy Now!

Jan 2, 2008

transcript

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2007 in Review: Power, Politics and Resistance Pt. 2

Today, part two of our special look back at 2007, including the Jena Six, the Petraeus report, the trial of Jose Padilla, Alberto Gonzales’s resignation, Alan Greenspan v. Naomi Klein, Michael Mukasey on waterboarding, Blackwater’s Massacre in Baghdad, Jimmy Carter on apartheid in the Palestinian territories, Al Gore and IPCC win the Nobel Peace Prize, the pro-democracy uprising in Burma, the firing of Norman Finkelstein and Ward Churchill, New Jersey abolishes the death penalty, the assassination of Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto and more.

Featuring the Voices of:

Joseph Wilson, Alan Johnston, Robert Bailey,
Caseptla Bailey, Marcus Jones, Helen Thomas,
President Bush, Rep. Dennis Kucinich,
Ward Churchill, Sen. Barack Obama,
Marjorie Cohn, Nydesha Foster, Angela Hegarty,
Amira Baraka, Nir Rosen, Camilo Mejia,
Grace Paley, Alberto Gonzales,
Sen. Larry Craig, Norman Finkelstein,
President Jimmy Carter, Sen. Robert Byrd,
Gen. David Petraeus, Rev. Al Sharpton,
Alan Greenspan, Naomi Klein, Mark Canning,
Rep, Danny Davis, Erik Prince,
Sen. Ted Kennedy, Jeremy Scahill,
Katie Redford, Yoko Ono, Bill McKibben,
Maher Arar, John Tanner, Jonathan Paul,
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, Michael Mukasey,
Desiree Anita Ali-Fairooz, Mark Klein,
Evo Morales, Asma Jahangir, Wayne Barrett,
John Edwards, Noam Chomsky. Desmond Tutu,
Mitt Romney, John McCain, Nelson Mandela,
Lou Dobbs, Mohamed ElBaradei, Michael Ratner,
Mark Benjamin, Rev. Jesse Jackson,
Rajendra Pachauri, Al Gore, Jon Corzine,
Benazir Bhutto, and more. [includes rush transcript]

The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

***

donovonc

see

Democracy Now’s Year In Review (videos)

Press Secretary Dana Perino: Spinning Lies for the Butcher of Baghdad by Walter C. Uhler

Dandelion Salad

by Walter C. Uhler
4 December 2007

Every American of conscience should read Michael Massing’s latest article in the New York Review of Books. It’s titled, “Iraq: The Hidden Human Costs.” As Mr. Massing makes clear, the human costs of Bush’s butchery in Iraq have remained hidden largely because there are “limitations imposed by the political climate in which the [mainstream] press works.”

Massing attributes the reluctance of editors and producers to print and broadcast news about Bush’s butchery in Iraq to the fact that “most Americans simply do not want to know too much about the acts being carried out in their name.” Or, as Scott Ritter has put it, “very few Americans function as citizens anymore.”

But, quoting from Generation Kill, by Evan Wright, Massing describes the initial American onslaught on Nasiryah: “During our thirty-six hours outside Nasiryah they [Marines] have already lobbed an estimated 2,000 [artillery] rounds into the city.”

“Entering the city with the Marines… ‘we pass a bus, smashed and burned, with charred human remains sitting upright in some windows. There’s a man in the road with no head and a dead little girl, too, about three or four, lying on her back. She’s wearing a dress and has no legs.”

Describing another of the thousands of disasters that have been unleashed by America’s butcher of Baghdad, Massing writes about US soldiers who were manning a roadblock. As cars approached the roadblock, the soldiers would fire warning shots that, as often as not, caused scared Iraqis to speed up. After one such car had been shot at, “a Marine named Graves goes to help a little girl cowering in the back seat, her eyes wide open. As he goes to pick her up, ‘thinking about what medical supplies he might need to treat her…the top of her head slides off and her brains fall out.'”

Writing for the Daily Mirror (UK) from Fallujah in April 2003, Chris Hughes reported: “I watched in horror as American troops opened fire on a crowd of one thousand unarmed people here yesterday. Many, including children, were cut down by a twenty-second burst of automatic gunfire during a demonstration against the killing of thirteen protestors at the Al-Kaahd school on Monday.” [Dahr Jamail, Beyond the Green Zone, p. 132]

In that same Fallujah, approximately one year later, “one victim of the U.S. military aggression after another was brought into the clinic, nearly all of them women and children, carried by weeping family members. Those who had not been hit by bombs from warplanes had been shot by U.S. snipers.” [Ibid, p. 138]

Of the hundreds of civilians killed and wounded in Fallujah in 2004, reporter Dahr Jamail personally witnessed an “eighteen-year-old girl [who] had been shot through the neck. She was making breathy gurgling noises as the doctors frantically worked on her amid her muffled moaning…Her younger brother, a small child of ten with a gunshot wound to his head from a marine sniper, his eyes glazed and staring into space, continually vomited as the doctors raced to save his life.” [Ibid, p. 137] Both children died

Similar atrocities in Iraq prompted Jeffery Carazales, a lance corporal from Texas, to rage: “I think it’s bullshit how these fucking civilians are dying!” “They are worse off than the guys that are shooting at us. They don’t even have a chance. Do you think the people at home are going to see this – all these women and children we’re killing? Fuck no. Back home they’re glorifying this motherfucker. I guarantee you. Saying our president is a fucking hero for getting us into this bitch. He ain’t even a real Texan.” [Massing]

Not even a “real” Texan? Hell, we first must question whether either Bush or Cheney are even “real” — by which I mean “decent”– human beings. After all, do you personally know anyone who could lie about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and ties to al Qaeda in order to remove Saddam Hussein from power for the sake of oil and Israel — especially if he knew that his invasion would inevitably blow off the limbs of hundreds, if not thousands, of three-year-old girls and split open the skulls of hundreds, if not thousands more?

No, of course not. Unless, of course, you happen to know personally one of America’s despicable neoconservatives, one of America’ crackpot Christian Zionists or Bush’s latest press secretary, Dana Perino. It was Ms. Perino, who, on November 30th, placed her own humanity in a lock box when she offered journalist Helen Thomas the following lie: “To suggest that we, the United States, are killing innocent people is just absurd and very offensive.”

Although such lies might still work with many loyal saps in the Republican Party and the many Americans who have jettisoned citizenship for shopping and television addictions, the rest of the world knows the truth. And it is not amused! Unfortunately, all Americans, not just the stupid and immoral ones, will have to pay for the world’s condemnation.

Walter C. Uhler is an independent scholar and freelance writer whose work has been published in numerous publications, including The Nation, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the Journal of Military History, the Moscow Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. He also is President of the Russian-American International Studies Association (RAISA).

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.

Suppressing the Truths of War by Mara Revkin (film review: War & Truth)

Dandelion Salad

A new documentary about war correspondents shows not only how hard it is for reporters to capture the real stories of conflict, but how hard it is for them to get those stories on air and in print.

Mara Revkin
The American Prospect
July 18, 2007

Veteran war correspondent Joe Galloway has seen so much combat, it’s hard to believe he’s actually a civilian. After 22 years of reporting for United Press International and U.S. News & World Report from the front lines of every major American military engagement since Vietnam, Galloway doesn’t hesitate to describe war as “the most devastating and stupid of all man’s enterprises.”Correspondents like Galloway have built careers on their shared conviction that democracy is degraded by a perceptual gap between the gruesome realities of war and the mainstream media’s sanitized portrayal of it. The discrepancy between what journalists see on assignment and what their publishers approve for dissemination to the American public is the subject of Michael Samstag’s new documentary, War & Truth, which chronicles the high-risk careers of embedded war correspondents from World War II to the present day.

[…]

Continued…

see:

The Truth Game by John Pilger (video; Jan 07)

Earth to Bush: “The Chaos in Iraq You Now Decry was Caused By You!” by Walter C. Uhler

Dandelion Salad

by Walter C. Uhler
Posted 13 July 2007

Having watched our pathetic president’s July 12th news conference concerning the “Initial Benchmark Assessment Report,” I felt the urge to applaud Helen Thomas for verbally assaulting George W. Bush for the war criminal and mass murderer that he is. God bless her for asking: “Mr. President, you started this war, this war of your choosing, and you can end it alone, today, at this point…Don’t you accept – don’t you understand, we brought the Al Qaida into Iraq?”
Bush, of course, lied to Ms. Thomas when he claimed Saddam Hussein “chose the course” compelling Bush’s invasion by ignoring the warning from the UN Security Council: “Disclose, disarm or face serious consequences.”

But, “disclose, disarm” what? As virtually every individual on planet earth now knows, Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction to disarm or disclose. More significantly, had it actually been left to the UN Security Council to enforce its resolution – which is to say, had the Bush administration not violated a legally binding international treaty, the UN Charter -Saddam Hussein probably would be alive today and still ruling Iraq, like it or not.

Bush might “firmly believe that the world is better off without Saddam Hussein in power,” but that’s hardly a justification for committing the worst of all war crimes, unprovoked naked aggression. Moreover, were the world’s population forced to choose between Hussein and Bush, it’s likely that many more millions throughout the world would agree that the world would be better off without George W. Bush in power.

(Imagine our horror, were we to ever find that the world possessed sufficient military power to successfully force its will upon us! Who, then, would be appealing to international law and the protections due to sovereign states?)

But Bush’s lie to Helen Thomas was not the only lie he told during his press conference. Look at the lie he embedded in his discussions about pre-invasion troop strength with General Tommy Franks: “During our discussions in the run-up to the decision to remove Saddam Hussein after he ignored the Security Council resolutions, my primary question to General Franks was: Do you have what it takes to succeed?”

In fact, Saddam Hussein complied with the Security Council Resolution 1441, which afforded Iraq “‘a final opportunity to comply’ with its disarmament obligations, and accordingly it set up an enhanced inspection regime.” [Christine Gray, International Law and the Use of Force, p. 271] As international law scholar Christine Gray has concluded: “The determination of a material breach after Resolution 1441 was unilateral in the sense that it was made by the USA, the UK and Australia rather than by the Security Council.” [Ibid, p. 277]

And, thus, it was the war mongering Bush regime that cut the inspections short, lest UN weapons inspectors demonstrate that Iraq possessed no WMD – or lest the weather in Iraq would become too hot for invading troops.

Bush’s third lie at the press conference was his biggest – and he stumbled while defending it. When Bush asserted, “the same folks that are bombing innocent people in Iraq were the ones who attacked us in America on September the 11th,” one reporter called him to task. “What evidence can you present to the American people that the people who attacked the United States on September 11th are, in fact, the same people who are responsible for the bombing taking place in Iraq…And also, are you saying sir, that Al Qaida in Iraq is the same organization being run by Osama bin Laden himself?”

After asserting “Al Qaida in Iraq has sworn allegiance to Osama bin Laden,” Bush was forced to retreat. “And the guys who had perpetuated (sic!) the attacks on America – obviously the guys on the airplane are dead. And the commanders, many of those are either dead or in captivity – like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.” Unfortunately, Bush did not retreat to the entire truth.

Had he been entirely honest, Bush would have asserted that U.S. intelligence still has no evidence of operational ties between Saddam Hussein and al Qaida prior to 9/11, that his administration – especially Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Cheney — despicably seized upon already discredited shards of evidence to make such a connection and that he and Cheney continue trying to establish a link in order to persuade the American public that the invasion of Iraq was necessary in order to combat international terrorism.

Had he been entirely honest, Bush would have mentioned the intelligence reports, which concluded: (1) the U.S. invasion of Iraq inspired numerous otherwise middle class Muslims to become jihadists and (2) the U.S. invasion of Iraq is creating more al Qaida terrorists than the U.S. is killing in Iraq.

Had he been entirely honest, Bush would have noted that only 15 percent of the average daily attacks in Iraq are launched by al Qaida. Some 70 percent come from Sunni insurgents who are determined to rid their country of a foreign invader and occupier. Shiites militias launch the remaining 15 percent.

Thus, had Bush been entirely honest, he would not have claimed “the same folks that are bombing innocent people in Iraq were the ones who attacked us in America on September the 11th.”

Nevertheless, after devoting much of his news conference to either exaggerating the progress described in the “Initial Benchmark Assessment Report” or resurrecting old lies to defend his indefensible illegal, immoral invasion of Iraq, Bush brandished the astonishing chutzpa to complain about both the chaos in Iraq created by al Qaida and the “tragic escalation of sectarian violence, sparked by [al Qaida’s] bombing of the golden mosque in Samarra.”

Chutzpa? Yes! Experts had predicted such chaos and sectarian violence long before Bush ordered the invasion. Thus, Mr. President, precisely because “you started this war,” which “brought the Al Qaida into Iraq,” you alone are ultimately responsible for all the chaos, death, destruction, dislocation and sectarian violence committed in its wake. It’s a verdict fairly screamed from virtually all points on planet earth and one you’ll never escape.

Walter C. Uhler is an independent scholar and freelance writer whose work has been published in numerous publications, including The Nation, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the Journal of Military History, the Moscow Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. He also is President of the Russian-American International Studies Association (RAISA).

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

see:

Bush Press Conference (if you can stomach it) (5 videos; propaganda)