Tuesday, January 30, 2007

What is the Benefit in Creating Yet Another Enemy?

Several news sources attracted my attention this morning because they dealt with the problems the United States is creating with Iran.

The big question I want to raise is what possible benefit can the United States hope to gain for itself by threatening and antagonizing Iran? The Americans have singlehandedly (except for Israel) done everything short of attacking Iran physically -- arbitrarily labeling Iran part of an “Axis of Evil”, pressing for harsh sanctions because of embryonic nuclear power projects, sending extra war vessels to the seas of the area, leaking threats of proposed nuclear attacks on Iran, interfering with Iranian financial transactions, and now kidnapping Iranian “operatives” (apparently diplomats and negotiators invited by the Iraq government)in the supposedly sovereign nation of Iraq.

The first excuse for making Iran into an enemy was its persistence in developing civilian nuclear power, as it has a perfect right to do under all international agreements and customs.

Why is the United States so frightened of Iranian nuclear power when the nations of Europe are not, as shown by the following news item? We don’t have to consult a world map to know that Europe is a lot closer to Iran than North America, and yet:

"NYT, WASHINGTON, Jan. 29 — European governments are resisting Bush administration demands that they curtail support for exports to Iran and that they block transactions and freeze assets of some Iranian companies, officials on both sides say. The resistance threatens to open a new rift between Europe and the United States over Iran."

RESULT NUMBER ONE of the bellicose policies of the U.S. against Iran is alienation of Europe, to which the Bush maladministration still looks for “allies” in addition to pet poodle Britain.

"The United States is the first to be blamed for the rise of Iranian influence in the Middle East," said Khaled al-Dakhil, a Saudi writer and academic. "There is one thing important about the ascendance of Iran here. It does not reflect a real change in Iranian capabilities, economic or political. It's more a reflection of the failures on the part of the U.S. and its Arab allies in the region."

“Vice President Cheney, in a ‘Newsweek’ interview published Sunday, said the deployment of a second U.S. aircraft carrier task force to the Persian Gulf was intended to signal to the region that the United States is 'working with friends and allies as well as the international organizations to deal with the Iranian threat.'"

What Iranian threat? Threat to what? Iran has never by act or deed declared itself a threat to the United States except in response to U.S. threats. Any threat comes from the United States.

Further question: How does sending warships into peaceful seas signal that the U.S. is working with friends and allies and international organizations? It doesn't take friends, allies, or a U.N. resolution to move aircraft carriers.

“Sen. Carl Levin said that the [new] head of U.S. central command would need to provide ‘straightforward independent advice’ on the most effective course of action for deterring Iran’s attempts to 'acquire nuclear weapons and to dominate its neighbors.' . . . The fact that Admiral Fallon, with his extensive naval aviation experience, was picked [as new head of Central Command] showed the increasing focus of the Bush administration on putting pressure on Iran. . . . Mr. Levin also warned that Syria poses a challenge to security in the region.”

Note: Among the nations mentioned, Israel is the only one in recent history which occupies the territory of other countries, has bombed and invaded a neighboring nation, routinely kills members of a subject population, has a history of territorial expansion, and possesses a nuclear arsenal with which it openly threatens to attack other nations, in particular Iran.

“Iran has found itself strengthened almost by default, first with the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan to Iran's east, which ousted the Taliban rulers against whom it almost went to war in the 1990s, and then to its west, with the American ouster of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, against whom it fought an eight-year war in the 1980s.”

RESULT NUMBER TWO: The U.S. itself has increased Iranian influence and continues to do so by continuing its mad policies in Iraq and forcing Iran to assert and defend itself against U.S. and Israeli threats.

Against expert domestic advice, Bush & Co. have refused even diplomatic initiatives toward Iran and Syria, much less practical cooperation in stabilizing Iraq. As I recall, both Syria and Iran have made offers of assistance to damp down the civil war and help strengthen the Iraqi government. Iran has offered financial assistance for reconstruction. Of course Iran and Syria keep their own national interests in mind, as all national leaderships are obligated to do, but so what? The question is whether those states could be helpful to creating stability in Iraq and letting the Americans get out without having to admit that they were defeated. Instead of seeking cooperation and help from countries which share borders with a land at war, the U.S. has rejected, and threatened them. . . for no explicable reason relating to North American interests.

RESULT NUMBER THREE: The U.S. has deliberately cut off its nose to spite its face by refusing diplomatic overtures from Iran and Syria, and offers or attempts to help the U.S.-created Iraqi government. By alienating Iran the U.S. has increased its own difficulties in Iraq and the Middle East generally.

The next layer of problems arise from what Iran would do in response to an actual American or Israeli attack.

From today’s news wires: “Iranian officials -- emboldened but uneasy over nuclear-armed neighbors in Israel and Pakistan and a U.S. military presence in the Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan -- have warned that they would respond to an American attack on Iran's facilities.”

"’Iran's supporters are widespread -- they're in Iraq, they're in Afghanistan, they're everywhere. And you know, the American soldiers in the Middle East are hostages of Iran, in the situation where a war is imposed on it. They're literally in the hands of the Iranians,’ said Najaf Ali Mirzai, a former Iranian diplomat in Beirut who heads the Civilization Center for Iranian-Arab Studies. ‘The Iranians can target them wherever, and Patriot missiles aren't going to defend them and neither is anything else. Iran would suffer [from a U.S. attack on Iran] but America would suffer more.’"

Among Iranian responses to aggression could be cutting the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, through which 20 percent of the world's oil passes. "There is a policy the Iranians have and they've repeated it often -- the Gulf is either safe for everyone or no one."

If attacked by the U.S. or Israel, Iran would retaliate in Iraq, Afghanistan or Lebanon, and with attacks on U.S. targets in the Gulf. I personally believe that the Iranian army might roll right across Iraq, inflicting great damage on the American forces already overextended there.

Furthermore, Hizbullah, the Lebanese party created long ago for defense against Israeli aggression against Lebanon, might also attack U.S. facilities. “Even now, U.S. intel officials stress that they don't believe Hizbullah will actually hit U.S. interests unless Washington strikes first—against either the movement or its key patron, Tehran.”

RESULT NUMBER FOUR: The U.S. would suffer great damage in many places and in many ways if it attacked Iran.

I cannot think of one reason why making Iran a foe rather than a friend serves the interests of the people of Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, and San Francisco, or the American troops in Iraq.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Behind U.S. Foreign Policy, Part 2

As described in Part 1, the “Cold War” ended after the Berlin Wall was torn down in 1989 and the Soviet Union succumbed to economic difficulties. As the chimera of Communism was largely abandoned during the early 1990’s, the United States declared itself the winner of the Cold War and sole leader and policeman of the world. The focus of American politicians turned from “containing godless Communism” to the dream of running the planet without interference from powerful rivals, to the tremendous profit of U.S. businesses.

In a way, the U.S. had replaced the British Empire, which in 1900 had dominated the globe, and on whose colonies the sun never set. The British insistence on fighting Germany in the Second World War (among other causes) put an end to that. The days in which Great Powers would boast of the colonies they grabbed from militarily weaker peoples were also gone. As fashions changed, “colonialism” had become a bad word. The U.S. colonized economically, with backup military force, rather than by labeling foreign lands their own.

But there was one great exception to the end of old-fashioned colonialism: Motivated by the promises of Zionism that a Jewish state would be established in Palestine, Jews from America and Europe and elsewhere poured into Palestine, and in May 1948, when the British mandate for governance of Palestine expired, the Jewish colonists declared that the Jewish religious state of Israel had come into existence on land it did not own.

For many hundreds of years there had been very few Jews in Palestine, which was almost exclusively Arab. The flood of Jewish Europeans, Americans, Russians, etc., soon created a wildfire in the region. In order to take the land from its Arab owners and inhabitants the Zionists used terror tactics whose ferocity rivals anything of which 21st Century “terrorists” are accused. Those stories need to be told here, but not today.

The barbaric behavior of the Hebrew colonists aggravated the effects of their theft of farms and orchards and homes and towns, and as Palestinians were driven from their property into refugee camps war broke out not only between the Zionists and the Palestinians but also between “Israel” and the adjacent Arab states.

The increasingly powerful Zionist lobby in the United States made sure that in Israel’s wars with Arab states Israel always possessed such superior military equipment that its victory was a foregone conclusion. This, of course, was camouflaged by the Zionists and the Americans, who have always tried to create an image of “poor little Israel” fighting against vastly superior Arab forces – a fabrication enhanced by the fact that maps of the nations around Israel make some of those countries appear comparatively large because they include huge expanses of desert. Nevertheless, Israel's big advantage did not depend on territory but on an American-endowed military. The Arabs know this. They've known it for years. Is it any surprise that they blame the U.S. equally with Israel for Israel's aggression, land-theft, and atrocities?

The new focus of American foreign policy was in the making – the growing emphasis on financial, military, and political support of Israel. After years of propaganda and astute use of money and pressure on politicians, Israel and its supporters now appear to be the dominant force forming American policy toward other nations.

As early as 1973 the devastating consequences of the U.S. putting Israel’s welfare above its own were felt in the Arab Oil Embargo, when the members of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries announced that they would no longer ship petroleum to nations that had supported Israel in its conflict with Syria and Egypt (i.e., to the United States and its allies in Western Europe). Typical of Zionist-dominated “nothink”, Americans parked in long gas lines did not blame Israel or the irrational U.S. support for Israel for their misery, but accepted the Zionist teaching that this was another reason to hate those nasty Arabs they’d seen for years snarling in Hollywood-made movies.

The latest and most devastating consequence of U.S. support for Israel was the 9/11 destruction of the twin towers. It doesn’t matter how often the perpetrators of such acts, and their backers, loudly proclaim that they are motivated by support of the oppressed Palestinians and vengeance against the U.S./Israel axis . . . the American media will find something else to blame. G.W. Bush has explained it to us clearly again and again: These are “evildoers”. They love “evil”. Period.

It is my opinion, expressed in many ways in this blog, that Washington has let itself be placed in bondage to Israel and the Israel Lobby to the extent that American national interests are being routinely sacrificed for the benefit of a foreign power. To me it seems the most important American issue of our time.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Short Items

As I prepare a continuation of my explanation of VIEW FROM THE MOON’s emphasis on the role of Israel in American affairs, I’m posting these short items.

Missing Again

Although Israel is at the heart of the bloodshed and chaos in the Arab world, the Bush State of the Union speech mentioned Israel only once in an eight page text: “With the other members of the Quartet — the U.N., the European Union, and Russia — we are pursuing diplomacy to help bring peace to the Holy Land and pursuing the establishment of a democratic Palestinian state living side-by-side with Israel in peace and security.”

Right. He’s been insincerely mouthing words like that ever since he got elected.

Bush also mentioned nuclear-armed Israel’s next target of aggression, Iran, but he expressed no concern for Iran’s peace and security, saying only that “the U.N.” would not permit Iran to acquire nuclear weapons.

Senator Jim Webb’s rebuttal never mentioned Israel at all, although he spoke of matters which made it very difficult to avoid references to the Jewish state.

From an MSNBC article about sale of Pentagon surplus items:

“Federal investigators are increasingly anxious that Iran is within easy reach of a top priority on its shopping list: parts for the precious fleet of F-14 'Tomcat' fighter jets the United States let Iran buy in the 1970s when it was an ally.”

Who are these anxious Federal investigators, and why are they particularly anxious about Iran getting parts for thirty-seven-year-old airplanes? Can Tomcats fly from Tehran to Manhattan?

Why is Iran not an American ally as it was under the Shah’s cruel dictatorship -- especially since Islamic Iran was the arch-enemy of our arch-enemy, Iraq under Saddam Hussein? Certainly not because Iran had any role in 9/11. Most of the actors in the attack on the towers were Saudis, from a “moderate” and definitely not democratic monarchy which we still call our friend because of its tolerant policy toward Israel.

These kinds of questions, never raised by the “mainstream media”, must be asked again and again and again until at least a few Americans get the idea and begin to speak out.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Jimmy Carter vs. The Dershowitz Traveling Medicine Show

In case anyone else is interested, here is the latest update -- from Brandeis University itself -- on former president Jimmy Carter’s speech this afternoon and the intrusion of Zionist apologist Alan Dershowitz:

“Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz has accepted an invitation to appear at Brandeis Jan. 23 from the Student and Faculty Committee to Bring Alan Dershowitz to Brandeis.

“After the completion of President Jimmy Carter's 4:30 p.m. program in the Shapiro Gymnasium, Mr. Dershowitz will respond to President Carter's remarks about his book "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid" and the situation in the Middle East.

“The Dershowitz program is expected to begin at 6:45 p.m., but may start later if the Carter event, which immediately precedes Professor Dershowitz's talk, runs long.

“Attendees may not enter the hall until the Carter event has concluded and the presidential party has departed.

“Signs and banners will not be permitted inside the Shapiro Gymnasium. A demonstration area has been established across the street from the Gosman Center.

“Watch the live remote broadcast
The event will be streamed live on the Internet, making it possible to watch via computer. On the afternoon of Jan. 23, point your browser to http://go.brandeis.edu/live. “

I (and who knows how many thousands of other people) have received a form email from Senator Jim Webb of Virginia, asking for ideas to include in his response to the State of the Union speech tonight. Guess what subject I suggested. I wrote:

“It is time that we stop pussyfooting around the fact that Israel and its supporters in the U.S. are the cause of the disastrous war in Iraq -- and the cause of a future attack on Iran if such an attack cannot be stopped. Senator Webb, I think you are a brave enough man to speak out and say that we cannot continue to sacrifice American interests and lives for the sake of Israel's perception of its security requirements. Except for the pressures of the Israel Lobby, we have absolutely no reason to support and arm Israel, and no reason for belligerence toward Iran.”

No, friends, I don't think he'll actually read it. It may not even get into an intern's statistical summary.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Behind U.S. Foreign Policy, Part 1

A comment on this weblog asked if I might be overemphasizing the Zionist/Israel Lobby influences on American foreign policy and overlooking other explanations for America’s intrusive and bellicose behavior toward the nations of the world.

Additionally: “Why is a pro-Israel policy predominant in a country where Jews are in a minority? Is this a proof of the failure of democracy?”

Those are pertinent questions which I look forward to discussing in more than one weblog post.

First, I wrote a kind of statement of purpose in the initial post in VIEW FROM THE MOON which begins to answer the first question:
“What is missing from daily news coverage in the United States is often more important than what is in it, especially since the big news media are designed to be more opinion-forming than informative. That is largely what this blog will be about: What is being omitted from the U.S. news reports that logically should be there? When you look at the jigsaw puzzle assembled for you by the TV news editors, why is there a piece conspicuously missing from the middle of the picture? What was the motive for leaving a hole in the picture? Who benefits from the omission?”

In addition, the description of VIEW FROM THE MOON states: “I discuss dimensions of power and influence which are rarely covered by the U.S. news media.” There is no point in a blog which simply repeats what every American can see on television and the news services.

By far the most important thing conspicuously and consistently missing from the U.S. news is the Israel influence. That is my reason -- along with recent American wars having been in the Middle East on behalf of Israel -- for placing so much emphasis on Israel and the U.S. Israel Lobby and its supporters. Additionally, Israel and its multilayered lobbyists are daily pushing the United States to attack Iran – yet another Middle East war plan which would harm rather than serve U.S. national interests, not to mention the damage that would be inflicted on Iran.

If I were writing during the Spanish-American War I would be talking about entirely different “hidden factors”.

Of course most of the explanations which governments give for their foreign policies are tales “told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” We always have to look beyond the sound and fury to find the real motivations. Nowhere is this more true than in the United States. Often, however, we cannot get at the underlying truth behind the tales unless we study what is NOT being said as well as what is being proclaimed.

Here, briefly, is the background:

President F. D. Roosevelt flouted international law and majority American opinion and manipulated the United States into wars with Germany and Japan. Jewish agitation and pressure for war against Adolf Hitler’s government was a decisive war factor both in the U.S. and in England, as was the leaning of many Jewish immigrants to support for Communism.

The United States, having gone from Depression to an economic powerhouse because of the war, and having suffered no damage within its borders, came out of World War II in 1945 as the world’s dominant nation. England was technically a winner but had been severely weakened and soon gave up the empire which had not long before been the planet’s greatest power. Meanwhile, Stalin’s Russia, thanks to the U.S. and Britain, occupied huge portions of Europe and had become a rival to the United States.

Zionism – the Jewish movement to establish a Jewish state in Palestine to which the Jews of the world would immigrate – had existed since the late 19th Century, but only during and after the Second World War did it begin to have practical success with its program. Germany, eager for the Jews leave Europe, contributed to the increasing flow of non-Palestinians to Palestine, but the floodgates of Zionist colonization of Arab land did not fully open until after 1945, when the long efforts of the Zionists resulted in their proclamation of a Jewish state in Palestine called “Israel”.

The bloody conflicts between the Zionist colonists and the people whose land they were taking and occupying are not the topic of this post. In terms of American foreign policy, “Israel” was not yet a major factor, but it would soon become one, not least because of the large number of European Jews who had recently moved from Europe to the United States and because of the soon ballooning “Holocaust” story.

I do not claim any original insights into what formed American foreign policy right after World War II, but the accepted wisdom is that the U.S. came out of the war as the world’s “superpower” by default. Because of the physical and economic ruin that had been inflicted on formerly strong nations on the altar of Jewish and Communist hatred of the German government, the U.S. found itself the only nation with military bases and forces spread all over the globe, and with the economic strength to dominate the world economy.

The main pressure on U.S. leadership was to maintain American world power, to enhance the benefits to U.S. corporations, and to deal with the one major rival, the secondary “superpower”, Soviet Russia. Now the questions asked repeatedly by German prisoners of war -- “Why are you fighting against us. We’re fighting the Communists to save Europe, so why aren’t you fighting with us?” – had to be answered, unfortunately belatedly. Faced with the aggressive Russian colossus, the U.S. realized that the Jewish “Morgenthau Plan” for keeping Germany in a primitive condition was creating a dangerous vacuum, and so revenge was replaced by rebuilding. The supposed enemy, Germany, was – presto chango – replaced by Soviet Russia and all the European states it had absorbed.

The American focus became the “Cold War” and the “struggle against world Communism”. We know that this mentality led, among other things, to the Korean and Vietnam wars, and eventually to “victory over Communism” during the time of Gorbachev -- the pulling down of the Berlin wall, the reunification of Germany, the freeing of Soviet slave states, and the transformation of the Russian economic system. America was now declared “The Only Superpower”, and the fantasy was floated that it could whatever it pleased with the world.

Thus a new era in American foreign policy began -- a logical time to
end this post.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Short Items

While I prepare my first post in response to the reasonable recent question, “Am I putting too much emphasis on Zionist influence and not enough on other causes of American policies toward other nations?”, I’m going to post these bits and pieces.

Hard to Find News

I found it difficult to find conspicuous coverage of what was probably the most important (to Americans) news of yesterday – the deaths of some 20 U.S. military personnel in Iraq. It was even more difficult to dig up news about the cause of the helicopter crash in which 15 died – a cause which U.S. authorities said was “under investigation”. But “The Boston Globe”
(which I’ve noticed is surfacing with some of the best coverage of news) stated:

“An Iraqi witness who spoke on condition of anonymity said the helicopter was felled by ground fire.

"’I'm not sure if it was a rocket or other projectile,’ said the man, a farmer. ‘After the helicopter was fired upon, it was obvious that it was losing control. Then it crashed with an explosion and the smoke started.’ The farmer said he and others dared not approach the wreckage to look for survivors, fearing that US forces arriving on the scene might fire at them.”

Slanted Words

AP Jan. 18
“SEOUL (AP) — A high-level Iranian delegation arrived in North Korea on Thursday, the North's media reported, as the two hard-line regimes face international pressure to give up their nuclear weapons programs.”

How does a government qualify as a “hard-line” regime”?

I would think that the G.W. Bush government would win top honors in the category, “Hard-Line Regime”.

From ”USAToday”, January 18:

“Opening of Vast Holocaust Archive Could Take Years”

Falsification in the headline: It is not a “holocaust” archive. It is the archive of the International Tracing Service (ITS) an arm of the International Committee of the Red Cross, in the German town of Bad Arolsen. Its frequent false publicity as a “Holocaust archive” will backfire when its contents are revealed – presuming (dream on) that the whole truth will be told.

Hypocrisy Writ Large

From the New York Times:

“Rice Speaks Softly in Egypt, Avoiding Democracy Push"

“CAIRO, Jan. 15 — In the days before Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met with officials in Egypt, the news media here were filled with stories detailing charges of corruption, cronyism, torture and political repression.

“Ms. Rice, who once lectured Egyptians on the need to respect the rule of law, did not address those domestic concerns. Instead, with Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit by her side, she talked about her appreciation for Egypt’s support in the region.

“It was clear that the United States — facing chaos in Iraq, rising Iranian influence and the destabilizing Israeli-Palestinian conflict — had decided that stability, not democracy, was its priority, Egyptian political commentators, political aides and human rights advocates said.”

”Egypt’s government has piled up a long list of repressive actions, including ordering the police to block people from voting in parliamentary elections; delaying local elections by two years; imprisoning an opposition leader, Ayman Nour, on charges widely seen as politically motivated; battling with judges who have demanded oversight of elections; and imprisoning Talaat el-Sadat, a member of Parliament and the nephew of President Anwar el-Sadat, for a year in a military jail after he criticized the armed forces on television.”

All right, students. Can anyone tell the class why the Bush maladministration, in spite of its loudly trumpeted quest for “democracy” in the Middle East, cozies up to Egypt as “our friend” and a “moderate” Arab nation?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

“Dirty” Dershowitz vs. The Georgia Mauler

It may not be the fight of the century, or even of the month, but “Dirty” Alan Dershowitz would like for us to think it would be – thus distracting our attention from the merits of Jimmy Carter’s book, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid”.

As I previously blogged, Dershowitz, after being denied an invitation to debate Jimmy Carter at Brandeis University, boasted he would show up at President Carter’s speech on January 23 and debate him anyway – in spite of the Brandeis organizers’ vow to restrict attendance to Brandeis faculty, students, and trustees.

“Carter's original decision set off a furor on campus and sparked a petition of more than 100 students and faculty members, who said Carter should be invited to speak without debating Dershowitz. Others contended that inviting Carter to speak without a debate would violate the university's responsibility to promote free speech. The invitation to Carter also triggered questions about how open the predominantly Jewish campus is to views critical of Israel.” The Boston Globe.

As I was proofreading this post this morning prior to posting, it, yet more “breaking news” was revealed. The maniacally tenacious Dershowitz, having howled for days that he would be present at the Carter speech whether the Brandeis organizers wanted him there or not, got through to someone at Brandeis. Here’s the latest story, which neocon outlet Fox News couldn’t wait to tell:

“Carter recently accepted an invitation to speak on Tuesday at the nonsectarian Jewish-sponsored college near Boston after having cancelled an earlier invitation. He will talk for about 15 minutes and then take questions from the audience for 45 minutes. . . . The university agreed late Tuesday to allow Dershowitz to issue a rebuttal following Carter’s speech. An ad-hoc group of students helped facilitate the agreement after the debate plans were scrapped. Dershowitz won’t be allowed in the gymnasium during Carter’s appearance because it is limited to university students, faculty and staff, but he will watch it from somewhere else on campus, said Brandeis spokesman Dennis Nealon. The Shapiro Gymnasium holds about 1,700 people. ‘Everybody feels this was a positive alternative,’ Nealon said of the deal to have Dershowitz speak after Carter. Dershowitz will ‘be doing much like they do at the State of the Union. He’ll be able to offer an analysis.’ "I’m debating him whether he’s there or not,” Dershowitz told FOXNews.com. “If his chair is empty, then that’s his decision,” he said.

“Everyone” feels this was a positive alternative? What about the organizers who didn’t want to invite Dershowitz? What about me? Why should an unsavory professional apologist for Israel and Zionism have anything to do with Carter’s appearance at Brandeis? And between what parties is this "deal" to have Dershowitz speak on Carter's evening? Does "free speech" require that every time a former president gives a speech at a university a debate or rebuttal is required in addition to the question and answer period? Do we detect fear of unfiltered truth rather a love of free speech?

Some of the things which make Dershowitz an undesirable participant in the Brandeis affair are given here. First, a >report from a man who interviewed Dershowitz.

“This advocacy Mephistopheles thrives on inventing unpopular, counter-intuitive, and even unjust exceptions to international law--a subject he normally does not teach. I came out of the interview with the clear impression that--setting aside the civil liberties concerns that inform his criminal defense rhetoric--Dershowitz concocts these exceptions not merely to embellish his ivory tower but to proactively defend, and sometimes shape, Israeli policies in occupied Palestine.

“For example, Dershowitz's contempt for the ICJ [International Court of Justice] has deepened ever since the Court decided to rule on the legality of Israel's separation wall.

“Dershowitz's exceptional defense of Israel is not confined to academic criticisms of the ICJ (or the International Red Cross or the United Nations). In the interview, Dershowitz, who opposes the death penalty, revealed that he had sat on the Israeli assassination committee that reviews evidence before terrorists are targeted and killed. This ‘due process’ hearing is designed to reduce the raw charge that state-sponsored assassinations are blatantly unlawful. The idea of a Harvard law professor sitting on an occupying state's assassination committee would be, to many in the legal academy, a trifle perplexing.

“What rattles his many critics the most, however, is the innovative exception Dershowitz draws for the Convention against Torture (1987). The Convention prohibits all forms of torture and provides for no exception.”

Dershowitz’ advocacy of legalized torture, as is usual with him, springs from his protective concern for Israel and ignores the important central point – that he is coming out in favor of torture, contrary to basic American principles and international law – and instead dwells on the minutiae of requiring a “torture warrant”, as if he were protecting rights rather than taking them away! He said, “[We could use] a torture warrant, which puts a heavy burden on the government to demonstrate by factual evidence the necessity to administer this horrible, horrible technique of torture. I would talk about nonlethal torture, say, a sterilized needle underneath the nail, which would violate the Geneva Accords, but you know, countries all over the world violate the Geneva Accords.”

Yes, particularly Dershowitz’ favorite (to use a gross understatement), Israel.

I would judge that having adopted the role of criminal defense attorney, most notoriously signing onto the O.J. Simpson defense team, Dershowitz has transplanted the philosophy, “I know he’s guilty but some lawyer has to defend him, and I’ll do my best to get him off,” to his obsessive compulsive defense of Israel. Knowing his client is guilty of just about every crime in the book, he resorts to basest obfuscation, trickery, misdirection of attention, irrelevant legal minutiae, insult and ad hominem attacks to make Israel look better.

It is like a burglar (“burglary: the act of breaking and entering a dwelling at night to commit a felony”), caught by police in the house he has entered, arguing over things like the exact second that he entered the house in relation to the precise astronomical moment when “night” began, the definition of “night”, and the exact value of the jewelry he has put into his pocket, whether his bag of stolen property was just part of a generous attempt to “help the owners tidy up the place”, and so forth. Dershowitz habitually uses such approaches to distract us from the obvious, blatant crime and direct attention to almost everything else – not even hesitating to slander the criminal’s victims.

Dershowitz is never shy about “bending the truth” in order to help Israel. In “Did Alan Dershowitz Borrow Shamelessly from a Discredited History Book?” by Norman G. Finkelstein, it is shown that Dershowitz knowingly copied passages from “the most notorious source of historical bias on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict ever published in the English language . . . Joan Peters's monumental hoax, From Time Immemorial.” Professor Finkelstein provides a lengthy chart of side-by-side quotations to document “Dershowitz's wholesale lifting of source material" from Peters's hoax.

“From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict over Palestine” is a 1984 book that tries to justify Zionism by proving the constant presence of Jews in Palestine. One review explained: “Much of Mrs. Peters's book argues that at the same time that Jewish immigration to Palestine was rising, Arab immigration to the parts of Palestine where Jews had settled also increased. Therefore, in her view, the Arab claim that an indigenous Arab population was displaced by Jewish immigrants must be false, since many Arabs only arrived with the Jews." Peters concludes therefore that many of the refugees from the 1948 Arab-Israeli war were not native Palestinians.

Not one critic now accepts her thesis as valid. “The New York Review of Books”: “Everyone familiar with the writing of the extreme [Zionist\ nationalists of Zeev Jabotinsky's Revisionist party (the forerunner of the Herut party) would immediately recognize the tired and discredited arguments in Mrs. Peters's book. I had mistakenly thought them long forgotten. It is a pity that they have been given new life."

Even a friendly reviewer, Daniel Pipes, wrote: “’From Time Immemorial’ quotes carelessly, uses statistics sloppily, and ignores inconvenient facts. Much of the book is irrelevant to Miss Peters's central thesis. The author's linguistic and scholarly abilities are open to question. Excessive use of quotation marks, eccentric footnotes, and a polemical, somewhat hysterical undertone mar the book. In short, ’From Time Immemorial’ stands out as an appallingly crafted book."

Noam Chomsky gives a very lively and entertaining description of the descent of “From Time Immemorial” from the expected initial applause to the infamy of being exposed as a fraud. I would love to quote Chomsky here, but most of my audience (if any) is probably already heading for the parking lot, and so I’ll provide this link .
Please read it if you have any interest in the subject.

Mrs. Peters’ sloppy fraud is typical of the “evidence” which Dershowitz uses extensively in his polemics, and there is no reason to believe that he is any more careful about choosing other supports for his arguments.

The Battle of Brandeis University continues.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Is Former President Jimmy Carter a “Coward”, a “Hypocrite” and a Bribed Propagandist?

There is quite an interesting story taking place regarding a Brandeis University invitation to President Carter to speak to the Brandeis student body and faculty on the subject of his book, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.” (Please see my previous post.)

According to reports, the original invitation from the university required Carter to debate with Alan Dershowitz, who teaches at Harvard and has no connection with Brandeis University. When President Carter agreed to speak at Brandeis but refused to participate in a compulsory debate with Dershowitz, the invitation apparently became moot. Dershowitz launched into worse-than-rude, taunting, insulting attacks on the former president. The notorious Dershowitz demonstrated, not for the first time, that he is on the same level as the beefy boasters of the World Wrestling Federation.

Now various faculty and students at Brandeis have arranged to have President Carter invited to speak at Brandeis on January 23 without a debate with Dershowitz.

The following stories help fill in the picture. I plan to do some research and write a bit more about Dershowitz in a near-future entry.

By David Abel, Boston Globe Staff, December 26, 2006:

“Almost 100 students, faculty, and alumni of Brandeis University have signed a petition calling for campus officials to bring President Jimmy Carter to Waltham to discuss his controversial new book about Israel without requiring him to debate.

“The former president told The Boston Globe this month that he declined an invitation from a university trustee to speak at Brandeis, because it came with the suggestion that he debate Alan Dershowitz , a professor at the Harvard Law School who has criticized Carter's book, ‘Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.’

“A student who started the online petition -- which calls for ‘neither censoring nor filtering [Carter's] content’ -- said the group has received about $1,000 in pledges from faculty to help sponsor the visit. They plan to invite Carter in a letter by the end of the week.

“‘I think there's a basic lack of debate here about Israel and Palestine," said Kevin Montgomery, 22, a senior majoring in politics who started the petition. "My belief is debate doesn't have to happen face to face. It can happen over time. Most speakers brought to Brandeis are pro-Israel, and I think it feeds a lack of understanding of the other side.’”

The following is from BBS News online, Tuesday, January 16 2007 @ 10:57 AM EST

“Arutz Sheva is reporting that Alan Dershowitz will be asking questions of Carter during the Brandeis University talk Carter will give on January 23rd (if the current scheduled date holds) and that Dershowitz makes a stunning allegation against Carter in the article: 'He [Carter]claims that Jewish money buys the silence of politicians and the media, and yet he denies that Arab money has bought his silence,' said Dershowitz.

“It is amazing, such an accusation. Carter is simply reflecting the facts on the ground in the occupied Palestinian territories; they are uncomfortable facts for sure but facts nonetheless. To claim that Jimmy Carter is somehow being paid to take the tough but honest position that he has seems to be the height of chutzpah."

The same article also goes on to quote Dershowitz as saying to Reuters about his being in the audience at the Brandeis presentation:

"I will have my hand up the minute he finishes. It will be polite. It will be dignified but it will be tough," Dershowitz told Reuters News Agency. "There are some very, very hard questions that have to be asked to him."

“In a story from WSBT in Atlanta Dershowitz labels Jimmy Carter a coward, for not wanting to be drawn into a legalistic confrontation of minutiae. They report: 'It's the height of cowardice,' said Dershowitz. 'He released this book saying he wanted to spark a debate and now he refuses to do just that.'

“In an opinion piece in the Boston Globe Dershowitz also called Carter a ‘hypocrite’ for telling Brandeis officials he would not debate Dershowitz. “

Here’s Dershowitz’ opinion piece . Dershowitz was particularly irked because: “Carter has gone even beyond the errors of his book in interviews, in which he has said that the situation in Israel is worse than the crimes committed in Apartheid South Africa. When asked whether he believed that Israel's ‘persecution’ of Palestinians was ‘[e]ven worse . . . than a place like Rwanda,’ Carter answered, ‘Yes. I think -- yes.’”

It’s interesting that Dershowitz is such a closed-minded professional Zionist that he automatically assumes his readers will think that Carter’s assertion is shocking rather than obviously true!

Dershowitz concludes: “When Jimmy Carter's ready to speak at Brandeis, or anywhere else, I'll be there. If he refuses to debate, I will still be there -- ready and willing to answer falsity with truth in the court of public opinion.”

It will be interesting to see how this works out. Brandeis University itself says :

“Former President Jimmy Carter has accepted an invitation from a student and faculty committee at Brandeis University to speak on campus Jan. 23.

"The Brandeis Faculty and Student Committee for the Visit of President Carter invited Carter to 'address our community of students and scholars.' The former President will talk about the Middle East and his latest book, 'Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid'. He will give remarks for about 15 minutes and then take questions from audience members. The event will last about one hour and is open to MEMBERS OF THE UNIVERSITY COMMUNITY ONLY, including students, faculty members, staff and trustees.


Sounds as if Dershowitz, despite his foaming at the mouth, has been sidetracked.

A possible loophole? The university states, “If you'd like to submit a question: The faculty and student committee that is planning the event is taking questions, which must be submitted by Jan. 18th. To submit a question go to http://www.carterquestion.com.” That website states, “There will be time for only about 15 questions. The faculty and student committee organizing the visit will select a set of questions representing a wide variety of groups and viewpoints, and invite the selectees to read their questions in person during the event, time permitting.”

I believe that the organizers of the Carter speech at Brandeis will prevent a Dershowitz intrusion, and deserve congratulations not only for overcoming resistance to Carter’s appearance, but also for eliminating the foul-mouthed sophist Dershowitz from the proceedings.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Another Gap in the News? President Jimmy Carter's Book

There is a story of which I became aware two days ago, thanks to my friend Victor, even though its raison d’etre dates back to November of last year: The furor created by the pro-Israel faction over a book by former president Jimmy Carter, "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid" .

Either there is something really lacking in my daily survey of the news, or this is another one of those significant stories which is not-so-mysteriously missing from widespread reporting in the U.S.A.

Because the book was apparently published in November of last year, and scarcely got its beak out of the shell before it was blasted with the equivalent of the Israeli air assault on Lebanon, I think it is curious that very few Americans have been made aware of it by our zealous guardians of an “informed public”. Obviously they do not want us thinking about the criticisms of Israel which are in the book. This is the silent treatment I mentioned in a recent post.

Did I miss this news just because I don’t read enough news? Did I overlook what everybody else has seen? Possibly, but I doubt it. I have no intention of devoting my life to the depressing and uninstructive perusal of “the daily news”, but I do watch some television news programming each night, and I look more than once a day at all the headlines of major news services (e.g. AP, New York Times, Reuters, MSNBC, USAToday) so that I can read in depth about anything that interests me. I also go to Google News, which is the only news source where I’ve found a Carter book story, and which generally offers a wider spectrum of coverage than other news services.

So, thanks to Vic, I have learned belatedly that a “controversy” over President Carter’s book has presumably been going on for months, the latest development being resignations by members of a Carter Center advisory board.

The news story is ”Carter Center Resignations” .

“The resignations, announced Thursday, are the latest in a backlash against Carter's book ‘Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid,’ which has drawn fire from Jewish groups, been attacked by fellow Democrats and led to the resignation last month of Kenneth Stein, a Carter Center fellow and a longtime Carter adviser. . . . Steve Berman, an Atlanta real estate developer among those who resigned, said members have ‘watched with great dismay’ as Carter defended the book, especially as he implied that Americans might be afraid to discuss the conflict in fear of a powerful Jewish lobby. . . . Berman said the religious affiliation of the resigning members, which include some prominent Jewish leaders in the Atlanta area, did not influence their decision. “

I want to repeat one thing for emphasis, in view of a recent discussion on this blog: “. . . especially as he implied that Americans might be afraid to discuss the conflict in fear of a powerful Jewish lobby.”

My curiosity aroused by Berman’s last statement, I found a list of the people who resigned.

“The following have announced their resignation from the Board of Councilors:

1. Alan R. Abrams, Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of Servidyne, Inc2.
2. Steve Berman, managing partner, OA Development, an Atlanta based real estate developer company.
3. Michael Coles, chairman of Minneapolis-based Caribou Coffee Co.
4. Doug Hertz, president & CEO, United Distributors.
5. Jonathan Golden, Partner and Chairman, Arnall, Golden, Gregory LLP, an Atlanta law firm.
6. Barbara Babbit Kaufman, author; formerly of Chapter 11 Books as its founder.
7. Liane Levetan, former state senator and DeKalb CEO.
8. Jeff Levy, Chairman and CEO of Atlanta-based PrDigital Media and its parent company, Biltmore Communications9. Leon Novak, principal, The Trilogy Group, a full-service provider of commercial real estate services based in Atlanta.
9. Gail Solomon, Georgia Dome executive services manager.
10. Cathey Steinberg, Executive Director of the Juvenile Justice Fund, former state Consumers' Insurance Advocate and former state Senator.
11. Steve Selig, President and Chairman of the Board of Selig Enterprises.
12. William B. Schwartz, Jr. was the U.S. Ambassador to The Bahamas from 1977-1981 during the Carter Administration.
13. William B. Schwartz III, formerly senior wealth management professional at Offitbank, an arm of Wachovia.”

Regardless of what Berman said, there is a lack of ethnic/religious diversity in the list. To me the fact that so many Jewish people would resign en masse illustrates a “one issue” mentality (which I’ll be writing about at another time) focused on what is perceived as good or not good for Jews as a group – one issue which dwarfs all other issues. It also probably illustrates the power of big organized Jewish groups like the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith to pressure individuals who might otherwise not have thought of resigning.

If by now you are wondering what President Carter wrote, join me. I haven’t seen the book yet, and Googling President Carter and his book’s title lands you waist-deep in a flood of pro-Israel, ad hominem, diatribes which are not keen to let us know about the former president’s assertions. As always in such cases, a debate on facts is avoided, and the spears are thrown at the individual who wrote down the facts.

The hard-to-find articles are the ones favorable to President Carter. Here are a few with favorable views:



>The Nation


Here is another article, fairly balanced, but the comments are a free-for-all!


Click on the title of an individual blog post. That post opens on a page with its own URL. Use "Add to Favorites", and you can access this particular post whenever you like. Another advantage of clicking on the title is that the resulting screen displays the Comments below the blog entry.

Friday, January 12, 2007

The "Surge" Speech

I have a couple of comments which I have not heard among the thousands of public comments on the G.W. Bush Iraq “surge” speech.

The primary purpose of the speech, it seemed to me, was to shift blame to the Iraqis for the forthcoming retreat of the Americans. The idea is that the Iraqi “government” (placed in quotation marks both for being a U.S. puppet government and for its inability to function as a government) is being given a generous last chance by the U.S. president to bring order to Iraq, after which the Iraqis will be blamed for all future failures. The game plan is that (1) Bush will make a show of inserting more American bodies into Iraq, (2) the Iraqi government will be unable to supply the support which Bush demands of it, (3) the disaster which has resulted from the Bush invasion will continue to be a disaster and probably get worse, and (4) Bush will throw up his hands and say: “I give up. We’re leaving. We’ve gone overboard to help you and YOU have failed.”

The Bush adventure in Iraq is akin to a burglar breaking into a family’s home, smashing dishes and furniture while holding the family in the building, and then saying, “Look at this mess! I’m giving you a broom to clean it up with, and if you don’t have it done by morning, you’re on your own!”

President Bush, as has often been said to you, “You break it, you own it.”


Once more I was astonished that it was possible for Bush to talk about the Middle East for 20 minutes or so, including his threats against Iran and Syria, and for 500 journalists to babble about it for hours, without anyone mentioning Israel a single time as far as I heard. The talking heads managed the incredible feat of ignoring the elephant in the middle of the room. . . the elephant which was responsible for, and was the reason for, the U.S. invasion of Iraq in the first place.

One would have thought it was impossible for the TV talkers to exclaim and shake heads over Bush’s mention of Iran without once mentioning Israel, the one entity which wants Iran rendered powerless – just as Israel wanted Iraq rendered powerless and got the U.S. to do the job.

It is Israel and Israel alone which put it into Bush’s brain to consider Iran an enemy of the United States. The Bush ideas that Iran is “interfering” in Iraq, and that the Iranian nuclear power program is a danger to the U.S., are as related to real U.S. national interests as petunias in Peking. So indifferent, in fact, is Iran to the United States that Bush is finding it necessary to unlawfully kidnap of Iranian diplomats in order to stir up trouble.

I’m happy that I recently published the Israeli-leaked news of a planned attack on Iran on January 7. While Israel postures and floats anti-Iran propaganda, its real aim is that we – the Americans, not the Israelis – cause and suffer the damage in Iran, as in Iraq.

Of course the Israel Lobby, the neocons, the Zionists, and Israel managed to pull a disappearing act (“What? Us?”) once the damage was done in Iraq. Bush can only wish that his planned disappearing act from Iraq, while blaming the Iraqis, will be half as effective.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Links from a "Comment"

Yves has written an interesting comment on my previous blog entry which should generate some lively discussion. When I replied to his comment with a comment of my own I found that the links within my comment opened in very small screens. I'm therefore copying a portion of my comment here so it will be convenient for readers to view the publications I consider extremely important.

The publication I consider a “must read” is “THE ISRAEL LOBBY” by Professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt.

First, here is an article ABOUT their paper: “Ferment over the Israel Lobby”, by Philip Weiss.

BTW, it fascinated me to notice in the Weiss article this sentence, which contains exactly the kind of language I’ve been complaining about: “The Anti-Defamation League called the paper ‘a classical conspiratorial anti-Semitic analysis invoking the canards of Jewish power and Jewish control.’” So much for a thoughtful and reasoned debate over the facts.

To read the actual paper, “The Israel Lobby”, you can go to the
Harvard University introductory page and click on the Adobe Reader icon to open the paper, or you can open the paper directly.

Please note: It takes a while to load; don’t give up.

P.S. I just noticed that the Harvard page refers to the "London Review of Books" having also published "The Israel Lobby." I had a look at www.lrb.co.uk and found that the "London Review of Books" also sponsored a debate on the "Israel Lobby" in the Cooper Union in New York. On this page you will find videos of the debate as well as access to a transcript of the debate. I haven't looked at either yet.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

George Washington Speaks Today

Here are pertinent portions of George Washington’s Farewell Address (quoted at length in my previous post) updated for relevance to the present day. I think you’ll find President Washington’s warnings about our current situation alarming and energizing.

“The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. Nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated.

“A passionate attachment of the United States for Israel produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for Israel, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into the United States the enmities of Israel, betrays the United States into a participation in the quarrels and wars of Israel without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to Israel of privileges denied to others which is apt doubly to injure the United States by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained, and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld. And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to Israel), facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity. . .

“Excessive partiality for Israel and excessive dislike of other nations cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots who may resist the intrigues of Israel are liable to become suspected and odious, while Israel’s tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.”

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Infamy in the Making, and Advice from Another President

Nothing I could write today would have the impact which this story should have on all who have any interest in the survival the United States. Unfortunately it is not a new story, but just a more detailed confirmation of earlier predictions.

I will repeat once more that we must cut ourselves free of Israel and its war aims.

"Revealed: Israel plans nuclear strike on Iran
Uzi Mahnaimi, New York and Sarah Baxter, Washington

"ISRAEL has drawn up secret plans to destroy Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities with tactical nuclear weapons.
Two Israeli air force squadrons are training to blow up an Iranian facility using low-yield nuclear “bunker-busters”, according to several Israeli military sources.

"The attack would be the first with nuclear weapons since 1945, when the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Israeli weapons would each have a force equivalent to one-fifteenth of the Hiroshima bomb.

"Under the plans, conventional laser-guided bombs would open “tunnels” into the targets. “Mini-nukes” would then immediately be fired into a plant at Natanz, exploding deep underground to reduce the risk of radioactive fallout.

“'As soon as the green light is given, it will be one mission, one strike and the Iranian nuclear project will be demolished,' said one of the sources.

"The plans, disclosed to The Sunday Times last week, have been prompted in part by the Israeli intelligence service Mossad’s assessment that Iran is on the verge of producing enough enriched uranium to make nuclear weapons within two years.

"Israeli military commanders believe conventional strikes may no longer be enough to annihilate increasingly well-defended enrichment facilities. Several have been built beneath at least 70ft of concrete and rock. However, the nuclear-tipped bunker-busters would be used only if a conventional attack was ruled out and if the United States declined to intervene, senior sources said.

"Israeli and American officials have met several times to consider military action. Military analysts said the disclosure of the plans could be intended to put pressure on Tehran to halt enrichment, cajole America into action or soften up world opinion in advance of an Israeli attack.

"Some analysts warned that Iranian retaliation for such a strike could range from disruption of oil supplies to the West to terrorist attacks against Jewish targets around the world."

(Who is going to bomb Israel's nuclear facilities? All Iran has is an embryonic nuclear power generation program. Israel could destroy the entire Middle East.)

Now, listen to this timely advice, from George Washington’s Farewell Address, 1796, which appears to have been completely forgotten. (As you read the following, which I beg you to do even though it looks like a school assignment, try substituting “Israel” for “favorite”.)

“Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all. . . . It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and . . . great nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence.

In the execution of such a plan, nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. Antipathy in one nation against another disposes each more readily to offer insult and injury . . . and to be haughty and intractable, when accidental or trifling occasions of dispute occur. Hence, frequent collisions, obstinate, envenomed, and bloody contests. The nation, prompted by ill-will and resentment, sometimes impels to war the government, contrary to the best calculations of policy.

So likewise, a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite nation of privileges denied to others which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained, and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld. And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation), facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity. . .

Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence . . . the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government. But that jealousy to be useful must be impartial; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defense against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots who may resist the intrigues of the favorite are liable to become suspected and odious, while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests."

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Merchants of Death

The blaming of armaments manufacturers for wars was once much more popular than it seems to be today, and so we may need to be reminded that not only anarchists but also politicians in Washington were once outspoken in the opinion that the “merchants of death” did more than supply the weapons that made wars possible. They actually played a major role in creating wars. Taking that as true, we can surmise that the merchants of death have been very busy – and successful – in recent years.

“The so-called ‘Senate Munitions Committee’ came into being [in 1934] because of widespread reports that manufacturers of armaments had unduly influenced the American decision to enter the war in 1917. These weapons’ suppliers had reaped enormous profits at the cost of more than 53,000 American battle deaths. As local conflicts reignited in Europe through the early 1930s, suggesting the possibility of a second world war, concern spread that these “merchants of death” would again drag the United States into a struggle that was none of its business. The time had come for a full congressional inquiry.

“To lead the seven-member special committee, the Senate’s Democratic majority chose a Republican—42-year-old North Dakota Senator Gerald P. Nye. Typical of western agrarian progressives, Nye energetically opposed U.S. involvement in foreign wars. He promised, ‘when the Senate investigation is over, we shall see that war and preparation for war is not a matter of national honor and national defense, but a matter of profit for the few.’”

(I will soon follow up with a discussion of Senator Nye and the way in which his investigation was sabotaged by those who wanted a new war.)

From President Dwight Eisenhower’s Farewell Address, 1957:

“Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

“This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence – economic, political, even spiritual – is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

“We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

My purpose in this post is simply to remind us of a viewpoint that I rarely see expressed. In VIEW FROM THE MOON I often write about the causes of wars, and the “merchants of death” viewpoint helps complete the picture.

I just remembered something amusing. When I was a child of seven I asked my playmates, “How do wars start?”, and I concluded that wars must start when two people got into a fight and then their friends joined in the fighting, and more and more people joined in until there were two big, growing crowds fighting against one another and a full fledged war was soon underway. Would that it were so simple.

Friday, January 5, 2007


(Please read today's first post before this one.)

I received an email today from Howard Dean. Yes, Howard Dean himself. Can you believe that? He wants me to buy a Democracy Bond.

But seriously folks, his message bothers me for the same reason that Rep. Murtha and Sen. Rockefeller bothered me last night. Here's what he wrote:

"'Elections have consequences.'

"In 2006 Americans sent a crystal clear message. As the war in Iraq continued and ordinary people struggled to make ends meet, scores of Republicans at every level of government were removed from office by the voters, every single Democrat running for reelection as a Senator, Governor, or Representative was reelected -- every single one.
It didn't happen by accident. It happened by building a strong opposition party with a clear message of change."

What bothers me? Dean's statement, summarized, is, "As the war in Iraq continued, loads of Democrats were elected." He could just as well have written, "As it snowed in Montana, Americans voted for Democrats." Just what "crystal clear message" Americans sent is left to the imagination by Dean's oblique statement. He is more interested in applauding all the new jobs for Democrats than in encouraging confidence in Democrat plans for getting us out of Iraq. He had an opportunity to characterize the "clear message" of the voters as a demand that Democrats end the war in Iraq, but he didn't do that. He settles on an unspecified message of "change". It's pretty easy to promise "change".

I am not criticizing the people I voted for before they've had a chance to get into action, but wishy-washy words make me nervous. I'm beginning to feel as if I'd picked up what I thought was solid rock only to find it sifting as sand between my fingers.

Democrats' Determination?

I watched several resurrected Democrats interviewed last night on television (two by Keith Olbermann -- Senator Jay Rockefeller, House Select Committee on Intelligence, and Rep. John Murtha), and I felt as if a chill wind had blown through a warm room.

I believe in Santa Claus, and in spite of my writing that there is no important difference between the Democratic and Republican parties when it comes to things that count the most toward our national survival, I shared the general feeling after the November election that we had voted resoundingly to end the Iraq war and get the American military out as quickly as they could turn their tanks around. I dreamed that the Democrats would sweep in like a tsunami and tumble the Bush policies into oblivion.

If there was one theme to the Democrats’ election campaigns other than “we have better morals than you do”, it was, “We’ll end the war and get out of Iraq!”

Well, what I heard and saw last night was pitiful waffling. I wanted something along the lines of, “Okay, Bush, you’re finished! We’re cutting all funding for your war that we have any control over, and we’re hobbling you so you can’t send more troops over there.”

I wanted to witness vein-bulging indignation, podium-pounding determination, and promises of quick and effective action. I wanted to watch Democratic generals leaping out of trenches waving their swords toward the White House.

Instead I heard weasely, hand-wringing, “What can we do’s?” and “Bush will find ways to do what he wants no matter what we do.” Worse, I endured wimpy, “We will take a thoughtful and measured view of what is best for our country; we will evaluate all the related matters with statesmanlike responsibility; we will not do anything rash or irresponsible.” Everything short of, “We will not do anything.”

Translation: “We’re frightened to refuse to fund Bush’s military disasters because we’ll be accused of not ‘supporting our troops’ and not being patriotic.” That’s the same reason the Democrats voted to enable the Iraq war in the first place, thus abandoning any high ground they might have occupied.

Further translation: “Politicians get into less trouble by doing nothing than they do by doing something. But look at the bright side: You can always count on us to say things that sound good.”

I truly hope that my first impression is wrong, and that the Democrats act on their mandate to get us out of Iraq swiftly and make it impossible for Bush to start any new wars, as by attacking Iran or Syria as Israel’s surrogate. I do not think that the House of Representatives and the Senate need be the limp wet rags those Democrats interviewed last night seem to think they are.

The main problem -- other than breath-taking ignorance of the world and its history on the part of most politicians of both parties – is that (sorry to repeat myself), democracy in the U.S. takes place at a giant job fair, with each election a tug of war which results in more lucrative jobs for the winners and their entourages than for the losers. The only thought of most politicians is to get and keep those jobs . . . the ONLY thought.

I know I shouldn’t vote if I know it doesn’t do any good, but it seems that by each election time I’m so angry at the incumbents and their lies and crookedness that I go to the polls just to vote against them so I don’t have to look at their faces for the coming term.

Let us hope that after the Democrats finish congratulating themselves and decorating their offices and collecting gavels that they actually do something about our foreign affairs mess.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

The Four Stages of Slanderous Degradation

I’ve noted a definite, escalating sequence of accusations used by American opinion-engineers when they wish to make a public figure look bad to the masses. The technique has long been used against foreign heads of state or potential foreign leaders, and also in particular against third party or independent candidates for the presidency in the United States.

First: Silence. Ignore the person and maybe he will go away. Don’t talk about him, don’t interview him, don’t show videos of his statements or public appearances, and don’t let him onto talk shows. In the absence of mainstream publicity, the masses cannot even know that he exists. Sentence him to obscurity by saying nothing about him.

When Pat Buchanan ran for president this technique was often used against him.

If the target refuses to disappear, move on to the second stage.

Second: Ridicule. The person is a clown, not to be taken seriously, an object of laughter. His opinions are therefore not even worth knowing about, much less analyzing.

I wish I knew enough to present a real history, but I do know that the method of ridicule was used on Adolf Hitler in Charles Chaplin’s 1940 self-styled comedy, “The Great Dictator”, and elsewhere. (Chaplin also includes a spoof of Italian leader Benito Mussolini.) Roger Ebert writes:

“Chaplin conceived and filmed "The Great Dictator" during a period when an accommodation with Hitler was still thought possible in some quarters; indeed, he must have been filming when Neville Chamberlain went to Munich. But Chaplin himself had no such optimism, and his portrait of Adenoid Hynkel, dictator of Tomania, was among the first declarations of war on Hitler. . . . As the Jewish barber, dressed in the stolen uniform of the dictator, he nonchalantly reviews ‘his’ troops and then sits in a folding chair that collapses, causing complete confusion. And, as the dictator, he does the famous ballet with the world globe painted on a balloon.”

Ross Perot, a potentially serious third-party contender for the American presidency in 1992, was subject to the same kind of treatment and was depicted as a joke, a funny-looking buffoon.

The “Establishment” (whoever you may think that is) hates third parties and independent candidates because for many years the only approved candidates for election have been those of the two carefully tethered major parties. As an example, when tremendously popular Louisiana populist Huey Long, elected to the U.S. Senate in 1931 after having been governor of Louisiana, planned to mount a presidential campaign against President Franklin Roosevelt, Long was assassinated in 1935, at the age of 42. “Roosevelt considered Long a radical demagogue. The president privately said of Long that along with General Douglas MacArthur, he was one of the two most dangerous men in America. Roosevelt later compared Long to Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.” There was evidence of high-up plans for Long’s assassination before the event.

If the target is still standing after being made a laughingstock, escalate to the third stage.

Third: Accusations or insinuations of insanity – or at least mental instability. I remember well this method being used against Perot. After a few weeks of Establishment propaganda beyond the “buffoon” stage I couldn’t mention Perot to anyone without getting the response, “But the guy’s a nut. He’s crazy.”

Hitler, after being treated as a joke and a caricature, began to be depicted as insane. He was supposedly irrational, flew frequently into screaming rages, foamed at the mouth, and threw himself on the floor and chewed carpets when he was angry. The image of the “mad dictator” has been used against many others – as far back as Suetonius’ “Lives of the Twelve Caesars” and as currently as the President of Iran, currently described in the U.S. press as a “crackpot”.

Rumors of sexual depravity or abnormality often accompany the charges of mental illness.

If people bothered to think, they would realize that nobody becomes one of the most successful and richest businessmen in the world, or works his way up to the leadership of a great nation, if he is crazy – or even if he is a clown.

Fourth: Evil. If all else fails, the target becomes evil. In extreme cases he becomes the personification of Evil, the devil in human form. “Evidence” of his evilness includes tales of murders (preferably mass murders), torture, treachery, and sometimes a desire to “conquer the world”.

“Evil” is one of G.W. Bush’s favorite labels. Bush’s “evildoers” are evil just because they’re evil. He gives no explanation why the members of his “Axis of Evil” are evil; apparently they just like being bad and hate everything good. It seems that Saddam Hussein actually began at this level; I don’t recall that he was taken through the first three stages.

Where is Kim Jong-Il of North Korea on this scale? Where is Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela? It is a fascinating exercise to watch the system at work and try to detect why it is clearly used in some cases but not in others.

Monday, January 1, 2007

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year is a wish, not a prediction, but let us hope that 2007 actually will bring more truth and constructive activities, and fewer political lies and killings.