The Forgiven: Clint Eastwood's Good War

by Mickey Z.

In the midst of our current, perpetual war against evil, America is yet again reflecting upon the "good war." If Clint Eastwood is allowed to recycle those images in ³Flags of Our Fathers,² as the author of an alternative history of WWII, why shouldn't I state my case yet again?

The U.S. fought that war against racism with a segregated army.

It fought that war to end atrocities by participating in the shooting of surrendering soldiers, the starvation of POWs, the deliberate bombing of civilians, wiping out hospitals, strafing lifeboats, and in the Pacific boiling flesh off enemy skulls to make table ornaments for sweethearts.

FDR, the leader of this anti-racist, anti-atrocity force, signed Executive Order 9066, interning over 100,000 Japanese-Americans without due process.

Thus, a war fought in the name of taking on the architects of German prison camps became the architect of American prison camps.

Before, during, and after the Good War, the American business class traded with the enemy. Among the U.S. corporations that invested in the Nazis were Ford, GE, Standard Oil, Texaco, ITT, IBM, and GM (top man William Knudsen called Nazi Germany "the miracle of the 20th century").

And while the U.S. regularly turned away Jewish refugees to face certain death in Europe, another group of refugees was welcomed with open arms after the war: fleeing Nazi war criminals who were used to help create the CIA and advance America's nuclear program.

The enduring Good War fable goes well beyond Memorial Day barbecues and flickering black-and-white movies on late night TV. WWII is America's most popular war. According to accepted history, it was an inevitable war forced upon a peaceful people thanks to a surprise attack by a sneaky enemy. This war, then and now, has been carefully and consciously sold to us as a life-and-death battle against pure evil. For most Americans, WWII was nothing less than good and bad going toe-to-toe in khaki fatigues.

But, Hollywood aside, neither Ryan Phillippe nor John Wayne ever set foot on Iwo Jima. Despite the former president's dim recollections, Ronald Reagan did not liberate any concentration camps. And, contrary to popular belief, FDR never actually got around to sending our boys "over there" to take on Hitler's Germany until after the Nazis had already declared war on the U.S. first.

Films like "Flags of Our Fathers" and Steven Spielberg's "Saving Private Ryan" teach us that even if war is hell and the good guys sometimes lose their way, there is still no reason to question either the morality of the mission or the stature of that particular generation.

Revolutionary pacifist A.J. Muste said in 1941, "The problem after war is with the victor. He thinks he has just proved that war and violence pay. Who will now teach him a lesson?" Precisely how and when such a lesson will be taught is not known, but it can be safely assumed that this lesson will never be learned from a standard college textbook, an insipid bestseller, or a manipulative box office smash. The past six decades have also shown that without such a lesson, there will be many more wars and many more lies told to obscure the truth about them.

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The Enlightenment of Resistance

by Manuel Valenzuela

 

Only by understanding ourselves and the parameters of our existence can a better humanity arise. Only through deep introspections of history past and humanity present can resistance commence and renaissance be born. We must mold who and what we are into a higher being, forming from the clays of Earth a better, more evolved human species, learning from our mistakes, advancing through our triumphs, understanding ourselves and those unknown, joining our strengths and eliminating our weaknesses, in the end working in concert towards the betterment of six billion, not simply 300 million.

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Imperial Default for Dummies

by Paul William Roberts

 

Editor's Note: Our Senior Writer, Paul William Roberts, gives us a rollicking tour of the Bush-induced Gotterdamerung in Iraq. Roberts, whose book, A War Against Truth, is one of the very best accounts of the mad march to aggression, was in Iraq during the earliest days of the invasion, as "Shock and Awe" gave way to shakedown and atrocity. If you want to grasp the realities about the Middle East, about the Iraq war, ask someone who knows. Paul William Roberts knows. 

A friend of mine in Baghdad wrote to me a few days ago about a conversation he’d had with an elderly lady from West Virginia who was seated next to him on an airplane between Los Angeles and Washington earlier this year. The subject under discussion was how Iraqis generally view the American invasion and occupation of Iraq, and my friend was trying to find an analogy that would work for a sweet eighty-five-year-old grandmother who had never traveled anywhere beyond the USA in her life. He came up with this:

Imagine you are visiting with one of your daughters who is married to a man who is a bit of a brute. He beats the kids occasionally and has knocked her about from time to time as well. You don’t like it, she doesn’t like it, the kids don’t like it, but at the end of the day he’s Dad, he works hard, he provides, and no one’s going to break up the family after all this time – besides, the monster’s mellowing with age and hasn’t hit anyone very hard in a long while.

So there you all are, watching TV one night, the kids doing their homework or playing downstairs, your daughter preparing dinner in the kitchen, the son-in-law having his beer and reading the sports page….When all of a sudden, the front door is smashed open, there are loud explosions all around the house, and five men come crashing in through the windows on ropes, as another five pour through the broken door firing guns.

One of the kids is killed, another staggers around covered in blood screaming, a third lies groaning somewhere nearby, then flames erupt from the kitchen as your daughter runs out, her body on fire, and you feel something smash into your knee breaking the leg. Before anyone can work out what’s happening, there’s another terrifying explosion above and the house rocks from side to side as the roof caves in and the whole structure collapses around you in rubble and dust. As you wipe the gravel and concrete from your face, you see that some of the intruders have handcuffed the son-in-law and are dragging him away at gunpoint. One of these gunmen then comes over and identifies himself as a representative of the Chinese Children’s Aid Society of Beijing, saying they would have come sooner but they had trouble getting visas.

They were here now, though, and your family was at last free of the brute and you could finally relax. Another gunman sweeps a bit of rubble to one side with a broom and apologizes for the mess, giving you the business card of a local contractor who also happens to be a friend of his brother and specializes in fixing houses reduced to rubble for a reasonable price. The men then say in a chorus, Have a nice day! They throw the brute into a van and are off leaving you sitting there alone in the dark with raindrops starting to pitter-patter on your head. How do you think you would you feel about all this?

“Well, I wouldn’t be happy,” the old lady apparently replied.

“And that’s pretty much how we feel,” said my friend.


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The Dollar's Full-System Meltdown

by Mike Whitney


The U.S. Dollar is kaput. Confidence in the currency is eroding by the day.

 

 


A report in The Sydney Morning Herald stated, “Australia’s Treasurer Peter Costello has called on East Asia’s central bankers to ‘telegraph’ their intentions to diversify out of American investments and ensure an ‘orderly adjustment’….Central banks in China, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, and Hong Kong have channeled immense foreign reserves into American government bonds, helping to prop up the US dollar and hold down interest rates,’ said Costello, but ‘the strategy has changed.’”


Indeed, the strategy has changed. The world has come to its senses and is moving away from the green slip of paper that is currently mired in $8.3 trillion of debt.


The central banks now want to reduce their USD reserves while trying to do as little damage to their own economies as possible. That’ll be difficult. If a sell-off ensues, it will start a stampede for the exits.

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Crisis Management

by William Bowles

Perhaps the most difficult thing to do when dealing with current events is to establish the link between economics and politics. Thus the corporate press never, ever present an event, the invasion of Iraq for example as having any connection with economics, indeed any attempt to do so is ridiculed (eg it’s not all about oil). The modus operandi is, keep it simple stupid, it’s good versus evil, don’t confuse the public’s mind with the complexities of real life for once you do so, an awful lot of explaining has to be done as to why countries act the way they do, none of which is in accord with the way events are portrayed in the MSM.

In my last piece, ‘Leaving the scene of the crime’, I quoted from a piece in the Independent on the ‘Suez Crisis’ by Mary Dejevsky which is a perfect example of this process in action whereby Empire whether past, present or intended is reduced to the level of psychology and personalities. Defeat is a “national humiliation”. Yes, there is a passing reference to economics but it is never presented as the root cause of the Anglo-French-Israeli invasion of Eygpt. Instead it’s couched in the context of the Cold War and Nasser’s desire to ‘take control of the Suez Canal’. Why he would want to do this is not explained except in the context of one person’s desire for power or a desire to humiliate ‘Great Britain.’ Thus Dejevesky tells us

“The Suez crisis began when the young and forceful President of Eygpt, Gamal Abdul Nasser, seized control of the Suez Canal after the US and Britain refused to help fund the Aswan Dam.”

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Imperial Default for Dummies

by Paul William Roberts

 

Editor's Note: Our Senior Writer, Paul William Roberts, gives us a rollicking tour of the Bush-induced Gotterdamerung in Iraq. Roberts, whose book, A War Against Truth, is one of the very best accounts of the mad march to aggression, was in Iraq during the earliest days of the invasion, as "Shock and Awe" gave way to shakedown and atrocity. If you want to grasp the realities about the Middle East, about the Iraq war, ask someone who knows. Paul William Roberts knows. 

A friend of mine in Baghdad wrote to me a few days ago about a conversation he’d had with an elderly lady from West Virginia who was seated next to him on an airplane between Los Angeles and Washington earlier this year. The subject under discussion was how Iraqis generally view the American invasion and occupation of Iraq, and my friend was trying to find an analogy that would work for a sweet eighty-five-year-old grandmother who had never traveled anywhere beyond the USA in her life. He came up with this:

Imagine you are visiting with one of your daughters who is married to a man who is a bit of a brute. He beats the kids occasionally and has knocked her about from time to time as well. You don’t like it, she doesn’t like it, the kids don’t like it, but at the end of the day he’s Dad, he works hard, he provides, and no one’s going to break up the family after all this time – besides, the monster’s mellowing with age and hasn’t hit anyone very hard in a long while.

So there you all are, watching TV one night, the kids doing their homework or playing downstairs, your daughter preparing dinner in the kitchen, the son-in-law having his beer and reading the sports page….When all of a sudden, the front door is smashed open, there are loud explosions all around the house, and five men come crashing in through the windows on ropes, as another five pour through the broken door firing guns.

One of the kids is killed, another staggers around covered in blood screaming, a third lies groaning somewhere nearby, then flames erupt from the kitchen as your daughter runs out, her body on fire, and you feel something smash into your knee breaking the leg. Before anyone can work out what’s happening, there’s another terrifying explosion above and the house rocks from side to side as the roof caves in and the whole structure collapses around you in rubble and dust. As you wipe the gravel and concrete from your face, you see that some of the intruders have handcuffed the son-in-law and are dragging him away at gunpoint. One of these gunmen then comes over and identifies himself as a representative of the Chinese Children’s Aid Society of Beijing, saying they would have come sooner but they had trouble getting visas.

They were here now, though, and your family was at last free of the brute and you could finally relax. Another gunman sweeps a bit of rubble to one side with a broom and apologizes for the mess, giving you the business card of a local contractor who also happens to be a friend of his brother and specializes in fixing houses reduced to rubble for a reasonable price. The men then say in a chorus, Have a nice day! They throw the brute into a van and are off leaving you sitting there alone in the dark with raindrops starting to pitter-patter on your head. How do you think you would you feel about all this?

“Well, I wouldn’t be happy,” the old lady apparently replied.

“And that’s pretty much how we feel,” said my friend.


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DON’T NOT STAY THE COURSE

by Will Durst

If you need more proof that President George Bush is as clueless as a goldfish on a leash in a space shuttle, you obviously didn’t see him in all his counter- intuitive glory this week adamantly refuting the slogan of “staying the course” while keeping its policy EXACTLY THE SAME. That’s right, George Bush is cutting and running from “stay the course.” This doesn’t mean he’s a Defeatlican, though. Because “we are winning in Iraq and will continue to win.” And you’d better hope we do, because if this is winning, you really REALLY don’t want to see what losing looks like.

He went on to speak of the differences between “a timetable” and “benchmarks,” declaring one to be the way of the winner and the other the path to Loserville City. Now, as to which is which, your guess is as good as anybody’s. And that probably includes his own staff. It definitely includes Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al- Maliki who either has or hasn’t agreed to benchmarks or timetables or touchstones or yardsticks, although a Donald Rumsfeld yard sign looks to be entirely out of the question.

Straight lines. Stark choices. Bold differences. Say what you will about Mister Bush, that’s what he’s always stood for. “Us versus them.” “Good versus evil.” “Black versus white.” Now, that may be a great world view… for an eighth grader, but hey, in the last six years of fighting for the hearts and minds of American voters, its worked. Nuance is for sissies.

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What’s in a Word: Wal-Mart and the New Jersey Supreme Court

By Mel Seesholtz, Ph.D.

 

Hitler’s National Socialist German Workers Party used the Bible and their perversion of Christianity to promote bigotry, discrimination and hatred of Jews, gypsies, the physically and mentally impaired and, of course, homosexuals. The Klu Klux Klan still uses the Bible and their perversion of Christianity to promote bigotry, discrimination and hatred of Blacks, Jews and, of course, homosexuals.

 

The American Family Association constantly uses the Bible and their perversion of Christianity to promote bigotry, discrimination and hatred, but they have a more focused target: homosexuals and any group or company that supports the social recognition or legal equality of gay and lesbian Americans, such as the dastardly “pro-homosexual” Wal-Mart chain.

{mosmedia} 

Don Wildmon’s American Family Association – which is dedicated to demeaning, denigrating and, if possible, destroying gay and lesbian Americans and their families – has 

called on Christian consumers to spend their dollars elsewhere as a sign of their displeasure with Wal-Mart’s pro-homosexual leanings, says the nation’s largest retailer is not just working with the homosexual agenda of the NGLCC [National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce], it is promoting it. As proof, AFA offers up examples of books available for purchase through Wal-Mart’s online bookstore – books the pro-family group contends support or defend homosexuality.
 
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No-brainer: Hillary loves Dick (Cheney, that is)

by Mickey Z.

When you're bored, get on board. For some that might mean a surfboard, a snowboard, or maybe a skateboard. For Vice President Dick Cheney, when he's not busy shooting lawyers, hiding out in undisclosed locations, or tampering with the U.S. Constitution, it's waterboarding for him. Plus, if we're to believe the rumors, Deadeye Dick may have an unlikely new playmate... a certain blonde with the initials HRC.

While being interviewed on Fargo radio, the VP was asked: "Would you agree that a dunk in the water is a no-brainer if it can save lives?" Dick replied, "It's a no-brainer for me." To him, holding someone's head under water until they talk (a.k.a. "waterboarding") is just part of "a fairly robust interrogation program."

Which brings us to the mysterious HRC and I don't think I have to tell you her full name. Just a few months ago Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton declared that the Military Commissions Act "undermines the Geneva Conventions by allowing the president to issue executive orders to redefine what are permissible interrogation techniques." She wondered: "Have we fallen so low as to debate how much torture we are willing to stomach?"
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Invisible Men

by Dr. Paul J. Balles


“I am an invisible man," said Ralph Ellison in the prologue to his novel The Invisible Man, "When they approach me they see only my surroundings, themselves, or figments of their imagination--indeed, everything and anything except me."


The main character is anonymous and unseen. The whites in society refuse to see him except as a black. Much has changed in America since the 50's appearance of The Invisible Man, at least for those who have been able to distinguish themselves, primarily in the media.


At the same time, others lack any recognizable individual identity. Blacks seen as African refugees merge back into masses without identities. To most Americans, Orientals from China or Japan or Korea are indistinguishable as members of their countries much less as individuals.


Americans generally lack both the ability and desire to distinguish Arabs from Persians, and even less capable of seeing distinct and recognizable features. Thus, Arabs and Persians number among Ellison's invisible men.


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American Voters Must Not Reward Failure

By Ramzy Baroud

How critical is the situation in Iraq? It depends on who you ask and when. Common sense tells us that the situation there has always been critical. In fact, one could dare claim that the country has been stricken with political and social upheaval since the early 1990s, when the US led its ‘coalition of the willing’ to liberate Kuwait.


Unfortunately, since American intent was hardly freedom for Kuwait for its own sake, the violent episode didn’t end right there and then. The war established a completely different mood in the region where a permanent American military presence and subsequent built ups threatened a second, and much larger war.


Unlike the dominant narrative, however, the 1990-91 war never brought peace or tranquility to the region; rather, it agitated internal strife within Iraq, positioning the entire region through the barrel of a gun. Over the next decade, US-led UN economic sanctions wrought untold destruction to the very fabric of Iraqi society, as hundreds of thousands perished because of lack of medicine and food. The US government calculated that a weary Iraq could not withstand a future military action, and that ravished Iraqis would welcome the toppling of the Iraqi dictator.


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James Petras' New Book: The Power of Israel in the United States

by Stephen Lendman

James Petras is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York. He's a noted academic figure on the US Left and a well-respected Latin American expert and longtime chronicler of the region's popular struggles. He's also an advisor to the landless workers in Brazil and the unemployed workers movement in Argentina. Along the way, he managed to find time to write many hundreds of articles and 62 books published in 29 languages including his latest one in which he discusses another vital world region he has extensive knowledge of and has written frequently about - the Middle East and specifically the state of Israel and its relations with its neighbors, the Palestinians and, most importantly and the subject of this book, the US.

Petras' powerful new book is titled The Power of Israel in the United States. It's a work of epic writing and essential reading documenting the enormous influence of the Jewish Lobby on US policy in the Middle East. It focuses like a laser to assure that policy conforms with Israel's long-term goal for regional hegemony. The Lobby's influence is broad and deep enough to include officials at the highest levels of government, the business community, academia, the clergy (especially the dominant Christian fundamentalists/Christian Zionists) and the mass media. Petras shows how together they're able to assure the full and unconditional US support for all elements of Israel's agenda going back decades even when that agenda harms our interests such as the unwinnable war in Iraq, any future one against Iran if it's undertaken, and the appalling and brutal subjugation and colonization of the Palestinian people that serves no US interest whatever. In spite of it, the Lobby is able to get the US to go along with Israel unconditionally with no serious opposition to it tolerated.

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