by Andrew Bard Schmookler
Since the midterm elections, my primary focus has shifted from denouncing the Bush regime to exploring how to employ the newly won Democratic power.
This is not a shift in purpose, which is still to defeat the Bushites and to repair the damage that they have done to this nation, to the international system, and to the planet. But the change in circumstances means that our strategy needs a shift in emphasis. After the first stage devoted to waking people up enough to become an electorate that would begin transferring power out of Bushite hands, it now seems to time figure out how to best use that transferred power .
Many people have responded favorably to my strategic shift. But there are people who liked it better when I was denouncing the Bushites than when I portray the Democrats as a potentially effective instrument of our purposes.
Indeed, the very idea of valuing the Democrats and their newly won power makes them angry. And they express this by denouncing the Democrats for their various corruptions and weaknesses.
By Jonathan Cook in Nazareth
The era of the Middle East strongman, propped up by and enforcing Western policy, appears well and truly over. His power is being replaced with rule by civil war, apparently now the American Administrationâ€™s favoured model across the region.
Fratricidal fighting is threatening to engulf, or already engulfing, the occupied Palestinian territories, Lebanon and Iraq. Both Syria and Iran could soon be next, torn apart by attacks Israel is reportedly planning on behalf of the US. The reverberations would likely consume the region.
Western politicians like to portray civil war as a consequence of the Westâ€™s failure to intervene more effectively in the Middle East. Were we more engaged in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or more aggressive in opposing Syrian manipulations in Lebanon, or more hands-on in Iraq, the sectarian fighting could be prevented. The implication being, of course, that, without the Westâ€™s benevolent guidance, Arab societies are incapable of dragging themselves out of their primal state of barbarity.
But in fact, each of these breakdowns of social order appears to have been engineered either by the United States or by Israel. In Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq, sectarian difference is less important than a clash of political ideologies and interests as rival factions disagree about whether to submit to, or resist, American and Israeli interference. Where the factions derive their funding and legitimacy from -- increasingly a choice between the US or Iran -- seems to determine where they stand in this confrontation.
First take a look at the Washington Post story by Robin Wright and Peter Baker, White House, Joint Chiefs At Odds on Adding Troops. Let there be no doubt from this point forward, the Joint Chiefs of Staff have found their balls and are pushing back against crazy proposals advanced by the neo-cons. New SecDef Robert Gates will have ample opportunity in the coming days to demonstrate whether he is on the side of the President or the troops.
Second, it is now official because the New York Times tells us today (as I said on Sunday) that Attacks in Iraq at Record High, Pentagon Says. The article by DAVID S. CLOUD and MICHAEL R. GORDON lays out the bad news that notwithstanding the surge of US troops into Baghdad in August and September the violence among the civilian population spiraled upwards.
Finally, as I warned on Sunday, we're going to try to take down Mookie. Who? "Mookie" aka Moqtada al Sadr is the villain in the latest Pentagon report. According to Julian Barnes at the Los Angeles Times, Sadr Army is called top threat in Iraq, A Pentagon report cites the danger of the Shiite cleric's militia. What Barnes neglects to mention in much detail is that Mookie is not killing U.S. troops. However, if we move ahead with the neo-con plan to take out Mookie his followers will turn on our troops and that will be a bloodbath that will worsen things in Iraq. Take that to the bank.Add a comment
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The Age of MammalsLooking Back on the First Quarter of the Twenty-First Century
By Rebecca Solnit [For Solomon Solnit (b. Oct. 18, 2006)]
The View from the Grass
I've been writing the year-end other-news summary for Tomdispatch since 2004; somewhere around 2017, however, the formula of digging up overlooked stories and grounds for hope grew weary. So for this year, we've decided instead to look back on the last 25 years of the twenty-first century â€” but it was creatures from sixty million years ago who reminded me how to do it.
The other day, I borrowed some kids to go gawk with me at the one thing that we can always count on in an ever-more unstable world: age-of-dinosaur dioramas in science museums. This one had the usual dramatic clash between a tyrannosaurus and a triceratops; pterodactyls soaring through the air, one with a small reptile in its toothy maw; and some oblivious grazing by what, when I was young in another millennium, we would have called a brontosaurus. Easy to overlook in all that drama was the shrew-like mammal perched on a reed or thick blade of grass, too small to serve even as an enticing pterodactyl snack. The next thing coming down the line always looks like that mammal at the beginning â€” that's what I told the kids â€” inconsequential, beside the point; the official point usually being the clash of the titans.
That's exactly why mainstream journalists spent the first decade of this century debating the meaning of the obvious binaries â€” the Democrats versus the Republicans, McWorld versus Global Jihad â€” much as political debate of the early 1770s might have focused on whether the French or English monarch would have supremacy in North America, not long before the former was be beheaded and the latter evicted. The monarchs in all their splashy scale were the dinosaurs of their day, and the eighteenth-century mammal no one noticed at first was named "revolution"; the early twenty-first century version might have been called "localism" or maybe "anarchism," or even "civil society regnant." In some strange way, it turned out that windmill-builders were more important than the U.S. Senate. They were certainly better at preparing for the future anyway.