Dear Mr. Buckley,
Writing in National Review Online in February 2006, you William F. Buckley Jr. its Editor at Large and a diehard conservative icon, admitted that the U.S. mission in Iraq has failed but gave the following reason for the disaster;
â€œOur mission has failed because Iraqi animosities have proved uncontainable by an invading army of 130,000 Americansâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦they have not been able to contend against the ice men who move about in the shadows with bombs and grenades and pistols.â€
No Mr. Buckley, no. You are muddying the water.
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Since your chant has now been taken up by many Cons, Neocons and Repubs, the record must be set straight.
Mr. Buckley, your great country went to war with a nation that was already impoverished by more than 20 years of war and American led, UN-imposed sanctions. The immediate aftermath of the war found the traumatized Iraqi society without a recognized head of state or a working administration with well over 70 highly fragmented political parties pulling their unfortunate country in every which way.
â€œPressure from the Lobby was not the only factor behind the decision to attack Iraq in 2003, but it was critical. Some Americans believe that this was a war for oil, but there is hardly any direct evidence to support this claim. Instead, the war was motivated in good part by a desire to make Israel more secure.â€ (â€œThe Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policyâ€ John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt)
Poor Ehud Olmert.
A couple of weeks ago every thing was hunky-dory. The Palestinian death-toll had just topped 400, 1,000 or so homes had been demolished by Israeli bulldozers, the main power station in Gaza had been knocked-out, the blockade of food and medicine was still going strong, and the IDF was gearing up for another rampagethrough the occupied territories.
In Lebanon, Pierre Gemeyal had just been assassinated; making it easier for the US and Israel to continue hectoring Syria at the UN. And, in Iraq, the American army was busy transforming the once-vibrant Iraqi society into an ungovernable slaughterhouse headed for decades of anarchy.
All in all, things were looking pretty rosy for Olmert.
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Sometimes Iâ€™m struck by the sheer enormity of Bushâ€™s stupidity. It is truly breathtaking. After nearly 4 years of steadily-intensifying guerilla warfare with no end in sight, Bush has decided to expand the war.
Think Iâ€™m kidding?
As Robert Dreyfuss says, â€œThe president is trying to cobble together, brick by brick, an Iraqi government that is able and willing to do what al Malikiâ€™s canâ€™t or wonâ€™t do: break the back of Muqtada al Sadrâ€™s Mahdi Army and redouble the offensive against the Sunni-led Iraqi resistance.â€ (â€œBush v. The Two Majoritiesâ€ Robert Dreyfuss; uruknet.info)
So, now Bush figures that heâ€™s doing so well against the Sunni resistance that heâ€™s ready to take on the biggest Shiite militia in Iraq?
Makes sense, doesnâ€™t it?
After all, if youâ€™re already getting clobbered why not speed it up and get it over with fast.
This is mind-boggling!
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According to James Rutz, chairman of Megashift Ministries and founder-chairman of Open Church Ministries, â€œA devil food is turning our kids into homosexuals.â€ It seems Satan is lurking inâ€¦ soy.
Mr. Rutz claims that â€œSoy is feminizing, and commonly leads to a decrease in the size of the penis, sexual confusion and homosexuality. Thatâ€™s why most of the medical (not socio-spiritual) blame for todayâ€™s rise in homosexuality must fall upon the rise in soy formula and other soy products.â€
After you stop laughing, examine Mr. Rutzâ€™s preposterous â€“ not to mention totally unsupported â€“ claims.
â€œSoy is feminizing, and commonly leads to a decrease in the size of the penis, sexual confusion and homosexuality.â€ How does one even begin to respond to such nonsense? Since soy products such as tofu â€“ which Mr. Rutz says must be completely avoided â€“ have been traditional parts of the Chinese and other Eastern diets for over 2000 years, shouldnâ€™t China be a totally homosexual nation by now? Similarly, since tofu is a staple in Buddhistsâ€™ vegetarian diets, shouldnâ€™t all Buddhists be gay?
As for Mr. Rutzâ€™s claim that soy â€œcommonly leads to a decrease in the size of the penis,â€ one has to wonder how he came to that conclusion. Has he been conducting a longitudinal study? Has he been hands-on measuring the penises of men who got soy milk as infants or who eat tofu?
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On the first page ofresults you will find CBS, the BBC, the Times, Guardian and Mail all describing Rauf last summer, on security service or police briefing, as the "Mastermind" behind the "Liquid terror bomb plot". So the fact that a Pakistani court has found there is no evidence of terrorism against him cannot be lightly dismissed by the cheerleaders of the plot story.
Rashid Rauf still faces other charges, including forgery, and what is touted as possession of explosives, although what he actually possessed was hydrogen peroxide, which is not explosive. As hydrogen peroxide is readily obtainable without limitationfrom any chemist or hardware store in the UK, why you would source it in Pakistan to blow up jetsin Britainwas never very convincing.The Pakistani courtperhaps felt so too.
Rashid Rauf has much to answer. He is still wanted in the UK over the murder of his uncle some years ago - a crime which, like the alleged forgery,had no apparent terrorist link. None of which adds to the credibility of the evidence he allegedly gave the Pakistani intelligence services about the liquid bomb plot in the UK.
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â€œThis is the first time any Christian religious instructional video has recommended killing all non-Christians who refuse to convert to Christianity. It is unprecedented and dangerous.â€
This was the view expressed yesterday by Rev. Timothy Simpson, president of the Jacksonville, Florida-based progressive advocacy group The Christian Alliance for Progress, in describing a new video game titled "Left Behind: Eternal Forces."
The game, which is packaged with a book explaining its philosophy, is currently being sold by WalMart, Americaâ€™s largest retailer. The chain has thus far has refused demands that it remove it from its shelves, indicating it would continue selling the game online and in selected stores where it felt there was demand.
"The product has been selling in those stores," according to spokeswoman Tara Raddohl. "The decision on what merchandise we offer in our stores is based on what we think our customers want the opportunity to buy." Add a comment
Congress Members of both parties, not to mention the White House, have already forgotten the anti-war and anti-Bush vote of November 7th (the Republicans lost one more seat in a runoff on Wednesday) and are dreaming of big Christmas presents for war profiteers. Since we Americans apparently have no other need for any money, and since we enjoy paying our taxes so much, they're planning to approve another $160 billion in "emergency" (off the books) cash for the war early next year. That's billion with a B. This will be on top of the $70 billion they provided in October. I hate to play Scrooge here, but ain't that a bit much?
The strange thing is that Congress doesn't even know where the money goes. The Democrats have announced plans to try to find out, but Speaker Designate Nancy Pelosi has simultaneously announced that the money will be approved. It's as if she were announcing that the Democrats would do investigations of Bush's crimes, but that they would not impeach him no matter what they found. Oh wait, I forgot: she has announced that too. There must be something I'm just not understanding about the way Washington works today.
Pelosi and other Democrats have tried to explain it. They say they will commit to approving the additional money in order to "support the troops." But they must be talking about the handpicked pro-Bush troops Sean Hannity recently pretended to have "organically" stumbled upon in Iraq (the ones who had all by sheer coincidence brought along cameras to take Hannity's picture, and who amazingly all agreed with him exactly). Otherwise, Pelosi's latest RNC talking point makes no sense to me.
Zogby International's poll of U.S. servicemen and women serving in Iraq in early 2006 found that 72 percent of them wanted to stop the war by the end of 2006, a date that is fast approaching. So, how do we "support the troops" if the troops want us to stop "supporting" them?
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Noted historian Eric Foner in a December 7 article on OpEd News.com calls George Bush "the worst president in US history....(who) in his first six years in office....managed to combine the lapses of leadership, misguided policies and abuse of power of his failed predecessors." Equally noted historian Gabriel Kolko agrees, and along with his other comments, calls the Bush administration "the worst set of incompetents ever to hold power in Washington." And referring specifically to the war in Iraq, Kolko colorfully describes what former Reagan administration National Security Agency (NSA) chief General William Odom calls "....the worst strategic mistake in the history of the United States" by saying the Bush administration "shocked and awed....itself." Hard to say it better than that.
Enter James Baker and the Iraq Study Group (ISG) that reported its findings publicly on December 6 after most of it was leaked well in advance making its release and full-court corporate media press hyping and griping anti-climactic as well as disappointing and disturbing. The ISG was formed in March with at least four crucial aims:
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--to avoid a perceived inevitable political and fiscal train wreck caused by the disastrous Bush administration policy over the past six years.
-- to buy time for the failed and discredited Bush administration attempting to save it along with the family's name and reputation.
-- to devise a scheme to assure US dominance in the Middle East, fast slipping away, is restored and maintained going forward so this country doesn't lose control over what a State Department spokesperson in 1945 called a "stupendous source of strategic power and one of the greatest material prizes in world history -(the region's oil)."
-- to be a (thinly-veiled) attempt to assuage public anger over a war gone sour, that's illegal, can't be won, is taking a terrible toll, and never should have been waged.
[Note for Atlantic Free Press readers: Today, a rarity at the site. Two pieces, officially identified as such and piled atop each other -- think of them like a double-decker bus -- each focused on a different aspect of the Iraq situation as Washington imagines it. First comes a little "political bedtime story" of mine about how Washington has tried to "fix" everything but reality itself; then, an important analysis by Michael Schwartz of just why the withdrawal option, increasingly popular for the American public, is such poison to Washington's movers and shakers. So dig in. Tom]
"Fixing" the War By Tom Engelhardt This is an old tale. Long forgotten. But like all good political bedtime stories, it's well worth telling again.
Once upon a time, there was a retired general named Paul Van Riper. In 1966, as a young Marine officer and American advisor in Vietnam, he was wounded in action; he later became the first president of the Marine Corps University, retired from the Corps as a Lieutenant General, and then took up the task of leading the enemy side in Pentagon war games.
Over the years, Van Riper had developed into a free-wheeling military thinker, given to quoting Von Clausewitz and Sun-tzu, and dubious about the ability of the latest technology to conquer all in its path. If you wanted to wage war, he thought, it might at least be reasonable to study war seriously (if not go to war yourself) rather than just fall in love with military power. It seemed to him that you took a risk any time you dismissed your enemy as without resources (or a prayer) against your awesome power and imagined your campaign to come as a sure-fire "cakewalk." As he pointed out, "Many enemies are not frightened by that overwhelming force. They put their minds to the problem and think through: how can I adapt and avoid that overwhelming force and yet do damage against the United States?"
As a result, Van Riper took the task of simulated enemy commander quite seriously. He also had a few issues with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's much vaunted "military transformation," his desire to create a sleek, high-tech, agile military that would drive everything before it. He thought the Rumsfeld program added up to just so many "shallow," "fundamentally flawed" slogans. ("There's very little intellectual content to what they sayâ€¦ â€˜Information dominance,' â€˜network-centric warfare,' â€˜focused logistics' -- you could fill a book with all of these slogans.")
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If ever any president and vice president in American history deserved impeachment, I would certainly agree, Bush and Cheney deserve it most richly. And more. And if ever there were a need in America to defend the Constitution and the rule of law by rebuking some would-be tyrants, now is the time.
But to achieve oneâ€™s goals, one must act in accordance with the lay of the land. And one must devise oneâ€™s strategies with an understanding of the correlation of forces, and with how the flow of time is affecting that balance of power.
"Our complex global economy is built upon millions of small, private acts of psychological surrender, the willingness of people to acquiesce in playing their assigned parts as cogs in the great social machine that encompasses all other machines. They must shape themselves to the prefabricated identities that make efficient coordination possible... that capacity for self-enslavement must be broken.â€
- Theodore Roszak - The Voice Of The Earth
Few tasks are more challenging than that of attending to our subtle, internal responses to the world against the deafening roar of what is deemed â€˜obviously trueâ€˜. Writing in the 1930s, the anarchist Rudolf Rocker made the point that the state is not a disinterested spectator on the issue of freedom of thought. In his classic work, Culture And Nationalism, Rocker wrote:
"The state welcomes only those forms of cultural activity which help it to maintain its power. It persecutes with implacable hatred any activity which oversteps the limits set by it and calls its existence into question. It is, therefore, as senseless as it is mendacious to speak of a â€˜state cultureâ€˜; for it is precisely the state which lives in constant warfare with all higher forms of intellectual culture and always tries to avoid the creative will of culture."Add a comment
- Rocker, Culture and Nationalism, Michael E. Coughlan, 1978,p.85
â€œStaying the courseâ€, the battle cry of the republic. Then comes the Iraq Study Group and predictably all the headlines parrot the news bites about a war â€˜lostâ€™ and a â€˜change of courseâ€™. But is it a change of course or the same wolf dressed up as a dove creeping in through the back door of the biggest embassy on the planet?
The US Embassy in Baghdad covers about 100 acres and sits within the so-called Green Zone right in the heart of Baghdad, in effect a small town within a town, and not exactly a temporary dwelling, so regardless of whether the Marines et al continue to blow the country to pieces or not, you donâ€™t build a gigantic piece of real estate costing billions on someone elseâ€™s land without every intention of staying (on the course). Itâ€™s the 21st century equivalent of one of those French Foreign Legionâ€™s forts, built to police a colony and keep the natives in their place and, retreat to when under attack. Add a comment
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