Masters Of War

Come you masters of war You that build all the guns You that build the death planes You that build all the bombs You that hide behind walls You that hide behind desks I just want you to know I can see through your masks. You that never done nothin' But build to destroy You play with my world Like it's your little toy You put a gun in my hand And you hide from my eyes And you turn and run farther When the fast bullets fly. Like Judas of old You lie and deceive A world war can be won You want me to believe But I see through your eyes And I see through your brain Like I see through the water That runs down my drain. You fasten all the triggers For the others to fire Then you set back and watch When the death count gets higher You hide in your mansion' As young people's blood Flows out of their bodies And is buried in the mud. You've thrown the worst fear That can ever be hurled Fear to bring children Into the world For threatening my baby Unborn and unnamed You ain't worth the blood That runs in your veins. How much do I know To talk out of turn You might say that I'm young You might say I'm unlearned But there's one thing I know Though I'm younger than you That even Jesus would never Forgive what you do. Let me ask you one question Is your money that good Will it buy you forgiveness Do you think that it could I think you will find When your death takes its toll All the money you made Will never buy back your soul. And I hope that you die And your death'll come soon I will follow your casket In the pale afternoon And I'll watch while you're lowered Down to your deathbed And I'll stand over your grave 'Til I'm sure that you're dead.------- Bob Dylan 1963

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Drill Obama Drill

Barack Obama Reverses Campaign Promise and Approves Offshore Drilling

President allows oil and gas exploration off several coastal areas to horsetrade with Republicans over climate change bills

by Suzanne Goldenberg in Washington

Barack Obama took the Republican slogan "drill, baby, drill" as his own today, opening up over 500,000 square miles of US coastal waters to oil and gas exploitation for the first time in over 20 years.

[Barack Obama announces offshore drilling plans at a naval base in, Maryland. (Alex Wong/Getty Images) ]Barack Obama announces offshore drilling plans at a naval base in, Maryland. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
The move, a reversal of Obama's early campaign promise to retain a ban on offshore exploration, appeared aimed at winning support from Republicans in Congress for new laws to tackle global warming. Sarah Palin's "Drill, baby, drill" slogan was a prominent battle cry in the 2008 elections.

The areas opened up are off the Atlantic coast, the northern coast of Alaska and in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. However, in a concession to his environmentalist base, Obama did retain protection for Alaska's Bristol Bay, the single largest source of seafood in America and home to endangered species of whale. The Pacific Coast from Mexico to Canada is also off-limits.

Obama said the decision to allow oil rigs off the Atlantic coast was a painful one, but that it would help reduce US dependence on imported oil.

"This is not a decision that I've made lightly," the president said. "But the bottom line is this: given our energy needs, in order to sustain economic growth, produce jobs, and keep our businesses competitive, we're going to need to harness traditional sources of fuel even as we ramp up production of new sources of renewable, homegrown energy."

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It will be interesting to see how much push-back he gets from the so called liberals on this.

To me this shows again that he is a CENTER-RIGHT President.

He is a Corporatist, not a Socialist, or Communist.

And, just who writes his speeches now? Must be the AEI. LOL

Can Obama Check Mate An Israeli-Palestinian Peace?

Israel recognizes Obama means business
By Jerrold Kessel and Pierre Klochendler

JERUSALEM - Against all expectations, it's becoming the forerunner of a peace plan. Indeed, it might in the end even surprise the world as Israelis and Palestinians are forced into peace. Even if, for now, it's shaping up as anything but peaceful.

It's a battle royal.

"It" is the ongoing and unprecedented crisis in relations between the United States and Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues to insist that the divide between his government and the administration of
President Barack Obama is still bridgeable.

But nearly a week since his humiliation at the White House, beneath the Israeli leader's bluster, the message is beginning to sink in for Israelis: the United States means business.

Writes Ari Shavit, in Monday's lead story of the Tel Aviv daily Ha'aretz: "The demands that Obama made at the White House are the tip of the iceberg between which lies a dramatic change in US policy towards Israel."

Shavit says that the Netanyahu government believes that the demands made of Israel by the president "point to an intention to impose a permanent settlement on Israel and the Palestinians within two years at the utmost."

In what, according to Israeli political sources, amounts to a "White House dictum", Obama made 10 demands of Netanyahu.

Four relate specifically to Israeli actions and policy in occupied East Jerusalem; the rest relate to the negotiating process and other core issues of the conflict which the US intends to have on the table when both sides are pressed into the planned "proximity" talks that are to be run by Obama's special envoy, Senator George Mitchell.

As the US awaits Israel's answer to the president's demands within 10 days (following the Jewish Passover holiday week), four possible scenarios are evolving:
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Obama imposing a Palestinian state
By Victor Kotsev

"US President Barack Obama's demands during his meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last Tuesday point to an intention to impose a permanent settlement on Israel and the Palestinians in less than two years," the Israeli daily, Ha'aretz, wrote on Monday. We may draw a similar conclusion from analyses such as the one by Tony Karon in Asia Times Online. [1]

United States-Israel rifts have widened to the point where the BBC recently reported that the US would "seriously consider abstaining" if the United Nations Security Council were to vote on a resolution on Jerusalem (presumably against Israel). US officials promptly denied the report, but in any case, the US is pushing extraordinarily hard a literal interpretation of "the 1967 border". This is a strong indicator that Obama might secretly hope to impose a solution.

Last December, American officials spoke of a timeframe of two years until the creation of a Palestinian state. At that point, it seemed like an unrealistic hope, but so did the healthcare overhaul until recently. A bilateral compromise among Israelis and Palestinians appears now less likely than ever; however, Obama's head-on collision with the Israeli government, coupled with his open support of a new, moderate and more efficient Palestinian leadership (that of the technocrat Prime Minister Salam Fayyad), has increased the likelihood of another scenario.

The Obama administration might try to use Israel's dependence on the US (especially in the UN Security Council) to force the Israelis to agree on a version of the Arab Peace Initiative, and lead a chorus of condemnation against whoever drops the towel. Such a public relations sleight of hand is characteristic of Obama and has been extremely effective on the domestic front.

While the question remains, whether it will be effective foreign policy-wise, the healthcare bill is more than just a precedent: it significantly boosted Obama's position. "A vote like this will define the prevailing media narrative on the Obama administration: Come Monday the US president will be seen as either brilliant or bungling," wrote the Foreign Policy magazine two days before the congress vote. "This narrative is going to extend beyond healthcare to other major issues, including foreign policy."

So far, Obama's pressure on Netanyahu has supported the Palestinians on a few key demands: Jerusalem, settlements and dismantling checkpoints. The lack of proportionality (at least in terms of overt gestures, the Americans demanded much less from the Palestinians) raises questions about Obama's impartiality, and the Israelis were quick to complain. "You could say that Obama is the greatest disaster for Israel - a strategic disaster," an anonymous Netanyahu confidant told leading Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronot.

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As long as the Likud party controls Israel, there will never be a true peace.
Israel can no longer be allowed to dictate policy in the middle east. It has been a complete failure. Bibi must come to the table without any pre-conditions.

Until Israel knows that the U.S. will no longer tolerate a rogue state such as Israel there will be no advancement toward peace.
America gives Israel 3 Billion $$ in aid per year. We veto any and all U.N. sanctions against Israel.
Because the Israeli lobby and its Zionist fellow travelers have bought and paid for our governments obedience.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Karzai Leaning Toward A Sino-Iranian Move ?

Karzai's China-Iran dalliance riles Obama
By M K Bhadrakumar

Great moments in diplomatic timing are hard to distinguish when the practitioners are inscrutable entities. Afghan President Hamid Karzai's visits to China and Iran within the week rang alarm bells in Washington which were heard in the Oval Office of the White House.

Karzai's two days of talks in Beijing last week were scheduled exactly at the same time as the high-profile strategic dialogue taking place between the United States and Pakistan in Washington.

Karzai has coolly defied the President Barack Obama's do-or-die diplomatic campaign to "isolate" Iran in the region - not once but twice during the past fortnight. Karzai earlier received his Iranian
counterpart, Mahmud Ahmadinejad, with manifest warmth in Kabul while the US Defense Secretary Robert Gates was on a visit to Afghanistan.

Washington lost no time signaling its displeasure. Obama flew into Kabul on Sunday unannounced for an "on the ground update" from Karzai.

US national security advisor James Jones told the White House press party that Obama hoped to help Karzai understand that "in this second term there are things he has to do as the president of his country to battle the things that have not been paid attention to almost since day one".

Jones's unusually sharp comment bears out the New York Times report from Kabul that Obama "personally delivered pointed criticism" to the Afghan president that "reflected growing vexation" with him.

The newspaper commented:
Mr Obama's visit to Afghanistan came against a backdrop of tension between Mr Karzai and the Americans. It quoted a European diplomat in Kabul as saying, "He's [Karzai] slipping away from the West" and it went on to point out that the Afghan president "warmly received one of America's most vocal adversaries" in Kabul and then "met with him again this past weekend in Tehran", apart from visiting China, "a country that is making economic investments in Afghanistan, ... taking advantage of the hard-won and expensive security efforts of the US and other Western nations."
It seems Karzai had barely got back to Kabul from Tehran when the US Air Force One carrying Obama landed in Bagram air base north of the Afghan capital. Obama has since asked Karzai to go over to Washington on May 12.

Spring is in the air Clearly, the Americans are furious that Karzai is steadily disengaging from the US's grip and seeking friendship with China and Iran. Pretences of cordiality are withering away even as Washington realizes that the ground beneath its feet is shifting.

Curiously, two days after his return to Kabul from Beijing on Thursday, Karzai flew to Tehran to celebrate Nowruz festival. By celebrating the advent of spring at an extraordinary conclave of Persian-speaking regional countries in Tehran, Karzai drew attention to Afghanistan's multiple identity as a plural society of pre-Islamic antiquity.

But in political terms, he ostentatiously displayed his freedom from American control. His itinerary in Tehran included a meeting with Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

If Karzai's Iran diplomacy was rich in political symbolism, his state visit to China was politically substantive. Karzai was accompanied by the Afghan ministers of foreign affairs and defense. China's Xinhua news agency reported from Beijing that Karzai's upcoming visit "has drawn wide attention at a time when major powers are speculating whether China would engage deeper in efforts to rebuild - and possibly offer military assistance to - the war-torn country."

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This is a great article.

The players are moving on the Great Chess Board again.
The West wants to contain Iran, Russia, and China. It is not working. We are not part of the region. They are. The region will have to settle this.
China is
waiting to play the SCO card. When that card is thrown on the table, then all bets are off.

Monday, March 29, 2010

America Is Imploding ! ! Is It Too Late ?

Is America ‘Yearning for Fascism’?

Posted on Mar 29, 2010
AP / Jae C. Hong

By Chris Hedges

The language of violence always presages violence. I watched it in war after war from Latin America to the Balkans. The impoverishment of a working class and the snuffing out of hope and opportunity always produce angry mobs ready to kill and be killed. A bankrupt, liberal elite, which proves ineffectual against the rich and the criminal, always gets swept aside, in times of economic collapse, before thugs and demagogues emerge to play to the passions of the crowd. I have seen this drama. I know each act. I know how it ends. I have heard it in other tongues in other lands. I recognize the same stock characters, the buffoons, charlatans and fools, the same confused crowds and the same impotent and despised liberal class that deserves the hatred it engenders.

“We are ruled not by two parties but one party,” Cynthia McKinney, who ran for president on the Green Party ticket, told me. “It is the party of money and war. Our country has been hijacked. And we have to take the country away from those who have hijacked it. The only question now is whose revolution gets funded.”

The Democrats and their liberal apologists are so oblivious to the profound personal and economic despair sweeping through this country that they think offering unemployed people the right to keep their unemployed children on their nonexistent health care policies is a step forward. They think that passing a jobs bill that will give tax credits to corporations is a rational response to an unemployment rate that is, in real terms, close to 20 percent. They think that making ordinary Americans, one in eight of whom depends on food stamps to eat, fork over trillions in taxpayer dollars to pay for the crimes of Wall Street and war is acceptable. They think that the refusal to save the estimated 2.4 million people who will be forced out of their homes by foreclosure this year is justified by the bloodless language of fiscal austerity. The message is clear. Laws do not apply to the power elite. Our government does not work. And the longer we stand by and do nothing, the longer we refuse to embrace and recognize the legitimate rage of the working class, the faster we will see our anemic democracy die.

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Big Pharma Wins Big With Health Care Reform Bill

WASHINGTON - Chalk one up for the pharmaceutical lobby. The U.S. drug industry fended off price curbs and other hefty restrictions in President Barack Obama's health care law even as it prepares for plenty of new business when an estimated 32 million uninsured Americans gain health coverage.

["Pharma came out of this better than anyone else," said Ramsey Baghdadi, a Washington health policy analyst who projects a $30 billion, 10-year net gain for the industry. "I don't see how they could have done much better." (photo by flickr user Brooks Elliott)]"Pharma came out of this better than anyone else," said Ramsey Baghdadi, a Washington health policy analyst who projects a $30 billion, 10-year net gain for the industry. "I don't see how they could have done much better." (photo by flickr user Brooks Elliott)
To be sure, the law also levies taxes and imposes other costs on pharmaceutical companies, leaving its final impact on the industry's bottom line uncertain. A recent analysis by Goldman Sachs, the Wall Street firm, suggests the overhaul could mean "a manageable hit" of tens of billions of dollars over the coming decade while bolstering the value of drug-company stocks. Others expect profits, not losses, of the same magnitude.

Either way, pharmaceutical lobbyists won new federal policies they coveted and set a trajectory for long-term industry growth. Privately, several of them say their biggest triumph was heading off Democrats led by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., who wanted even more money from their industry to finance the health care system's expansion.

"Pharma came out of this better than anyone else," said Ramsey Baghdadi, a Washington health policy analyst who projects a $30 billion, 10-year net gain for the industry. "I don't see how they could have done much better."

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Attention Deficit Democracy

by Ralph Nader

A society not alert to signs of its own decay, because its ideology is a continuing myth of progress, separates itself from reality and envelops illusion.

One yardstick by which to measure the decay in our country's political, economic, and cultural life, is the answer to this question: Do the forces of power, which have demonstrably failed, become stronger after their widely perceived damage is common knowledge?

Economic decay is all around. Poverty, unemployment, foreclosures, job export, consumer debt, pension attrition, and crumbling infrastructure are well documented. The self-destruction of the Wall Street financial giants, with their looting and draining of trillions of other people's money, have been headlines for two years. During and after their gigantic taxpayer bailouts from Washington, DC, the banks, et al, are still the most powerful force in determining the nature of proposed corrective legislation.

"The banks own this place," says Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), evoking the opinion of many members of a supine Congress ready to pass weak consumer and investor protection legislation while leaving dominant fewer and larger banks.

Who hasn't felt the ripoffs and one-sided fine print of the credit card industry? A reform bill finally has passed after years of delay, again weak and incomplete. Shameless over their gouges, the companies have their attorneys already at work to design around the law's modest strictures.

The drug and health insurance industry, swarming with thousands of lobbyists, got pretty much what they wanted in the new health law. Insurers got millions of new customers subsidized by hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars with very little regulation. The drug companies got their dream-no reimportation of cheaper identical drugs, no authority for Uncle Sam to bargain for discount prices, and a very profitable extension of monopoly patent protection for biologic drugs against cheaper, generic drug competition.

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A Bomber Jacket Doesn't Cover the Blood

by Norman Solomon

President Obama has taken a further plunge into the kind of war abyss that consumed predecessors named Johnson, Nixon and Bush.

On Sunday, during his first presidential trip to Afghanistan, Obama stood before thousands of American troops to proclaim the sanctity of the war effort. He played the role deftly -- a commander in chief, rallying the troops -- while wearing a bomber jacket.

There was something candidly macabre about the decision to wear that leather jacket, adorned with an American Eagle and the words "Air Force One." The man in the bomber jacket doesn't press the buttons that fire the missiles and drop the warheads, but he gives the orders that make it all possible.

One way or another, we're used to seeing presidents display such tacit accouterments of carnage.

And the president's words were also eerily familiar: with their cadence and confidence in the efficacy of mass violence, when provided by the Pentagon and meted out by a military so technologically supreme that dissociation can masquerade as ultimate erudition -- so powerful and so sophisticated that orders stay light years away from human consequences.

The war becomes its own rationale for continuing: to go on because it must go on.

A grisly counterpoint to Obama's brief Afghanistan visit is a day in 1966 when another president, in the midst of escalating another war, also took a long ride on Air Force One to laud and boost the troops.

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It is going to be a long hot summer. Not just here in Arizona, but all over the world. Beware of [False Flags.]

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Dennis Ross: A Zionist Trojan Horse ?

Fierce debate on Israel underway inside Obama administration (UPDATED)

Laura Rozen

Since Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s tense visit to the White House last week, an intense debate inside the Obama administration about how to proceed with Netanyahu to advance the Middle East peace process has grown more heated, even as Israeli officials are expected to announce they have reached some sort of agreement with Washington as soon as tonight.

Sources say within the inter-agency process, White House Middle East strategist Dennis Ross is staking out a position that Washington needs to be sensitive to Netanyahu’s domestic political constraints including over the issue of building in East Jerusalem in order to not raise new Arab demands, while other officials including some aligned with Middle East peace envoy George Mitchell are arguing Washington needs to hold firm in pressing Netanyahu for written commitments to avoid provocations that imperil Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and to preserve the Obama administration's credibility.

POLITICO spoke with several officials who confirmed the debate and its intensity. Ross did not respond to a query, nor did a spokesman for George Mitchell.

“He [Ross] seems to be far more sensitive to Netanyahu's coalition politics than to U.S. interests,” one U.S. official told POLITICO Saturday. “And he doesn't seem to understand that this has become bigger than Jerusalem but is rather about the credibility of this Administration.”

What some saw as the suggestion of dual loyalties shows how heated the debate has become.

[UPDATE]: NSC Chief of Staff Denis McDonough fiercely rejected any such suggestion. "The assertion is as false as it is offensive," McDonough said Sunday by email. "Whoever said it has no idea what they are talking about. Dennis Ross's many decades of service speak volumes about his commitment to this country and to our vital interests, and he is a critical part of the President's team."

Last week, during U.S.-Israeli negotiations during Netanyahu’s visit and subsequent internal U.S. government meetings, the first official said, Ross “was always saying about how far Bibi could go and not go. So by his logic, our objectives and interests were less important than pre-emptive capitulation to what he described as Bibi's coalition's red lines.”

When the U.S. and Israel are seen to publicly diverge on an issue such as East Jerusalem construction, the official characterized Ross's argument as: "the Arabs increase their demands ... therefore we must rush to close gaps ... no matter what the cost to our broader credibility.”

A second official confirmed the broad outlines of the current debate within the administration. Obviously at every stage of the process, the Obama Middle East team faces tactical decisions about what to push for, who to push, how hard to push, he described.

As to which argument best reflects the wishes of the President, the first official said, “As for POTUS, what happens in practice is that POTUS, rightly, gives broad direction. He doesn't, and shouldn't, get bogged down in minutiae. But Dennis uses the minutiae to blur the big picture … And no one asks the question: why, since his approach in the Oslo years was such an abysmal failure, is he back, peddling the same snake oil?”

Other contacts who have discussed recent U.S.-Israel tensions with Ross say he argues that all parties need to keep focus on the big picture, Iran, and the peace process as being part of a wider U.S. effort to bolster an international and regional alliance including Arab nations and Israel to pressure and isolate Iran. This is an argument that presumably has resonance with the Netanyahu government. But at the same time, Arab allies tell Washington that Israeli construction in East Jerusalem inflames their publics and breeds despair and makes it hard for them to work even indirectly and quietly with Israel on Iran. They push Washington to show it can manage Israel and to get an Israeli-Palestinian peace process going that would facilitate regional cooperation on Iran.

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Here is a great bio on Dennis Ross

Dennis Ross has been influencing our middle east policy for far too long.
America can not be a viable peace negotiator as long as people like Ross are involved.
Ross helped write Obama's campaign speech for AIPAC.
Ross has Israels interest above Americas.
He is a Zionist, and a Neocon that is a very dangerous combination.
Of course what is new. Most of the Neocons are Israel/Firsters.
Ross is closely aligned with Hillary, that is why I never trusted her or her Neolib ilk.
Ross is just one of many of these Israel/Firster Zionists on the Obama Team.
These same shadows were in the W regime as well.
When Ross went with Obama on his junket to the mid-east, then that should have been clue enough on where this was headed.
Former Senator Chuck Hagel was also on that road trip. I was hoping Obama would make him Sec. Of Defense. Instead Hagel was sent out to pasture.
Hagel was one of the, if not the first republican to speak out against the Iraq invasion.
Guess Hagel was not Israeli enough for AIPAC or the Zionists.
As, we know Obama kept Gates as his Sec. of Defense. Not just once, but twice.
Ross was suppose to have been the special envoy to Iran of all places.
Imagine selecting an envoy who wishes nothing more than to destroy that same country.

ReThink Afghanistan: Kill The Messenger

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Helen Thomas: The Zionists [control] Have Vast Power

She asks Obama about Israeli Nukes. Obama immediately evades the question and says he does not want to speculate, about a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. In other words he would not answer the question. Another bought and paid for reply, by our "leaders". Obama looked very uncomfortable while giving this bull shit reply. He as with almost all of our Congress are more comfortable speaking in front of their PayMasters [AIPAC].

More at The Real News

Friday, March 26, 2010

Iran: Natural Gas, And The Pipe Lines Of Energy For A New World Economy?

Iran’s Natural Gas Riches: US Knife to the Heart of World Future Energy

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Did George W Bush Wipe His Hand After Shaking Hands In Haiti ?

Watch for the 15 second mark.

Yes or No ?

The Obama Israel/Firster Team ?

Obama squeezed between Israel and Iran
By Pepe Escobar

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) annual show in Washington would hardly be out of place in a Quentin Tarantino movie; picture a giant hall crammed with 7,500 very powerful people regimented by a very powerful lobby - plus half of the United States Senate and more than a third of the congress - basically calling in unison for Palestinian and Iranian blood.

The AIPAC 2010 show predictably was yet one more "bomb Iran" special; but it was also a call to arms against the Barack Obama administration, as far as the turbo-charging of the illegal colonization of East Jerusalem is concerned.

The administration has reacted to the quarrel with a masterpiece of schizophrenic kabuki (classical Japanese dance-drama) theater. Corporate media insisted there was a deep "crisis" between the unshakeable allies. Nonsense. One just has to look at the facts.

Only 10 days after scolding Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for 43 minutes over the phone, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton showed up at AIPAC spinning the usual platitudes. At least she talked about a "change of facts on the ground" in Palestine and stressed the current status quo is untenable. Netanyahu for his part apparently told Clinton in private (and later Obama as well) that Israel would take "confidence-building measures" in the West Bank, but would continue anyway to build settlements like there's no tomorrow.

When Clinton switched to Iran demonization mode, she was met with universal rapture. The Obama administration will "not accept a nuclear-armed Iran"; is working on sanctions "that will bite"; and the leadership in Iran must know there are "real consequences" for not coming clean with their nuclear program. The demonization seemed to turn Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei into a paradigm of wisdom. Khamenei remarked this week, "If they are extending a metal hand inside a velvet glove, we won't accept it."

Israel rules, Washington follows
AIPAC arm-twisted members of the US Congress to sign a letter to the White House calling for the US to bypass the United Nations Security Council and unilaterally sanction Iran. And AIPAC also urged lawmakers to pass with no comments the annual US$3 billion US aid to Israel. This means the new made-in-USA F-35 fighter jets Israel buys will be basically financed by US taxpayers.

No surprises here. This is a congress that backed Israel's assault in Gaza in late 2008 and condemned the Goldstone Report on Israeli atrocities in that conflict by a vote of 334 to 36. After all, the Democratic party depends heavily on very wealthy Jewish - and Zionist - donors for a chunk of its budget.

Just one day after Israel's Interior Minister Eli Yishai announced the building of 1,600 exclusively Jewish apartments in East Jerusalem (part of a planned, non-negotiable 50,000 which will block it from becoming the capital of a Palestinian state and prevent Palestinian residents of the city from traveling to the West Bank), publicly humiliated US Vice President Joe Biden went to Tel Aviv University and told his audience he is ... a Zionist.

He added, "Throughout my career, Israel has not only remained close to my heart but it has been the center of my work as a United States Senator and now as vice president of the United States."

Of course it does not matter that General David "I'm positioning myself for 2012" Petraeus, chief of US Central Command, told the US Senate Armed Services Committee that the Israeli-Arab conflict "foments anti-American sentiment due to a perception of US favoritism for Israel". Even though "perception" may be the understatement of the millennium, as a potential Republican presidential candidate Petraeus knows he will be in deep trouble with the Republican hardcore Christians and with the Christian-Zionist fringe.

When Obama, as a presidential candidate, addressed AIPAC on June 3, 2008, he said, "We will also use all elements of American power to pressure Iran ... I will do everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Everything in my power. Everything and I mean everything." Obama even pulled a Netanyahu avant la lettre and declared, "Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided."

At AIPAC this week, Netanyahu said the Israelis were already building in Jerusalem 3,000 years ago and will continue to do so. Even without referring to Israel's religious supremacist and colonialist approach to Jerusalem for these past few decades, historian and Middle East expert Juan Cole at his blog "Informed Comment" demolished Bibi's claim. For instance, "Adherents of Judaism did not found Jerusalem. It existed for perhaps 2,700 years before anything we might recognize as Judaism arose. Jewish rule may have been no longer than 170 years or so."

Cole points out that Muslims, Egyptians, Romans, Iranians and Greeks have the greatest claim on the city.

All in all, it's no wonder Stephen Green, in Taking Sides: America's Secret Relations with Militant Israel, a book published in 1984, had already noted how "since 1953, Israel, and friends of Israel in America, have determined the broad outlines of US policy in the region. It has been left to American presidents to implement that policy, with varying degrees of enthusiasm, and to deal with tactical issues."

Free-for-all Zionism
Former Moldovan bouncer turned Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is basically a spokesman for Zionist settlers and a million immigrants from the former Soviet Union. He can tell the German weekly magazine Der Spiegel that "Iran is threatening the whole world" and still get away with it. No wonder multitudes across the developing world - and not only Muslim lands - increasingly deplore Zionism policies of occupation/colonization, targeted assassinations, Lebensraum (living space) and degrading Palestinians.

But crisis? What crisis? Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies could not have put it better. "Someone seems to have told the Obama administration that a series of polite requests equals pressure. It doesn't. Real pressure looks like this: 'Please stop settlements.' Answer: 'No.' 'Then, you know that [the] $30 billion that [former president George W] Bush arranged for you from US tax money, and we agreed to pay - you can kiss that goodbye.' That's what pressure looks like."

It won't happen. This "crisis" between Tel Aviv and Washington is a non-event. On the other hand, no one knows exactly whatever hardball Obama and Netanyahu played behind closed doors for three-and-a-half hours in Washington. Did Netanyahu "spit into Obama's eye", according to Israeli Labor Party member Eitan Cabel? Or was this was just more kabuki designed to obscure a not-so-silent drive towards an attack on Iran - where once again fresh American blood will be spilled to placate a non-existent "existential threat" to Israel?

The Obama Team and our Congress are filled with Zionists, and Israel/Firsters. Just as the W regime was with their mob of Neocons.

Will they push us into another needless war?
They have been beating the drums of war against Iran since day one.
Obama is big on bipartisanship. Well, he will get all the bipartisanship he wants in the support for an apartheid rogue state as Israel.
These same partisans will support the attack on another sovereign country, namely Iran.
But they dare not speak of the atrocities, and war crimes committed by Israel. When will an American regime, and for that matter, the world look out for the rights and needs of the Palestinians?

Oh, I forgot.
The Palestinians do not have AIPAC, JINSA, ADL, and other lobby groups that bought and paid for our foreign policy regarding THEIR Israel and THEIR middle east.

Here is the link to the article by Juan Cole

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Is The Taliban Destined To Be The Centurions For Chinas Pipelineistan?

BEIJING (AFP) – The leaders of Afghanistan and China on Wednesday signed agreements on trade and economic cooperation, and vowed to work harder to combat terrorism in Central Asia.

Visiting Afghan President Hamid Karzai and China's Hu Jintao pledged to step up cooperation in maintaining security in the region, while presiding over the signing of a series of economic and trade agreements.

China "will always support and aid Afghanistan in its peaceful reconstruction and support Afghanistan's efforts to establish sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity," China Central Television quoted Hu as saying.

"Both sides should ... actively strike at terrorism, separatism and religious extremism and organised cross-border crimes in an effort to maintain regional peace and stability."

Hu called for deeper political ties and more visits between leaders, while urging economic cooperation in mining, agriculture, hydro-electric and irrigation and infrastructure projects, the report said.

"China plays a very important role in the stability of Afghanistan and the region," CCTV quoted Karzai as saying.

"Afghanistan is willing to cooperate with China and other countries in the region in advancing peace and stability... Afghanistan is honoured to have a friend and neighbour like China."

Karzai also pledged to work to guarantee the safety of Chinese companies and personnel in Afghanistan.

"I am confident that... your visit will definitely help promote practical cooperation between China and Afghanistan and take our comprehensive and cooperative partnership to a new level," Hu said.

Hu also urged Afghanistan to play a greater role in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, a grouping that includes numerous Central Asian states as well as China and Russia. Afghanistan currently maintains an observer status within the grouping.

More than eight years after the Taliban regime was toppled by US-led forces, China has been increasingly seen as a key player in maintaining stability in Afghanistan, particularly in the future when US troops pull out.

Karzai's spokesman Waheed Omar had said ahead of the Afghan leader's visit that economic issues would dominate his talks.

China has a keen interest in Afghanistan's natural resources. Three years ago, a Chinese group put a record three billion dollars into the Aynak copper mine, one of the biggest in the world.

Beijing has also provided its neighbour with aid and assistance, giving Afghanistan 130 million dollars towards reconstruction efforts, and pledging another 75 million dollars.

But it has not joined the US-led military effort there despite the risk of instability were an Islamist regime to return to power in Kabul, and the on-going scourge of drug trafficking.

"Given its long-term political and military relationship with Pakistan, and its economic interests in Afghanistan, China could substantially contribute to improving stability," said Abraham M. Denmark at research institute the Center for a New American Security.

This is Karzai's first visit to China since his re-election last year, and his fourth as Afghan president.

He was to meet with Premier Wen Jiabao on Thursday before leaving China.

Everyone seems to know we will be leaving the grave yard of Empires sooner, or later, one way, or the other.

The question is what, and who, will be leading Afghanistan after we leave.

The Taliban will have a role in the after math. Will one of their roles be to safe gurad the pipelines of energy that will flow through Afghanistan?

Who will this deal be made with? China already has major investments in the region. Including Pakistan, and especially the port city of Gwadar.

Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan are observer nations on the Shanghai Cooperation Organization [SCO].

What a game changer that would be if the SCO admits one, or all of them.

It would make economic sense for Russia, China, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran to make a pact. This would then also be a life line for Iraq and Turkey to look at.

India would not look very highly upon this. Afghanistan has always been the buffer zone [chaos zone] between Pakistan and India.

Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan are the four center squares of the chess board. We have squandered many moves with our failed Neoconesque hubris.

The Taliban will also want a piece of the pie. They could ensure the safety of the pipelines.

A deal will be made. Just what kind of deal is not sure. Where the U.S A. figures in is the real question.

We have now been deemed the star player in. --The enemy of my enemy is my enemy---.

Israel Approves Of The Status Quo?

Truth and Consequences in the Middle East

My latest on Tomdispatch:

Israel Won’t Change Unless the Status Quo Has a Downside

Obama’s peace plan is doomed because failure costs Israel nothing

Uncomfortable at the spectacle of the Obama administration in an open confrontation with the Israeli government, Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman — who represents the interests of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party on Capitol Hill as faithfully as he does those of the health insurance industry — called for a halt. “Let’s cut the family fighting, the family feud,” he said. “It’s unnecessary; it’s destructive of our shared national interest. It’s time to lower voices, to get over the family feud between the U.S. and Israel. It just doesn’t serve anybody’s interests but our enemies.”

The idea that the U.S. and Israel are “family” with identical national interests is a convenient fiction that Lieberman and his fellow Israel partisans have worked relentlessly to promote — and enforce — in Washington over the past two decades. If the bonds are indeed familial, however, last week’s showdown between Washington and the Netanyahu government may be counted as one of those feuds in which truths are uttered in the heat of the moment that call into question the fundamental terms of the relationship. Such truths are never easily swept under the rug once the dispute is settled. The immediate rupture, that is, precludes a simple return to the status quo ante; instead, a renegotiation of the terms of the relationship somehow ends up on the agenda.

Read more ...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Should Israel Give The U.S. Foreign Aid ?

Israel & Aid

by Ralph Nader

On July 10, 1996, at a Joint Session of the United States Congress, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received a standing ovation for these words: “With America’s help, Israel has grown to be a powerful, modern state. …But I believe there can be no greater tribute to America’s long-standing economic aid to Israel than for us to be able to say: we are going to achieve economic independence. We are going to do it. In the next four years, we will begin the long-term process of gradually reducing the level of your generous economic assistance to Israel.”

Since 1996, the American taxpayers are still sending Israel $3 billion a year and providing assorted loan guarantees, waivers, rich technology transfers and other indirect assistance. Before George W. Bush left office a memorandum of understanding between the U.S. and Israel stipulated an assistance package of $30 billion over the next ten years to be transferred in a lump sum at the beginning of every fiscal year. Israel’s wars and colonies still receive U.S. taxpayer monies.

What happened to Mr. Netanyahu’s solemn pledge to the Congress? The short answer is that Congress never called in the pledge.

In the intervening years, Israel has become an economic, technological and military juggernaut. Its GDP is larger than Egypt’s even though Israel’s population is less than one tenth that of the Arab world’s most populous nation. The second largest number of listings on America’s NASDAQ Exchange after U.S. companies are from Israel, exceeding listings of Japan, Korea, China and India combined. Its venture capital investments exceed those in the U.S., Europe and China on a per capita basis.

Israel is arguably the fifth most powerful military force in the world, and Israel’s claims on the U.S.’s latest weapon systems and research/development breakthroughs are unsurpassed. This combination has helped to make Israel a major arms exporter.

The Israeli “economic miracle” and technological innovations have spawned articles and a best-selling book in recent months. The country’s average GDP growth rate has exceeded the average rate of most western countries over the past five years. Israel provides universal health insurance, unlike the situation in the U.S., which raises the question of who should be aiding whom?

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We have enough Israel/Firsters, dual citizens, [Israeli/Amercan], lobbyists already in place. They could do our bidding for Israel to give us aid.

OH SHIT, I forgot.
They only ask for OUR money to be sent to Israel, not the other way around.

Why are we giving them foreign aid? Why is this not being debated in our halls of government?
Lets see, we give them a lot of money, they in turn come here and buy military weaponry. Supposedly for defensive purposes. Enriching the MIC.
When did nuclear bombs become a defensive weapon? Which they posses. Now they want to modernize their air force with our F35 jets. It is endless.

Our Congress is bought and paid for by Israels agents as in AIPAC, JINSA, ADL, and others. ADL is now even going after General Patreus because he made the comment about Israels policies endangering our troops.

Netanyahu Speaks to AIPAC

Netanyahu Rebukes Obama in AIPAC Speech

Slams "Unjust Accusations" Against Israel

by Jason Ditz, March 22, 2010

Though many expected him to deliver a more measured response in the wake of last week’s very public row with the United States, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered another angry rebuke to the Obama Administration over the settlement expansion which stalled the US brokered indirect peace talks.

Netanyahu declared that the settlements in occupied East Jerusalem weren’t technically settlements at all, because “everyone knows” that Jerusalem will be the eternal and undivided capital of Israel. Israel invaded and occupied East Jerusalem in 1967, along with the rest of the West Bank, and its legal control over the territory has never been established in international law.

But this did not stop Netanyahu from declaring that Israel had been “unjustly accused of not wanting peace” because of the settlement expansion, which killed the peace talks. Netanyahu insisted that his government has consistently shown a commitment to peace “from day one” and that it was only the Palestinians who were holding up the process.

Despite Netanyahu’s claims, many members of his right-far-right coalition government have been outspoken opponents of any peace process, not the least of which being the nation’s top diplomat, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who has repeatedly said that peace talks will never accomplish anything and that Israel must never agree to any territorial concessions to the Palestinians. The settlement announcement was made by another opponent of the peace process, Interior Minister Eli Yishai, and appears to have been timed to do as much damage to the prospective talks as possible.

"settlements in occupied East Jerusalem weren’t technically settlements at all, because “everyone knows” that Jerusalem will be the eternal and undivided capital of Israel."

So here we have it.
His declaration that Jerusalem will be an "undivided capital of Israel" .
How can the U.S. and the international community allow this?
Where is the Xtian outrage over this statement?
Oh, I forgot the Xtian evangelical fundamental/fascists are all for this. In order for their insane rapture theory to begin.
They state that they will not give up one inch of soil. How does one start a peace process with this type of mind set?
Israel has no intention at all of any peace process. They are a rogue apartheid state, that does at it pleases.
They fully know that the U.S. will keep giving them the green light because our foreign policy is owned by Israel.
Israel can no longer be ASKED to go back to its 67 borders. They must be told to do so, by the International community.
All along we keep giving them 3 BILLION DOLLARS A YEAR in foreign aid.
Israels economy is doing better than ours, yet we give them our tax payers money
Israel has Health Care for all of its citizens.
We on the other hand DO NOT.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Pakistans General Ashfaq Parvez Kiani Comes To D.C.

Pakistan marches into Washington
By Syed Saleem Shahzad

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan this week takes another step in cementing its long-term strategic partnership with the United States, with ministerial-level talks scheduled in Washington on Wednesday.

Significantly, the Pakistani side's agenda will be driven by army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kiani. President Asif Ali Zardari is not in the delegation that is technically being led by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and which includes the ministers of finance, commerce and agriculture as well as the director general of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Lieutenant General Ahmad Shuja Pasha.

Kiani visited the headquarters of the US Central Command in Florida at the weekend and was due for meetings at the Pentagon with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Monday. Kiani will attend the talks at the State Department on Wednesday that will be headed by Qureshi and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The underlying mission of the Pakistanis is to place themselves in the driving seat of the Afghan issue by getting the US to strike a deal for an endgame that is to their liking.

Effectively, the Pakistani military has sidelined the civilian government. Former president and retired general, Pervez Musharraf (June 2001-August 2008), is on Tuesday due to launch a new political party - the All Pakistan Muslim League - but even he is not expected to be a challenge to the incumbent top brass.

Last week, for the first time, Kiani chaired a meeting of federal ministers at General Headquarters Rawalpindi. Zardari was not invited. In the past few months, Zardari has given up his powers as the chairman of the Nuclear Command Authority (handed to the prime minister) on the advice of military quarters; he has extended Pasha's term at the ISI on the recommendation of Kiani and he has agreed to give up his presidential power of being the supreme commander of the armed forces. He has also said he would give up his power to dissolve parliament.

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Are they setting the peace table for Afghanistan?
Looks like Kiani will be the main guy.
Another puppet, or a new true leader for Pakistan?
Only time will tell. But it does not look like this guy came to play cricket.
He seems to have some major backing.
Pervez Musharraf will try a come back, along with all of his skeletons in the closet.
My money is on Kiani.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Circling The Wagons In Kurdistan ?

The US military may set up an additional headquarters in Iraqi Kurdistan

The US military may set up an additional headquarters in northern Iraq even after Washington scales back its forces by a September deadline, Petraeus said. AFP

US military may set up an additional headquarters in Iraqi Kurdistan Region.
US military may set up an additional headquarters in northern Iraq even after Washington scales back its forces by a September deadline, a top US general said on Tuesday.

The possible move reflects US concerns that Arab-Kurd tensions, provoked by disputes over land and oil rights, are the biggest threat to Iraq's long-term stability.

General David Petraeus, head of Central Command, told lawmakers that putting a headquarters in the country's volatile north was "something that we are looking at."

"There's a possibility that we may want to keep an additional brigade headquarters, as an example, but then slim out some of its organic forces and some of the other organic forces elsewhere," he told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

"And if indeed we think that there's a particularly fragile situation, say, in a certain area in the north, then we might do that," the general said.

He said military headquarters were an important platform for US engagement with Iraqis.

But Petraeus said the military was still on course to reduce the US force to 50,000 by the end of August, under a target set by President Barack Obama.

"We are on track to reduce that number to 50,000 by the end of August, at which time we will also complete a change in mission that marks the transition of our forces from a combat role to advising and assisting Iraqi Security Forces," Petraeus said.

A defense blog on the Foreign Policy website had reported that General Ray Odierno, the commander of US forces in Iraq, had told the White House he needed additional troops beyond the 50,000 limit to handle possible tensions in northern Iraq


Is this the redeployment that they have been talking about? Leaving 50K troops in Iraq central, and moving 50K to Kurdistan?

Is this the beginning of the partitioning of Iraq that Biden was, and is in favor of?
Is this the same Kurdistan that American oil interests are involved in?
Is this the same Kurdistan that Israel wants a piece of.
Is this the same Kurdistan that Iran will see as a threat.
Is this the same Kurdistan that Turkey will have a major problem with if it becomes an independent autonomous state?

If there is a new, and truly independent Iraqi government [not a Western influenced puppet regime] that tells the U.S. it HAS to leave. Will the West then just move, and circle the wagons in Kurdistan?

We seem to just keep bringing the pencil and eraser out to redraw the maps of Empire.

Lotta oil in them there hills of Kurdistan.

Globo Cops R U.S.A.: Rambo Will Travel ?

Columnists / Eric Margolis

Reining in U.S. rent-a-Rambos

Scandal has shone the light on America’s dirty little secret armies in Afghanistan and Iraq wars

A fascinating scandal has erupted in Washington that is exposing the sordid underbelly of the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan.

According to a New York Times investigation and a torrent of Washington leaks, the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence agencies fielded covert mercenary networks in Afghanistan, Pakistan (a.k.a. “Afpak”) and Iraq to murder tribal militants and nationalists opposing western occupation.

U.S. law forbids murder or using mercenaries. But, as Cicero said, “Laws are silent in times of war.”

A former senior Pentagon official specializing in murky foreign operations, Mike Furlong, set up a company, International Media Ventures (IMV), to supposedly provide the U.S. military with “cultural information” about Afghanistan’s Pashtun tribes. Codename: Operation Capstone.

Two obscure, Orwellian Pentagon outfits, the Cultural Engineering Group, of Florida, and Counter-Narcoterrorism Technology Program, of Virginia, funded Furlong with $24.6 million.

Furlong hired a bunch of former special forces types and assorted thugs. These rent-a-Rambos’ real mission was to allegedly assassinate Pashtun leaders in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and target tribal compounds for strikes by U.S. Predator drones. Another heartwarming example of free enterprise at work and how to win Muslim hearts and minds.

In short, a 2010 version of the Mafia’s contract killers, known as “Murder Inc.”

Thickening this plot, retired CIA types, including the flamboyant Dewey Clarridge, whom I well recall from the 1980s Afghan war, were reportedly involved. IMV’s CEO came from major defence contractor L-3, long involved in top secret operations.

Add into this stew a money-hungry former news director of a major TV network who had me blacklisted in 2003 on the demand of the Bush White House because of my warnings that Iraq would be a disaster.

It is uncertain if Furlong’s Murder Inc. had time to go operational. But its exposure is causing a huge ruckus. In best U.S. government tradition, the Pentagon has cut Furlong adrift. He is now under criminal investigation.

Shades of CIA agent Ed Wilson, whose frightful case I long followed. Wilson was set up as a deniable “independent” by the CIA to supply arms and explosives to Libya and Angola. When this intrigue blew wide open, Wilson was kidnapped by U.S. agents, convicted on the basis of lies by the government and buried alive in federal prison.

The Furlong scandal comes at a time of growing criticism of the U.S. government’s use of more than 275,000 mercenaries (a.k.a. “private contractors”) in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. These hired gunmen and logistics personnel operate without any accountability, legal structure or oversight.

Private mercenary firms like Xe (formerly Blackwater) and DynCorp have raked in fortunes running private armies for the U.S. They are major donors to the far right of the Republican Party. Deeply worried civil libertarians call these private armies potential, 1930s-style Brownshirts.

Amazingly, U.S. Special Forces in Afpak have not until this month been under the control of supreme commander, Gen. Stanley McChrystal. They apparently reported to his rival, Central Command chief Gen. David Petraeus in Tampa. These Rambos have been rampaging around, killing at will and committing atrocities against civilians, the UN reports.

To the Pentagon’s fury, the CIA runs its own killer paramilitary units and drone assassination operations, 90% of whose victims are civilians, according to Pakistani media investigations.

The CIA’s paramilitaries report only to Langley, which does not talk to the Pentagon. Pakistan’s feeble government is not even informed in advance of Predator strikes and assassinations on its own soil.

How many of the 15 other U.S. intelligence agencies are running their own little illegal private armies? Add special forces from NATO contingents, including Canada, whose operations remain a deep secret.

The U.S. brands all al-Qaida suspects and Taliban “illegal combatants,” denying them due process of law and the Geneva Convention’s prisoner protections. It’s OK to murder and torture such “terrorists,” says Washington.

What, then, about the army of U.S. mercenary Rambos that are running amok, who wear no uniform, kill at will and have no legal oversight?

I was thinking of Serving Patriot Blog when I read this.

Here is an interview with Margolis on his views of Republicans then, and now.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

"Control Fraud" By The Psychopaths Of Wall St. And Our Government ?

More at The Real News

Is AfghanistanThe American Empires Boot Hill ?

Stumbling About In the Graveyard of Empires

by David Michael Green

If there was ever a decent justification visible for the American war in Afghanistan, there isn't now.

That doesn't mean that one is impossible to imagine. I'm no fan of the Taliban or al Qaeda, though that alone doesn't justify invading the country. Nor does a military occupation necessarily make things better, even if you assume that a particular regime is noxious enough that a regime decapitation is warranted. Time after time, great powers have learned to their chagrin that the natives don't always necessarily appreciate being invaded, occupied and told who the new boss replacing the old boss will be. People can be odd that way.

But leave all that aside for the moment. Maybe al Qaeda did 9/11, as we were told. Maybe the Taliban were harboring them. Maybe both had a violent, regressive and otherwise just generally ugly agenda. Maybe there was even justification enough for invading in 2001.

I nevertheless meant my initial critique quite literally, however. Whatever may or may not have been the case in 2001, it's now 2010, and any such clarity or justification is now invisible. Indeed, what I find most astonishing about America's latest military adventure is just how much this gravest of national decisions is not being seriously discussed in our national discourse.

Perhaps even more amazing is the degree to which that is true from the bottom of the national security policy process all the way up to the top. The proper way to conceive and consider these issues, I would argue, is in the form of a nested contextual hierarchy, in which each level of policy analysis has to justify decisions to the one, and ones, above it. We, as a body politic, are talking about and thinking about Afghanistan at none of these levels. In fact, of course, we're basically not talking about and thinking about Afghanistan at all.

The lowest level of policy decision-making is the tactical. America has to decide exactly how it is going to prosecute the war. We don't hear very much about that, which is itself more than troubling. Reports are now beginning to show up in the alternative press - but, significantly, not in the mainstream - of tactical operations all too reminiscent of those brutal affairs which have appeared previously in Iraq and Pakistan. Allegations are now surfacing about innocent civilians either being subjected to intentional human rights and war crimes violations, right up to and including murder, or at least wonton disregard for the "collateral damage" caused by battlefield tactics. There is certainly a moral question at stake here, and one that we are just not discussing.

But there is also simply the pragmatic question of whether such tactics properly service our strategy in Afghanistan, the next level up in the hierarchy. But was is American strategy? The latest version seems to be an ‘improvement' over the notion of simply defeating the Taliban and al Qaeda in battlefield engagements. Now the Pentagon brass and theater commanders are talking about following military clearing operations with ‘government-in-a-box' nation-building initiatives, ostensibly for purposes of winning the ubiquitous hearts and minds typically sought by contemporary counterinsurgency occupation forces. Theoretically, providing Afghans with security and with efficient, corruption-free governance will help to win their allegiance to a ‘better' (read American sponsored) way. While the ideas have some merit on paper, they also ignore the historical realities of similar attempts in Vietnam and Iraq, and they require for credibility that we suspend everything we know about America's long-time ongoing national version of the same strategy in Afghanistan, which has witnessed the Karzai puppet regime spending the better part of the last decade demonstrating just how corrupt a government can possibly be, and just how ineffective as well - at least when it comes to everything other than stealing elections or just plain stealing.

But strategy, of course, is not its own end. Strategy is used to achieve certain objectives which form the very purpose for fighting a war. Barack Obama is not quite as lame as George W. Bush in this respect (not exactly a stunning achievement, that), who argued that America should be at war with the weapon terrorism - as opposed to an actual adversary using that weapon. While we can say that Obama is not as deceitful (at least on this score) or idiotic as Bush, that's pretty much true of the entire world, isn't it? More importantly, what are America's aims in massively escalating our presence in Afghanistan? Are we trying to defeat the Taliban? Remove al Qaeda from the country (even though the Pentagon says there's only about a hundred of them left there)? Create a Jeffersonian democracy? Install an ally? Lift the country out of poverty? Again, it astonishes me that one could take a country to war without this most obvious question being part of the national discourse. But it isn't.

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