Thursday, March 25, 2010

Israel Gives The Finger To The USA

By Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

March 23, 2010 "Pravda" -- It is a case of the dog biting the hand that feeds it. After years of protection by Big Brother USA, covering up for its having nuclear warheads when Iran cannot even have a nuclear program, looking the other way when shocking war crimes and massacres of civilians are committed, when pregnant Palestinian mothers are left to die in the streets, Israel sticks up the middle finger in a classic display of pig-headed arrogance by Netanyahu at AIPAC.

The territory of Israel and of the Palestinian Territories was drawn up upon the founding of the State of Israel under international law and recognised by the international community in May 1948. Annexation of the Palestinian Territories (now Illegally Occupied Territories) and the subsequent seizure of lands and destruction of homes from Palestinian civilians are a violation of international law and are prohibited by each and every fibre of customary and conventional law. Israel stands alone. Today, the Palestinian Authority controls just 17 per cent of its territory. Is this acceptable?

To cap it all with ever-increasing displays of pig-headed arrogance, East Jerusalem was annexed by Israel arbitrarily in 1980 and today Israel continues to build settlements there in contradiction of the UNSC Resolution 478, claiming that Israel respects and follows the Resolutions it feels like respecting and ignores the others, just as Israel sits on 200 nuclear warheads in the Negev Desert in total contradiction to all the norms of non-proliferation.

Israel behaves like Hitler

In short, as with Hitler’s Aryans, Israel declares to all that its people are special, being above the legal parameters governing everyone else and Israel follows the arrogant precept that as a State it does not have to behave as a responsible member of the international community because basically it does as it pleases, adopting policies such as lebensraum (living room), treatment of Palestinians as untermenschen (sub-humans), occupation of territory, arbitrary murder, destruction of property.

AIPAC: Patriots or Traitors?

Immediately after the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared that Israel had to stop building illegal settlements (far from stopping, they should be either handed over to the Palestinians whose lands were stolen together with a hefty reparations payment or else demolished), Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded with the most shocking display of pig-headed arrogance in his address to a cheering AIPAC, claiming that Israelis were building in Jerusalem 3,000 years ago and continue to do so now.

So to whom do the members of AIPAC owe their allegiance? To Tel Aviv or to Washington? They cheer the Prime Minister of Israel who comes to the United States of America to defy and spit in the face of its Secretary of State? These AIPAC members are patriots, or traitors?

Israel check-mates Washington

On the chess board which constitutes the Middle East game, Washington plays by the rules, promising to guarantee the territorial integrity of Israel (ostensibly, we imagine, within the frontiers recognised under international law, not including one centimetre of the Occupied Territories). Nothing wrong with that (although the USA uses and abuses a cowardly and cynical gimmick of looking the other way when Israel starts committing acts of mass murder, massacres and war crimes).

Yet on the other side of the board, while Washington politely turns away smiling wanly, Israel plays with two Queens, ten rooks and as many knights as it feels fit to employ. While Washington claims Israel must stop building illegal settlements, the Israeli PM is in the USA being cheered by AIPAC claiming this is precisely what he intends to continue doing.

The way forward

For any sane, clear-thinking citizen of the international community, there is one very simple way forward. First, Israel has to leave all the territory it occupies illegally (possibly paying for the rent of the territories in a phased withdrawal). The question of reparations for the occupation of this land is up to the Palestinians to claim as they see fit.

Simultaneously, all parties have to recognise Israel’s right to exist and thirdly, if the non-proliferation treaties are to be respected, then nobody can have nuclear weapons in the Middle east, and that includes Israel.

Three simple and easy steps which include nothing other than respect for the terms of international law. Is this so unreasonable to expect, or demand? Next step, engage Hamas, for it was democratically elected.

Until then all talk of peace and children growing up together and happy smiling families living side by side exchanging presents is utter claptrap, nonsensical whimsical fairy-tales by politicians who are acting like clowns. Who is going to extend the hand of friendship to a murderous thug who invades their house, steals their land, deports their family, kills their women, and shoots their kids in the eyes with rubber bullets?

Or did the citizens of the USA not know any of this was going on?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Stumbling About In the Graveyard of Empires

By David Michael Green

March 20, 2010 "Information Clearing House" -- 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 what 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.

And neither is the question of how ‘winning' in Afghanistan, whatever that would actually mean, would effect American national security, just in the short term. If only for the sake of argument, suppose the United States could achieve whatever objectives are entailed by the notion of winning the war there. How long would it take? What would it cost in dollars? How many lives would be lost? What actual, live, current threat would be extinguished, such that America would be safer? What would be traded off, in terms of other uses of the money - from education to infrastructure to paying down the national debt - in order to win this war? What other possible security concerns would go unaddressed because the US took all its armies on the Risk board and moved them from Irkutsk and Yakutsk and Mongolia to Kamchatka? None of these questions have been addressed in the United States, let alone answered. And those just represent short-term security concerns.

As for each level of security policy analysis discussed above, short-term definitions of success should be constructed to give service to the next level up, medium-term ones. If it's true that there is a broader struggle going on against some sort of wider American enemy, of which Afghanistan is simply a single theater of operations, then the medium-term security question one has to ask is whether putting so many resources into that single theater makes sense in the context of the bigger objective. If al Qaeda is located in 60 countries, for example, is it smart to stick 100,000 American troops in just one of them, and spend a trillion bucks hunting down a hundred people, especially when they can just slide over the border into Pakistan almost at will?

Finally, is the medium-term aspiration for the country serving well the long-term foreign policy goals of the United States in which it should be nested? Are these policies likely to leave us better off, somehow, twenty and fifty years from now? Does an American presence in Afghanistan better America's position in the world, both with respect to friendly countries, and with respect to rivals, real and potential? It certainly doesn't seem to be having a positive effect with the former group, as NATO allies appear less and less interested in supporting American efforts in the country, either by being there at all, or by being anywhere near harm's way. As to potential rivals, could anything possibly be more amusing than this war to the grand strategists in Moscow and Beijing, hoping to supercede American as the hegemon of the new century? If there is any such possibility, it could only be the US blunder in Iraq. Either way, America could hardly have given its rivals a greater gift if we had simply wrapped a ribbon around the capitol and stuck a bow on the dome. Yes, as a matter of fact, history's lesson is correct - empires do die from within, not from external assault. Idiocy is more lethal than are Huns.

Like everything in America, both the Afghan war and US foreign policy in general have been relentlessly politicized in the last decades, ever since doing so was discovered as a survival technique for the otherwise completely bankrupt politics of the right. Regressives get more mileage out of knee-jerk reactionary national security fears than anything else they can invent as a reason for their existence. At the same time, pacifists on the left make the mistake of believing that there is no situation for which war is the appropriate response. I wish that that were true, but, unfortunately, it isn't. If I have to choose between World War II and a Thousand-Year Reich of darkness descending over the planet (which would, of course, entail at least as much mass violence, anyhow, to go along with all the repression and civilizational regression), I reluctantly choose war.

The problem for the United States, however, is that it long ago forgot about the reluctant part. We just keep going to war, decade after decade, from Korea to Vietnam to Grenada to Iraq to Panama to Bosnia and back to Iraq and so on. You could make an argument, as regressives often do, that the reason that we are completely unmatched by any other country in the world for the frequency with which we have gone to war over the last century is because we are doing the heavy lifting of international security that others either cannot or will not do. I'd say there's even some truth to that in some cases. By my estimation, about half of America's wars had at least a moderately legitimate casus belli. But that, of course, leaves the other half. When you're talking about the single gravest decision a society can make, it wouldn't hurt to get it right more often than you would by random chance, say by flipping a coin.

Afghanistan is one of the muddier cases, from the perspective of its moral justification. That's true, first, because it is really two cases - then and now. If it was actually true that al Qaeda did 9/11 and that the Taliban refused to give up the perpetrators, then I think invading Afghanistan in order to go after those individuals was an appropriate response, however reluctant I am ever to support violence, especially at the scale of war, and however clear it is that America's policies in the world all too often harm others. (Similarly, I think it equally appropriate that George W. Bush and gang ought to be sitting in an ICC courtroom right now, on trial for their crimes.) But now that first version of the war is long over, yet another botched product of the Bush administration, and al Qaeda has largely been neither captured nor killed, but instead driven into Pakistan. Whatever legitimate justification there was for the first phase of a US war in Afghanistan seems to me completely absent now that we are in the second.

And yet the president (another botch king, of a somewhat different and some similar sort) is dramatically escalating the American military presence there. I do not see any moral justification for that.

But part of why I don't see that is because we basically have not been presented with any justification whatsoever. And the reason that hasn't happened is because we, as a society, are not addressing seriously any of the nested policy questions necessary to an intelligent and just formulation of American foreign policy.

Are we using tactics in Afghanistan that are as humane as possible and that can work?

Do those tactics serve our strategy there, assuming we know what that is?

Does our strategy serve our goals for fighting a war in Afghanistan?

Do those political goals for the war serve a broader short-term American foreign policy outside of Afghanistan?

Do those short-term goals advance medium-term US foreign policy goals?

And do those medium-term goals serve the country's long-term goals?

Most of these questions are almost impossible to answer decisively, for the reason that we don't actually know what the country's tactics or strategy or goals are.

But if one had to try to answer these questions, based on the best information available, you'd probably have to say: No, no, no, no, no, no and no.

Not very impressive. It's one thing for a government to act recklessly with the lives of its citizens and those of other people, elsewhere. In less politically mature countries, like America, that is all too sadly still to be expected.

But where is the public which, in a democracy, can control their government? Where are the fine American citizens, with their "Support the Troops" bumper-stickers cracked and fading on the back of their SUVs? Where are the great advocates of Christian morality, reading about cheek-turning in their bibles at night, and pouring out of churches on Sunday mornings?

Where are they, indeed?

Probably too busy watching American Idol reruns to ask these crucial questions, and to demand legitimate answers to them before they will allow their government to fight an increasingly violent war in Afghanistan.
It's important to keep your priorities straight, you know.


One problem with this author's piece is that he simply accepts as fact that Al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden were responsible for the 9/11 attacks. He does not discuss the fact that bin Laden is not on the FBI's "most wanted list",that the United States refused to furnish the Taliban with evidence of bin Laden's guilt and that former Secretary of State Colin Powell who promised to provide the American public with evidence that bin Laden's Al Qaeda was responsible for the attacks--never did so.

--Dr. J. P. Hubert

The Dark Face of Jewish Nationalism

9/11 - The US Military Knows Israel Did It

By Dr Alan Sabrosky

March 19, 2010 "Redress" - -Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu once remarked to a Likud gathering that "Israel is not like other countries". Oddly enough for him, that time he was telling the truth, and nowhere is that more evident than with Jewish nationalism, whether or not one pins the "Zionist" label on it.

Nationalism in most countries and cultures can have both positive and negative aspects, unifying a people and sometimes leading them against their neighbours. Extremism can emerge, and often has, at least in part in almost every nationalist/independence movement I can recall (e.g. the French nationalist movement had The Terror, Kenya's had the Mau Mau, etc.).

But whereas extremism in other nationalist movements is an aberration, extremism in Jewish nationalism is the norm, pitting Zionist Jews (secular or observant) against the goyim (everyone else), who are either possible predator or certain prey, if not both sequentially. This does not mean that all Jews or all Israelis feel and act this way, by any means. But it does mean that Israel today is what it cannot avoid being, and what it would be under any electable government (a point I'll develop in another article).

The differences between Jewish nationalism (Zionism) and that of other countries and cultures here I think are fourfold:

1. Zionism is a real witches' brew of xenophobia, racism, ultra-nationalism and militarism that places it way outside of a "mere" nationalist context — for example, when I was in Ireland (both parts) I saw no indication whatsoever that the Provisional Irish Republican Army or anyone else pressing for a united Ireland had a shred of design on shoving Protestants into camps or out of the country, although there may well have been a handful who thought that way — and goes far beyond the misery for others professed by the Nazis;

2. Zionism undermines civic loyalty among its adherents in other countries in a way that other nationalist movements (and even ultra-nationalist movements like Nazism) did not — e.g. a large majority of American Jews, including those who are not openly dual citizens, espouse a form of political bigamy called "dual loyalty" (to Israel and the US) that is every bit as dishonest as marital bigamy, attempts to finesse the precedence they give to Israel over the US (lots of Rahm Emanuel's out there who served in the Israeli army but NOT in the US armed forces), and has absolutely no parallel in the sense of national or cultural identity espoused by any other definable ethnic or racial group in America — even the Nazi Bund in the US disappeared once Germany and the US went to war, with almost all of its members volunteering for the US armed forces;

3. The "enemy" of normal nationalist movements is the occupying power and perhaps its allies, and once independence is achieved, normal relations with the occupying power are truly the norm, but for Zionism almost everyone out there is an actual or potential enemy, differing only in proximity and placement on its very long list of enemies (which is now America's target list); and

4. Almost all nationalist movements (including the irredentist and secessionist variants) intend to create an independent state from a population in place or to reunite a separated people (like the Sudeten Germans in the 1930s) — it is very rare for it to include the wholesale displacement of another indigenous population, which is far more common of successful colonialist movements as in the US — and perhaps a reason why most Americans wouldn't care too much about what the Israelis are doing to the Palestinians even if they DID know about it, is because that is no different than what Europeans in North America did to the Indians/Native Americans here in a longer and more low-tech fashion.

The implications of this for Middle East peace prospects, and for other countries in thrall to their domestic Jewish lobbies or not, are chilling. The Book of Deuteronomy come to life in a state with a nuclear arsenal would be enough to give pause to anyone not bought or bribed into submission — which these days encompasses the US government, given Israel's affinity for throwing crap into the face of the Obama administration and Obama's visible affinity for accepting it with a smile, Bibi Netanyahu's own "Uncle Tom" come to Washington.

The late General Moshe Dayan, who — Zionist or not — remains an honoured part of my own Pantheon of military heroes, allegedly observed that Israel's security depended on its being viewed by others as a mad dog. He may have been correct. But he neglected to note that the preferred response of everyone else is to kill that mad dog before it can decide to go berserk and bite. It is an option worth considering.