Saturday, August 7, 2010

Why World War II ended with Mushroom Clouds

65 years ago, August 6 and 9, 1945: Hiroshima and Nagasaki

By Jacques R. Pauwels
Global Research,
August 6, 2010

“On Monday, August 6, 1945, at 8:15 AM, the nuclear bomb ‘Little Boy” was dropped on Hiroshima by an American B-29 bomber, the Enola Gay, directly killing an estimated 80,000 people. By the end of the year, injury and radiation brought total casualties to 90,000-140,000.”[1]

“On August 9, 1945, Nagasaki was the target of the world's second atomic bomb attack at 11:02 a.m., when the north of the city was destroyed and an estimated 40,000 people were killed by the bomb nicknamed ‘Fat Man.’ The death toll from the atomic bombing totalled 73,884, as well as another 74,909 injured, and another several hundred thousand diseased and dying due to fallout and other illness caused by radiation.”[2]

In the European Theatre, World War II ended in early May 1945 with the capitulation of Nazi Germany. The “Big Three” on the side of the victors – Great Britain, the United States, and the Soviet Union – now faced the complex problem of the postwar reorganization of Europe. The United States had entered the war rather late, in December 1941, and had only started to make a truly significant military contribution to the Allied victory over Germany with the landings in Normandy in June 1944, less than one year before the end of the hostilities. When the war against Germany ended, however, Washington sat firmly and confidently at the table of the victors, determined to achieve what might be called its “war aims.”

As the country that had made the biggest contribution and suffered by far the greatest losses in the conflict against the common Nazi enemy, the Soviet Union wanted major reparation payments from Germany and security against potential future aggression, in the form of the installation in Germany, Poland and other Eastern European countries of governments that would not be hostile to the Soviets, as had been the case before the war. Moscow also expected compensation for territorial losses suffered by the Soviet Union at the time of the Revolution and the Civil War, and finally, the Soviets expected that, with the terrible ordeal of the war behind them, they would be able to resume work on the project of constructing a socialist society. The American and British leaders knew these Soviet aims and had explicitly or implicitly recognized their legitimacy, for example at the conferences of the Big Three in Tehran and Yalta. That did not mean that Washington and London were enthusiastic about the fact that the Soviet Union was to reap these rewards for its war efforts; and there undoubtedly lurked a potential conflict with Washington’s own major objective, namely, the creation of an “open door” for US exports and investments in Western Europe, in defeated Germany, and also in Central and Eastern Europe, liberated by the Soviet Union. In any event, American political and industrial leaders - including Harry Truman, who succeeded Franklin D. Roosevelt as President in the spring of 1945 - had little understanding, and even less sympathy, for even the most basic expectations of the Soviets. These leaders abhorred the thought that the Soviet Union might receive considerable reparations from Germany, because such a bloodletting would eliminate Germany as a potentially extremely profitable market for US exports and investments. Instead, reparations would enable the Soviets to resume work, possibly successfully, on the project of a communist society, a “counter system” to the international capitalist system of which the USA had become the great champion. America’s political and economic elite was undoubtedly also keenly aware that German reparations to the Soviets implied that the German branch plants of US corporations such as Ford and GM, which had produced all sorts of weapons for the Nazis during the war (and made a lot of money in the process[3]) would have to produce for the benefit of the Soviets instead of continuing to enrich US owners and shareholders.

Negotiations among the Big Three would obviously never result in the withdrawal of the Red Army from Germany and Eastern Europe before the Soviet objectives of reparations and security would be at least partly achieved. However, on April 25, 1945, Truman learned that the US would soon dispose of a powerful new weapon, the atom bomb. Possession of this weapon opened up all sorts of previously unthinkable but extremely favorable perspectives, and it is hardly surprising that the new president and his advisors fell under the spell of what the renowned American historian William Appleman Williams has called a “vision of omnipotence.”[4] It certainly no longer appeared necessary to engage in difficult negotiations with the Soviets: thanks to the atom bomb, it would be possible to force Stalin, in spite of earlier agreements, to withdraw the Red Army from Germany and to deny him a say in the postwar affairs of that country, to install “pro-western” and even anti-Soviet regimes in Poland and elsewhere in Eastern Europe, and perhaps even to open up the Soviet Union itself to American investment capital as well as American political and economic influence, thus returning this communist heretic to the bosom of the universal capitalist church.

At the time of the German surrender in May 1945, the bomb was almost, but not quite, ready. Truman therefore stalled as long as possible before finally agreeing to attend a conference of the Big Three in Potsdam in the summer of 1945, where the fate of postwar Europe would be decided. The president had been informed that the bomb would likely be ready by then - ready, that is, to be used as “a hammer,” as he himself stated on one occasion, that he would wave “over the heads of those boys in the Kremlin.”[5] At the Potsdam Conference, which lasted from July 17 to August 2, 1945, Truman did indeed receive the long-awaited message that the atom bomb had been tested successfully on July 16 in New Mexico. As of then, he no longer bothered to present proposals to Stalin, but instead made all sorts of demands; at the same time he rejected out of hand all proposals made by the Soviets, for example concerning German reparation payments, including reasonable proposals based on earlier inter-Allied agreements. Stalin failed to display the hoped-for willingness to capitulate, however, not even when Truman attempted to intimidate him by whispering ominously into his ear that America had acquired an incredible new weapon. The Soviet sphinx, who had certainly already been informed about the American atom bomb, listened in stony silence. Somewhat puzzled, Truman concluded that only an actual demonstration of the atomic bomb would persuade the Soviets to give way. Consequently, no general agreement could be achieved at Potsdam. In fact, little or nothing of substance was decided there. “The main result of the conference,” writes historian Gar Alperovitz, “was a series of decisions to disagree until the next meeting.”[6]

In the meantime the Japanese battled on in the Far East, even though their situation was totally hopeless. They were in fact prepared to surrender, but they insisted on a condition, namely, that Emperor Hirohito would be guaranteed immunity. This contravened the American demand for an unconditional capitulation. In spite of this it should have been possible to end the war on the basis of the Japanese proposal. In fact, the German surrender at Reims three months earlier had not been entirely unconditional. (The Americans had agreed to a German condition, namely, that the armistice would only go into effect after a delay of 45 hours, a delay that would allow as many German army units as possible to slip away from the eastern front in order to surrender to the Americans or the British; many of these units would actually be kept ready - in uniform, armed, and under the command of their own officers – for possible use against the Red Army, as Churchill was to admit after the war.)[7] In any event, Tokyo’s sole condition was far from essential. Indeed, later - after an unconditional surrender had been wrested from the Japanese - the Americans would never bother Hirohito, and it was thanks to Washington that he was to be able to remain emperor for many more decades.[8]

The Japanese believed that they could still afford the luxury of attaching a condition to their offer to surrender because the main force of their land army remained intact, in China, where it had spent most of the war. Tokyo thought that it could use this army to defend Japan itself and thus make the Americans pay a high price for their admittedly inevitable final victory, but this scheme would only work if the Soviet Union stayed out of the war in the Far East; a Soviet entry into the war, on the other hand, would inevitably pin down the Japanese forces on the Chinese mainland. Soviet neutrality, in other words, permitted Tokyo a small measure of hope; not hope for a victory, of course, but hope for American acceptance of their condition concerning the emperor. To a certain extent the war with Japan dragged on, then, because the Soviet Union was not yet involved in it. Already at the Conference of the Big Three in Tehran in 1943, Stalin had promised to declare war on Japan within three months after the capitulation of Germany, and he had reiterated this commitment as recently as July 17, 1945, in Potsdam. Consequently, Washington counted on a Soviet attack on Japan by the middle of August and thus knew only too well that the situation of the Japanese was hopeless. (“Fini Japs when that comes about,” Truman confided to his diary, referring to the expected Soviet entry into the war in the Far East.)[9] In addition, the American navy assured Washington that it was able to prevent the Japanese from transferring their army from China in order to defend the homeland against an American invasion. Since the US navy was undoubtedly able to force Japan to its knees by means of a blockade, an invasion was not even necessary. Deprived of imported necessities such as food and fuel, Japan could be expected to beg to capitulate unconditionally sooner or later.

In order to finish the war against Japan, Truman thus had a number of very attractive options. He could accept the trivial Japanese condition with regard to immunity for their emperor; he could also wait until the Red Army attacked the Japanese in China, thus forcing Tokyo into accepting an unconditional surrender after all; or he could starve Japan to death by means of a naval blockade that would have forced Tokyo to sue for peace sooner or later. Truman and his advisors, however, chose none of these options; instead, they decided to knock Japan out with the atomic bomb. This fateful decision, which was to cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, mostly women and children, offered the Americans considerable advantages. First, the bomb might force Tokyo to surrender before the Soviets got involved in the war in Asia, thus making it unnecessary to allow Moscow a say in the coming decisions about postwar Japan, about the territories which had been occupied by Japan (such as Korea and Manchuria), and about the Far East and the Pacific region in general. The USA would then enjoy a total hegemony over that part of the world, something which may be said to have been the true (though unspoken) war aim of Washington in the conflict with Japan. It was in light of this consideration that the strategy of simply blockading Japan into surrender was rejected, since the surrender might not have been forthcoming until after – and possibly well after - the Soviet Union’s entry into the war. (After the war, the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey stated that “certainly prior to 31 December 1945, Japan would have surrendered, even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped.”)[10]

As far as the American leaders were concerned, a Soviet intervention in the war in the Far East threatened to achieve for the Soviets the same advantage which the Yankees’ relatively late intervention in the war in Europe had produced for the United States, namely, a place at the round table of the victors who would force their will on the defeated enemy, carve occupation zones out of his territory, change borders, determine postwar social-economic and political structures, and thereby derive for themselves enormous benefits and prestige. Washington absolutely did not want the Soviet Union to enjoy this kind of input. The Americans were on the brink of victory over Japan, their great rival in that part of the world. They did not relish the idea of being saddled with a new potential rival, one whose detested communist ideology might become dangerously influential in many Asian countries. By dropping the atomic bomb, the Americans hoped to finish Japan off instantly and go to work in the Far East as cavalier seul, that is, without their victory party being spoiled by unwanted Soviet gate-crashers. Use of the atom bomb offered Washington a second important advantage. Truman’s experience in Potsdam had persuaded him that only an actual demonstration of this new weapon would make Stalin sufficiently pliable. Nuking a “Jap” city, preferably a “virgin” city, where the damage would be especially impressive, thus loomed useful as a means to intimidate the Soviets and induce them to make concessions with respect to Germany, Poland, and the rest of Central and Eastern Europe.

The atomic bomb was ready just before the Soviets became involved in the Far East. Even so, the nuclear pulverization of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, came too late to prevent the Soviets from entering the war against Japan. Tokyo did not throw in the towel immediately, as the Americans had hoped, and on August 8, 1945 - exactly three months after the German capitulation in Berlin - the Soviets declared war on Japan. The next day, on August 9, the Red Army attacked the Japanese troops stationed in northern China. Washington itself had long asked for Soviet intervention, but when that intervention finally came, Truman and his advisors were far from ecstatic about the fact that Stalin had kept his word. If Japan’s rulers did not respond immediately to the bombing of Hiroshima with an unconditional capitulation, it may have been because they could not ascertain immediately that only one plane and one bomb had done so much damage. (Many conventional bombing raids had produced equally catastrophic results; an attack by thousands of bombers on the Japanese capital on March 9-10, 1945, for example, had actually caused more casualties than the bombing of Hiroshima.) In any event, it took some time before an unconditional capitulation was forthcoming, and on account of this delay the USSR did get involved in the war against Japan after all. This made Washington extremely impatient: the day after the Soviet declaration of war, on August 9, 1945, a second bomb was dropped, this time on the city of Nagasaki. A former American army chaplain later stated: “I am of the opinion that this was one of the reasons why a second bomb was dropped: because there was a rush. They wanted to get the Japanese to capitulate before the Russians showed up.”[11] (The chaplain may or may not have been aware that among the 75,000 human beings who were “instantaneously incinerated, carbonized and evaporated” in Nagasaki were many Japanese Catholics as well an unknown number of inmates of a camp for allied POWs, whose presence had been reported to the air command, to no avail.)[12] It took another five days, that is, until August 14, before the Japanese could bring themselves to capitulate. In the meantime the Red Army was able to make considerable progress, to the great chagrin of Truman and his advisors.

And so the Americans were stuck with a Soviet partner in the Far East after all. Or were they? Truman made sure that they were not, ignoring the precedents set earlier with respect to cooperation among the Big Three in Europe. Already on August 15, 1945, Washington rejected Stalin’s request for a Soviet occupation zone in the defeated land of the rising sun. And when on September 2, 1945, General MacArthur officially accepted the Japanese surrender on the American battleship Missouri in the Bay of Tokyo, representatives of the Soviet Union - and of other allies in the Far East, such as Great Britain, France, Australia, and the Netherlands - were allowed to be present only as insignificant extras, as spectators. Unlike Germany, Japan was not carved up into occupation zones. America’s defeated rival was to be occupied by the Americans only, and as American “viceroy” in Tokyo, General MacArthur would ensure that, regardless of contributions made to the common victory, no other power had a say in the affairs of postwar Japan.

Sixty-five years ago, Truman did not have to use the atomic bomb in order to force Japan to its knees, but he had reasons to want to use the bomb. The atom bomb enabled the Americans to force Tokyo to surrender unconditionally, to keep the Soviets out of the Far East and - last but not least - to force Washington’s will on the Kremlin in Europe also. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were obliterated for these reasons, and many American historians realize this only too well; Sean Dennis Cashman, for example, writes:

With the passing of time, many historians have concluded that the bomb was used as much for political reasons...Vannevar Bush [the head of the American center for scientific research] stated that the bomb “was also delivered on time, so that there was no necessity for any concessions to Russia at the end of the war”. Secretary of State James F. Byrnes [Truman’s Secretary of State] never denied a statement attributed to him that the bomb had been used to demonstrate American power to the Soviet Union in order to make it more manageable in Europe.[13]

Truman himself, however, hypocritically declared at the time that the purpose of the two nuclear bombardments had been “to bring the boys home,” that is, to quickly finish the war without any further major loss of life on the American side. This explanation was uncritically broadcast in the American media and it developed into a myth eagerly propagated by the majority of historians and media in the USA and throughout the “Western” world. That myth, which, incidentally, also serves to justify potential future nuclear strikes on targets such as Iran and North Korea, is still very much alive - just check your mainstream newspaper on August 6 and 9!

Editor's NOTE:

Readers who are familiar with the book of Romans will recognize that one must never do the wrong thing hoping that something good will come of it (Romans 3: 8). In scholastic moral philosophy this can be stated as follows with respect to dropping atomic bombs on Japan in hopes of more quickly ending the war:

1) object rationally chosen, means or proximate "end"=dropping nuclear bombs on Japan in order to kill thousands of civilians.

2) intent or further "end"=put an end to the war more quickly.

3) circumstances=prolonged war deliterious to US economic and social interests.

It is clear that while the intent and circumstances might conceivably have been morally licit (critical historical research now suggests that the excuse profered by President Truman was untrue and that US imperial interests were instead controlling), the "end" of dropping nuclear bombs in order to kill massive numbers of civilians rather than Japanese combatants only--was morally illicit. The fundamental underlying concept involved is that it is always morally wrong to intentionally kill innocent human beings in this case civilians including women and children who were not part of the military services of the Japanese imperial army.

For similar reasons, all nuclear weapons are immoral by definition in that they have as their goal the intentional killing of non-combatant civilians irrespective of the potential reason for doing so. Such an "object" or proximate "end" is always and everywhere morally wrong. All three elements (means, end and circumstances) must be morally licit in order for a moral act to be justified. Therefore, nuclear weapons should be completely abolished through cooperation among nations on the basis of negotiation and verifiable inpections.

The fact that the United States used nuclear weapons in 1945 is reprehensible and can never be morally justified. It represents a tremendous trans-generational sin on the citizens of America that a US President did so in our names.

--Dr. J. P. Hubert

Whose Hands? Whose Blood? Killing Civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq

By: Tom Engelhardt
Editor of
Huffington Post
August 5, 2010 01:25 PM

Consider the following statement offered by Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at a news conference last week. He was discussing Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks as well as the person who has taken responsibility for the vast, still ongoing Afghan War document dump at that site. "Mr. Assange,” Mullen commented, “can say whatever he likes about the greater good he thinks he and his source are doing, but the truth is they might already have on their hands the blood of some young soldier or that of an Afghan family.”

Now, if you were the proverbial fair-minded visitor from Mars (who in school civics texts of my childhood always seemed to land on Main Street, U.S.A., to survey the wonders of our American system), you might be a bit taken aback by Mullen’s statement. After all, one of the revelations in the trove of leaked documents Assange put online had to do with how much blood from innocent Afghan civilians was already on American hands.

The British Guardian was one of three publications given early access to the leaked archive, and it began its main article this way: “A huge cache of secret U.S. military files today provides a devastating portrait of the failing war in Afghanistan, revealing how coalition forces have killed hundreds of civilians in unreported incidents. They range from the shootings of individual innocents to the often massive loss of life from air strikes...” Or as the paper added in a piece headlined “Secret CIA paramilitaries’ role in civilian deaths”: “Behind the military jargon, the war logs are littered with accounts of civilian tragedies. The 144 entries in the logs recording some of these so-called ‘blue on white’ events, cover a wide spectrum of day-by-day assaults on Afghans, with hundreds of casualties.” Or as it also reported, when exploring documents related to Task Force 373, an “undisclosed ‘black’ unit” of U.S. special operations forces focused on assassinating Taliban and al-Qaeda “senior officials”: “The logs reveal that TF 373 has also killed civilian men, women, and children and even Afghan police officers who have strayed into its path.”

Admittedly, the events recorded in the Wikileaks archive took place between 2004 and the end of 2009, and so don’t cover the last six months of the Obama administration’s across-the-board surge in Afghanistan. Then again, Admiral Mullen became chairman of the Joint Chiefs in October 2007, and so has been at the helm of the American war machine for more than two of the years in question.

He was, for example, chairman in July 2008, when an American plane or planes took out an Afghan bridal party -- 70 to 90 strong and made up mostly of women -- on a road near the Pakistani border. They were "escorting the bride to meet her groom as local tradition dictates." The bride, whose name we don’t know, died, as did at least 27 other members of the party, including children. Mullen was similarly chairman in August 2008 when a memorial service for a tribal leader in the village of Azizabad in Afghanistan’s Herat Province was hit by repeated U.S. air strikes that killed at least 90 civilians, including perhaps 15 women and up to 60 children. Among the dead were 76 members of one extended family, headed by Reza Khan, a "wealthy businessman with construction and security contracts with the nearby American base at Shindand airport."

Mullen was still chairman in April 2009 when members of the family of Awal Khan, an Afghan army artillery commander on duty elsewhere, were killed in a U.S.-led raid in Khost province in eastern Afghanistan. Among them were his "schoolteacher wife, a 17-year-old daughter named Nadia, a 15-year-old son, Aimal, and his brother, employed by a government department.” Another daughter was wounded and the pregnant wife of Khan's cousin was shot five times in the abdomen.

Mullen remained chairman when, in November 2009, two relatives of Majidullah Qarar, the spokesman for the Minister of Agriculture, were shot down in cold blood in Ghazni City in a Special Operations night raid; as he was -- and here we move beyond the Wikileaks time frame -- when, in February 2010, U.S. Special Forces troops in helicopters struck a convoy of mini-buses, killing up to 27 civilians, including women and children; as he also was when, in that same month, in a special operations night raid, two pregnant women and a teenage girl, as well as a police officer and his brother, were shot to death in their home in a village near Gardez, the capital of Paktia province. After which, the soldiers reportedly dug the bullets out of the bodies, washed the wounds with alcohol, and tried to cover the incident up. He was no less chairman late last month when residents of a small town in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan claimed that a NATO missile attack had killed 52 civilians, an incident that, like just about every other one mentioned above and so many more, was initially denied by U.S. and NATO spokespeople and is now being “investigated.”

And this represents only a grim, minimalist highlight reel among rafts of such incidents, including enough repeated killings or woundings of innocent civilians at checkpoints that previous Afghan war commander General Stanley McChrystal commented: “We've shot an amazing number of people and killed a number and, to my knowledge, none has proven to have been a real threat to the force.” In other words, if your basic Martian visitor were to take the concept of command responsibility at all seriously, he might reasonably weigh actual blood (those hundreds of unreported civilian casualties of the American war the Guardian highlighted, for example) against prospective blood (possible Afghan informers killed by the Taliban via names combed from the Wikileaks documents) and arrive at quite a different conclusion from Chairman Mullen.

In fact, being from another planet, he might even have picked up on something that most Americans would be unlikely to notice -- that, with only slight alterations, Mullen’s blistering comment about Assange could be applied remarkably well to Mullen himself. “Chairman Mullen,” that Martian might have responded, “can say whatever he likes about the greater good he thinks he is doing, but the truth is he already has on his hands the blood of some young soldiers and that of many Afghan families.”

Killing Fields, Then and Now

Fortunately, there are remarkably few Martians in America, as was apparent last week when the Wikileaks story broke. Certainly, they were in scarce supply in the upper reaches of the Pentagon and, it seemed, hardly less scarce in the mainstream media. If, for instance, you read the version of the Wikileaks story produced -- with the same several weeks of special access -- by the New York Times, you might have been forgiven for thinking that the Times reporters had accessed a different archive of documents than had the Guardian crew.

While the Guardian led with the central significance of those unreported killings of Afghan civilians, the Times led with reports (mainly via Afghan intelligence) on a Pakistani double-cross of the American war effort -- of the ties, that is, between Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the ISI, and the Taliban. The paper’s major sidebar piece concerned the experiences and travails of Outpost Keating, an isolated American base in Afghanistan. To stumble across the issue of civilian deaths at American hands in the Times coverage, you had to make your way off the front page and through two full four-column Wikileaks-themed pages and deep into a third.

With rare exceptions, this was typical of initial American coverage of last week’s document dump. And if you think about it, it gives a certain grim reportorial reality to the term Americans favor for the deaths of civilians at the hands of our forces: “collateral damage” -- that is, damage not central to what’s going down. The Guardian saw it differently, as undoubtedly do Afghans (and Iraqis) who have experienced collateral damage firsthand.

The Wikileaks leak story, in fact, remained a remarkably bloodless saga in the U.S. until Admiral Mullen and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (who has overseen the Afghan War since he was confirmed in his post in December 2006) took control of it and began focusing directly on blood -- specifically, the blood on Julian Assange’s hands. Within a few days, that had become the Wikileaks story, as headlines like CNN’s “Top military official: WikiLeaks founder may have 'blood' on his hands” indicated. On ABC News, for instance, in a typical “bloody hands” piece of reportage, the Secretary of Defense told interviewer Christiane Amanpour that, whatever Assange’s legal culpability might be, when it came to “moral culpability... that’s where I think the verdict is guilty on Wikileaks.”

Moral culpability

From the Martian point of view, it might have been considered a curious phrase from the lips of the man responsible for the last three and a half years of two deeply destructive wars that have accomplished nothing and have been responsible for killing, wounding, or driving into exile millions of ordinary Iraqis and Afghans. Given the reality of those wars, our increasingly wide-eyed visitor, now undoubtedly camping out on the Washington Mall, might have been struck by the selectivity of our sense of what constitutes blood and what constitutes collateral damage. After all, one major American magazine did decide to put civilian war damage front and center the very week the Wikileaks archive went up. With the headline "What Happens If We Leave Afghanistan," TIME magazine featured a cover image of a young Afghan woman whose nose and ears had reportedly been sliced off by a “local Taliban commander” as a punishment for running away from an abusive home.

Indeed, the Taliban has regularly been responsible for the deaths of innocent civilians, including women and children who, among other things, ride in vehicles over its roadside bombs or suffer the results of suicide bombings aimed at government figures or U.S. and NATO forces. The Taliban also has its own list of horrors and crimes for which it should be considered morally culpable. In addition, the Taliban has reportedly threatened to go through the Wikileaks archive, ferret out the names of Afghan informers, and “punish” them, undoubtedly spilling exactly the kind of “blood” Mullen has been talking about.

Our Martian might have noticed as well that the TIME cover wasn’t a singular event in the U.S. In recent years, Americans have often enough been focused on the killing, wounding, or maiming of innocent civilians and have indeed been quite capable of treating such acts as a central fact of war and policy-making. Such deaths have, in fact, been seen as crucially important -- as long as the civilians weren’t killed by Americans, in which case the incidents were the understandable, if sad, byproduct of other, far more commendable plans and desires. In this way, in Afghanistan, repeated attacks on wedding parties, funerals, and even a baby-naming ceremony by the U.S. Air Force or special operations night raids have never been a subject of much concern or the material for magazine covers.

On the other hand, the Bush administration (and Americans generally) dealt with the 9/11 deaths of almost 3,000 innocent civilians in New York City as the central and defining event of the twenty-first century. Each of those deaths was memorialized in the papers. Relatives of the dead or those who survived were paid huge sums to console them for the tragedy, and a billion-dollar memorial was planned at what quickly became known as Ground Zero. In repeated rites of mourning nationwide, their deaths were remembered as the central, animating fact of American life. In addition, of course, the murder of those civilian innocents officially sent the U.S. military plunging into the Global War on Terror, Afghanistan, and then Iraq.

Similarly -- though who remembers it now? -- one key trump card played against those who opposed the invasion of Iraq was Saddam Hussein’s “killing fields.” The Iraqi dictator had indeed gassed Kurds and, with the help of military targeting intelligence provided by his American allies, Iranian troops in his war with Iran in the 1980s. After the first Gulf War, his forces had brutally suppressed a Shiite uprising in the south of Iraq, murdering perhaps tens of thousands of Shiites and, north and south, buried the dead in mass, unmarked graves, some of which were uncovered after the U.S. invasion of 2003. In addition, Saddam’s torture chambers and prisons had been busy places indeed.

His was a brutal regime; his killing fields were a moral nightmare; and in the period leading up to the war (and after), they were also a central fact of American life. On the other hand, however many Iraqis died in those killing fields, more would undoubtedly die in the years that followed, thanks to the events loosed by the Bush administration’s invasion. That dying has yet to end, and seems once again to be on the rise. Yet those deaths have never been a central fact of American life, nor an acceptable argument for getting out of Iraq, nor an acknowledged responsibility of Washington, nor of Admiral Mullen, Secretary of Defense Gates, or any of their predecessors. They were just collateral damage. Some of their survivors got, at best, tiny “solatia” payments from the U.S. military, and often enough the dead were buried in unmarked graves or no graves at all.

Similarly, in Afghanistan in 2010, much attention and controversy surrounded the decision of our previous war commander, General McChrystal, to issue constraining “rules of engagement” to try to cut down on civilian casualties by U.S. troops. The American question has been: Was the general “handcuffing” American soldiers by making it ever harder for them to call in air or artillery support when civilians might be in the area? Was he, that is, just too COIN-ish and too tough on American troops? On the other hand, little attention in the mainstream was paid to the way McChrystal was ramping up special operations forces targeting Taliban leaders, forces whose night raids were, as the Wikileaks documents showed, repeatedly responsible for the deaths of innocent civilians (and so for the anger of other Afghans).

Collateral Damage in America

Here, then, is a fact that our Martian (but few Americans) might notice: in almost nine years of futile and brutal war in Afghanistan and more than seven years of the same in Iraq, the U.S. has filled metaphorical tower upon tower with the exceedingly unmetaphorical bodies of civilian innocents, via air attacks, checkpoint shootings, night raids, artillery and missile fire, and in some cases, the direct act of murder. Afghans and Iraqis have died in numbers impossible to count (though some have tried). Among those deaths was that of a good Samaritan who stopped his minivan on a Baghdad street, in July 2007, to help transport Iraqis wounded by an American Apache helicopter attack to the hospital. In repayment, he and his two children were gunned down by that same Apache crew. (The children survived; the event was covered up; typically, no American took responsibility for it; and, despite the fact that two Reuters employees died, the case was not further investigated, and no one was punished or even reprimanded.)

That was one of hundreds, or thousands, of similar events in both wars that Americans have known little or nothing about. Now, Bradley Manning, a 22-year-old intelligence analyst deployed to eastern Baghdad, who reportedly leaked the video of the event to Wikileaks and may have been involved in leaking those 92,000 documents as well, is preparing to face a court-martial and on a suicide watch, branded a “traitor” by a U.S. senator, his future execution endorsed by the ranking minority member of the House of Representatives’ subcommittee on terrorism, and almost certain to find himself behind bars for years or decades to come.

As for the men who oversaw the endless wars that produced that video (and, without doubt, many similar ones similarly cloaked in the secrecy of "national security"), their fates are no less sure. When Admiral Mullen relinquishes his post and retires, he will undoubtedly have the choice of lucrative corporate boards to sit on, and, if he cares to, lucrative consulting to do for the Pentagon or eager defense contractors, as well as an impressive pension to take home with him. Secretary of Defense Gates will undoubtedly leave his post with a wide range of job offers to consider, and if he wishes, he will probably get a million-dollar contract to write his memoirs. Both will be praised, no matter what happens in or to their wars. Neither will be considered in any way responsible for those tens of thousands of dead civilians in distant lands.

Moral culpability? It doesn’t apply. Not to Americans -- not unless they leak military secrets. None of the men responsible will ever look at their hands and experience an “out, damned spot!” moment. That’s a guarantee. However, a young man who, it seems, saw the blood and didn’t want it on his hands, who found himself “actively involved in something that I was completely against,” who had an urge to try to end two terrible wars, hoping his act would cause “worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms,” will pay the price for them. He will be another body not to count in the collateral damage their wars have caused. He will also be collateral damage to the Afghan antiwar movement that wasn’t.

The men who led us down this path, the presidents who presided over our wars, the military figures and secretaries of defense, the intelligence chiefs and ambassadors who helped make them happen, will have libraries to inaugurate, books to write, awards to accept, speeches to give, honors to receive. They will be treated with great respect, while Americans -- once we have finally left the lands we insistently fought over -- will undoubtedly feel little culpability either. And if blowback comes to the United States, and the first suicide drones arrive, everyone will be deeply puzzled and angered, but one thing is certain, we will not consider any damage done to our society "collateral" damage.

So much blood. So many hands. So little culpability. No remorse.

Friday, August 6, 2010

So Please Tell Me Again: What's The War About?

By William Blum

August 05, 2010 "Information Clearing House" -- When facts are inconvenient, when international law, human rights and history get in the way, when war crimes can't easily be justified or explained away, when logic doesn't help much, the current crop of American political leaders turns to what is now the old reliable: 9/11. We have to fight in Afghanistan because ... somehow ... it's tied into what happened on September 11, 2001. Here's Vice-President Joe Biden: "We know that it was from the space that joins Afghanistan and Pakistan that the attacks of 9/11 occurred." 1

Here's Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC): "This is the place [Afghanistan] we were attacked from 9/11." 2

Rep. Mike Pence, the third-ranking House Republican, asserted that the revelations in the Wikileaks documents do not change his view of the Afghan conflict, nor does he expect a shift in public opinion. "Back home in Indiana, people still remember where the attacks on 9/11 came from." 3

Here's President Obama a year ago: "But we must never forget this is not a war of choice. This is a war of necessity. Those who attacked America on 9/11 are plotting to do so again. If left unchecked, the Taliban insurgency will mean an even larger safe haven from which al Qaeda would plot to kill more Americans." 4

And here is the president, two days after the release of the Wikileaks documents, referring to Afghanistan and Pakistan as "the region from which the 9/11 attacks were waged and other attacks against the United States and our friends and allies have been planned". 5

Never mind that out of the tens of thousands of people the United States and its NATO front have killed in Afghanistan not one has been identified as having had anything to do with the events of September 11, 2001.

Never mind that the "plot to kill Americans" in 2001 was devised in Germany and Spain and the United States more than in Afghanistan. Why hasn't Washington bombed those countries?

Indeed, what actually is needed to plot to buy airline tickets and take flying lessons in the United States? A room with some chairs? What does "an even larger safe haven" mean? A larger room with more chairs? Perhaps a blackboard? Terrorists intent upon attacking the United States can meet almost anywhere, with Afghanistan probably being one of the worst places for them, given the American occupation.

There are many people in Afghanistan and Pakistan — the ones still living — who deeply resent the US presence there and the drones that fly overhead and drop bombs on their houses, their wedding parties, their funerals, their life. As in Iraq, the American "war on terrorism" in Afghanistan regularly, routinely, and conspicuously creates numerous new anti-American terrorists.

The only "war of necessity" that draws the United States to Afghanistan is the need for protected oil and gas pipelines from the Caspian Sea area, the establishment of military bases in this country that is surrounded by the oil-rich Caspian Sea and Persian Gulf regions, and making it easier to watch and pressure next-door Iran. What more could any respectable imperialist nation desire? Oh, did I mention that the military-industrial-security-intelligence complex and its shareholders will be further enriched?

But the war against the Taliban can't be won. Except perhaps by killing everyone in Afghanistan. The United States should negotiate the pipelines with the Taliban, as the Clinton administration tried to do, without success, then get out, and declare "victory". Barack Obama can surely deliver an eloquent victory speech.

US Israel and Iran

If and when the United States and Israel bomb Iran (marking the sixth country so blessed by Barack Obama) and this sad old world has a new daily horror show to look at on their TV sets, and we then discover that Iran was not actually building nuclear weapons after all, the American mainstream media and the benighted American mind will ask: "Why didn't they tell us that? Did they want us to bomb them?"

The same questions were asked about Iraq following the discovery that Saddam Hussein didn't in fact have any weapons of mass destruction. However, in actuality, before the US invasion Iraqi officials had stated clearly on repeated occasions that they had no such weapons. I'm reminded of this by the recent news report about Hans Blix, former chief United Nations weapons inspector, who led a doomed hunt for WMD in Iraq. Last week he told the British inquiry into the March 2003 invasion that those who were "100 percent certain there were weapons of mass destruction" in Iraq turned out to have "less than zero percent knowledge" of where the purported hidden caches might be. He testified that he had warned British Prime Minister Tony Blair in a February 2003 meeting — as well as US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in separate talks — that Hussein might have no weapons of mass destruction. 6

In August 2002, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz told American newscaster Dan Rather on CBS: "We do not possess any nuclear or biological or chemical weapons." 7

In December, Aziz stated to Ted Koppel on ABC: "The fact is that we don't have weapons of mass destruction. We don't have chemical, biological, or nuclear weaponry." 8

Hussein himself told Rather in February 2003: "These missiles have been destroyed. There are no missiles that are contrary to the prescription of the United Nations [as to range] in Iraq. They are no longer there." 9

Moreover, Gen. Hussein Kamel, former head of Iraq's secret weapons program, and a son-in-law of Saddam Hussein, told the UN in 1995 that Iraq had destroyed its banned missiles and chemical and biological weapons soon after the Persian Gulf War. 10

There are yet other examples of Iraqi officials telling the world that the WMD were non-existent.

If you don't already have serious doubts about the mainstream media's devotion to questioning the premises and rationales underlying American foreign policy, consider this: Despite the two revelations on Dan Rather's CBS programs, and the other revelations noted above, in January 2008 we find CBS reporter Scott Pelley interviewing FBI agent George Piro, who had interviewed Saddam Hussein before he was executed:

PELLEY: And what did he tell you about how his weapons of mass destruction had been destroyed?

PIRO: He told me that most of the WMD had been destroyed by the U.N. inspectors in the '90s, and those that hadn't been destroyed by the inspectors were unilaterally destroyed by Iraq.

PELLEY: He had ordered them destroyed?

PIRO: Yes.

PELLEY: So why keep the secret? Why put your nation at risk? Why put your own life at risk to maintain this charade? 11

Would it have mattered if the Bush administration had fully believed Iraq when it said it had no WMD? Probably not. There is ample evidence that Bush knew this to be the case, as did Tony Blair. Saddam Hussein did not sufficiently appreciate just how psychopathic his two adversaries were. Bush was determined to vanquish Iraq, for the sake of Israel, for control of oil, and for expanding the empire, though it hasn't all worked out as the empire expected; for some odd reason, it seems that the Iraqi people resented being bombed, invaded, occupied, and tortured.

The result of Bush's Iraqi policy can be summed up by saying that it would be difficult to cite many other historical examples of one nation destroying another so completely, crushing and perverting virtually every aspect of their society and humanity.

Now Israel presses Washington relentlessly to do the same to Iran — not that the US necessarily needs much prodding — primarily because Israel is determined to remain the only nuclear power in the Middle East; this despite Iran telling the United States and the world many times that it is not building nuclear weapons. But if Iran is in fact building nuclear weapons, we have to ask: Is there some international law that says that the US, the UK, Russia, China, Israel, France, Pakistan, and India are entitled to nuclear weapons, but Iran is not? If the United States had known that the Japanese had deliverable atomic bombs, would Hiroshima and Nagasaki have been destroyed? Does the US and Israel believe that there is not already enough horror and suffering in the news?

In what could be part of the preparation for an attack on Iran, 47 members of the House of Representatives recently put forth a non-binding resolution declaring Iran to be "an immediate and existential threat to the State of Israel". To illustrate this threat, the resolution quoted Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on several occasions avowing sentiments like: "God willing, with the force of God behind it, we shall soon experience a world without the United States and Zionism" ... calling for "this occupying regime [Israel] to be wiped off the map" ... "Like it or not, the Zionist regime is heading toward annihilation" ... "I must announce that the Zionist regime, with a 60-year record of genocide, plunder, invasion, and betrayal is about to die and will soon be erased from the geographical scene" ... "Today, the time for the fall of the satanic power of the United States has come, and the countdown to the annihilation of the emperor of power and wealth has started".

Pretty damning stuff, isn't it? N'est-ce pas? Nicht wahr? But there's a lot less here than meets the eye. Notice that it doesn't quote Ahmadinejad in a single specific, explicit threat of an Iranian attack upon Israel or the United States. No mention or indication that "I" or "We" or "Iran" is going to do any of this, carry out any act of violence. And I would say that that's because it's not what he meant. In another quote, which the resolution fails to cite, the Iranian president in December 2006 said: "The Zionist regime will be wiped out soon, the same way the Soviet Union was, and humanity will achieve freedom." 12 Obviously, the man is not calling for any kind of violent attack upon Israel, for the dissolution of the Soviet Union took place very peacefully. Furthermore, in June 2006, Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, stated: "We have no problem with the world. We are not a threat whatsoever to the world, and the world knows it. We will never start a war. We have no intention of going to war with any state.13 Why didn't the authors of the congressional resolution quote that one?

I think that one can derive a better understanding of the Iranian president's statements by seeing them as metaphor, as bragging, as wishful thinking, as well as poor translation (for example: "wiped off the map" 14), coming from a man foolish enough to publicly claim that there are no gays in Iran.

But more significantly, the resolution offers no reason why Iran actually would attack Israel or the United States. What reason would Iran have to use nuclear weapons against either country other than an irresistible desire for mass national suicide? Indeed, the very same question could have — and should have — been asked before the invasion of Iraq. Of the many lies surrounding that invasion, the biggest one of all was that if, in fact, Saddam Hussein had had those weapons of mass destruction the invasion would have been justified.

With all the lies exposed about the American Iraqi misadventure, I and many others had allowed ourselves the luxury, the hidden pleasure, of believing that the United States government and media had learned a lesson which would last for some time. They'd been caught and exposed. But it's the same all over again with the lies about Iran and Ahmadinejad. (No, he's not even a Holocaust denier.)

In any event, Israel probably doesn't believe its own propaganda. In March of last year, the Washington Post reported: "A senior Israeli official in Washington" has asserted that "Iran would be unlikely to use its missiles in an attack [against Israel] because of the certainty of retaliation." 15 This was the very last sentence in the article and, according to an extensive Nexis search, did not appear in any other English-language media in the world.

And earlier this year we could read in the Sunday Times of London: "Brigadier-General Uzi Eilam, 75, a war hero and pillar of the [Israeli] defence establishment, believes it will probably take Iran seven years to make nuclear weapons. The views expressed by the former director-general of Israel's Atomic Energy Commission contradict the assessment of Israel's defence establishment and put him at odds with political leaders." 16

If any country in this world is a threat to use nuclear weapons with remarkably little regard for the consequences it's Israel. Martin van Creveld, an Israeli professor of military history, and loyal Israeli citizen, remarked in 2002: "We have the capability to take the world down with us. And I can assure you that this will happen before Israel goes under." 17 Think of the closing scene of "Dr. Strangelove". That's Israel sitting astride the speeding nuclear missile waving the cowboy hat.

There's no business like show business
She played Mozart's Piano Concerto in D Minor.

And accompanied the one and only Aretha Franklin.

A gala benefit performance in Philadelphia.

At the home of the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Before 8,000 people.

And they loved it.

How many of them knew that the pianist was a genuine, unindicted war criminal?

Guilty of crimes against humanity.

Defender of torture.

With much blood on her pianist hands.

Whose style in office for years could be characterized as hypocrisy, disinformation, and outright lying.

But what did the audience care?

This is America.

Home of the Good Guys.

She was fighting against the Bad Guys.

And we all know that the show must go on.

So let's hear it, folks ... Let's have a real all-American hand ... Let's hear it for our own darling virtuoso ... Miss Condoleezza Rice!


State Department Documents and Publications, March 10, 2009 ↩
Face the Nation, CBS, July 4, 2010 ↩
Washington Post, July 27, 2010 ↩
Talk given by the president at Veterans of Foreign Wars convention, August 17, 2009 ↩
White House press release of Obama's remarks of July 27, 2010 ↩
Associated Press, July 28, 2010 ↩
CBS Evening News, August 20, 2002 ↩
ABC Nightline, December 4, 2002 ↩
"60 Minutes II", February 26, 2003 ↩
Washington Post, March 1, 2003 ↩
"60 Minutes", January 27, 2008. See also: Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting [FAIR] Action Alert, February 1, 2008 ↩
Associated Press, December 12, 2006 ↩
Letter to the Washington Post from M.A. Mohammadi, Press Officer, Iranian Mission to the United Nations, June 12, 2006 ↩
See Anti-Empire Report, October 1, 2008, second part ↩
Washington Post, March 5, 2009 ↩
Sunday Times (London), January 10, 2010 ↩
Originally in the Dutch weekly magazine, Elsevier, April 27, 2002, pages 52-3; picked up in many other international publications ↩

Obama Warned: Israel May Bomb Iran

By Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
August 3, 2010


FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

SUBJECT: War With Iran

We write to alert you to the likelihood that Israel will attack Iran as early as this month. This would likely lead to a wider war.

Israel’s leaders would calculate that once the battle is joined, it will be politically untenable for you to give anything less than unstinting support to Israel, no matter how the war started, and that U.S. troops and weaponry would flow freely. Wider war could eventually result in destruction of the state of Israel.

This can be stopped, but only if you move quickly to pre-empt an Israeli attack by publicly condemning such a move before it happens.

We believe that comments by senior American officials, you included, reflect misplaced trust in Israeli Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu.

Actually, the phrasing itself can be revealing, as when CIA Director Panetta implied cavalierly that Washington leaves it up to the Israelis to decide whether and when to attack Iran, and how much “room” to give to the diplomatic effort.

On June 27, Panetta casually told ABC’s Jake Tapper, “I think they are willing to give us the room to be able to try to change Iran diplomatically … as opposed to changing them militarily.”

Similarly, the tone you struck referring to Netanyahu and yourself in your July 7 interview with Israeli TV was distinctly out of tune with decades of unfortunate history with Israeli leaders.

“Neither of us try to surprise each other,” you said, “and that approach is one that I think Prime Minister Netanyahu is committed to.” You may wish to ask Vice President Biden to remind you of the kind of surprises he has encountered in Israel.

Blindsiding has long been an arrow in Israel’s quiver. During the emerging Middle East crisis in the spring of 1967, some of us witnessed closely a flood of Israeli surprises and deception, as Netanyahu’s predecessors feigned fear of an imminent Arab attack as justification for starting a war to seize and occupy Arab territories.

We had long since concluded that Israel had been exaggerating the Arab “threat” — well before 1982 when former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin publicly confessed:

“In June 1967, we had a choice. The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai approaches do not prove that [Egyptian President] Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.”

Israel had, in fact, prepared well militarily and also mounted provocations against its neighbors, in order to provoke a response that could be used to justify expansion of its borders.

Given this record, one would be well advised to greet with appropriate skepticism any private assurances Netanyahu may have given you that Israel would not surprise you with an attack on Iran.

Netanyahu’s Calculations

Netanyahu believes he holds the high cards, largely because of the strong support he enjoys in our Congress and our strongly pro-Israel media. He reads your reluctance even to mention in controversial bilateral issues publicly during his recent visit as affirmation that he is in the catbird seat in the relationship.

During election years in the U.S. (including mid-terms), Israeli leaders are particularly confident of the power they and the Likud Lobby enjoy on the American political scene.

This prime minister learned well from Menachem Begin and Ariel Sharon.

Netanyahu’s attitude comes through in a video taped nine years ago and shown on Israeli TV, in which he bragged about how he deceived President Clinton into believing he (Netanyahu) was helping implement the Oslo accords when he was actually destroying them.

The tape displays a contemptuous attitude toward — and wonderment at — an America so easily influenced by Israel. Netanyahu says:

“America is something that can be easily moved. Moved in the right direction. … They won’t get in our way … Eighty percent of the Americans support us. It’s absurd.”

Israeli columnist Gideon Levy wrote that the video shows Netanyahu to be “a con artist … who thinks that Washington is in his pocket and that he can pull the wool over its eyes,” adding that such behavior “does not change over the years.”

As mentioned above, Netanyahu has had instructive role models.

None other than Gen. Brent Scowcroft told the Financial Times that former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had George W. Bush “mesmerized;” that “Sharon just has him “wrapped around his little finger.”

(Scowcroft was promptly relieved of his duties as chair of the prestigious President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board and told never again to darken the White House doorstep.)

If further proof of American political support for Netanyahu were needed, it was manifest when Senators McCain, Lieberman, and Graham visited Israel during the second week of July.

Lieberman asserted that there is wide support in Congress for using all means to keep Iran from becoming a nuclear power, including “through military actions if we must.” Graham was equally explicit: “The Congress has Israel’s back,” he said.

More recently, 47 House Republicans have signed onto H.R. 1553 declaring “support for Israel’s right to use all means necessary to confront and eliminate nuclear threats posed by Iran … including the use of military force.”

The power of the Likud Lobby, especially in an election year, facilitates Netanyahu’s attempts to convince those few of his colleagues who need convincing that there may never be a more auspicious time to bring about “regime change” in Tehran.

And, as we hope your advisers have told you, regime change, not Iranian nuclear weapons, is Israel’s primary concern.

If Israel’s professed fear that one or two nuclear weapons in Iran’s arsenal would be a game changer, one would have expected Israeli leaders to jump up and down with glee at the possibility of seeing half of Iran’s low enriched uranium shipped abroad.

Instead, they dismissed as a “trick” the tripartite deal, brokered by Turkey and Brazil with your personal encouragement, that would ship half of Iran’s low enriched uranium outside Tehran’s control.

The National Intelligence Estimate

The Israelis have been looking on intently as the U.S. intelligence community attempts to update, in a “Memorandum to Holders,” the NIE of November 2007 on Iran’s nuclear program. It is worth recalling a couple of that Estimate’s key judgments:

“We judge with high confidence that in fall of 2003 Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program. … We assess with moderate confidence Tehran has not restarted its nuclear program as of mid-2007, but we do not know whether it currently intends to develop nuclear weapons …”

Earlier this year, public congressional testimony by former Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair (February 1 & 2) and Defense Intelligence Agency Director Gen. Ronald Burgess with Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. James Cartwright (April 14) did not alter those key judgments.

Blair and others continued to underscore the intelligence community’s agnosticism on one key point: as Blair put it earlier this year, “We do not know if Iran will eventually decide to build a nuclear weapon.”

The media have reported off-the-cuff comments by Panetta and by you, with a darker appraisal — with you telling Israeli TV “… all indicators are that they [the Iranians] are in fact pursuing a nuclear weapon;” and Panetta telling ABC, “I think they continue to work on designs in that area [of weaponization].”

Panetta hastened to add, though, that in Tehran, “There is a continuing debate right now as to whether or not they ought to proceed with the bomb.”

Israel probably believes it must give more weight to the official testimony of Blair, Burgess, and Cartwright, which dovetail with the earlier NIE, and the Israelis are afraid that the long-delayed Memorandum to Holders of the 2007 NIE will essentially affirm that Estimate’s key judgments.

Our sources tell us that an honest Memorandum to Holders is likely to do precisely that, and that they suspect that the several-months-long delay means intelligence judgments are being “fixed” around the policy — as was the case before the attack on Iraq.

One War Prevented

The key judgments of the November 2007 NIE shoved an iron rod into the wheel spokes of the Dick Cheney-led juggernaut rolling toward war on Iran. The NIE infuriated Israel leaders eager to attack before President Bush and Vice President Cheney left office. This time, Netanyahu fears that issuance of an honest Memorandum might have similar effect.

Bottom line: more incentive for Israel to pre-empt such an Estimate by striking Iran sooner rather than later.

Last week’s announcement that U.S. officials will meet next month with Iranian counterparts to resume talks on ways to arrange higher enrichment of Iranian low enriched uranium for Tehran’s medical research reactor was welcome news to all but the Israeli leaders.

In addition, Iran reportedly has said it would be prepared to halt enrichment to 20 percent (the level needed for the medical research reactor), and has made it clear that it looks forward to the resumption of talks.

Again, an agreement that would send a large portion of Iran’s LEU abroad would, at a minimum, hinder progress toward nuclear weapons, should Iran decide to develop them. But it would also greatly weaken Israel’s scariest rationale for an attack on Iran.

Bottom line: with the talks on what Israel’s leaders earlier labeled a “trick” now scheduled to resume in September, incentive builds in Tel Aviv for the Israelis to attack before any such agreement can be reached.

We’ll say it again: the objective is regime change. Creating synthetic fear of Iranian nuclear weapons is simply the best way to “justify” bringing about regime change. Worked well for Iraq, no?

Another War in Need of Prevention

A strong public statement by you, personally warning Israel not to attack Iran would most probably head off such an Israeli move. Follow-up might include dispatching Adm. Mullen to Tel Aviv with military-to-military instructions to Israel: Don’t Even Think of It.

In the wake of the 2007 NIE, President Bush overruled Vice President Cheney and sent Adm. Mullen to Israel to impart that hard message. A much-relieved Mullen arrived home that spring sure of step and grateful that he had dodged the likelihood of being on the end of a Cheney-inspired order for him to send U.S. forces into war with Iran.

This time around, Mullen returned with sweaty palms from a visit to Israel in February 2010. Ever since, he has been worrying aloud that Israel might mousetrap the U.S. into war with Iran, while adding the obligatory assurance that the Pentagon does have an attack plan for Iran, if needed.

In contrast to his experience in 2008, though, Mullen seemed troubled that Israel’s leaders did not take his warnings seriously.

While in Israel, Mullen insisted publicly that an attack on Iran would be “a big, big, big problem for all of us, and I worry a great deal about the unintended consequences.”

After his return, at a Pentagon press conference on Feb. 22 Mullen drove home the same point. After reciting the usual boilerplate about Iran being “on the path to achieve nuclear weaponization” and its “desire to dominate its neighbors,” he included the following in his prepared remarks:

“For now, the diplomatic and the economic levers of international power are and ought to be the levers first pulled. Indeed, I would hope they are always and consistently pulled. No strike, however effective, will be, in and of itself, decisive.”

Unlike younger generals — David Petraeus, for example — Adm. Mullen served in the Vietnam War. That experience is probably what prompts asides like this: “I would remind everyone of an essential truth: War is bloody and uneven. It’s messy and ugly and incredibly wasteful …”

Although the immediate context for that remark was Afghanistan, Mullen has underscored time and again that war with Iran would be a far larger disaster. Those with a modicum of familiarity with the military, strategic and economic equities at stake know he is right.

Other Steps

In 2008, after Mullen read the Israelis the riot act, they put their pre-emptive plans for Iran aside. With that mission accomplished, Mullen gave serious thought to ways to prevent any unintended (or, for that matter, deliberately provoked) incidents in the crowded Persian Gulf that could lead to wider hostilities.

Mullen sent up an interesting trial balloon at a July 2, 2008, press conference, when he indicated that military-to-military dialogue could “add to a better understanding” between the U.S. and Iran. But nothing more was heard of this overture, probably because Cheney ordered him to drop it.

It was a good idea — still is. The danger of a U.S.-Iranian confrontation in the crowded Persian Gulf has not been addressed, and should be. Establishment of a direct communications link between top military officials in Washington and Tehran would reduce the danger of an accident, miscalculation, or covert, false-flag attack.

In our view, that should be done immediately — particularly since recently introduced sanctions assert a right to inspect Iranian ships. The naval commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards reportedly has threatened “a response in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz,” if anyone tries to inspect Iranian ships in international waters.

Another safety valve would result from successful negotiation of the kind of bilateral “incidents-at-sea” protocol that was concluded with the Russians in 1972 during a period of relatively high tension.

With only interim nobodies at the helm of the intelligence community, you may wish to consider knocking some heads together yourself and insisting that it finish an honest Memorandum to Holders of the 2007 NIE by mid-August — recording any dissents, as necessary.

Sadly, our former colleagues tell us that politicization of intelligence analysis did not end with the departure of Bush and Cheney…and that the problem is acute even at the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, which in the past has done some of the best professional, objective, tell-it-like-it-is analysis.

Pundits, Think Tanks: Missing the Point

As you may have noticed, most of page one of Sunday’s Washington Post Outlook section was given to an article titled, “A Nuclear Iran: Would America Strike to Prevent It? — Imagining Obama’s Response to an Iranian Missile Crisis.”

Page five was dominated by the rest of the article, under the title “Who will blink first when Iran is on the brink?”

A page-wide photo of a missile rolling past Iranian dignitaries on a reviewing stand (reminiscent of the familiar parades on Red Square) is aimed at the centerfold of the Outlook section, as if poised to blow it to smithereens.

Typically, the authors address the Iranian “threat” as though it endangers the U.S., even though Secretary Clinton has stated publicly that this is not the case. They write that one option for the U.S. is “the lonely, unpopular path of taking military action lacking allied consensus.” O Tempora, O Mores!

In less than a decade, wars of aggression have become nothing more than lonely, unpopular paths.

What is perhaps most remarkable, though, is that the word Israel is nowhere to be found in this very long article. Similar think pieces, including some from relatively progressive think tanks, also address these issues as though they were simply bilateral U.S.-Iranian problems, with little or no attention to Israel.

Guns of August?

The stakes could hardly be higher. Letting slip the dogs of war would have immense repercussions. Again, we hope that Adm. Mullen and others have given you comprehensive briefings on them.

Netanyahu would be taking a fateful gamble by attacking Iran, with high risk to everyone involved. The worst, but conceivable case, has Netanyahu playing — unintentionally — Dr. Kevorkian to the state of Israel.

Even if the U.S. were to be sucked into a war provoked by Israel, there is absolutely no guarantee that the war would come out well.

Were the U.S. to suffer significant casualties, and were Americans to become aware that such losses came about because of exaggerated Israeli claims of a nuclear threat from Iran, Israel could lose much of its high standing in the United States.

There could even be an upsurge in anti-Semitism, as Americans conclude that officials with dual loyalties in Congress and the executive branch threw our troops into a war provoked, on false pretenses, by Likudniks for their own narrow purposes.

We do not have a sense that major players in Tel Aviv or in Washington are sufficiently sensitive to these critical factors.

You are in position to prevent this unfortunate, but likely chain reaction. We allow for the possibility that Israeli military action might not lead to a major regional war, but we consider the chances of that much less than even.

Footnote: VIPS Experience

We VIPS have found ourselves in this position before. We prepared our first Memorandum for the President on the afternoon of February 5, 2003 after Colin Powell’s speech at the UN.

We had been watching how our profession was being corrupted into serving up faux intelligence that was later criticized (correctly) as “uncorroborated, contradicted, and nonexistent” — adjectives used by former Senate Intelligence Committee chair Jay Rockefeller after a five-year investigation by his committee.

As Powell spoke, we decided collectively that the responsible thing to do was to try to warn the President before he acted on misguided advice to attack Iraq. Unlike Powell, we did not claim that our analysis was “irrefutable and undeniable.” We did conclude with this warning:

“After watching Secretary Powell today, we are convinced that you would be well served if you widened the discussion … beyond the circle of those advisers clearly bent on a war for which we see no compelling reason and from which we believe the unintended consequences are likely to be catastrophic.”

We take no satisfaction at having gotten it right on Iraq. Others with claim to more immediate expertise on Iraq were issuing similar warnings. But we were kept well away from the wagons circled by Bush and Cheney.

Sadly, your own Vice President, who was then chair of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, was among the most assiduous in blocking opportunities for dissenting voices to be heard. This is part of what brought on the worst foreign policy disaster in our nation’s history.

We now believe that we may also be right on (and right on the cusp of) another impending catastrophe of even wider scope — Iran — on which another President, you, are not getting good advice from your closed circle of advisers.

They are probably telling you that, since you have privately counseled Prime Minister Netanyahu against attacking Iran, he will not do it. This could simply be the familiar syndrome of telling the President what they believe he wants to hear.

Quiz them; tell them others believe them to be dead wrong on Netanyahu. The only positive here is that you — only you — can prevent an Israeli attack on Iran.

Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

Ray Close, Directorate of Operations, Near East Division, CIA (26 years)

Phil Giraldi, Directorate of Operations, CIA (20 years)

Larry Johnson, Directorate of Intelligence, CIA; Department of State, Department of Defense consultant (24 years)

W. Patrick Lang, Col., USA, Special Forces (ret.); Senior Executive Service: Defense Intelligence Officer for Middle East/South Asia, Director of HUMINT Collection, Defense Intelligence Agency (30 years)

Ray McGovern, US Army Intelligence Officer, Directorate of Intelligence, CIA (30 years)

Coleen Rowley, Special Agent and Minneapolis Division Counsel, FBI (24 years)

Ann Wright, Col., US Army Reserve (ret.), (29 years); Foreign Service Officer, Department of State (16 years)

Editor's NOTE:

Some readers may not yet be aware that Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman is behaviorly a Zionist Israeli intelligence "cut-out" with more loyalty to the Jewish state than the United States. He has formed close friendships with Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham both of whom are fellow Zionist sympathizer's. All three would have no problem with the US and Israel commencing a hot war with Iran which must be avoided as Iran presents absolutely no existential threat to the United States and an armed conflict with Iran could devestate the world economy if not result in a nuclear conflagration.

In many ways the Radical Zionist Terrorists (RZT) who currently advocate for war with Iran are the logical polar opposite of the so-called Radical Islamist Terrorists who they hold in such contempt. Both engage in morally illicit behavior in being willing to sacrifice innocent civilians in the pursuit of their political goals.

--Dr. J. P. Hubert

More on Gay "Marriage"

Editor's NOTE:

In response to my editorial comment of yesterday regarding the overturning of the California Proposition 8 ban on Gay "Marriage" several readers have asked that this essay which I penned a while back be posted again in order that they might have access to critical philosophical concepts located therein. This may be seen as a companion piece to what was posted yesterday where a link was provided to the article I wrote for the Intellectual Conservative in 2005.

What of Non-Traditional Marriage?

By: Dr. J. P. Hubert

Over the past several years marked interest has grown in what must for the sake of intellectual honesty be termed non-traditional “marriage.” By this is usually meant “civil unions” or arrangements in which same-sex couples formalize their relationship and in so doing derive the benefits usually reserved for married heterosexual couples. To date, little organized interest has been expressed for other kinds of non-traditional “marriages” such as polygamous ones or those involving animals and humans (bestiality). In any case it has now become necessary to flesh-out the philosophical implications of marriage including the nature of what it means to be a human person and what is meant by “tradition.”

As mathematician/physicist and philosopher Wolfgang Smith has taught, “traditional” when used as an adjective before anything connotes the transcendent not simply ancient or of historical significance. To say that marriage for example is traditionally a life-long commitment between one man and one woman is to say in part that it is based in the transcendent “other” which theists understand as God (being personified from a philosophical perspective); that it “embodies an element of revelation.” According to Smith, a “doctrine is traditional by virtue of the fact that it partakes somewhat of eternity.” In this sense traditional marriage is not only a horizontal but a vertical relationship (metaphysical reality) with God as one of the “partners.”

To develop this concept a bit further, traditional marriage (TM) is a microcosm/reflection of penultimate being that is, non-derivative being in much the same way that man was created in the imago Dei (image of God, Gen. 1:26). Orthodox Catholics understand it as a recapitulation of the Trinity [tri-unity (“3” who’s in one what)] that is the Blessed Trinity—wherein the “two (male and female possessing complementarity) become one flesh” (Gen. 2: 24) in the sense of giving life to a child (the third member of the human triad/family, not simply copulation between the 2 adults). From the perspective of human anthropology (nature or essence) marriage, in a traditional sense can join only one man and one woman in a permanent (covenant in religious terms) or exclusive relationship if it is to retain any semblance of meaning. As such the Traditional marriage union is a metaphysical (outside of space and time) reality as well as a physical one which is unbreakable by human means. It is this facet of traditional marriage which has been expunged in large part from post-modernity by the way.

The notion that individuals of the same sex or that multiple partners (in the sense of the simultaneous pleural marriages practiced by polygamists) could “marry” is to rob the term “traditional” marriage of any real meaning. These and other “unions” such as between humans and animals are non-traditional in the extreme. Not only do they fail to mirror in microcosm the transcendent other (GOD) as understood in Christianity, they for the most part lack complementarity (anatomically at least) as well. While pleural marriage (simultaneous or serial) on an anatomic basis may possess complementarity, it clearly lacks exclusivity. Traditional marriage then for Christians must contain the elements of complementarity and exclusivity. This is true because of the essence of what it means to be human and because traditional marriage has both a vertical and a horizontal dimension, one in space and time; one outside of or beyond it. Unfortunately, the Enlightenment, much of modern philosophy (particularly the Utilitarianism of J. S. Mill) including Cartesian Dualism followed on by Baconian notions of science including Darwinist philosophy (philosophical naturalism) have emptied traditional marriage of its true meaning. The details of these assaults on traditional marriage (TM) are beyond the scope of this short essay. However, suffice it to say that as a result of the above--human nature is no longer considered “fixed.” It is simply assumed that one can create their own nature and for that matter reality itself. This reduces marriage to a completely horizontal “arrangement” of our own making that can be undone at will--resembling something more akin to a business transaction.

Admittedly, the idea that marriage is a recapitulation of the Blessed Trinity is unique to Christianity as it is predicated on a unique and divinely revealed understanding of the nature of God. Both Judaism and Islam which either tacitly or explicitly reject the Blessed Trinity; have historically allowed simultaneous pleural marriage between human beings, (multiple wives with one husband) usually on economic, or other utilitarian grounds including custom. Nevertheless, over time, each has moved away from the practice of polygamy. It is safe to say that no monotheistic religion has endorsed non-traditional marriage between adult human beings of the same sex or between humans and animals presumably because of the issue of lack of complementarity and the recognition that traditional marriage (TM) in order to be legitimate/genuine must contain no impediment to the natural generation of children which would ensue from a lack of complementarity. This is another way of saying that marriage arrangements must not be incompatible with the Natural Law. Procreation--and with it the education and rearing of children--has traditionally been seen as either the primary/only or dual reason for marriage (along with the obvious positive unitive benefit for the spouses). Clearly this is an impossibility in the natural for same-sex and human/animal “unions.” Moreover, incest (parent/child) in recorded history has universally been sanctioned in all of the “3” monotheistic religions at least in part for reasons having to do with complications arising as a direct result of copulation and procreation (genetic disorders for example among other severe psychological problems).

While heterosexual incest is correctly ordered anatomically, it is clearly disordered from the perspective of lacking exclusivity (parents already have or should have a monogamous and exclusive relationship), genetic complications and behavioral problems. Since traditional morality holds that sexual intercourse is proper only within the bounds of marriage, it is apparent that incest could never be morally acceptable. Even in the event of death of one of the marriage partners, incest (sexual relations with one or more of the children) would be immoral on multiple other grounds including on the basis that in doing so, the remaining marriage partner would be guilty of a sin against charity with respect to the children. This would be true even if for some misguided reason the offspring were said to have given “consent.”

Some would argue that while same-sex human or opposite-sex human/animal “unions” are not marriage in the Traditional sense, pleural marriage between for example one man and multiple women should be afforded the designation “traditional marriage.” There is a certain logic to this contention in that complementarity is preserved and with it the ability to procreate. The difficulty comes in that there is no exclusivity of the partners or of their offspring for the biological parents, thus not as organically related families in these arrangements. Such “unions” fail to recapitulate the divine pattern in microcosm and are inherently horizontal in nature; important criteria by which marriage is ultimately to be judged traditional where Christians and most monotheists are concerned. Atheists and agnostics or other nominal or fallen-away theists who embrace traditional marriage presumably do so in a more limited sense, one in which the historical, economic and conventional aspects of heterosexual marriage (in the horizontal sense only) are desired.

There is of course a certain collective wisdom of the ages which supports so-called traditional marriage. It has not been by chance that this kind of marriage has existed as the most frequent marital arrangement in virtually all cultures and time periods. TM has many obvious advantages and arguably the fewest negatives. Pleural marriage is associated with many hardships particularly where it is illegal. Even where polygamy is legal the natural tendency toward conjugal fidelity/exclusivity which is a natural part of human anthropology is difficult if not impossible to suppress and can lead to disastrous problems associated with jealousy of one or more of the spouses for each other. Attempting to preserve an equitable relationship with multiple marriage partners would seem to be an impossible undertaking. It is truly difficult to imagine how one could honor the biblical imperative to treat their neighbor fairly under such a circumstance.

Same-sex “marriages” are perhaps the most difficult to justify philosophically. Not only is there no complementarity of the sexes, statistically there is a high incidence of non-exclusivity of homosexual partners (particularly among men) which exceeds those of heterosexuals in which the marriage is considered a civil contract only and where they are not bound by the notion of indissolubility which comes with traditional marriage through verticality (covenant). If civil contract marriages between heterosexuals are removed from divorce statistics, overall divorce rates are much lower indicating that the problem in heterosexual marriage dissolution lies in the concept of a breakable civil contract. Therefore, in the interest of the common good it would be better to limit marriage to those who intend to form a traditional marriage rather than some other “arrangement” especially same-sex ones. Heterosexual couples considering marriage would be best served by exposure to traditional marriage and all of its obvious benefits since civil contract marriages fair so poorly over the long run.

Not to be underestimated are the potential medical complications predominately among male same-sex couples due to their incompatibility anatomically. For example since anal intercourse is usually involved in male/male same sex “unions”, the columnar lined rectal epithelial mucosa which is not suitable for intercourse (the vaginal mucosa is composed of squamous epithelium and designed for intercourse) is frequently damaged predisposing it to disease including anal warts, HIV/Aids, anal gonorrhea, fissures, fistulae and incontinence etc. Corresponding pathologies are invariably seen in the male partners of those who are frequently sodomized. This should alert us to the fact that something is inherently wrong with anal intercourse (heterosexual or homosexual) even if we had no other way of knowing it—fortunately, a careful study of human anatomy and physiology coupled with an adequate grounding in Aristotelian/Thomistic moral philosophy assures that other ways of knowing do exist.

As the reader may have deduced, from the moral perspective, traditional marriage follows the general construct that the “ought” should follow the “is” meaning that the proper moral formulation should flow from the reality of being in this case the human anthropology (including anatomical complementarity and the deep desire of human beings for exclusivity) of the partners. Only if one assumes that human nature is an accident, evolving or otherwise irrelevant would the nature of human being not be of critical consideration. According to the Aristotelian/Thomistic synthesis human nature is fixed not evolving, meaning it is unchangeable by man. As a result only traditional marriage as described herein can be judged morally licit. All other so-called “arrangements” would lack one or more necessary key elements in order to be considered marriages at all, or traditional marriages in particular--including polygamist ones which are closer to traditional marriages than are those between individuals of the same sex. Despite this reality, it is noteworthy that public (political) pressure in the West is increasingly in favor of same sex “marriage” rather than polygamous ones, a fact which given the realities of human anthropology is difficult to comprehend. While neither should be legalized in the interest of the common good, polygamist “marriages” are less deranged from the perspective of the natural law than are those of a homosexual nature.

The most commonly proffered justification for same-sex “marriage” is that each human person should have the “right” (a claim advanced on society; the result of a personal choice) based on Western notions of freedom, equality and autonomy to marry anyone they wish. Given the necessary elements of traditional marriage as herein defined, it is clear that same-sex “marriage” could never be considered marriage in any meaningful sense without doing damage to the English language and thousands of years of history including that which is common to all “3” monotheistic religions presently encompassing the vast majority of global inhabitants.

In helping to focus the morality involved in non-traditional marriage some critical questions might be waged as follows;

To what extent should individuals be allowed freedom to act if those actions debase the common good and transgress established moral norms?

Only if no harm (direct or indirect) is done to other individuals and or the common good.

Do we as individuals have a moral responsibility to act personally in ways which are compatible with and enhancing of the common good?


Does personal freedom include the ability to act in ways which while not directly or immediately harmful to others are nonetheless indirectly so and eventually very injurious to the common good?


It is clearly in the common good for healthy life-long marriages between one man and one woman to be strongly encouraged if not codified in law. Moreover, it is beyond doubt in the best interest of our children to be reared in stable, two parent biological families. The sociological data strongly establish that this is the case irrespective of protestations to the contrary by those who advocate for non-traditional marriage.

Moreover, certain behaviors are not only immoral but have been made illegal as well. This is to protect individuals from injury and to insure the common good. Murder is both immoral and illegal as is rape for good reason. While homosexual activity and sexual activity with multiple sex partners is not illegal throughout the United States, it is currently illegal for multiple partners to marry (polygamy), for animals and humans to marry and in all but one state for same-sex partners to marry (Massachusetts, Editor's note: since originally written, other states have followed Mass.). The latter reality is extremely regrettable. Since homosexual behavior and sex with multiple partners is immoral and destructive of the common good, non-traditional marriage in these circumstances should remain illegal. Massachusetts should repeal its current same-sex marriage law on the grounds that it represents poor social planning where a commitment to the common good is concerned. The wishes of some individuals especially when they are violative of the natural law should not be allowed to eclipse the interest of the common good. Unfortunately, that is exactly what has transpired in the case of US laws allowing abortion on demand and destructive embryo research.

From a traditional (scholastic) moral philosophical perspective, sex with multiple partners, between humans and animals (bestiality) and between individuals of the same sex are all morally illicit. This is true because of the nature of what it means to be human (unique and fixed human anthropology) and because of the principles of the natural law (they cannot be expunged in the same way that the 4 fundamental forces of physics cannot be denied) which includes complementarity of the sexes. The record of the last half century in the United States stands as a testament to the fact that the natural moral law cannot be revoked—it is immutable. Nothing but misery comes from denying or breaking it particularly on a massive scale e.g. at the level of nation states. Those who are familiar with the so-called perennial philosophy are well aware of this reality. Obviously, those who are steeped in Modern and post-Modern philosophy find this exceedingly difficult to accept.

Therefore, a key question remains; Are non-traditional “marriage” arrangements morally licit?

No, because; they are contrary to the common good and established moral norms including those between heterosexual couples who arrange civil contract marriages. The answer is simple but not easy given post-modern confusion with respect to what constitutes truth, reality and morality. In a pluralistic secular society such as ours, it would be impossible to make heterosexual non-traditional marriages illegal (although they should be discouraged) given the nature of current civil and human rights laws. On the basis of these, proponents of same-sex marriage have made similar appeals the results of which are in flux. From the perspective of the common good of society it would clearly be best if all marriages were “traditional” in the sense utilized herein that is, both vertical and horizontal and understood as a life-long commitment between one man and one woman. The fact that this is not possible in the developed West is a testament to the disadvantageous nature of living in a pluralistic society. This negative development which can be traced to the Enlightenment is extremely regrettable.

Finally, should non-traditional marriage be legalized?

No, it is unwise public policy to legally allow behavior which is; destructive of the common good and contrary to well established moral norms. The balance between individual desires on the part of individuals and the common good is too tipped in favor of the individual to the detriment of society.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Problem with Gay “Marriage” Bans

Editorial Comment by Dr. J. P. Hubert

The ruling yesterday by Judge Vaughn Walker in which he overturned California’s Proposition 8 banning homosexual “Marriage” is but another in the long line of those being issued by an American Judicial system steeped in Legal Positivism (Pragmatism). As I wrote several years ago for the Intellectual Conservative, December 2005 in “The ‘Fruits’ of Legal Positivism: Utilitarianism in Action”:

“For over 60 years, the United States Supreme Court has progressively departed from what was primarily a Natural Law based understanding of its role in constitutional interpretation…That construct utilized the constitution as written, relying on the so-called original intent or a strict constructionist interpretation as a template upon which the tenets of the Natural Law were traced. For almost 100 years, the USSC has embraced Legal Positivism, in which no immutable moral principles are recognized, including the first and second principles of the Natural Law (do good/ avoid evil and treat your neighbor fairly).

…The only unifying principle allowed to permeate legal positivism is personal autonomy or choice, itself an expression of ‘survival of the fittest’ (read selfishness) which has become the new judicial rallying cry. Thus it follows that virtually any new social/cultural experiment can be codified into law by the Supreme Court even if such a law could never be passed by the representatives of the people who still adhere largely to the principles of the Natural Law and the Judeo-Christian Ethic (e.g. Proposition 8 banning homosexual “marriage”). Why? Because the court is simply not restrained or controlled by the observance of any moral absolutes.

…Legal Positivism or pragmatism -- developed by Oliver Wendell Holmes and those who followed… is based entirely on a Secularist worldview in which the controlling moral philosophy is utilitarian… American Jurisprudence is now held hostage to an alien judicial philosophy based not on the Natural Law or the Judeo-Christian ethic, but rather on the post-Enlightenment philosophies of Mill, Hume, Rousseau, Locke, Hobbes and Darwin.

Legal Positivism reduced to the lowest common denominator is the application of Darwinian Natural Selection (survival of the fittest) to a constantly changing moral code based on personal preference or “choice” in the realm of the civil law. Under this rubric, moral absolutes do not really exist, since morality in general is determined by what is socially acceptable at a given period of time in history…

…it is assumed that if Congress passes a law, the USSC has the right to determine whether it is constitutional and morally permissible, as if the two were synonymous. It is simply presumed a priori that nothing which the court could declare constitutional for whatever reason could ever be immoral, despite obvious examples to the contrary. The entire process becomes an exercise in debate over second order questions without any first order foundation. Put differently, there is no transcendent -- in the metaphysical sense -- referent by which the moral licitness of a given law can be compared. Laws become whatever society at a given point in history wants them to be. The function of the Supreme Court then becomes one of “divining” what Americans presently think, feel or want, what common assumptions they have become accustomed to making and so on. Then a majority of Justices create a way or tactic -- whether logically coherent or not - -to justify the conclusion which they have already made. In the process, to a greater or lesser degree they attempt to demonstrate how the Constitution actually contains the warrant for their findings.

…the moral licitness of any law is a totally separate question from whether it is constitutional; irrespective of whether it is or is not consistent with “original constitutional intent.” The original intent of a given law may always have been morally illicit from the perspective of the Natural Law, the Judeo-Christian Ethic, and the common morality. It may even have been immoral by virtue of any other applicable moral philosophy -- even utilitarianism. For example, slavery was arguably immoral by the Natural Law/Judeo-Christian Ethic, but yet was not originally considered unconstitutional. It is difficult today for most people to believe that African-Americans were once considered property. Slavery was codified in law, however, because even from the beginning of the American experiment, the civil law was not based entirely on the Natural Law. Utilitarian moral thinking began very early to insinuate its way from the Continent into the colonial experience.

We are left to believe, according to the tenets of legal positivism, that during the period in question, slavery was permissible and constitutional because it was commonly accepted, economically based and people were accustomed to it. At a later date, the “situation” changed and a different set of assumptions obtained. It also means that if in the future it becomes expedient for slavery to once again exist, the Supreme Court could again reverse itself and legalize slavery based on race, religion, class or any other criterion thought to be of utility. The reason this is so is that there are no absolute moral proscriptions which undergird the civil law according to the rubrics of legal positivism…

…It is simply moronic to believe that constitutional law exists without a pre-philosophy, a set of fundamental assumptions or overarching principle(s). Every discipline has a set of so-called pre-philosophical assumptions, also known as first-order philosophical questions/presumptions. For example, the question of what the law is in a metaphysical sense actually involves a first order philosophical question and is not a legal question at all. Every Senator who serves as an interlocutor on the Judiciary Committee and each USSC nominee who appears in the confirmation process have a “pre-philosophy” with regard to what the civil law should be grounded in, as well as a specific judicial/constitutional philosophy (e.g. original intent vs: an evolving constitutional standard). It unfortunately has become acceptable to simply deny this (as Judge John Roberts did at his confirmation hearing), as if the Supreme Court is able to divine the proper ruling virtually out of “thin air” without regard to first principles.

Social Darwinism Replaces Transcendent Truths

What we have done then as a culture over the past half century is to codify in the civil law, a legal system which is not only productive of illogical and contradictory rulings, but one which is totally arbitrary and grounded in the principles of social Darwinism rather than immutable truths. Decades ago it was incumbent upon those who understood -- that the USSC was attempting to radically alter the moral philosophical basis which had been foundational to the U.S. constitutional system -- to rise up and object in the strongest terms rather than remaining mute by “playing the game.” Had this been done in the mid-twentieth century, the present deceptive system for confirming a Supreme Court Justice would not exist. The result of failing to do so has meant that the entire process is now nothing more than a pretense in which interested candidates must either actively or passively agree to be involved in evil as a means to the potentially good end of being placed on the Supreme Court, the very definition of Utilitarianism. Such a circumstance is incompatible with the truth that should be at the foundational center of justice and is not simply a matter of the Supreme Court legislating from the bench. Legislating by the rule of the majority in a way which is contrary to the Natural Law is also immoral. Rather than fairness, consistency and equality before the law, the present system is capricious and inherently unjust. It typifies a “might makes right” mentality achieved either through a tyranny of the majority at the ballot box, the appellate court or Supreme Court level as demonstrated in 5-4 decisions. Truth is the very last thing which is served under such a system and once truth is sacrificed at the alter of expediency, justice is vacated as well.

With respect to the USSC, the issue is not judicial activism alone (the court usurping the role of the legislature), nor is it a failure to adhere to stare decisis, original intent or a Strict Constructionist methodology. It is the failure of both the legislative and the judicial branches (but especially the USSC) to adhere to the immutable principles of the Natural Law as codified in the Judeo-Christian Ethic. Until this issue can be discussed vis-a-vis the foundational philosophical problem that it is; rather than the straw man indictment which labels it “a private or deeply held religious belief,” our laws will remain unjust and no one in America will be safe from tyranny. The fact that our laws are no longer based on the common morality which flows from the Natural Law as historically contained in the Judeo-Christian ethic [and later common law] is ultimately a philosophical not fundamentally religious problem. Once this is widely recognized we can then make progress in reforming the U. S. Supreme Court, something all true conservatives should be interested in.”
read original article HERE…

No Agreement on Right and Wrong:

A ban such as California's Proposition 8 on homosexual “marriage” presupposes of course that the question is a judicial or elective one rather than foundationally a moral philosophical one. Even more fundamentally; by what set of criteria are Americans to judge the moral licitness of issues of public policy? In contemporary America there are none. In fact there is absolutely no agreement at all among the ruling class in the United States about what is morally right or wrong. These kinds of questions are simply never addressed. With the elite's use of the Hegelian dialectic in which the populace is being force-fed a lethal dose of right/left diatribes by the corporate fawning media, there would be too much polarization for there ever to be agreement on societal moral (immutable) norms.

Human Nature is Fixed:

Rather than utilizing a natural law based paradigm in which human anthropology is assumed to be fixed and in which the “ought” (of moral philosophical questions) becomes necessarily circumscribed by the “is” of human nature, legal pragmatism assumes that human nature is elastic, that there are no immutable moral norms and that moral questions are really not moral in any actual sense at all. This is the sine-qua-non of utilitarian legal pragmatism. From the perspective of legal pragmatism, the first order question of how one determines right or wrong is simply irrelevant. Most Americans would be surprised to find out that while they must live as if there were fixed moral norms the legislature and the judiciary do not.

According to the Utilitarian calculus undergirding the legal pragmatism currently in vogue, the judiciary and the legislative avenues exist to normalize/sanction whatever behavior is desired by a suitably powerful subset of the populace. At the present time, it is popular to normalize personal behaviors which are contrary to the natural moral law only because a powerful vocal minority of Americans wishes that to be the case. Under this rubric questions of right and wrong reduce to the vocalized desires of politically powerful interest groups which of course change from time to time and place to place.

What About the Common Good?:

The argument which appears to have won the day is that it is unfair or unjust for some persons to be able to derive the benefits of the married state and not others simply because of their personal sexual habits/preferences. It is not enough that individuals are allowed to behave in virtually any way they desire in the privacy of their own homes even if doing so is contrary to the natural moral law--which is nevertheless legal. No consideration has been given to the ways in which the common good of society will or will not be affected by the broad legalization of gay “marriage.” Advocates cite the short-term absence of social problems since gay marriages were first allowed in California as if long-term follow-up data is unnecessary in adequately evaluating the results.

What are the Goods of Marriage?:

No discussion has ensued regarding what the "goods" of marriage actually are--the primary purpose of which is the producing and rearing of children--or the sociological data which establishes that children are best raised in 2 heterosexual parent families. Obviously the fact that the US allows divorce on demand suggests that the primary purpose of marriage was not considered in fashioning contemporary divorce laws. For similar reasons, there is a movement to normalize childhood adoption by homosexual couples and single adults. This is in contradistinction to the fact that society has a vested interest in ensuring that the common good is enhanced.

What is in a Word?/Utopian Disreality:

Homosexual "marriage" and adoption is inherently incapable of contributing to the common good as that term has been traditionally used due to the incompatibility (lack of complementarity) which exists in the human nature's of same-sex couples. While various legal "arrangements" can be entered into by same-sex couples as they admittedly are by heterosexuals who contract civil (non-covenant) marriages, they can never be marriages in the traditional (where marriage symbolizes the coming together of male and female to produce another, the triad of which represents an image of the Sacred Trinity) sense where anatomic, physiologic and genetic factors are prerequisites. To arbitrarily define them as such in the law is to deny the very nature of what it means to be human, male and female. This reality will seem harsh to many but epistemologically it is undeniable.

Advocates of same-sex "marriage" if honest will be forced to admit that they desire to engage in such "arrangements" despite the inherent dis-reality involved. Doing so is to engage in positing a false reality, a utopian metaphysical unreality if you will, a worldview based not on the truth of what is but on the falsehood of what is not. In that regard the USSC (e.g. Justice Kennedy) has written essentially that each citizen is entitled to establish their own reality as if a human being has the power to determine metaphysical truths anymore than those of a physical nature as determined by universal physical laws. No one would posit the latter, but the former is currently being advanced by the USSC. The fact that Justice Kennedy was not harangued by the academic establishment for positing such an irrational concept should suffice to document that legal pragmatism has overtaken the US judiciary at least at the level of the USSC.

The American judiciary utilizing the theory of legal pragmatism is engaged in making legal what is proscribed by the natural moral law in so doing hoping to alter the “common morality” in such a way as to baptize it as if its advocates embraced the natural moral law and the notion of immutable moral norms which they of course do not. This is hypocrisy of the first order (first deny the natural moral law and once the civil law is changed behave as if it exists since whatever is legal is assumed to be moral).

What is the Ultimate Limit?:

Why should anyone believe that homosexual “marriage” is any more acceptable than any other currently illegal and immoral practice such as polygamy, pedophilia, pederasty, bestiality? Surely there are a not negligible number of individuals who desire to partake in these activities based on the crime statistics which are available--and with the marked deterioration in moral climate in the West there are likely to be more not less as time marches on. All of these practices however are contrary to the natural moral law as is homosexual practice and
homosexual “marriage.” Can we not assume that an equally powerful subset of our population will eventually advocate for the changing of these laws as well, and on what basis could it be denied if individuals came forward who wished to engage in these activities, label them marriage and derive marital benefits. According to the judicial theory of legal pragmatism any of these are worthy of being made legal for the exact same reasons being utilized to justify gay “marriage.”

The reality is that Americans simply refuse to engage in a debate about how to determine right and wrong. The unstated reality is that if a practice or behavior can be made legal, it is immaterial whether it violates the natural moral law or the wishes and belief structure of a majority of citizens. All that matters is that the special interest group who desires the change is satisfied. We prefer to settle all such issues by making laws which either allow or disallow certain practices based upon the exercise of raw political power alone. This is a formula for endless discord and polarization as nothing is ever definitively settled. It is nothing more that “might makes right” a form of judicially insured tyranny.

California’s Proposition 8 is an attempt to solve what is ultimately a moral philosophical problem through the use of the ballot box and the courts. The current trajectory is that homosexual marriage will eventually be legalized in all 50 states and codified in federal law. Given that the judiciary has embraced legal pragmatism, no other outcome is logically possible and therin lies the problem for opponents of gay "marriage." Americans wishing to prevent it will need to wage the battle where it actually belongs on the level of morality, a return to natural law based jurisprudence and not the law as understood through the prism of legal pragmatism. Unfortunately, that ground was surrendered long ago.