Spoils of War
Lebanon's Coming Destruction, Compliments of Hezbollah
From the Washington Post's Tony Shadid: "In a deepening crisis that has paralyzed Lebanese politics, the leader of Hezbollah urged his well-organized followers to prepare for mass protests aimed at toppling the U.S.-backed government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.The order by Hassan Nasrallah, issued in a speech Saturday that was broadcast Sunday, was the latest in a test of wills between Hezbollah and a government that Nasrallah dismissed as more representative of the U.S. ambassador than Siniora. More than a simple political standoff in an always fractious country,
many see the escalating struggle as perhaps the most decisive in Lebanon in a generation. It may determine which forces guide the country for years ahead: the coalition around Siniora that draws its strength from the country's Sunni Muslims, Druze and some Christians and has aligned itself with the United States and Europe, or Hezbollah's Shiite Muslim constituency, backed by Iran and Syria, and its Christian allies represented by a former general." See the full story...
Dr. Strangelove, I
Kissinger Bails on Iraq
Remember this little bit of sermonizing from Kissinger, Strangelove of Vietnam, back in the pages of the Washington Post in January 2005? "
The debate on Iraq is taking a new turn. The Iraqi elections scheduled for Jan. 30, only recently viewed as a culmination, are described as inaugurating a civil war. The timing and the voting arrangements have become controversial. All this is a way of foreshadowing a demand for an exit strategy, by which many critics mean some sort of explicit time limit on the U.S. effort. We reject this counsel." By We he meant Kissinger and George Schultz, who joined him in that by-line. Here's Kissinger's latest, according to the Times: "Former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger, who regularly advises President Bush on Iraq, said today that a full military victory was no longer possible there. He thus joined a growing number of leading conservatives openly challenging the administration’s conduct of the war and positive forecasts for it. “If you mean, by ‘military victory,’ an Iraqi government that can be established and whose writ runs across the whole country, that gets the civil war under control and sectarian violence under control in a time period that the political processes of the democracies will support, I don’t believe that is possible,” Mr. Kissinger told BBC News. [...] Mr. Kissinger, in the BBC interview, said the United States must open
talks with Iraq’s neighbors, pointedly including Iran, if progress is to be achieved in Iraq. Mr. Bush has said the United States is ready for such talks, but only if Iran moves to halt its nuclear enrichment work. American officials say low-level talks with Syria have produced little progress." See the full article...
Dr. Strangelove, II
Rats Jump Bush Ship
From the Washington Post: "The weekend after the statue of Saddam Hussein fell, Kenneth Adelman and a couple of other promoters of the Iraq war gathered at Vice President Cheney's residence to celebrate. The invasion had been the "cakewalk" Adelman predicted. Cheney and his guests raised their glasses, toasting President Bush and victory. "It was a euphoric moment," Adelman recalled. Forty-three months later, the cakewalk looks more like a death march, and Adelman has broken with the Bush team. He had an angry falling-out with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld this fall. He and Cheney are no longer on speaking terms. And he believes that "the president is ultimately responsible" for what Adelman now calls "the debacle that was Iraq." Adelman, a former Reagan administration official and onetime member of the Iraq war brain trust, is only the latest voice from inside the Bush circle to speak out against the president or his policies. Heading into the final chapter of his presidency, fresh from the sting of a midterm election defeat, Bush finds himself with fewer and fewer friends. Some of the strongest supporters of the war have grown disenchanted, former insiders are registering public dissent and Republicans on Capitol Hill blame him for losing Congress." The rest of the story...
Dr. Strangelove, III
In the pantheon of warmongering by any means necessary, there’s Robert Kaplan, there’s, Henry Kissinger, and there’s Joshua Muravchick, the American Enterprise Institute mercenary who used to claim in the 1990s that the Soviet Union fell because Ronald Reagan made it fall. He had an OpEd in the Sunday LA Times urging, now that the midterm elections have produced such a let-down for the GOP, a way back: “We must bomb Iran .” That’s his opening line. Then: “The reality is that we cannot live safely with a nuclear-armed Iran. One reason is terrorism, of which Iran has long been the world's premier state sponsor, through groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah. Now, according to a report last week in London's Daily Telegraph, Iran is trying to take over Al Qaeda by positioning its own man, Saif Adel, to become the successor to the ailing Osama bin Laden. How could we possibly trust Iran not to slip nuclear material to terrorists?” Memo to Muravchick: the day al-Qaeda will let a Shiite take over management of its terrorist affairs is the day Osama will swear himself a devotee of American Idol and become one of its judges. It ain’t gonna happen. Which leaves the Muravchick-Iran axis somewhere between wishful and idiotic. But he goes on: "The only way to forestall these frightening developments is by the use
of force. Not by invading Iran as we did Iraq, but by an air campaign
against Tehran's nuclear facilities. We have considerable information
about these facilities; by some estimates they comprise about 1,500
targets. If we hit a large fraction of them in a bombing campaign that
might last from a few days to a couple of weeks, we would inflict
severe damage. This would not end Iran's weapons program, but it would
certainly delay it." See for yourself…
Our Friends the Pakistanis
Al-Qaeda's Safe Haven
From the Sunday UK Times: "PAKISTAN is allowing Taliban fighters wounded in battles with British
and other Nato forces in Afghanistan to be treated at safe houses. The Sunday Times found Taliban commanders and their fighters recuperating in the city of Quetta last week and moving freely around parts of the city. In a white-walled compound in the northern suburb of Pashtunabad, more than 30 Taliban were recovering from the bloodiest fighting in Afghanistan since their regime was ousted five years ago.
Dressed in neatly pressed robes with the black turbans and kohl-rimmed eyes typical of the Taliban, they lounged on cushions, sipping green tea and sucking at boiled sweets while laughing at Nato reports that they have sustained heavy casualties. Among the most defiant was a young commander who had been shot in the calf last month while fighting British troops in Gereshk, a town in the Afghan province of Helmand, and who had returned to Quetta to be treated. “Fighting the British is as easy as eating a loaf of bread from my hand,” he said in a soft voice. “Fighting the British is much easier than the Americans. They have no faith.” The proof that Taliban are using Quetta for rest and recuperation — if not also for training as widely suspected — is embarrassing for President Pervez Musharraf, who is due to receive Tony Blair, the prime minister, today. Musharraf has long denied claims from the Afghan government that his military intelligence is providing support and safe havens for the Taliban." The full story...
Stamps of Tolerance
From Sophia's Les Politiques: "I am personally against veil wearing for Muslim women who live in the West. But I am also against the degradation of the dress code in western society. Little girls dressed like their moms and mothers dressed like their teenage daughters. I am also against an official ban on the veil except in places where all religious signs are forbidden by law. I contemplate some European countries' recent moves to ban the veil in the name of integration as being as much a provocation as the wearing of the veil is a sign of defiance of western culture from some Muslim women who live in the west. I contemplate also the recent Swedish stamp with two women wearing a veil and another unveiled women and the accompanying text :
"The pictures in the issue do not show the traditional view of a person's interaction with pristine nature. Irina Gebuhr has instead chosen to highlight the relationships between the people depicted on the stamps. For example, a group of immigrant women who are talking with one another and looking out over a lake are shown on the picnic motif. At the stamp's top corner an elk appears, which for many is the very symbol of Swedish nature. It depicts a meeting in nature, but also a dialogue between cultures. Summer by the Lake are Irina Gebuhr's first stamps. […]"
I can't imagine any other western country taking this courageous initiative. Yes, Tolerance requires courage, courage to let artists speak and positive emotions flow to connect us with others, courage to not delve into prejudice, confrontation and the demonisation of the other." See the original post...
|Sweden's latest "Déjeuner sur l'herbe" stamp, and the United States Postal Service's "Eid" stamp, commemorating the Muslim holiday, released on Sept. 1, 2001, and soon subject to calls for a boycott. Thanks also to al-baal.
Destruction of the Navajo, Again
"From 1944 to 1986, 3.9 million tons of uranium ore were dug and blasted from Navajo soil, nearly all of it for America's atomic arsenal. Navajos inhaled radioactive dust, drank contaminated water and built homes using rock from the mines and mills. Many of the dangers persist to this day." A Los Angeles Times four-part series examines the legacy of uranium mining on the Navajo reservation. Part I on Sunday: "During the Cold War, uranium mines left contaminated waste scattered
around the Navajo Nation. Homes built with it silently pulsed with
radiation. People developed cancer. And the U.S. did little to help."
Realities of Death
The value of life has little to do with the value accorded to death, argues Azmi Bishara in the latest issue of Egypt's Al-Ahram. The value accorded death is determined as much by who did the killing as by the identity of the victim: "General Elazar Stern, head of the Israeli army's Human Resources Directorate, said last week that "the Israeli army's hyper-sensitivity over the lives of its soldiers was responsible for some of the failures in the war [in Lebanon]." But you just can't choose to go to war and keep your soldiers safe. You have to say to your soldiers, "this is war and in war you kill and get killed," or if you're Israeli you say, "you kill Arabs and Arabs kill you." This hard and practical knowledge did not, though, prevent other Israeli generals from racing to the microphones to shout down Stern's statement and boast about the lengths to which the Israeli army goes to spare human lives. Israel certainly has a peculiar attitude towards its soldiers' lives. According to its creation myth, Israel was founded to safeguard Jews whose lives were at risk in the Diaspora. The Israeli soldier is a symbol of this. Its attitude has also been influenced by the 1967 War syndrome, the belief that the army can wage war with minimal risk to its own ranks by replaying the strategies used in 1967; massive aerial bombardment, carrying the war deep into enemy territory and exacting a high toll so as to reduce the risk to one's own soldiers." Read the rest...
America's Police State
Taser Barbarism at UCLA
"Here's your Patriot Act, here's your fucking abuse of power": From the L.A. Times: "Hoping to calm the furor created when UCLA police used a Taser to subdue a student studying in Powell Library, the university's acting chancellor announced Friday that a veteran Los Angeles law enforcement watchdog would head up an independent investigation of the incident. Norman Abrams said he ordered the probe after the university received numerous calls and e-mails from parents and alumni raising concerns about the officers' actions during the videotaped Tuesday night arrest, which has been widely seen on TV news and the YouTube website. The move came hours after more than 200 students marched to the UCLA police station calling for an independent investigation into the Taser incident as well as the suspension of the officers involved. [...] Wearing signs reading, "I am a student, don't Taser me" and chanting, "Tasers out of UC," the protesters said it was an inherent conflict of interest for university police to handle the investigation of their own officers. "What was done was unnecessary," said Rahmatullah Akbar, a senior majoring in psychology. "We as students don't deserve to be Tasered." Tuesday's incident occurred about 11 p.m. in a library filled with students studying for midterm examinations. According to the university, Mostafa Tabatabainejad, a 23-year-old senior, was asked for his ID as part of a routine nightly procedure to make sure that everyone using the library after 11 p.m. is a student or otherwise authorized to be there. Campus officials have said the long-standing policy was adopted to ensure students' safety. Authorities said Tabatabainejad refused repeated requests by community service officers and regular campus police to provide identification or to leave. UCLA Police Chief Karl Ross said the officers decided to use the Taser to incapacitate Tabatabainejad after he went limp while they were escorting him out and urged other library patrons to join his resistance. [...] Tabatabainejad is of Iranian descent but is a U.S. citizen by birth and a resident of Los Angeles. The student was shocked five times with the Taser, Yagman said." See the full story...