Archive for August, 2010
Petraeus could oppose 2011 Afghan quagmire pullout
Of course neocon poodle Petraeus opposes Afghan pullout (for neocon Max Boot & company!):
Who Owns General Petraeus (see comments section at bottom of following URL)?:
The US between two wars – Empire
Guardian writer Seumas Milne in that ‘Empire’ broadcast as well:
The US isn’t leaving Iraq, it’s rebranding the occupation
Seumas Milne conveyed that ethnic division was plan for Iraq which fits with what Steve Sniegoski wrote via following URL:
Fragmentation of Iraq Was Israel’s Strategy (by Stephen Sniegoski)
Civil wars in Iran/Afghan quagmires (backdoor to Iran) by Stephen Sniegoski
US wars: People vs Generals by Marwan Bishara
Ron Paul’s statement: “Iraq – An End or an Escalation?”
US Partial Withdrawal from Iraq
Is the US Bankrupt (of course via unnecessary war)?
Boxed into a Corner on Iran
Posted By Philip Giraldi On August 25, 2010 @ 11:00 pm
There has been considerable concern expressed in the media over the date August 21st. It was the day when Russian technicians were to insert the fuel rods to begin the activation of the Iranian nuclear reactor at Bushehr. No less a voice out of the past than John Bolton, UN Ambassador under George W. Bush, called for an immediate attack on the Iranian nuclear facilities before the reactor became operational. Bolton and his neoconservative friends reasoned that no attack against Iran would be “complete” if Bushehr were not taken out as it is part of the broader Iranian nuclear program. In their view, its destruction would have the same impact as the bombing of the Iraqi Osirak reactor by Israel in 1981, which was intended to derail Saddam Hussein’s nuclear ambitions.
Well, the 21st has come and gone and neither Israel nor the United States took the initiative to destroy Bushehr. Indeed, the entire argument about attacking it has something of a surreal quality. Bushehr is not a reactor that can be used to concentrate its fuel, meaning that it can generate electricity but cannot itself produce weapons grade uranium or plutonium. The entire argument about attacking it seems to center on its symbolic value as Iran’s only soon-to-be operating reactor combined with the notion that its fuel could be removed and enriched somewhere else. The reactor is located in a relatively heavily populated coastal area and the demand to hit it before it became operational was based on the possible consequences of having to do so after it is up and running. Destroying an operating reactor would produce considerable radioactive contamination that would devastate a wide area both within Iran and in neighboring countries and would kill many civilians. Comparisons with Chernobyl and Three Mile Island spring to mind. Whoever would bomb and destroy such a target would be vilified by most of the international community, and rightly so. While Israel and the United States both regularly ignore such criticism, the deaths of thousands in a deliberate bombing directed against a country that poses no immediate threat would be a bit hard to explain, even in the New York Times and Washington Post.
To be completely and cold bloodedly serious about the respective positions being staked out by Iran and its chief antagonists in Washington and Tel Aviv, one must first of all remember that Tehran does not currently have a nuclear weapon and there is no real evidence that it even has a program to produce one. It has been basically compliant with the UN inspection regime mandated by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, to which it is a signatory. Nor is there any evidence that the Mullahs are suicidal, suggesting that they would not want to develop a weapon in a secret program at great cost to hand off to terrorists and thereby guarantee the annihilation of their nation and millions of their people. And they have good reason to be just a bit paranoid about their own security. The repeated threats coming out of Israel and the United States that “all options are on the table” with Iran is a not exactly subtle suggestion that many policymakers in both countries consider it perfectly acceptable to begin bombing, all in spite of the fact that it would be an attack on a country based on what might happen without any evidence that there is an actual intention to develop and use a weapon of mass destruction. Bombing a country under those circumstances would be a war crime, one more crime among many.
The real problem is that the public utterances of the policy makers in Washington and Tel Aviv have backed them into a corner, reducing their options and committing them to a policy that has no real attainable objective and makes absolutely no sense. If Iran is a threat at all, which can be disputed, it can be easily contained by either Israel or the United States, both of which have large nuclear and conventional arsenals. Iran is a military midget compared to either country, though admittedly it has the capability to strike back hard in asymmetrical ways if it is attacked.
President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu both appreciate very clearly that Iran does not pose a serious threat and both know that the often cited claim that Tehran has called for wiping Israel off the map is bogus. Such knowledge is widespread even among hawks in Israel, though apparently less so among American neocons. In September 2009 former Israeli Prime Minister and current Minister of Defense Ehud Barak was quoted as saying that “I am not among those who believe Iran is an existential issue for Israel.” A few years earlier, Foreign Minister Livni argued against the idea that a nuclear Iran would be an existential threat. This summer, ex-Mossad chief Ephraim Halevi made the same point and added that speaking of Iran as an existential threat exaggerates Iran’s power and suggests instead the false and dangerous narrative that Israel might be vulnerable.
But in spite of their certain knowledge of the fragility of the Iranian threat, both Obama and Netanyahu have unfortunately let themselves wallow in rhetoric that hypes the danger. If it sounds and smells exactly like the lead up to Iraq, it should. And, like the case of Iraq, the fearmongering does not end with the intemperate comments made by the two leaders. The US Congress with its proposed House Resolution 1553 is engaged in giving the green light for an Israeli attack on Iran, indicating in advance its support for such an action. HR 1553 comes on top of harsh sanctions approved in early July, measures that could lead to US Navy vessels attempting to board Iranian flagged merchant ships. Even tougher sanctions, steps that would almost certainly lead to war are endorsed by many legislators, particularly those who are regarded as close to Israel. Congressman Brad Sherman of California explains “Critics [of the sanctions] argued that these measures will hurt the Iranian people. Quite frankly, we need to do just that.” At least Congress shows consistency when it is knee jerking spasmodically to demonstrate support for Israel. Sherman’s view of Iranians is somewhat similar to his punishing the Gazans for voting for Hamas or pillorying the Turks for trying to send aid to the Palestinians. Or, not so long ago, sending the 500,000 Iraqi children to their deaths à la Madeleine Albright.
And the White House rhetoric blends harmoniously with the congressional ire. President Obama, Vice President Biden, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have all repeatedly stated that Israel is completely free to make its own decisions relating to its security. That assertion presumably plays well in certain quarters, but as an Israeli attack will have to be enabled by the United States they also know that bombing courtesy of Tel Aviv would mean Iranian retaliation directed against American troops in the Middle East. In other words, America’s leaders have abdicated all responsibility for maintaining a rational policy in an unstable part of the world and have instead granted the authority to make key decisions to Israel. How many Americans will die as a result?
Both the Israeli and American people have been prepared for war by all of the truculent noises coming out of Washington and the propaganda appearing in the media. The conversation on Iran, such as it is, has been expressly designed to bring about a war rather than avoid it. The mainstream media disinformation campaign orchestrated by AIPAC has worked just fine. Most Americans already believe incorrectly that Iran has a nuclear weapon and most also support attacking it, a product of the steady diet of hokum that they have been fed. The moral turpitude of America and Israel’s leaders combined with the popular consensus that they have willy-nilly allowed to develop grants the concept of war with Iran a certain inevitability. Former CIA Director Michael Hayden has described the process as “inexorable.”
So we have dodged the bullet on the war that might have begun on August 21st because our leaders really do know that Iran is not a threat and when it came to gut check time were ultimately unwilling to start World War III. But the bomb is still ticking because those selfsame politicians, lacking any sense of true leadership, have set the forces in play that will almost inevitably produce a war. It is somewhat reminiscent of Iraq surely, but it also recalls the 1914 European security environment in which an entangling web of alliances and arrangements virtually guaranteed that a war would take place. The only way to stop the rot is for President Obama to consider for a moment what is good for the United States rather than for his political party’s hold on power. He should act like a true statesman instead of a used car salesman. If he is uncertain how to do that there are a number of good nineteenth century political biographies that he can read up on to learn the ropes. He must stand up before the American people and state simply and unequivocally that Washington opposes any new military action in the Middle East and that the United States is not threatened by Iran and will take no part in any military action directed against it. He might add that the US will further consider anyone staging such an attack as an aggressor nation and will immediately break off relations before demanding a UN Security Council vote to condemn the action. Will that happen? Fat chance.
Read more by Philip Giraldi
Article printed from Antiwar.com Original: http://original.antiwar.com
ISRAEL ORDERS MASSIVE MILITARY FUEL STOCKS
The Israeli Lobby: Declassified Documents Expose Its Influence
Declassified: Massive Israeli manipulation of US media exposed
Commentary: War and peace in Mideast
By ARNAUD DE BORCHGRAVE
UPI Editor at Large
WASHINGTON , Aug. 25 (UPI) — Although the Mideast peace process is important, said Elliott Abrams’ invitation, there is something more important in that part of the world.
“Members of the Friends of Israel initiative are even more concerned about the onslaught of radical Islamism as well as the specter of a nuclear Iran , both of which threaten the entire world,” wrote Abrams, who served in senior positions in two Reagan and three Bush (41 and 43) administrations.
Not exactly a propitious environment for resuming Israeli-Palestinian peace talks despite 19 months of shuttling between the two sides by Special Envoy George Mitchell. For most Arabs in the Middle East and Muslims everywhere, including the United States , the treatment of West Bank Palestinians by Israel was a major contributing factor to 9/11. And for the others, 9/11 was a Mossad-CIA conspiracy to force the United States into a still closer alliance for a global war against terrorists.
Now a senior fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations, Abrams was issuing an invitation to a mid-September lunch and a discussion with the leaders of the “Friends of Israel Initiative,” former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar and former Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo. The only American member mentioned in the invitation is John Bolton, former ambassador to the United Nations and a super hawk who frequently finds himself to the right of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
Anyone who has followed Palestinian peace initiatives closely over the past generation knows that a “contiguous and viable” Palestinian state in a two-state solution with Israel is less viable and less contiguous than at any time in recent memory. Below the radar improvements in Jewish settlements in the West Bank continued throughout the 10-month moratorium decreed by Netanyahu.
Israelis reporters spotted some 600 housing units in 60 settlements (out of 130), including 223 permanent structures, under construction during the moratorium that ends officially Sept. 23. Israel also controls 85 percent of Palestinians’ water aquifer. So to see the emergence of an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank is diplomatic chimera.
But the mirage has kept many peace process professionals going with what psychoanalysts call “spatial IQ,” or an individual’s ability to mentally rotate, flip or piece together images in their imagination without the use of physical objects.
Some 300,000 Jewish settlers in the West Bank aren’t about to see their homes negotiated away to a mythical Palestinian state, in which one of the two principal political parties wants Israel off the map.
Netanyahu has also made clear a Palestinian state would be totally demilitarized and bracketed to the west by an Israeli security belt — in effect the current $2.5 billion hardened barrier that annexed 12.5 percent of Palestinian land — and to the east by an Israeli security belt on the Jordan River, conditions guaranteed to produce a stillborn Palestinian state.
As tensions grow between Iran and Israel , the Mideast focus has gradually shifted yet again from peace to war.
Iran ‘s military theocracy seems to be going out of its way to provoke Israel into attacking its nuclear facilities. ” Iran hails missile launch as symbol of enemy’s defeat,” said a Financial Times headline. Some of Tehran ‘s extremist hotheads may welcome Israeli bombs as an opportunity for general mayhem in the Persian Gulf and what they believe would be a chance to seize the leadership from traditional, hereditary regimes that rely on U.S. naval and air dominance to prevail in the gulf.
Iran ‘s latest military bragging rights came in the form of a missile with “new technical features and unique tactical capabilities,” Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said. The local television demonstration coincided with the activation of Iran ‘s first nuclear power plant after three decades of delay when the Soviet Union and then Russia had its foot on the brake.
Russian uranium is the key ingredient to generate 1,000 megawatts of electricity. Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran ‘s Atomic Energy Organization, said the Bushehr plant’s activation is “a thorn in the eye of ill-wishers” at a time of tightening U.N. economic and financial sanctions.
Today, said Salehi, the new missile “has turned into the symbol of the defeat of the enemy’s strategy and will.” U.S. officials say they believe Iran has enough fissile material to build two nuclear weapons, which Tehran denies vociferously. It’s only aim, Iran keeps repeating for an increasingly skeptical Western opinion, is the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
With Turkey , India , Japan , China and South Korea still making lucrative trade deals with Iran , President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his clerical and military supervisors scoff at the U.N.’s fourth round of sanctions.
Netanyahu isn’t willing to wait for the first unguided Iranian missile to strike Israel . The Obama administration has used its most powerful voices to quietly dissuade Israel from starting something the United States will have to cope with from the Strait of Hormuz to Kuwait to the entire length of the Iran-Iraq border. Iran ‘s asymmetrical response is bound to impact U.S. interests from Oman through Abu Dhabi , Dubai , Qatar , Bahrain , Saudi Arabia , Kuwait and Iraq . Iran can also cause major trouble for the U.S. and NATO forces in western Afghanistan .
Thus, the United States could suddenly find itself involved in three wars — instead of one in Afghanistan , which U.S. President Barack Obama is attempting to wind down. But any kind of an Israeli raid against Iran ‘s nuclear facilities is bound to put more than financial markets into a tailspin.
Anthony Cordesman , one of America ‘s pre-eminent strategic thinkers, says the United States will remain dependent on imports for roughly 40 percent of its liquid fuels in 2035. So shoring up the gulf’s defenses against Iran ‘s asymmetrical threats remains an urgent U.S. priority.
Some $50 billion in new U.S. arms sales to the Saudis, including 84 new Boeing F-15s, 60 Apache gunships, 72 Black Hawks, upgrading 70 existing Saudi F-15s and Patriot missile batteries, will ensure Saudi dominance over the Persian Gulf for the next decade. But it will be five to 10 years before the Saudis assimilate all this hardware. Until then, it will be up to what is still the world’s only superpower, fed up though its people are with foreign military entanglements.
Is the US Bankrupt (of course via unnecessary war)?
U.S. Is Bankrupt and We Don’t Even Know It: Laurence Kotlikoff
US bankruptcy (must watch RT interview!):
True Cost of Iraq War (three trillion & beyond)
The Economic Crisis and the Hidden Cost of the Wars
The Cost of War: Are Americans disconnected from the country’s wars?
New Study: US wars (4/because of Israel) to cost 6 trillion
‘US huge war costs exclude injured’
Veterans healths costs could top 900 billion
Was Iraq Worth It?
$9 billion meant for restoration lost in Iraq:
Was Iraq Worth It?:
US becoming a Third World country?
Iran war & Depression:
Professor Paul Sheldon Foote on Press TV: Obama’s 50 billion stimulus is another fraud
Cutting Through the Media’s Bogus Bomb-Iran Debate
A Neocon Preps US for War with Iran
The War Party is beating the drums again
REPRESENTATIVE RON PAUL, (R) TEXAS: Thank you. Good to be with you.
GUPTA: Now, I read your article. You say this whole issue is really an issue about property rights and everything else is, quote, “really about hate in Islamophobia.
But, you know, I want to start by asking, is what happened on September 11th, nine years ago different? The worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil, are there certain lines to be drawn even when it comes to this property rights issue?
PAUL: No, you should draw lines, but I think the lines are being drawn improperly. Al Qaeda was responsible. Several hundred al Qaeda existed at that time and maybe there are still several hundred more.
Bu that doesn’t mean the whole Muslim religion should be indicted that was my complaint. I mean, McVeigh probably was a Christian, and he bombed the Oklahoma Federal Building. But does mean that a Christian church can’t be built near there, and Christianity is to blame?
I don’t like that broad brush. So yes, the violence was committed by al Qaeda and they’re bad people and we should do what we can to destroy them, but that doesn’t mean that we should destroy the whole concept of the Muslim religion.
And if they can bring this out, whether the mosque is stopped or not, the implication here is that Islam caused 9/11, not a narrow branch of the Al Qaeda. To me, that is crucial, because it deals with our foreign policy, it deals with — even in that clip earlier on, Madeleine Albright admitted, she said, well, 500,000 people are killed so be it if that’s what it takes. So the Muslim have justification for, you know, their worries and concerns.
GUPTA: Do you — I mean, there’s a lot of pain and anguish I think from people who are worried about this — this Islamic center being built here. Do you see that point of view at all?
PAUL: To worry about it? Well, I worry about it because I’m afraid it stirs up hatred. That’s why I worry about it. I mean, there’s — and I think they’re off on a tangent.
I think the purpose was too often to just blame Islam, but there are other mosques in that area. This is not on — you know, right where the towers were. This is over — not too far down the street, but what about the strip joints?
Are these people who are holier than though condemning the strip joints nearby because it defames Ground Zero? I don’t think that’s the consistency. I think this goal was to blame Islam for 9/11 and I think that is wrong. I don’t think that was the cause. Al Qaeda did it.
GUPTA: And you talk about the fact that a lot of the Islamophobia. I mean, your son, Rand Paul is running for U.S. Senate in Kentucky is opposed to this facility being built. Is he Islamophobic?
PAUL: Well, I don’t know what his position is, but he’s certainly not Islamophobic. I don’t know his details, he speaks for himself. He has a different position, but I wouldn’t put him in that category, no. But I think the emotions are high, and people –
GUPTA: I mean, the reason –
PAUL: — are lining up on each side.
GUPTA: The reason I asked, Congressman, because in your article you talked about the fact that this really is a property rights issue, but you believe a lot of the extraneous issues are due to hate speech and due to Islamophobia, which is why I asked the question specifically about your son. I know you’re not speaking for him, but I wonder if you put him in that same category.
PAUL: I don’t put everybody who’s a candidate in that same category that might have a reason for. You would have to ask him for his reason. But, no, everybody who’s opposing it doesn’t even understand the foreign policy or why we’re in Iraq and Afghanistan.
They don’t have this understanding. They don’t want to see the connection. My goal is to make the connection for people to understand what’s going on and why al Qaeda has become so militant and hateful toward us.
And why painting Islam with a broad brush makes our problems worse, because we’re not narrowing down on the real cause, those who perpetuated 9/11. If we don’t get to that, we can’t solve this problem.
GUPTA: Let me just ask politically, not to belabor this point, specifically about your son, but he had said President Obama was wrong to weigh-in on this controversy, and he’s, quote, “a liberal elitist who believes that he knows what’s best.” That’s your son’s quote.
You and the president seem to be on the same side of this particular issue. Do you have a reaction to your son’s comment on that?
PAUL: I think you have to ask him about it.
GUPTA: All right, well, we’ll try to talk to him about it as well, but I just wondered if thanksgiving dinner — you were going to talk about it, give us a little peak behind the curtain there. Obviously, there’s a lot to talk about particularly with this — PAUL: Well, you’re doing what they’ve been doing on this whole debate, trying to stir up trouble.
GUPTA: Well, you know, I think it’s a fair question, and it’s father and son having, you know, pretty diametrically opposed view points on this. I did want to ask you another question about -
PAUL: I don’t think so – I don’t think that’s fair. I don’t think they’re diametrically opposed. I haven’t discussed it with him so I just can’t believe they’re diametrically opposed.
GUPTA: Well, all right, fair enough. You believe that the Islamic center should be built and he doesn’t, but before I let you go, I did want to ask you about –
PAUL: That isn’t even my point. I am totally unconcerned about whether it’s built or not built. I’m concerned about why this has become an issue. That’s what I’m concerned about. I’m afraid you didn’t quite get my point.
GUPTA: Do you think it should be built?
PAUL: It is saying that — I don’t care whether it’s built or not built. Everybody says it’s private property, they should be able to do what they want to do. They printed that. Once again, the point I’m making is not to blame Islam for 9/11. You have to blame only al Qaeda.
That is a completely different story than all these innuendoes that you’re bringing up. I don’t think that’s part of the question. You have to narrow in, because it has to do with our foreign policy. That’s what I’m dealing with is the foreign policy.
The foreign policy is crucial because that’s why we have perpetual war. That’s why — and I think this is all connected. Not in a way that is conspiratorial, but in a way that is almost — people slip into this.
It’s real easy for people to get to hating Islam, but they — to me, that’s equivalent to hating Christians because Timothy McVeigh was a Christian, that I don’t like, nobody should like this being painted with a broad brush. It was done to the Jews before, and I don’t like it. I like to stick to the facts, I like to talk about the foreign policy, and how it’s related.
The side show, which is what I call this, is just there to stir things up, and prevent us from dealing with the real problems, and that is our intervention is foreign policy, that gets us too much involved overseas, too many people die on both sides.
And we’re totally — we have to address that, we have to get away from, are we going to support the building of the mosque is it that was sort of your innuendo when you bring the question up with my son. You’re missing the whole point when you think that is the crucial question. The crucial question is our foreign policy, that’s what I want people to think of.
GUPTA: All right, it’s a well-written article, Congressman, I enjoyed reading it. People at home should read it. We like to stick to the facts as well. Congressman Ron Paul, thanks so much.
Ron Paul says neocons push mosque controversy as ‘Rome burns’!