Since Wednesday night’s presidential debate was about domestic policy, I have little to say about it except to note Romney’s insistence that there must be no cuts in the military budget. None, nada, zero, zilch – this in spite of the fact that we spend more on the military than most of the rest of the world combined. Despite his chameleon-like disposition, this is the one stance apparently not subject to the Etch-a-Sketch Effect: the neocons lurking behind him are no doubt making sure of that.
Former defense secretary Robert Gates wasn’t telling us anything we didn’t already know when he recently stated:
“The results of an American or Israeli military strike on Iran could, in my view, prove catastrophic, haunting us for generations in that part of the world.”
No kidding. But one interesting aspect of Gates’ speech was his statement that “Neither the United States nor Israel is capable of wiping out Iran’s nuclear capability.” Of course the key word here is capability: short of murdering every Iranian nuclear scientist, and/or occupying the country, eliminating all means for Iran to possibly create a nuclear weapon has always been out of the question. Yet this is what Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is demanding.
Antsy in Ankara
The big foreign policy news is the Syrian-Turkish confrontation: for the second day, the Turks are shelling Syria in retaliation for the accidental bombing of a Turkish town. Of course, there’s nothing accidental about Turkey’s deep involvement with Syrian rebels: they’ve been given a military base, and are being actively aided by Ankara, as well as the Saudis and the Qataris. Indeed, the basing of the rebels inside Turkey is in itself an act of war, but this latest incident gives the Turks – who are looking to expand eastward in their quest to create a “Greater Turkey” – all the excuse they need for all-out hostilities to commence.
The Price of “Liberation”
More than a decade after the US “liberation” of Kosovo from the Serbs in a war that has served as a model for Washington’s “humanitarian” interventions, the gangsters of the “Kosovo Liberation Army” are still getting away with murder.
“On 28 June 1999, Petrija Prljević, a 57 year-old woman in Pristina, was abducted from her apartment by men dressed in KLA uniforms. She was never seen alive again: a year later, her body was exhumed from a cemetery in Kosovo’s capital and positively identified by her son after he recognised items of her clothing. The job of finding out who caused her death was not investigated by the new prosecutors’ office on the basis that she died after the “war” in Kosovo had ended; instead it was investigated by the Eulex Rule of Law Mission. Over ten years later her relatives are still trying to find out what happened to her and who was responsible. Eulex seem no closer to launching an investigation to identify and prosecute her murderers, like the vast majority of the more than 1,000 other cases of murdered Serbs since NATO forces entered Kosovo….
“As a recent Amnesty International report made clear, murders continue to be carried out with impunity under the gaze of an international community which seems peculiarly reluctant to investigate them. Indeed, while numerous Yugoslav officials have been tried and convicted for crimes against humanity committed by security forces under their command prior to June 1999, the fact is that of the more than 1,000 Serbs who have been killed since the end of the conflict, almost none have resulted in a prosecution, let alone a conviction. On the contrary, according to the testimony of some international police officials who have worked in Kosovo, there have been active attempts by some elements of the international administration to obstruct investigations, especially when they have threatened to implicate high-ranking Kosovo politicians.”
Don’t Mourn – Destabilize!
Aspiring Georgia tyrant Mikheil Saakashvili isn’t taking his stunning repudiation at the polls lying down: in a speech to the nation after his party’s defeat, the erratic and headstrong “Misha” declared that he would not be cooperating with the winners, Bidzina Ivanishvili’s Georgian Dream party, and warned of the dismantling of his much-vaunted “reforms,” which mostly consisted of cementing his rule and the fortunes of his political allies. More ominous: Eliso Kiladze, the co-director of a Georgian NGO, “My Georgia,” says Saakashvili and his supporters have a plan to destabilize the country and destroy Ivanishvili’s reputation:
“As part of the supposed plot, the crime rate would rocket, with more cars getting stolen, more armed robberies perpetrated, and so on, she predicted…. ‘A second part of the plan is that food, gasoline and services will go up in price because Saakashvili and his entourage control all of business in Georgia today,’ she said. ‘And the third part of that plan is the emptying of the state budget, which had quite a big deficit even before the elections.'”
You Tell Me
Here is Zbigniew Brezinski, former national security advisor, discussing the “Innocence of Muslims” video and its possible origins. Money quote:
“There is some indication that there was a conspiracy involved here. The people who produced the film remain anonymous. Who paid for it? How was financed it? Why are they keeping quiet about it. What was the intent? Purely to amuse?”
He then speculates that there might be “evil forces at work trying to provoke violence between us” and the Muslim world.
My take: earlier Zbig avers that the administration is in the dark about this, but I wonder: the only known individual associated with the “film,” a thrice-convicted felon with numerous names and identities, has been taken into custody because of an alleged parole violation. He is now safely ensconced in a California prison, where he – and his story – are likely to stay for the next two years, long enough for the whole thing to die down and the trail to the real makers of “Innocence” to go very cold. My guess is that this is just the way the US government wants it – because revealing the “evil forces” behind what was obviously a planned provocation could be politically explosive.
The elements that combined to create this toxic cinematic cocktail couldn’t be more suspicious: A “producer” with dozens of aliases, and a long criminal history, who suddenly goes into the movie business a month after getting out of jail: a “director” who denies any connection to the movie: a Christian propaganda outlet that “loaned” its facilities out to make the movie now claiming to have been deceived, along with the actors who had words put into their mouths without their knowledge or consent. Someone went to a great deal of trouble to cover their tracks.
An elaborate prank – or a covert operation?
Notes in the Margin
I’ll be speaking at Vassar College on October 10. My topic: “Why Target Iran?” Details here. The event is free, and open to the public.