Pat’s latest is a cogent and too-brief listing of the unresolved issues facing the current administration and, of course, the American people. For all of us old Goldwater conservatives the travesty of neocon Republicanism is deeply disheartening. There really is only one answer develop the intestinal fortitude to reframe the Republican Party and refocus its efforts OR create a nationwide Conservative Party.
Today (Monday, June 7), Antiwar.com’s front page has, from June 4, the report on “tens of thousands march against Chavez.” Silence is on the huge million pro-Chavez march on Sunday, June 6 (see photos and reports at aporrea.com and vhealine.com).
Jeremy Sapienza replies:
That’s interesting because I couldn’t find any articles that say that. I did find one that said:
“Political violence ravaged downtown Caracas on Thursday. Chavez supporters set trucks ablaze and hooded gunmen fired on the offices of Caracas’ opposition mayor, Alfredo Pena. They also fired shots at El Nacional newspaper and Radio Caracas Television.”
Upon further search, I find one that also says “tens of thousands” of Chavez supporters nowhere near the “millions” you claim. The sites you mentioned do not exist.
As a National Guard soldier recently back from Iraq, I can’t figure out why Nick Berg was traveling around Iraq as a private contractor like he was immune to any danger. I read that he thought it was a big adventure. We would not leave the compound with less than 3 vehicles and we were all armed. Was he running around with no supervision? It’s not a game over there. I can’t believe he was over there with an Israeli stamp in his passport. …
Before nostalgia drowns the truth about the Reagan years, let’s take a moment to remember the Contras. Those freedom-fighting “equivalents of our founding fathers,” whose noble adventures, slaughtering and destroying daycare centers, clinics and wedding parties all funded by yours truly, the American taxpayer livened up the ’80s in ways I’d prefer not to remember. Or re-experience. I remember even Goldwater rising to protest the mining of Nicaragua’s harbors. “We are a maritime nation,” he began. Sweet, really, and so quaint. Now we are just the Rottweiler nation the biggest, meanest dog on the block and what we say, goes; and the evil that we do, goes unmentioned in Congress and the media and just about everywhere else.
Of course Reagan didn’t initiate our bloodstained meddling in what we are pleased to call “our backyard” he just did it with more style. Leave it to a moovystar to pretend that the macho thugs we supported throughout this hemisphere were raping nuns and murdering nursery school kids in the name of some noble cause.
In Justin Raimondo’s latest article (“Reaganism versus ‘neo-Reaganism'”) there is much with which I agree; nevertheless, I find it interesting that Justin never mentions the “War on Drugs” while discussing Reagan’s legacy.
Reagan may not have started the WoD, but it certainly escalated in an exponential fashion during his administration. Also, our police agencies were militarized during Reagan’s term, and that led to later tragedies, such as Waco and the Randy Weaver assault.
Reagan really was an enigma. Despite all the rhetoric about freedom, the “War on Drugs” will probably be his most lasting legacy.”
What Reagan really did was to restore our property rights to our own labor.
Once More, With Irony
So, the news is out, all over town, as the old song goes, but it appears that very scary-looking, bearded “sweetheart” (extremely interesting one, though) has been seen runnin’ around the Sarajevo Airport. According to the information leaked out these days through the local media, Osama Bin Laden discretely visited the crime scene once again. Supposedly, he was in Bosnia last year, and, if true, we can only imagine how welcomed he felt among his wartime-buddies, Bosnian Muslim hardliners (officially certificated as “the good guys” by the Western global-conscience crusaders, from Clinton to Dole and from Bono to Pavarotti), regularly and generously funded by his “charity organizations.”
Rajah Ashdown must have been really busy promoting the tourist potential of Bosnia, so he, alas, missed the unique opportunity to meet a very rich businessman, highly-experienced in local investments. Of course, the grateful hosts in Sarajevo had already honored Bin Laden with the Bosnian passport and citizenship during the Bosnian war, where imported Middle-Eastern mujahedin, torturing and beheading Serbian civilians and soldiers, did their brotherly favor to the “nation-building efforts” of Osama’s Bosnian pal, “president” Alija Izetbegovic (another of Clinton’s darlings in those years).
Somehow, the very same brutalities were committed some years later, during the Kosovo-Metohija conflict, by the very same perpetrators, but nobody seemed to care. Just keep hating those damn Serbs, and you can get away with anything, that’s the golden rule on Balkans. This morning (Saturday, June 5), another Serbian teenager, 17-year-old Dimitrije Popovic, sitting in a local fast-food restaurant in Gracanica (Kosovo) was murdered in another Albanian hit-and-run attack. Again, who cares?
Nebojsa Malic replies:
Yes, I’ve heard the story about Osama bin Laden visiting Sarajevo. It originated from Slobodna Bosna; a paper no one can ever accuse of being anti-Muslim, or pro-Serb. It is interesting that Ashdown and Carla DelPonte and Jap de Hoop Scheffer and twenty-two top NATO ministers all parade around Bosnia, and dozens of journalists continue to file stories headlined “Bring us the head of Radovan Karadzic,” but there is the Bearded One, strolling merrily around in a place where he knows no one will touch him. So much for the “war on terror.” Maybe I’m a cynic, but it seems to me the Empire does not care much about catching Osama; he’s of more use to them alive, as a bogeyman that justifies overseas adventures. Who they are really after is Osama been Serb: the patsy they want to blame for all the Balkan wars, so they can assert legitimacy for their invasions, occupations and meddling. plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose…
As usual, another great article by Nebojsa Malic. Unfortunately, only a very small percentage of folks in the U.S. will see it because it will fall through the cracks, as is the fate of most such items that somehow “aren’t fit for viewing” by the mainstream of the American public. If this wasn’t obvious before, it certainly has been hit home after the March 2004 orgy of barbarism by Kosovo’s Albanian Muslim extremists. Truth, justice and freedom are quickly vanishing from the land of the free and the home of the brave. A tight lid has been placed on news out of Kosovo, because the truth must not come out that Bill Clinton’s gang has made one hell of a mess out of their “protectorate.” President Bush is being pummeled with criticism about Iraq, but Clinton is given the kid glove treatment about Kosovo. Looks like there is no equality, even for presidents.
Nebojsa Malic replies:
Well, neither Emperor (sorry, they stopped being Presidents long ago) deserves that sort of “equality.” As I pointed out in “Bipartisan Empire,” it does not really matter which party is in charge; they both follow imperial policies.
What a load of crap Dr. Roberts spews in this article. As though the entire Arab world’s faults lie in Israel’s hands; he attempts to blame Israel for widespread corruption, malignancies, diseases, domestic abuse and every other disease plaguing the Arab world today. As though Israel is to blame for Arab illiteracy! Israel, on the other hand, saves human lives (Arab and non-Arab alike), and is the only place in the Middle East where an Arab woman may freely vote (Arabs serve in much and most of the government, including the Knesset).
In regards to Mrs. Aloni, she, as an Israeli, has the right to criticize her government. It is her citizen’s right. Do you know of many of Mrs. Aloni’s counterparts in the Arab world? Take a good look, its tough to find one. She, as a free woman, is allowed to speak in Israel against the government without fear of retribution. Mr. Roberts believes that “Most thoughtful Israelis oppose” the Likud Party’s strategy, when in fact he is lying. Most thoughtful Israelis will not hand the true aggressors the victory by granting them yet another unilateral suicide mission like the one given to Hezbollah by a Labor government headed by Ehud Barak.
What a silly comparison Mr. Roberts gleans, declaring that “neocons” are apparently Zionist in nature. He only proves himself racist, ignorant and downright ignorant of facts not just of the Middle East, but of politics in general.
I hope the editors are ashamed for printing such garbage, and if they believe in true free speech, they will print some or all of this response.
Paul Craig Roberts replies:
Not quite, sir, not quite! You say: “Well, as often as I have criticized Bush for his blunders, I really don’t give a hoot whether the Europeans like our choice of presidents or not.”
In theory you may be right: The Americans elect a US president. True. And it certainly would be exclusively Americans’ business, if, yes: if, the US would restrict themselves to their own “God given” piece of this globe. But that’s not so! Since at the same time US troops are stationed or occupy territory in over 100 countries outside the US. From Guantanamo to Abu Ghraib, and almost everywhere in between. What’s more: The junta of madmen running the US the “neo-cons” are trying to extend the role of the US into some form of “benevolent” imperialism. My a**! It seems this is an extremely dangerous idea for all civilians on earth. Particularly in wedding parties (Afghanistan, Iraq).
No, Sir! As long as the US is busy worldwide giving us vitamin B: B-52, B-1, B-2, etc., and as long as America is THE pariah re. ecology, international laws and courts, etc., you have to live with the fact that Europe does voice its opinion loud and clear (which may be counterproductive though). …
Mistakes of the CIA
So we now know that the CIA made huge mistakes about the situation in Iraq. George Tenet has resigned. Many of us believe that the same George Tenet and the same CIA also made the same huge mistakes in the Balkans, ultimately attacking and murdering the people of Serbia on behalf of an Islamic terrorist organization, the KLA, in the interests of a Greater Albania. We now urgently need an inquiry into the information and intelligence sources, not least the real facts of the Racak incident and the underhandedness of Rambouillet amongst much else. All of which led the Clinton administration to back these active terrorists, and bomb a nation and its people “back to the stone age.”
This is particularly important as it has been mooted that one of the most guilty men advocating this policy and who supported the KLA, knowing of its close ties with Osama Bin Laden, could be named the next Secretary of State.
Nebojsa Malic replies:
I don’t know to what extent the “intelligence” coming from Kosovo was a mistake, and how much of it was deliberately and outright falsified with a clear purpose. I try never to attribute to malice what can be attributed to stupidity, but in this case I do think large amounts of malice were involved. A good start would be to check the relationship between the Agency and William Walker, the originator of the Racak Lie.
This article from The Guardian has put me to thinking of some way to screw up the system once it is up and running. Here is my first scheme, subject to thought, critique and modification. Maybe even to abandonment. This will require no mass gatherings (which makes it hard for the government to bring rioting charges), can be organized on the web (which means the idea, if it catches, will spread quickly), and can result in massive paperwork for the SSS (which means an overall slowdown in the draft process). What in the world could accomplish all this? Very simply, everyone over the age of 50 should register for the draft men and women, people without all their limbs, people with boils on their butts, people with prostate cancer, the blind and the lame. All of us over 50.
Hundreds of thousands of us; maybe millions. Sign Up! Serve Your Country! Try to imagine the thrill you will get when a drill sergeant shouts at you to do 50 pushups! I almost fall over laughing at that thought! Uncle George Wants You!
In your June 4 issue of Backtalk you printed a letter under “Eric Sez” with the following quote:
“Do you really believe that the Bush administration would place men (Armed Forces) in harm’s way without a good reason?”
The rest of the letter confirms a “pro war” stance so I will assume the author is PRO WAR. The answer to the above question is another question: “What idiot besides George Bush, Dick Cheney, Wolfowitz, Perle, Feith and Rumsfeld would amass 150,000 troops in a very small area (Kuwait-Iraq border) prior to our invasion of Iraq and risk having the entire invasion force wiped out if anyone of them really felt Hussein really had operational WMD?” …
I sympathize with your desires for justice in Washington, but I must point out that our constitutional system is inherently incapable of dealing with this sort of problem. The federal government (i.e., the central, national government) cannot and will not judge itself in severe terms, however necessary that might be. Only the states might be able to do that, and they were rendered legal nullities by Lincoln’s war of aggression against the South, so that the states ceased to be coequal partners with the national government, which then morphed into an empire after 1865. You are still clinging to the hopeless delusion that America, i.e., the current political system, can return to being a constitutional republic through self-reformation within the existing system. You will learn otherwise.
Because of the destruction of the original constitutional system in Lincoln’s war, the central government became the sole determiner of what the limits of its power are. This government inherently cannot find itself seriously guilty of anything; it cannot condemn itself what would replace it? Therefore, there is no way that the federal government (as we now call it) is going to bring any true justice down upon itself.
At best, we can expect only cosmetic changes, just as we can expect only a whitewash from the 911 Commission that is now “investigating” the government. We lost the original American republic in 1865 and have been on the path of empire and conquest ever since. The South was right.
The Success of Antiwar.com
I am heartened to read the success of Antiwar.com in the Alexa ratings. This site talks with a purity of heart that is truly golden in today’s world of fiat lies. Even the neocons have admitted to the learning of their fate from your prose and probing logic. I used to think what a shame that the talent at this site wasn’t seen often enough in the mainstream press but now I think there’s the possibility that you will become a clearly dominant source of opinion over the likes of say a fading NY Times or Murdoch disinformation. Success looks good on ya and I continue to wear my Antiwar.com T-shirt on the golf course inviting true Libertarian debate.
Reports of the demise of the neoconservatives are premature and greatly exaggerated. The resignation of CIA Director George Tenet is a clear signal that the neoconservatives have reasserted their influence over President Bush, and are counterattacking their opponents at the State Department and CIA. God help us all.
Jim Lobe replies:
Many of you have voiced great skepticism over my perhaps overoptimistic assertion that the neo-conservatives have finally been defeated by the realists, at least insofar as Iraq policy is concerned. Given their zeal, their persistence, and their political and bureaucratic savvy, I can certainly understand the skepticism and have no doubt that they will reemerge at some point. (After all, in Michael Ledeen’s view, evil goes on forever.) Indeed, many neo-cons, particularly those most closely associated with the Project for the New American Century, have been quite publicly courting liberal interventionists since March of 2003; that is, since the invasion of Iraq. They foresaw that their alliances with people like Rumsfeld, and even Cheney perhaps, could be seriously strained by the demands of “nation-building” and their other ambitious goals for the Middle East. (The New York Times finally noticed this courtship in April in an article that was duly noted on Antiwar.com.)
However, I think it’s quite clear that the neo-cons are not in good shape neither in Congress nor in the White House, not to mention Baghdad where our future ambassador, John Negroponte, has made it quite clear he wants absolutely nothing to do with the civilian leadership in the Pentagon. Allawi’s emergence as the new prime minister and the virtually total marginalization for now of neo-con hero Ahmad Chalabi make this quite clear. Allawi, after all, was the CIA’s man, and Chalabi’s arch-rival. Similarly, the arrangement in Falluja, which Bill Kristol, a neo-con moderate, wanted to “crush,” points to an entirely new strategy and one, again, which essentially circumvented the Pentagon’s civilian leadership. It seems that the uniformed military no slouches when it comes to gauging the political winds now feels empowered to essentially ignore OSD. Finally, the fact that polygraphs are, even now, being attached to various officials in OSD, tends to undermine the notion that the neo-cons exercise anything like the kind of influence they enjoyed from 9/11 to, say, July, 2003.
And, no, I don’t think Tenet’s resignation is a sign of a neo-con resurgence. In the absence of any concrete evidence that Tenet was pushed, I tend to think he felt this was as good a time to go as any, not only because he’s about to get ripped up by a number of forthcoming reports, but also because, with Chalabi’s and the neo-cons’ disgrace, he felt he could leave with his head held somewhat higher than it otherwise would be hanging.
By no means does any of this mean that the neo-cons are out for the count. Should Bush win reelection and interpret it as another God-given mandate with which to fight the evildoers, they may very well be back. And if he should be defeated, you can count on the neo-cons to use their ties to the Democratic Party in much the same way that they succeeded in doing under Clinton, particularly with respect to their alliance with liberal “hawks” in pursuit of humanitarian interventions. Their ultimate concern is a resurgence of isolationism, and they have friends in both parties who share their views about that. In the meantime, they will take every opportunity to incite the public and the administration against Syria and Iran, in particular.
Now that they are down, however, I am concerned that they not become simply the most convenient scapegoats. While they bear a major share of responsibility for the situation in which the nation and the world finds itself, it’s important to remember that they received critical support from a number of quarters, including, of course, their administration allies, the Machtpolikers and the Christian Right, but also from lawmakers from both parties and the mass media, both electronic and print. The passivity and “patriotism” of these important actors in the face of the Bush juggernaut to war have been absolutely astonishing in retrospect, particularly given what we now know about the Vietnam War. As neo-con hero Reinhold Niebuhr once said, really bad things happen “when good men do nothing.” And in this case, they mostly did nothing, or actually cheered from the sidelines.