Backtalk, October 28, 2005

Powell Aide Blasts Rice, Cheney-Rumsfeld ‘Cabal’

You once disputed my insistence that we are face to face with fascism. Do you still feel that we are not?

~ Hal O’Leary

Jim Lobe replies:

I think fascism has a number of attributes that don’t apply, the most important perhaps being the fuehrerprinzip, and, while there’s an effort to exalt Bush, it certainly doesn’t reach that level.

Fascism also exalts violence to quite a remarkable degree, and, while we’ve become more militaristic, I would compare the current militarism with that of the European powers around World War I, rather than the ’30s.

Finally, fascism is distinctly racist or ultra-nationalist in the sense that it is anti-universalist and exclusive. While there are elements of that in American exceptionalism, it still wraps itself in universal values, arguing that Asians and Arabs are just as entitled as Europeans or Anglo-Saxons to certain freedoms. I find this all very hypocritical, but not fascistic as it has been understood historically.

Stifling Neo-Crazy Media Sycophants

Is the U.S. government (and its allies) trying to stop the building of any uranium conversion facility at Isfahan, because this facility can also be seen as a “life insurance” (or an “defense shield”) for the Iranian people?

The Isfahan is located near the oil-rich Khuzestan province (the distance is only about 150 miles).

If we recall what happened in Chernobyl, we can readily understand that an nuclear explosion in this facility (caused by anybody) could prevent the usage of both the Iraqi and Iranian oil fields near by. Given that anybody attacked Iran, the Iranian government could protect itself against the attacker by the burned land tactics, i.e., in ultimate desperation it could evacuate the area and blow up the facility and thus prevent the attacker from using the Iranian oil resources.

~ Jouna Pyysalo

Gordon Prather replies:

The uranium-conversion facility at Isfahan was constructed some time ago and was operating – subject to IAEA safeguards – up until the time the Iranians voluntarily suspended operations. That facility converts uranium “yellowcake” first into uranium tetrafluorride and another converts the UF4 into uranium hexafluoride which in its gaseous form is the feedstock for uranium enrichment. (I have read reports that the quality of the UF6 – and perhaps the UF4 – thus far produced is not good, certainly not good to feed into their gas centrifuges, even to test them.)

If the Israelis bomb the safeguarded facilities at Isfahan, the immediate result will be the spreading of yellowcake, UF4 and UF6 (solids at room temperature) around the immediate area. Like “depleted” uranium, they are all very weakly radioactive, and do not pose a health problem unless inhaled as a aerosol.

Of course, the U.S.-supplied bombs the Israelis drop on Iranian safeguarded facilities from their U.S.-supplied aircraft will pose an acute health problem to the Russians, Chinese, Iranians, and IAEA inspectors in the immediate vicinity.

Let Justice Be Done


Much of your effort over the last several years to peer through and around the fog and mirrors in an effort to see the great Wurlitzer is highly commendable. And you have been frequently right (as in, correct). You continue to bang this drum regarding your suspicions concerning the current administration’s desire to expand the war. On this point I think you are wrong and miss the greater picture. My sense is that GWB is not a neocon but rather a run-of-the-mill self-serving politician and that his prime motivation for taking on the intense political and reputational risks of persuading this nation to go to war is personal, i.e., he needed to prove to himself (and to others only secondarily) that he was better than his father.

The “cabal” you believe wants to expand the war must persuade GWB to do so. I don’t think the frat-boy, failed-businessman president can generate the enthusiasm and commitment necessary to make this happen because there is no emotional reward to GWB for doing so. An expanded war may well be in the interest of your “cabal” but there is a competing interest, the president’s, which is not served by the expansion. The risk of failing and thus damaging GWB’s legacy is just too high (to say nothing of Rove’s whisperings regarding the consequences for the GOP, conservatives and, who knows, maybe even Jeb).

~ Paul Lucic, Clinton IN

Putting the Plame Case in Perspective

This article looks to me no more than a damage limitation exercise: i.e., someone probably broke the law (re: outing covert CIA agent), but he was a good guy, all along, because it was a bad law designed to protect the evildoers of the CIA.

As a non-American, I am certainly not in favor of the CIA or anyone else engineering regime change by covert means, mainly for pragmatic reasons. However, the CIA is under executive control, and I doubt that major operations are conducted without reference to foreign policy objectives. Further, to argue that because some of the CIA’s initiatives would be hard to justify on any terms, therefore none of its activities should be protected by law (as is the norm internationally) is preposterous. Valerie Plame was engaged in counterproliferation, a vital function subsequent to the collapse of the Soviet Union; and was it not the CIA that exposed the lie about the Niger yellowcake beyond any doubt? The campaign of misinformation extending from 9/11 to the attack on Iraq has now advanced from attacking opponents by all means, to attacking the laws that might hold them to account.

Were this article on another site, I would have ignored it since the majority of commentators in America appear to avoid spicing their gibbering with either truth or logic.

~ John Gartside

The Real Scandal

Dear Sirs,

Pat Buchanan spent his whole life enabling the right and tearing down the “adversary press” and the Democrats; and now when they, chastised and broken, have neither the strength nor inclination to fight the “movement” in the aftermath of an attack on America, he has the nerve to call them the “real” culprits!?

Get real. The “real” blame and the “real” scandal fall squarely on the Bush administration and ITS ENABLERS. Including Pat Buchanan. Remember when Pat threw his weight behind Bush in the fall of 2004? Courageous, Pat. Why not come at the administration from its electoral right? Why not abstain? Why not do anything besides support the pseudo-Christian, pseudo-Republicans in control of the administration?

The bait-and-switch, “who me?” punditocracy is getting old. We need people who are not afraid to chastise their own side, and don’t worry about preserving their bona fides with the illiterati who march to the beat of the Hannitys and Limbaughs of the world.

~ Omid Zehtab

Previous Backtalk