Backtalk, June 11, 2008

Intelligence [sic] Committee Report

Gordon Prather,

Congratulations and thank you for being the first writer to provide a link to the actual report [.pdf] in your comments. I had found it for myself via Google searching, but nowhere in the many articles I’ve read on the subject. Does anyone but you make it easy for the reader to access the actual document?

~ Roland Dion, San Diego, Calif.

Gordon Prather replies:

There are two candidate theories for why MSM “reporters” don’t provide you a link to the actual documents they are paid big bucks to “summarize” for you. One is that they have never laid eyes on the actual documents and don’t know how to find them. Another is that they have actually read the documents, but don’t want you to read them, seeing as how there is practically no positive correlation between what they “report” the documents say and what they actually say. I apologize to longtime readers for repeatedly citing relevant laws, resolutions, and reports, many going back 20 years or more. But there may be, from time to time, new readers who do not know that, for example, A.Q. Khan did not “confess” to proliferating Pakistani nuclear technology to anyone, much less to North Korea, Iran, and Libya. Here is a link to the official text of his “apology” to the Pakistani people: “Nuclear Scientist Apologizes.”

Obama Capitulates

Did anyone expect anything less? Given the influence of the Israeli lobby, if any political candidate spoke out against the views of AIPAC and other pro-Israel lobbyists, he/she would be no longer electable. Obama is doing what politicians do all the time to get elected to any public office in this country.

One can only hope that he is doing a bit of subterfuge – that is, that he’s only saying things at the moment to be elected.

(These are my personal opinions, not those of the Department of Defense, the U.S. Army, or the U.S. government.)

~ Maj. Pil (Peter) Kang, M.D., Ft. Wainwright, Alaska

I‘m afraid I have to agree with you, Justin. Obama’s speech before AIPAC was a great disappointment to me. However, I’m crossing my fingers and hoping that the worst is simply that Obama is another political opportunist, saying whatever is necessary to get himself elected, but that your initial impression of his basic instincts is correct, that he is knowledgeable enough to know giving Israel everything AIPAC wants is the path to national disaster, and that we will not go down the road to war in the Middle East again.

I hope so. At least he is surrounding himself with advisers who were against the Iraq adventure from the start, as was he. Which remains more than can be said for McCain.

~ W.R. Dalton

I sympathize with the sentiments of this article – I too was profoundly disappointed with Obama’s pandering to the Florida electorate with provocative and mistaken statements about Venezuela and Cuba.

Nevertheless, let’s not be too reactive to at least some of his statements. His statement that Iran should never be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons is, I believe, a perfectly valid one. It can only be interpreted as a “threat” to Iran if it was true that they were acquiring nuclear weapons. The Iranian nuclear program is based on peaceful use of nuclear power, and allegations that it was developing a nuclear energy program in order to develop nuclear weapons were dismissed out of hand when first investigated by the European Community nearly 10 years ago.

~ Warwick Fry

In [Justin Raimondo’s] commentary, Obama’s promise to AIPAC to “do everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Everything in my power. Everything,” is taken to mean the Democratic candidate is signing on to the Likud/neocon project to attack Iran. I sure hope not. In fact, Iran is a long way from a nuclear weapon, as is borne out by the U.S. intelligence report that Iran abandoned its weapons program over four years ago.

Perhaps Obama thinks he can woo the U.S. supporters of Israel’s Likud Party, but that is a complete reversal of a position he took just three months ago in a speech that astutely claimed Likud’s hard-line policies were not in the best interests of Israel. Here is coverage of Obama’s remarks earlier this year in an article in the Jerusalem Post: “Obama: Pro-Israel Needn’t Be Pro-Likud.”

In my humble opinion, however, Obama made a strategic error in his speech to AIPAC by guaranteeing an undivided Jerusalem as capital of Israel. … Arab East Jerusalem is part of the occupied territories and cannot be claimed by Israel if any peace agreement is to be reached with the Palestinians. The only possible mitigation for Obama will be if he turns to the United Nations, repudiates the Bush/Cheney/neocon assault on that organization, and supports comprehensive weapons inspections in Iran – inspections the Iranians have been reluctantly prepared to accept.

By the way, no commentary on nuclear weapons proliferation should fail to remind that in 2006 G.W. Bush and the U.S. Congress committed the most egregious violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty ever, when they agreed to accept India’s nukes as legitimate and even to supply them with enriched uranium, thus permitting more of the country’s indigenous uranium to be used for weapons.

~ Carl Reynolds, Sherwood, Ore.

Dear Mr. Raimondo:

Until recently I supported Obama in every way possible, because I hoped (against hope?) that his candidacy – in addition to initiating a much improved domestic policy – would also signify a departure from America’s past aggressive and militaristic behavior and from her blind allegiance to an equally militaristic Israel. I took it for granted that Obama understood that Bush’s attack on Iraq had a great deal to do with his misguided effort to make the Near East safer for Israel, as well as with his arrogant and criminal notion of being able to change the world by military force.

Obama’s speech to AIPAC was very disappointing and makes me reconsider my support for him. The problem is, of course, the absence of any other candidate who has a chance to ameliorate America’s militaristic behavior.

Perhaps the only remedy, at least for me and my family, will be to do what has been done by so many other citizens of countries that became a threat to other nations as well as to their own citizens. … My father tried to emigrate from Nazi Germany in 1936, and other relatives successfully escaped from Communist East Germany. Lacking practical alternatives, their only recourse was to vote with their feet.

Thank you for your thoughtful article, depressing as it may be.

~ Erhard Kock, Toledo, Ohio

Justin is being way too hard on Obama’s speech to AIPAC. The bottom line is that Obama went before AIPAC and declared, clearly and unequivocally, that the last seven years of neocon policies – policies backed by AIPAC – have been an unmitigated disaster for the U.S. and Israel.

Now is not the time to subject Obama to unrealistic litmus tests of purity. Obama is not the messiah, and he shouldn’t be. We don’t need him to spit in AIPAC’s face. We need him to beat McCain and bounce the neocons out of power. He will do it, and he told AIPAC he would do it. Let’s give him some credit here.

~ Thomas Cassidy

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