Posted by: quiscus | May 6, 2009

May 6, 2009

1.  “Media Breakthrough! 9-11 Press for Truth to Be Shown on Mainstream Television

I am very happy to announce that for the first time in our movements history, 9-11 Press for Truth will be shown on a mainstream media television station. KBDI Channel 12 in Denver Colorado has just confirmed that they will be showing this groundbreaking film during their upcoming pledge drive on June 3, 2009.

2.  A good blog:

3.  “Jon Stewart: Wimp, Wuss, Moral Coward

Can a Democrat commit war crimes? Of course not!

I was a bit surprised, albeit pleasantly, to see Jon Stewart nail Harry Truman as a war criminal. After all, Stewart is a typical Hollywood liberal, whose politics are by now a staple of the corporate, anodyne culture that permeates the airwaves, and this naturally excludes everything that might challenge the liberal groupthink that constitutes the conventional wisdom in the Age of Obama.

Certainly, in “respectable” quarters, criticism of anything or anyone connected to the great liberal “anti-fascist” crusade, the “Good War,” is strictly verboten, and surely an intelligent guy like Stewart knows this. Yet – contrary to what he said later – this wasn’t an argument that arose in the heat of the moment, in the context of a robust discussion with obnoxious neocon Clifford May on the alleged merits of torture.

No, Stewart had apparently thought this one out, at least to some extent, because when May asked him if he thought Truman was a war criminal for nuking two Japanese cities, he didn’t just say “Yes” – he went into a whole riff about how, if we had first demonstrated the power of this new weapon on an uninhabited atoll somewhere, and then informed the Japanese government that they’d better surrender, or else that would happen in Japan, then and only then would it be okay to drop the Big One. The audience cheered him on, as he took apart the frenetically hysterical May, whose ferret-like features and organizational affiliations make him the perfect spokesman for a policy described by Stewart as “temporary insanity.”

It was clearly the execs who reined in the freethinking Stewart and laid down the law, and the first law of “controversial,” “provocative,” and indubitably “edgy” television commentary is to never – ever, ever! – allow a deviation from the conventional wisdom that falls outside the contemporary Left/Right paradigm.

Rule number one in this game is that everybody must play their assigned role. You’ve always got to be “in character.” If you’re on the Left, you can take on George W. Bush, murderer of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis – but not Harry Truman, killer of even larger numbers of innocent Japanese civilians. Rightists regularly excoriate the crimes of Stalin, yet they are expected to remain silent when it comes to war crimes committed by the U.S., such as the “Phoenix program” during the Vietnam conflict – and they rarely disappoint.

This enforcement of a dubious double standard, by the way, goes beyond the issue of war crimes and mass murder. If you’re on the Right, you’re allowed to express unlimited disdain for the thuggish Hugo Chavez – indeed, it’s a veritable obligation – but even a hint of contempt for the equally thuggish Benjamin Netanyahu and his neo-fascist foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, will earn you enough brickbats to build a Wall of Separation between your ideological comrades and yourself. Likewise, lefties are allowed to cuddle up to Fidel Castro while inveighing against Augusto Pinochet.

For a moment, however, Stewart saw through the veil of myth and prejudice (yes, racial prejudice) that obscures the truth about what we did to Japan, which was ready to make peace on reasonable terms. Roosevelt’s insistence on unconditional surrender, upheld by Truman, rationalized mass murder on a scale never before seen, and at the time the liberals fell right into line, with nary a pip or a squeak from any of them.

It was inside the military and the U.S. government that dissent raised its head. Truman’s decision went against the advice of Generals Douglas MacArthur and Dwight David Eisenhower, not to mention his own secretaries of state and the Navy. In 1963, Eisenhower told Newsweek: “The Japanese were ready to surrender, and it wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing.”

4.  Afghanistan:

“Obama’s Afghan-Ignorant Policy Guide

Another, more important point on which Riedel is dead wrong is in his repetition of the exceedingly durable but completely incorrect urban legend that Washington and the West abandoned Afghanistan after the Red Army withdrew. In the late 1980s, Riedel claims,

“U.S.-supported Afghan mujahedin defeated the Soviet 40th Red Army [sic]. … The mujahedin were badly divided, however, and quickly fell into civil war. The United States could have led an international effort to restore order and rallied key players like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to try to end the conflict. Instead, Afghanistan got virtually no attention from the White House or the Congress.”

Riedel’s ignorance of what happened after the Red Army’s withdrawal is almost breathtaking, but such a misrepresentation of reality is politically requisite if anyone is to believe the new-but-doomed Afghan policy approved by Obama has a chance to succeed. One might have hoped that Riedel – who worked on Iraq in the years he is writing about – would have consulted one or more of his Afghan-experienced former colleagues for some factual background before taking up his pen. But then again, the facts would get in the way of justifying more U.S. intervention in Afghanistan.

Riedel argues that a viable post-Soviet Afghan government failed because the “mujahedin were badly divided,” Western governments lost interest, and Washington did not seek Saudi and Pakistani involvement. This is palpable nonsense. The mujahedin were, are, and always will be “badly divided,” but they still beat the Soviet superpower – as they are on the verge of beating the American superpower – and there is no doubt they eventually would have worked out governing arrangements compatible with Afghan history and society. The West tends to forget that the Afghans have been running their country for 2,000 years and have a bit more experience than we do in managing their tribal and ethnically diverse society.

From the perspective of Washington and its allies, the real post-Soviet trouble was that whatever regime the mujahedin built would not be the one we wanted; namely, one that included none of the Afghans who actually fought and bled to drive out the Soviets. Sadly, therefore, the U.S. government, many of its European allies (especially the UK, France, and Germany), and various UN organizations intervened fully and dictatorially in post-Soviet Afghan politics, thereby preventing any sort of genuine Afghan attempt at self-determination. And as they are today, the Saudis and Pakistanis were also fully involved in telling the Afghans what to do, and, just as today, their recommendations ran exactly counter to U.S. interests.

One final point. Riedel is a senior fellow at the aggressively pro-Israel Brookings Institution. Is it just a coincidence that his very misleading article about the “need” for more and longer U.S. intervention in Afghanistan appears just a week after Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman identified Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iraq as the three main threats to Israel? I think not, and that is why America will either be defeated or still fighting, bleeding, and losing in Afghanistan and Iraq by Inauguration Day 2013.

5.  What a surprise:

“Sources familiar with the latest draft of the Justice Department’s torture investigation report say that it makes no calls for the prosecution of any Bush-era officials involved, making it extremely unlikely that such prosecutions will ever see the light of day.”

6.  “‘Democracy at Gunpoint’ Strategy Guarantees Defeat

An account from the Taliban side of the Afghanistan war, which was published in the New York Times on May 5, provides devastating evidence of the failure that almost certainly will eventually overtake the United States and NATO. It is a long interview with a young Taliban “logistics tactician” who has been speaking with Jane Perlez and Pir Zubair Shah of the Times for many months about the Taliban view of the war, and about what he sees as their inevitable victory.

It amounts to an implicit challenge to the “democracy development” strategy adopted by the Pentagon and the Bush administration, and that now seems the policy of the Obama government as well. It is a strategy that assures a very “long war.”

This strategy, overall, is described by one of its American critics as “to install democracy at gunpoint inside failed or backward societies, along with unrealistic security guarantees to states and people of marginal strategic interest to the U.S.” (The critic is Douglas MacGregor, a retired army officer, in an article entitled “Refusing Battle,” in the April Armed Forces Journal. It’s to be recommended.)

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