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The Iran Trap

Posted on Jun 8, 2008
Barack Obama
AP photo / Alex Brandon

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama on screen receives applause during his address before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference 2008 in Washington.

By Chris Hedges

The failure by Barack Obama to chart another course in the Middle East, to defy the Israel lobby and to denounce the Bush administration’s inexorable march toward a conflict with Iran is a failure to challenge the collective insanity that has gripped the political leadership in the United States and Israel. 

Obama, in a miscalculation that will have grave consequences, has given his blessing to the widening circle of violence and abuse of the Palestinians by Israel and, most dangerously, to those in the Bush White House and Jerusalem now plotting a war against Iran. He illustrates how the lust for power is morally corrosive. And while he may win the White House, by the time he takes power he will be trapped in George Bush’s alternative reality.


We need to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan. We need to stay the hand of Israel, which is building more settlements—including a new plan to put 800 housing units in occupied East Jerusalem—and imposing draconian measures to physically break the 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza. We need, most of all, to prevent a war with Iran. 

House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers, in a letter to President Bush on May 8, threatened to open impeachment proceedings if Bush attacked Iran. The letter is a signal that planning for strikes on Iran is under way and pronounced.


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“Our concerns in this area have been heightened by more recent events,” Conyers wrote. “The resignation in mid-March of Admiral William J. ‘Fox’ Fallon from the head of U.S. Central Command, which was reportedly linked to a magazine article that portrayed him as the only person who might stop your Administration from waging preemptive war against Iran, has renewed widespread concerns that your Administration is unilaterally planning for military action against that country. This is despite the fact that the December 2007 National Intelligence Estimate concluded that Iran had halted its nuclear weapons program in the fall of 2003, a stark reversal of previous Administration assessments.”

The administration, in rhetoric that is eerily similar to that used to build the case for a war against Iraq, asserts that the Iranian Quds Force is arming anti-American groups in Iraq and providing them with high-tech roadside bombs and sophisticated rockets. It dismisses the National Intelligence Estimate conclusion that Iran suspended its nuclear weapons program. The White House has not provided evidence to back up its claims. I suspect it never will. And when Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz tells the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth an attack on Iran is “unavoidable” if Tehran does not halt its alleged nuclear weapons program, what he is really telling us is we should prepare for war. 

Conyers’ threat is too little too late, especially if the Bush White House, possibly assisted by Israel, launches airstrikes on some or all of 1,000 selected Iranian targets in the final weeks of the administration. But it is an effort. Conyers tried. 

This is more than we can say for the presumptive Democratic nominee. Obama went before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) on Wednesday and said he will stand with the right-wing Israeli government, even if this means backing an attack on Iran. 

“As president I will use all elements of American power to pressure Iran,” he said.  “I will do everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Everything.”

Obama went on to blame the Palestinians for the conflict, although the ratio of Palestinians to Israelis killed in 2007 was 40 to 1. This is an increase from 30 to 1 in 2006 and 4 to 1 in 2000-2005.

“I will bring to the White House an unshakable commitment to Israel’s security. That starts with ensuring Israel’s qualitative military advantage, ...” Obama told AIPAC.  “I will ensure Israel can defend itself from any threat, from Gaza to Tehran. ...”

Obama spoke about Israelis whose houses were damaged by the crude rockets, most made out of old pipes, fired from Gaza on Israeli towns. He never mentioned the Israeli siege of Gaza, the world’s largest open-air prison, or that Israel was deploying fighter jets and helicopters to attack densely crowded refugee camps with missiles and iron fragmentation bombs or that it had cut off food and fuel. He ignored the steady expansion of Jewish settlements on Palestinian land. He called for Jerusalem to become the “undivided capital” of the Jewish state, erasing Arab East Jerusalem from the map in contravention of international law. East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are internationally recognized as occupied Palestinian territories, which Israel took over in 1967. Obama’s stance is the moral equivalent of assuring the Johannesburg government during the apartheid era that one would support their repressive efforts to punish the restive blacks in the townships. 

The deterioration of the conflict in Israel, which would be accelerated by airstrikes on Iran and an ensuring regional war, will propel us into the Armageddon-type scenario in the Middle East relished by the lunatic fringes of the radical Christian right. And so, with Obama’s enthusiastic endorsement, we barrel toward a Dr. Strangelove self-immolation. No one will be able to say we did not go out with a spectacular show of firepower, gore and death. Our European and Middle Eastern allies, who are numb with consternation over our death spiral, are frantically trying to reach out to Tehran diplomatically. 

The instant we attack Iran, oil prices will double, perhaps triple. This price increase will devastate the American economy. The ensuing retaliatory strikes by Iran on Israel, as well as on American military installations in Iraq, will leave hundreds, maybe thousands, of dead. The Shiites in the region, from Saudi Arabia to Pakistan, will see an attack on Iran as a war against Shiism. They will turn with rage and violence on us and our allies. Hezbollah will renew attacks on northern Israel. And the localized war in Iraq will become a long, messy and protracted regional war that, by the time it is done, will most likely end the American empire and leave in its wake mounds of corpses and smoldering ruins. 

The Israeli leadership, like the Bush White House, is increasingly bellicose and threatening. The Israeli prime minister, after a 90-minute meeting with Bush in the White House on Wednesday, said the two leaders were of one mind. “We reached agreement on the need to take care of the Iranian threat,” Ehud Olmert said. “I left with a lot less questions marks [than] I had entered with regarding the means, the timetable restrictions and American resoluteness to deal with the problem. George Bush understands the severity of the Iranian threat and the need to vanquish it and intends to act on the matter before the end of his term in the White House.”

This time around, unlike about the war with Iraq, the Washington bureaucracy, loathed by the Bush White House, did not remain silent and complicit. The National Intelligence Estimate on Iran’s nuclear program released last Dec. 3 distinguished Iran’s enrichment of uranium at Natanz and Arak from its formal nuclear weapons program, which it said had halted in 2003 after the American invasion of Iraq. Adm. Fallon, who put his country and his integrity before his career, spoke out against a war with Iran, tried to stop it and lost his job as the head of CENTCOM. He has been replaced with Gen. David H. Petraeus, whose devotion to his career admits no such moral impediments. 

” ... There is no greater threat to Israel or peace than Iran,” Obama assured AIPAC. “This audience is made up of both Republicans and Democrats. And the enemies of Israel should have no doubt that regardless of party, Americans stand shoulder to shoulder in support of Israel’s security. ... The Iran regime supports violent extremists and challenges us across the region. It pursues a nuclear capability that could spark a dangerous arms race and ... its president denies the Holocaust and threatens to wipe Israel off the map. ... [M]y goal will be to eliminate this threat.”

Barack Obama, when we need sane leadership the most, has proved feckless and weak. He, and the Democratic leadership, is as morally bankrupt as those preparing to ignite our funeral pyre in the Middle East.

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By Tired of Obama, July 15, 2008 at 8:33 am Link to this comment
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“Barack Obama, when we need sane leadership the most, has proved feckless and weak.”  I can agree with that.

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By elmysterio, June 22, 2008 at 12:08 am Link to this comment
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Zack Said: “While I would never claim that all the actions Israel has taken were morally correct, they are on much firmer moral ground than the Palestinians.  When the Israeli’s launch an air strike and hit a coffee shop it is because they missed.  When a member of Hamas or any suicide bomber blows up a school bus it is because they hit their target.”

Whoa there Zack… When Israel uses high explosive missiles and rockets in densely populated areas, they KNOW they’re going to kill civilians. They just don’t care. They definitely do not have the moral high ground here. If Israel wanted a just peace with the Palestinians, they could have had it a long time ago. They’re not interested in peace and won’t rest until every last Palestinian is either dead or leaves the region. Period. I don’t understand how anyone in their right mind can support such an agenda of genocide.

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By Anon, June 20, 2008 at 5:25 pm Link to this comment
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Perhaps tripling the oil price cold be a good thing. Perphaps it is the only way to stop our reliance on carbon fuels

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By Tony Wicher, June 19, 2008 at 7:16 pm Link to this comment

Re By MG, June 19 at 12:11 pm #
“The problem began in 1979 when the American Government did not help the American backed Shah in Iran.”
No, the problem began in 1953 when the United States overthrew the democratically elected government of  
Iran and installed the Shah, a corn-fed American puppet. The brutally repressive regime of the Shah and his world-famous secret police, the Savak, was then overthrown by an Islamic people’s revolution. Unfortunately, the Shiite regime which then took over was just as brutally repressive, if in different ways, as the Shah. They also torture people, deny human rights, etc. The Iranian people are screwed either way. However, it is up to them to free themselves by a revolution. We could perhaps help by a policy of constructive engagement.

But if you haven’t learned by now what “toppling the regime” militarily really means, you must be a fool. Didn’t Iraq teach you anything? It means military conquest of Iran. It means bombing Iran back into the stone age. It means killing literally millions of people. This will make Iraq look like Granada. But no matter, think U.S. imperialists, as long as the oil is still there. You have a lot of Exxon stock, is that it?

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By mrmb, June 19, 2008 at 5:22 pm Link to this comment
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I guess what we did to Iraq hasent made an impact on you and other Iranians who think like you, very sad indeed.

Perhaps you should travel to Iraq and live there for a year or two so you know what a foreign invasion and occupation looks like.

I also assume you are pro-israel and possibly a zionist. Therefore I suggest that you go to israel and join the IDF and start killing palestinians and demolishing their homes and humiliating them. Maybe you learn a few things before we overthrow the Iranian government and hands things over to peopel like you. Those skills are gonna come in handy!!!

I am amazed that an Iranian either advocates the invasion of his country or overthrow of his government by a foreign power. Thats sorta odd. In every culture people like you are considered traitors and not worth talking to.

But I guess our intelligence agencies would love to talk to people like you. I am just not sure what the hell you know if anything.

Anyway, personally I dont like fools like you. the way I see it if you betray your motherland then I suppose you can betray anyone!!!! You are not worth the time after this brief encounter.

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By MG, June 19, 2008 at 1:11 pm Link to this comment
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The problem began in 1979 when the American Government did not help the American backed Shah in Iran. The revolution that set iran back many years and the war that came with it after is the aftermath of some of the mess thats in the middle east. Mullahs backed Hezbollah and hamas and shiite muslims who look to iran are the major problems that came from the revolution. It happend because Shah decided not to sell oil at that price for so cheap to the west. The best thing to do at this point is to topple the iranian regime. Many many iranians do not agree with this dirty regime that has taken over the country there, and they love the American and people from the west. They just have been isolated because of the regime that has violently taken over peoples lives. If Israel and United States attack irans facilities it would just give a moral boost to the regime there, which is what they are trying to do, to reunite the people there. They are using the nuclear issue not jus for electricity but to show their people that we are standing against our enemy. Once said ” Every civilization needs and enemy to survive “. As the case they are using this technic, Ahmadinejad and Khmanei are just talks to show their people and the rest of the Middle that they have power. There is high Inflation, people are angry and not happy with the way things are, they refers to shahs time as the good old days, its the best time to back the people and over throw the regime not by attacking it.

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By Sleeper, June 18, 2008 at 3:57 pm Link to this comment

Israel’s intent is not always all that virtuous.  We should always preserve a certain amount of skepticism

“We’ll make a pastrami sandwich of them. We’ll insert a strip of Jewish settlement, right across the West Bank, so that in 25 years time, neither the United Nations, nor the United States, nobody, will be able to tear it apart.” -Ariel Sharon to Winston Churchill III in 1973

On June 8, 1967, as Israel was warring on neighbors, it bombed the clearly marked USS Liberty, killing 34 Americans, and strafed bombing survivors. When the Liberty radioed for air support, President Lyndon Johnson called off the relief to avoid a confrontation with Israel. Washington continues to refuse a full investigation

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By Zack, June 18, 2008 at 2:50 pm Link to this comment

Chris Hedges is making excuses for Palestinian terrorists.  While I would never claim that all the actions Israel has taken were morally correct, they are on much firmer moral ground than the Palestinians.  When the Israeli’s launch an air strike and hit a coffee shop it is because they missed.  When a member of Hamas or any suicide bomber blows up a school bus it is because they hit their target.

Also, Hedges point about the casualty ratio being skewed in favor of the Israeli’s is a total non sequitur.  The ratio of American soldiers killed when compared to Japanese soldiers killed in World War II was heavily skewed in our favor, but that does not mean that the Japanese people were being oppressed by American imperialists.  Our troops in Afghanistan have probably killed many more members of the Taliban than members of the U.S. armed forces have been killed by Taliban fighters. It is a good thing that the Israeli’s are killing many more Palestinians instead of the other way around.

Also, Chris Hedges forgets that it was the Palestinians who did not accept the original UN partition and launched an attack on the Israeli’s with the support of Arab governments.  The very existence of Israel has been under threat from their hostile neighbors since it’s creation.  Hedges has decided to blame the whole situation on western imperialism instead laying a large part of the blame where it belongs.  At the Palestinian’s doorstep.

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By amunaor, June 16, 2008 at 2:46 pm Link to this comment

RE: Stephen Smoliar

(“We have met the enemy, and they is us.”)


We are unable to see the forest for the trees.

Peace, Best Wishes and Hope

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By Stephen Smoliar, June 16, 2008 at 2:14 pm Link to this comment

Tony Judt on “the banality of evil:”  “But if we wish to grasp the true significance of evil—what Hannah Arendt intended by calling it “banal”—then we must remember that what is truly awful about the destruction of the Jews [in the Holocaust] is not that it mattered so much but that it mattered so little.”

Uri Avnery on Obama at AIPAC:  “That is shocking enough. Even more shocking is the fact that nobody was shocked.”

In other words “nobody was shocked” because everyone has become so benumbed by political-business-as-usual that, in the grand scheme of maneuvering for electoral votes, that speech “mattered so little.”  The United States has become the new model of Arendt’s banality.  Claiming that our current President is responsible for our achieving that status is not the whole story.  The rest was told by Walt Kelly:  “We have met the enemy, and they is us.”

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By cyrena, June 16, 2008 at 12:06 pm Link to this comment

Tony Wincher,

Thanks so much for posting this piece from Averny. I appreciated reading it, and his points are well taken.

There is an irony here though, that I wonder if we’re missing. Are we not ALL giving Israel, AIPAC, and all ‘connected’ the same overwhelming attention (and even a measure of kow-towing) by our very reaction to Obama’s major blunder with that speech?

I mean, let’s face it, it has received OVERWHELMING attention throughout the world, and that means that we’re still giving this little tiny Israel, a whole bunch more clout than they really deserve by such an acknowledgement.

So yeah, Obama made a huge blunder, either by ignorance (at least in respect to the Jerusalem bit…I can’t imagine why he wasn’t more ‘informed’ on THAT) or by standard pandering. But, are we continuing it by all of this attention?

Just a thought.


Thanks for the links to all of Obama’s money sources. I could only afford $35.00. Glad he was able to collect from other’s who had more.

You mentioned the contributions of those that were $1,000 or ‘more’. I’m not sure if you’re aware, but there is a limit to contributions, although I’d want to double check the ‘rules’ to find out what that is. (and I’m not sure it matters at this point)

That *is* however, how Hillary Clinton ran into financial trouble. ALL of her contributions came from the corps and big money sources. And, they donated the max, and at the very beginning. So, she began her campaign very much ‘in the money’ so to speak. However, she didn’t plan for a campaign beyond Feb 5, (Super Tuesday) because she expected to become the nominee by then. So, she’s spent all of her big donations, and because those big donors had already donated the limit, she found herself in a jam.

I just thought I’d throw that in for proper context here. Unfortunately, (and I believe that it IS unfortunate) the US political system requires that candidates come up with a lot of money.

And now we have some candidates that will continue to the contest to November. May ‘we the people’ win this time.

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By Tony Wicher, June 16, 2008 at 10:40 am Link to this comment

Article by Uri Avnery, an important voice in the Jewish peace movement. Sorry to post the whole thing, but I can’t find a link.

Uri Avnery on Obama at AIPAC

          No, I Can’t!

AFTER MONTHS of a tough and bitter race, a merciless struggle, Barack Obama has defeated his formidable opponent, Hillary Clinton. He has wrought a miracle: for the first time in history a black person has become a credible candidate for the presidency of the most powerful country in the world.

And what was the first thing he did after his astounding victory? He ran to the conference of the Israel lobby, AIPAC, and made a speech that broke all records for obsequiousness and fawning.

That is shocking enough. Even more shocking is the fact that nobody was shocked.

IT WAS a triumphalist conference. Even this powerful organization had never seen anything like it. 7000 Jewish functionaries from all over the United States came together to accept the obeisance of the entire Washington elite, which came to kowtow at their feet. All the three presidential hopefuls made speeches, trying to outdo each other in flattery. 300 Senators and Members of Congress crowded the hallways. Everybody who wants to be elected or reelected to any office, indeed everybody who has any political ambitions at all, came to see and be seen.

The Washington of AIPAC is like the Constantinople of the Byzantine emperors in its heyday.

The world looked on and was filled with wonderment. The Israeli media were ecstatic. In all the world’s capitals the events were followed closely and conclusions were drawn. All the Arab media reported on them extensively. Aljazeera devoted an hour to a discussion of the phenomenon.

The most extreme conclusions of professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt were confirmed in their entirety. On the eve of their visit to Israel, this coming Thursday, the Israel Lobby stood at the center of political life in the US and the world at large.

WHY, ACTUALLY? Why do the candidates for the American presidency believe that the Israel lobby is so absolutely essential to their being elected?

The Jewish votes are important, of course, especially in several swing states which may decide the outcome. But African-Americans have more votes, and so do the Hispanics. Obama has brought to the political scene millions of new young voters. Numerically, the Arab-Muslim community in the US is also not an insignificant factor.

(Continued below)

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By Tony Wicher, June 16, 2008 at 10:38 am Link to this comment

Avnery on Obama and AIPAC

Some say that Jewish money speaks. The Jews are rich.  Perhaps they donate more than others for political causes. But the myth about all-powerful Jewish money has an anti-Semitic ring. After all, other lobbies, and most decidedly the huge multinational corporations, have given considerable sums of money to Obama (as well as to his opponents). And Obama himself has proudly announced that hundreds of thousands of ordinary citizens have sent him small donations, which have amounted to tens of millions. 

True, it has been proven that the Jewish lobby can almost always block the election of a senator or a member of Congress who does not dance - and do so with fervor - to the Israeli tune. In some exemplary cases (which were indeed meant to be seen as examples) the lobby has defeated popular politicians by lending its political and financial clout to the election campaign of a practically unknown rival.

But in a presidential race?

THE TRANSPARENT fawning of Obama on the Israel lobby stands out more than similar efforts by the other candidates

Why? Because his dizzying success in the primaries was entirely due to his promise to bring about a change, to put an end to the rotten practices of Washington and to replace the old cynics with a young, brave person who does not compromise his principles.

And lo and behold, the very first thing he does after securing the nomination of his party is to compromise his principles. And how!

The outstanding thing that distinguishes him from both Hillary Clinton and John McCain is his uncompromising opposition to the war in Iraq from the very first moment. That was courageous. That was unpopular. That was totally opposed to the Israel lobby, all of whose branches were fervidly pushing George Bush to start the war that freed Israel from a hostile regime.

And here comes Obama to crawl in the dust at the feet of AIPAC and go out of his way to justify a policy that completely negates his own ideas.

OK he promises to safeguard Israel’s security at any cost. That is usual. OK he threatens darkly against Iran, even though he promised to meet their leaders and settle all problems peacefully. OK he promised to bring back our three captured soldiers (believing, mistakenly, that all three are held by Hizbullah - an error that shows, by the way, how sketchy is his knowledge of our affairs.)

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By Tony Wicher, June 16, 2008 at 10:36 am Link to this comment

Avnery on Obama and AIPAC (cont)

But his declaration about Jerusalem breaks all bounds. It is no exaggeration to call it scandalous.

NO PALESTINIAN, no Arab, no Muslim will make peace with Israel if the Haram-al-Sharif compound (also called the Temple Mount), one of the three holiest places of Islam and the most outstanding symbol of Palestinian nationalism, is not transferred to Palestinian sovereignty. That is one of the core issues of the conflict.

On that very issue, the Camp David conference of 2000 broke up, even though the then Prime Minister, Ehud Barak, was willing to divide Jerusalem in some manner.

Along comes Obama and retrieves from the junkyard the outworn slogan “Undivided Jerusalem, the Capital of Israel for all Eternity”. Since Camp David, all Israeli governments have understood that this mantra constitutes an insurmountable obstacle to any peace process. It has disappeared - quietly, almost secretly - from the arsenal of official slogans. Only the Israeli (and American-Jewish) Right sticks to it, and for the same reason: to smother at birth any chance for a peace that would necessitate the dismantling of the settlements.

In prior US presidential races, the pandering candidates thought that it was enough to promise that the US embassy would be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. After being elected, not one of the candidates ever did anything about this promise. All were persuaded by the State Department that it would harm basic American interests.

Obama went much further. Quite possibly, this was only lip service and he was telling himself: OK, I must say this in order to get elected. After that, God is great.

But even so the fact cannot be ignored: the fear of AIPAC is so terrible, that even this candidate, who promises change in all matters, does not dare. In this matter he accepts the worst old-style Washington routine. He is prepared to sacrifice the most basic American interests. After all, the US has a vital interest in achieving an Israeli-Palestinian peace that will allow it to find ways to the hearts of the Arab masses from Iraq to Morocco. Obama has harmed his image in the Muslim world and mortgaged his future - if and when he is elected president. 

SIXTY FIVE years ago, American Jewry stood by helplessly while Nazi Germany exterminated their brothers and sisters in Europe. They were unable to prevail on President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to do anything significant to stop the Holocaust. (And at that same time, many Afro-Americans did not dare to go near the polling stations for fear of dogs being set on them.)

What has caused the dizzying ascent to power of the American Jewish establishment? Organizational talent? Money? Climbing the social ladder? Shame for their lack of zeal during the Holocaust?

The more I think about this wondrous phenomenon, the stronger becomes my conviction (about which I have already written in the past) that what really matters is the similarity between the American enterprise and the Zionist one, both in the spiritual and the practical sphere. Israel is a small America, the USA is a huge Israel.

The Mayflower passengers, much as the Zionists of the first and second aliya (immigration wave), fled from Europe, carrying in their hearts a messianic vision, either religious or utopian. (True, the early Zionists were mostly atheists, but religious traditions had a powerful influence on their vision.) The founders of American society were “pilgrims”, the Zionists immigrants called themselves “olim” - short for olim beregel, pilgrims. Both sailed to a “promised land”, believing themselves to be God’s chosen people.

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By Tony Wicher, June 16, 2008 at 10:32 am Link to this comment

Avnery on Obama and AIPAC (cont)

Both suffered a great deal in their new country. Both saw themselves as “pioneers”, who make the wilderness bloom, a “people without land in a land without people”. Both completely ignored the rights of the indigenous people, whom they considered sub-human savages and murderers. Both saw the natural resistance of the local peoples as evidence of their innate murderous character, which justified even the worst atrocities. Both expelled the natives and took possession of their land as the most natural thing to do, settling on every hill and under every tree, with one hand on the plow and the Bible in the other.

True, Israel did not commit anything approaching the genocide performed against the Native Americans, nor anything like the slavery that persisted for many generations in the US. But since the Americans have repressed these atrocities in their consciousness, there is nothing to prevent them from comparing themselves to the Israelis. It seems that in the unconscious mind of both nations there is a ferment of suppressed guilt feelings that express themselves in the denial of their past misdeeds, in aggressiveness and the worship of power.

HOW IS it that a man like Obama, the son of an African father, identifies so completely with the actions of former generations of American whites? It shows again the power of a myth to become rooted in the consciousness of a person, so that he identifies 100% with the imagined national narrative. To this may be added the unconscious urge to belong to the victors, if possible.

Therefore, I do not accept without reservation the speculation: “Well, he must talk like this in order to get elected. Once in the White House, he will return to himself.”

I am not so sure about that. It may well turn out that these things have a surprisingly strong hold on his mental world.

Of one thing I am certain: Obama’s declarations at the AIPAC conference are very, very bad for peace. And what is bad for peace is bad for Israel, bad for the world and bad for the Palestinian people.

If he sticks to them, once elected, he will be obliged to say, as far as peace between the two peoples of this country is concerned: “No, I can’t!”

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By cyrena, June 15, 2008 at 3:34 pm Link to this comment

Zeitgeist writes:

•  “..Perhaps Obama would have faired better if he had completely ignored his engagement with AIPAC, which I myself perceived him to have been corralled into by Clinton and McCain, especially the conniving trickster McClinton:

Zeitgeist, my sentiments…EXACTLY! And, I’ve said as much, more than a few times, and several dozen posts back. Now I hadn’t even gotten around to recognizing the probable ‘corralling’ that he would have succumbed to, so I’m not even giving him an ‘out’ based on that. In short, I’ve recognized this as the biggest blunder he could have made, by speaking with them at all. On the other hand, since he could probably NOT completely avoided speaking to them, (which would be no different that Bushes consistently ignoring the NAACP and other) he surely would have done far, far, far better speaking to them at a different time, and for sure with a different message.

No doubt, this was a major blunder. And it’s the only major blunder that I’ve recognized as exactly that. The rest is more hype. Thanks for the link. I hadn’t even considered the trickster.

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By cyrena, June 15, 2008 at 3:22 pm Link to this comment

Scott writes:

•  “Why couldn’t all this Obama support have gone to a candidate like Feingold? I will tell you why he didn’t have industries support early like Obama did which is what allowed him to build a base of 2 million donors.”

Scottk, this is an oxymoron connection, because they are separate from each other. I don’t know why Feingold didn’t get more support, so maybe you’d like to check that out.

As for Barack Obama, his donor support did NOT come from ‘industry’. It came from small time donors who didn’t really HAVE $25.00 or $35.00 to donate, but they did it anyway. They found a way. And they didn’t just do it one month, but they continued to do it month after month for 3, 4 or sometimes 5 months. Some people donated once, (maybe a whopping $100.00) and others found a way to donate more than once. But the donations have come from AMERICAN CITIZENS, and not corporations. There is also a limit on what citizens and corporations can donate.

Now, maybe you could find out what the real reasons are that Feingold didn’t get more support. Why didn’t Kucinich get more support? (He was my own first choice). And, are the reasons that Feingold didn’t get more support the same reasons why Kucinich didn’t get more support? How about the others? Why didn’t Edwards, Dodd, Richardson, and Gravel not get more support?

Stop trying to add 2+2 and convince us that it equals 7.

And scottk, did you really mean this last part, or maybe I’m not understanding this..

•  “…which my drive these young people out of politics forever, the way I sure Clinton did to a lot of people before GW Bush came a long, and saved the Democrats.”
Do you really mean that GW came along and ‘SAVED the Democrats?” Surely I don’t follow you. I don’t see how GW has SAVED anybody other than his cronies in the MIC and the OIL industry, and they didn’t need “saving.” Can you explain how he ‘saved’ the dems? This is very curious.

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By oddlyamerican, June 15, 2008 at 12:13 pm Link to this comment

Thanks for the reply zeitgeist. I, myself, attempted to stoke a debate amongst the posters at Obama’s website and was quickly told to go elsewhere and not dampen the excitement.

We really need to make this an issue and take Obama up on his invitation for debate and challenge him. I’ve already written to a number of journalists, but it seems that the dominant mindset, even in independent media, is one that carpet bombs McCain whilst basking in Obama’s historic candidacy. It’s the same old story: perception at the expense of political analysis.

Many Obama supporters, such as those at his website, need to see through this veil of symbolism that obscures real world implications.

I mentioned it earlier in this thread and I’ll say it again, the Huffington Post has a hell of a lot to answer for.

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By amunaor, June 15, 2008 at 11:57 am Link to this comment

olddlyamerican, yes, I have read over Hedges remarks in the above article a dozen times now, as I have, not only here, but elsewhere. Please do not think for a moment that I too do not sympathize with those very same concerns. I agree, Obama’s rhetorical blessings to the gathered Zionist war party at AIPAC, did not boost his ratings in many other corners. In my opinion, to rally these folks is no different than to rally the war monger Bush and his Republican war industry.

Perhaps Obama would have faired better if he had completely ignored his engagement with AIPAC, which I myself perceived him to have been corralled into by Clinton and McCain, especially the conniving trickster McClinton:

I’m certain that she was completely aware of the impending psychological detriment such an engagement would have resonated throughout a large segment of concerned Obama supporters, and perhaps even now, this clutching and grasping ego of hers is continuing to covertly subvert and snatch the throne from Obama. Otherwise, if Clinton were truly interested in party unity, she’s no dummy, she would have counseled Obama against his AIPAC speech, or at least advised him to be guarded in his words, but instead led him right into it. I have posted these very same concerns on Obama’s blog site, in hopes that they will land on and resonate in the appropriate ears.

How does one campaign against such dark psychological tricks? What else better explains Obama’s, one moment, concern for the plight of the Palestinians, to now this?

Zionism is not completely an Israeli mindset. As I have stated in my other postings elsewhere, much of the Balfour Declaration rode in on the wings of delirious Christen sympathies. Today, the Israeli body politic, at least the party of war, is infected by the extremist fundamentalists such as John Hagee and Pat Robertson, whose intent it is to usher in the second coming; Christen Zionists for Israel.

Consider for a moment what the MSM spin would have been and the effect this would have provoked in the above mentioned mindset, if Obama had stood up before the corporate lens, the magicians of sound and vision, and denounced the activities of the Israeli war party who are in the clutches of this madness? He would have been slammed and slandered as another Hitler. So, dam if you do and dam if you don’t.

Personally, I believe Obama would have served a wider range of his constituency much better if he had completely ignored his AIPAC engagement. I also believe, or at least suspect, that the Clinton/McCain rats are out to sink his ship. Obama needs to fight this psychological fire with and equal and opposing fire.

Peace, Best Wishes and Hope

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By oddlyamerican, June 15, 2008 at 1:04 am Link to this comment


You sum up the conflict in this thread perfectly; grave concern for the Middle East and yet support for Obama after reading (and agreeing with), Chris Hedges’ analysis of Obama’s neo-con speech.

I imagine everyone who has entered a post on this thread would agree that SOFA is of the utmost urgency (even though it looks as though Maliki is pretty hardcore in rejecting the terms), but surely the bigger picture now is the implications of an Obama administration following his bellicose speech at AIPAC.

Did you not read Hedges’ article above? Obama has now made clear that his previous allusions to diplomacy were nothing more than allusions and that his worldview is contiguous with the Neo-Con Neo-Lib narrative: American hegemony. This not a message of hope and change it is a message of threat and dominance.

Obama’s stance in Iraq now differs very little to McCain’s i.e. pull out as conditions permit, listen to the generals (which I happen to agree with, but that’s a debate for another time). And now with his veiled threat to Iran don’t you think that he might just want to keep a presence in Iraq to counterbalance Iran’s influence in the region?

You are right on about SOFA and there is a blackout of coverage, and the crimes of this current administration continue but Barack Obama is not the remedy. He is not a man who extends empathy to Arabs and Iranians (or even a nuanced understanding as we so hoped at the beginning of this campaign). As we are well aware, his promise of Jerusalem for Israel undivided doesn’t just affect Palestinians, it sends an aggressive message to those who disagree with Israeli occupation (the tone of concilliation has reached new depths), and that the United States will continue to be heavily biased in its dealings in the Middle East.

Like many ‘good’ leaders before him he has an unshakeable allegiance to the US Constitution and I applaud him for that, but also like many before him those ideals do not extend beyond the fifty states. Instead, when dealing with the ‘other’ we apparently need realpolitik or a geo-political viewpoint where strategy is everything and empathy is weakness.

So what I am asking you is this simple question: how is it possible to support Obama when you are so concerned about the Middle East and he has promised to progress the traditional and disastrous US agenda in the region?

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By amunaor, June 14, 2008 at 9:15 pm Link to this comment

Chris Hedges, thanks! Hammer on the following:

The biggest concern now should be the media blackout concerning the Bush Oligarchs push to implement what is known as the ‘Status of Forces Agreement’ and the true nature of this agreement. If the Washington regime, through slight of hand, is successful in this, it will tie Barack’s hands in fulfilling his stated mission, to remove ALL U.S. troops from the region at all. The deadline is the end of July. If successful, the Washington regime expects the measure to boost McCain’s position in November. This is serious stuff!

Watch RealNews video concerning this issue:

This should be of Utmost Urgency to all of us who stand with Obama regarding his position on diplomacy and the removal of all troops, rather than the image of the current ranting, crusading lunatic, standing on top of the hill with a nuke clutched in each hand, demanding submission by all to the corporate empire.

The “The Status of Forces Agreement” if successful, is to be Bush’s complete circumvention of any Congressional approval, forcing a military treaty down the throats of both governments, U.S. and Iraqi, imposing itself as an intimidating hornets nest, by its perpetual occupation of the area.

The Iraqi people, what’s left of them, won’t stand for it and certainly not the Iranians. If they don’t stand up against this ‘slight of hand’ they can bend over and kiss any notion of sovereignty good-bye. The Great White U.S. dictator will, of course, try and sell this poison disguised in the candy wrapper of ‘security’.

The terms of the impending deal, details of which have been leaked to The Independent, are likely to have an explosive political effect in Iraq. Iraqi officials fear that the accord, under which US troops would occupy permanent bases, conduct military operations, arrest Iraqis and enjoy immunity from Iraqi law, will destabilize Iraq’s position in the Middle East and lay the basis for unending conflict in their country.

Momentum is also growing within the Maliki administration for the US to leave altogether. Mr Maliki was in Iran this week where the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told him not to sign up to any long-term security deals with Washington.

The agreement is being negotiated by David Satterfield, the US State Department’s top adviser on Iraq, who still maintains it can be initialled by a July.

As for Kucinich’s articles of impeachment, watch this brief video clip of the Judiciary in action. The two incidents depicted in the clip display how an unnamed Republican impeded the Judiciaries investigative prodding’s into the subject of torture and the strangle-hold special interests have on government. Republicans invoked the rarely used “two hour rule” that states no hearing can run more than two hours. Incredible, to say the least!


Peace, Best Wishes and Hope


Here are the names of the Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee. They have also earlier buried the Articles against VP Cheney. Only Rep. Wexler has signed on to Kucinich’s Articles against Bush. Throw the other rascals out in November. Their Republican opponents are undoubtedly terrible political troglodytes but at least they are not hypocritical bums on impeachment. While it is indeed too late for an full impeachment inquiry to take its course, it is not too late to understand that history will harshly judge the cowardice of these “honorables.”

Dishonorable (etc) Conyers, Berman, Boucher, Nader, Scott, Watt, Lofgren, Jackson Lee, Waters, Delahunt, Sanchez, Cohen, Johnson, Sutton, Guitierrez, Sherman, Baldwin, Weiner, Schiff, Davis, Wasseman Schulz (maybe not, she publicly supports Dennis), Ellison.

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By amunaor, June 14, 2008 at 8:00 pm Link to this comment

Great work Tony & Cyrena!

It appears the two of you have got them all spitting and sputtering as they chew their fingernails to the nub.

Keep em beying at the moon!

Peace, Best Wishes and Hope

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By Max Shields, June 14, 2008 at 9:39 am Link to this comment


“Obama wrote in his recent memoir that he thinks the death penalty “does little to deter crime.” But he supports capital punishment in cases “so heinous, so beyond the pale, that the community is justified in expressing the full measure of its outrage by meting out the ultimate punishment.”

You know the reason I communicate with you is because it’s obvious to me that you’re an astute follow of events and seem to be pretty progressive. It’s the damned blind spot with Obama that I’m puzzled by and you just can’t seem to answer without comparing Obama to Hillary or McCain. Hillary is no longer a candidate and McCain is what he is.

But the quote - and I thank you for digging this up, reflects how Obama addresses just about issue. You know we are the only Western nation with a death penalty. And yet the so-called “liberal” Dem candidate supports it. The thing is we DON’T get the right guy much of the time and there’s nothing in Obama’s statements that are anything more than appeasement. That’s the problem with Obama. But his supporters have an answer for that: that’s what he needs to do to get elected.

That’s a standard DLC move and Obama has done it from day one. The Dems lose with that approach because it’s phony. I don’t know, and neither do you, what Obama really thinks about anything. There’s a reason why neo-con columnists like David Brooks leans toward Obama over McCain.

The funny thing is, and capital punishment bears this out, Obama is Bill Clinton 2008. I’ve said that ever since he started to run. Absolutely nothing new; a total re-tread. The obvious difference is that Obama seems to be pulling in young voters (after 8 years of Bush) and he has no executive experience (is that good?). I suspect he’ll take most of his first term to figure out which levers of power to pull (has nothing to do with smarts) and he’.. rely heavily on his staff of Clinton and neo-liberal (and even some neo-con leaning) advisors to lead the way.

Domestically, this country is strapped and there is great doubt that Obama will give up on Empire which continues to massively drain this country of resources.

As far as habeous corps, rendition, torture and Gitmo I don’t see any difference between Obama and McCain. McCain is more blunt about endless occupation of Iraq and Obama is not.

I’d suggest you take those good progressive instincts and intelligence and re-direct them. Just a suggestion. Eventually, after much time and energy, Obama will cross that line (AIPAC should have done it) that even you’ll be hard pressed to explain away.

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By Stephen Smoliar, June 14, 2008 at 8:29 am Link to this comment

cyrena, I think another way of putting oddlyamerican’s comment about “new days” is that we shall have no idea how new the day is actually going to be until the gavel comes down on the end of the Democratic Convention.  If I had to place a bet, I would probably keep it small;  but I would bet on the same-old-same-old prevailing, regardless of now many new influences there may be.

Since you do not watch television (as you claim), you probably have not had exposure to David Simon’s examination of Baltimore politics through narrative, the narrative in this case being the fourth and fifth seasons of THE WIRE.  Simon’s background is “old school” print journalism;  and his “classroom” for that school was found in the streets of Baltimore, particularly the really ugly ones.  I was particularly impressed that he could take a plot about cops and drugs and weave into it both a mayoral election and the impact of the new administration.  The “new day” metaphor figured (overly?) heavily in the winner’s campaign.  However, once the election has been won, the “new day” metaphor quickly succumbed to the “bowl of shit” metaphor:

In a sense the winning candidate learns that you can’t fight City Hall even if you ARE City Hall!

Ultimately, it all comes down to Marx:  We make our own history, but that does not imply that we get out of it what we put into it.  It is not a matter of “believing in change.”  All we can do is take actions that we feel are appropriate, not just for ourselves but also for the social system that sustains us.  Some of those actions may lead to change;  but it is not usually (if ever) the change we had (or THOUGHT we had) intended.  More importantly, our social system is a robust one.  It is robust enough to sustain the rhetoric of “new days,” “bowls of shit,” and even “being a uniter, not a divider” (if you remember who used THAT one!):

This is not the despair of expecting nothing so as not to be disappointed;  it is just Voltaire’s good old-fashioned meliorism!

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By cyrena, June 14, 2008 at 1:48 am Link to this comment

Max wanted to know if I agreed with Obama’s stance on the death penalty. (I guess mine is the only opinion that’s important) Since the death penalty (and whether or not it should be abolished or upheld) doesn’t rest on the opinion of a president, (it’s determined by public consensus) I’m not real sure why this matters to only know about Obama. (we haven’t seen the need to question any other politicians about this) But for what it’s’s his stance, and I’ve included mine at the bottom.
Barack Obama and the death penalty

NCADP cannot and does not endorse candidates for elective office. We can’t because of our tax status as a 501(c)(3). However, we can engage in public education—i.e., we can tell voters where candidates stand on issues such as the death penalty.

Courtesy of today’s Washington Post, here’s where Barack Obama stands on the death penalty. In a nutshell: He’s pro-death penalty but he is also pro-let’s not execute the wrong guy:
Five years later, Obama waded into a complex capital-punishment debate after a number of exonerations persuaded then-Gov. George Ryan (R) to empty death row.

Obama wrote in his recent memoir that he thinks the death penalty “does little to deter crime.” But he supports capital punishment in cases “so heinous, so beyond the pale, that the community is justified in expressing the full measure of its outrage by meting out the ultimate punishment.”

In proposing changes, Obama met repeatedly with officials and advocates on all sides. He nudged and cajoled colleagues fearful of being branded soft on crime, as well as death-penalty opponents worried that any reform would weaken efforts to abolish capital punishment.

Obama’s signature effort was a push for mandatory taping of interrogations and confessions. It was opposed by prosecutors, police organizations and Ryan’s successor, Democrat Rod Blagojevich, who said it would impede investigators.

Working under the belief that no innocent defendant should end up on death row an no guilty one should go free, Obama helped get the bill approved by the Senate on a 58 to 0 vote. When Blagojevich reversed his position and signed it, Illinois became the first state to require taping by statute.

My answer is that I’ve always preferred to see the death penalty abolished completely. He supports it in very heinous crimes, because he feels like it provides some sort of justice for the victims. I understand this point of view from studying and working with Truth and Reconciliation Commissions, specifically were widespread torture is concerned. But, I’ve not been a victim of such, so I can’t say how I would feel. My overwhelming concern is that innocent people have been and will continue to slip through the cracks. Or that we’ll continue to see cases like that of Karla Faye Tucker, whose death sentence GW cheerfully refused to commute to life in prison.

WHATEVER my own or Obama’s opinion might be however, doesn’t really matter at the bottom line, because this is something that Americans have overwhelmingly CHOSEN to have. Americans VOTE for this.. And, Americans seem to love it. They REALLY love it in Texas. Matter of fact, the US is the only industrialized nation in the world that still practices it, and they don’t seem to wanna give it up.

Pretty disgusting, but then…somehow, I’m not even surprised. My time on these blogs since this historic election has reopened my eyes. Guess I got a little ‘lax’ there after returning to civilization from a 3rd world country. Started to forget how ugly people could be.

We’ve still got a long road ahead of us.

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By cyrena, June 14, 2008 at 12:53 am Link to this comment

Well OddlyAmerican,

I think you’ve actually answered all of your own questions, and got an opportunity to get in your own double attack of me and Obama at the same time.

Got work.

Meantime, I don’t think you really want any response from me. It’s just an opportunity to jump on the attack bandwagon.

Because the bottom line is that you people ask questions, and before I can answer them, ask different ones.

You also don’t really wanna hear them, because the stuff you’re asking, you can find out for yourself. You’ve proven in this post, that you already have.

Clearly I’ve never given the impression that I’m Obama’s spokesperson.

So, I guess what you really want to do is just find whatever you can that’s wrong with him, which would make a little bit more sense if you were actually comparing him with other candidates that you were considering, but you just said McCain was out. (that’s good to hear..for you all I guess). As for the other stuff that you wanna know, it would probably make more sense to just ask him yourself.

I mean, if you really do want to know these things.

Meantime. Please accept my apologies for revealing my career status. I never intended to, and I’ve so far avoided mentioning it in the past 18 or so months of my posts.

Please forgive me, and try to forget that I even mentioned it. I’ll just pretend to be really stupid, and nobody will ever know the difference.

Happy fact finding. (or burning at the stake)

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By oddlyamerican, June 14, 2008 at 12:25 am Link to this comment


I have been reading your posts on this thread and whilst your high opinion of yourself and often condascending tone (defended by claiming it is the urgency of the times - which I don’t buy, condascending is not urgency) is frequently irritating I did find your post on the Cuban embargo interesting. But apart from that you appear to dance around the core of this thread and the grave implications of an Obama administration.

You ask why we focus on Obama and his explicitly non-progressive stances (i.e capital punishment, healthcare, and in this case military saber-rattling). Then when asked to reply to these specific cases (which by the way need not require a 2000 word essay as you as apparently put you off thus far), you choose only one (which as I mentioned was informative), and then challenge others to parse other candidates’ positions.

Let me attempt to be succinct. We don’t need to compare and contrast with other candidates here. I think we are all agreed that McCain requires little consideration and Clinton is now out. Obama has openly courted progressives, and so progressives are apt to do their job and challenge this candidate that claims to speak for them (see Obama’s victory speech in Minnesota). So when Obama not only contradicts his own message of debate, concilliation and consensus in the most dramatic of fashions, but also displays a US arrogance that has been going on since the Monroe Doctrine, I think it is okay to take a second look at his other conservative positions i.e. health-care, gay marriage, his emphasis on clean coal. That is not to mention the popular idea of the glorous message that a Barack Hussein Obama presidency would send to the rest of the world. A posssibilty that Obama utterly eviscerated in his speech to AIPAC when he took the Nicholas Kristoff approach to the Middle East: the Palestinians and Iran can suck it.

So Cyrena if it feels that people are attacking you for your support for Obama then it is because you do DEFEND him, though not on issues or policy but on the movement that supports him:

“The Democratic Party for which Obama is the nominee, is that new party, and it includes the young, as well as the old, who believe in progress, and don’t wanna be left behind.

It’s a new dawn, and a new day, and if we’re gonna save our collective asses, it’s really the ONLY choice. “

Just because the Democratic Party has widened its base with the progressive young doesn’t necassarily mean the top will follow. In fact it looks like the top is going the other way.

I agree with Stephen Smoliar that we should pressure Obama and inform him of our opinions and that he just might listen but when he gives a speech that is fundamentally neo-conservative in nature we are valid to call it as such. That is not propaganda.

If you do respond to this post I would appreciate it if you spent more time arguing the points raised rather on insults, petulant asides and references to how educated and intelligent you are. I’m sure it would save you a lot of time.

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By cyrena, June 13, 2008 at 9:31 pm Link to this comment

Ah gee Max…

I’m disappointed. I was all prepared to answer the other question you’d asked me if a agreed on, death penalty, the bombing of Iran, and the Palestinian Holocaust. Now you’ve totally switched up on me. I’m not sure I’m even following you. So hold up for a second. Maybe I need to have a glass of wine so I can catch up with you.

OK, I’m back. Apologies that it’s white wine. (I don’t really ‘feel’ like an elitist). And, I guess your questions aren’t so difficult after all. We’ve been here before. As a background though..I’m a native Californian who came ‘of age’ during the CRM. I’ve been a democrat all of my life, which the exception of my time in TX, when I thought my options might be better as an independent. (They weren’t) Everywhere else that I lived during my 1st career, I was a democrat. Now I’m back home, and I’m the same.

I agree with you that the DLC as we know it, down through the Clintons and until now, has been little different from the repugs. When many people were somehow calling Bill Clinton the ‘1st black president’, I was calling him the best republican president we’ve ever had. I tend to be of an independent ideology, though of the liberal blend. In all honesty, I have never been as interested in voting for party as I have for person. I admit that’s become more and more difficult to do, because you’re right..they all blend together. At least that has been the case in the past 2 or 3 decades. In my opinion, things have been really jacked up for those of my own economic class, since Regan, and I’ve yet to see any reprieve. Individually, some times have been better than others, but only marginally.

You say this about the dems:

•  “They placate their progressive base, but the outcomes are all big corporate, neo-liberal trade. Those are the fundamental causes of our wars.”

I agree with the first part of your statement in terms of the DLC. Big Corp, and neo-liberal trade. I don’t get at all how you connect that to the fundamental causes of our wars. WHICH wars are you talking about? Are you talking about ALL of the wars since Regan, or just the ones of the latest bush regime?

No matter…they’ve all been about Imperialism, the neo-liberal trade, and the need to dominate the resources of the globe. So yeah. We can agree on that.

And, as far as the DLC is concerned, that still exists, except that we’ve added a new ‘branch’ to it in the past 4 or 5 years. I think it was the disaster of the current Cabal that finally shook everybody up, and we knew we needed a change. The change happened began before Barack Obama, though I’ll admit that it ‘ushered in his movement’. It began with small groups like the Out of Iraq Caucus, and then MoveOn dot org got the internet technology to work for them. And so a new movement kicked off within the Democratic Party, that looks nothing like the old.

SOME from the old organization (having always been of a progressive mentality anyway) have been able to make the change easily. I had an opportunity to hear Willie Brown speak several weeks ago, (and picked up his book as well) and he’s one sharp old guy. (don’t tell him I said he was old). In fact, he’s not. His is a very progressive mentality. And so there are in fact many of us, (like myself) that have been able to ‘get with the new program’ and make the transition. We’ve welcomed the huge (and I do mean phenomenal) new members..the youth as well as those who have been on the periphery, and mostly disenfranchised for years. It’s a 21st Century Movement, and anyone who can’t keep up, gets left behind.

The Democratic Party for which Obama is the nominee, is that new party, and it includes the young, as well as the old, who believe in progress, and don’t wanna be left behind.

It’s a new dawn, and a new day, and if we’re gonna save our collective asses, it’s really the ONLY choice.

Hope that was succinct enough.

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By cyrena, June 13, 2008 at 8:47 pm Link to this comment

Amon, Part 1

Thanks much for your civil tone as well. My apologies for suggesting that some or many must be scared shitless of a black man. (I don’t think I had you in mind, but unfortunately, that is the only answer that I can come to with many others.) I suspect it is simply something that we will never be completely beyond in my lifetime. To ignore what is simply foundational in this country for so long, serves no useful purpose. But, I cannot change that.

As for the beerdoctors comments or seeming obsession on Barack Obama. At this point in time, I don’t think we really have to hash over it. I don’t dwell on these kinds of things, but the reason that I don’t dwell on them, is because I try to address them as they happen. Avoiding that can lead to problems down the road.

ON THE OTHER HAND…there are times when there really is no ‘reaching’ another person, and I’ve needed to learn that. I do my best, and while I’m not ‘patting myself on the back’, I think I generally give the benefit of the doubt far longer than most of the people that I personally know. (at least they think so). wink However, I can generally decide quickly enough, when there is no ‘meeting of the minds’ and cannot be. I accept that, and move on. This is just from years of doing the kind of work that I’ve done. Admittedly, I have less time for the diplomacy, because we live in different times now. There really IS far more of an urgency to things, and so less time for all of us to dally. I wish it were not so, but that’s the way that it is.

So, when I come across as overbearing, it’s because of the urgency of the times…because I’ve watched for all of these years, the way so many of us have been so totally overwhelmed by the forces that have literally highjacked our society. And if that sounds dramatic, it’s because…IT IS! Sometimes I feel like I’m shouting into a vacuum telling my fellow person…look out, there is a mac truck bearing down on you! Please, Please, move, run, you’re about to be wiped out. And, they’re staring back at me calling me names, and claiming that I’m just lying to them, or trying to ‘belittle’ them. Meantime, I don’t get a damn bit of pleasure when the mac truck does indeed smash them flat! And yet, that’s what I’ve been seeing. I’m not into the ‘I told you so’ mindset. So hopefully, you understand my frustration.

Anyway, don’t be worried about going back over all of the posts. Hopefully you’ll simply trust me on it, because in all sincerity, I have no reason to make up stuff like that. I DO pay attention to all of the posts, and I CAN pick up on the nuances and the rest. But again, it’s ONLY because…that’s what I do. It’s what I’m trained to do. It’s where my career experience is.

On a different note. I’ve just viewed a couple of very informative videos. I should say first, that we simply don’t get news here at home, the way that we may have been accustomed to getting it in decades past. (and I speak to people of my own generations). This is why for the most part; we’ve remained in the dark for so very long now. NOT because we are stupid, and that’s never been my suggestion. But, just because we are accustomed, (as Americans) to getting what information we need by paying reasonable attention to things, even if it’s just the newspaper, or the evening news on TV. But, there’s been not just a TOTAL blackout of that for the past 8 years, (at least) but real information has been supplanted with fake information. And, why WOULDN’T we believe it? There is no reason NOT to believe it. Until nearly 8 years ago. That’s where I run into these reactions from people. We don’t want to believe some of this stuff, and we end up feeling foolish, because we did. It’s human nature, and we end up frequently blaming the messenger.

OK, I’m going to link you up to some interesting video that you may or may not have seen yet. Wait for part 2.

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By cyrena, June 13, 2008 at 8:45 pm Link to this comment

Part 2 for Amon and all

Michael Shaw and Ernest Canning posted this link on another thread. I only just had a chance to watch it, since I’ve been tied up the better part of the week with other work. SOME of this information you may already have been aware of. I was, but only because I get nearly all of my own information from either foreign media, or academic journals. Here again is the example of how much we’ve been left in the dark. Unless we have both the time and the inclination to go in search of this stuff, we aren’t going to find it. It’s like trying to ask question to find out something you don’t know, but since we don’t know, we don’t know the questions to ask. Does that make sense?

Anyway, check out Mr. Bugliosi here. He’s very familiar to us here in California, but not necessarily everywhere else. renowned_attorney_vincent

After that, there’s another interview with Patrick Cockburn. The only way we’ve ever been able to find out what’s really going on in Iraq, is when our loved ones return, (alive…rather than in boxes) or when the foreign media reports it to us.

OK, gotta respond to Max now.

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By Tony Wicher, June 13, 2008 at 7:49 pm Link to this comment

By Max Shields, June 13 at 5:28 pm #

Tony Wicher,

Responding to you is boring because you should know better.

So stop responding. You’re an obnoxious ass anyway.

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By Max Shields, June 13, 2008 at 6:28 pm Link to this comment

Tony Wicher,

Responding to you is boring because you should know better. Obama has received much of the same money (large donations) from the same sources as Hillary Clinton. Yes, apparently he used the Howard Dean approach (very successful) in using the internet. So, what!

Look my point isn’t that Obama is worse than the Hillary or McCain.

Take Chris Dodd. Not overly progressive (tho certainly friendly to the left). But he has made couragous stands many times and he has been for ending the embargo on Cuba for decades. He’s made stands, sometimes alone when there was a moral or legal issue at hand. To a less extent so hasn’t Biden. These are not shining star progressives, mind you.

Obama has done none of this. The system is corrupt and he and Hillary and McCain is what they “produced”. These were the candidates before almost any poll was taken that were heading the pack - it started with raising hundreds of millions.

It’s clear. It shouldn’t need to be posted over and over again because some folks here keep repeating the same inane illusory myths about the glorious speeching maker.

Most progressives never went for him, but some in the Dem party lined up like good soldiers scared they’re going to get MCCAIN that they pay little attention to what the Dems have handed us.

Even the centrist DLCer par excellence - Bill Clinton - had 4 or 5 terms as a State executive behind him before he ran. Obama gets a plus for having none and pushing the same rhetoric as Bill did in 1992!

As I’ve said before, vote, for what it’s worth for whom ever you want - but the fantacies really are silly.

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By cyrena, June 13, 2008 at 2:12 pm Link to this comment

JBlack Here’s what you demanded:

Iraq war illegal, says Annan

~The United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has told the BBC the US-led invasion of Iraq was an illegal act that contravened the UN charter.
He said the decision to take action in Iraq should have been made by the Security Council, not unilaterally.~

Link to it here JBlack. There’s even a video for you.

Iraq war was illegal and breached UN charter, says Annan

•  Ewen MacAskill and Julian Borger in Washington

•  The Guardian,
•  Thursday September 16 2004
•  Article history

The United Nations secretary general, Kofi Annan, declared explicitly for the first time last night that the US-led war on Iraq was illegal.

Mr Annan said that the invasion was not sanctioned by the UN security council or in accordance with the UN’s founding charter. In an interview with the BBC World Service broadcast last night, he was asked outright if the war was illegal. He replied: “Yes, if you wish.”

Link to it here JBlack:

I’m going to recommend some books to you as well. One is the latest from my own mentor, academic/scholarly advisor/whatever you want to call it. I’m extremely fortunate to have been able to study International Law under his guidance.

Richard A. Falk is the Albert G. Milbank Professor of International Law and Practice, Emeritus at Princeton and Visiting Professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

His most recent work is “The Costs of War: International Law, The UN, and World Order After Iraq.” Rutledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2008 ISBN 13:978-0-415-95509-6
Another very excellent book that is very easy reading is:

“War Law: Understanding International Law and Armed Conflict”
Michael Byers, Grove Press, 2005

Again JBlack. Please stop attacking me. I’m going to ask you that for this last time. These lectures and name calling from you are over the top, and you would have been banned from any other site for the frequency in which you’ve engaged in them, targeting me specifically, for whatever your reasons might be.

When I read and post to this site, it is to gain and SHARE information. If I don’t know something, I’ll ask to see if someone else does. Sometimes, I’ll share what I’ve already researched, IF ONLY because I’ve ALREADY researched it, because again…IT’S WHAT I DO! Many other people reading and posting here, don’t necessarily have the same amount of time or resources that I do. Since this is what I do ANYHOW, I’m generally willing and able to share it. And, I make very CLEAR distinctions between what is my OPINION, and what is FACT!

Last but not least…I’m not in any ‘competition’ with you or anyone else here, nor am I collecting a salary from you, or anyone else here. I will continue to call out propaganda when I see it as propaganda. Just so you know.

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By Amon Drool, June 13, 2008 at 1:26 pm Link to this comment

cyrena..your somewhat more civil tone is appreciated.

i really don’t think thebeerdoc obsesses over barack.  he does post on other stuff—he’s not a howard. 

the preceding paragraph brings us to a fundamental difference we have.  i have just stated that i don’t think thebeerdoc obsesses over barack.  now, i didn’t go back and check all the posts that beerdoc has made on truthdig.  that would be a way to verify my opinion.  or be objective as u put it.  my computer skills are limited.  if i knew of a way to bring up all of doc’s truthdig posts quickly, i might do this and i could then give u percentages on his obama and non-obama posts.  because, i didn’t check all of beerdoc’s posts, this would seem to leave me open to the charge of mere subjectivity from your point of view.  if i was preparing for a formal debate with u, i would check all of doc’s posts to give more weight to my “doc doen’t obsess over barack” opinion. or, again, be objective as u put it.

u tell me that i have trouble telling the difference between subjectivity and objectivity.  well, maybe yes…maybe no.  objectivity and subjectivity are not easy concepts as anyone with an elementary understanding of epistemology knows.  the subjective and the objective inter-penetrate one another.  hopefully this dialectical process leads to progress, but we all know it doesn’t necessarily have to.  your idea of subjectivity and objectivity seems more black and white.  it’s like all us truthdiggers are in plato’s cave.  an object passes in front of the cave and casts a shadow on the wall.  u accuse many truthdiggers of just decribing the shadows…of expressing merely subjective opinions, while u, cyrena, have turned to the opening of the cave and seen the object. (an example of this would be your post on elliot cohen’s article)

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By Amon Drool, June 13, 2008 at 1:24 pm Link to this comment

part 2

u know, i’m sure at times u do see things more clearly than some of us.  i guess what i’m objecting to is the tone and style u display at times.  the bravado and the bluster that leads to stuff like you’re scared shitless of a black man.

we’ll probably be having at each other all the way thru our time at truthdig.  hopefully we can keep it as civil as possible

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By Tony Wicher, June 13, 2008 at 4:40 am Link to this comment


Yeah, paid for by “the people” with millions of small donations. What’s wrong with that?

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By Max Shields, June 13, 2008 at 4:11 am Link to this comment


If you could succinctly address my questions I’d be pleased as punch.

I realize: 1) the system corrupts those seeking power; 2) Obama is part of that system and so must do what those holding the strings dictate; 3) that Hillary and McCain are no better but not really pertinent to this thread.

Obama campaigns (from the start) just like a DLC candidate - Republican-lite. DLC edict is to start with your base and move quickly to the right. As we’ve seen during the Clinton administration, they govern from the right-center as well. They placate their progressive base, but the outcomes are all big corporate, neo-liberal trade. Those are the fundamental causes of our wars.

He appeals to Republicans (not far right to be sure, that’s not what the DLC does).

At the end, with the exception of Bill Clinton (who won primarily because Ross Pero took 19% of the vote), the DLC plan FAILS. But it leaves progressives as they’ve been. With a Clinton it was really worse for progressives because they had “no where” to go and yet the policies were not that distant from Repubs.

Both parties are part of empire and war and corporate run - and the candidates - ALL of Them (with the exception of Gravel and Kucinich) are fully paid for.

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By cyrena, June 13, 2008 at 2:06 am Link to this comment

Amon Drool writes: (sorta)

•  “…last week thebeerdoctor took a shot at barack for his performance at the aipac meeting.  thebeerdoctor ain’t a mean guy.  i find his posts thoughtful and reasoned…one senses a decent, humble guy from his posts.  cyrena took off after him.(and other truthdiggers who had criticized the aipac performance) she bloviated on endlessly about how barack’s use of the word contiguous was code for a tuff bargaining with israel. after her de-coding of the word contigous, she felt that thebeerdoctor couldn’t possibly have substantive reasons for criticizing barack..his problem with barack was obviously emotional and personal…”

This is YOUR take Amon,. Now it’s true that I might be ‘a piece of work’, but if that’s the case, it’s because I THINK. And, there’s not a whole lot wrong with that in my book.

Your above post is proof that this is ‘your’ take, or ‘your’ *read* on what I’ve written, which makes it as much an ‘opinion’ as mine or anyone elses. Remember – opinions are like assholes, and most everyone has them.

Now you’re real general and vague in your connections here, about why I thought that the beer doctors criticisms were less than legitimate, and EMOTIONALLY BASED! I STILL think that. And I believe it for the very same reasons that I’ve already noted.

The AIPAC speech by Obama, (and nobody here has yet to mention a peep about Hillary’s speech, or McCain’s speech to the same body) is ONE issue, and worthy of criticism, WHICH I HAVE MADE MYSELF! (you somehow failed to point to that). You somehow MISSED my own criticism of Obama’s speech, because I DID criticize another portion of it that I didn’t really see was open for much interpretation. Again, you don’t reference that here, and neither do any of your ‘allies’ in blasting me.

But my point is that this was just ONE occasion of the beer doctor, (and others, including you) blasting away at Obama, when in fact, the beer doctor uses damn near every post he puts here, to demonize or otherwise slam Obama criticisms that are NOT legitimate, and are clearly understood by anyone who reads them ALL, to be visceral and emotionally biased. Now after the first 10 or 20 of such comments, it becomes pretty clear that they are totally lacking in ANY objectivity, and when objectivity is TOTALLY lacking, it means that it’s totally SUBJECTIVE stuff, based on the individual’s PERSONAL BIAS.

I cannot KNOW, what those ‘biases’ are in the case of the beer doctor so I haven’t suggested what they are. (it’s more apparent with others, because they always mention Obama’s race in the context of their complaints). It doesn’t ‘appear’ to be a case of him simply preferring another candidate over Obama, because he never makes a case for any other candidate. He only uses his posts to bash Obama. So, WHATEVER his biases are, don’t really matter I guess. The point is that they are PERSONAL, and therefore lack objectivity. In fact, the beer doc has made Obama responsible for kicking people out of public housing, attacks against Iran, (go figure on that) attacks against Pakistan, failure to come up with a universal health care plan, and responsible for the suffering of the Palestinians for the past 60 years. (despite the fact that Obama is only 46 years old). He ends 90% of his posts with the ‘warning’ that nothing is going to change if Obama becomes president, and that alone is totally stupid. SOMETHING is damn sure gonna change. Exactly what, and to what extent, we can’t know. Still, the whole series of predictions from beer docs crystal ball are obsessed with Barack Obama. Kinda makes you wonder if he ever thinks of anything else, eh?

And, you’ve proven that you have trouble telling the difference between subjectivity and objectivity yourself, in addition to connecting common sense dots based on facts rather than your ‘subjective’ feelings.

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By cyrena, June 13, 2008 at 1:26 am Link to this comment

Part 1 of 2
Ok we are. Let me remind you how this thing began. I made a post suggesting (without specifying yours or any other names) that a lot of the stuff posted here has been anti-Obama is propaganda. Emotional rhetoric with no substantiation. That’s how I see it. Then you write back and directly accuse me of being an ‘apologist’ for Obama, and a defender of him, just as you did again in your response this time:

•  “…First you jump on the thread to defend Obama, then you deny that you’re a faithful defender…”

And, THAT is even MORE propaganda, because I am not in a position to ‘apologize’ for, other otherwise ‘defend’ Barack Obama, EVEN IF I WANTED TO, and I DON’T. But I DO have some very serious ‘issues’ with propaganda, and blatant twisting and framing of what I or anyone else has said. So, while I have said this a few jillion times already, I’ll say it again. I came to support Obama’s platform several months ago, based on the overall worth of his principles, posture, and positions. However, not only do I disagree with him on some issues, I have been the first (among bloggers here at least) to voice those criticisms, WHEN THEY ARE LEGITIMATE. So your claim that I am either an ‘apologist’ for, or ‘defender of’ Barack Obama, is bogus. It’s not true, and you cannot point to a single entry here, that speaks to such a claim.

As for the questions you directed to me, I will attempt to answer them, but I’m also going to ask you to cite every single other candidates position on THESE SAME ISSUES. And, be sure to site whether or not they’ve even advanced a position on any of this stuff. Since there is not space, (or even time, though you don’t seem to accept the fact that I DO have other things to do with my time) for me to answer ALL of your questions right here and now, that will give you some time to find out what it is you’re even asking me about.

Let’s take for instance your questions about sanctions against Cuba, that Obama allegedly said he wasn’t going to lift. (I’ll need to get his exact wording, since you never bother, but that should be easy enough). WHAT ARE those sanctions Max? Do you know? Do you know specifically what these ‘sanctions’ are, and who they appear to benefit, and who they appear to ‘punish’?

Well, let me give you a little background. These so-called ‘sanctions’ date back to a time when the Imperial US decided to ‘punish’ Castro for not accepting their enforced colonization, and their capitalism. The US has been doing this for at least a Century if not longer. The point is to prove to the world that everyone else WILL accept the US style of capitalism, and anyone who doesn’t will be punished to use as an example for any other nation that might try to buck the system as well. The standard punishment is demonization and isolation.

In this case, the ‘sanctions’ resulted from the US decision to punish him by isolation. (typical technique I’m sure you know). So what did that really amount to? Well, it meant that the US didn’t TRADE with Cuba. It meant that travel (at least for US citizens) to Cuba was prohibited. People could be punished (if the feds wanted to) for what they call, “Trading with the enemy” and ‘trading with the enemy means spending money in Cuba. So, American citizens have been prohibited from traveling to Cuba, or sending money to their relatives in Cuba. (the same thing happens now when Hispanics try to send money via Western Union to Mexico – or even places in Arizona that are close to the border). Who is ‘punished’ by that ‘sanction”? Well, since Cuba gains much if not most of its revenue from the tourist industry, it hurts them to miss out on Americans’ tourist dollars. It DOESN’T prevent any other people from the rest of the globe from spending THEIR tourist dollars in Cuba, and lots of them DO!

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By cyrena, June 13, 2008 at 1:25 am Link to this comment

Part 2 of 2

What other ‘sanctions’ are there? Well, Cubans are also prohibited from visiting the US. But wait…are they REALLY? Actually, they aren’t. They are able to visit the US with the standard visa’s or other documentation required from ANY OTHER visitor, from any other NON-American state. However, that documentation has to be issued by the Cuban government, and so…there you have it. They actually DO issue them from time to time, but not in any great numbers, and it takes a while. This ‘policy’ that the US has regarding foreigners from various parts of the world is NOT restricted to Cuba. Try getting here from Haiti or the Dominican Republic. SAME so-called ‘sanctions’ apply. So, who is actually responsible for THAT ‘sanction”?

So, what other ‘sanctions’ is Obama supposedly not willing to ‘lift’, even though it’s not something that he alone could decide anyway? Well, there’s the trade thing, and THAT would be the larger issue affecting Cubans. So, what does Cuba have to trade with us? And, what do WE have to offer the Cubans? I can’t think of anything other than the toys, electronics, and other things that Castro considers to be ‘consumerism”. Do we have food, water, medicine, technology that we could ‘trade’ for something? Well maybe the technology, and possibly even some foodstuffs, even though Cuba can (if they choose) do well enough in their own agriculture to supply their own needs. Still, I’ll allow that there are probably some things that we have, that Cuba could benefit from, particularly now that the Soviet Union is less able to supply them.

But, what can they give us back? Their excellently trained doctors, or maybe some other members of their highly educated population? Well, I’d just as soon have an opportunity for us to train some of our own. So, how does lifting the ‘trade’ sanction actually help us or Cuba? I don’t really see how it does. If anything, I see it as a danger to Cuba. I see that even if they accepted this ‘free trade agreement’ that the US just loves so much, it would subject them to the same predatory schemes that have afflicted so many other Latin American and other countries, NAFTA STYLE, and that’s the whole reason we’ve been on the outs with Castro for half a century already.

So, if you can come up with some other ‘sanctions’ against Cuba that it is imperative for Obama to lift, then I’ll let you know if I agree with that or not. For now, these sanctions DO NOT prevent ME from traveling to Cuba, nor do they prevent me from spending money in Cuba, and Obama has already agreed to lift those travel restrictions for the rest of you, (I just go through Mexico, and never have a problem). And people can already send money to Cubans. So, again..let me know what sanctions should be ‘lifted’, and be specific. If you’re talking about trade, be careful what you wish for. And if you can’t be specific, then I’ll stick with my original interpretation of the question, which is that it’s just more anti-Obama hype and propaganda.

Next time we’ll talk about the death penalty and Pakistan. Between now and then, give me some stated opinions from ALL of the other candidates on those issues as well. (good luck on the death penalty, since they all have avoided that like the plague).

And then, we’ll get around to the 60-year old terror perpetrated against the Palestinians, (and what Barack Obama should do about it) since that’s one of my ‘specialties’ – well, maybe I should say that the conflict itself is one of my ‘specialties’, not what Obama should do about it. (You sure have marked up HIS dance card for solving all of the world’s problems).

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By Tony Wicher, June 12, 2008 at 9:57 pm Link to this comment

Obama Clarifies Remarks on Jerusalem
Updated 9:10 p.m.
By Glenn Kessler

Facing criticism from Palestinians, Sen. Barack Obama acknowledged today that the status of Jerusalem will need to be negotiated in future peace talks, amending a statement earlier in the week that Jerusalem “must remain undivided.”

Obama, during a speech Wednesday to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a pro-israel lobbying group, had called for Jerusalem to become the site of the U.S. embassy, a frequent pledge for U.S. presidential candidates. (It is now in Tel Aviv.) But his statement that Jerusalem should be the undivided capital of Israel drew a swift rebuke from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

“This statement is totally rejected,” Abbas told reporters in Ramallah. “The whole world knows that holy Jerusalem was occupied in 1967 and we will not accept a Palestinian state without having Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state.”

The Bush administration’s official position is that the status of Jerusalem is among the most sensitive issues and must be decided by the parties. Former President Bill Clinton, before he left office, had proposed a formula under which “Jerusalem should be an open and undivided city,” including locating the Palestian capital in East Jerusalem.

Obama quickly backtracked today in an interview with CNN.

“Well, obviously, it’s going to be up to the parties to negotiate a range of these issues. And Jerusalem will be part of those negotiations,” Obama said when asked whether Palestinians had no future claim to the city.

Obama said “as a practical matter, it would be very difficult to execute” a division of the city. “And I think that it is smart for us to—to work through a system in which everybody has access to the extraordinary religious sites in Old Jerusalem but that Israel has a legitimate claim on that city.”

But Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.) later said on behalf of the Obama campaign that Obama’s comment to CNN should not be seen as backtracking or even an amendment. He said Obama was clarifying that he has long believed that it is up to the parties involved to determine the status of Jerusalem.

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By Tony Wicher, June 12, 2008 at 9:46 pm Link to this comment

At the AIPAC conference, Obama said he was for an “undivided Jerusalem”. Given the backtrack, maybe he will change that to mean not that he is for complete Israeli control over Jerusalem, but that control of an undivided Jerusalem should be shared between people of all religions through some sort of multi-religious city council, perhaps. Conceivably the beginning of a One Democratic State solution? No harm in dreaming sometimes.

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By Tony Wicher, June 12, 2008 at 9:14 pm Link to this comment

Israelis don’t believe Obama’s pander to AIPAC. He has already backtracked according to the article below. So far I haven’t found a link to the CNN interview mentioned in it.

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By Tony Wicher, June 12, 2008 at 8:59 pm Link to this comment

Re Stephen Smoliar, June 12 at 11:15 am #

My guess is that, if Truthdig readers agree on anything, it would be that Obama tends to be a better listener than McCain; and we should not forget that simple principle when we go into our voting booths on Election Day!

I sure hope so. I do believe Obama can very much be influenced by actions of “we the people”, and that is precisely why I support him. Nobody ever gets everything he wants in politics. But with Obama, we progressives get a “place at the table”. Obviously we won’t with McCain. So let’s make the best possible use of our opportunities.

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By Howard, June 12, 2008 at 8:26 pm Link to this comment

All investigations show a tragic mistake that happens more often than not in the heat of battle. No motive or reason for Israel to attack an ally.


BTW, I did NOT bring this topic of the Liberty up as the essay above is on Iran.

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By Tony Wicher, June 12, 2008 at 8:05 pm Link to this comment


I really don’t know for sure about the USS Liberty incident. I’m willing to defer to the Wikipedia article
Maybe it was a big mistake, maybe it was part of a high-level conspiracy that did not quite succeed and was covered up. I’ll tell you this: After Vietnam, I don’t trust Lyndon Johnson for shit. As far as I know he may well have been behind the Kennedy assassination. Things haven’t felt right in this country ever since. A lot of things have been covered up. I’m not particularly even talking about “Zionists” here. By the time we get to this level of corruption, even Zionism becomes nothing but a cover for sheer criminality, sheer greed for wealth and power that transcends ideology. There are hundreds of billions of unaccounted-for dollars in the defense budget either being completely wasted to line some defense contractor’s pockets or being spent on who knows what black ops. Blackwater? 9-11 demolition operations maybe? The defense department’s database system is so bad they don’t even know where all their weapons are or how much they have stored. Hell, we’re not much better than Russia. In such an environment there are all kinds of interests and gangs of international war criminals operating. 

According to Wikipedia, every survivor of the attack agrees that there has been a coverup. Here is one interesting paragraph:

“U.S. rescue attempts: At least two rescue attempts were launched from U.S. aircraft carriers nearby but were recalled, according to David Lewis, officer of the deck (OOD) during the attack. Lewis wrote and made an audio recording about a meeting 6th Fleet Rear Admiral Lawrence Geis requested in his cabins: “He told me that since I was the senior Liberty survivor on board he wanted to tell me in confidence what had actually transpired. He told me that upon receipt of our SOS, aircraft were launched to come to our assistance and then Washington was notified. He said that the Secretary of Defense (Robert McNamara) had ordered that the aircraft be returned to the carrier which was done. RADM Geis then said that he speculated that Washington may have suspected that the aircraft carried nuclear weapons so he put together another flight of conventional aircraft that had no capability of carrying nuclear weapons. These he launched to assist us and again notified Washington of his actions. Again McNamara ordered the aircraft recalled. He requested confirmation of the order being unable to believe that Washington would let us sink. This time President Johnson ordered the recall with the comment that he did not care if every man drowned and the ship sank, but that he would not embarrass his allies. This is, to the best of my ability, what I recall transpiring 30 years ago.”

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By PatrickHenry, June 12, 2008 at 4:52 pm Link to this comment

By Howard, June 12 at 12:13 pm #

It is as relevant now as it was then.

Keep shoveling it Howard.

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By Howard, June 12, 2008 at 1:13 pm Link to this comment

What dead horsemanure when some poster here brings up the 1967 episode with the Liberty ship.  1967. Imagine.

Certainly was found to be an inadvertant accident as all the inquiries by our multiple Navy investigation teams discovered.  Israel had no reason to purposefully harm an American ship.  None whatsover.  Or motive. Give us all a break.  American planes and equipment were landing in Israel at that time during its defensive war with Syraia, Egypt and Jordan. One pilot’s error does not make policey.

Talk about purposefully hurting our soldiers, how about Hezballah blowing up our Marine barraacks in Lebanon on purpose with over 200 lives taken.  Take that up for for a cause.

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By Max Shields, June 12, 2008 at 1:06 pm Link to this comment


I think we must live in a different world. Yes, it’s complex, but the USA is the single greatest threat to peace. Both Parties trade in military interventionism.

All have disregarded the Constitution - we haven’t had a Congressional Declaration of War since WW II. Do you think if Obama invades Pakistan (by however means - slight escalation, air raids etc.) he’ll get a declaration of war?

Why? No one else has bothered. The precedents has been set, and set way before GWB (the worst comprehensive perpetrator to be sure) saw the inside of the Oval Office.

Our job doesn’t begin and end with elections or (blog posting). Personally, I don’t even think it should begin in DC - that parasite corporate city of war. It begins where you’re at - locally. Change it and connect where others are doing the same.

The rest of this is smock and mirrors and in the end takes us away from real work - the work of living democracy.

Obama/McCain are the obverse side of the same coin. Yes, it is the system that is rotten to the core (a number of posts down I wrote about it). So, yes, Obama must do certain things as long as he wants to be President - just as Hillary (far more to the left in her youth) did. That does not excuse the choices they each made or the lack of courage when courage is what’s most needed.

There are NO EXCUSES for Empire and those who rule it.

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By Stephen Smoliar, June 12, 2008 at 12:52 pm Link to this comment

Max, you’re right.  I expect only two things from my government:  1) Respect for the Constitution.  2) Respect for anything I say to that government (which I see as a corollary of that first expectation).  I certainly do not expect actions based on agreement with that I have to say in all situations.  I do not even expect that they will arrive at those actions through rational processes!  The social world is just too complex a place for such expectations to be realistic;  and that happens to be the world in which we all live.  If we can manage in that social world without destroying our physical world, I suspect that it would be unreasonable for me to ask for more.  To the extent that I have strong opinions in such matters, they are covered by my second expectation!

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By Max Shields, June 12, 2008 at 12:29 pm Link to this comment

Stephen Smoliar,

I must say you expect very little from your government. If our benchmark is Bush and any thing slightly to the (whatever direction) is better than it’s really time to pack up.

When you expect little - that’s pretty much what you get - if you’re lucky.

I prefer Howard Zinn on this - our “job” is to demand. We should not be apologist for politicos nor political calculators.

If you are willing to settle on the kind of interventionism of Bill Clinton (which my money says is what you’ll get (at best) from Obama - I take that back he’s taken AIPAC to a new level from anything that B. C. could have imagined!)than fine.

I think, though, that that is hardly sufficient in the kind of world we live in. We can’t tolerate any form of the Manifest Destiny or Monroe Doctrinairing - soft or hard.

It’s beyond time to have, not rhetorically, but in action, the US of A join the rest of the planet.

So, without those guiding principles, I’m left to wonder what kind of “progressive” have you formulated?

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By Stephen Smoliar, June 12, 2008 at 12:15 pm Link to this comment

Since I number myself among Tony Wicher’s “fellow progressives,” I would like to propose a corollary to his injunction.  I think it is unrealistic to expect that ANY occupant of the White House will fully represent the progressivism to which we aspire (just as it is unrealistic to expect either the Legislative or Judiciary branches to assume such a progressive stance).  The best we can hope for from the people we elect to both the Executive and Legislative branches is that they listen to us without dismissing us out hand.  (I just heard Chuck Hagel on Book TV:  He calls it “keeping your receiver on and your transmitter off!”)  My guess is that, if Truthdig readers agree on anything, it would be that Obama tends to be a better listener than McCain;  and we should not forget that simple principle when we go into our voting booths on Election Day!

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By Tony Wicher, June 12, 2008 at 10:18 am Link to this comment

Here is the link to the article by the survivor of U.S.S. Liberty I previously posted.

I have posted this in many Obama groups because they are all focused on beating McCain, so they will pay attention, but it is being done in a way that severely questions the U.S.-Israel alliance and therefore counters the Obama AIPAC speech.

I call for an insurgency within the Obama campaign for the purpose of moving it to a better position on the Israel-Palestine issue. Fellow progressives, Obama is going to be our next President, not Ralph Nader or Cynthia McKinney. I believe the best way we can make progress is to support Obama while trying to move his campaign in the right direction. Let us all go to the Obama for America site, join a bunch of groups and loudly express our views on Israel and other matters to all and sundry there - but do so as supporters. That is the only way we can influence the campaign. I don’t believe such an insurgency will seriously hurt Obama’s chances. He is going to win anyway.

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By Tony Wicher, June 12, 2008 at 9:48 am Link to this comment

The following article is by a survivor of the U.S.S. Liberty. 

April 12, 2008 — by Philip F. Tourney

When Admiral John S. McCain, Jr., Commander in Chief, United States Naval Forces, Europe, ordered the cover-up on the attack of the USS LIBERTY GTR-5 it was a sure act of treason perpetrated on the American people and the crew of the LIBERTY to hide the true facts surrounding the unprovoked attack by the Government of Israel on our ship, the USS LIBERTY. 

As most of you know, the Government of Israel attacked our ship in international waters on June 8, 1967. On this bright, sunny day our ship had been positively identified as American and friendly. This very fact has been repeated by our attackers, Israel. They knew we were there but around 1:00 they forgot about us. This was the excuse given, that they accidentally took us off their war table, like we just vanished into thin air.

Doesn’t that sound like a fairy tale? Well, it is. How could this lie hold water with the Board of Inquiry conducted by Admiral Isaac Kidd along with Captain Ward Boston, JAG officer, reporting to the Judge Advocate General, USN and Admiral McCain. The answer to that question is very easy. It goes right back to Admiral McCain. He did not want the truth to come out. He ordered those two respected career naval officers to hide, cover-up and lie in their official Board of Inquiry which McCain signed off on in approximately 10 days. Can you imagine a Board of Inquiry of this magnitude could be completed and signed off on in ten days? It is unheard of, ever, in the annuls of US Naval history.

Also, can you imagine this same Admiral would recall all rescue aircraft coming to our aid, along with MacNamara and the president himself, LBJ.

We were set up to sink. The Israelis, along with our own government, would blame it on an Arab combatant, Egypt.

As we now know, Cairo was only 120 seconds away from a nuclear attack from the US Government, all for the benefit of Israel, the killers of 34 Americans, the wounding of 174 others and the near destruction of a $40 million ship that ended up being scrapped.

Captain Ward Boston said to Admiral Kidd that he knew this was wrong but must follow orders from Admiral McCain. As far as I and most of the crew are concerned, Admiral McCain, Jr. has LIBERTY blood on his hands. Captain Ward Boston has since recanted his remarks in the Board of Inquiry as lies ordered upon him by Admiral McCain, Jr. God bless him for his courage to come forward with the truth.

Now, we come to what has happened in the past few years. A man called A. J. Cristol, a Jewish bankruptcy judge from Florida, wrote a book called THE LIBERTY INCIDENT, in which he says Israel is exonerated for the attack on the LIBERTY because it was a case of mistaken identity. The book is full of lies, falsehoods and continues the cover-up for Israel’s blatant murder of American sons on the high seas. The survivors call this book a bunch of hog wash. Guess who endorses this book as factual? YEP! You guessed it - Senator John McCain. He knows all about the cover-up on the LIBERTY attack but he follows in his father’s footsteps and praises this piece of garbage. He, along with his father, has the blood of the LIBERTY crew on his hands.

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By Stephen Smoliar, June 12, 2008 at 9:03 am Link to this comment

oddlyamerican, it looks like the older comments are getting bumped off the bottom of what appears on this page;  so I want to haul out a previous point in response to your final paragraph.  Yes, Obama started as a community organizer;  but I would not say that “he has his own machine.”  Rather, as John Kass pointed out in last Sunday’s CHICAGO TRIBUNE, his work of the streets of Chicago led to his forging a mutually beneficial alliance with the good-old-fashioned Chicago political machine, with its past and present Daley connections.,0,1740975.column

This is why yesterday I raised the question about the origins of his “political judgment” and suggested that he may be, at heart, a scholar getting practical advice from hardball machine politicians.  Thus, while his heart may be sincerely progressive, there is no way that any of us can predict the sort of actions he would take as POTUS.

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By Max Shields, June 12, 2008 at 5:37 am Link to this comment

To clarify my post below was in response to cyrena.

By Max Shields, June 12 at 2:53 am #

cyrena, I would suggest you read the post you wrote to see how one could come to the conclusion I did.

Yes, I took the liberty to frame what you were saying in words that reflected what I understood you to say. They were not literal quotations.

While you may think I’m not paraphrasing your articulated thoughts, you fail to really contradict them. You want it both ways. First you jump on the thread to defend Obama, then you deny that you’re a faithful defender. And ultimately you claim that I’m a racist (ok, you didn’t use the word, but you do see the reasonable conclusion - right?).

I did ask you some pretty straight questions about Barack Obama’s positions and you seem to do the old best defense is an offense routine.

Sorry you only had time to tell me to “shut the fuck up”.

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By Max Shields, June 12, 2008 at 3:53 am Link to this comment

This is not about Clinton or even McCain. It’s about a speech Obama gave and the many opportunities this man had to show some inner strength.

I asked you a set of questions because it is well documented (and I just scratched the surface)were Senator Obama has been when push came to shove - that’s when you see the true character of someone.

For me, he’s failed. AIPAC highlights. Can you for a moment imagine yourself a Palestinian and that the first African-American to run for POTUS is basically condemning you to hell!

Let me just end with this. In 2006 I had the previledge of supporting, canvassing, volunteering for Ned Lamont for Senate. He was running against Joseph I. Lieberman. Lieberman was defeated in the Dem primaries and than ran as an Independent against Lamont - smart energetic progressive led the fight to get OUT of Iraq.

Want to know where Barack Obama put his two cents? On war-manic Joseph I. Lieberman! Today Dan Gerstein, the neocon Lieberman spokesperson, now works for….Barack Obama.

We need to stop using Hillary and Bill and whoever as a case for Obama - and start really looking at the man, what he says, and does.

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By Arthur101, June 12, 2008 at 2:09 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Since when is it normal in the U.S. to have full tv broadcast of a speech at a foreign lobby? By both Presidential candidates, Hillary and Obama no less.

Since when is it normal that Hillary, who can never cite anyone of her own citizens past sentimental ploys, can sternly cite all the names of foreign soldiers - soldiers of another nation - and insist the U.S. should work to get them back from their capture (which is described as “kidnapping” as if to make it as if they are private citizens, rather than enemy combatants).

And most bizarre, when is it normal a candidate for American President should she be so invested in halting how another culture refers to its own history, destiny and time line, as in the case of “nakba”.

The disgust of Obama deciding to stoop low for the prize is one thing for sure, but in context of the extreme right-wing of Billary and co. ain’t seen nothing yet. Saban brags all the time in print, of his comfortable visits to Bill’s White House, and hanging with their family in the 90s and today. The result is concretized in media: we have gotten used to watching AIPAC on our television as normal, we have gotten used to commenting on another culture as if our own, another nation as if our own, and identify with the reality they are oppressing others.

America to the rest of the world, is no longer worth arguing for. Only America continues its AIPAC fueled Israeli worldview. Obama is not going to change that.

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By Amon Drool, June 12, 2008 at 1:22 am Link to this comment

so max, are u scared shitless of the black guy?  ain’t our girl cyrena a piece of work!

a couple weeks ago, a guy posted some critical remarks about barack.  when cyrena imagined herself to have sufficiently disposed of his criticisms, she told him the REAL reason for his displeasure with barack was his inability to vote for a black man.  i reread the guy’s post and couldn’t find any racism in it, but i held my tongue.

last week thebeerdoctor took a shot at barack for his performance at the aipac meeting.  thebeerdoctor ain’t a mean guy.  i find his posts thoughtful and reasoned…one senses a decent, humble guy from his posts.  cyrena took off after him.(and other truthdiggers who had criticized the aipac performance)  she bloviated on endlessly about how barack’s use of the word contiguous was code for a tuff bargaining with israel. (i must admit contiguous territory is better than the clinton state dept. disputed territories or bush’s do-nothingism)  anyway, she ended up again with another personal attack on a barack critic.  after her de-coding of the word contigous, she felt that thebeerdoctor couldn’t possibly have substantive reasons for criticizing barack..his problem with barack was obviously emotional and personal.

last nite u questioned the narrative put forth in her 4:46 post concerning barack’s reasons for getting into the senate race in 2004.  cyrena tells us that barack was SO adamant about ending the war that he felt he must run.  oh sure, that’s why he pulled his 2003 anti-war speech off his 2004 senate campaign website.  she went off on u for a lack of citations…like we’re writing thesis papers here or something.  and, of course, then comes the inevitable personal assault…“you’re scared shitless about the black guy.” 

sometime’s cyrena’s posts can be informative.  a lot of the time i end up laughing at them for the way in which she attempts to manipulate the more naive amongst us.  but sometimes her responses are just mean and insulting. and i just felt the need to speak up.

oddlyamerican..i just read your more reasoned response to cyrena..well said

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By oddlyamerican, June 12, 2008 at 12:17 am Link to this comment


Max Shields refers to some very pertinent positions of Obama’s including his pro-capital punishment stance and the whole point of this thread, the threatening of Iran and the dismissing of Palestinian grievances. This is not to mention his vote in favor of the recent Farm Bill - which contributes to everything from the world food crisis to childhood obesity and which even Bush and McCain labelled a boondoggle. You then end your argument against Max with implications of racism, “Now I’m sorry you’re scared shitless about the black guy. I think you should get over it.”

Lets have a little a maturity here and not stoop to such levels. At least have the courtesy to wait until you get your counter-argument together before ranting like that.

For many posters here the point of this very interesting thread is to acknowledge that Obama has crossed a line which many progressives cannot pass off as simple electioneering. His speech to AIPAC was a defining moment. Throughout the speech he repeatedly made clear that he would be prepared to do everything in his power to stop Iran acquiring nuclear weapons. Everything. A complete turnaround from his debate with Hillary you cite. And he also took his time to marginalize legitimate Palestinian rights by not acknowledging that there are other sides to this quagmire.

So when you defend Obama as the only person able to stop the War in Iraq “He was adamantly opposed to such war, long before it was launched, and he would have known that NOBODY ELSE was going to end it.” you miss the bigger picture; you miss that he is prepared to go to war with Iran to prevent them from acquiring nuclear power. You miss that just his speech alone has alienated many throughout the Middle East who believed that a Barack Obama administration would have helped provide a balanced approach that historically has been extremely one-sided. Those hopes have been dashed and he also has let down many of his supporters who came to support his nuanced views on many issues exemplified by his speech on race in Philadelphia.

His AIPAC performance has proven that it was political expediency all along; that when he needs to perform for political capital he is ready and willing even if it means regurgitating Cheney, Rumsfeld et al.

His speech to AIPAC is not something that progressives can or should discount as something he needs to do to get elected, or as a policy disagreement. This is not a debate on which is the best renewable energy source, this a debate on a supposedly progressive candidate who espouses positions that are fundamentally neo-conservative, a mindset that launched us into a criminal and very costly war.

You defend Obama as an outsider by saying:

“we can’t call him a ‘nobody’ who managed to take the nomination away from a long term and well established political name, and at the same time claim him to be some ‘elite’ insider. He cannot be both.”

But that ignores that fact that just because he has no ties to the political elite doesn’t mean that he isn’t able to agree with their world view.

He maybe an outsider in the sense that he started as a community organizer and not through a political machine, but he now has his own machine which is getting to be ever-more like its neo-liberal, neo-con predecessors, except that this time liberals and ‘the educated’ are enamoured with him. Many see a historic opportunity to assuage America’s collective guilt over slavery and discrimination through the symbolism of a black president. Progress they say,  but progress to what, more manifest destiny, more foreign adventures, more hegemony, more corporate subsidies? No single payer health-care?
  But it’s okay, we have a black president who appears progressive.

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By yours truly, June 11, 2008 at 9:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What’ll Get Us Out Of The Iran Trap?

“This being the right moment.”

“For what?”

“A magic equation to come true.”

“Which is?”

“A falling standard of living + The Iraq War + Impeachment = one peacefull mass uprising.”

“And then what sort of world?”

“It’ll be up to us.”

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Tony Wicher's avatar

By Tony Wicher, June 11, 2008 at 9:40 pm Link to this comment

Re By yours truly, June 11 at 11:12 am #
(Unregistered commenter)

“We’ll Have To Strengthen Barack Obams’s Spine”
Yes, Obama has said himself that he is an “empty vessel” in that he represents his supporters, listens to them and bases his actions on what he hears. He has said he wants to hear from us, so let’s flood him with email. As he is running for election, it is not on his radar, but justice for Palestinians is indeed of critical importance. Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere.

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By cyrena, June 11, 2008 at 9:06 pm Link to this comment

•  “Your an apologist for Obama. “He said this because Hillary made him…or AIPAC made him.” And when we’re knee deep in carnage in Pakistan it will be for humanitarian reasons you say. There is no limit to how far you’ll take his obfuscation and make it into a neat little narrative of your invention.”
Ah Max, you don’t disappoint. And, I wish I had time to respond to your interrogation right now, but…I don’t. I plan to by Friday though. Right now I’m tied-up with detailed work, and can only check in for short stuff that doesn’t require the appropriate citations.

So until then, I’d ask that you not put words in my mouth, or discuss propaganda as if it’s really true. Your ‘attacks’ on me are unsubstantiated. First, I’m not an ‘apologist’ for Barack Obama, and I DO pay attention to what he says. So, point to some ‘obfuscation’ that I’ve made into a neat little narrative of MY invention. CITE it MAX, or shut the fuck up!

Who ever claimed that “Hillary made him do anything?” Who said AIPAC made him? Are you on drugs Max? Who said any Pakistan carnage was going to be for humanitarian reasons? Why are you forecasting carnage in Pakistan? (although you’re not too far off the mark there, since the military is CURRENTLY doing the typical stuff that they’ve been doing everywhere else around the globe.)

Pakistan Says US Airstrike Killed 11 of Its Soldiers
Thursday 12 June 2008
by: Carlotta Gall and Graham Bowley, The New York Times
This is real ‘typical’ Max. They US airforce does this all the time, but they usually just kill civilians. Not too long ago it was an air strike in Somalia. Claimed they were after a terrorists, (private dwelling). But alas, the ‘terrorist’ got away, and only the civilian occupants of the house were killed.
Same thing in Iraq Max…daily. Now this is Pakistan’s soldiers. Who ordered this ‘carnage’ Max? Obama isn’t the president yet. He hasn’t been overseeing the blood and carnage in Afghanistan, Iraq, or Pakistan, or the torture, or the buildings of new prisons, or any of the rest of that Max. So, help us understand how it is that you’ve got this crystal ball that predicts Barack Obama is gonna order this stuff that we currently see happening in front of our eyes.
You’re an hysterical lying propagandist Max, and your hysteria has gone totally off the charts since Obama became the Democratic nominee. It has just scared the living shit out of you, so now you have to just grab at straws, and take anything you can, and turn it into something it isn’t.
So, let me say this again. I don’t listen to FOX, and it’s been well over a decade since I have, even by accident. I don’t bother with ANY televised news media. I listen to and/or read transcripts of major addresses made by ANY of the candidates and/or the CURRENT regime, via the internet. I research my work very thoroughly, and very carefully, and I only accept what comes directly from the horse’s mouth so to speak.
Barack Obama says what he says, and he is the only one who can say what he means. I don’t always agree with what comes from him, and I’m not afraid to say it. But, I don’t fall for the lies of propagandists, when I can hear and/or read what they’re saying MYSELF.

And, I stand by what I say or write myself as well. So, don’t even think you can pull this same shit on me, creating innuendo and blatant accusations on things that I’ve NEVER said. Now I’m sorry you’re scared shitless about the black guy. I think you should get over it.

And, when I get back to you on what he’s said that I DO agree with, I’ll be sure to cite where and when he’s said it.

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By Max Shields, June 11, 2008 at 6:20 pm Link to this comment

“Nor can he be ‘defined’ by propagandists. Only he can define himself, by his own words and actions, and then it becomes the individual responsibility of each and every citizen, to decide whether or not those definitions are satisfactory to them.”

Not when diehards refuse to read or listen to what he says. It seems you are the “Propaganist” doing the defining. Surely you don’t listen to Fox News?

But you think he ran because he was against the Iraq war? So what has been his actions to date on that war? What has he done while in Congress? What has he said regarding it other than its mis-managed (sounds like McCain to me).

But in the end Cyrena, you’re not listening to what he says; or if you are you just think he’s doing it to get elected (now that’s leadership?). I guess the same argument could be made for McCain or any candidate.

Your an apologist for Obama. “He said this because Hillary made him…or AIPAC made him.” And when we’re knee deep in carnage in Pakistan it will be for humanitarian reasons you say. There is no limit to how far you’ll take his obfuscation and make it into a neat little narrative of your invention.

You have no facts. It’s true: he’s for capital punishment. Are you? He’s for nukes. Are you? He’s indicated that invading Pakistan would be a way to get Al Qaeda/OBL. Are you in agreement? He’s drawn a line in the sand with Palestinians. Do you agree with this? He has indicated a willingness to keep every military option on the table would be will to attack Iran. Do you agree. He’s indicated he will continue to blockade Cuba. Do you agree? He does not support single payer health insurance. Do you agree?

Tell me what is it exactly that he has said over the last 4 years that you agree with. A speech about Iraq when he was a state senator? There is a record of his being interviewed and “approved” by the DLC. That’s as “inside” as you can get.

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By cyrena, June 11, 2008 at 5:46 pm Link to this comment

Yours truly makes some excellent suggestions here, about what we need to expect from Barack Obama:

“Letting him know that gaining our support depends upon his doing the right thing.”
“Which is?’
“Ending the Iraq War, negotiating with Iran plus turning things around here at home.”
“Anything else?”
“Justice for the Palestinian people.”
Well, on ending the war on Iraq, we know that’s really why he decided to run for the office. He was adamantly opposed to such war, long before it was launched, and he would have known that NOBODY ELSE was going to end it. I think that a lot of Obama’s detractors (and maybe even many of his supporters who have only recently signed on) forget that Obama was actually solicited by a group of concerned citizens, to run for this office. It had not been his original intention at the time that he ran for the Senate.

Those people who encouraged him to run, (and admittedly, many are influential people who have nothing to do with politics) are in large part from the intellectual community and the progressive community. But overwhelming, they have known that no one in the established political structure of Washington was going to end this atrocity.
Only an OUTSIDER, with no ties to the established political dynasties, was going to be able to take that on. Ending the war on Iraq has been one of the primary components of his platform from day one.
As for negotiating with Iran: same thing. He said it for the entire world to hear, in the first Democratic debates of the primary election cycle. Remember that? It was when Hillary claimed he was being ‘naïve’ to agree to meet with them without ‘conditions’ or strings attached. Barack Obama however, has CONTINUED to maintain that we need to TALK to our ‘enemies’. (and one needn’t be an intellectual genius to figure THAT out..common sense works just fine) Besides, Iran and Syria have only been defined as ‘enemies’ by the Dick Bush regime. How do we know they are?

As for turning things around here at home, that too has been the cornerstone of his platform.
In justice for the Palestinian people, we have to go back a bit further to remember his previous efforts toward this end. However, he WAS very much involved in this cause. He was associated with the late Edward Said, (another academic and intellectual) in these very efforts. Admittedly, since he entered the political scene on the national level, he’s not devoted the same time, and of course Edward Said passed away over 2 years ago. I don’t know how much of his work has continued, but the overall effort for justice for the Palestinian people has NOT stopped, and it will continue, regardless of who becomes president.

Meantime, I’m going to add the reminder that we Americans seem to have a problem with long term attention spans. Propagandists in this day and age of reversed language seem to pop up out of the thinnist of air, and make claims (like Obama being an ‘insider’ and ‘elite’) and assume that we will just accept such statements at face value, without questioning how or why these people are making these claims.

The reality is that Barack Obama is NOT a ‘DC insider.’ He’s NOT from any long standing political dynasty. He does NOT have the standard corporate or Wall Street ties, because back when he COULD have taken that route, (like after his Harvard stint) he DID NOT! He chose a public service route instead, and spent his time in academia prior to entering the political scene with full steam.

So, we can’t call him a ‘nobody’ who managed to take the nomination away from a long term and well established political name, and at the same time claim him to be some ‘elite’ insider. He cannot be both.

Nor can he be ‘defined’ by propagandists. Only he can define himself, by his own words and actions, and then it becomes the individual responsibility of each and every citizen, to decide whether or not those definitions are satisfactory to them.

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miroslav's avatar

By miroslav, June 11, 2008 at 5:44 pm Link to this comment

members of an Obama administration

I suppose the pop song that goes with Obama is “Smooth Operator” I think he missed a historic opportunity when he groveled before AIPAC—a mention of the gravity of an attack on Iran, saying that there were others besides looney tunes Aminibad to talk to, who anyway says the things he says for home consumption; a local populist competing with other powerful figures in Iran. Instead, Obama’s groveling is another greenlight for the coming attack. Some young statesman we have there, some visionary. He groveled just as badly to the Cuban community in Miami; in foreign policy there will be no meaningul change; in domestic policy I suspect there will be - an easy thing with a bigger democratic majority this fall, no matter who wins the presidency. Obama’s already got that smirk, and he’s in deep with other operators some of whom he keeps letting go when they are outed as such.

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By Max Shields, June 11, 2008 at 4:33 pm Link to this comment

By troublesum, June 11 at 3:25 pm #

“Yes, its a tremendous disappointment but McCain is so much worse.  I will probably still vote for Obama unless he comes out for torture, maintaining Guantanamo, extraordinary rendition, not reinstating habeas corpus, and not making any adjustments to trade aggreements.  If any of that changes I couldn’t vote for him.  Someone said he is a blank slate onto which we are just projecting our own hopes and wishes.  He is quite clever.”

But, my friend, McCain has already come out against these things. McCain is part of empire BUT so is Obama. There is NO choice here except what you might imagine in your mind. You’re voting for a mirage.

There is still time to think about a third way….don’t close those options. Let’s not be pawns this time.

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By troublesum, June 11, 2008 at 4:25 pm Link to this comment

Max S
Yes, its a tremendous disappointment but McCain is so much worse.  I will probably still vote for Obama unless he comes out for torture, maintaining Guantanamo, extraordinary rendition, not reinstating habeas corpus, and not making any adjustments to trade aggreements.  If any of that changes I couldn’t vote for him.  Someone said he is a blank slate onto which we are just projecting our own hopes and wishes.  He is quite clever.

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By Max Shields, June 11, 2008 at 4:24 pm Link to this comment

By Barney Sackett, June 11 at 11:40 am #

Your list of what the “press” is saying about Obama which isn’t true is precisely the meaningless game playing that takes good folks like you and turns them into protectors of the elite (Obama in this case).

Obama is part of the elite, make no mistake about it. I’m not just talking about material holdings. I mean he’s the MAN. You the peon. He may or may not make it to the WH, but his policies are clear. LISTEN before you run off defending the stupid stuff only fools believe (and defending him against them will get you nowhere fast).

There are real problems with Obama. Not because there aren’t real problems with McCain; but because Obama has finessed his way into the “color me whatever you want” frame.

What he says before AIPAC - now that’s SERIOUS SHIT and you’d better be paying attention. He’s talking about WAR, man, WAR. You think you and a million progressives can change him on this when AIPAC is calling the shots?

Get local. That’s real…it’s the only thing that’s real. Write in Nader. Campaign for him…but run like hell from these Empire Parties.

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By moineau, June 11, 2008 at 4:03 pm Link to this comment

i heard an excellent comment on barack obama during the recent media conference in milwaukie, that he is a blank slate that so many of us are projecting our own dreams and ambitions, be they foreign or domestic policy. isn’t this the truth? what do we really know about his plans?

well, with his performance before aipac, the blank slate has become a dark mirror of the future. i wrote to his campaign about a week ago and demanded a response as to why he stated that jerusalem must be israel’s undivided capital. i have yet to get a response… i probably never will.

his ambitions are evidently trumping his judgment. he is giving himself over to advisors to become president of the united states. thus is everyone is corruptible.

sometimes i think i’m losing my mind… ~laura t., astoria, oregon

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By Marnie, June 11, 2008 at 4:00 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is the same guy who wants to attack Pakistan, without giving any indication of pulling out of Iraq or Afghanistan.
So now he is wanting to attack Iran?
Oh!  He’s for change all right.

The press needs to press:
Where will the troops come from, where will the money come from, where will the fuel and petroleum products that our military is profligately consuming come from?

What will the continued competition of the US military for dwindling supplies of petroleum fuel and petroleum products do the US and world economy?  How will it effect the soon approaching date when the world has no more petroleum fuel?

Will the world be better off, even if we destroy 4 contries instead of just two?

He needs to explain in great detail exactly what benifit there will be from all of the destruction and death that he envisions.

Right now Obama is chaneling McCain even faster than McCain chaneled Bush.

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By EdwardsSupporter, June 11, 2008 at 3:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Here is a program to follow:

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By Max Shields, June 11, 2008 at 3:18 pm Link to this comment

troublesum, I’ve said when there were a few more in the Dem “race” that Obama would probably hurt African Americans more than any other group because he’s clearly a DLCer with heavy leanings toward free market, uneconomic growth, and a willingness to bow to powers rather than stand up to power.

Woodrow Wilson is the only thorough going academic who became POTUS and he turned out to be a progressive in name only. His lead up to WWI (when he ran against interventionism) was one of the darkest periods in terms of civil and human rights in this country’s history - yea even Bush has his many predecessors.

These labels do not explain the depth of character of the individual. Obama is fairly clear about who he is. He’s not difficult to figure out, but most people supporting him are just not paying attention. They suffer from Bushitis and think “nobody but Obama” as Joshua Frank coined it, and so they dismiss Nader a true progressive.

And did you know:
“Obama supports the death penalty, opposes single-payer health care, supports nuclear energy, opposes a carbon pollution tax, supports the Cuba embargo, and will not end the vast array of federal subsidies to corporations, including those to the oil and gas cartel.”

What will help progressives see clearly (the ones who are left of liberal) will be the continued right-ward leaning that Obama takes. It’s beginning. Now that Hillary is not there to give him cover, he’ll need to stand alone. McCain is not particularly facile but he’s not an easy target for someone like Obama who is sometimes right of McCain and rarely very much to the left of him. McCain is more blunt, Obama is lofty but ultimately, if you keep listening to him, he’ll reveal just how close he is to is “opponent”. His supporters will call it nuance, but it’s nonsense.

The media has come out for Obama. They twist McCain’s positions. McCain is very clear on Iraq. He sees it as a base we need to occupy as we do 700+ others throughout the world. His idea of “winning” is reducing the carnage and being able to move about the country at will. All else follows, including oil agreements, etc. Staying there under those conditions would be as indefinite as all other sites US has roams around. Just that simple.

Obama, on the other hand, shucks and jives, but at the end of the day, his position is precisely the same.

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By troublesum, June 11, 2008 at 2:37 pm Link to this comment

Amon Drool
As for losing my sense of humor, I don’t think so.  I’m one of those people who keeps expecting the dems to nominate a real progressive although I was quite suspicious of Obama from the start.  The effect this is having on young blacks in particular is a great thing for the country.  That’s the best thing I can say for Obama now.

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By Amon Drool, June 11, 2008 at 1:47 pm Link to this comment

for those of u who haven’t seen it yet, i suggest going over to common dreams and reading the “Wal-mart Defender to Direct Obama’s Economic Policy” post.  the comments are very interesting, too.  u can get there easily by scrolling down to troublesum’s 4:55am post and link

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By Stephen Smoliar, June 11, 2008 at 1:38 pm Link to this comment

Concerned American Voter, your thoughts echo a talk that Isaiah Berlin gave on the BBC on June 19, 1957.  The text later appeared in his book THE SENSE OF REALITY under the title “Political Judgement.”  Reduced to the lowest terms, Berlin’s argument was that “book-smarts” are not the same as “political-smarts;”  and it is rare to find anyone who has both.  Were he alive today, Berlin would probably place Obama in the book-smarts camp.  (His example of a good representative of political-smarts was Bismarck!)  I actually tried to apply this perspective to Obama last March:

The risk is that Obama will try to govern on the basis of his book-smarts and turn to those with political-smarts as his advisers:

This might work;  but I would still prefer to see the priorities go the other way around as they did under Kennedy, the best example of a politically-smart President with some of the best book-smart advisers.

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By Stephen Smoliar, June 11, 2008 at 12:46 pm Link to this comment

I want to say “on the record” that I have these comments (specifically one from Louise) to thank for my first learning about Kucinich and his articles of impeachment.  As I wrote on my own blog, this has been a major muddle for the mainstream media:

However, thanks to Louise I discovered that my primary source may have been in error.  Al Jazeera claimed that Kucinich addressed the House on Monday night;  but Louise’s “now” would have been TUESDAY night!  Who would have thought there would have been so little coverage (with so much confusion) of such a serious proposal put to the House?

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By Barney Sackett, June 11, 2008 at 12:40 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Obama running for President. Making untrue statements. 

    1.) Selma Got Me Born -  Selma had no effect on his birth.Selma was in 1965. He was born in 1961.
>      2.) Father Was A Goat Herder -was a
>      privileged, well educated youth, >      3.) Father Was A Proud Freedom Fighter -  was part of one of the most corrupt and violent governments in Kenya      
4.)  Strong Ties To African Freedom - cousin Raila Odinga created mass violence in attempting to overturn a legitimate election in 2007, in Kenya.
      5.) Grandmother always A Christian - Christianity wouldn’t allow her to have been
      one of 14 wives to 1 man.
      6.)  Name is African Swahili - complete
>name is Arabic . If elected, would be the first Arab-American President,     
      7.) Never Practiced Islam -  practiced it daily at school, registered as a Muslim.  Kept faith for 31 years, until wife made him change, so he could runfor office. 
      8.) School In Indonesia Was Christian -Not true, was registered as Muslim
      9.) Was Fluent In Indonesian - teacher says he could not speak the language.
>      10.) Because he Lived In Indonesia, he has More Foreign Experience - Only 6 to 10 years of age at the time
>      11.) Stronger On Foreign Affairs -  except for Africa and the Middle East HE HAS never been anywhere else on the planet
>      12.) Blames His Early Drug Use On Ethnic Confusion - his eithnic b.g. never came into play in high school.  He was just Barry Obama.
  13.) An Ebony Article Moved Him To Run For Office -  Ebony has yet to find the article mentioned in his book.
      14.) A Life Magazine Article Changed His Outlook On Life -Life has yet to find the article mentioned in his book.
      15.) I Won’t Run On A National Ticket In ‘08 - despite saying, live on TV,
that he would not have enough experience by then, and you are all about having experience first.
      16.) Voting “Present” is Common In
> Illinois
>      Senate -  common for him, but
> not many others have 130 NO VOTES.
>      17.) Oops, I Misvoted -  only when
> caught by church groups and Democrats, did you beg to change your misvote.
      18.)Was A Professor Of Law - he was a
>      senior lecturer ON LEAVE.
>      19.) Was A Constitutional Lawyer -
>      a senior lecturer ON LEAVE.
>      20.) Without him, There Would Be No Ethics Bill - he didn’t write it, introduce it,
> change it, or create it.
>      21.) Said Ethics Bill Was Hard To Pass - it took just 14 days from start to finish.
      22.) He Wrote A Tough Nuclear Bill - bill -  was rejected by his own party.
>      23.) He Has Released his State Records - not yet
      24.) He Took On The Asbestos Altgeld Gardens Mess - he was only part of a large group of people who remedied Altgels Gardens. >     
      25.) His economic bill will help American -  economic policies were just combined into a proposal which lost 99-0, and even he voted against his own bill.
    26.) He Has Been A Bold Leader In Illinois - even his own supporters claim he wasn’t.

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By yours truly, June 11, 2008 at 12:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We’ll Have To Strengthen Barack Obams’s Spine


“Letting him know that gaining our support depends upon his doing the right thing.”

“Which is?’

“Ending the Iraq War, negotiating with Iran plus turning things around here at home.”

“Anything else?”

“Justice for the Palestinian people.”

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By Max Shields, June 11, 2008 at 11:14 am Link to this comment

Tony Wicher if I read you right you think Obama is really a secularist (non-Christian).

Seems Obamaites (true believers) have more made up reasons to vote for Mr. Vacuous than one can even imagine. That Mr. Wicher is called - RELIGION.

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By Amon Drool, June 11, 2008 at 11:04 am Link to this comment’s been interesting to watch your evolution concerning things obama.  at some point u gotta say enuf is enuf.  i know…i’ve been there.  hope u regain some sense of humor about it all…u got to if u wanna keep your sanity

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By Tony Wicher, June 11, 2008 at 11:02 am Link to this comment

Obama is no more a “Christian” than I am. He was raised as a secular person - not an atheist, his mother just didn’t go to church. He no more believes in the Christian crap or any other religious crap than you or me. It’s nothing but a huge pander; no politician can be elected if he does not posture as “religious”. I just wish that now that Wright, Hagee, etc. have shown what Christianity is really worth, Obama would honestly declare what he really believes, which is that he is to well educated to have any religious affiliation. But that is, if possible, even less likely than telling the truth to AIPAC. Such is politics. It makes me sick. I would like to beat all these ministers to death with a bowling pin like Plainview did at the end of “There Will be Blood.” That was a really satisfying ending. I highly recommend it.

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By bc41, June 11, 2008 at 10:50 am Link to this comment

I think Obama is trying to build an image of being a christian, including the Wright controversy, a problem he put to use and was imminent anyway.  Jewish friendly, to heal another division is another he fixes.  He foresees the republican offense of his Muslim name etc. which he must allay.  I don’t trust any of them, to think that they fail to recognize the low approval rating of both president and Congress and can only respond in a vague way or incrementally to those somewhere below the 200k/yr income level.  Government will become an entertainment section in the newspaper of life in these United States, and have less relevance just by way of our future apathy.

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By Concerned American Voter, June 11, 2008 at 10:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Granted, Barrack Obama may have been at the top of his class at law school, and then become a lawyer and educator.
However, that doesn’t automatically ensure he has a world wise grand view of things.  His pursuit of a political career, and the pursuit of power and influence, does not mean he is necessarily more qualified to understand all the nuances of the world stage. He is a neophyte Senator with no world stage experience. He is not the NEW AGE Messiah that the media has portrayed him as. Something that the media has yet to acknowlege as well as himself.
Charisma can only carry a politican so far, and then they have to have the real world stage experience to lead the free world. Here then,is where Obama has grossly over stepped his bounds. He is not ready to take command of the free world, and lacks the real world experiences. Something that America’s enemies in the MIDDLE EAST are gleefully hoping for, is a newly elected neophyte American President, who has no real concepts of how to deal with extremist enemies sworn to destroy America’s power and influence in the middle east. Another thing that Barrack Obama himself has yet to acknowlege, is his inexperience as a world stage leader and policy maker. Charisma will not detere America’s sworn enemies from doing all it can to stop Imperialist American aggression and expansion. This then, is where the Democratic party has failed it’s party members, the voters, and the American people, by endorcing a neophyte senator who is not ready for prime time decision making or policy setting for the next 50 years.
This is where the American Media frenzy and love affair with this man, has failed the citizens so completely. The Democrat’s could have done so much better than this, especially following the eight years of George W. Bush’s campaign of lie’s,deciet,agression,murderous warfare,and the systematic plundering of American rights and freedoms. American’s deserve better leadership with a real understanding of what our policies and foreign affairs will harvest in the next century.
The United States of America is in real trouble, both domestically and abroad, and we need someone who has the wherewithall and the understanding to lead us into the 21 century with a clear vision and a realistic policy. Now is not the time for grandstanding political neophytes who cannot possibly deliver on empty promises that have no basis or real policy to back them up. Americans who support Barrack Obama need to wake up out of their
consensus trance, and start to see that he is not the one they need!

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By Max Shields, June 11, 2008 at 10:03 am Link to this comment

Just a fine point on the point of the Empire Party. Preservation of a system - once framed an in motion is the central thesis of my post.

Based on the trajectory of US Empire’s mission, a system (such as the entrenched two parties) must adapt, take what’s given to it, modifying it to make it work for the mission. Looking at the geo-political landscape, a system responds and incorporates to preserve and press toward the mission and its goals.

This is not a manifesto such as what the necons contrived. It is a self-organizing principle that concentrates itself as one moves toward the center(s) of power. On the periphery it’s all minor story telling. The main actors play out sophisticated mafia roles with nods and winks.

No system can sustain itself without a fundamental mission. It does not change between administrations or the “two” Parties. The methods may alter, the system is calculating and absorbing lessons, but again, all with end games that are foreign to the electorate.

Obama is the candidate de jour, of and for this system. He knows at some level what he’s into. He’s not the community organizer anymore - he abandoned that (except to the extent it can serve the mission) long before he gave his pastor the heave ho.

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By Max Shields, June 11, 2008 at 9:43 am Link to this comment

miroslav thanks for the links and your thoughts. During the faux Hillary/Obama face-offs the Dem Progressives didn’t want to hear squat about the right-leanings of Obama. They were left with 2 choices (they really limited themselves to two choices): Hillary (the “voted” for Iraq invasion candidate) and Obama (the “I made a speech” candidate). Many leaned toward the African-American version of “change” and “speeches”, rather than the woman version of “experience” and “populism”. This was all show and tell - absolutely no substance.

But here is how the game is played once the DLC and power elites vet their candidates for us to “elect”.

First, and foremost, the two parties are entrenched in empire. Preserving empire using any means necessary is theirs and their candidates primary mission. Too many so-called progressives and African American have deluded themselves that they have nowhere to go but to the Democratic Party. So, they (most certainly not all) rush off like little lost lambs to the Dem candidate(they think they can actually affect change by doing this - poor dears).

Meanwhile the Republicans and their minions will change the subject - is Obama really Obama? or is he the love child of Grace Slick? or he’s really a woman? Or is he an American citizen, or is his middle name Mohammed?... And the progressives will rush to protect Obama from these nasty horrific remarks. We saw it for eight years with Bill Clinton.

Meanwhile empire is allowed to run rough shod over the rest of the world and the American poor.

Progressives, like Chis Hedges, will be marginalized as not “pragmatic” enough. That those progressives are just a looney bunch. And of course, the game is check and mate - the dominant narrative and empire continue to rule the day… Folks like Nader and Kucinch are allowed tiny bit parts. They are sincere but the power elite knows just have to play them.

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By MattKline, June 11, 2008 at 9:38 am Link to this comment

What course, then, can be charted in the Middle East.  This is a region of millions who operate under a religious paradigm.  Pretty tough to reason with people who still carry grudges about what happened hundreds or thousands of years ago.  How can you force “enlightenment” upon various tribes?  Or should the plan be long-view where we contain the situation and encourage education and interaction that will wear down these old beliefs?


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By RickinSF, June 11, 2008 at 9:14 am Link to this comment

Nobody who follows US politics is really surprised that Obama grovelled before AIPAC. Especially now.

There is an election going on and the GOP has almost nothing left to throw at him except questioning his fealty to Israel, why should he give them ammo?

I’d like to think his speech, very disappointing, was a tactical move.

Who knows? I might be right.

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By miroslav, June 11, 2008 at 9:11 am Link to this comment

can get peoples hopes up.

whose piece in “foreign affairs ” is standard u.s. imperialist pap\plum
whose mentor is zbigniev brezinsky who brought you the destabilization of afghanistan and the eventual
importation of the crazy anti-soviet mullahs. who gave a rightwing speech to the cuban america
obma thinks the u.s. should reassert itself in latin america. all you folks who failed there also fell for the empty verbiage of “hope” “you gotta believe” “change” and the rest of the vacuous crap. i sort of understand why you do
but you’re just fooling yourselves again.
here, follow these two links, sorry not to have the ‘foreign affairs’ right now. but it’s online

  Obama has repeatedly threatened U.S. military attacks against Pakistan.”

An Obama Doctrine?

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By Max Shields, June 11, 2008 at 7:53 am Link to this comment

Sorry, while we’ve moved far to the right we (or should I say the system of government) have accomplished one thing: Found an African American to run for POTUS who can speak for the white power elite.

Now that’s progress!?! (Dr. King what do you think?)

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By Max Shields, June 11, 2008 at 7:50 am Link to this comment

While I agree that this country is moving toward yet one more war - Iran with George W. Bush at the helm,this topic is not about Bush; it’s about choice.

And when it comes to choices we should at least be very clear about what they are minus injection of the current POTUS. We have moved so far to the right, Nixon is now a liberal!

So, when we think of Obama in contrast to Bush (or McCain) I’d implore you to keep that squarely in mind.

Matt, the election is not about who taught at Harvard or has a “head on his shoulders” (didn’t Bush go to both Yale and Harvard!!).

We have a problem and none of these candidates will begin to touch it let alone begin the process of resolution. It is deep and they (the candidates) are of it not outside of it.

The choices are rather false. There is the demonic vision (from a relatively progressive view) of John McCain; and then there’s the illusory image of Barrak Obama. On war and peace there is little difference; and where there is it is more tactical and somewhat strategical than meaningful.

On the economy, both are utterly clueless.

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By troublesum, June 11, 2008 at 7:47 am Link to this comment

It looks like the choice is between George Bush’s third term and Bill Clinton’s.  Real change will not come until there is some kind of cataclysmic event.

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By tdbach, June 11, 2008 at 7:45 am Link to this comment

What an interesting thread! Obsms displays those same pandering impulses that everyone ridiculed Clinton for, and the Great and Glorious Oz is revealed behind the curtain. What a surprise!

And as this thread unfolds we see stages of grief displayed among his most vocal supporters with clinical precision: shock, denial, acceptance…

If this didn’t alter your image of Obama for all time (by holding onto “denial” while moving through “acceptance,” be prepared for many such shocks over the coming months and (if he is elected) years.

You can campaign on grand themes and purity of vision, but governiing is a dirty, messy business (which is the point Hillary was trying to make about the role of MLK and LBJ in the civil rights movement). In his speech to AIPAC, he wasn’t campaigning so much as he was beginning to govern.

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By MattKline, June 11, 2008 at 7:24 am Link to this comment

The bottom line is I am fairly certain Obama has a head on his shoulders.  He had a record of academic excellence and is clearly well versed in the issues.  Bush is little more than a puppet for Cheney, with no demonstrated ability in eight years to process complex situations.  It will be nice to have someone in the white house who has the curiosity to seek out information and the brain-power to process it and do what’s necessary - be it diplomacy or force.


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By mike roloff, June 11, 2008 at 7:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

looking at these various posts i realize that most did not read obambi’s foreign affairs piece which is standard u.s. imperialist pap
or think through the consequence that his foreign policy mentor is zbigniev brezinsky who brought you the destabilization of afghanistan and the eventual
importation of the crazy anti-soviet mullahs.

all you folks who failed there also fell for the empty verbiage of “hope” “you gotta believe” “change” and the rest of the
vacuous crap.

look at his position on latin america, is he just pandering again to the cuban americans in florida:
follow the two links below to TOMDISPATCH ETC

“In Afghanistan, we are witnessing the latest installment of 19th century’s Great Game — this time related to oil. On May 21 Obama repeated what has been a central theme of his campaign, hitting Bush and McCain from the right:* He repeated that Iraq is not the war that the U.S. should be fighting, and he stressed that “Afghanistan is the war we must win.” A year ago he said that “When I am president, we will wage the war that has to be won, with a comprehensive strategy…Getting out of Iraq and onto the right battlefield in Afghanistan and Pakistan.”[3] As I noted earlier, Obama has repeatedly threatened U.S. military attacks against Pakistan.”

An Obama Doctrine?

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By Max Shields, June 11, 2008 at 7:05 am Link to this comment

First, thank you Chris Hedges. Your clarity provides the necessary and generally overlooked realities of our Presidential race.

Now, let’s be clear on what we mean by “war”. There are two kinds of war. One is represented by the triad of Korea, Vietnam and Iraq. These are the kinds of “war” that usually get POTUS fired - Truman and LBJ. Didn’t happen with Bush for a host of reasons not worth recanting here.

Then there are the other wars this mighty empire wages: covert operations througout much of Asia, Africa and South and Central America. Also, limited in scope and time. Thousand of innocent children and civilian are killed but Americans are not particularly bothered because…well they’re limited. Even the first type of war started with this idea of contained destruction, but got out of hand.

Neither kind of war has been declared, as the constitution requires, by the Congress.

So, when I read or hear words of a threatening nature by a candidate for POTUS, I listen up. After all, the POTUS’s powers have become ever more concentrated in “war”. Much else is really difficult to accomplish. POTUS try to keep their wars contained, and off the radar as much as possible. An air raid here and there, training of local killing-militia, embargos leaving behind a collapsed infrastructure and medical supplies. These are all well and good because their cloaked in terms of national security or interest or the always faithful “liberal” humanitarianism that the Cloney’s et al can march behind.

In any case, it’s war. And Obama’s speech says his presidency will more than entertain war. It will be front and center. Will he “talk” to the “enemy”? Yes/no. What’s the difference to the thousands whose lives will be shattered.

To ignore Obama’s words, as if these are just for show to a voting block, is to miss the whole point. His words will have direct and indirect grave consequences there and else where for real people.

Obama’s firewall will be the right. The Repubs will through incredulous remarks and the liberals will try to defend Obama. In the meantime, as was the case with Bill Clinton, war will be waged in our name - yet again.

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By MattKline, June 11, 2008 at 6:57 am Link to this comment

I like how Bush said recently on his European farewell tour that Diplomacy is the first tool against Iran.  This from the guy who refuses to talk to Iran unless they do what we say first.  Some diplomacy.


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By thebeerdoctor, June 11, 2008 at 6:29 am Link to this comment

People who read comments on this site, please remember I DO NOT SUPPORT ANY OF THESE CANDIDATES, I am just an observer. I brought up Dr. Ron Paul because I have read and heard that his supporters are going to upstage John McCain at the GOP Convention, a point of observation. For those who are passionate about their candidates, and try to make alibis for their gaffes, I say you have a choice: you can stop supporting them. For those who are disturbed by the reality that there are people who do not think like you; for example, libertarians who want their guns, land, and to be left alone, I say if you live in a country that is suppose to be founded on liberty, that is their prerogative.

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By cyrena, June 11, 2008 at 6:04 am Link to this comment

And you all are worried about what Obama is saying to AIPAC? Well, he’s not the president…yet.

Bush to Iran: ‘All options’ are open over nukes
President urges diplomacy over uranium enrichment during European visit.

updated 4:33 a.m. PT, Wed., June. 11, 2008

~MESEBERG, Germany - President Bush threatened Iran on Wednesday with more sanctions if it fails to stop enriching uranium and said all options were on the table to thwart Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.

Bush, who met German Chancellor Angela Merkel north of Berlin during a week-long tour of Europe, is pressing allies to agree new punitive measures against Iran.

While Europeans have voiced support for such a move, they are also looking past Bush, whose presidency ends in January.

“Both the chancellor and my first choice of course is to solve this diplomatically,” Bush told a joint news conference with Merkel.

But he added: “All options are on the table,” a reference to the threat of military action to stop Iran’s nuclear program, which the West fears is aimed at making atomic bombs. “The message to the Iranian government is very clear,” Bush said.

Power generation?
Merkel said she could not exclude a further round of sanctions if Iran fails to cooperate and suspend enrichment work, which Tehran argues is for peaceful power generation.

Despite three rounds of sanctions by the U.N. Security Council, Iran has refused to stop enrichment. Within a week, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana plans to present a revised package of political and economic incentives for Iran to give up enrichment, similar to an offer made in 2006 that was rejected.

Bush, visiting Europe for the last time before his eight years in office comes to an end, met Merkel at a government residence north of the German capital. He will later head to Rome, Paris, London, and Belfast in Northern Ireland.

The U.S. president went biking through the rolling hills and lush woods of the compound on Wednesday morning.

At a relaxed news conference, Bush thanked the chancellor for inviting him to a “modest cottage by the lake” and said he had enjoyed a “fabulous” meal of asparagus, a seasonal delicacy.

Bush remains unpopular in western Europe more than five years after he clashed with Germany, France, Russia and others over the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
He told reporters in Meseberg he had no regrets about going to war to oust Saddam Hussein but admitted he could have been smarter in making the case for the U.S.-led invasion.

“I could have used better rhetoric to indicate that one, we tried to exhaust diplomacy in Iraq, and two, that I don’t like war,” Bush said. “But, no, the decision to remove Saddam Hussein was the right decision.”~

Don’t cha love it? He could have “used better rhetoric?” And the ‘rhetoric’ he’s been using on Iran for 6 years? Insisting on punishing them, (and demanding that the rest of the world do it as well) for something they have every right to do?

Demanding that Iran cease their enrichment of uranium, when they have a contract with the rest of the world that gives them the right to do exactly that, is the same as punishing them (or any other nation) for growing vegetables, grain, or poultry on their own sovereign soil.

Maybe next he’ll threaten to nuke them if they breathe or go to the toilet.

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