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Barack Obama, Meet Team B

Posted on Mar 12, 2009
AP pool photo / Aleksey Nikolskyi

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, doing his best impersonation of a Bond villain, tours a Russian facility last summer that produces advanced surface-to-air missiles.

By Scott Ritter

President Obama received a lesson in international gamesmanship last week, when his secret offer to trade the deployment of a controversial missile defense system in Eastern Europe for Russian assistance in getting Iran to back down from its nuclear program was publicly rebuffed. The lesson? You don’t get something for nothing, especially when the something you’re looking for is, itself, nothing.

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If the members of the Obama administration would bother to take a stroll down memory lane, they might recall that once upon a time there was a document called the anti-ballistic missile treaty, signed in 1972 between the United States and the former Soviet Union, which recognized that anti-missile defense shields were inherently destabilizing, and as such should not be deployed. The ABM treaty represented the foundational agreement for a series of strategic arms limitation and arms reduction agreements that followed. President Obama was 10 years old when that treaty was signed. He was 40 years old when President George W. Bush withdrew from it, in December 2001, and set in motion a series of events that saw arms control between the U.S. and Russia completely unravel. The proposed U.S. missile defense shield, to be deployed in Poland and the Czech Republic, had the Russians talking about scrapping the INF treaty (which eliminated two classes of nuclear-armed ballistic missiles that threatened Europe) and deploying highly accurate SS-21 “Iskander” missiles within striking range of the proposed Polish interceptor site.

Russia did not create the missile defense system crisis. The United States did, and, as such, cannot expect to suddenly receive diplomatic credit when it puts this controversial program on the foreign policy gaming table as if it were a legitimate chip to be bargained away.

Russia has always, correctly, claimed that any missile defense system deployed in Eastern Europe can only be directed at Russia. While both the Bush and Obama administrations denied that was the case, Poland has all but admitted its concerns are not about missiles coming from Tehran, but rather missiles coming from Moscow. The American “sweetener” for a potential Polish loss of a missile shield is to offer Poland advanced Patriot surface-to-air missiles, whose intended target is clearly not a Persian missile which cannot reach Polish soil, but rather Russian missiles and aircraft which can. 

There are three basic facts that the Obama administration needs to address, but as of yet has not: First, missile defense systems are inherently destabilizing and only contribute to the acquisition of offensive counters designed to defeat those defenses. Second, the rapid expansion of NATO in the past decade has in fact threatened Russia. And third, the Iranian missile “threat” to Europe has always been illusory.


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The proposed U.S. missile defense shield in Eastern Europe has been a highly flawed concept from its very inception. Although it used unproven technology, it was sold as a means of protecting Europe from a threat that did not exist (Iranian missiles), while creating the conditions for exposing Europe to a real threat that the missile defense shield was incapable of defeating (Russian missiles). The fact that Obama would put the missile defense shield up for trade as part of a “Grand Bargain” with Russia on Iran only underscores how little value the system has to begin with. It is a big zero, both from a military and diplomacy perspective.  Obama, in making it part of his bargain, was trying to give it value it lacked, and the Russians weren’t buying.

The Iranian situation is far too real, but not in terms of the dangers posed by anything Iran itself is doing. The United States has not helped matters by hyping the threat posed by nonexistent Iranian missiles targeting Europe and capable of carrying nonexistent nuclear warheads. Russia has expressed a desire to work with the United States to better control Iran’s program of uranium enrichment, which Iran and the nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), state has been clearly demonstrated as part of a peaceful nuclear energy program. For Russia to buy into Obama’s “deal,” it would have to buy into a threat from Iran’s missile and nuclear programs, a threat Russia does not believe to exist.

Obama would do well to call in his national security team and have it lay out the intelligence information used to assert the Iranian threat. There must be such a foundational document, since Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen and the president himself all have repeatedly referred to the “threat” posed by Iran’s “nuclear weapons” ambitions. It is important to distinguish between what we know and what we think we know. For instance, we know that Iran does not have any highly enriched uranium, the kind needed to produce a nuclear weapon. Just ask Adm. Dennis Blair, the director of national intelligence. This is what he told the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee this week in testimony on Iran.  And yet many in the U.S. intelligence community continue to state unequivocally that Iran is on the verge of possessing a nuclear weapon. 

Obama should take each assertion put forward about Iran’s nuclear ambition and then reverse-engineer the underlying factual basis for making that assertion. If he did so, he would quickly find that he and his advisers know less about Iran than they think they do. The entire U.S. case against Iran is built on supposition and speculation. If the president disassembled the speculative assertions, he would find them cobbled together from an ideologically motivated methodology designed more to justify a policy of containing and undermining Iran’s theocracy than understanding its nuclear ambitions.

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By Sepharad, March 24, 2009 at 3:38 pm Link to this comment

Inherit—No kidding.

Also in the “there’s no justice nowhere” department, Pizarro and his 35 Spaniards could never have conquered the Inca if they hadn’t been lucky enough to arrive in the middle of a full-blown civil war, a fight to the death between two brothers. Ill-equipped though the Spaniards were they also benefited immensely from the food and weapons stored in little stone houses at prescribed intervals all along the Inca trail to replenish Inca raiding parties. Before the civil war, the Inca (who themselves had risen by wiping out a more advanced, less warlike civilization) were engaged in their standard behavior, raiding up and down the kingdom enslaving other peoples who were relocated as needed to grow food and do whatever else the Inca aristocrats required—which is why the Inca needed all those little stone resupply houses—and also why the Spaniards found so many non-Incas willing to fight and die for them. There was such multi-layered karma floating around the Andes it becomes impossible to distinguish the good guys from the bad, unless you calculate who did the most to stabilize the greatest number of lives and destroyed the fewest. And I haven’t figured that out yet; probably the pre-Incan civilization but they went to so much trouble to eradicate every trace of it that not a whole lot is known.

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By Inherit The Wind, March 24, 2009 at 2:49 pm Link to this comment

Proving the adage: Never trust the promises of kings.

(they always find a way to break them if it’s in their interest—and you have NO recourse if they do.)

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By Sepharad, March 24, 2009 at 11:54 am Link to this comment

Isabella was guiltier than Ferdinand—he was a gambling junkie and she was willing to kill any number of people to protect him. (Her piety rationalized all: victims weren’t Christians.)

Cortes spent all his money then drifted northward, having heard tales of golden cities. Indians along the lower Rio Grande (called the Rio de las Palmas by early Spaniards) from the Gulf of Mexico to where it turns northward in New Mexico, considered themselves wealthy having enough rain, grass, cornfields and comfortable abodes among the cottonwoods lining the Rio Grande. They wanted the Spaniards to move on and, perceiving the Spanish fixation on gold, assured all who passed that much, much farther upriver were peoples with palaces of gold and turquoise floors. (They didn’t mention that these Indians, where the river rushed narrowly through canyons, were fierce fighters and resented strangers.)

The King instructed the Viceroy to give Cortes honor and respect but no access to wealth. Rebuffed, Cortes sailed for Spain in 1540 to press the King for another commission, not knowing the monarch had no intention of letting him amass another fortune. In 1547 he died in poverty in a village just outside Sevilla still waiting for an audience. (This was not unusual: most conquistadors died in poverty, in jail, stripped of power or all of the above because the king always imagined that these bold men were somehow cheating the crown of revenues through theft or maladministration. But he only reined them in after they’d completed their greatest conquests.)

Pizarro and his family escaped this fate because he was ruthless, shrewd and anticipated royal conniving. That’s how he himself operated: dispatched his main rival to Chile, where there was nothing but furious fighters who had learned to use both the Spaniards’ horses and weapons. Another rival Pizarro had murdered during one battle. His last rival, Hernan de Soto, a much younger man and brilliant cavalryman who’d won most of Pizarro’s victories, was so busy fighting that there was nothing left to claim: Pizarro had it all. DeSoto didn’t write much down—a formal letter to the monarchs, a will, that’s it. Most of my information re DeSoto is from memoirs, one kept by one of his cavalry outriders and another by a footsoldier who served with him in Peru and from Florida to the Mississippi River, where the famous man died. (Those memoirs, not computerized, are fragile parchment-like material crumbling around the edges and stained with wine. To even get into Spain’s Archives of the Indies you need an introduction by a well-known—to them—Spanish colonial scholar. Once in, past the director, you meet a guy in front of the Archives room itself, an automatic weapon slung over his shoulder, who copies all your i.d. and referehce letter, then asks more questions. I had one for him: did he ever expect to use his gun? He said “Oh yes. I have.” (A staff researcher said they worry about terrorists both ETA and Islamic. I thought they’d be wiser to worry about indigenous New World natives, colonial Spain’s main victimes. But Spaniards have a completely different perspective, and are proud of their conquistadors.)

Because Pizarro emerged as top dog, the history of the Peruvian conquest was his version, written by his brothers, cousins and hirelings—a clearcut case of “the victor writes the history.” If you’re interested in the conquistadors, the best book is an older one written by Walter Prescott, includes in one huge volume the conquests of both Mexico and Peru. Have gone through dozens of books with modern updates, finding very little of significance that he doesn’t have. Also, historian Edouardo Galeano wrote a trilogy of verse concerning the New World, detailed and delightful. Even his most outrageous episodes are factually accurate (at least regarding the conquistadors and the Indians). First volume is “Genesis”. You’d enjoy all three.

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By Inherit The Wind, March 24, 2009 at 4:20 am Link to this comment

Amazingly, Cortes died in poverty after having brought Spain unimaginable wealth!  Not that Hernan Cortes didn’t deserve it, but the King was just as guilty of Cortes’s excesses as Cortes.

I don’t know if the same thing happened to Pizzaro, who destroyed the Incas as Cortes destroyed the Aztecs, and brought even MORE unimaginable wealth to Spain, as the Incas had a far vaster empire and far more gold.

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By Sepharad, March 23, 2009 at 9:32 pm Link to this comment

radson, I don’t think we are going to be able to afford the technology to transfer us and all our troubled baggage to outer space. But it has always interested me. Some time ago, my cousin was designing aspects of space colonies for NASA and was completely taken by the prospect. You could hardly get him to talk about anything else most of the time. He said then that the technology was in place but he was afraid by the time they could get one going he’d be too old to be one of the colonists (at the time 35 was the max contemplated because of unknown travel stresses etc). He also said he feared that the temptations of military-friendly space projects were going to eat up so much research money that the colonies wouldn’t come to fruition. There were so many technical issues yet to be solved, so much research and feasability studies, etc.

The conquistadors went to the New World because there was nothing left for them in Spain. Most of them were sons of hidalgos who’d served the crown dispossessing and driving out the last Moslems from Spain. In the later stages of the Reconquista, the Crown saw yet another income opportunity by driving out or burning up Jews. Running through the treasures stolen from Moslems and Jews, and not knowing how to keep the learning and agriculture and commercial life of the country intact without these despised peoples, the royals quickly exhausted their treasury again and had nothing to reward the soldiers who’d fought the Moslems except a title and a piece of land. These men in turn had little to give their sons except an education in how to ride and kill. Columbus was an exception and to an extent Cortes; the former was skilled and curious and had imagination. Cortes too must be credited for having some sense of adventure with no guarantees. But after his treasure ships started returning to Spain the monarchs were only too pleased to subsidize conquistadors who, without any noted exceptions, went for the gold and a kingly life. Their skills served them well in the New World, but very few of them achieved the kind of life they’d sought. Do you think there are things we have to offer the galaxies, or should we keep our conquistadors at home to nurse the earth we’ve been battering down?

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By radson, March 23, 2009 at 10:36 am Link to this comment

To Sepharad

Bonjour Sepharad merci beaucoup pour votre reponse.Actually I was not expecting such a lengthy response,but I may add that it is greatly appreciated. You have mentioned Cyrena and

yes she is quite the debater,but a little careless with her choice of words at times.Ed on the other hand is too damn serious ,he reminds me of a professional soldier ,that I may add is subject

to a lot of indoctrination ,that inhibits in a sense the independent thought process.Moving on towards the Muscovy Russ and the Russian bear.They are not the same as the Soviet regime

of the past, and yes the Russkies are very difficult to negotiate with (stone-arse being a good historical example). Nevertheless the Russian Folk are not to keen on continuing the Proletarian

dream (or is it nightmare) and I don’t think that Brest FR. will become a Russian port in the near future.Al Andalus the Israeli lobbyist’s are presently walking on a tight-rope and I believe that

part of the answer will be somewhat clearer by the summer of this year,especially with regards to Iran,if the Lobbyist’s chose the path of Chaos ,then their clout will be compromised,as well

as many innocent lives.Concerning the Stimulus Package i still have my doubts ,Capitalism is based on continual growth and Planet Earth is only able to handle so much of it before She

goes on the defensive.The Weimar Republic in Germany during the inter-war period was unpredictable to say the least,not just politically speaking ,but certainly with regards to the social

upheaval that uncertainty germinates.Eventually the Human Race will have more technology to explore the Deep Space ,that all citizens can see with their own eyes,that exist in the

sky above.The prominent question which remains is whether ,we are going to propagate the Earthly problems into outer space before we solve them on our own Planet.Perhaps your

interest in the Conquistadors has a profound relevance with relation to the future.

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By Inherit The Wind, March 22, 2009 at 8:05 pm Link to this comment

However we are living at a time in history when we can begin to knit together the holistic truth begun by marxist social theory.  It is becoming both politically and technically feasible to view political and social reality from a world historical perspective rather than from a national or regional perspective.  Unfortunately this generates a worldview that subverts the Western worldview that has legitmated captialist Democracies the past few centuries.

Yeah, marxism has worked out really, really well, hasn’t it?  Still working out good for ya, FT?

There’s nothing new about being “internationalist” you know.  Lenin originally planned for the capital of The Soviet Union to be Berlin.

i realize, Inherit, that this is all blah, blah, blah to you, your brain having been petrified by Alyce Rosenbaum, aka, Ayn Rand.

It’s “Alice” you twit, and you wouldn’t have known that was her name without me telling you.
When you can offer as many criticisms of Rand as I can AND HAVE DONE then you won’t look like the idiot you are.  Hell, I’d be satisfied if you could come up with ONE sound, rational criticism of Rand that isn’t “she’s a cartoon”.

the rest IS all just blather…

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By Inherit The Wind, March 22, 2009 at 8:05 pm Link to this comment

FT: You are right.  It is all blah, blah, blah, but not because my mind is “infected” but, because, as usual, your factual premises are simple fallacies.

Folktruther, March 22 at 1:54 pm #

No, no, no, Inherit, it is not Sepharad that thinks you’re an idiot, it’s me.  A natural confusion, if one happens to be idiotic.

Glad you still got that sense of humor! It’s a great way to deal with being proven wrong, as usual.


However, you are quite right, Christianity was combined with a political ideology for most its history.  Where you ae wrong is when the rising capitalist classes replaced the feudal landowning classes to become the ruling class of capitalist Democracies.


But…this didn’t really begin until the 1850’s. In the US, only after the Civil War was Industry more mighty than Agriculture—which remained dominant in the US South until the 1960’s—and controlled our politics. Besides, while the robber barons were doing this they were also industrializing and modernizing America.

This could only be done, and was done, by fragmenting the institutions so that the ruling class could divide and conquer.

What institutions were fragmented? Or is that one of those vague, general words you toss out that you hope nobody will want defined?

This was necessary because, under capitalism, the cities gained the majority of the population, and capitalists could not rule as feudal classes did, by remianing united while the population was scattered in farms and villages.

Of course they could.  Sticking together is always a workable strategy.

As institutions were divided, so was the conceptual langauge and the categories of the mainstream truth traditions of capitalist power systems.

Y’know, I’ve read this sentence at least 10 times and I still don’t have a f***in’ clue as to what it means.  My best guess is that you mean: The new powers-that-be had to sell a new fairy tale to the boob-oisie (as Mencken labeled them).

Under capitalism the religious truth tradition and the political and scientific truth traditions all diverged and were conceptually separated.  And their existed no holistic overview or outline that united them based on the political or social truth.

This is such incredible crap I’m having troubles keeping a straight face!  Why don’t you try ENGLISH instead of buzzword gibberish?  Again, I’m guessing: The churches, the politicians, and the capitalists all had their own bullshit lies and none of them matched up to the other two groups’ lies.

This was unique in history as far as I know, the disassociation of truth the fragmentation of the conceptual language to such a pathologically irrational extent.  But this helps separate, isolate and alienate people from each other, allowing the capitalist class to rule.

Unique? Divide and conquer is as old as the hills. Setting up one internal group against another has been used for millennia. IF I’m understanding you, the Radical Right, starting in 1978 had it workin’ real well until 2006.


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By Folktruther, March 22, 2009 at 10:54 am Link to this comment

No, no, no, Inherit, it is not Sepharad that thinks you’re an idiot, it’s me.  A natural confusion, if one happens to be idiotic.

However, you are quite right, Christianity was combined with a political ideology for most its history.  Where you ae wrong is when the rising capitalist classes replaced the feudal landowning classes to become the ruling class of capitalist Democracies.

This could only be done, and was done, by fragmenting the institutions so that the ruling class could divide and conquer.  This was necessary because, under capitalism, the cities gained the majority of the population, and capitalists could not rule as feudal classes did, by remianing united while the population was scattered in farms and villages.

As institutions were divided, so was the conceptual langauge and the categories of the mainstream truth traditions of capitalist power systems.  Under capitalism the religious truth tradition and the political and scientific truth traditions all diverged and were conceptually separated.  And their existed no holistic overview or outline that united them based on the political or social truth. 

This was unique in history as far as I know, the disassociation of truth the fragmentation of the conceptual language to such a pathologically irrational extent.  But this helps separate, isolate and alienate people from each other, allowing the capitalist class to rule.

However we are living at a time in history when we can begin to knit together the holistic truth begun by marxist social theory.  It is becoming both politically and technically feasible to view political and social reality from a world historical perspective rather than from a national or regional perspective.  Unfortunately this generates a worldview that subverts the Western worldview that has legitmated captialist Democracies the past few centuries.

i realize, Inherit, that this is all blah, blah, blah to you, your brain having been petrified by Alyce Rosenbaum, aka, Ayn Rand.  But there are others who are captable of understanding that we are living between two forms of ideology historically, and wonder what the future will hold.  But since anyone interested in new ideas would, in your inimitable phrase, hate all Jews, they would probably try to raise your taxes.  Not doing so is probably the great virtue of Alyce, possibly the only one.

But her criticism of marxism was very funny, always that great sense of humor.

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By Inherit The Wind, March 20, 2009 at 8:34 pm Link to this comment

Sepharad, March 20 at 6:54 pm #

Inherit—I haven’t yet heard this morning’s message from the President but take your word for it that we are definitely not attacking Iran. Woo hoo!
You said, “I know you all think I’m an idiot…”

I KNOW you are not an idiot. You always get closer to the truth with far less verbiage than anyone else in the ‘dig. We all should be such idiots.

Thanks, Seph.  I DO try to distill an argument down to its essential factors, determine the premises and the valid inferences that can be made, regardless of whether they are liked or not.  It’s an occupational hazard.

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By Sepharad, March 20, 2009 at 3:54 pm Link to this comment

Inherit—I haven’t yet heard this morning’s message from the President but take your word for it that we are definitely not attacking Iran. Woo hoo!

You said, “I know you all think I’m an idiot…”

I KNOW you are not an idiot. You always get closer to the truth with far less verbiage than anyone else in the ‘dig. We all should be such idiots.

PS - Have google directions to the UN Arab Reform Reports. If the “Israel rightwing government…”  thread is no long existing, let me know and I’ll give them to you. (Wrote them down this time.)

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By Sepharad, March 20, 2009 at 3:49 pm Link to this comment

radson—continued—I understand what you’re saying, that many people see state policies without understanding the local opposition. And as you live among Israelis, you also see that most of them, like most Americans and probably Euros as well, are preoccupied with immediate close problems when the real issues are global. In addition there is a certain amount of emotional paranoia not really unjustified—academic boycotts, liberals like Arabs see Israel as the main problem of the Middle East and beyond—yet some of the intellectuals and progressives in Israel as here are able to see rather clearly what is going on. But all they can do is talk about it, demonstrate, protest, establish economic links where possible with Palestinians, conduct politics in ways they think are helpful—most recently and unfortunately allowing the desire to remain uncontaminated by what they regard as pseudo-centrist but which in fact truly are centrist policies to enable their worst nightmare to come into power. And so it goes. And just as the masses of Palestinians’ see Israeli policies as the main enemy, Israeli masses see Palestinian behavior, particularly Hamas and Hezbollah, the way you or I would regard imminent attack by a much larger country unconcerned with its losses as they outnumber you. One Israeli soldier was quoted as saying some of the IDF behavior in Gaza was attributed to the idea that somehow, Palestinian lives were no longer as valuable as a soldier’s life.
On the other hand Zionist Leon Botstein, President of Bard College, has established a joint degree program with Al Quds University President Nussebieh so that Israel will recognize Al Quds graduate credentials. Just one example of individuals trying to outwit their warring sides. Excellent but not as noticeable as terrorist activity and bombing Gaza. I’m shocked at how little people in the U.S. know about Arabs—strengths and weaknesses—and about Israelis, ditto. The narratives are so set that it would take dynamite (or semtex) to break them down so that people could start with history and move on to contemporary studies and maybe have a better picture. But no one has the time, all preoccupied by global dominos falling one by one. My own paranoia is that things are becoming so catastrophically bad that people will turn to the usual scapegoats. Fortunately, the Europeans are more sensititive to such things and have established a special commission to investigate the intermingled anti-Israel anti-Semitism progression in various countries. As long as someone else is aware of it, my own paranoia has ratcheted down considerably and I can be logical again. Thank goodness. I hate thinking about potential reruns of WWII when there are so many more productive things to look at and work toward. Realism all around is the only hope, and overall I think truthdig contributes to this by airing and examining many scenarios, many narratives. No single person has The Answer, but all proposed solutions must have bits and pieces of it.

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By Sepharad, March 20, 2009 at 3:15 pm Link to this comment

radson,—cont’d.—The current geopolitics could hardly be worse: an ex-KGB man new tsar of Russia, religious people in charge of Iran, a volatile hawk like Netanyahu in charge of Israel ... the only good luck the world has had lately is that the U.S. has an intelligent President, and people on both political extremes are already highly critical of him. Perhaps that means he is doing something correct, but I haven’t seen it yet, at least not in the financial arena. But Inherit the Wind says his speech today on Iran did not imply anyone is going to want to attack Iran so perhaps he’s begun taking hold. I still have hopes he will be pull out of the missile defense system so the Russians do not get too upset. Nobody needs a grumpy Russian bear just now.

Ed is afraid the neocons/Israel Lobby might shoot Obama dead if he doesn’t do their bidding. I don’t think they’re stupid enough to do that: if one graying hair on Obama’s head is harmed everyone will suspect the Israel Lobby and their policies and calculated future pleasures, and they will automatically and quite suddenly lose every ounce of clout they now have. They may have gotten away with something of the sort in Israel—people and parties who oppose them seem to drop like flies—but that wouldn’t be the case here.

Certainly I agree with you that many new world leaders have been more interested in avoiding the errors of past tyrants than in correcting indefensible living conditions, pursuing peace and saving the planet—I just hope that our new President isn’t one of these greedy thugs. I don’t think he is.

As you say, logic is increasingly derailed by spin. I think that is a consequence about equally comprised of anger and fear. If the masses of people in different countries knew one another better, they would either flip out and try to destroy each other or understand that they wanted the same things for themselves and their families and get serious about peace. Being somewhat optimistic about human nature, I would bet on the second option. But the liklihood of different peoples having a chance to know one another, given pressures of life and economics, especially now, are low. In the U.S., we should be able to do that successfully ourselves as we are so diverse, but even here racism still exists and hatred thrives. Our country and many others are also experiencing disorientation and pain as institutions they saw as unshakeable are collapsing and disappearing, taking with them their lifesavings, their jobs, their kids’ college tuition. This economic situation is making people less focused on everything except how they are going to get themselves and their families through the year. And the next. Trying to appeal to reason and empathy for others in other countries is temporarily next to impossible and will become moreso if Obama’s financial stimulus package fails (as Krugman fears).
If you recall the climate post-Versailles Treaty in Germany, desperate people are in no mood for moderation but want a solution to their most pressing problems as quickly as possible. 

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By Sepharad, March 20, 2009 at 2:18 pm Link to this comment

radson, merci. As you say, most TDers are reasonable people and also have strong opinions (including me). When you discuss strong opinions it can seem like quarreling or even be quarreling, but it’s a good way to get all ideas, however cockamamie, out there. The Greek’s agora, free marketplace of ideas, is indispensible to relatively free societies. Sometimes I upset people because I don’t provide enough links—am not a “link” person and do more research off the net than on. And I particularly upset cyrena on the “Israel rightwing government…” thread because I suggested people read a source that I had no link to, did not have the document with me—UN co-sponsored Arab Reform Report I & II—and she couldn’t find it. Rather than look in a box of packed notebooks in our truck I finally just googled on it myself and was able to give her the material and references. (But if they’ve already closed the thread she might not see them. This time, I have written down exactly where I looked for them so next time I see her on a thread can provide them.) She didn’t like the idea that some Arab scholars had made devastating critiques of their own societies and thought perhaps I’d just made it up. But Arabs are not stupid: they do it often, the oldest example being medieval historian Ib’n Khaldun’s version in the Muquadimmah. Cyrena, like most people here, are more computer-oriented than I am. I only use it for a few websites, email, and to do my own writing and research notes on a couple of projects.)

Sometimes I say things people do not like to hear. I also read and learn things here that I don’t like—e.g., some of the things that happened in Gaza don’t fit what I know of the IDF in general and individual solders I know, am related to some, in particular. But it’s important to know fact that don’t fit your overall perception, facts that are upsetting, because if you don’t care about the truth you’re hardly in a position to change anything.

“Sepharad” is my Hebrew name, which I go by when in Israel, and my musical poetic ex-communist late mother helped me choose it years ago. In Hebrew it means “Tree of Life” and “Al Andalus.” (I’m very interested in Al Andalus and working on a book about aspects of it, the Reconquista and Inquisition, and their connection to Spain’s conquistadors and the New World. Seems that without both Reconquista and Inquisition, Spain might never have attempted to find the New World, certainly not given Columbus the financial backing. Interesting. Separately, am also trying to find out why, after the Arabs were driven from Spain, the magnificent culture there slowly disintegrated, and the pursuit of knowledge moved to the Persians.) —- to be continued——

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By Sepharad, March 20, 2009 at 1:39 pm Link to this comment

Ed, sorry for the rant. I have very deep-seated negative feelings about the Israel Lobby. Schumer hasn’t been very prominent until the Freeman thing, which was very ill-advised (and to me is just one more case of the Lobby acting against the best interests of both the U.S. and Israel). Freeman would have been very good at keeping Netanyahu in line, and somebody has to. I think Blair is so PO’d by the interference and the rejection that he might look until he comes up with someone who also would serve as a brake for bad Israeli ideas and ventures.

I also understand why Israel can seem scary: one of their military chiefs talking about attacking Iran scares me, which I think would be a catastrophic error. Unfortunately you are right in that sensible people are not running Israel now. Livni would have been good and she actually got more votes than Netanyahu but couldn’t get a governing coalition. The farther left parties, like Meretz, refused to join Labour because it was tainted by centrist policies. With this outcome, I’ll bet in the next election Meretz and the other leftwing folks will be only to happy to go with Labour. If Israel survives the current leadrship, that is.

Israelis and their supporters encompass hawks and doves and people who understand both extremes and pragmatists (or realpolitik, which I’d label myself as being). On the whole Israelis are too defensive, too sensitive to criticism, but not too paranoid. I think the existential dangers are real, and close, but acting stupidly will not make Israel safer. There is a lot of mutual understanding between Israelis and Palestinians but also a lot of anger and the most distrust I’ve ever observed. Situation is not good. America can’t get sucked into supporting bad Israeli decisions on the one hand, but might think twice before throwing them to the wolves on the other because they do have a better grasp on Arab politics, characteristics, ways of thinking that most Westerners do not. (See the UN Document co-sponsored Arab Reform reports—left some googling sites re those and other mainly Arab-produced papers for cyrena on the “Israel Rightwing” thread).

But I don’t think anyone is going to stampede Obama into attacking Iran. The missile defense issue is still there, however. I still trust Obama’s intelligence to wiggle out of that. And don’t forget, Rahm Emanuel and Dave Axelrod have his back. I’d like to see the Lobby try to shut up either of them.

Also, I don’t think I’d ever characterize Israel as gentle. If they were gentle they would be long since gone. But I do believe most Israelis have some sense of morality, and also would not want to do anything to damage America. I know, “most Israelis” are not in charge but they are not shy about expressing themselves and Knesset ministers can sometimes channel the PM’s worst notions into something a bit better.

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By Sepharad, March 20, 2009 at 1:05 pm Link to this comment

Ed, some interesting ideas. Re the Israel Lobby, they DO demand total conformity and they definitely do NOT love me because I’m Jewish. My party of choice—Meretz in Israel, MeretzUSA here (you can google it)—is opposed to just about every belief they hold dear. Look at what happened to Ariel Sharon when he made a radical break with their vision of a Greater Israel. It wasn’t just pulling out of Gaza. Perhaps the last straw was his stroll down the Jordan Valley saying it was no longer necessary as a buffer zone. Which was a prelude to why Israel can leave the West Bank. If he hadn’t gone into his coma Israel would have most of the settlers out of the West Bank by now. And the strangest thing of all is that they do NOT represent Israel and it’s offensive that they pretend to.

They represent themselves and what they want. Their only concern re Israel is that it’s in the Middle East where all the oil is and they want in,  and “defending Israel” always seems to put them right where they want to be, making money and positioning themselves re oil revenue, reconstruction, whatever. And all the while getting stupid Jews to tell everyone how great they are, that without them Israel would go under etc. It makes me absolutely sick. Maybe someday—with the island nation of Bahrain being so nice and all, base for the US fleet and the first Arab country to send a Jewish ambassador—a woman yet—to the U.S. (or to anywhere else)—they will pick on Bahrain and leave Israel alone. Now. There ARE organizations in the US that lobby for Israel that are not part of these disgusting people, American Jewish Committee being the most significant, and sometimes their policies jibe with the Perles and neocons but mostly they don’t. Their main audience is mainstream Jews, and they are more interested in tracking international anti-Semitism, boycotts and the like. If you recall, there was a huge anti-Obama smear campaign on the internet trying to scare off Jewish voters and making all sorts of allegations against Obama and what a tragedy for the Jewish people it would be if he became the American President. AJC jumped on that immediately and revealed it for what it was—a pathetic swiftboat attempt.

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By Inherit The Wind, March 20, 2009 at 9:27 am Link to this comment

In light of this morning’s message from the President to Iran:

Why is it, again, that you all say Obama is bound and determined to take us to war with Iran?

I know you all think I’m an idiot but it just sounded to me like he made a definitive peace gesture toward Iran.  All over Europe and Iran they seem to share my “idiot” view.

So….why is it you think Obama’s taking us to war with Iran??????????????????????????????????

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By Mirror, March 19, 2009 at 4:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As a friend of mine said, ‘the stubborn thing about the world is that it does not end’. i cannot agree more. But i do believe in the awful mortal danger of those who believe feverishly in Armageddon (the born again and the likes) coupled up with the not so bright neocons who believe that they are too cool to see the edge in time to pull away from it. That horrible scenario - i believe in. For the true Utopians their real fancy dream which keeps them horny at nights is not even that paradise on earth they are talking about, but the transitional stage of cleansing the world of those who do not join them. Note, how every Utopia from the end of the book of John, to Koran’s description of heaven, to communism, to the neocon dream of the Middle East is always preceded by some real bloodletting. While they get a hard on going about the application of those dreams, we are the ones who end up in a Distopia, as is the logic of all these exercises, look at history. Do not worry about Armageddon, worry about those who want it. How likely is it? i think it will be very likely if intense maintenance is not at play. If Team B or its spawned offspring is still shaping policy, we are f…ed.

It is our great luck that Iraq was such a disaster and the economy tanked on their watch. Thank god or our good luck on your knees that these morons are somewhat removed from making decisions. For now.

But. i read what they write and listen to their podcasts of the lectures that are held at the AEI, etc. They have no plans of letting go. They are spawning as we speak. John Yoo, Dick Cheney, Rove, Bolton, Wolfowitz, Perle. The whole grotesque line up - they have no plans to retire. They are just biting time.

And they have never been properly outed for their crimes and damage that they have done to the world and to America. They have come back like a bad smell, and they, their spawns, will come back to haunt us again and bring us real misery the next time. Until they are outed for the fraud that they are, and the true damage that they’ve caused we shall always be on that edge in front of them,  turkeys on a Wednesday, not knowing it, living and dying like fools for their hot summer night dreams to the soundtrack of James Bond they have playing in their heads.

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By radson, March 19, 2009 at 3:56 pm Link to this comment

Hello Sepharad

I do not know whether you chose your pen name with regards to the influx of the Arabs in Spain during the time ,or whether your family originated from Spain from a Jewish background,but I would believe

that the the latter would be more accurate .The present discussions that are taking place amongst the Truthdiggers is very interesting ,to say the least, and sometimes leads to a quarrel,but nevertheless

the diggers are rather reasonable overall.The present geopolitical struggles that are taking place unfortunately to not reflect the masses or their needs for that matter ,it is a shame for all citizens that wish to

make it otherwise that the few misrepresent the many.Personally I don’t have anything against the Israeli people ,I live amongst them everyday ,and most I may add (do not know what is going on with

reference to the Global Stage ) that , I may add is the rule worldwide within all countries .What is becoming more evident is that peaceful propositions are becoming a rarity and spin has taken the upper-hand as far as logic

is concerned. On previous posts i had mentionned that the wealthy magnatic persons (the ones that will hopefully not lead the nations ) were more interested and inclined ,probably through the educational institutions and their peers

to learn more about how the Tyrants failed instead of being taught how a reasonable coexestence could be achieved.Which brings all of us today closer to the Cliff and uncertainty is looming on the

horizon.Somehow there is still hope ,but people of all nationalities and cultures must voice their unadultered opinions in unison

Pour votre consideration

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By Ed Harges, March 19, 2009 at 2:45 pm Link to this comment

Sepharad writes:

“One bright spot: as President, Obama has the bully pulpit and everything he says HAS to be covered by the media.”

Well, Sepharad, but what does he dare say? He groveled, absolutely groveled to AIPAC to get elected, he’s assigned Dennis Ross, for god’s sake, to the Iran desk, he’s made speeches playing up and even falsifying the Iran “threat” to please the Israel lobby, he’s taken Rahm Emanuel as his right-hand man, and yet, after all that, the Israel lobby (including “liberal” Democratic Jews like Schumer) wouldn’t let him give even one dissenter like Charles Freeman an important post. The Israel lobby will not stand for anything but 100% conformity.

Look, the Israel lobby loves you. You’re Jewish. But to the rest of us, Israel and its lobby are just plain damn scary.

I’m sorry to be blunt, but you need to consider what it looks to those of us not blinded by an absurd conviction of Israel’s gentleness and moral superiority.

What it looks like to me, and probably to Obama, is this: if Obama were to break clearly and decisively with Israel lobby orthodoxy, THEY WOULD SHOOT HIM DEAD.

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By Ed Harges, March 19, 2009 at 2:27 pm Link to this comment

Seph, quick answer to your query: it’s called Megaphone, and here’s a wikipedia article about it. I really can’t believe you’ve never heard of it.

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By Sepharad, March 19, 2009 at 10:49 am Link to this comment

Ed, sorry you feel that way. True, many Jews distance themselves from Israel, some out of conviction, others because they are afraid of any kind of social censure or differentness based on lessons of history. It’s good that human rights groups operate in Israel even when they sometimes get wrong information, because war is what it is, soldiers need to know that stepping over the line brings major consequences. There’s much more I could say but the topic here is of surpassing importance. (If you want to know what Zionists talk about among themselves, look for a website called thezword. Re conflicting information out of Gaza or Israel see Honest Reporting.) On the recent shooting of traffic officers in West Bank, I got my info from an initial short report in the NYTimes, not the last word on it. I never “pass on lies”—but do interpret things differently than anti-Israel people, almost always based on more history and more sources of input than others. I care about the truth: can’t change anything you don’t understand.

By the way, what is the Media Microphone? This site and Honest Reporting and MeretzUSA are where I find related sites, but that name hasn’t come up.

Mirror is right: the Israel Lobby does NOT represent Israel and in the long run does Israel more harm than good.

Re neocons, the Iraq fiasco has weakened any case they try to make for the missile shield and for attacking Iran, but these issues are too important to assume weakness means ineffectual. Need to counter arguments even as they’re making them: there are more missing weapons caches than the Russian suitcase nukes laying around, there are too many people willing to sell anything to anyone not to mention A.Q. Khan, whose unplumbed psyche and those of his clients we can only guess at, and the missile shield is neither economically nor technically viable and would just upset the Russians so who needs it? Obama is smart enough to know that; hope Mirror is right that O’s waiting for the right time to pull the plug. Hard to believe Obama would want to further damage this country and maybe set off a war nobody can stop. Reread Inherit’s March 12 post on the Russians. He knows more than most of us about their history, ways of dealing with the rest of the world.

Obama’s problem will be selling the public his decision to pull out. Money talks everywhere, and AEI can muster almost limitless economic support as well as monies from Boeing, Bechtel et al plus plenty of intellectual support from the well-endowed Hoover Institute at Stanford University, so getting information out that makes a sufficiently strong impression will be VERY difficult.

One bright spot: as President, Obama has the bully pulpit and everything he says HAS to be covered by the media. He might not get the blessings of the “news analysis” people but his words will be reported in the news columns. To maintain any facade of fairness, the larger outlets MUST give an opposing column or moderated arguments with both sides represented.

We can write letters to editors till hell freezes over and if the editorial page editors don’t want to print them they won’t. The most useful thing progressives can do is tell the Obama people (with their better-than-average media contacts) exactly what case must be made—Mirror’s and Inherit’s comments are the most to-the-point, bringing the elements together in a way that most people would relate to especially if someone like Carville explains each point then connects the dots. People might be very receptive just now: jobs disappearing in this economy en route to a depression do not make Americans eager for another super-expensive war that might also bring a nuclear winter. Much rides on how quickly Obama decides and how well he makes his case to the people.

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By Ed Harges, March 19, 2009 at 7:09 am Link to this comment

Sepharad writes:

“A lot of Israelis I know are afraid of a nuclear-armed Iran, but are more afraid when some military guy starts talking about needing to attack Iran, especially with a rightwing government set to take over.”

Well, Sepharad, of course we all know that. You know, we all use a sort of shorthand when speaking of the actions of governments. We say, “the US does X”, “Germany does Y”, or “Israel does Z”. We don’t mean every single German, every single American, or every single Israeli (or even every single Israeli Jew) does whatever.

But you know what? It’s very clear that those wise Israelis (or wise non-Israeli Zionists) are not in charge. They are not in charge of Israel, and they are not in charge of Israel’s immensely powerful lobby and loyal media barons in the US. Furthermore, even many liberal Jews indirectly serve these right-wing policies, because they look the other way, refuse to believe what Israel is doing even when presented with the evidence, and believe it’s “good for Israel” to attack people who point out what Israel is doing by labeling them as anti-Semites.

Many American Jews approach the non-Jewish world with a tribal, keep-it-all-in-the-family, circle-the-wagons, pre-emptive-attack prickliness, which PROTECTS AND ASSISTS the very policies of which they, as liberals, supposedly disapprove. And they accept and pass on as fact much of the lying propaganda and specious reasoning used to justify those policies. And that includes you.

For example, you have passed on lies about Israel’s Gaza pullout, laughably ignoring the fact that Israel’s “generous” pullout was about as benign as a jailer’s deciding to move out of a prisoner’s cell, the better to enforce the incarceration from the outside; you have lied and misreasoned about the Palestinians’ culpability for the failure of the 2000-2001 Camp David talks; and you have falsely tried to minimize the power of Israel to shape US foreign policy and intelligence.

These “good Israelis” or “good Zionists” are often very actively part of the problem, part of the whole apparatus that aids and abets the “bad Zionists” like Lieberman. And it makes little difference that some of these “good Zionists” don’t seem to understand that. I’m not saying you yourself don’t understand it. Frankly, it’s hard to figure out whether you’re in earnest, sometimes, considering some of the jaw-dropping stuff you claim to believe, and considering the fact that we know that Israel systematically deploys people on the internet to promote its propaganda/hasbara (as in the Media Megaphone system).

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By Sepharad, March 18, 2009 at 11:52 pm Link to this comment

Mirror—Right on 100%. Every single thing you said. If everyone understood how the right-right Likudniks and American neocons do and do NOT think, it would be—I almost wrote “far” but that’s not so—just SLIGHTLY easier to deal with. (Everyone from Ariel Sharon to my party of preference, the Meretz, has tried to “out” them in Israel and abroad. So Sharon ends up in a mysterious coma and Meretz with only three seats in the Knesset.)

It has always surprised me how non-intellectual these guys are, how visibly greedy, how apparently tight they are with not just the military but also Boeings, TRW and the rest, how bloody dangerous our situation is today with, as you said, missing nuclear suitcases, Dr. Khan’s possibilities and a looming arms race and yet it’s NOT on the front pages, and not really even on any worldwide media radar. In my checkered past I’ve been a rights activist, five years as an FoI advocate and later investigative reporter. The primary two things I learned, and learned very, very well: 1) Everything boils down to either money or power or both. That’s it. 2) What is most important most of us not in the know and on the make never even hear about. Why? Government or values-based group censorship? Dramatic and showy, but negligible. What really controls the flow and control of information (and not only in this country) is the money that keeps the information outlets afloat, some of it from open advertisers but most of it from what you might loosely refer to as “Friends of Publisher.” That is why none of these very dangerous things are on anyone’s front page.

I try to keep up with such things but didn’t know that our nuclear systems are “Launch on Warning” status. That truly frightens me, especially considering the high probability of human error or greed. (Admiral Rickover wanted to junk the entire nuclear enterprise after Thresher went down because its sinking was caused by faulty copper wiring that was cheaper than the up-to-government-specs copper wiring.) One of the reasons I subscribe to FAJ is to try to separate what the people who control our lives to such a great extent are thinking from what they want us to think.

So give an ideologue or a group of ideologues enough money and that ideology turns up eventually as conventional wisdom whether it’s war is good or Russia or Iran is bad. A lot of Israelis I know are afraid of a nuclear-armed Iran, but are more afraid when some military guy starts talking about needing to attack Iran, especially with a rightwing government set to take over. They aren’t stupid; they know as well as anyone what violence and chaos could come if some spark sets off any one of those loose cannons rolling around. A couple of friends tell me their main hope these days is the notorious gulf of distrust between far-right Likudniks and pragmatic Mossad, which is not elected but even so has some power, and their only “ideology” is to safe-guard Israel’s actual security, not some politician’s version of what that might be.

Obama is smart, and didn’t fight so hard to be elected to preside over some nuclear conflagration. I think you’re right, that he’ll take the available exit when he thinks he’s established his non-weakness. It’s a pity that to be perceived as strong you have to walk as close to an edge as he is. What do you think our chances of avoiding armageddon are?

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By Mirror, March 18, 2009 at 7:11 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well, Ed, I try my best. Here is what I noticed: Barack Obama said that the missile defense shield should be ‘considered if it is economically and technically viable’. This is very interesting! because he left himself an opening to exit that idiocy just not right away so as not to appear weak. The reality of the missile shield is that it is neither economically nor technically viable. And it is easy to demonstrate both!

i do not believe in conspiracies but i do believe in the horrible dangers of stupidity and greed. Especially when they are armed. Team B, and all the neocon entourage are motivated ideologically AND financially by the military projects. Do not discount that. AEI does not disclose its donors but it is long known that Boeing is one of them. These are the talking heads that shape the political debate. Look at who shows up at all the news programs (same bunch from the AEI and the Heritage). Dick Cheney, a long time member of the AEI head of Halliburton which, frankly, profiteered in the Iraq war (which is why they hastily moved to Dubai a year ago, outside of the US jurisdiction).

I pay attention to that more. It is my observation that the world is a touch and go place, and it is not as organized as we hope it to be. But the idiocies and greed throw us into real misery.

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By Ed Harges, March 18, 2009 at 6:46 pm Link to this comment

By Mirror, March 18 at 1:36 am:

Mirror, have you not comprehended the basics of this matter? You tell me that Russia doesn’t have leverage with Iran. I didn’t claim any Russian leverage with Iran. What I did say is that (as we know from Obama’s letter to the Iranians) the US has offered to cancel its plans for more missiles in East Europe if only Iran will cooperate in supporting US/Israeli belligerency toward Iran.

The fact that the US is willing to call off the missile plan in exchange for Russian cooperation in Iran is proof that the missile plan is not something primarily for the benefit of the military industry. If that were the case - if Obama just wanted to benefit the arms industry by building a big expensive thing - then Obama would not be offering to cancel it.

But no: Obama is perfectly willing to disappoint the arms industrialists and cancel the project.

And what is the price? Russia has to agree to get on board with the anti-Iran policy, which is transparently a prelude to war against Iran.

And whose benefit is that policy for?

Israel, and only Israel.

You also say that Israel’s leverage over the US is reduced. Reduced from what? From 110% control to 100% control? Are you aware of what Israel just did to Charles Freeman? Do you have any idea what that shows?

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By Mirror, March 18, 2009 at 6:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sepharad, you have a very good point here. The Foreign Affairs journal (FAJ) is very much a propos. Team B, the AEI, the Israel Lobby (which does not represent Israel,  but, in fact, the right-right wing of the Likud party), as well as the FAJ have overlapping interests, agendas and people. Indeed. But the thing is ... as much as they claim to be ‘intellectuals’, they are ideologues; hence critical thought is on hold with them. That is why they are stuck in the Cold War - they need ‘the moral clarity’ which the contemporary post Cold War multi polar world does not provide. The problem is not how good their conspiracy is. The problem is that they are, frankly, not that bright but they are still in power or close to it (more or less). Twenty years after the Berlin Wall fell all US nuclear systems are STILL on LOW (Launch on Warning). Russians are missing a dozen nuclear suitcase bombs from the chaos of the beginning of the 1990s. AQ Khan talked to who knows whom ... what? ‘missile shield’ will protect from all that?! Congratulations, morons neocons! But the build up of the arms race which the ‘missile shield’ will guarantee, any attack on Iran, will put all these very dangerous loose ends in motion. It would have to. This is the logic of the world. It is not the conspiracy that scares me - but ARMED STUPIDITY!

There is a way to deal with it though.

The frauds have to be outed! The fraud of the shield, the fraud of the neoconservative thought, the danger of it. It must be headline news! it deserves to be. It is so. The frauds that can potentially run the world into the ground must hang in the square of the public opinion.

Barring that we shall pay. Pay with our money and our lives. And although it is not new, it is still bitter.

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By Sepharad, March 18, 2009 at 5:45 pm Link to this comment

Sorry Mirror—you’re right; the usual suspects including myself got way off topic. Actually I think Inherit’s March 12 post summarized the most important points re dealing with Russia.

Also, reading the article “The Rise of U.S. Nuclear Primacy” in March/April ‘06 issue of Foreign Affairs as suggested by Claus-Erik Hamle, written by Kier Leiber and Daryl Press—the whole article, not just the short bits excerpted by wadosy—is helpful.

And you’re right that the Israel Lobby doesn’t have the massive influence supposed by some here, but it overstepped itself getting Freeman knocked out of a position where he probably would have served both country’s interests well. (John Mearsheimer just refused to debate David Harris, executive director of American Jewish Congress, on a CBS tv forum. I for one would have been interested, as AJC is not part of the Lobby but representative of the mainstream American Jews and has criticized Lobby activities [read “interference”] from time to time, so that debate would have been interesting.

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By Mirror, March 17, 2009 at 10:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ed, settle down. You are placing too much value on Russia’s leverage with Iran (which is not that much) and on Israel’s leverage with the United States (which is a lot, but it is not as overwhelming as it was, at least not at this point). Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is a fact and a far - far more dangerous issue than Iran’s potential. Yet the world is living with it. Any build up, this dysfunctional idiotic machine, any attacks on imaginary or real nuclear plants in Iran will have horrific consequences. Far worse than the last Iraq war. This WILL guarantee the revolutionary guard take over of the gvt in Iran AND a nuclear bomb AND a very angry country.

Here is what puzzles me: Why doesn’t the press in the US or in Europe expose the fraud of the structure? Every physicist i know knows it’s a failure. It is public knowledge for the interested but not a headline news. How is that possible? The United States has been planning a new arms race, a colossal expense, playing hardball with Russia using ... nothing. How is THAT not news?

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By Ed Harges, March 17, 2009 at 7:47 pm Link to this comment

re: By Mirror, March 17 at 5:53 pm:

Mirror writes: []i]“If Russia calls its bluff, then the US has to build a structure which is dysfunctional and which it cannot afford.”

Yes, isn’t that interesting? The US will not build this ruinously expensive and useless thing if and only if Russia will agree to join us in aggression against Iran.

And what is the one and only reason we want Russia to do this? Because Israel wants Russia to do this. Think about this immense, useless expense that the US is about to undergo, all simply in order to antagonize Russia for failing to obey Israel’s dictates, conveyed indirectly through the US government.

Look, Mirror: this is not for the military industrialists. If it were for them, we’d build it anyway, regardless of Russian cooperation on Iran. We are perfectly willing to disappoint the military industrialists by not building this thing - if Russia does what Israel wants.

So you see, it’s not the military industrialists who call the shots: it’s Israel.

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By Mirror, March 17, 2009 at 2:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ed, ITW, Sepharad, you went off the subject and steered away from the really key issue: America is trying to do an impossible thing. If Russia calls its bluff, then the US has to build a structure which is dysfunctional and which it cannot afford. Pentagon will have to admit that it is knowingly building a military infrastructure and starting a new arms race with an complete flop of a ‘missile shield’. The gvt will have to then explain to its people that it has used their money ... for what?

This is key. US is claiming that the structure is a ‘defense’ shield yet it does not work for that purpose of defense, then what is it? A fraud to fatten Pentagon contractors, a bluff, a cover for another military structure? What is it? Whatever it is, we must know it because it is much too serious a matter to leave it to Team B.

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By Ed Harges, March 17, 2009 at 11:00 am Link to this comment

re: By Louise, March 16 at 3:53 pm #

Louise writes:

“I’m more inclined to believe the missiles are there to feed the mad ego of a Bush who thought he knew what he was doing!”

Louise, why would Obama threaten to add missiles in Europe in order to feed Bush’s ego?

It doesn’t matter what role Bush’s ego may have played in placing missiles there or keeping them there in the past. At present, the missiles (and especially the threat of adding more) are now being used as leverage to pressure Russia to go along with the US/Israeli campaign against Iran. And that campaign, in US politics, is being waged in the interests of the Israeli state, and FOR NO OTHER PURPOSE OR CONSTITUENCY.

It’s clear that the threat to add more missiles is not even meant to thwart potential future Russian aggression, or Obama would not be offering to drop the missile plan if only Russia would help clear the way to war against Iran.

If course, in making this offer, Obama has to make the laughable claim, ridiculed even by Israel devotee Barney Frank, that the missiles are intended to protect the Czech republic from an attack by Iran!

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By Sepharad, March 17, 2009 at 10:42 am Link to this comment

Louise, your post of March 16 more than adequately answers Ed Harges’ whimsical interpretations of March 15 on the reasons for missile placement.

Re Iran tourism: After reading your response, I talked with some Iranian friends of mine (a few survivors of the ‘79 revolution; got rid of SHah but didn’t like the mullahs much) as well as people unhappy with repressive environment for women. Most said I could probably even leave on my Star of David in most urban areas, but that my passport with its Israeli stamps might be a problem and—given the passport—a camera could be seen as a problem. Maybe I should get a new passport.

At present the oly Farsi I know is by-rote poetry (which I learned at their all-night bonfires with poetry in Persian solstice celebrations over the years). How well do I need to know Farsi to travel in Iran if and when I can afford to? Again, my Iranian friends said Iran is like Israel in that many people speak English and those who don’t can usually speak a bit of French or Arabic (my French is good; Arabic terribly limited but can sputter by with help from French). As much as I want to know different languages it’s hard for me to master them. Read somewhere it is a right/left brain issue. So would it be worth visiting Iran without decent Farsi? Or should I spend a couple years trying to get the language down pat? It will take two or three years anyway to save up enough to actually go there anyhow, even if we’re lucky. (My main interest is Persian history and places, though I’d also like to get a feel for the educated Iranians in Tehran.)

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By Inherit The Wind, March 17, 2009 at 10:05 am Link to this comment

Folktruther, March 16 at 11:07 pm #

Ed Harges is quite right.  The zionism of Sepharad, Inherit and the rest ARE the presuppositions of religious-political ideology. The Western Christian tradition is the only large tradition that separates religious from political ideology.  All other large religious ideologies have explicit political implications, or are frankly merged.

Well, FT, you ridiculous arrogant ignoramus, you’ve done it again—begun an argument based on a premise that is patently and DEMONSTRABLY wrong…you better learn Greek because you sure ain’t understanding what Clio is whispering in your ear!

Christianity in Europe has ALWAYS been political, from the time of the Council of Nicea (mid 300’s) to the present day.  Bishops functioned as barons, complete with military units, and the Church continually battled with kings over who had authority.  Whether it was Henry II dueling with the Pope and Thomas a Becket for who named bishops, to Henry VIII’s break with Rome, to Mussolini’s deal with the Pope to make the Vatican a separate country, to John Paul’s interference with the liberal priests in South America, to the current pressure to outlaw all abortions in the USA, the Christian churches, particularly the Catholic Church have always been politically involved.

The battle for political control, even the framing up a forgery called Constantine’s Testament to try to “prove” that the Holy Roman Empire should be ruled by the Pope as the Emperor, and not a separate individual was political. 

This attempt at control of the HRE started with Constantine, to Justinian, to Charlemagne, to the Ottos, to the Kaisers (Caesar is pronounced Kye-ser in Latin) in Austria and Germany, to Napoleon, to the Czars (C-Zar—Caesar) in Russia.

As usual, FT, you aren’t just wrong, or wronger, but are the wrongest!  (Sorry K.O.)

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By lester333, March 17, 2009 at 9:11 am Link to this comment

Problem is with all this discussion, everybody has staked out a defense while the higher up muckity mucks are laughing their tails off.  The leaders of ALL countries have their own bank accounts brimming with the root of all evil.  When are you guys going to join the anarchist movement and do away with ALL leaders and put things on a local level where we can all just eliminate each other.  The human race is a farce.

By the way, the pink-panted secretary of the navy is a dingleberry for remarks that show his ignorance.

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By Sepharad, March 16, 2009 at 8:32 pm Link to this comment

Well, Ed (and FT), it’s hard to explain to you the difference between traditions and religion. There are some religious Zionists but I’ve never met or cooperated with any of them because there is a complete break between a religious belief and all that flows from that and everything else that does not. Religious people have different motives than other people. Why is that so hard for you to grasp? Humanistic Jews is a group that actually removes the word “God” and anything pertaining to that concept from the Hebrew celebrations and you would be surprised how simple that is. In the U.S., lots of people celebrate Christmas who don’t really believe that a virgin gave birth as a result of a visit from a god, the son grew up to be a fine rabbi and then was crucified by the Romans, was dead, and subsequently leaped up and in front of amazed people floated up to heaven. There are all kinds of reasons for observing Christmas even if you don’t believe all that hooey. Jesus was a good man who seriously attempted to inspire a kinder gentler world, and if nothing other than that his birth is cause for a little celebrating. To fit in with the human penchant for traditions, the church decided that it would be convenient if this birth occurred after tax collecting time but close to the same time as the Roman Saturnalia celebrations, and the Romans set their celebrations so that all the conquered pagans would be happier celebrating around the same time they were used to hanging people on trees and celebrating the solstice. Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” is a celebration of the spirit of Christmas, just as the story of Haman and Esther and the Persian king is retold with dances and games and masquerades for children and adults alike. Good triumphs over evil.

Tradition is one thing and religion is something else. Folktruther, was it you or Ed who once recently described the IDF ritual atop Masada as a statement of some sort of suicidal attempt or acceptance (as the Zealots and their families killed themselves rather than be enslaved or crucified, as the fate of those who resisted the fall of Jerusalem had been. In fact, the IDF ceremony is accompanied by a flaming sign which says “Masada will never fall again,” and the soldiers are reminded that the idea is to live to fight another day. (The suicide thing is however very big with Moslems and has something to do with it’s being an express conduit to paradise.)

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By Folktruther, March 16, 2009 at 8:07 pm Link to this comment

Ed Harges is quite right.  The zionism of Sepharad, Inherit and the rest ARE the presuppositions of religious-political ideology. The Western Christian tradition is the only large tradition that separates religious from political ideology.  All other large religious ideologies have explicit political implications, or are frankly merged.

As does the Jewish tradition.  The power of the Divine God is mirrored in the earthly power of the Jewish people, now focused in the Zionist power structure.  the Jewish Bible, one of the most boring, loony and barbaric books ever compiled, merges the two traditions. 

I am ashamed to say I never read it all the way through.  the Christian bible was much better, you could whiz through it in a couple of hours, especially as it was so repetitive.  But the constant refrain: god is great, god is really great, god is great INDEED.  And you, you religious wretch, you are miserable worm.

I never paid much attention to it or to Israel or the Jewish tradition for most of my life because it never occurred to me that anyone could take it seriously.  Wrong yet again.  Hard to believe.

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By Inherit The Wind, March 16, 2009 at 2:01 pm Link to this comment

Oops!  Harges proved me wrong again!  He IS funny!  Where does he come up with this comedy?  He’s now taken on FT’s mind-reading act! 
Go Harges! Go Harges! Go Harges!

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By Ed Harges, March 16, 2009 at 1:53 pm Link to this comment

Sepharad writes:

“FT - Inherit & I don’t follow “AIPAC’s religious line” partly because we’re both agnostic/secular…”

Sepharad, dear, of course we all know that there are many Zionists who consider themselves “non-religious” persons or even atheists.

But you know what? Scratch the surface of a “non-religious” Zionist, and you will find a fantastic belief structure that looks an awful lot like a religion. But in this religion-ish belief structure, there is no God guiding the Jews. In the Zionists’ quasi-religion, Jews set themselves up, or their tribe, as a God. They worship themselves.

They are so gravely reverent of themselves, it is a marvelously virtuous thing to behold.

And this God is propped up by a whole lot of mythology that must never ever be questioned. It sure looks a lot like a religion to the rest of us, sweetheart. And insofar as it resembles the old Jewish religion properly speaking, it sure as hell looks like you kept the “Chosen People” part.

So pardon us if we slip every now and then and call it a religion.

It’s just that there aren’t that many things in this world that quack and aren’t ducks, so we get confused. Whatever would we do without your ubiquitous propaganda to guide us?

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By Inherit The Wind, March 16, 2009 at 1:44 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther, March 16 at 3:04 pm #

Radson- you’re easily amused.  I can understand you laughing at Inherit, of course, But what is funny about Ed Harges.  Still, if you laugh at my jokes you can’t be all bad.

Not much is funny about Ed Harges.  On that we agree.

The problem you have, FT, is that you post lots of hilariously funny jokes all the time….but you think they are facts and valid analyses!

Still, at least in the midst of your incoherent rants it’s clear you still have some fun posting—and that I can appreciate.

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By Louise, March 16, 2009 at 12:53 pm Link to this comment

Ed Harges, March 15 at 2:50 pm

“The missiles are there to punish Russia for not obeying Israel by agreeing to treat Iran as an enemy.”


I’m more inclined to believe the missiles are there to feed the mad ego of a Bush who thought he knew what he was doing! And to make more revenue for corporate dudes who build missiles.

Or maybe just because we have more missiles than we know what to do with! smile

And even though I know a lot will disagree, I think Obama knows that! Bush ego, revenue and more than we know what to do with, I mean.

What a great bargaining chip. Get rid of something he probably wants to get rid of anyway. But do it in such a way as to make the dunderheads on the right believe we get something of value in exchange. Like a (non existent) threat from Iran eliminated.  Now Russia made it very clear they could see through this bit of humor. But who’s to say the dunderheads on the right didn’t buy into it?

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By Sepharad, March 16, 2009 at 12:30 pm Link to this comment

Ed, Folk & likemindeds,

FT - Inherit & I don’t follow “AIPAC’s religious line” partly because we’re both agnostic/secular and partly because we are not Likud Zionists. Inherit is not a Zionist at all, and I am a Meretz-style Zionist (farther left than any but the non-suicidal-anti-war-at-any-cost, and incorporating Peace Now founders whom FT does not recognize as legitimate peace-seekers but who in fact are).

Given Israel’s election results I thought Freeman was a smart choice (though he sees world through Saudi eyes) to perhaps slap down Netanyahu’s worst ideas. Other than that, he still reacts like Ziggy as a Cold Warrior and is also a stone Arabist, which might qualify him as a good Saudi ambassador, but hardly someone you’d want in NCI. 

The only reason I can think of that the U.S. should not support Israel to the max is that following their peace treaty with Anwar Sadat, Israel, as agreed, several years-of-quiet later, returned all of the Sinai—INCLUDING ITS OIL FIELDS WHICH THE ISRAELIS DEVELOPED BETWEEN ‘67 and ‘87. The U.S. could use those oil fields now, at least until we wean ourselves off the poisonous stuff, but those damned Israelis behaved honorably as the Egyptians were no longer seeking to drive them into the sea. How could they have been so treacherous to our best interests? (Israel did try to give Egypt all of the inhabitants of Rafah, half in Egypt and half in Gaza which was largely Egyptian-controlled, but the Egypts didn’t want to “own” any part of Gaza. Tant pis.)

Our #1 problem in the MidEast is needing its oil. If we hadn’t sucked up to the Saudis by rescuing Kuwait from Saddam, Osama bin Laden (who’d made the same offer to the Saudis) would not have been so pissed off at us, there might never have been a 9/11 and we might never have invaded Iraq a second time.

Our other historic mistake also based on oil was helping the Afghanis kick the Russians out. In the process we trained not only bin Laden but most of his soldiers and also the woman-hating Taliban. AND alienated the Russians. Judging from how they’ve handled the Chechens, they might eventually have conquered Afghanistan if we’d not jumped in to help. Though a Russian-controlled Afghanistan might not have been 100% desirable, it wouldn’t now be under siege by the Taliban fanatics. And our soldiers woulnd’t be fighting and dying there. The Russians might not be in love with us but they would not harbored the 9/11 planners (had there been any to harbor without our rescue of Kuwait). Not only that, without 9/11 our “war” president almost certainly would not have been reelected a second time.

Israel per capita is probably doing more “green” fuel research than anywhere else, doing both themselves and us a favor.

FT, let me further confuse you. If Zionists had not been able to smuggle Holocaust refugees into Palestine before and during WWII, though many were on hold in ships that sank and in Brit concentration camps because with the exception of the Dominican Republic, which agreed along with a few other countries to take a few thousand Jews (the Australian pm at the time said there was no anti-Semitism in Australia but it might become a problem if they took in any refugees; even the U.S. would only accept a handful of noted artist, writers, intellectuals etc. and those only because of the persistence of one Varian Fry), the other half-million souls would have been trapped in Europe and Hitler’s total would have been six and a half-million dead Jews, instead of only six million. Also of interest to you: that half-million who eventually got into the Palestine Mandate territory were far outnumbered by the 900,000 Jews driven out of Arab lands and into Israel during and after the ‘48 war.  Being such a good friend of Clio, I thought you’d enjoy an extra historical tidbit.

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By Folktruther, March 16, 2009 at 12:04 pm Link to this comment

Radson- you’re easily amused.  I can understand you laughing at Inherit, of course, But what is funny about Ed Harges.  Still, if you laugh at my jokes you can’t be all bad.

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By prosefights, March 15, 2009 at 5:24 pm Link to this comment

“We are ready to go after the money from NCUA.

Does anyone doubt this?

Mamoud, not Mamound.

Dr Nejad is likely to understand. We all make mistakes.

We speculate that Dr Nejad and his buddies are reading.”

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By radson, March 15, 2009 at 4:36 pm Link to this comment

To FT, EH and ITW

Gentlemen i haven’t laughed this much in a long time ,if you keep this up you’ll be recieving an invitation to the Late Show. FT have an other shot of Vodka afterall that is what Zbig drinks,and ITW check the Barometer in your area it must be windy as hell and EH your not insane ok ,just a little to fired up.


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By prosefights, March 15, 2009 at 4:18 pm Link to this comment

THOMAS C. REED Secretary of the Air Force from Jan. 2, 1976 to April 5, 1977

called Dr Mamound Ahmadi Nejad a “cuckooberry” on Tuesday February 3, 2009.

If you don’t believe this, then LISTEN

Mr Reed wore pink corduroy pants at the time he made this statement.

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By Ed Harges, March 15, 2009 at 3:27 pm Link to this comment

re: By Inherit The Wind, March 15 at 5:59 pm:

I am not impressed by your invoking the prevailing sense of “normalcy” to paint me as insane.

It used to be “normal” in much of America to believe that black people should not be allowed to marry white people. “Everybody” could see that the very idea was icky.

Similarly, “everybody” can see that a US foreign policy devoted without question to Israel’s interests is “normal”.

But this “normalcy” too shall pass.

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By Inherit The Wind, March 15, 2009 at 2:59 pm Link to this comment


Get help before you blow a gasket. 

NOBODY wants the Russians as enemies, nobody. One would have be as insane as you are to want that.

Why explain the obvious to a raving person?

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By Ed Harges, March 15, 2009 at 1:03 pm Link to this comment


I’m perfectly aware that Zbig’s motivations are obsessively anti-Russian and not pro-Israel. But Zbig is only allowed to APPEAR to have influence when his anti-Russia policy prescriptions happen to be exactly what Israel wants. In the present matter, Zbig’s role is like that of a man commanding the sun to come up in the morning.

On the other hand, look at what happened during the presidential campaign: because Zbig is sometimes critical of the US’s slavish support for Israel, Obama was forced to dismiss and disavow him.

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By Folktruther, March 15, 2009 at 12:45 pm Link to this comment

Ed Harges—don’t get excited by Inherit.  Anyone who opposes Zionism and the Israeli Lobby or tries to raise Iherit’s taxes hates all Jews.  It is the Aipac religous line which Inherit, Sepharad and the other Israel Firsters accept on its naked absurity.
The American people are beginning to see through it.

Israel has plans to peddle the oil of the pipline going through Geogia to Turkey to Europe, so it is an economic competitor of Russia,who now supplies Europe. And Russia broke up to some extent the Zionist gangsters that got control of Russia oil.  Indeed, put a Zionist oil billionaire in jail, the ultimate crime.

But all policy is overdetermined and while Israel is extremely influential in making US policy, there are other factors as well.  US geostrategic interests are not completely crouded out by Zionism.  The interests of American imperialism compete with those of Israeli imperialism.  To the detrement of the American and Israeli people and the people of the world.  Analysts like Zbig coordinate them both.

Zbig’s last book, which is a discourse with a Gop security adviser, indicates that as a transplanted Pole, he hates the Russians more than he loves the Jews.

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By Ed Harges, March 15, 2009 at 11:50 am Link to this comment

Obama’s recent letter to the Russians virtually admits that it’s all about Iran, and therefore all about Israel’s desire to compel the world to take a belligerent approach to Iran, as a means of forcing the US and its allies into a war against Iran.

Obama’s letter to Russia implied that we can cut a deal with Russia: help our anti-Iran campaign (something that benefits nobody but Israel), and we’ll stop pretending that we need to plant more missiles in Eastern Europe.


Well, honey, it didn’t work. The Russians said, rightly, that there’s no logical connection between the two issues, because Iran is not a threat to Eastern Europe, as the US government ludicrously pretends to believe. And it’s equally clear that the missiles are not there to protect Eastern Europe from Russia, or Obama would not offer to forego the missiles in exchange for cooperation against Iran.

The missiles are there to punish Russia for not obeying Israel by agreeing to treat Iran as an enemy.

And now Obama has exposed his Israel-centric Russia policy for what it is: a campaign to demonize Russia, because the Russians refuse to help the US demonize and eventually attack Iran - a campaign that is totally for Israel’s self-perceived interests AND NO ONE ELSE’S.

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By radson, March 15, 2009 at 9:55 am Link to this comment


and to who ever else is interested

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By Ed Harges, March 15, 2009 at 9:02 am Link to this comment

re: By Inherit The Wind, March 15 at 11:27 am:

Inherit the Wind is dedicated to maintaining the fiction that Israel doesn’t control US foreign policy, and recently he’s had some invaluable help from this “progressive” Truthdig website.

Truthdig totally ignored the Israel lobby’s successful campaign to undo the appointment of Charles Freeman; therefore, that fresh demonstration of Israel’s dictatorial power over US foreign policy is officially invisible here.

That omission makes it so much easier for Inherit the Wind to exclaim that what I’m saying is outlandish.

ITW, you may have inherited the wind, but you will reap the whirlwind one day perhaps not long in the future, when the anti-Semitism which you so deeply want and need to see everywhere finally becomes real, as America explosively vomits up the crap you have been making us eat since 1967. Your perverse need to be hated will finally be satisfied.

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By Inherit The Wind, March 15, 2009 at 8:27 am Link to this comment

Ed Harges, March 15 at 11:07 am #

Re: By Inherit The Wind, March 15 at 10:17 am:

ITW of course is psychologically incapable of absorbing the fact, made freshly obvious by the Israel lobby’s successful holy war against Charles Freeman, that Israel’s jihad against Iran is the overriding reason for the US’s recent spasm of antagonism against Russia. And ITW, of course, fully supports Israel’s lies about the “threat” from Iran.

Israel is effectively an enemy of the United States, and “liberal” Zionist fanatics like ITW are full participants in Israel’s destructive control of US foreign policy, making sure that no matter whether the Democrats or the Republicans are in charge, US military and foreign policy remains obedient to that vicious little Holy State.

Get help now, while you still have time!
I don’t see Iran as a threat, I simply see it needs to be EVALUATED and anticipated.

You can’t blame Israel for Botch’s stupid handling of putting bases in Poland over Russia’s objections.  Doesn’t fly. Russia OFFERED TO HELP.  That puts the lie to your assertion.

Israel’s destructive control of US Foreign Policy? Are you nuckin’ futz???? This is straight out of the radical Islamic and white-supremacist web sites that see Jews as having demonic powers to control others.  Israel is our enemy? That would be a BIG surprise to President Obama, the executive branch, the Congress and the military.

I’m sorry you hate Jews so much.  You need help, badly.

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By Ed Harges, March 15, 2009 at 8:07 am Link to this comment

Re: By Inherit The Wind, March 15 at 10:17 am:

ITW of course is psychologically incapable of absorbing the fact, made freshly obvious by the Israel lobby’s successful holy war against Charles Freeman, that Israel’s jihad against Iran is the overriding reason for the US’s recent spasm of antagonism against Russia. And ITW, of course, fully supports Israel’s lies about the “threat” from Iran.

Israel is effectively an enemy of the United States, and “liberal” Zionist fanatics like ITW are full participants in Israel’s destructive control of US foreign policy, making sure that no matter whether the Democrats or the Republicans are in charge, US military and foreign policy remains obedient to that vicious little Holy State.

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By Inherit The Wind, March 15, 2009 at 7:17 am Link to this comment


You are so close!  Of course Harges and Folktruther are SO far off base, as usual, but their minds are so locked into tunnel vision and fantasy premises they see nothing.

But Russia has NO problem with a cooperative effort. They actually OFFERED the Botch admin a JOINTLY run op to off-set any possible threat by Iran.  Naturally the Dumbya neo-com-poops rejected wanted to be gun-slingers, like a Clint Eastwood character.

See, Russia’s For-Pol has ALWAYS been paranoid—not unjustified, either—since the Tsars.  The WORST thing you can do is put milit installations near them, UNLESS THEY ARE INVOLVED!  And why not?  We cooperate with them in many ways, even in space.

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By Ed Harges, March 15, 2009 at 6:32 am Link to this comment

Folktruther writes: ” It was championed by Zbig Bryrzinski who built his whole career on anti-russian policy. “

But this is a fluke, Folktruther. Zbig and friends are not at all in charge. There has only been by chance a superficial convergence between Zbig’s brand of obsessively anti-Russia “realpolitik” and the objectives of the pro-Israel crowd who actually do run our foreign policy.

You see, the Israel-first people currently hate Russia because they want a war against Iran, and Russia is not cooperating; in fact Russia is being helpful to Iran. That is the one and only effective reason that the US is now on a collision course with Russia. It has nothing whatsoever to do with Zbig. Obama was forced by the Israel lobby to dismiss and repudiate Zbig during the campaign, because Zbig has occasionally been guilty of criticizing the US’s self-destructive enthrallment to Israel.

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By Folktruther, March 15, 2009 at 1:23 am Link to this comment

One hidden objetive of the anti-mmissle emplacement may well be to keep Europe and Russia apart.  Russia, with its oil, gas and mineral reserves is a natural complement economically for West and Central Europe.  A joint economic and defense program, from the atlantic ot the urals, in de gaulle’s old phrase, would squeeze the US out of europe.

So US harrassment of Russia, dragging along the Euopean power structures, but not the people, is part of its attempt to maintain is declining hegemony over Western and Central Europe.

It is probably the most dangerous policy of American imperialism.  It was championed by Zbig Bryrzinski who built his whole career on anti-russian policy.  He was an old mentor of Obama.

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By prosefights, March 14, 2009 at 7:08 pm Link to this comment

Bombing Iran nuclear electric power generation facilities, or even trying to sabotage them, looks to be a BAD IDEA.


Let’s hope Bibi, US intelligence agencies, and Obama figures this out.

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By Mirror, March 14, 2009 at 6:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Everyone except President Obama seems to have assumed that the ‘anti missile defense shield’ is technically viable. This is simply not true. The technology now in place has failed all tests completely and comprehensively. Then, why would the US insist on building it or, at least as of recently, leave it open? One easy answer: several American corporations would make a killing. Another possibility: it is a bargaining tool to bring the Russians do the US bidding with Iran. Maybe both. Whatever the cynical truth is, one thing is clear - a military structure on Russia’s border is just as agreeable to the Russians as a Russian equivalent would be in Tijuana to the Americans. Anyone interested in this issue has to know that the ‘defense shield’ is a failure as far as its explicit purpose is outlined. It is public information. Kremlin has to ask itself a question if the real task of the structure is offensive or could potentially turn out that way. Any country faced with that kind of a threat has to think it and has to object. Yet the issue is not simply academic or just ‘realpolitik’. It is unimaginable that Russia, or any country for that matter, would agree to cooperate on any security issue if it were faced with a construction of a military structure on its border, especially if its explicit purpose is demonstratively unfulfilled and implicit potential is unknown. The results will be, in my view, dire. Like the Iraq war, the adventure’s consequences will be directly opposite to the original intent. Americans and Russians need each other to cooperate on intelligence, demilitarization (especially of the Middle East), and, most importantly, on tracking down unaccounted nuclear weapons and technology.
The funny truth about Team B and their followers is that they cannot let go of the old Cold War fantasies. Those hot summer night dreams from the Cold War are the very texture of their souls, they are what informs their ambitions and plans. And it would be funny if it weren’t so dangerous and, frankly, idiotic.

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By Ed Harges, March 14, 2009 at 5:04 pm Link to this comment

ScottBittner’s outlandish Israel-generated propaganda fools no one. Who’s your source, “Scott”? AIPAC? Debka?

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By Louise, March 14, 2009 at 2:29 pm Link to this comment


Actually, it is possible to travel in Iran with cameras. The only thing necessary is to follow instructions when bringing them in, so as not to encounter problems when taking them out. Iran is not North Korea! Iran welcomes travel from the citizens (cameras in tow) of the United States!

“TEHRAN (Reuters) Iran gained the upper hand against its old foe the United States in the sporting arena on Thursday, March 12, 2009, winning most medals in a wrestling contest that coincides with talk of a possible thaw in bilateral ties. Six U.S. wrestlers are taking part in the two-day Takhti Cup at Tehran’s Azadi (Freedom) sports complex, together with athletes from Cuba, Iraq, Turkey and other countries.”

Rick Steves (PBS) received the go-ahead to take a film crew to Iran for a 10-day shoot in May, 2008. The show aired in January 2009.

“A friend from the Washington State chapter of the United Nations Association called me six months ago and asked what I could do to help them build understanding between Iran and the US, and to defuse the tension that could be leading to war. I answered, “The only powerful thing I could do would be to produce a TV show on Iran.”

“I remember when the bombs first fell on Baghdad, thinking I’d missed an opportunity to make a travel show that could humanize Baghdad and give “collateral damage” a face. I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to do this for Iran. My government would let me go. The Islamic Republic of Iran actually wanted the publicity. I threw together a proposal for a TV show — no politics, just travel. The working title: Iran: Its People and Culture, Yesterday and Today.”

“In the US (where our current policy is not to talk with enemies), the only way we could communicate with Iran was indirectly, via the Pakistani consulate. (The US has more diplomatic dialogue going with North Korea than with Iran.) In Greece, it was strange to go into a relaxed, almost no-security Iranian embassy…and then walk out with visas.”

“We can all learn more about Iranians, regardless of politics or agenda; I’m bold enough to say it’s practical to know somebody before you bomb.” Rick Steves

Iran actually wants to boost Western tourism. They believe Western media (has) given their society an unfair image. They don’t like Fox News or CNN, but say they’ve had good experiences with PBS.

There is a minder. Or a “local guide” (unless visiting relatives). But, Steves said the policy didn’t seem to be strictly enforced. Female tourists must cover their heads, so take a scarf. Because of the 26-year-old American embargo on Iran, Western credit cards don’t work there. No ATMs for foreigners. A few other no-nos. No alcohol or tobaco. But cameras are OK. And, it’s OK to talk to anyone, if they want to talk to you. Take pictures of anyone, if it’s OK with them, and even attend a prayer service in one of the mosques. Just make sure you get the local customs regarding behaviors between men and women right, first. There are few restrictions on what can be photographed. Just need to ask.

WASHINGTON (Reuters, 5/15/08) - U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates called on Wednesday for more unofficial contacts with Iran, saying this might eventually open a pathway to more substantive dialogue between the governments.

Iranian security forces have confiscated passports of activists trying to leave for international conferences. And in some cases, detained and interrogated activists upon their return to Iran. This is regarding Iranian activists, as well as a duel Iranian-American citizenship journalist and activist. So it’s probably not a good idea to travel there with the intention of staging a protest. Common sense, actually.

But tourism is OK. Even with a camera. smile

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By ScottBittner, March 14, 2009 at 2:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

WMD Chief Investigator Scott Ritters’ initial statement:
“Iraq still has prescribed weapons capability. There needs to be a careful distinction here. Iraq today is challenging the special commission to come up with a weapon and say where is the weapon in Iraq, and yet part of their efforts to conceal their capabilities, I believe, have been to disassemble weapons into various components and to hide these components throughout Iraq.” Approximately one year later he changed his story….for a profit.

Scott Ritter was always doggedly opposed to the military removal of the Iraqi dictator; instead, he advocated the resumption or normalization of US-Iraqi relations - despite the Baaths unequaled record of genocide, foreign aggression, and domestic totalitarianism. Ritter was denied entry on numerous occasions, but failed to file a complaint about the interference of said duties. Months of interference allowed Saddams’ regime time to dismantle and transport weapons elsewhere.  Then again, the American government couldn’t tell the masses that they were watching via satellite now could they?

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By TAO Walker, March 14, 2009 at 2:10 pm Link to this comment


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By Paolo, March 14, 2009 at 7:34 am Link to this comment

As a firm believer in a non-interventionist foreign policy, I am distressed at how easily Obama has continued the policies of the warmongering Bush administration.

Scott Ritter is, as usual, dead-on in his analysis. I have never seen a scintilla of credible evidence showing Iran has ever had any nuclear weapons program (except when our satrap, the Shah, was in power).

The real crying shame of all this bluster over Russia and Iran is that both countries, if given half an opportunity, could become vital trade partners with lots to offer. But neither the Dems nor the Reps will allow it. They feel they have too much to gain by constantly whipping up the hostilities.


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By ScottBittner, March 14, 2009 at 5:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ritter is the reason our country has turned on itself.  He initially stated that Hussein was disassembling arms and was relocating them elsewhere, then accepted a bribe from Husseins’ Tariq Aziz to the tune of $400,000.00.  He sold out America for a profit.  Think about it people.  The Chief WMD inspector tasked with auditing weapons and reporting it to the masses receives money from the Iraqi government one day after resigning his position and publicly condemning the United States.  He now works as a paid activist for World Can’t Wait a spin off of the revolutionary communist party.  Bush may be an insufferable ignoramus who can’t defend his actions, but Ritter is the real demon here.  His actions divided America and allowed our country to be bastardized by the media.

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By Ed Harges, March 13, 2009 at 2:44 pm Link to this comment

re: By Folktruther, March 12 at 1:56 pm:

Yes, FT. And notice that the Chas Freeman matter has been soundly ignored by this “progressive” website.

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By Sepharad, March 13, 2009 at 2:38 pm Link to this comment

I think we need to know more about everything and not necessarily believe everything reported about the content of secret meetings. Amazing leaps of speculation on this thread. Inherit the Wind’s post is probably the one one that is entirely true and, if acted upon, could only help the situation.

Except maybe Louise’s suggestion about making tourism to Iran possible, as much for its Persian past as for whatever its present form is. Just remember to not bring cameras and if you do don’t point them at any building whose functions you’re not sure of. And no political baggage or advocacy background. And no one who helped overthrow the Shah then fled the rule of the mullahs. But there’s no better way for anyone else who can still afford the plane ticket to understand a country’s people than to spend some time in it if you first learn the language and talk to people where you find them, not where you’re directed.

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By Crimes of the State Blog, March 13, 2009 at 12:29 pm Link to this comment

Ten trillion dollars looted in a matter of months, the imminent collapse of the US economy, mandatory compulsory “national security” paramilitary “service” openly demanded… Is it worth 2 hours of your time to investigate these matters critically?

Alex Jones’ new documentary, THE OBAMA DECEPTION, is out, online for free.

Dennis Kucinich is featured, fighting the good fight trying to shut down the Federal (sic) Reserve (sic), which he calls, “No more federal than Federal Express.”

World famous trend analyst Gerald Celente is also featured throughout.  This is MUST SEE material.

Jones tends to be hyperbolic and acerbic.  If, however, even ten percent of what he says is true, we are screwed.

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By bogglesthemind, March 13, 2009 at 12:16 pm Link to this comment

Jeff41, March 13 at 2:23 pm

Then, as now, it was all about transferring massive amounts of American taxpayer dollars to the military industrial complex - which will claim victory over imaginary opponents thus justifying ever more weapons systems etc.

One way, or another, we must give taxpayer money to the Corporatists ... be they Military or Financial.

It is a universal law.

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By Jeff41, March 13, 2009 at 11:23 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The excellent reporter Robert Parry has written extensively about Team B. His work can be found at his website Robert Gates for one was affiliated with this group, which was put together by George HW Bush.
Team B led to the Reagan era arms build-ups and tensions. Understanding that the Soviet “threat” was largely manufactured fractures the Republican narrative of a Cold War “victory” due to Reagan’s “confronting” the Soviets. But pointing such things out is not good politics in America. Then, as now, it was all about transferring massive amounts of American taxpayer dollars to the military industrial complex - which will claim victory over imaginary opponents thus justifying ever more weapons systems etc.

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By moose, March 13, 2009 at 10:17 am Link to this comment

wow scotts has alot of lovers on here..oh okay so i will just bend over and allow another person to tell me about SECRET meetings and just belive that….hmmm just like Bush and his WMD or that Iraq was the cause of 9/11..that is why scott should write for the star…this is junk journalism just to be noticed, period

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By A. Z. Arrow, March 13, 2009 at 10:16 am Link to this comment

>Hillary Clinton tells Russian Defense Minister, “accept our first strike weapons in Poland and Eastern Europe or we will press the ‘reset’ button on the Cold War.”  RDM, Lavrov says the operable Russian word carries the meaning “resurrect”. The threat implicit in Hillary’s cutesy word game analogy and red button gift is both transparent and clear to the Russian government and to the world.

See, Rick Rozoff, “US Continues Military Encirclement Of Russia” at:

>The problem with the Obama administration is that he has filled his Cabinet with too many Hawks and Sharks from the former Clinton administration, and a few Bush holdovers. Thus no one is surprised by the continuing hostility towards Russia, that there is no progress on de-nuclearization of weaponry.  A peaceful policy backed by genuine respect towards Russian as a military superpower— mutually beneficial missile agreements and treaties -– will be stopped because the Clinton’s are as as phony as can be about de-militarizating the world, reducing US nukes, and a mutually beneficial bases for United States foreign policy.

Thus, President Obama must rid himself of subservience to the Israeli lobby and challenge the continuing and growing power of the Clintonoid Old Guard >this as a precondition >before the world, and the American people, can truly say “yes” to “change we can believe in.”

>Barack you can start by dumping Rahm Emmanuel, and then find a way to diplomatically send Hillary back her country house in New York State or to Billy’s Harlem penthouse.

As to the upcoming meeting: Prime Minister Medvedev, a few words of advice:

> Mr. Medvedev, demand the the US and NATO dismantle their FIRST STRIKE Missile System in Poland and Eastern Europe. Don’t give up until they do so.

~A. Z. Arrow
citizen of Vermont

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By bogglesthemind, March 13, 2009 at 9:08 am Link to this comment

moose, March 13 at 8:32 am

“you know scott go write for the national enquirer or the star.”

Hey, is that you Sarah? How you been girl? You still watchin’ them Russkies for us?

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By radson, March 13, 2009 at 8:16 am Link to this comment

A very interesting article,which focuses mainly on the Russian and Iranian aspects of this geopolitical puzzle ,but nevertheless very thoughtfully written. The Russians have Realpolitic reasons

for being involved.Iran being one of them and the Polish question being the other,but let’s not forget the—wild card—China. Polska throughout her history has been left to fend for herself,regardless

of the many treaties and non-aggression pacts that were signed,with the bigger players,whereby the latter always reneged to withhold their obligations that were stipulated in the agreements.In the

end Polska was used as cannon fodder for the benefit of the more powerful nations.I agree that the installation of the missile defense batteries in Poland is a detriment between Russia and western Europe,

promoted by the United States. Radoslaw Sikorski and the Polish Government agreed to the installation of the missiles on Polish soil,but with a clause that requires the stationing of a substantial US

presence to man the equipment. There may be several reasons for the clause,but it’s probably a guarantee that the US would be involved in defending Poland if she were attacked. The Russian , Polish

missile mess is more than likely a US pressure tactic to maintain American influence within the European Union and justify the prominence of a US lead Nato ,that could logically be replaced with

an EDF European Defense Force. The Russians of today are no longer the Soviets of the second world war.They have progressed and have a desire of becoming more involved with the European

Union, which unfortunately the United States views as a threat to American hegemony .The Iranian Revolution which commenced in 1979 with the overthrow of the Shah .or perhaps the American

Vidkun Quesling ,was a bloody affair to say the least. It lasted several decades and culminated with a tragic war between Iraq and Iran ,whereby the Iraqi’s were supported by the US ,and Saddam

Hussein was the so-called Uncle Joe .The Iranian nuclear program is for real and their proposed generation of electricity is viable.Iran has maintained on many occasions that they are pursuing

nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.The US and Zionist demands along with verification by the IAEA is a bargaining chip that the Iranians could easily fulfill to ease the tensions that exist amongst

them ,but only if the Zionist’s and the US unclench their fist.Going back into time analysts may agree that the Neocons missed the boat with regards to"weapons of mass destruction” with reference

to Iraq and not Iran.If the US favors Zionist and AIPAC foreign policy then the world better brace themselves for an international crises that could degenerate into something even more intense

than the Cuban Missile Crises. Iran will defend it’s sovereignty and Russia will profit financially whether there is peace or war.The Chinese on the other hand will be difficult to sway and their

unpredictability should not be underestimated.

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By bogi666, March 13, 2009 at 8:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Another great article from Scott. It would be useful to know if any of team B had ever been to the USSR in the 1970’s. I went to Russia in 1984 and it cost me $350 all inclusive with air fare. For $350 it was easy to determine that the USSR could not conquer the world something that was known, except to Ronald Reagan, since 1921. In 1984 the side streets in Moscow weren’t paved. Their state of electronics was vacuum tubes. The water in then Leningrad was not potable. The Russian who invented the automatic choke wasn’t born yet. The abacus was used for the cash register. So, for $350 it was easily determined that what America was told about the USSR didn’t reflect the realities of the capabilities of the USSR. In other words the American people had been lied to and it was evident that the Soviet system was incapable of sustaining itself. The American government has spent $1,000,000,000,000’s trillions plus interest and couldn’t determine what cost me $350. This kis why I don’t pay taxes, legally.

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By Jack Diamond, March 13, 2009 at 7:09 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Excellent article by Scott Ritter. As a young scientist I worked on nuclear weapons effects in connection with ABM systems in the 1970s. The ABM system aimed at a putative Iranian threat never made any sense at all. There is a huge difference between developing a crude nuclear weapon and employing a reliable weapon that can be used as a (also reliable) ballistic missile warhead. Any country with the technology to develop the latter can easily (and cheaply) develop counter measures to defeat the ABM system. Any competent physicist who has studied this problem knows this, including those paid by the military who keep quiet so they can keep their jobs.

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By prosefights, March 13, 2009 at 5:41 am Link to this comment

“Yadlin said the Islamic republic hoped to use the expected dialogue with the Obama administration to buy time to procure the amount of high-enriched uranium needed to build a bomb. “

billp37 comments on Israeli propaganda.

Both Iran and the US face electricity shortages.

Recent post on Powder River Basin coal reserves revision stresses seriousness of US electric problems.

“[A]ccording to a recent USGS study (Assessment of Coal Geology, Resources and Reserves in the Gillette Coalfield, Powder River Basin, Wyoming, USGS open-file report 2008-1202),

the coal reserve estimate for the Gillette coal field is 10.1 billion short tons, which is a mere 5% of the original 200 billion ton resource total. In other words, the USGS has just revised the Gillette resource base down by 95%.”

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By moose, March 13, 2009 at 5:32 am Link to this comment

you know scott go write for the national enquirer or the star. write how there are spacemen in the white house. These types of articles have no merit, state no facts and smack of yellow journalism. when are we going to stop writing cr-p and deal with the real world

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By frogman3, March 12, 2009 at 9:42 pm Link to this comment

anyone ever look up who was on team B?
Looks to be the same guys that were in Cheny’s Office of special operations, the ones that knew right where the WMD were and how many.  Rummy, Pearl, Woofy, oh and the new xvp himself.  These guys should have been slapped down back then, maybe they wouldn’t have had the ability to ruin our country’s future.

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By mill, March 12, 2009 at 9:03 pm Link to this comment

Maybe the path to peace with the mullahs and the Iranian people starts by leaving them alone.  Quit interfering, something we’ve done since the 1950s.

Quit aggression.  Quit Funding destabilization, talking about how to undermine the government ?

Suppose Iran had a nuclear weapon - so what?  Really?

If you were the Iranians, and you saw how you caused your enemies get their undies in a bundle about a nuclear program, wouldn’t that strengthen your resolve to build a weapon?  Why wouldn’t Iran conclude that?

Suppose we gave them no cause to think they’re a primary target?

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By wadosy, March 12, 2009 at 8:29 pm Link to this comment


cant find my way home


carolina in my mind

you belong to me

after you’ve gone


reasons why

Where am I today, I wish that I knew
‘Cause looking around there’s no sign of you
I don’t remember one jump or one leap
Just quiet steps away from your lead

We get distracted by the dreams of our own
But nobody’s happy while feeling alone
And knowing how hard it hurts when we fall
We lean another ladder against the wrong wall

And climb high to the highest rung
To shake fists at the sky
While others have excuses
I have my reasons why

With so much deception
It’s hard not to wander away


bette davis eyes

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By wadosy, March 12, 2009 at 7:54 pm Link to this comment

“...that’s what you’re good at.”


...but i gots to confess i’m a celebrated thinker…

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By Folktruther, March 12, 2009 at 6:58 pm Link to this comment

What a good idea, Lousse, encouraging more travel to Iran.  Obama won’t allow it, just like he hasn’t canged US travel to Cuba. But it’s more pressure against the Israeli Lobby that is needed to avert war.

Keep thinking wadosy, that’s what you’re good at.

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By Nap, March 12, 2009 at 5:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Maybe team A or team B has something to say on Russia but on Iran it is team Z that is strapped in to the driver seat, permanently!

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By Claus-Erik Hamle, March 12, 2009 at 1:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Former Trident missile engineer Bob because the Pentagon aims to achieve a disarming, unansweable first-strike capability. Please see the article by Keir Lieber and Daryl Press, “The Rise of US Nuclear Primacy” in the 2006 March/April issue of Foreign Affairs. The Russians may have no choice but Launch On Warning. And we´ll probably get Nuclear Winter by mistake provoked by the bloody Pentagon. Just like Mars ?

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By wadosy, March 12, 2009 at 11:47 am Link to this comment

continued from last post

we know berezovsky is associated with bunnypants brother, neil bunnypants, in business, and lord knows how those boys define “business”. So that’s another indication of berezovsky’s leanings.

we know boris is involved with chechens, and he paid chechen terrorist leader shamil basayev millions of dollars… basayev was the great white hope for driving russians from the north caucasus and chopping off that chunk of russia that hangs down to the caspian and black seas…which would clear the way the PNAC pipelines, and would further isolate russia by blocking russian access to its southern european export port.

map 3309 x 3408

we know boris backed yulia, yushchenko and the “orange revolution” in ukraine, which supposedly would be more favorable to the PNAC european pipeline. yulia’s had her ups and downs, but is currently back in power, up to her eyeballs in the continuing shootouts between russia and ukraine over gas supplies… but that’s what the “orange revolution” was about: installing PNAC puppets to block russian access to european energy markets. 

we know boris has made secret trips to kyrgyzstan, site of the “tulip revolution” that was supposed to give israeli america another foothold in central asia, block russian access to markets and block chinese access to energy.

and you got to wonder how berezovsky’s “decision theories” dovetail with good ol’ doc aumann’s “game theories”, dont you?

and we got to wonder why there was such an uproar about aumann getting the nobel prize.... there must be lots of people who are beginning to understand the role of psychohistorians like berezovsky and aumann in planning wars, and incidents that trigger wars, and tiny applications of force that cause massive changes in the course of history.

but the most worrisome thing about berezovsky is his statement that chechens acquired nukes as the soviets union collapsed…

he’s planting a legend that can be used in a nuke false flag operation.

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By wadosy, March 12, 2009 at 11:44 am Link to this comment

how do we justify a nuke first strike on russia, i wonder?

boris berezovsky is a mathematician and game theory guy, or more specifically, a “decision theorist”, with lots of heavy duty computer expertise. So he’s a psychohistorian….

the tricky part is figuring out whose side he’s on. He’s definitely against putin, he’s an israeli citizen, although he’s a little too classy to hang out in israel. But his citizenship gives us a hint of his leanings. Other than that, he may be just another run-of-the-mill psychopath who has only one side: his own.

we know berezovsky helped install the drunk yeltsin so he could help himself to russia’s assets as the soviet union collapsed. Some russians believe berezovsky was a major cause of that collapse. We know he’s a crook who faces russian charges of tax evasion, fraud and grand theft.

we know he’s been mixed up in murder cases—being boris’ buddy is one of the most hazardous occupations on earth—and we know he was displeased with paul klebnikov, the american editor of forbes’ russian edition who wrote a book about berezovsky’s criminal behavior, including the murder of one of russia’s most famous television personalities… so we got listyev, klebnikov followed by politkovskaya and litvenenko... all murdered, all connectied with mr. berzovsky.

berezovsky supported putin in the 2000 elections in russia, but started calling for violent overthrow of putin once putin cracked down on israeli russian oligarchs… israeli americans and the zionist media are also gunning for putin, because he threw a monkeywrench into neocon plans to use russian oil while they remodeled the middle east oil patch.

continued next post

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By Louise, March 12, 2009 at 11:25 am Link to this comment

“Secretary of State Clinton impressed many when she spoke of the need for America to embrace “smart power.” The implication of her words was that the United States, under President Obama, would use all the tools available, especially diplomacy, in seeking to solve the myriad problems it faces around the world in the post-Bush era, including the problem of Iran.”

“Any solution to the problem of Iran must be derived from an accurate intelligence picture of what is transpiring inside the country today, one drawn more from fact than ideologically based fiction.”


What exactly is the “problem of Iran”?

Perhaps in addition to identifying, we need to approach our relationship with Iran based on the notion that perhaps there is no problem of Iran. Other than a silly determination to hate and fear them, based on past experiences with Iranian leaders and behaviors long gone!

Now how likely is it that will happen as long as strings tied to ancient history keep pulling?

I want to know who leads Team B. I want the members of that team identified. I want their hubris unmasked. I want all the lies and distruction they are responsible for laid out for the world to see!

That nuclear threat? Well as I recall, when Bush and his favorite Dick were trying to scare the crap out of us with the reality of Iran’s nuclear capabilities. CNN ran a picture of Iran’s nuclear facility, followed shortly by a picture of North Korea’s nuclear facility. Wasn’t long before some sharp observer noticed they were the same facility! The pictures were different sizes, different colors, but clearly of the same facility. Turns out they were pictures of Saddam’s nuclear facility that Israel had destroyed back in the eighties!

How come so few know so little and so many are so wrong?

Could it be we focus on the wrong things? Perhaps it’s because a b’zillion words in history are condensed into a few paragraphs. Paragraphs that focus on negative behaviors of others, but never on our own.

Obama says he doesn’t want to look backwards. I have it on good authority that the Iranian people are in the same place. Trying to move forward. Trying to not look backwards. So if anything, what I see is a need for “people to people” contact. Not only in Iran, but in Russia. That will be tough as long as we have people like McCain in office. People who are quite incapable of thinking for themselves. People who rely on whatever crap is created by someone in the “know” to give them their talking points. We saw that alive and well during the so-called attack on Georgia. An attack that could very well have been orchestrated by one of those “in the know” guys, for the benefit of republican gains in the election. Thanks to them, and ignorant politicians like McCain, the fear of something that isn’t there will continue on. I know people who are so emmersed in fear they’re afraid to venture beyond their own city limits!

Fear doesn’t win anything. But it serves well, those who would control everything.

So the challenge to us is to challenge President Obama.

Maybe we need to encourage more travel to, and tourism in Iran. Such a thing is possible and encouraged by Iran. There are rules of course, but there are rules everywhere.

By the way Mr.Ritter, have you requested an opportunity to meet with President Obama? If not I think we would all like that to happen. I think our new president is not so full of himself that he wouldn’t welcome the opportunity to learn something. Something perhaps he doesn’t know. Remember, he is not a Clinton or a Bush. He is a clean slate, so to speak, and he has made it clear to all of us, he wants to hear from us!

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By Folktruther, March 12, 2009 at 10:56 am Link to this comment

If there is one Bushite policy that Obama can change, none are more important than the US policy toward Russia and Iran.  But Obama would have to buck the Zionist lobby to do it.  As wadosy and others have pointed out repeatedly, the Polish missile system is an OFFENSIVE weapon, making a first strike capacity more effective.  It thus makes nuclear war more likely.

But Obama is in the grip of the Zionists. To the point, indeed,  that Freeman who was to be appointed head of an intelligence agency was smeared by the Zionists, making him withdraw.  And the sleazing was lead by a Aipac honcho, was has been indicted for passing American secrets to Israel! 

Our intelligence heads are now being vetted by agents of a foreign power! In a Administration that pretends that it is progressive!  There is a real quesstion whether Obama can do anything other than what the Israel lobby says.  And they are a war lobby.

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By wadosy, March 12, 2009 at 10:37 am Link to this comment

and lest we forget…

from the council on foreign relations foreign affairs March/April 2006…

“the sort of missile defenses that the United States might plausibly deploy would be valuable primarily in an offensive context, not a defensive one — as an adjunct to a U.S. first-strike capability, not as a standalone shield. If the United States launched a nuclear attack against Russia (or China), the targeted country would be left with a tiny surviving arsenal — if any at all.

At that point, even a relatively modest or inefficient missile-defense system might well be enough to protect against any retaliatory strikes, because the devastated enemy would have so few warheads and decoys left.”

The Rise of U.S. Nuclear Primacy

benevolent global hegemony, here we come!!

nuclear fimbulwinter solves the global warming problem for four or five years, at least until the big chunks settle out and quit shading us…

...too bad those chunks will glow in the dark, and so will we.

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By Inherit The Wind, March 12, 2009 at 10:22 am Link to this comment

While Ritter is very bright, he also has his own agenda, always.

Still, it’s very important that Obama and Clinton start the dialogue again with Russia.  The Russians aren’t idiots—they know how our system works, that power changes hands and the emphasis and levels of cooperation change with it.

After all, the national passion in Russia is chess—and world power politics is the ultimate chess match.  So EVERYTHING they do should be considered a move the The Great Chess Board—even expressing outrage and anger is a move—and, as Ritter inadvertently pointed out, they won the opening gambit.

And not everything in the world of American international relations is about Israel!

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By sophrosyne, March 12, 2009 at 10:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

AIPAC amnd other lobby’s and poltiicans tied to israel’s interests will not allow America to control much of tis own foreign policy.  Obama will serve them as much as Bush did.  We have one government in the end.

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By RickinSF, March 12, 2009 at 8:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I wonder who wrote the idiotic caption to the photo of Putin (above)?

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By Nannie, March 12, 2009 at 8:04 am Link to this comment

Scott Ritter is another FINE mind that is being ignored by our present Congress and POTUS.

The TRUTHTELLERS are with us, are for us and must be heard loud and clear.
Ritter is for truth and always has been. He is perfect for Sec. of State, Head of Defence,etc..

Why not have the best minds,with best intentions, in the Presidents Cabinet?

” What did you learn today?
Did you learn how to believe? or…Did you learn how to think?”

~ Seventeen Traditions ~ by Ralph Nader

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By tomack, March 12, 2009 at 7:34 am Link to this comment

Yes, perhaps a hindrance, but only that. As usual, Ritter points out the “facts” of the situation and then it is up to whatever “team” to act. In this case, hopefully it’s Team A.

I believe he’s right, it’s time to start from sratch and use intelligent diplomacy; something not seen for quite some time—about 8 years.

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By Hulk2008, March 12, 2009 at 7:32 am Link to this comment

Whether the concept of a missile defense system is useful or not, one must investigate the actual technological capability of such a defense.  We saw the lack of full effectiveness of the Patriot system during the Iraq war - imagine what would have happened if the SCUDs that were able to get through the “shield” had been nuclear-tipped.  It only takes one or two nukes to totally waste an area, even if it’s not on target.  Now extrapolate the Patriot to a much more complicated shield that would hope to fend off ICBMs and the like - such a system would require trillions of lines of computer code - all that code would be difficult or impossible to debug or test.  Talk about de-stabilizing !!  It would be like installing plumbing in the Sears Tower using toilet paper roll pipes.  Such a system would PROBABLY fail, certainly costs too much, and certainly would PO all our enemies.  It’s a wonder that Russia even considers it a threat - but we could hope the Russians are stupid.

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By SteveK9, March 12, 2009 at 6:27 am Link to this comment

The strength of the Israeli lobby in the US is a hindrance to a rational policy (see Chas Freeman withdrawal).  I’m not sure there is an answer.  The recent claim that Iran possessed the material for a nuclear weapon was false (as far as can be determined there is NO highly-enriched Uranium available at this point).  The claim was based on the amount of low-enriched U produced, which is only suitable as reactor fuel.  And yet, this claim received wide publication.

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By SteveK9, March 12, 2009 at 6:27 am Link to this comment

The strength the of Israeli lobby in the US is a hindrance to a rational policy (see Chas Freeman withdrawal).  I’m not sure there is an answer.  The recent claim that Iran possessed the material for a nuclear weapon was false (as far as can be determined there is NO highly-enriched Uranium available at this point).  The claim was based on the amount of low-enriched U produced, which is only suitable as reactor fuel.  And yet, this claim received wide publication.

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