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Obama’s Alternate Universe

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Posted on Jan 8, 2010
White House / Pete Souza

By Scott Ritter

As America enters the year 2010 and President Barack Obama his second year in office, the foreign policy landscape presented by American policymakers and media pundits appears to be dominated by two physical problems—Iraq and Afghanistan—which operate in an overarching metaphysical environment loosely defined as a “war on terror.” The ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, entering their seventh and ninth years respectively, have consumed America’s attention, treasure and blood without producing anything close to a tangible victory.

What exactly constitutes the “war on terror” has never been adequately defined and, as a result, the United States has been, and continues to be, militarily involved in other regions as well, including Somalia, Kenya, the Philippines and, increasingly, Yemen. The American people today are fatigued, and while their political leadership promises to lead the nation out of the long, dark tunnel of conflict, there continues to be no light emerging in the distance, only the ever-darkening shadows of wars without end or purpose.

While Obama has promised a draw-down of military forces in Iraq, the lack of stability in that nation since the removal of Saddam Hussein precludes any meaningful reduction of troops, and the ever-present potential of renewed civil and sectarian warfare means that whatever troop level is eventually settled upon will be deployed in Iraq for quite some time. Moreover, the Iraq conflict, built as it was on an American policy that sought the alteration of the political character of the Middle East beyond simply removing an Iraqi dictator from power, has drawn the United States inexorably toward conflict with Iraq’s larger neighbor to the east, Iran.

Over the past 20 years Iraq and Iran have been linked in American policy objectives in the Middle East, both in terms of dual containment and dual transformation. Regardless of what rhetoric the Obama administration chooses to hide behind, the underlying characteristic that continues to define America’s Iran policy is regime change. It is not the policy that is subject to debate in Washington, D.C., but rather the means of implementing that policy. The ongoing tension over Iran’s nuclear program is less derived from any real threat such a program poses (it is, in reality, one of the least significant issues facing the United States today in terms of national security concern), but rather the utility that such an artificial crisis serves in facilitating the larger objective: regime change.

Obama’s Iran policy bears a marked similarity to the Iraq policies of the Clinton administration throughout the 1990s, with the specter of weapons of mass destruction used as a screen to hide the true goal. In both cases, the policies were constructed in a manner that gave the United States no viable solution short of open conflict. President Bill Clinton maneuvered around the issue of all-out war, settling for a decade-long “non-war” in the form of CIA covert operations and assassination attempts and enforcement of “no-fly zones,” combined with selective aerial attacks, including the 72-hour “Operation Desert Fox” in December 1998.

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President George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq in March 2003 was the logical conclusion to an irrational policy begun by Clinton. The situation between the United States and Iran today is directly tied to the Iraq problem, and as such makes use of the same policy tool set that led to the invasion of Iraq.

The failed attempts by the United States to orchestrate a “soft” revolution in Iran, in the form of covert support to pro-Western reformists, have only strengthened the position of the extreme hard-liners the United States seeks to remove from power, in the same way that the continuation of economic sanctions against Iraq in the 1990s only strengthened the regime of Saddam Hussein.

When the Obama administration is finally confronted with the reality that there is no possibility for viable economic sanctions against Iran, and that the reform movement inside Iran will never be able to force a regime change in Tehran, war with Iran, however insane and unpalatable, becomes the only option. In the end, it is not the theocracy in Tehran, or an Iranian nuclear program, that will push America to war with Iran, but rather American policy itself, designed as it is not to solve any tangible problem emerging from Iran, but rather to mollify domestic political pressures at home.

The situation President Obama faces in today’s post-Taliban Afghanistan is similar to the one he faces in Iraq: There is no good policy option for resolving a problem that is defined mostly by the need to manufacture a perception of “victory” for the American people. In Afghanistan, as was the case with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, the United States removed a political entity from power and ended up creating a vacuum in the nation’s social, political and economic reality that the American occupier has not been able to fill, no matter how much money has been spent and how many soldiers have been deployed. With the Taliban made politically unacceptable in Washington, D.C., the idea that the Taliban may in fact be politically viable inside Afghanistan will not register among those American officials tasked with bringing stability to that nation.

The war in Afghanistan is further complicated by the fact that, unlike Iraq, Afghanistan is inexorably linked to the nebulous concept of a “war of terror,” and in particular the defining moment in this “war”—the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. American politicians, like those they represent, tend to operate in a conventional linear manner, seeking absolute cause-and-effect relationships from even the most complex of problems.


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By christian96, January 19, 2010 at 11:39 am Link to this comment

Firefly—-I understand what you are saying and am
familiar with books written by ex-CIA agents who
exposed practices in other nations where the USA
was responsible for pulling down governments and
setting up puppet governments which would carry out
the demands of American corporations.  From my
limited knowledge of history I believe America
fought world wars 1 and 2 with the good intention
of stopping an evil agressor.  The problem began
when German scientists along with American scientists
began working on weapons of mass destruction for the
Pentagon.  From there an increase in weapon technology supporting the growth of American corporations has brought us to the extant situation,
the industrial-military complex of which President
Eisenhower warned us.  People around the world realize what a beast we have become.  What did the
terrorists on 9/11 strike?  Twin Towers representing the industrial side of the equation and the Pentagon representing the military side.  How will the situation be resolved?  I don’t know but it could
get rather ugly. It may follow the path of the comments I recently made following the
Truth-dig article “Some of Haiti’s Upper Class Spared Earthquake’s Worst.”  Will the American people and military someday rise against the ruling
class in America?  It’s possible.  My comments
following the other article are pasted below:

By christian96, January 19 at 12:55 pm #


The owner of the Big Star Market for security sake
said, “Send in the marines.”  Seems to be the purpose
of the military in every nation.  To protect the
businesses of the wealthy.  Forget the marines. Let
the poor people have access to them if they can get
through the razor wire. Someday the poor people
serving in the marines will wake up and realize who
they are really protecting.

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By firefly, January 19, 2010 at 9:32 am Link to this comment

Christian96,

Many, many Americans have, been taught a history of events that will always depict America as an altruistic generously spirited, benign nation who has nothing to gain by bombing other nations other than to eliminate ‘the bad guys’ and bring about peace and tranquillity in the world. And patriots will all hate that idea ever being challenged.

This is not to say that there isn’t any truth at all it that perception (I’d say many ordinary Americans – the ones that aren’t in control of the Pentagon and the military industrial complex, or huge corporations, or the oil industry, are generous people), but if people are not ever willing to question the accepted line, it’s not surprising that America finds itself at odds with so many other countries. For example, if America was the saint it likes to sell itself as, then other countries would have no grievances at all. After all, who could hate a country that is humane, generous, kind, democratic, egalitarian, friendly and considerate, peaceful and above all, just/fair?

America profited hugely from WWII and to this day, continues to profit from war. Its trillion dollar industry in weapons is what made it a superpower, NOT its altruism. Most European countries have only just finished paying off a debt to the US from WWII. America did so well out of WWII, that it saw that weapons were its future business. But in order to justify this weapons industry, it has to make the American people believe that the rest of the world is hideously dangerous and that war is always going to be justifiable. And in order to prevent any truly ‘independent’ country from even attaining one weapon (as opposed to the thousands that the US has), it has to convince the people that, that country is dangerous to the world.

America is armed to the teeth, and justifies all its violent campaigns against other nations on the basis of bringing ‘what’ exactly? Peace? How can you ever create peace by endless war? America wages more war on the rest of the world than any other nation and all of this is because it continues to use WWII (and Hitler and speaking German as if that was such terrible notion - after all, many Germans still speak German and that doesn’t make them Nazis) as a justification for ‘fighting evil’. Why not question the ‘evil’ the US enacts on others, or the ‘evil’ it supports when it is financially expedient to do so?

Wars have always existed.  Most wars were fought out of greed, not for philanthropic purposes. And, most wars were started by rich, greedy men who had the power to send out poorer people to fight for them. Any many war leaders were able to garner support for their wars by using religion or bighearted propaganda to mobilize the masses. It worked then, and it still works today….

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By christian96, January 18, 2010 at 7:53 am Link to this comment

To Johncp—-The comment “you could have heard a
pin drop” basically reflects the “Wow, I just stuck
my foot in my mouth” process.  Regarding President
Bush. I like most people on this site question
the thought processes behind some of his behaviors.
There is a tendency among humans once they have
developed a negative attitude towards another human
to see something negative everytime that person says
and does something.  In the example I quoted, the
motivation behind Pres. Bush’s decision was positive
not negative.  Psychologically, at a more basic
level is the human tendency to make associations
with persons, places, and things.  Most people
associate an aircraft carrier with negative behaviors
such as bombing.  Whereas, an aircraft carrier can
also contain positive components which can be used
positively to serve other people.

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By johncp, January 18, 2010 at 4:27 am Link to this comment

CHRISTIAN 96
In your three examples, where “you could not have heard a pin drop,” I was inclined to ask what your point was.

It also occured to me that only two of your examples could be construed as unflattering remarks directed at “our country,” but the third comment was hostility directed not at our country, but at Bush, who was receiving as much opposition and censure from American citizens as he was from Europeans.

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By DBM, January 17, 2010 at 3:44 pm Link to this comment

No offense Madmarc ... I’ve been called worse!

My point was a practical one ... ignoring the reasons you gave for the inevitability of war with Iran, the U.S. is very poorly placed to initiate one for all the reasons I outlined.

That said, the image of Iran “poking the U.S. between the bars with a stick” is an interesting one.  It would sound like the U.S. is a caged dangerous animal while Iran is free on the outside poking the U.S. for fun.  There are a few problems with this analogy.  The U.S. is the most uncaged country in the world when it comes to military force.  It has started more wars and invaded more countries than any other over the last 100 years ... hands down - no one else even close.  The American people consider themselves “peace-loving” but continue to elect people who propose military action against perceived enemies ... “Doves” are invariably condemned with shaky analogies to “Nazi appeasement” (has ever an argument been more over-used?) and voted out.  That said, it is unfair to characterise the U.S. as a dumb and dangerous beast which needs to be kept caged up ... isn’t it?

Iran, on the other hand, has had its internal politics subverted (through the installment of the Shah), been attacked by proxy (in the Iraq Iran War) and been subject to sanctions since the fall of the Shah in the 1970’s.  Just who is in the cage?

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M Henri Day's avatar

By M Henri Day, January 17, 2010 at 3:06 pm Link to this comment

Christian96, those pesky French had been waiting for their come-uppance a very long time indeed - how wonderful that those US patriots gave it to them and that you were around to record the story for posterity ! I especially like the part about the pin dropping - did you actually hear it ? And anti-US as he was, M. de Gaulle probably really only deserves a single «l» in his surname rather than two, so it serves him right as well !...

Henri

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By christian96, January 17, 2010 at 2:29 pm Link to this comment

Here’s a refresher on how some of our former patriots handled negative comments about our country.

   

 

JFK’S
Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, was in France in the early 60’s when
DeGaule decided to pull out of NATO.  DeGaule said he wanted all US
military out of France as soon as possible.

Rusk
responded “does that include those who are buried
here?

DeGuale
did not respond.

You could have heard a pin drop.


A U.S. Navy Admiral was attending a naval conference that included
Admirals from the U.S. . , English, Canadian, Australian and French
Navies. At a cocktail reception, he found himself standing with a large
group of Officers that included personnel from most of those countries.
Everyone was chatting away in English as they sipped their drinks but a
French admiral suddenly complained that, whereas Europeans learn many
languages, Americans learn only English. He then asked, ‘Why is it that
we always have to speak English in these conferences rather than
speaking French?’


Without hesitating, the American Admiral replied, ‘Maybe it’s because the
Brit’s, Canadians, Aussie’s and Americans arranged it so you wouldn’t
have to speak German.’

You could have heard a pin drop.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There was a conference in France where a number of international engineers
were taking part, including French and American.  During a break,
one of the French engineers came back into the room saying ‘Have you
heard the latest dumb stunt Bush has done? He has sent an aircraft
carrier to Indonesia to help the tsunami victims.  What does he
intended to do, bomb them?’


A Boeing engineer stood up and replied quietly: ‘Our carriers have three
hospitals on board that can treat several hundred people; they are
nuclear powered and can supply emergency electrical power to
shore facilities; they have three cafeterias with the capacity to
feed 3,000 people three meals a day, they can produce several thousand
gallons of fresh water from sea water each day, and they carry half a
dozen helicopters for use in transporting victims and injured to and
from their flight deck.  We have eleven such ships; how many does
France have?’
 

You could have heard a pin drop.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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By madmarc, January 16, 2010 at 3:09 pm Link to this comment

To Firefly,

Agreed, and apologies to DBM. It was his suggestion that I WANT war that I found offensive. I overreacted.

My point was that Iran is poking the U.S. between the bars with a stick, and will lose a conventional war, although perhaps not a guerrila action. There is no denying they are taking more than just “defensive” actions. See http://www.fas.org/irp/threat/wmd-acq2008.pdf.
Iran may have never initated a war, but they are making it easier for their enemies to justify one, especially with a hostile Israel and US military presence so near.

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By firefly, January 15, 2010 at 4:59 pm Link to this comment

madmarc,

The fact that Iran is or isn’t arming itself (understandably to defend itself, as both Israel and America have not disguised their yearning to attack it) will not justify a war. America has more weapons than the rest of world put together and uses them with far greater frequency.

It’s perhaps interesting to note that if Hitler had been American, he probably would have been able to invade Poland with impunity, as America seems to be able to invade any country it likes without consequence (well at least for today; who knows what the future consequences of all American invasions will be). The West is hypocritical in its false concern regarding attacks from Iran who hasn’t initiated a war on another country for over 100 years, when in the same region, Israel is able to cause Haitian-style destruction on Gaza with absolute impunity, and no rescue teams are allowed into the area courtesy of the US and Israel’s collective punishment on all Palestinians (even newborn babies must be relegated to the status of Hamas terrorist)!

Finally, using the term, ‘moron’ to other bloggers is rude and unnecessary.

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By firefly, January 15, 2010 at 4:37 pm Link to this comment

christian96,

Sorry to burst your bubble, but as someone who has lived in Africa, Asia and Europe, I can guarantee you that America definitely does not treat ‘aliens’ better than any nation on the planet. The very fact that they use the term ‘alien’ shows a deficit of compassion. America has some of the largest immigrant detention centers anywhere. Considering that America is a nation of immigrants it has zero excuse for being so intolerant to other immigrants.

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By christian96, January 15, 2010 at 3:12 pm Link to this comment

Ardee—-My formative years were spent in a coal
mining town in West Virginia where my father worked
40 years in the mines.  I have experienced poverty
first hand.  My comments were not intended to be
a put down to another ethnic group.  My comments were
intended to let those that hate America know that our
country probably treats aliens better than any nation on the planet.  What’s wrong with our country
is the ignorant greedy people running it.

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By christian96, January 15, 2010 at 2:58 pm Link to this comment

How someone could attribute my comments as racist
is beyond me.  I was just quoting facts.  Perhaps
the racist idea is related to the intellectual
level of the person making the comment.  Lack of
intellectual capacity is verified by choice of words
for written expression.  I LOVE AMERICA!

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, January 14, 2010 at 10:58 pm Link to this comment

He’s right—-the rhetoric is primed to keep the fires burning to lead to a massive bombing attack in crucial places not only suspected “nuclear” sites but also hospitals, roads, sewer, water and power generation just like with Iraq. [Both cases those are war crimes by-the-way.]

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By madmarc, January 14, 2010 at 6:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To DBM,

Read my post again, moron. I’m no more interested in being involved in a war with Iran than you are! I just acknowledge reality, and as insane as it is, the US is not trying to stay out it.

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By DBM, January 14, 2010 at 3:10 pm Link to this comment

madmarc, you might WANT war with Iran for all the reasons you outline.  That said, Palau may WANT to invade Hawaii ...

Fortunately, in my view, the U.S. does not have enough in the tank to invade Iran.  There will be ramifications of that which you may not like.  In my personal opinion the ramifications of war with Iran would be worse.  As it happens, though, we needn’t debate the “might have been” situation because of the ludicrous decisions taken by the U.S. over the last 9 years.  The country has proven that its military is not unstoppable (though the cost of resistance is frighteningly high).  It has impoverished and indebted itself by fighting expensive wars without taxation.  It has wrecked its own economy (and destablised the world) by legalising financial fraud.  Possibly most critically it has reduced the likelihood of international support by ceding the high moral ground through kidnapping, torture and indiscriminate bombing.

So madmarc, there may be consequences because of all the things you outline ... but the U.S. fighting a war with Iran would be insane.

I note that Bill O’Reilly is agitating for the U.S. to get Israel to start that war by proxy, by the way.  When Fox proposes it, you know just how stupid it is.

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By Marcus Bunche, January 14, 2010 at 2:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

lol. Scott, haven’t you ever seen To Catch a Predator on MSNBC?  Geez, louise. http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/wire/sns-ap-us-weapons-inspector-charges,0,2652893.story

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By madmarc, January 14, 2010 at 10:59 am Link to this comment

Obama’s original policy was a non-starter to begin with, which all his starry eyed supporters should have seen, but who preferred instead to be narcotized by his rhetoric.
The US cannot withdraw from the Middle East without a great deal of damage, politically, socially, militarily. War with Iran is a natural offshoot of current situation, because:
Iran arms Hamas and Hizbollah, enemies of Israel; Iran is a Shi’ite revolutionary state and seeks to export its ideology;Iran is successfully building ballistic missles; Iran is refining uranium with over 6000 gas centrifuges; Iran is supporting the Mahdist rebels in Iraq; Iran is armed with Chinese Silkworm anti-ship missles, making naval operations almost impossible.
This isn’t just propaganda, like the WMD lies used to justify war in Iraq. These are facts, and you can bet they are being discussed at the highest levels. Anyone who thinks war with Iran is avoidable is horribly naive.

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By Dave, January 14, 2010 at 8:23 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

While it’s true that some of our deficits and wars is the result of the very organized(and devious)Israeli lobby,it is also true that some of the motivation for the “war on terror” is attributed to the gas transit lines in Afghanistan,the gas in Iran and the oil in Iraq.

China has already won this grand chess match,we just haven’t recognized it yet.
The Chinese are not only incredibly disciplined and homogeneous,they are meticulous planners and are not affected by “foreigners meddling in their affairs” for the benefit of another nation.

China is acting flawlessly,they are sitting by watching us punch ourselves into exhaustion and will soon see us fall into bankruptcy and even greater dependency.

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By ardee, January 14, 2010 at 3:19 am Link to this comment

Susan, January 13 at 11:27 am #
(Unregistered commenter)

I stopped reading when I came to this line:

“whatever troop level is eventually settled upon will be deployed in Iraq for quiet some time.”
************

You are far too easily distracted.

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By johncp, January 13, 2010 at 10:42 pm Link to this comment

Scott Ritter is talking some nonsense here.  We’re told that Obama is “forced” to follow in the footsteps of Bush; why?  because Bush followed in the footsteps of Clinton?  What a crock.  No one has to follow in anyone’s footsteps, unless you’re a dimwit looking to blame someone for your stupidity or criminality.  Clinton kept us “out” of war with Iraq.  When Bush got in office he was under no compulsion to start a war in Iraq.  He just wanted to start a war there, for whatever ass hole reasons he contrived in his pea brain, profit, oil, revenge, etc.
Now Obama is the president, and once more, Ritter thinks Obama is “forced” to conduct a war in Iraq.  Bullshit.  Obama continues and expands these wars because he “wants” to continue and expand them; because it’s politically profitable to him, because he believes it insures his reelection, or is profitable to those that financed his bullshit campaign.  Sorry folks, I don’t buy your Obama-is-a-magician bullshit.  I don’t “feel sorry” for Obama.  I don’t think Obama “needs more time.”  We’ve watched with that exasperation, and the morbid disappointment, that tells us we’ve been had, once again, as Obama has given vastly more of the country, it’s resources, it’s wealth, to the super rich creeps that have brought us to the brink, “now” you’re ready to re-assess this joker?  I think Obama is a fake, with a well developed skill at reading teleprompters.  He’s the president for god’s sake!  The man has let us down at every turn.  What a bunch of saps.

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By prosefights, January 13, 2010 at 6:08 pm Link to this comment

We’re increasingly concern about Petraeus.

His bio reads

He subsequently earned a M.P.A. degree (1985) and a Ph.D. degree (1987) in International Relations from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He later served as Assistant Professor of International Relations at the U.S. Military Academy and also completed a fellowship at Georgetown University. He has a BS from the U.S. Military Academy—class of 1974—from which he graduated as a distinguished cadet (top 5% of his class).


And this guy is to help make a decision whether to bomb Iran’s nuclear electricity generation facilities?

We’re concered that Petraeus may not know 1kWh = 3413 BTUs.

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By firefly, January 13, 2010 at 9:11 am Link to this comment

What a fantastic article by Scott Ritter. It’s as if he’s been reading my thoughts.

Indeed, America is exceptionally uninformed about the rest of the world. I’m not sure why that is, but as someone who was born and raised in Africa, Europe and Asia, coming back to the US sometimes feels like leaving planet earth. I’m not sure whether it is Hollywood and a continuous, conceited fictitious portrayal of America’s history and its role in the world, or whether America’s size and geographical location makes many Americans very parochial (the more so, as you go further inland and is also similar to other large countries such as Russia and China), but America does seem to live in a fantasy world. That would be ok, if it weren’t a superpower and had corporate greed controlling the world’s biggest and deadliest military. Supported by an inadvertently ignorant electorate (one that has been taught to believe that America the an unwilling police force of the globe, haha), America has been able to wreck havoc on the rest of the globe with absolute impunity for decades. Mostly it has been through covert CIA operations, undermining or assassinating foreign governments but more recently, through the wreckage of other people’s homelands. Whoever it was that said America’s chickens are coming home to roost, had it right.

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By prosefights, January 13, 2010 at 7:56 am Link to this comment

Some history.

“A war with Iraq would heighten security concerns and probably trigger more spending on protection on home. That would be additional money for guards, security devices and procedures that might otherwise be invested in production-boosting technology and workers who generate salable goods and services. `

“It’s a dead-weight loss as far as the economy is concerned,’’ said Vernon Smith, a George Mason University professor who won the 2002 Nobel Prize in economics.

“We are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy. Allah willing, and nothing is too great for Allah,” bin Laden said in the transcript.”

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By Susan, January 13, 2010 at 7:27 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I stopped reading when I came to this line:

“whatever troop level is eventually settled upon will be deployed in Iraq for quiet some time.”

I believe the word “quite” is what belongs in front of the words “some time”.  Although the word “quiet” is spelled correctly, it does not make sense in the above quoted sentence.  Our society is disintigrating and one of the reasons is that we are approaching illiteracy.  Get a dictionary and use it.

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M Henri Day's avatar

By M Henri Day, January 13, 2010 at 7:01 am Link to this comment

Scott Ritter has performed a valuable service by pointing out the centrality of not merely the conflict in Palestine, which, deservedly, attracts a great deal of attention from many commentators, but also of that in Kashmir, which attracts much less, to the geopolitical problems facing the globe today. (The reader for whom the concept of two centres grates on his or her mathematic sensibilities is welcome to consider the two foci of an ellipse instead.) But when he implies, as I find he does, that the United States should devote itself to resolving these problems, I must demur : to those who only possess a hammer, it has been widely observed, all problems tend to resemble a nail. And there can be little doubt what the hammer used by the United States these last seven decades to deal with «problems» both foreign and domestic has been - imperialist war. I’m far from certain that the people residing in the regions named above would be served by still more US intervention in their affairs - instead, less interference by that country might just possibly lead to positive developments, both in these regions and in the US itself….

Henri

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By Trailing Begonia, January 13, 2010 at 6:36 am Link to this comment

The “War on Terror” and the MIC = Perfect together!

What could best serve the interests of the military industry complex than a war with an undefined and invisible enemy which can spread like wildfire on command and that, for some reason, seems to operate only out of countries rich with oil?  When the fearmongers, brainwashers and sheeple handlers coined this absurd term, they surely knew that they had stumbled upon the goose that lays the golden eggs.

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By ardee, January 13, 2010 at 3:17 am Link to this comment

christian96, January 12 at 3:40 am

Oh,silly boy. This rant about a lifestyle about which you know absolutely nothing brands you and says nothing whatever about the problems of illegals.

I suggest that you first go to Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala or wherever, then attempt to make your way here sans passport, money or your middle class pomposity. Then attempt to live as do these folks before ranting so idiotically about their lifestyle and their choices.

One can certainly discuss a problem without demonizing those who are motivated by rather noble goals, keeping their children alive.

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, January 12, 2010 at 9:21 pm Link to this comment

The problem is that at its core the Washington establishment agrees with the radical Zionists in charge of Israel. Oh they make plenty of noises but do nothing to actually facilitate it coming close to happening. Israel could break free from the USA at any time but as long as billions flow in for free why not go along for as long as it lasts?

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By Ed Harges, January 12, 2010 at 7:39 pm Link to this comment

It’s a shame that many hasty readers may never get to the 3rd page of Scott
Ritter’s excellent article, where the most important passage is buried.

Ritter writes:

“The continued refusal of the United States to address the issue of Palestine
and the Palestinians in a manner that reflects the reality of the situation on the
ground, rather than the situation that exists inside Washington, as manipulated
and interpreted by Israeli interests, means that the tension and unrest this
issue generates will never be resolved. The conflicts with Iraq and Iran are, in
many ways, simply symptoms of a larger disease represented by the failure of
the United States to formulate a sound and realistic policy regarding Palestine.
So long as American politicians find themselves constrained by a pro-Israeli
lobby that refuses to permit the inclusion of either the concept or reality of
Palestine into the lexicon of American foreign policy considerations (beyond
simplistic “dual-state” and other demeaning and dishonest formulations), then
there can and will be no long-term solution to any other modern Middle
Eastern problem. “

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By alf, January 12, 2010 at 3:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m stunned that you deleted Gmarks comment of January 10 at 12:57 pm, ISRAEL _ TREASONOUS AMERICAN JEWS AND EVANGELICALS!! almost two days later.

So, are discussions of what is in America’s interest and what is in Israel’s interest, where they agree and where they are in conflict, and what emotions are engendered not allowed?

Even in the mass market “news” websites these topics are becoming more and more frequent.

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By dr wu--the last of the big-time thinkers, January 12, 2010 at 3:20 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

China wins as Christians and Muslims continue to battle it out.

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By gerard, January 12, 2010 at 10:18 am Link to this comment

Christian96:  The only thing you didn’t say, conspicuously, is:  “I am proud to be an American.”

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By glider, January 12, 2010 at 6:47 am Link to this comment

Christian96
“LET ME SEE IF I GOT THIS RIGHT” (aka Racist Rant).

Proof positive that Christianity is morally bankrupt and offers absolutely zero guidance in our troubled society.  If you are a righteous Christian bible reading invader you can exterminate and chase out roughly 20 million peoples that inhabit the land you covet and then when some of them sneak back in to take ditch digging jobs at $10 per hour Christian96 greets you with this load of crap.  Christian96 F*** your comfortable disgusting evil racist ass!

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By Ouroborus, January 12, 2010 at 5:58 am Link to this comment

liecatcher, January 12 at 9:42 am
Just what do you catch lies with? Your fairy net?

Oh boy; this is getting a little too woo, woo for me.
Exit stage left…

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By DBM, January 12, 2010 at 5:54 am Link to this comment

Why don’t you guys who seem to think that poverty stricken Mexicans threaten your lifestyle go debate with the anti-semites who think all your problems are a Jewish plot!

I’m sure there are other distractions you can be led to focus on if you listen carefully to tin-foil Right Wingers some more.

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By liecatcher, January 12, 2010 at 5:42 am Link to this comment

TO:christian96

You absolutely got it right.

Permit me to add one other item / benefit that the
illegals have, which is virtual immunity to the
predation we the people are victims of:loss of
homes,jobs,savings(they send the $billions they take
out of the economy home out of reach of the
banksters).


By christian96, January 12 at 3:40 am #
LET ME SEE IF I GOT THIS RIGHT.

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By Ouroborus, January 12, 2010 at 3:08 am Link to this comment

christian96, January 12 at 3:40 am #

I JUST WANTED TO MAKE SURE I HAD A FIRM GRASP ON THE
SITUATION.
============================================
It appears the only thing you have a firm grasp of is
the mouse. The situation is something else.

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By DBM, January 12, 2010 at 2:01 am Link to this comment

Christian96

“non sequitur”

Look it up.

(I hope you enjoyed your rant though)

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By christian96, January 11, 2010 at 11:40 pm Link to this comment

LET ME SEE IF I GOT THIS RIGHT.

IF YOU CROSS THE NORTH KOREAN BORDER ILLEGALLY YOU GET 12 YEARS HARD LABOR.

IF YOU CROSS THE IRANIAN BORDER ILLEGALLY YOU ARE DETAINED INDEFINITELY.

IF YOU CROSS THE AFGHAN BORDER ILLEGALLY, YOU GET SHOT.

IF YOU CROSS THE SAUDI ARABIAN BORDER ILLEGALLY YOU WILL BE JAILED.

IF YOU CROSS THE CHINESE BORDER ILLEGALLY YOU MAY NEVER BE HEARD FROM AGAIN.

IF YOU CROSS THE VENEZUELAN BORDER ILLEGALLY YOU WILL BE BRANDED A SPY AND YOUR FATE WILL BE SEALED.

IF YOU CROSS THE CUBAN BORDER ILLEGALLY YOU WILL BE THROWN INTO POLITICAL PRISON TO ROT.

IF YOU CROSS THE U.S. BORDER ILLEGALLY YOU GET:
A JOB,
A DRIVERS LICENSE,
A SOCIAL SECURITY CARD,
WELFARE,
FOOD STAMPS,
CREDIT CARDS,
SUBSIDIZED RENT OR A LOAN TO BUY A HOUSE,
FREE EDUCATION,
FREE HEALTH CARE,
A LOBBYIST IN WASHINGTON
BILLIONS OF DOLLARS WORTH OF PUBLIC DOCUMENTS PRINTED IN YOUR LANGUAGE
THE RIGHT TO CARRY YOUR COUNTRY’S FLAG WHILE YOU PROTEST THAT YOU DON’T GET ENOUGH RESPECT
AND, IN MANY INSTANCES, YOU CAN VOTE.

I JUST WANTED TO MAKE SURE I HAD A FIRM GRASP ON THE SITUATION.

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By gerard, January 11, 2010 at 5:59 pm Link to this comment

For Omygodnotagain:
What happened to the Goldstone Report and Carter is shameful, and I make no excuses for the U.S. My point is not to make excuses for the deplorable behavior of either Israel of the U.S.  My point is only to point out that there are peace-minded Palestinians and Israelis working on site together for years, proving that they can make peace, that they refuse to hate, to kill, to follow the party lines, that they are insisting upon building peaceful “settlements”  where it counts most—in the hearts of their children, attempting, and not entirely failing to maintain precious cells of sanity in the insane political environment of Israeli dominance and injustice. They deserve publicity, support and encouragement which they seldom get.  Enough said.
Addenda:  We have seemed quite capable of creating more than a few of “days of infamy” for the last 8 or 9 years.

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By omygodnotagain, January 11, 2010 at 3:59 pm Link to this comment

Gerard, there is a lot of truth in what you wrote, where the parallel falls down is when one sees what happened to President Carter when he wrote Peace Or Apartheid, or what happened to the Goldstone report.  Very serious, documented crimes against humanity, and Congress caved. That was a dark day for Representative Government in the US.
When our leaders bowed down to another flag… a day that will live in Infamy

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By gerard, January 11, 2010 at 3:33 pm Link to this comment

omygod notagain:  I don’t recomment reading things because they attract huge audiences but because they present clearly some aspects of critical problems that seldom appear elsewhere.  The two magazines I cited show Jewish/Arab groups who are making consistent eforts to settle the Israeli/Palestine conflict.  Both adamantly oppose Zionism and the occupation.  They deserve thoughtful consideration and support by any persons interested in peace and justice.

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By Night-Gaunt, January 11, 2010 at 2:17 pm Link to this comment

“Dreadful situation, this country run by another country’s extremists..because our leaders don’t want to be called names.”Omygodnotagain

I disagree with some of your conclusion. In a way the Messianic Christians want to convert Israel to their version of Messianic Judaism (anti-Judaism) but for different reasons from the Zionists of Israel who are for their country over the USA. The Christian Zionists (CZ) still consider themselves the new Jews but the old Jews they want to convert away from their 3,000 year old religion to their version. nd in a subordinate role too. The CZ also consider the USA to be the “New Israel.” A Right now Israel is an important component of the control the USA wants over the region so Israel is safe in that area.

They use each other certain they will not be fooled by the other to get what they want for themselves even if both think they can. Israel uses the USA for what they want but still know they can still move against USA interests when it clashes with their own. The USA , the crypto-fascists, want to end Judaism as it is (classified as genocide) but leave the people intact. But whatever happens the Israelis are for themselves and the USA’ers or for themselves. Don’t think one controls the other for a minute.

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By omygodnotagain, January 11, 2010 at 12:54 pm Link to this comment

Gerard
Lerner’s Tikkun has less influence than Ralph Nader does here in the big picture. The big money is with the media and financial Powerbrokers who are all Israel firsters.
Dreadful situation, this country run by another country’s extremists..because our leaders don’t want to be called names.

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By gerard, January 11, 2010 at 12:17 pm Link to this comment

Suggest some of you people whose main concern is Israel, Zionism and anti-Semitism etc., read Tikkun bi=monthly magazine out of L.A. edited by Michael Lerner, and/or newsletter out of Israel (online) The Other Israel.

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By Ed Harges, January 11, 2010 at 8:18 am Link to this comment

re: By omop, January 9 at 11:51 am:

Good God, omop. What a chilling piece of information you have pointed us to.

This is a whole new level in the steady Israel-ization of these once-free United States.

Americans, ever Israel’s docile servants, are to say to themselves, “Let’s not for a moment ask ourselves if we just might be safer
if we ceased to pursue a foreign policy centered on doing everything Israel demands of us! No, we can’t even consider that! That
would be anti-Semitic! Instead, we’ll all consent to living trapped in a high-tech, behavior-controlled environment, in which the
slightest thought-deviation will identify us a ‘security threat’ to be eliminated instantly and efficiently!”

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By Ouroborus, January 11, 2010 at 12:32 am Link to this comment

@ DBM, January 11 at 3:27 am
Yes, I’m as far away one can go without getting
closer again. wink

I’m a an old (as opposed to a young) curmudgeon and a
lot less kind towards the behavior of the government
allowed by my fellow Americans.
======================================
DBM, January 11 at 3:27 am
The only protests having an impact (and a limited one
at that) have been orchestrated by the donor
corporations and their Faux News lackeys.  They
simply represent the desires of the corporate elite
anyway.
======================================
That we can agree on.

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By Pat Henry, January 11, 2010 at 12:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You mentioned a “Factually challenged public”?  To me that’s spot-on!  Worse yet, it’s by choice.

We’ve become intentionally, willfully ignorant, unable to reason, contemptuous of genuine expertise, and because our so-called American exceptionalism
entitles us to make vital decisions “from the gut”; we think we can look into someone’s eyes or heart for guidance.  Mysticism trumps rational thought. 
When we think this way, how possibly will we be able to make our way in the world to come?

Politicians pander to our moral weakness while at the same time they profit from their position and cheat on their wives. 

Although I read Gibbon a half-century ago we seem to be on an historical track with our decline in the world.  Our trajectory reads like a Shakespearean
tragedy.  Our own fault, now inexorable, inevitable, and ... a done deal. 

We have free public education but we disrespect it and fail to take advantage of what most of the third world would die for.

Do we even deserve to survive?

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By DBM, January 10, 2010 at 11:27 pm Link to this comment

Well, my streets are a heck of a long way from the U.S. (as are yours I suspect given it is 2am in North America).

It is from a distance that I am suggesting that Americans today are neither stupid nor apathetic.  Rather they are confused and struggling to find ways to effect change.  The government seems impervious to voter pressure let alone protest.  The only thing that seems to have any effect is mountains of lobbyist / donor cash.

The only protests having an impact (and a limited one at that) have been orchestrated by the donor corporations and their Faux News lackeys.  They simply represent the desires of the corporate elite anyway.

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By Ouroborus, January 10, 2010 at 11:07 pm Link to this comment

DBM, January 11 at 1:20 am #
Ouroborus,

I’d suggest that the military have thought long and
hard about what you and people like you did so
effectively during the Vietnam War.  They are all set
up to prevent it happening ever again (that is,
bringing to bear broadly expressed negative public
opinion).  They have done this by all but outlawing
public protest (requiring permits, “free speech
zones”, etc.), infiltrating and harassing organising
groups and by carefully managing the media through
PR, “embedding”, the provision of stooge “experts”
etc.
=============================================
Addendum;
This part of your 1st paragraph is very telling; it
infers you’re already defeated. This speaks volumes
and may be the reason there is so much noise on the
internet forums and silence on the streets.

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By Ouroborus, January 10, 2010 at 10:01 pm Link to this comment

DBM, January 11 at 1:20 am
Ouroborus,

I’d suggest that the military have thought long and
hard about what you and people like you did so
effectively during the Vietnam War.  They are all set
up to prevent it happening ever again (that is,
bringing to bear broadly expressed negative public
opinion).  They have done this by all but outlawing
public protest (requiring permits, “free speech
zones”, etc.), infiltrating and harassing organising
groups and by carefully managing the media through
PR, “embedding”, the provision of stooge “experts”
etc.  Furthermore, and probably more effectively,
they will not bring back the draft.  It is better to
enlist the desperate and destroy them through
repeated and ever longer rotations than to risk
engaging the middle class.

I’ve no doubt you had a different set of challenges
during the Vietnam Era but it sure looks tough for
anyone in the U.S. to make a difference.
=========================================
During the VN war there were mass arrests; in D.C.,
if memory serves, Nixon had 10,000 protesters rounded
up and detained at just one demonstration. That did
not stop the protests.
Freedom has always come at a high price; I never
thought I’d live to see the day it was given away and
for what?
Are the last 9 years a demonstrable example of the
application of intelligence? With writers/reporters
like Hedges, Ritter, Gareth Porter, and Amy Goodman
nobody has any excuse not to be informed. The facts
are and have been out there for years.
I knew there were no WMD’s precisely because of Scott
Ritter, Hans Blix AND Mohamed Elbaradei, who were
actually there on the ground.
Building a case for American’s stupidity is no
challenge at all. Some say it was fear after 9/11,
but that’s just stupid. To not think is stupid. To
ignore facts is stupid. To ignore lies and the liars,
is stupid.
Today is January 11th, 2010 at 12 noon and nothings
changed except the color of our president. Peace.

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By DBM, January 10, 2010 at 9:20 pm Link to this comment

Ouroborus,

I’d suggest that the military have thought long and hard about what you and people like you did so effectively during the Vietnam War.  They are all set up to prevent it happening ever again (that is, bringing to bear broadly expressed negative public opinion).  They have done this by all but outlawing public protest (requiring permits, “free speech zones”, etc.), infiltrating and harassing organising groups and by carefully managing the media through PR, “embedding”, the provision of stooge “experts” etc.  Furthermore, and probably more effectively, they will not bring back the draft.  It is better to enlist the desperate and destroy them through repeated and ever longer rotations than to risk engaging the middle class.

I’ve no doubt you had a different set of challenges during the Vietnam Era but it sure looks tough for anyone in the U.S. to make a difference.

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By Inherit The Wind, January 10, 2010 at 9:15 pm Link to this comment

Gestapo-Marks:

Too bad we can’t all be part of the “Master Race” like you.

“Ven Hitler says ve are der master race,
Ve ‘Heil’ (phtttt!), ‘Heil’ (phttt!) right in der Fuhrer’s face!”—M*A*S*H

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By gerard, January 10, 2010 at 9:08 pm Link to this comment

Postscript for John Ellis:  The whole point of Ritter’s article is the same as your problem with what you think I believe:  the problem of “alternate universes.”
  You are insisting in spite of considerable evidence to the contrary that the universe of “faith” in “what you believe”—even though based mostly on wishful thinking—is “right.”  The same is exactly true of Ritter’s contention about Obama. Obama acts (and is willing to send people to their death) on the belief contrary to evidence that the problem in the Middle East is Al Qaeda, and therefore we can safely ignore much larger and more “real” problems like poverty, unemployment, lack of education, isolation, lack of communication, insularity, ancient tradition based on fear of outsiders, etc. etc.
  The world is fulll of “alternate universes” that are in need of considering each other respectfully and faithfully with the intention of reaching some reasonable agreements that will prevent them from ultimately clashing and killing each other.

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By gerard, January 10, 2010 at 8:49 pm Link to this comment

John Ellis, you say: “So by faith you (gerard) believe life has no purpose, we all are at the mercy of men most powerful, an environment most fragile, and a million years of evolution that has resulted in humans the most cruel and sadistic animals ever to inhabit the earth.  A very pessimistic and insecure frame of mind.”

First, this is not what I believe.
Second,you don’t know and cannot assume what I believe.
Third, it is presumptuous of you to assume.
Fourth, I have every right not to believe what you believe.
Fifth:  My beliefs are free to change on the basis of reasonable evidence, not hog-tied by doctrine,  incredibility and wishful thinking.
Sixth:  The danger of your beliefs is that holding onto them in spite of evidence to the contrary causes us more difficulty than necessary in coming to an agreement on any given problem.

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By Ouroborus, January 10, 2010 at 7:49 pm Link to this comment

DBM, January 10 at 11:18 pm #
A bit harsh perhaps Ouroborus ... refer my update of
January 10 at 8:21 pm

I would suggest “intellectually lazy to a normal
degree” rather than “stupid”.
==========================================
The truth isn’t always nice. Willful ignorance to the
degree evidenced by the past 9 years is criminal
negligence on the part of the population and the
price is being paid now. You can sugar coat it as you
like. But, all one has to do is look around to SEE
what is happening.
It may well be too late to “act”; but if people
stateside are so unhappy, why don’t they DO something
about it? I and many others did during the Viet Nam
war. What’s wrong with ya’ll?
I voted with my feet and left.

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By DBM, January 10, 2010 at 7:31 pm Link to this comment

Re:  Ouroborus
“What is the ultimate need at this time?
Understanding what’s going on in this country and
acting, all the rest is just noise.”

If you’re saying that stupidity is the only thing stopping action, I’m interested exactly what practical actions you recommend.

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By DBM, January 10, 2010 at 7:18 pm Link to this comment

A bit harsh perhaps Ouroborus ... refer my update of January 10 at 8:21 pm

I would suggest “intellectually lazy to a normal degree” rather than “stupid”.

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By Ouroborus, January 10, 2010 at 6:58 pm Link to this comment

DBM, January 10 at 8:29 pmWell, Ouroborus, please
explain how you define “this time of ultimate need”. 
I’d say that since the forming of the American
Republic there have been indeed times of ultimate
need.  The original revolution and the War of 1812. 
The American Civil War.  World War II.  These were in
one way or another times of existential crisis for
the country.  I actually agree that the country is
under existential threat just now but I suspect that
we disagree as to the source!

So tell us, what is the ultimate need at this time?
================================================
The source of the threat is stupid Americans;
Definition of stupid;
1 a : slow of mind : obtuse b : given to
unintelligent decisions or acts : acting in an
unintelligent or careless manner c : lacking
intelligence or reason : brutish
2 : dulled in feeling or sensation : torpid <still
stupid from the sedative>
3 : marked by or resulting from unreasoned thinking
or acting : senseless <a >
4 a : lacking interest or point. Source: Merriam-
Webster
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
What is the ultimate need at this time?
Understanding what’s going on in this country and
acting, all the rest is just noise.

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By liecatcher, January 10, 2010 at 6:03 pm Link to this comment

By Gmarks, January 10 at 12:57 pm #
ISRAEL _ TREASONOUS AMERICAN JEWS AND EVANGELICALS!!

Hey Gmarks:

Only things left to explain are how treasonous
Evangelicals are complicit & why Germany has a law
against denying the holocaust.
And, if you have time, do you think John Coleman’s book
“THE COMMITTEE OF 300” is accurate?

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By liecatcher, January 10, 2010 at 5:54 pm Link to this comment

Obama’s Alternate Universe Posted on Jan 8, 2010
By Scott Ritter

Hey Scott Ritter:

This article would’ve had more impact if you simply
told the truth
in as few paragraphs as possible. E.g., Bush3
continues with
perpetual wars to the complete neglect of what we
the people need.
The U.S. is beyond bankrupt. Unemployment continues
to rise.
More people losing their homes. The majority of
States are in deep
financial trouble & it’s getting worse.
So please tell your readership how, with Oligarchs &
fascists
running our government, it’s the fault of we the
people.

“...2010 will be a very bad year for the American
people,
and the world as a whole, simply because those who
can
make a difference are operating in an alternative
policy
universe governed by the self-serving interests of
those
who use politically induced fear as a mechanism of
placating a public oblivious to the fact that they
are
sleepwalking ever closer to a demise of their own
making.
For this we have no one to blame but ourselves.”

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By Pitt, January 10, 2010 at 5:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Like Bush, like Obama

http://www.light-to-dark.com/the_joy_of_dictatorship.html

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By DBM, January 10, 2010 at 4:29 pm Link to this comment

By Ouroborus, January 10 at 12:27 pm #
DBM, January 10 at 9:07 am

Sophomoric at best. Surely you can do better than that
in this time of ultimate need.
———
Well, Ouroborus, please explain how you define “this time of ultimate need”.  I’d say that since the forming of the American Republic there have been indeed times of ultimate need.  The original revolution and the War of 1812.  The American Civil War.  World War II.  These were in one way or another times of existential crisis for the country.  I actually agree that the country is under existential threat just now but I suspect that we disagree as to the source!

So tell us, what is the ultimate need at this time?

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By DBM, January 10, 2010 at 4:21 pm Link to this comment

John, I’m finding many of your posts difficult to make sense of and I’m sorry you feel like you are a third class citizen or something where even the trophy-worthy women of your class are leaving you hanging.  I’d like to think that is an especially gloomy take on things and that you have better days!!

However, I thought I’d respond to your comment directed directly at me and my attempt at satire ...

Re John Ellis, January 10 at 12:46 pm #

“DBM is of the opinion that a majority of voters are fooled into being terrorized by our Empire and its War on Terror.”

Not exactly.  What I actually think is that the majority of people don’t think too deeply about things and that they believe what it is easiest to believe.  So, if you were a slave-owner 150 years ago it was best to believe that africans were somewhat less human.  If you lived during the Cold War it was easy to believe that THEY were out to get you.  If you are rich then for the last 30 years it has been morally convenient to believe in trickle-down economics (I’ve had friends tell me that their consumption is the best form of charity ... and they believe it!). 

Now, with the American military raining destruction down on countries few know much about, will millions displaced, many thousands killed and maimed and with kidnapping, indefinite detention and torture commonplace it is convenient to believe that the Muslim religion is hellbent on destroying Western freedoms.  This saves thinking about any economic concerns, any energy resources, any colonial history and any Cold War manipulations that may have taken place in the past.  It is a convenient moral cover and many people (not evil in any way) are happy to accept it on face value rather than to examine their own motives and those of their elected leaders more closely.

So, it is not that people are stupid enough to be fooled.  It is that their false beliefs are easier to live with than the truth.

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By Erroll, January 10, 2010 at 4:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

FRTothus at Jan. 8 at 7:33

Extremely well said. As David Ray Griffin [as well as others] inquires in another one of his most informative and well written books [The Mysterious Collapse of World Trade Center 7: Why the Final Official Report about 9/11 is Unscientific and False], how was it remotely possible that that building was able to come down in 6.5 seconds, especially in light of the fact that it was not hit by an airplane? Could the molten metal at the base of the WTC towers and Building 7 be an indication that those buildings came down, as physicist Steven E. Jones persuasively argues in the book, due to explosions caused by controlled demolitions? And yet we have a seemingly intelligent person such as Scott Ritter [as well as those in the mainstream media] still refusing to question the Official Government’s Fairy Tale as to what occurred on Sept. 11, 2001.

“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”-George Orwell

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By gerard, January 10, 2010 at 3:02 pm Link to this comment

John Ellis:  Please consider this:  One thing mankind (and womankind) deserve is freedom from cant like “intelligent design” about which we know absolutely nothing except what can be twisted out of ancient, untranslatable texts, myths, musings and quarrelsome rants.

Sure, there is, was, will be “something out there” far beyond us, but to name it is to insult it by giving it silly little human limits like
“intelligence” and “design” and “God” or “Allah” or any one of the infinite number of words, words, words.  We know next to nothing, and the rest is silence. Furthermore, we don’t even use what we know wisely.  And on top of that, everybody thinks he or she is more right than others. The first step toward wisdom is to admit that we know nothing.

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By omygodnotagain, January 10, 2010 at 1:37 pm Link to this comment

John
That middle class you speak of is getting smaller and smaller, in a country where over 40 million people have no health insurance, where taxes are out of sight..
Federal taxes minimum 15%, State Taxes 8% property Taxes, Sales Taxes… the date this year one has to work to pay taxes is sometime in late May…
What benefits are we getting from these taxes… a phony war on terror, BS about a threat from Iran (that has no nuclear weapons, that signed the non proliferation treaty, that has invaded no-one in over 100 years) threatening a pariah nation Israel that does have hundreds of such weapons, has disregarded International Law and sees itself above it, has invaded other countries numerous times in the last 50 years and holds sway over an American Congress described by Former Senator Fritz Hollings at Israeli occupied territory.  Meanwhile, the chief of staff, virtually the entire finance team of the administration is run by Israelifront in Washington DC.. from Lieberman to Emmanual
By the way they are not that bright, I seem to remember General Franks describing Douglas Feith as “the stupidest f—-ing man in Washington”, and a lot of their “success” is criminal or ethically challenged like Michael Millikan or Bernie Madoff.. not to mention the under reported economic espionage episodes mentioned in the Stephen Rosen case, or the Franklin, Pollard spy cases.  Pretty shady people if you ask me..
Thats the real issue…

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By thecrow, January 10, 2010 at 12:24 pm Link to this comment

“So long as President Obama fails to recognize that there is no ‘war on terror’ for America to fight”

Is he really that obtuse, Mr. Ritter?

“because those who can make a difference are operating in an alternative policy universe governed by the self-serving interests of those who use politically induced fear as a mechanism of placating a public oblivious to the fact that they are sleepwalking ever closer to a demise of their own making”

Loads of cognitive dissonance in that sentence. The fearmongers aren’t so much “placating” the public as conditioning and controlling it, are they? So how can a deliberately infantilized public be responsible for its own demise?

Did the American public “sleepwalk” into Iraq?

What happened to you when you tried to expose the fraudulent justification for that war of aggression, Mr. Ritter?

Listen to the late Aaron Russo concerning the “War on Terror”. If 9/11 is a lie, how can its fruit be anything but poison?

http://michaelfury.wordpress.com/2008/09/24/as-wall-street-is-transformed-a-reminder-from-aaron-russo/

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By Night-Gaunt, January 10, 2010 at 11:42 am Link to this comment

Actually it is the Christian fundamentalists and corporatists in our gov’t that are behind this. They have a plan to drain the resources of our republic to fund an external empire and to set up the infrastructure for an internal one. Oh it is human, all too human but they are a minority. Unfortunately they own the majority of everything in our country but love and family. Though they say they own that too.

What we need to see is not what they tell us as to what they want in these adventures as to what they are really after. The “between the lines” reasons or endo-truth is the key factor. It is all part of a long term power play to gain control over this country & eventually the world. Don’t blame the Jews for that—-that is anti-Judaism indeed. This is the case of the tick taking the blood of the host and becoming stronger while it gets weaker. Eventually the tick will replace the host then go to other hosts to feed again. A parasite.

The GWOT is just a scare crow used to frighten us while the real criminality goes on unabated. The wars and lies must end.

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By gerardz3, January 10, 2010 at 10:42 am Link to this comment

Riteon,You Are!

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By gerard, January 10, 2010 at 10:34 am Link to this comment

Well, guys, I got news for you:  It ain’t the Jews.  It ain’t the Muslims.  It ain’t the Fundamentalists!  It ain’t even the Government. 

It’s the human race, discombobbolated as it is, what with selfishness all mixed up with generosity, cleverness wound around ignorance and greed, the ability to act without thinking—lots of stuff like that. 

There’s also the ability to learn, to empathize, to understand, to take responsible action, to keep one’s eye on the ball, to—well, you know how it is.

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By omygodnotagain, January 10, 2010 at 10:22 am Link to this comment

John Ellis, your post makes no sense, =many thoughtful intelligent people realize that there is A disproportionate control of finance, media and education. This is echoed by liberal Jews such as Reporter Phillip Weiss, ACLU attorney and Salon write Glenn Greenwald. It is not possible and no longer ethical to stand by and watch well meaning American men and women be killed and maimed to fulfil the nefarious purposes of Jewish Supremacists. They do not serve the interests of the citizens of the US. They have and will continue to undermine the principles and laws this country is built on

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By bozhidar balkas, vancouver, January 10, 2010 at 10:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“War on terror” appears undefined and undefinable. It is used because of the fact that it cannot be defined-explained-elucidated. For one thing, the label cannot be evaluated as true/false or right/wrong.

People who coin labels [a sort of namecaling which never elucidate any sit’n]such as iraq war or war on iraq, korean war, war on terror, etc., methinks, know the artifice.
My wife, eg, wld throw a shoe at me if i tried to tell her this.

Add to that another 100mn women, and u get the picture!A caveat, please! It is not women’s fault that they r disinterested in running own business.
They have been told over and over again that the business of running US affairs is none of their business.

Of course, one cld add also a 100mn men to that category of thinking.

Unlike, scott ritter, i do not conclude, that any US war had been waged w.o. purpose. Aren’t all wars waged solely for land? Riches only come from land and everyting on it and in it!

Since this simplicity cannot be further elucidated most or ?all columnists skirt this fact. Yes, i evaluate it as such.
And, as always, venture on a road of complexification of so many simplicities [which even a child wld instantly grasp] or go on and adduce guesses, wishes, peripheral facts, conclusions, etc.

Possibly knowing that no conclusion, condemnation, wish can be evaluated as true or false or right or wrong.

Making promises falls in that type of deception. Every priest and every pol knows he has to make promises; both ex- and imlicit.
It seems that most people do not espy an implicit promise.

What is voting but a tacit promise! A promise that if one changes a pol for another, improvement, peace, healthcare wld result. More cld be said! tnx

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By omygodnotagain, January 10, 2010 at 8:59 am Link to this comment

writeon,
you are aptly name, we are in the vicelike grip of an amoral monied elite, and they have control of nuclear weapons

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By Ouroborus, January 10, 2010 at 8:27 am Link to this comment

DBM, January 10 at 9:07 am

Sophomoric at best. Surely you can do better than that
in this time of ultimate need.

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By Peetawonkus, January 10, 2010 at 7:41 am Link to this comment

DBM,
Bravo.

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By ardee, January 10, 2010 at 5:24 am Link to this comment

stonejaxx, January 9 at 9:17 pm #

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it,
people will eventually come to believe it.”

Goebbels

In a nutshell this is the right wing political strategy.

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By ardee, January 10, 2010 at 5:22 am Link to this comment

DBM, January 10 at 9:07 am

Bravo! A brilliant satire and, sadly, I fear a wasted effort at sanity.

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By DBM, January 10, 2010 at 5:07 am Link to this comment

Warning: Sarcasm Alert!

This War on Terror has been spectacular success ... especially in the way it has been executed.  We should learn from the model.  There was a terrorist act in Kansas last year.  The terrorist was connected to organisations with a history of violence, property damage and even murder on a number of occasions.  So how should we deal with this?  You know the scenario, a lone gunman stalked into a church, walked up to one of the ushers that his organisation had a serious gripe with and shot him in the head.  He was a militant anti-abortionist who had been involved in lower level property damage, protest, harassment and stalking of doctors and women seeking abortions.  The organisations he was affiliated with were very well funded but secretive when it comes to the semi-legal and outright criminal activities (many of which are intended to terrorise people into adopting their position on abortion).

So, first thing, the perpetrator should be interrogated about who he meets with, works with, who might have known what he was going to do, who had engaged in lower level criminal activity with in the past and how his extended family was involved in the same movements.  Then all these people should also be arrested and put in prison, interrogated and their contacts arrested as well.  Then the funders of the anti-abortion organisations that they are involved with should be retrospectively termed terrorist organisations and all donors put on a list of dangerous individuals.  Large donors should be arrested, survellance done on all of them and their aquaintances added to the list.

Fortunately, this preventive effort might be in time rather than waiting for another 9/11.  A quick Google turns up 8 murders,  17 attempted murders, 383 death threats, 153 incidents of assault or battery, and 3 kidnappings committed against abortion providers over 20 years.  This is in addition to a concerted campaign of vandalism, arson, and bombings of abortion clinics.  Most importantly, it is clear that the intent has been to intimidate and terrorise.  It is only a matter of time before things escalate unless these preventative measures are taken.

I’m sure you agree that this is a most sensible course of action.  Anti-terrorism must be blind to fine distinctions like nationality, race and whether you believe that the terrorists may have a point or not.  Terror is terror and must be prevented before it happens.  Domestic terrorism is especially troubling as border protection does not prevent anything.  Most importantly, because most of the thousands of people that will the picked up in this process have not yet commited crimes, they must be kept away from the justice system, lawyers and any avenues of challenge for their detention.  Many can be released, but if some need to be kept out of circulation indefinitely it may be necessary to remove them off-shore (not to mention any that need enhanced interrogation).  Remember, it’s safety for the rest of us that is paramount.

It may be hard to find all these people.  What would be good would be a bounty system like the one used in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  Those bounties were about $5,000 but in the American economy an equivalent amount would be $100,000 or so.  Anyone who can turn over an anti-abortion terrorist should get the $100,000 and then no further questions asked (after all if you get the wrong person, you can keep them just to be sure).

Now, after the anti-abortionists, I suggest astart on White Supremecists.  Not to be racist we should go for minority activists as well.  Given the events of the last couple of years, I’d suggest the banksters and all their associates could use a bit of preventive detention as well ... let’s not forget the Europeans (especially the French of course), they’re sure to be trouble at some point in the future if we don’t act now.

Let me know if you see any problems with the plan ... we can elaborate on details later.

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By marcel, January 9, 2010 at 10:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Obama’s alternate universe:  soaring rhetoric is the only reality, reality itself is of no matter.

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By mrfreeze, January 9, 2010 at 10:16 pm Link to this comment

gerard - Thanks for your thoughtful response to my comment.

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By Ouroborus, January 9, 2010 at 8:33 pm Link to this comment

The problem…

Frederick Douglass;
Find out just what any people will quietly submit to
and you have found out the exact measure of injustice
and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these
will continue till they are resisted with either
words or blows, or with both.
=====================================
The solution…

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn;
“Don’t believe them, don’t fear them, don’t ask
anything of them.”
======================================
Simple

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By Angel Gabriel, January 9, 2010 at 6:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“The “war on terror” has the United States combing the world in search of enemies, and because American policymakers are responsive not to the reality that exists in the world today, but rather the perceptions of an American people largely ignorant of the world in which they live, and paralyzed by the fear such ignorance generates, there will always be countries and causes America will anoint as foe. “

Scott could have penned this single paragraph and been finished - it says it all about the “War of Terror” American’s are engaged in!

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By Terry, January 9, 2010 at 6:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The reward to American citizens for being competent enough to thwart the foreign crotch bomber allowed onto a plane by an incompetent government system, is to have our children end up with as high of a cancer rate as the children in the battle zones in Fallujeh now have:


American Academy of Radiology:

http://preview.tinyurl.com/y9s8ybw
“Mayo Clinic neuroradiologist Peter Kalina, M.D., FACR questions the use of even small doses of ionizing radiation in nonmedical applications. “The amount of radiation may be extremely small and safe, but parents have to grasp that their four-year-old child is being subjected to radiation. Some parents will be concerned,” he says.

Columbia University professor of radiation oncology and public health David J. Brenner, Ph.D., is uncomfortable with the mandatory scanning of untold thousands of pregnant women and children at airports every year. Brenner, an expert in low-dose radiation risk, embraces the ALARA principle that advocates use of radiation “As Low as Realistically Achievable.” Brenner notes that about 5 percent of the general population is radiosensitive, among them women who carry the BRCA1 and BRCA2 breast cancer genes, and individuals prone to ataxia telangiectasia, an inherited neurodegenerative disease that causes severe disability.

Kalina is concerned about a potential scenario in which a less-developed nation might adopt backscatter scanning technology, but fail to keep its scanners calibrated. “As a traveler,” he says, “I don’t know who’s checked that machine or equipment. Can I be sure there won’t be a larger dose of radiation coming from it?””
————————————

That concern should not be just reserved for third world airports since our western medical community is just beginning to grasp how exposure from medical scanning has been underestimated.

http://thehappyhospitalist.blogspot.com/2009/12/ct-scan-radiation-exposure-much-worse.html

http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/Safety/AlertsandNotices/ucm185898.htm
Safety Investigation of CT Brain Perfusion Scans: Update 12/8/2009
Date Issued: December 8, 2009

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By omop, January 9, 2010 at 5:40 pm Link to this comment

Obama may live in an Alternate Universe, but to the Afghans they have been
burying 3 children along with a number of adults a day for many a day according to
Antiwar.com.

According to another US website the following information is based on a Non
Alternate Universe of the US Department of Defense and the Associated Press.


US WAR SHEET
    Iraq   Afghanistan    
Days   2,488   3,016    
GIs Killed in Action   3,477   665   DoD
Non-Hostile GI Deaths   888   196   DoD
GIs Severely Wounded   13,893   2,772   DoD
Current Troop Deployment   124,000   68,000   AP , AP
Total Cost (approved through Sept 30, 2010)  $791 Bln   $269 Bln   AP
Cost Per Day (Avg)    $288 Mil   $82 Mil  
casualty status updated December 30, 2009

Whats needed at this crucial time is to undertake a world wide survey and determine whether “the US is still really hated or its a ploy by the infidels to stop selling us their oil and sell it to China”

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By Healy, January 9, 2010 at 5:36 pm Link to this comment

There never was a plan for any “victory” in either of our wars.  As the man said, we need to become the change we are seeking.  As a society we have so far to go.  I believe the process begins with each of us.  My latest column is “ROBERT HEALY: Let’s have a healthy dose of compassion in 2010”

We can all become the change we seek.  We just need a place to start…

http://www.hpe.com/pages/full_story/push?article-ROBERT+HEALY-+Let’s+have+a+healthy+dose+-of+compassion+in+2010 &id=5500011&instance=latest_articles

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By stonejaxx, January 9, 2010 at 5:17 pm Link to this comment

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it,
people will eventually come to believe it.”

Goebbels

“war on terror, war on terror, war on terror, war on
terror, war on terror, war on terror…”

Cheney

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By Grasshopper Alec Kaplan, January 9, 2010 at 5:10 pm Link to this comment

thanks for a great analysis, Scott, and thanks for quitting your post investigating for “WMD”, which i used to think stood for white man’s disease, ...just a thought
i want to comment about how your thesis is sound and supported by the facts as we are able to ascertain them, even with the likes of Judith Miller to assist…
of course, i am of the mind, after much investigating, to believe without a doubt, that 9-11-01 was a fake, false-flag, inside job, controlled demolition, which, like the so-called underwear bomber, or the Gaza invasion/murders of last year by Israel, that these were allowed to happen, in fact encouraged. WE needed 9-11 to push through these Patri-Riot Act legislations unread, which would have been unthinkable only days before.
Also, China got lots of steel out of the deal.
The buildings- three of them, including the little mentioned Building 7, were brought down in a series of controlled demoltion explosions set to coincide, although not too closely, with the so-called attack, the event whereby airplanes hit these buildings; but the airplanes obviously did not bring these three buildings down; perhaps the original plan had called for another airplane to hit Building 7, but the lack thereof didn’t stop it’s demolition.  I’m not a scientist or a biostitute claiming the earth to be cooling, but my understanding of the event is that there were a series of Thermite/thermate charges planted at 30 foot segments throughout the buildings to be demolished, and these charges set to go off in sequence basically sliced the steel through electrochemical powers into short segments convenient to be quickly shipped out- which was removal of the evidence from the crime scene- oh well.  Of course, they also had to first blow out the subbasements, accomplished through microwave pulse bombs, like little earthquakes, that had to get the obstacle of the bottom of the building out of the way so the rest of it could neatly fall down into its own footprint at nearly freefall speeds…

hey, don’t believe me; check it out for yourself; read David Ray Griffin,  listen to Bonnie Faulkner’s Guns and Butter show Wednesdays on KPFA, and watch footage of the event; you can see the squibs, the sideways explosions, that indicate the bombs inside detonating; and then, most dammingly, the powdered bone shards spewed onto the roofs of buildings across the street, the pulverization of concrete, the neatness of the fall into their own footprints, these are telltale signs of controlled demoliton; compare footage of, say the pull of the Geneva towers to the event, how similar it seems…

Sadly, the wool has been pulled over our sheaple’s eyes, and the intense psychology of patriotism will appear to triumph over Gaia-ism for some time in this terrorized country;
however, your basic thesis stands even without the horrific truth of the fake false flag
WE the people stand terrorized and benumbed by our so called leaders whom are driving us down into the sinkhole, claiming it will be good to have a cesspool for a planet, and that ‘s what they are giving us, and we’ll end up being happy to at least have that, instead of direct torture and terror all the time, we can just be happily , comfortably numb.

anyway, thanks for a great article, should be required reading for all kindergarteners, as well as politicians whom i’ve yet to see make any useful decisions that qualify as leadership; what would be really great is if Amy Goodman were president…

http://www.myspace.com/thegrasshoppersongs

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By gerard, January 9, 2010 at 4:33 pm Link to this comment

MrFreeze:  The media is bought by the corporate/governmental syndicate, and has been for some years increasingly unable to present accurate public information.  They have long since given up their commitment to honesty and their revulsion against manipulation and propaganda. That’s a very sad fact.  However:
  It sometimes occurs to me that perhaps the media is the “softest” target around for reform and renovation.  Print, radio and TV are rapidly giving way to electronic distribution of everything but the kitchen sink ragarding “information” and “propaganda.”  Journalism has got lost in the shuffle, and yet that is the word that embodies what democratic people need minimally, in order to maintain a democracy.
  At the same time, it is hard to believe that every journalist is corrupt, has given up hope in honest, unbiased, researched reporting and thinks of himself as only a corrupt peddlar of corrupt information and opinion.  Among those, there surely are contacts with related associations who would rise to the occasion of a broadly backed public effort to “take over” the media at least to the extent that it could not be bought by advertising—and need not because it could be funded by—subscribers, grants, educational foundations. 
  Perhaps it could not be restructured in its present profusion, but at least it might be restored minimally, which would serve as a foundation for accuracy and broad-minded research.  (After all, the country needs only a few honest, multiple-viewpoint, nonideological examples to bring the others into question. 
  Just a thought, when casting about for points at which huge problems might be attacked successfully by organized public opinion and public action.

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By take, January 9, 2010 at 3:16 pm Link to this comment

“The continued refusal of the United States to address the issue of Palestine and the Palestinians in a manner that reflects the reality of the situation on the ground, rather than the situation that exists inside Washington, as manipulated and interpreted by Israeli interests, means that the tension and unrest this issue generates will never be resolved.”

Scott Ritter is not the only smart guy in America, but he is one of the very few who dare to speak the truth. Scott is a great American to me. I respect him very much.

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By Tony Wicher, January 9, 2010 at 2:59 pm Link to this comment

Obama Flubs His First Bay Of Pigs Moment As Terror Moles Escape Purge

by Webster G. Tarpley
http://www.tarpley.net
January 5, 2010

Washington DC , January 5, 2010 — Obama’s speech this afternoon was an incongruous performance. On the one hand, he angrily detailed a catastrophic breakdown in US intelligence procedures leading to the near-massacre of hundreds of airline passengers in the skies over Detroit on Christmas Day. On the other hand, there was no purge of the corrupt, complicit, and incompetent officials who had made this incident possible. No firings were announced. No heads rolled. The rogue network or invisible government of treasonous and subversive moles inside the US government which is behind the Detroit incident, and so many other incidents, remained untouched once again.

Wolffe on MSNBC: “Cock-Up Or Conspiracy?”
The expectation that Obama might actually do something to combat the rogue network across US government institutions which inflicts terrorism on the American people and the world had been raised the night before in an interview by Washington journalist Richard Wolffe on Keith Olbermann’s MSNBC Countdown program. Wolffe, citing high-level White House officials, had reported that there was an investigation into whether the security lapses leading to the Detroit Christmas incident had been intentional and deliberate, and thus the products of conscious sabotage. Wolffe had stated: “It seems that the president is leaning very much towards thinking this was a systemic failure by individuals who maybe had an alternative agenda.The question there is again, cock up or conspiracy. Was there a reason these agencies were at war with each other that prevented that intelligence from being shared?” (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036677/#34694889) The goal, summarized Olbermann, was either a “turf war” or else the desire “to make somebody [Obama] look bad.” In reality, the goals involve a domestic police state and foreign geopolitical adventures.

Wolffe’s report had suggested that at least some firings were in the offing for officials responsible for the failure to stop Umar Farouk Mutallab from boarding his flight from Amsterdam to Detroit , despite the cascade of red flags associated with this particular patsy. But in his speech, Obama did not lay a glove on the invisible government forces which stage false flag terror incidents to manipulate public opinion and politics in the direction of increased totalitarianism at home and aggression abroad. Obama talked about what he would not tolerate, and about accountability in the abstract, but did not provide any concrete retribution to make moles think twice about future actions. Even David Gergen, the former White House official who faithfully represents the oligarchical point of view, told Wolf Blitzer on CNN that he considered it virtually inconceivable for Obama to make such a speech without firing some failed officials.

(continued below)

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By Tony Wicher, January 9, 2010 at 2:58 pm Link to this comment

Tarpley article (continued from above)

The Bay Of Pigs, 1961 – A Distant Mirror For Obama
Obama’s situation offers certain parallels to the experience of John F. Kennedy in the Bay of Pigs invasion of April 1961. Upon entering office, Kennedy had been convinced by Allen Dulles and Richard Bissell of the CIA to support an invasion of Cuba , which the CIA promised would lead immediately to an insurrection throughout the island and thus to the overthrow of Fidel Castro. Instead, the invasion was a catastrophic failure and humiliation for the United States and for Kennedy personally. When Kennedy came into office, he had been inclined to work closely with operatives like Allen Dulles and Bissell, who personified the rogue network in its then-current form. Helped along — according to some accounts — by General Douglas MacArthur, Kennedy realized that the geopolitical forces behind and above the presidency which were seeking to use him for their own ends were also more than willing to ruin him politically and to cast him aside as an expendable puppet at the first opportunity. Over time, this led to Kennedy’s deep and abiding mistrust of the rogue elements dominating the Pentagon, the CIA, the FBI, and other elements of the US government — a mistrust which allowed Kennedy to resist the lunatic proposals for general war advanced by the rogue elements during the Cuban missile crisis. In the short run, Kennedy’s Bay of Pigs experience impelled him to fire Allen Dulles, Richard Bissell, and CIA deputy director Charles Cabell within less than a year after the failed invasion. Obama needs to imitate Kennedy’s response, on the fast track.

Today, the breakdown crisis of the Anglo-American world system is far more acute than anything Kennedy had to face. Obama needs to muster something more than mere impotent rage about what is happening to himself. If Obama wants to avoid the disastrous outcomes for himself and the country which are now clearly delineated, he will need to mount an ambitious purge of subversive and treasonous moles inside the federal bureaucracy, along with the incompetents, time servers, and bunglers who are happy to play along with the rogues.

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By Tony Wicher, January 9, 2010 at 2:55 pm Link to this comment

Tarpley article (continued from above)

Who Obama Should Fire

Almost any of the twenty-odd officials who attended Obama’s special meeting in the White House today could be candidates for ouster for reasons of incompetence or worse. One obvious choice would be Michael E. Leiter, the head of the National Counter-Terrorism Center , which has the responsibility of integrating all the information from 16 agencies which was so obviously not integrated in the Mutallab case. Another might be Leiter’s boss Dennis C. Blair, the Director of National Intelligence or intelligence czar created after 9/11. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is widely discredited, and has lost the confidence of the American people through her interviews if nothing else. Napolitano is also the keeper of the no-fly list, on which Mutallab needed to be listed, but was not. Hillary Clinton’s State Department failed to revoke Mutallab’s US entry visa after the Nigerian’s father warned the US Embassy in Nigeria about his son’s visit to Yemen — an outrageous lapse, or a deliberate sabotage. Leon Panetta’s CIA also had that information, and failed to make sure it was acted on. Gen. James Jones, the head of the National Security Council, is responsible for the overall coordination of the government, which in this case was substandard. FBI Director Robert Muller’s agents are up to their usual tricks of suppressing evidence in regard to the well-dressed Indian and the man in orange on the Detroit flight reported by an eyewitness, the Detroit attorney Kurt Haskell. (See http://www.mlive.com/news/detroit/index.ssf/2009/12/flight_253_passenger_kurt_hask.html) Firing any of these failed or complicit officials would be a good start.

If Obama continues to punt on real accountability, the rogue network will conclude that he is indeed the weakling and pushover which French President Sarkozy and others have suspected him to be. In that case, the handwriting will be on the wall for new world catastrophes.

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By doublestandards/glasshouses, January 9, 2010 at 2:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

http://www.truthout.org/1091012McGovern

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By mrfreeze, January 9, 2010 at 2:11 pm Link to this comment

gerard - Thanks for that. I have no problem with a critical analysis of President Obama. The TRAGEDY is that Americans seem comfortable living in denial regarding the Media’s (and their own) enabling of the last incompetent administration. WHERE WAS ALL THIS CONCERN ABOUT PRESIDENT BUSH??? WHERE WERE THE PRETERNATURALLY NEGATIVE HEADLINES 24/7?

Another problem is an inability of Americans to put some very daunting issues in perspective and, at the same time, accept some embarrassingly bad journalism on the part of the Media.

The current “underwear bomber” story would have been on page 4 of an analysis of GWB. Today’s Media grinds out a story about “a lack of proper response” by President Obama and parades an army of critics on the airwaves, 24/7,yet, GWB received no such criticism.

The Media allows pundits to denigrate President Obama because he “didn’t use the bully pulpit” to call out the “Islamofascists, etc….” and yet these same critics cried foul and “indoctrination” when the President was slated to address school children….

Let’s be honest here: “Obama’s Alternative Universe?” It’s yet another shallow, back-handed headline that reveals more about the ineptitude of the Media and the lack of an educated public.

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By Healy, January 9, 2010 at 2:00 pm Link to this comment

It is a silly notion at this point for anyone to talk about there being any “victory” in either of these wars we are in.  There was never any plan for “victory.”  It has been entirely about “redrawing the map of the Middle East” to ensure that the corporate “we” will continue to keep control of the vital resources of the region.

Societally, we have so far to go.  I believe the process begins with each of us.  My latest column is in the High Point Enterprise, “ROBERT HEALY: Let’s have a healthy dose of compassion in 2010”

We can all become the change we seek.  We just need a place to start…

http://www.hpe.com/pages/full_story/push?article-ROBERT+HEALY-+Let’s+have+a+healthy+dose+-of+compassion+in+2010 &id=5500011&instance=latest_articles

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By keepyourheaddown, January 9, 2010 at 1:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

only a matter of time until the nuclear bombs go off…
and make no mistake about it will happen…
it is totally unavoidable…

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By gerard, January 9, 2010 at 1:21 pm Link to this comment

Mr. Freeze:  Several reasons:
1.  Disappointment.  Many expected better from Obama than “more of the same.”
2.  Trying to understand why Obama is pretty much “more of the same.”
3.  Tryng to figure out what to do about it.
4.  Trying to vent disappointment, anger, rage.
5.  Trying to reach the governmental “center of gravity” which has made itself unreachable by secrecy, threat and pandering to a rich elite.
6.  Trying to encourage media to do more “investigative reporting” and to honestly treat the grave problems we face with broader viewpoints, less pandering to “business as usual” and “official mandates.”
7.  Trying to understand a complicated world by integrating what information they have.
8.  Trying.

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By mrfreeze, January 9, 2010 at 12:30 pm Link to this comment

Why is it that headlines such as this are so prevalent during this administration but seemingly non-existent during the 8 years of GWB incompetence? There isn’t a nano-second that passes in the Media today that isn’t uber-reporting every detail of this administration’s actions. What I can’t understand is that most of the “reporting” is usually a knee-jerk headline followed by weeks of speculation, half-truths, innuendo, mind-reading (“the president obviously believes”) and the bearing of false witness/es.

Would someone please explain?

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By Euphis, January 9, 2010 at 12:23 pm Link to this comment

I would like to approach this from a different angle.

The American cultural and political landscape is
weighed down by it’s own self-defeating dogma. It’s national identity seems to be always rooted in
the presence of some insidious moral antagonist.
Be it trough opposition to the English King, a battle of ideas with the quaint confederates
or the elusive and conniving “Commie”. There seems to be a deep-rooted
cultural need to overcome and reinvent oneself in
times of national “peril”, by achieving catharsis
after some mythical moral victory. This utopianism is
at the core of the American psyche and is of course the driving force behind the creation of the U.S.A. Because of this strong ethical, historical and cultural awareness, every perceived threat aligns with all the historical transformative events in which “evil” was overcome, right down to the Revolutionary War.
This gives rise to a powerful narrative, so much so
that it’s a blueprint for collective cooperation in the public sphere (and for film-making actually).

It would be naive to assume that the war in
Afghanistan and Iraq is fought on the liberal grounds
described above. There are real, actual geopolitical
strategic an tactical goals to be met in these
regions. Just as the conflict with George III was about taxation whereby freedom from oppression was a justification. The current entrenchment is the expression of the inability to formulate a fitting justification. Aside from that, as I pointed out the
American myth also serves certain social goals while at the same time serving as the basis for the current foreign policy. Utilizing national identity as a driving force for war is therefore quite problematic, as touched upon by Ritter. Furthermore, trying to affect any enduring meaningful change is really going to rock the boat and would probably entail political suicide by the hand of either the public/media or/and opposing power structures (in some cases actually lethal).

I’m commenting from a European viewpoint and would
like to point out that we are experiencing similar
problems with policy/politics, which all stem from
the same inherent nihilism contained in the now dominant
liberal worldview.

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