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A Choice Between Peace and Peril

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Posted on Feb 23, 2009
AP photo / Hasan Sarbakhshian

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at a ceremony in Iran’s nuclear enrichment facility in Natanz.

By Chris Hedges

(Page 2)

The destruction of Iraq as a unified state has left Iran the power broker in the Middle East. This was the result of our handiwork and the misguided militarism of Israeli politicians such as Netanyahu. Iran, like it or not, holds the power to decide the outcome of several conflicts that are vital to American security. It has enormous influence with Hamas and Hezbollah and can accelerate or diminish the conflict between Israel and these groups. It and the U.S. are now the major outside forces in Iraq. The Shiite-led Baghdad government consults closely with Iran and for this reason has told the Iranian resistance group the MEK that it has 60 days to leave Iraqi territory and may see its leaders arrested and tried for war crimes. Once American forces leave Iraq, it is Iran, more than any other nation, that will determine the future of any Iraqi government. And, finally, Iran has for centuries been embroiled in the affairs of Afghanistan. It alone has the influence to stabilize the conflict, one that increasingly threatens to spill over into Pakistan. Afghan politicians have sharply criticized the Iranian government for deporting more than 30,000 Afghans who had fled to Iran since October. Many, unable to find work or return to their villages, have signed up to fight for the Taliban, according to U.S. intelligence reports.

Iran has endured our covert support for armed militant groups from the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK or MKO) to the Free Life Party of Kurdistan to the repugnant Jundullah, also known as the Army of God, a Sunni fundamentalist group that operates with U.S. support out of Pakistan. Jundullah has carried out a series of bombings and ambushes inside Iran. The militant group has a habit of beheading Iranians it captures, including a recent group of 16 Iranian police officials, and filming and distributing the executions. Iran has coped with nearly three decades of sanctions imposed by Washington. The U.S. support for the militant groups and the sanctions, meant to help change the regime in Tehran, have failed.

There is a lot riding on whom President Obama names as his special envoy to Iran. If, as expected, it is Dennis Ross, a former official of AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, we will be in deep trouble. Ross, who is expected to be placed in charge of the Iranian portfolio this week, is a vocal supporter of Israel’s call for increased pressure on Iran. He is distrusted, even despised, in the Muslim world and especially in Tehran. With good reason, he is not viewed as an impartial broker.

Ross has called for more draconian sanctions against Iran, something Russia or the five companies that provide Iran’s refined petroleum products are not likely to support. (The companies include the Swiss firm Vitol, the French giant Total and the Indian firm Reliance.) Ross backs the covert support for proxy groups and, I would assume, the alleged clandestine campaign by Israel’s intelligence agency, Mossad, to assassinate Iranian nuclear scientists. Mossad is rumored to be behind the death of Ardeshire Hassanpour, a top nuclear scientist at Iran’s Isfahan uranium plant, who died in mysterious circumstances from reported “gas poisoning” in 2007, according to the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph. “Other recent deaths of important figures in the procurement and enrichment process in Iran and Europe have been the result of Israeli ‘hits,’ intended to deprive Tehran of key technical skills at the head of the program, according to the analysts,” the paper reported.

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It remains unmentioned that Israel, which refused to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty—signed by Iran—is in possession of 200 to 300 nuclear warheads, perhaps the single most important factor in the Middle East nuclear arms race.

“For the US to shape a peaceful relationship with Iran will be difficult under any circumstances,” Stephen Kinzer, author of “All the Shah’s Men,” wrote recently. “If the American negotiating team is led by Ross or another conventional thinker tied to dogmas of the past, it will be impossible.”

Obama has an opportunity to radically alter the course we have charted in the Middle East. The key will be his administration’s relationship with Iran. If he gives in to the Israel lobby, if he empowers Ross, if he defines Iran as the enemy before he begins to attempt a negotiated peace, he could ignite a fuse that will see our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan evolve into a regional conflagration. This may be the most important decision of his presidency. Let’s pray he does not blow it.


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By wadosy, February 24, 2009 at 1:55 am Link to this comment

nice to see you guys expressing such contempt for netanyahu… but doesnt that make you a wee bit uneasy…?

...seeing as how netanyahu embodies the philosophy of israel’s founding fathers, and all…

the next thing we know, you’ll be admitting israel was a horrible mistake, and you’ll be asking yourselves if you can “fight the good fight” in defense of a bad idea.

wobbly wobbly wobbly?

or just faking it, again?

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By colin2626262, February 24, 2009 at 1:18 am Link to this comment

Chris,

Some of your articles are pessimistic, predicting the worst and imagining a doomsday scenario.  Those articles present a sort of paranoid vision of the world.  However, in this case, there’s a reason to fear the worst.  If the U.S. or Israel goes to war with Iran, it really could be doomsday.  As you’ve written before about this issue, the entire Middle East could explode, and the repercussions would be felt worldwide.

I love the way you ended your article here.  You said, “let’s pray.”  Not everyone takes prayer seriously.  Prayer is a mystical thought that leads to peace in this world and the next.  It’s time more people truly believe in the power of prayer.  And we in America have to set the example.  As you said, Israel needs America’s support.  Another war cannot happen.  We can’t let it happen.  Our souls depend on keeping our country out of another war.  We can’t have another Iraq.  That can’t happen again. 

It must be remembered, of course, that there’s hatred on all sides, or, if not hatred, suspicion, a deadly form of suspicion that could lead to war.  Israel proved itself to be guilty of war crimes in the New Year’s attack on Gaza.  But that doesn’t mean all Jews support killing and oppressing the Palestinians.  Yet there’s hatred against Jews all over the Middle East.  The Holocaust is denied.  Iran’s leaders talk about wanting to see the Zionist regime disappear.  So it can’t be said that one side is innocent and the other is not.

The truth is, only God is innocent.  We’re the ones who are guilty.  All of us.  Why?  Why are we guilty?  I’ll tell you why.  Because we haven’t prayed enough.  We don’t have enough faith.  We’re not willing to give all of ourselves to God.  And that’s what we need to do to stop the next war from happening.

Demonstrations, protests, people taking to the streets in mass opposition—that’s what has to happen if the U.S. decides it wants to get embroiled in another war like the Iraq war.  Our souls are in judgment right now.  Right now.  We’re being judged this very moment.  What we think, and what we do.  We’re being watched.  By God. 

We only have one chance at life here.  Then we’ll be dead.  Soon enough, we’ll have to leave the world.  And we’ll have to account for our lives.  What we did.  And what we didn’t do.  The first, and the most important, step is to pray.  Ask God to help us do what is in our power in order to follow the will of the One who gave us life.

Oh Lord, Oh God.  Oh, please help us.  Oh God, be merciful.  I lift up my hands to you in prayer.  I ask that your peace may reign in the hearts and the souls and minds and the bodies of all the beings of this earth, in all the nations of this earth, so that we may live together, and, in the words of the Scripture, love one another.  Forever, and ever.

Amen

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By sns, February 24, 2009 at 12:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

hedges once again further proves that his research is at best shoddy. iran is too dangerous radical unhinged a nation to treat lightly. apologies to the innocent people of iran, but the government is a liability to the planet.

i know many iranians who would love nothing more that to topple the current iranian regime, including iranian students in iran.

hedges please keep your lowgrade opinions to yourself and more importantly i think truthdig should have am higher quality editorial staff. this is crackpot ramblings. not serious journalism.

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By geronimo, February 23, 2009 at 10:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Jewish & Christian Zionists In America Have Dual Loyalties

“In what way?”

“The Zionists keep pressuring our government to support Israel, even though they know that U.S. support for that settler-state poses a serious risk to us here in America.”

“Based on?”

“9/11.”

“Which makes the Zionists?”

“Unpatriotic.”

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By Sepharad, February 23, 2009 at 9:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Inherit—Am with you on all three points, which you have made other times on other threads, but don’t hold your breath waiting for anyone else to admit they’re pretty much compatible with Hedges’ drift. I don’t even know why some of the tdiggers NEED articles to comment on—their minds and conspiracy theories are already hardened. They’ve got their talking points to get through. At least Tao Walker offers some honest pessimism. But as I have children and a couple grandchildren I don’t feel like I have the luxury of giving up the good fight, as much as I’d like to sometimes.

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By SYED WARIS SHERE, February 23, 2009 at 9:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The latest satellite launch represents a forward step in Iran’s apparent quest to be both
nuclear capable and at the same time able to deliver a warhead on target. Iran has now joined
the club who have a presence in space. The satellite Iran put in orbit has heightened concerns
in Washington and elsewhere about Iran’s nuclear ambitions. “They want a nuclear weapon to
defend their territory, defend their government. They live in a very tough neighborhood. They
are surrounded by nuclear states - Russia, China, Pakistan, India. And, too, Israel and the
United States,” The Ploughshares Fund, President Joseph Cirincione explains. But at the White
House, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs framed Iran’s space launch as potentially aggressive. “This
action does not convince us that Iran is acting responsibly to advance stability or security in
the region,” he said. Any U.S. attack would propel into overdrive and lock in an America -
bating Islamic Republic for the next half-century and from Basra through Kabul to Paris
suburbs, Muslim rage would erupt, says Roger Cohen of New York Times. In the final analysis
only President Barack Obama can overcome the gridlock and that requires a solemn declaration
that the United States recognizes and no longer seeks to destablize the Islamic republic,
concludes Cohen.

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By Inherit The Wind, February 23, 2009 at 9:04 pm Link to this comment

Y’know, I have said repeatedly three things:

1) The USA lost a GOLDEN opportunity to make peace with Iran when the butthead, Dumbya, rebuffed Iran’s offer to help us in Afghanistan.  I have always said that Bush was criminally insane to promptly declare Iran part of the Axis of Evil.

2) I utterly detest Binyamin Netanyahu and his policies and believe he is terrible for both Israel and the Palestinians.

3) I have also been castigated for saying that Israel and Iran are natural allies and should find a way to get back to what’s best for both.

Yet this article is pretty damn compatible with these three points.

For which I have been called an ignorant boob and worse.  NOW everyone who generally attacks me is endorsing pretty much the same POV I have, or at least a compatible one.

Maybe I’m not such an ignorant lout after all.

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By Claus-Erik Hamle, February 23, 2009 at 6:40 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

16 US Intelligence Agencies say that Iran isn´t pursuing nuclear weapons. The UN inspectors in Iran say there´s no evidence that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons. ZERO EVIDENCE. Obama and Gates say that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons. Are they mad ? With no evidence the UN sanctions are ILLEGAL. If Israel/United Bluff go to war with Iran it will only be because of MADNESS and ISRAELI PROPAGANDA. Make no mistake: It will be a war of a hundred years and we´ll be back in 1932 economically.

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By Virginia777, February 23, 2009 at 6:38 pm Link to this comment

Answer to Rosemary’s question:

“Where is the anti-war movement?”

It was side-tracked by the Save Darfur movement, which is very suspect now.

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By cyrena, February 23, 2009 at 6:29 pm Link to this comment

By KDelphi, February 23 at 1:08 pm #
To people who are such avid Pres. Obama supporters, tell him that Dennis Ross is a TERRIBLE idea!

Well KDelphi,

As I read along through the article, becoming more and more dismayed re:Dennis Ross, I would have to agree with you, that ‘avid Pres. Obama supporters” –ALONG WITH EVERYONE ELSE? –MAYBE?- HOPEFULLY? – should make sure he knows that Dennis Ross is a TERRIBLE choice for such a job. I’m not sure why you think only ‘avid Pres Obama supporters’ should make that known to him, but then….maybe I do. That ‘them/us’ mentality is a hard thing to refocus.

Be that as it may, it IS a terrible idea, and as I read, I wondered how or why Chris mentions this as a possibility. He doesn’t reference anything, or link to anything that would make us suspect or anticipate that Barack Obama will in fact select Dennis Ross for this position, and he’s very careful (Chris) to use the ‘if’, but also speaks as if it is a ‘done deal’.

How does he know? Maybe that’s what worries me. Obviously he has some political whiffs in the air that AIPAC et al are no doubt PUSHING HARD for Ross as a selection, so maybe Chris ‘assumes’ it as a given, just because that’s AIPAC’s determination. Just as it was the neocons hard line determination to put John Bolton at the UN all those years to protect Israel from being dealt with by the International Community. And, despite the fact that the Senate refused to confirm him to the position, AIPAC found a way for GWB to push him through ANYWAY, via the backdoor of a Congressional recess.
Based on the fact that this DESTRUCTIVE ROGUE CABAL is STILL FIRMLY ENTRENCHED in the political apparatus/bureaucracy, (Dick Cheney just issued another threat to ya’ll a couple of weeks ago – did ya think he was gone??) this is a HUGE PROBLEM, (Ross) IF in fact Obama actually is considering him. So, as soon as I have some evidence of that, I’ll get my missive off, and follow up every few hours.

But if there is no indication, (even a very slim one at best) that President Obama is planning this, then I’m gonna be pissed at Chris – AGAIN, for stirring up the bearers of torches and pitchforks.

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By thebeerdoctor, February 23, 2009 at 6:03 pm Link to this comment

When Helen Thomas asked Barack Obama what country in the Middle East had nuclear weapons, the new President refused to give an answer.

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By AFriend, February 23, 2009 at 5:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

omniadeo,

You should read the public NIE’s, congressional committee reports and the numerous DOD and State Dept. intelligence products for yourself.

Mr. Hedges makes some significant mistakes in his basic premise due to some painfully low quality research on his part.

I have read these reports myself. You should too.

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By Paolo, February 23, 2009 at 5:05 pm Link to this comment

Non-Interventionism is the way!

Another fine article by Chris Hedges.

It is obvious the Israeli lobby and their supporters in the US Congress (that is, about 95 percent of them) want to stir up a war with Iran. Before this can happen, Iranians have to be de-humanized and made to seem like monsters, to give our mind-numbed, public-schooled populace the will to start yet another unnecessary war.

The fear and hate campaign has to get underway!

To inoculate yourself against this nonsense of Iran being a threat to the US, try reading an excellent recent article about the Iranian people themselves (not necessarily their political leaders).

The real tragedy of the “Iranian Monster” campaign is that the Iranian people themselves are, taken as a whole, extraordinarily friendly, are great hosts, and are extremely moral and honest. If the US leadership would but show any sign of friendship, Iran would welcome discussion and cooperation immediately.

But the Israeli Lobby and US politicians simply will not allow that to happen. So much easier just to crank up the war machine and obliterate them, rather than actually have to talk to them.

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By wadosy, February 23, 2009 at 4:29 pm Link to this comment

do you think they ever changed their goddamned minds?

they became looters, which suits everyone just fine.

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By wadosy, February 23, 2009 at 3:56 pm Link to this comment

what if everyone knows, in the back of their head, that the whole thing has been a mistake.

what if everyone knows that it’s not worth fighting an inevitablity.

what if everyone is a victim, they realize they’re victims, and the only thing they can think of doing is to ride it into the ground?

the rebels of the sixties joined the system, because it was the only game in town.

do you think they ever changed their minds about the system?

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By Rosemary Molloy, February 23, 2009 at 3:40 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Where is the anti-war movement?

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By wadosy, February 23, 2009 at 3:28 pm Link to this comment

i’m really sorry, but…

these slimebags tell us what they’re gonna do, then they do it.

and we’re supposedly unable to connect the goddamned dots.

WTF?

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By Ed Harges, February 23, 2009 at 3:11 pm Link to this comment

Regarding the post By wadosy, February 23 at 12:12 pm:

Wadosy: the best original source for that Wikipedia info (about the fact that Sharon set up an operation to manufacture fake intel to lie the American people into war) is a July 2003 article by Robert Dreyfuss in The Nation. Here’s a longer quote from that article, and a direct link to it. Notice that the intelligence was produced only in English, not in Hebrew, because it was specifically aimed at deceiving the American public:

According to the former official, also feeding information to the Office of Special Plans was a secret, rump unit established last year in the office of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel. This unit, which paralleled Shulsky’s—and which has not previously been reported—prepared intelligence reports on Iraq in English (not Hebrew) and forwarded them to the Office of Special Plans. It was created in Sharon’s office, not inside Israel’s Mossad intelligence service, because the Mossad—which prides itself on extreme professionalism—had views closer to the CIA’s, not the Pentagon’s, on Iraq. This secretive unit, and not the Mossad, may well have been the source of the forged documents purporting to show that Iraq tried to purchase yellowcake uranium for weapons from Niger in West Africa, according to the former official.

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20030707/dreyfuss

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By Amerikagulag, February 23, 2009 at 3:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There IS a way to purge the Zionists. There IS a way out of this mess. It’s to expose the bible as the collection of BULLSHIT, forgery, fabrication and mth that it is. Once the foundation of the land “God gave” them is destroyed, there is nothing left to stand on.

Any thinking person can understand this.

“The Bible Unearthed” by Silberman and Finkelstein
http://www.google.com/books?id=lu6ywyJr0CMC&pg=PP1&dq=The+Bible+Unearthed

is a good start. Also check out

“Is It God’s Word” by Joseph Wheless.
http://www.google.com/books?id=0QOOOGl2eh8C&dq=is+it+gods+word&printsec=frontcover&source=bn

There is no archaeological evidence for the vast majority of claims made by the bible. Therefore it follows any religious claims made by the current occupiers of Palestine are false. The descendants of Jesus would naturally be the Palestinians.

Expose the bullshit and the liars will run.

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By nikto, February 23, 2009 at 3:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sorry to use such harsh language, but America and the World will be in grave danger until we realize The Neocons are ALL TRAITORS and should be treated accordingly.


NEOCON=TRAITOR

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By TAO Walker, February 23, 2009 at 3:01 pm Link to this comment

Except that everything here on ‘truthdig’ will be wiped-out by EMP, “future generations” (if there are any and if they haven’t much better things to do [both “ifs” highly problematical]), could find laid-out and woven into its “threads” an almost inch-by-inch “map” of ‘The Road to Perdition’....with Chris Hedges’ latest article here just another good-intentioned engraved paving-block.  Just how great IS “democracy,” when it seems to keep throwing-up the most sociopathic among their inmates, to “run” the institutional charnel houses called “modern” national securtity states?

The domesticated peoples sure better find some other Way to orGANize their “selfs.”  Their present “dominant paradigm” promises them nothing but….well, the NOTHIN’ Ron Reagan was always gloating about, that they “ain’t seen….yet.”

Us surviving Savages can sure-as-hell, from here in Indian Country, “....see that train a comin’” at you all.  It’s a run-away, too.

HokaHey!

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By wadosy, February 23, 2009 at 2:59 pm Link to this comment

since this has turned into a music and comedy thread…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4Lwx9F81Zs

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By wadosy, February 23, 2009 at 2:31 pm Link to this comment

you have to wonder, once in a while, why sharon was lobotomized.

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By KDelphi, February 23, 2009 at 2:08 pm Link to this comment

To people who are such avid Pres. Obama supporters, tell him that Dennis Ross is a TERRIBLE idea!

Jason!! Trust me, Hedges knwws Israel all to well…

If they have ‘threatened to destroy Isreal (as well as the uS) but not actedu pon it, it is still rhetoric. The uS calling them part of the Axis of Evil, while they were helping with intelligence with Afghanistan did not help! If we bomb everyone who hates the uS and Israel, we will bomb the world.

Oh, wait, we already have

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By diamond, February 23, 2009 at 2:08 pm Link to this comment

Howard name me one country Iran has attacked or invaded since the end of the second world war? You won’t find one. Israel has invaded Lebanon twice, once when there was no Hezbollah and once when there was, it has had a war with Egypt and annexed some of its territory and it goes in and out of Palestinian territory leaving death and rubble and terror in its wake the way a cuckoo goes in and out of a cuckoo clock, while Iran has NEVER ATTACKED ANOTHER COUNTRY IN THE POSTWAR ERA. The United States has attacked, bombed or invaded seventeen countries in this time and overthrown countless elected governments in Latin America and elsewhere. You know as well as I do that if Iran wants the possibility of nuclear weapons it’s because it fears that the same thing will be done to it, as has been done to Iraq and Afghanistan. This is a perfectly reasonable fear since hardly a day goes by without sabre rattling in the establishment media from Israel or Israeli stooges in the United States about the danger posed by a nation that has not attacked anyone for decades. And who is portraying itself as the helpless victim yet again? Israel of course.

The irony is that when Saddam Hussein attacked Iran he did it at the behest of his American masters who were acting in the service of Israel. Saddam’s downfall really began when James Baker III told him that America didn’t care if he invaded Kuwait and he was fool enough to believe them. Result: Gulf War I. No one pushing this line of ‘Iran is a danger to the world’ ever mentions the fact that Israel is nuclear armed and IS in fact a danger to the world because the Israeli military and secret service won’t feel safe until Israel is surrounded on all sides by a smoking, charred moonscape free of all Arab lifeforms.

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By wadosy, February 23, 2009 at 2:05 pm Link to this comment

there’s no legal way to purge the zionists, because, thanks to their control of the lawmakers, they’ve written the laws.

so we’re riding shotgun down the avalanche.

in the long run, it wont make much difference, i spose, because the avalanche is geological, not political.

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By Howard, February 23, 2009 at 2:04 pm Link to this comment

Memri is very accurate.  right off the El-jareza networks and the other arab tv’s and radios. memri dpes not have to work hard at getting solid up-date-info.
  thx for giving me the site.  awesome, indeed.

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By Folktruther, February 23, 2009 at 1:54 pm Link to this comment

Wow, wadosy, your link to OFFICE OF SPECIAL PLANS is dynamite.  This was an intellignece unite set up by Zionists Wolfowitz and Feith, who headed it, with contacts with Isreal. Their aim was to counter CIA reports to give fraudulemnt reprorts on weapons of mass destruction to provoke a war with Iraq, which they did.

Larry Franklin, an employee of Feitth and used to convey informtation to Israel,  was convicted of spying for Israel, along with two Aipac employees, and is serving a thirteen year sentence. All of this is documented and only disputed by Zionists.

Now Zionists are bent on attacking Iran, and the Defense and other departments are proabably still full of Zionist agents.  Part of the Israli boycott must include combing through US departments to fire and imprison those spies working for Israel.  It does no good simply to cut off money to Israel if Zionists within the US power system can manipulate data and information to determine policy.

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By wadosy, February 23, 2009 at 1:39 pm Link to this comment

When I last wrote about Dr. Wurmser (April 2003 Washington Report, p. 14), she and her colleague, Col. Yigal Carmon of Israel’s Mossad, had launched the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization. Founded in February 1998, MEMRI specializes in translating and distributing articles that present Arabs in a highly negative light, and providing these articles and free Internet advisories to the media in the U.S., Britain and, presumably, to other countries as well.

Meyrav Wurmser: The Neocons’ Den Mother

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By wadosy, February 23, 2009 at 1:27 pm Link to this comment

yeah.

you prefer to believe “translations” of ahmadinejad’s speeches from MEMRI, which is run by meyrav wurmser, who helped write perle’s “a clean break: securing the realm”, the “realm” being israel.

wonderful.

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By Howard, February 23, 2009 at 1:23 pm Link to this comment

I could have sworn Iran on many many occasions has threatened in a most serious manner to eradicate and destroy Israel.  Not just rhetoric at all.
  They have to be taken seriously. Just like Hitler was ignored far too long in the 30’s before the world woke up.
  and Iran is behind their proxy Hezballah in Lebanon, and is unquestionably a backer of the insurgency in Irag. It has caused the death of American soldiers for years there.

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By wadosy, February 23, 2009 at 1:12 pm Link to this comment

Sepharad says,

“People who know much more than I do about Israel’s policies say that Ariel Sharon did NOT think the Iraq war was good or necessary and told Bush there were no longer WMDs on the Iraqi premises.”

uh huh.

that’s why there was that little office in tel aviv stovepiping “intel” about iraq’s wmds past the professional agencies to the OSP, which then fed the israeli chickenfeed to the bunnypants gang.

The OSP was an open and largely unfiltered conduit to the White House not only for the Iraqi opposition. It also forged close ties to a parallel, ad hoc intelligence operation inside Ariel Sharon’s office in Israel specifically to bypass Mossad and provide the Bush administration with more alarmist reports on Saddam’s Iraq than Mossad was prepared to authorise.

Office of Special Plans wikipedia

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By wadosy, February 23, 2009 at 12:45 pm Link to this comment

america is riding shotgun down the avalanche

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By wildflower, February 23, 2009 at 12:38 pm Link to this comment

This story sounds familiar to me and it should sound familiar to Hillary and Obama as well.  The last time it was the Bush/Cheney administration telling us that Iraq had WMDs etc. etc etc. even though European and American intelligence said it was not so.  Now it is Israel telling us that Iran has a WMD even though European and American intelligence are saying it’s not so.

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By prole, February 23, 2009 at 11:59 am Link to this comment

“…a stable relationship with Iran would do more to protect Israel and our interests in the Middle East than massive airstrikes and a war that would bleed into Iraq and Lebanon and see Iranian missiles launched against Israeli cities” – exactly so…but what’s the right goal then? Do we really want to “protect Israel” or U.S. “interests” in the Middle East? That’s precisely the problems in many respects. A “war that would bleed into Iraq and Lebanon and see Iranian missiles launched against Israeli cities” might at last loosen the grip of the two zionist aggressor states. Of course, it would be better if Israel and its American client state could be contained peacefully but it’s never happened yet and probably won’t in the foreseeable, certainly not with warmongers Netanyahu and Obama in command. So “If you go into a problem with a mistaken assumption you come out with a bad policy,” – but “bad” for whom? Maybe the “mistaken assumption” is that a “bad policy” is anything that is bad for U.S/Israeli hegemony in the region (and farther out). It’s not only the Russian bloc that “says that the primary focus of the struggle over the next decade will be on hydrocarbons” – the U.S. has been saying the exact same thing and up until recently have had the field pretty much to themselves, as the world’s only rogue superpower. Why shouldn’t that change, given the prodigious harm the U.S. has caused in the Middle East and elsewhere? “Iran, like it or not, holds the power to decide the outcome of several conflicts that are vital to American security. It has enormous influence with Hamas and Hezbollah and can accelerate or diminish the conflict between Israel and these groups.”  And just why are Israel’s conflicts with these legitimate governmental cum resistance groups “vital to American security”? If it actually is, then the U.S. has “enormous influence” with Israel (and vice versa) and “can accelerate or diminish the conflict between Israel and these groups” but never has, why should it be up to Iran? And what has Iraq ever had to do with “American security” except to plunder its resources unimpeded?  The Shiite-led Baghdad government should tell the U.S. “that it has 60 days to leave Iraqi territory and may see its leaders arrested and tried for war crimes.”  “And, finally, Iran has for centuries been embroiled in the affairs of Afghanistan. It alone has the influence to stabilize the” unfolding calamity engendered by American skullduggery – but why should it, Iran doesn’t owe the U.S. any favors. “Iran has endured our covert support for armed militant groups from the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK or MKO) to the Free Life Party of Kurdistan to the repugnant Jundullah“  …to the savage shah and much more. Why shouldn’t Iran (and a lot of others) be glad to see the U.S. and Israel hoisted by their own petards? “Obama has an opportunity to radically alter the course we have charted in the Middle East” – but he is obviously no radical, so it must be left up to groups in the region that truly are. “Let’s pray [they do] not blow it.”

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By Sepharad, February 23, 2009 at 11:37 am Link to this comment
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As one who has opposed Netanyahu and his policies for longer than I care to remember, I’m waiting to see what kind of government he can put together and whether he has learned any damned thing at all from the past that would mitigate his usually disatrous policies(both for Palestinians and Israelis). Obama or his point man also has to state strongly that the U.S. will not look kindly on Israeli foot-dragging in removing settlers from the West Bank. Netanyahu said a couple days ago that he thinks peace negotiations are worthless until Palestinians have a strong economy and institutions and that he favors actively supporting those developments before negotiating. Really, Israel needs to do both—help and negotiate and the U.S. should to push him to do both. If he needs to form a centrist government, which he might, the Kadima and Labour people might also be able to force negotiations—though it is true that economy and institutions a solid state would require are extremely important. Netanyahu talks a good game but you never can rely on what he says as being what he will actually do. 

Also, Obama through Mitchell should tell Netanyahu in no uncertain terms that the U.S. will neither approve nor support an Israeli strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities (though I think the Israeli military would try to dissuade him: they don’t have the kind of mountain bunker-busting weaponry we used in Afghanistan, not to mention that several of the Iranian sites or situated UNDER large population centers). U.S. should also aggressively attempt to open negotiations with Iran or at least start talking with them. Ahmajinedad might well lose to Khatami, and even if he doesn’t the mullahs seem to be unhappy with A’s confrontational past. Iran is still a Persian country albeit with an Islamic overlay, and its culture is completely different than Arab culture. Different cultures require different styles of negotiation and engagement. Also, China has decent relations with both Pakistan and Iran, that China and Russia and the ‘stans are in a sort of rough alliance, and it will be in our best interests to be rational in our relations with all of these countries. I don’t know where our masters-of-the-universe policy came from but we have to stop with it. Our biggest problem in conflict resolution is going to be with India and Pakistan (apart from North Korea, floating out there somewhere in its own little world). The Israeli-Arab conflict is small potatos in comparison.

PS—People who know much more than I do about Israel’s policies say that Ariel Sharon did NOT think the Iraq war was good or necessary and told Bush there were no longer WMDs on the Iraqi premises. (And Israel had already taken out Iraq’s nuclear reactor). American neocons put a lot of pressure on Israel to shut up and, as we are their major ally, they did. The King of Jordan, who is close to Israel’s governing circles, very publically and passionately spelled out the reasons to not go to war against Iraq.

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By sophrosyne, February 23, 2009 at 11:29 am Link to this comment
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America has paid a horrible price for its slavery to zionism and AIPAC.  Israel could care less about American interests. They have sacrificed our interests to theirs for many years.

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By Folktruther, February 23, 2009 at 11:10 am Link to this comment

This is a major reason that Zionism needs to be a prime issue with the American people.  Israeli leaders are even greater megalomaniacs than Amreican leaders, and use war as a excuse for ethnic cleansing.  They are politically insane and the American Zionist lobby supports them.  They have consequently partially hijacked American foreign policy, which is being conducted to serve Israeli Likud interests rather than American interests.

Obama is a Zionist president.  His foreign affairs are largely determined by the Zionist Biden.  Biden was strongly against a bombing attack on Iran when he was in the Senate.  Will the Obiden administration be against it now?  I don’t know, but even the possibility of such a crazy military adventure is being discussed is terrifying.  The American people, who possess no geo-stratigic conceptions, may be deluded into acting Tough.

Crazier things have happened.  The US is now attacking Iran militarily in a variety of ways by special forces and Irani groups based in Iraq.  this could escalate, especially if US policy in Iran is controlled by Zionists.  Obama has no military experience and US foreign policy is dertermined largely by doemstic considerations.  And the American population can be manipulated by the zionist media, led by the NYTimes. Who at one time was printing front page articles promoting an Iran war, just as they printed front page articles alleging weapons of mass destrution promoting the Iraqi war.

The Americn people must distinguish between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism and combat the latter.  Since Zinists will conflate the two as they have in the past, and consider them identical, Anti-Zionism must be a major tenet in progressive ideology, if it is to be effective.  This will split the Obama Progressives from the anti-Dem progressives, and this ideologial split is essential to forming a new progressive coalition.

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By Purple Girl, February 23, 2009 at 10:34 am Link to this comment

Iran has never been a country to get our panties in a twist about. Bush just jumped up the Rhetoric and Irans Pres lead his people into the the Con job. It’s always been about marching across all oil rich countries the Saudi’s have been unable to control. And Ahmed. has walked right into the trap. Now Obama has given him an Out, a way to save face and his oil reserves- “unclinch your fist”
Considering the Oil price games the UAE and their Western Corps have been playing for decades, Who hasn’t thought the 9/11 attacks were meant to spur on a March across the non compliant Oil Rich countries to create a Monopoly.Not only to keep US held by the Balls but also Russia and China.
What these Oil folks don’t want is for Iran to let the international Inspectors in, that would end the rouse- so they encourage this over reaction by their puppet Pres.Ahmed who is just as much of an oil pawn as Bush.merely provoke a Division and Conquest will follow.
What truely scares the shit out these Oilmen is the growing demand for renewable alternative energy sources which don’t come from Food products. Any surprise they rolled so quickly for corn bases Ethonol- knew it would be detrimental to food production and quickly disgarded…Right back to their sludge.And Where does most of Irans gov’ts wealth come from now- same sludge, so there is a common purpose to continuing the saber Rattling. This isn’t about Nukes, it’s not about destroying Israel, It’s once again only about oil and who controls how much.
We don’t need to bomb these enemies (Iran or the UAE), we need only make their only resource obsolete- worthless. That would send them truely back into the Stone age.No money to build,maintain or repair infrastructures. No socio-economi political Caste system- they’d all be only sand rich.No economy gaining them any influence on the global market, thus less access to Loan friendly foreign nations. hell they’d be begging for aid like Ethiopoia.
And what has Obama’s admin finally been able to opening equated- Energy independence and National Security, with a good dose of Environmental Responsiblity. Obama’s out to throw the Oil Boys back a century.Even if we have to resort to less attractive alternative in the short term. Coal, natural gas, and nuke- not ones we want to rely on long term, but ones that are readily available and create an immediate effect on who controls the Worlds Economic & Political Stage.
Want to end this deadly Charade, pull the rug out from under Oil.

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By omniadeo, February 23, 2009 at 10:23 am Link to this comment

AFriend,

It’s very simple. If you know passages from “the past two NIE’s and other intelligence sources” that contradict the very common claim (even inside the US propaganda machine) that Iran now has enough low-grade uranium to build a bomb but no current capability or program in place to do so, you should quote and cite the specific passages here.

In the meantime, I am wondering just what kind of AFriend you are. I think I know of whom you are a AFriend. And with AFriend like you, who needs enemies?

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By wadosy, February 23, 2009 at 9:46 am Link to this comment

now another human rights conference is coming up… a “durban review” conference in geneva.

will that turn out to be a whitewash of the orginal durban conference, or will the world again condemn israel for its treatment of palestinians…? ...with israel’s bombing of the gaza concentration camp so fresh in everyone’s mind and new land grabs in the west bank...

israel and its american puppet walked out of the original durban conference, and a week later, the WTC was attacked.

as wikipedia puts it…

many of the potential political aftereffects of the Conference were annulled by the September 11, 2001 attacks.

The attacks took place just three days after the Conference ended, entirely eclipsing the Conference in the news, and significantly affecting international relations and politics.

World Conference against Racism 2001

pretty convenient, which probably explains why netanyahu thought 9/11 was so good for israel…


now, in the interest of killing a whole squadron of chickens—who are coming home to roost—maybe we can expect a new “new pearl harbor”, to wipe the taste of gaza out of our mouths, to enable us to forget the new expansion of settlements in the west bank, and—most of all—to provide a pretext for bombing iran.

what could be more proof of iran’s nuke weapons capability than a couple little nukes going off in a couple of your favorite american cities…?

...if bibi thought 9/11 was very good, and the situation has since deteriorated to the point that some neocons are openly saying they need another 9/11, we have to assume that a couple nukes going off in america, blamed on iran, would be even better.

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By Slow, February 23, 2009 at 9:44 am Link to this comment
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There is already an escalating program to lead people to think that Iran HAS nuclear weapons. Within the last two weeks, there have been several rather prominent examples on television.

One example was the testimony of Dennis Blair before Congress wherein he said Iran is a nuclear threat.

Another example was woven into the ficticious plot of a new segment of General Electric’s NBC program “Law and Order.” In the story, three references were made to Iran as a nuclear threat. There were also reminders of how the Iranians had taken U.S. hostages in 1979 and that the Iranian government tortures and kills and has special hatred of Israel.

Not surprisingly, there was No mention of the fact that United States of America (at the request of our ever so proper alliar - the British government) overthrew a Democratic government in Iran in the early 1950’s and installed a ruthless dictatorial dynasty which oppressed dissent until the uprising of religious fundamentals overthrew our puppet regime.
There was also No mention of how we encouraged and supplied Weapons of Mass Destruction to Saddam Hussein during the 1980’s when he initiated the war between Iraq and Iran wherein millions of people died.

There was also No mention of the fact that the U.S.A. is the source of more weapons to the world than ANY other nation EVER and , oh yeah, we are now one of the world’s leading sources of torture and offenders of human rights.

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By Allan Gurfinkle, February 23, 2009 at 9:28 am Link to this comment
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Another half-as**** article by C. Hedges who should know better.  Netanyahu is not the issue. Iran’s nuclear program is not the issue.  The fundamental issue is the existence of Israel as a Jewish state on Arab land.  As long as Israel exists as a state for Jews only, there will be unrest in the middle east, and it will probably end badly for all concerned.  Of course, we can’t say this in the US, can we say it on TD?  Let’s see.  And who is responsible?  Israel’s power ultimately depends on the US.  The Zionist lobby, i.e., the Jews in the US, are directly responsible.

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By Steven, February 23, 2009 at 9:27 am Link to this comment
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Jason!!,

Please review your history before you post.  The CIA assassinated the democratically elected president of Iran in 1953, then supported a repressive dictator for the next 30 years.  To no ones surprise, except those like yourself, a radical group of students and religious leaders, revolted and took over the country leaving us in the positions we are today.  Simple cause and effect.  We are the cause.  We made our own bed.  Therefore, Mr. Hedges only offers a realistic view of the current conditions.  We cannot become proxies for a deranged Israel.  We have to define what is in our best interest, not some fanatical Jews.  Our best interest is to create dialogue with Iran, remember Ahmenijad has very little say in the actual policies and position of Iran, he is merely a tool for the Ayahtollas.  Iran holds the key to a lasting peace in the Middle East, as they hold sway over Hezbollah, Hamas, and many factions in Iraq.  If we can somehow convince Iran that we are not Israel’s puppet, they will listen because they too have the need for self-preservation.  Remember, this is the nation that invented chess and right now they have more control over the region then they had 8 years ago thanks to Bush & the Israeli’s.  And do not fool yourself, they may be fundamentalists, they are not crazy and stupid like Hussein and Iraq.  The consequences for us would be much more severe if we foolishly proceed down the same road as we did 8 short years ago.

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By SteveK9, February 23, 2009 at 9:11 am Link to this comment

The pro-Israel lobby was very important in promoting our ‘adventure’ in Iraq.  A conflict with Iran would be much worse.  We would not be doing Israel a favor, in my opinion.  We need to negotiate directly with Iran, now.

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By Ed Harges, February 23, 2009 at 9:03 am Link to this comment

Even if Iran did have a nuclear weapons program, that would still not justify the US or Israel undertaking to bomb Iran. Israel does not have the right to bomb Iran in order to preserve Israel’s regional monopoly on nuclear enrichment technology, and the Israelis sure as god damn hell have no right to expect the US to bomb Iran for them.

This entire crappy Israeli concept of “preventive war” needs to be stuffed back up the crazy Zionist assholes it was pulled out of.

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By wadosy, February 23, 2009 at 8:49 am Link to this comment

chis hedges sez:

Netanyahu, whose arrogance is as outsized as his bellicosity, knows that for all his threats and chest thumping Israel is incapable of attacking Iranian targets alone. Israel cannot fly its attack aircraft over Iraqi air space into Iran without U.S. permission…

The only route to a war with Tehran for the Israeli military is through Washington.


well, not really…

Israeli defence sources claim the country has secretly carried out its first test launches from submarines of cruise missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

Israel Makes Nuclear Waves With Submarine Missile Test from London Sunday Times June 18, 2000, via fas.

once the israelis attack iran, we’re off to the races, arent we…? ...judging from obama’s pledge of allegiance to israel at AIPAC.

...and who in their right mind is gonna believe israel and their media toadies about an iranian nuke weapons program after we were lied into iraq by the same people?

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By Jason!!, February 23, 2009 at 8:20 am Link to this comment

Oh poor Iran. Their religious ideology that promotes hate and violence was forced on them. The existence of the Jews has pushed their hand to support terrorist groups. The oppression of their people was the fault of the U.S.

They have zero culpability. Everything they do is the fault of someone else. How convenient a position. After all, Iran is a peace loving country that embraces western political relations. At least, this is the position Chirs would have you believe.

I do think Mr. Hedges has some deep local knowledge of the various conflicts Iran has instigated and promoted. He sympathizes with and maintains relations with a regime whose policies have brought destabilization and destruction to the region.  All of this justified in his eyes to a point where Iran can do no wrong.

Why then is there such opposition to the regime inside Iran? Why the crackdowns? Why the imprisonment of those critical of policy? Why the censorship of media and the internet? If Iran was on the up and up, there would be no such need for a peaceful nation to respond so negatively to their own people.

Mee thinks Chris only has one side of the story. Those who have successfully fled have a completely different opinion.

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By lizleaf, February 23, 2009 at 7:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Get this to Obama.  Does anyone know how?

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By AFriend, February 23, 2009 at 7:07 am Link to this comment
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“Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program, according to U.S. and European intelligence agencies.”

Mr. Hedges, clearly, you are not paying attention to real facts. You appear to be only paying attention to, and reading from, media sources. You did not actually read the past two NIE’s and other intelligence sources. You are lazy in your research!

The fact is you would not be able to find even a single intelligence service making the claim that Iran “does not have a nuclear weapons programs”, thus, everything else you write above is based on a false premise.

Please, I beg you, do a better job in your research. You do everyone a disservice relying so heavily on your media sources. Take the time to ACTUALLY READ what the intelligence services are reporting!

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