Not sure I understand the question, Dan, but no, you can ask your questions now if you like.
11:06 Comment From Dan
Thu, 29 Jul 2010 19:06:07 GMT
Comment: Sorry for the unnecessary posts—there’s quite a lag.
11:06 Robert Scheer
Thu, 29 Jul 2010 19:06:48 GMT
11:06 Comment From radson
Thu, 29 Jul 2010 19:06:57 GMT
Comment: Hello Mr. Scheer: The Afghanistan ‘quagmire’ is in essence a continuation of US foreign policy that President Eisenhower warned about, where the correlation between the ‘business’ aspect of growth was incorporated into a form of national economy, basically based on what is known today as the MIC and the oil corporations. Paul Kennedy, author, warned about the negative effects of such a policy in his book ‘The Rise and Fall ’ yet it seems that the status quo must remain. My question is: with regards to the Wiki leaks, is the US considering a reduction in Afghanistan, perhaps to focus its attention in other parts of the world?
(We are delaying questions so Bob has a chance to answer.)
11:10 Robert Scheer
Thu, 29 Jul 2010 19:10:44 GMT
(To radson) Well I wish they would. The main issue is the military intervention. I don’t think there is anything involved in the world its whether you want to. Afghanistan is not the only place that is allowed to intervene. I am all for economic aid, and human rights concerns, but the idiocy that you can remake history through military intervention. These latest document releases make it so clear that the people over there don’t care a bit in what we are interested in, and our interest in stopping al-Qaida .
11:10 Comment From Ernest Fuentes
Thu, 29 Jul 2010 19:10:53 GMT
Comment: Bob: Big fan from “With Enough Shovels” days. Q: Neoliberalism has failed intellectually and from a policy perspective. However, do you think that the current drives for deficit reduction and “austerity” measures are simply another way to achieve neoliberal goals by different means?
11:11 Comment From Steve In L.A.
Thu, 29 Jul 2010 19:11:40 GMT
Comment:@ NYsportswriter: I don’t share your feelings, so I sent WikiLeaks my praise for their actions and some money to support their future actions for transparency.
11:13 Robert Scheer
Thu, 29 Jul 2010 19:13:11 GMT
(To Ernest) Well neoliberalism never dies; it’s like herpes, it keeps coming back no matter what you do. It’s bizarre, these people are wrong about everything. Richard Holbrooke is the top adviser to Obama, [was] top adviser to Carter, when they originally decided to go into Afghanistan, was also important in Vietnam in pacification, is an example of neoliberalism that I don’t think it has anything to do with making the world safe. It has to do with people’s careers; it’s about power and this is their schtick.
Question from: Isernia in Buffalo, NY Since the linchpin is Pakistan with its intelligence services playing footsies with the Taliban, do you still agree with the administration stand to cooperate with the government there in spite of its duplicity? What alternative is there?
11:15 Robert Scheer
Thu, 29 Jul 2010 19:15:51 GMT
(To Isernia) The alternative is to stop all this military involvement in that region. If you have specific information that someone is about to fire something, you can deal with it. We have the technology etc. But the idea of reordering the politics of Afghanistan and Pakistan is just folly. For 20 years, we were focused on Vietnam; does anyone now know what they are producing? Same as China, they carry our debt, make our underwear—it’s just nuts. And the idea that we have to transform Afghanistan and Pakistan is just absurd.
11:17 Comment From Jason
Thu, 29 Jul 2010 19:17:07 GMT
Comment: We praise whistle-blowers and I understand they have led to some incredible changes (just look at Jeffrey Wigand and what that did to big tobacco), but it seems to me there are two issues: 1) Is our country (or the world) that deaf/blind that it takes some massive leak, like the current one, to get people’s attention? and 2) Why does the media blow it out of proportion, as if nobody knew what was going on? Every major contributor’s latest article on Truthdig this week has to do with this leak. Is this leak really going to change anything?; didn’t we already know the two wars were lost causes, especially Afghanistan?
Wonder if the White House not responding to @WikiLeaks shows their tactic is marginalise & discredit, prohibiting engaging #lateline
11:20 Robert Scheer
Thu, 29 Jul 2010 19:20:43 GMT
(To Jason) Well I disagree with the assumption that we haven’t learned much from this leak. It is true, as with the Pentagon Papers, there were few surprises, but there was validation to what we were able to figure out without having raw material. I have been reading it whenever I get a chance and I find it fascinating in the detail, because what it shows is that everyone in that country is on the take, whether it being on God and pushing that agenda, or Pakistan or one warlord or another, but everyone has a scam and at almost no point do they care about the US and their plans. I don’t think you realize just how ludicrous this is until you read those documents, and those saying it is irrelevant are wrong; it shows you how dangerous, and the cost of this experiment.
From D.H. Kerby in Philadelphia Mr. Scheer, Phil Kerby’s son, David, here. The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange says he has a source in the U.S. government who has told him that there has been discussion in official circles of charging him as a co-conspirator to espionage. Given the administration’s hostility to whistle-blowers and with a federal shield law for journalists still in process, how best can a man who does what Assange does defend himself against an administration which fails to distinguish between openly releasing information to the people and secretly providing information to an enemy? Superb column, by the way.
Obama has had quite a handful lately. Oil leaks, wikileaks. Where is Joe the Plumber when you need him?
11:25 Comment From radson
Thu, 29 Jul 2010 19:25:12 GMT
Comment: Why not let India solve this Pakistani problem?; after all ‘Pakistan’ is a British invention along with the Durand Line, which in essence is a major cause of the ethnic tensions in the region, not to mention Kashmir.
11:27 Robert Scheer
Thu, 29 Jul 2010 19:27:31 GMT
(To D.H. Kerby) For those who don’t know your father’s reputation, he won the Pulitzer Prize for writing editorials which practice freedom of the press, for the LA Times, and I think it’s the spirit that has to inform the current debate. We have to defend the whistle-blowers, they didn’t jeopardize the troops; the president who sent them, who continues the war, is responsible. And the whistle-blowers, whether it be Ellsberg or in this case, people who can show them the necessary documents, end up protecting troops. We have to help them because they don’t have the money or lawyers to defend themselves. Better free press and no government than a government and no free press. Let me just add one point: the government leaks secret information all the time. The best foreign policy stories are from the US government, or other governments leaking otherwise classified information and documents to their purpose. But they are angry when information that is leaked is uncomfortable to them.
11:27 Comment From erniesfo
Thu, 29 Jul 2010 19:27:39 GMT
Comment: Bob: I may not put this right, but Gary Wills recently wrote an article about “what he told Obama” at a secret meeting with prominent historians in NYRB. Turns out they all told Obama not to go in on Af-Pak, to get out. He was warned about his economic advisers—Summers, Geithner, Goolsby, et at, that they were retreads who had never made a correct economic assessment in their careers. Yet here we are. Could it be that Obama is such an ideologue, and, it must be said, such an elitist (fawning over folks from Ivy League schools, etc.) that this degrades any native intelligence that he might possess?
11:32 Comment From Joshua W.
Thu, 29 Jul 2010 19:32:56 GMT
Comment: Anything to kick the oligarchy in the shin!
11:33 Comment From Jason
Thu, 29 Jul 2010 19:33:02 GMT
Comment: Do you think the hype and attention these sorts of leaks get prevents others from coming forward, even if it wouldn’t mean prosecution and jail time? Corporations and our government go to great lengths to discredit and destroy people who tell the truth. What does this say of the larger issue of “the people” actually finding the courage to rise up and do something about our failing democracy and corrupt government and corporate systems?
The mainstream media is willing to talk about how badly #Afghanistanwar is going, but won’t discuss US war crimes revealed by #wikileaks
11:33 Robert Scheer
Thu, 29 Jul 2010 19:33:14 GMT
(To erniesfo) I don’t think I could put it better myself. I do think, sadly, because I still find the guy quite appealing, but sadly I think you nailed it. The elitism, the unwarranted respect for someone like Summers, even screwed up being head of Harvard, has a terrible track record, is responsible for the deregulation, why would he have such a high position in the White House, it’s mind boggling. On Afghanistan, it started as a ploy, we were not attacked by Iraq, had no relations with Bin Laden, it is true that Bin Laden had a home in Afghanistan with the Taliban, what was left out is that they were part of a US government to recruit Arabs to go to Afghanistan because there weren’t enough Arabs there. Has any Afghan ever attacked the US outside of Afghanistan? No, I mean we turned it into a place of fanaticism, and we didn’t like it when the pro Soviet secular people took over there and we joined with the fanatics to get rid of him. It’s true that people we recruit turn against us, but that was a bizarre accident of history and something we helped engineer and during the campaign it seemed to work. If you want to stop terrorism you have to do police work, that would have stopped it.
11:36 Robert Scheer
Thu, 29 Jul 2010 19:36:26 GMT
(To Jason) Well I do think that information, that’s the best way to get people aroused and protect their interest and it doesn’t happen in the 24-hour news cycle. It took a long time to end Vietnam even after the publication of the Pentagon Papers, what, 3 years later. It doesn’t turn on a dime, but the fact is that the Vietnam War could NOT be defended through the Pentagon Papers. And this latest disclosure doesn’t have the same angle as the Pentagon Papers. it seems to me that the cynicism and corruption that is exposed and that we are being played by Pakistan shamelessly, and our so-called allies turn out to be our enemies and I think this is a very important leak that will give strength to those critical about the war and it is a teaching occasion and will increase enlightenment in the American public, and I think this will hasten our exit.
From our Facebook page, Leslie Indresano writes, “Haven’t followed this very closely but was wondering about the civilians listed in these reports. Are their identities public knowledge now? Worried about their safety.”
11:40 Comment From erniesfo
Thu, 29 Jul 2010 19:40:04 GMT
Comment: Bob: That’s what I was afraid of—that we need an FDR and get a Hoover instead. Summers is so galling. The guy trashes women, pisses off the faculty and the students, then hoses Harvard’s endowment and ...Obama promotes him. It hurts thinking about it.
11:40 Robert Scheer
Thu, 29 Jul 2010 19:40:27 GMT
(To Leslie) Well you know, to the credit of the people who leaked the reports and the publications that distribute them, is that they went through the documents—which by the way Daniel Ellsberg did before they released the [Pentagon] papers, he went through them and took out sections that really involved life-threatening secrets. And as I understand it, that was done here. Generally, that information only has a life of ... it really misses the point, lives are being jeopardized by stupid policy, not by the revelation of truth. Stupid policy. And in Vietnam 3.5 million people died that didn’t need to die. When we read the papers we saw that the war was not justified.