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Peace on Earth… 21 November 2006

Posted by marisacat in Beirut, DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Iraq War, Israel/AIPAC, Mexico, Viva La Revolucion!, WAR!.
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From Asia Times by Frida Berrigan:

War, instability and high oil prices have created a perfect storm of profit for the world’s weapons manufacturers. This year, military analysts predict the biggest arms bonanza since 1993, which is saying something because in the aftermath of the first Gulf War the global industry reaped the benefits of a US$42 billion arms race.

Good will to men:

US arms sales offers for 2006 appear to be roughly twice the levels of any other year during the Bush administration. Noteworthy among these are the $5 billion deal for F-16s to Pakistan and a $5.8 billion agreement to completely re-equip Saudi Arabia’s internal security force. 

The world revolved from night to day

In the case of Pakistan and other allies in the “war on terror”, sales are booming as sanctions and embargoes imposed because of human-rights concerns or nuclear proliferation are being lifted.

For Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich nations, the price at the pump freed up cash for weapons. Finally, war in Iraq, Afghanistan and in corners of the globe where the “war on terror” is being waged more quietly, allows foreign militaries to see some of the most advanced weapons systems in action. As one US government source told The Times of London in August:

“Conflicts act like a customer demonstration show and we tend to see an upsurge in sales because other countries [are] … impressed by what is available.”

The Wrong shall fail, the Right prevail:

This storm equals rainbows and pots of gold for the defense industry. For example, Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest weapons manufacturer, stands to reap more than $11 billion in possible new offers. US weapons companies may have patriotic slogans (Lockheed Martin’s is “We Never Forget Who We’re Working For”), but foreign sales mean the biggest bucks because they involve systems where research and development costs were covered by the Pentagon. Also, they are often accompanied by lucrative deals for accessories, spare parts and eventual upgrades.

But, what means money in the bank for Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and other defense corporations, often means misery where the weapons are shipped. Despite having some of the world’s strongest laws regulating the arms trade, almost half of US weapons end up in countries plagued with ongoing conflict and governed by undemocratic regimes with poor human-rights records. [snip]

with stray phrases from Christmas Bells by Longfellow.

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Times Online sums up the existential angst for Bush:

President Bush said yesterday that he might send more troops to Iraq. Or he may bring some home.

“I haven’t made any decisions about troop increases or decreases, and won’t until I hear from a variety of sources,” he said on a visit to Indonesia.

Those sources include a pending internal review of the war from the Pentagon and other parts of the Administration, as well as next month’s report of the Iraq Study Group. Advice is also pouring in from victorious congressional Democrats and would-be presidential contenders. Clarity is in shorter supply, however, as are the “fresh ideas” that Mr Bush called for a fortnight ago after chastening midterm election results.

… here is the graf:

For instance, the Pentagon’s review on Iraq, which is being conducted by General Peter Pace, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was reported to have outlined three options: send in more troops, shrink the force but stay, or pull out.

These have been crystallised as Go Big, Go Long and Go Home.

But one solution gaining favour among military commanders is summed up as “Go Big but Short While Transitioning to Go Long”, according to The Washington Post.

We can wear anything down to its essence.  Who says we don’t know what we are doing??

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UPDATE, 10:20 am

Angry Arab on Shadid in the Wapo on the assassination of Pierre Gemayel in Labanon

This is not Anthony Shadid’s best work, for sure. He does not mention what the ideology of the Phalanges Party was about, he does not mention how Bashir Gemayyel was installed as president by Israeli occupation troops, and he was quite inaccurate when he stated that Pierre Gemayyel “swept into power.” He certainly did not. He was losing his seat until the last-minute intervention minute by `Awn to give one seat in the district to a non-`Awn candidate. And the shooting outside of the church in `Ayn Ar-Rummanah in 1975 was NOT an assassination attempt on Pierre Gemayyel.

posted by As’ad @ 7:40 AM link

And… as I see Mia Farrow on C-Span for Darfur (somehow I am reminded of Madonna adoption tours)… I really am overdue for some strong coffee… ;)

BTW, as I am at Angry Arab… here is another tidbit from his blog:

“Foreign Minister Tzipi Livini, who is also currently in Los Angeles, met with actor John Voigt, Angelina Jolie’s father. Voigt told Livni that Israel is very dear to him and that he is willing to assist in any way he can. During the tour of the Fox studios, the Foreign Minister also met with senior representatives from the American film industry, including Steven Spielberg.” (thanks Maryam)

posted by As’ad @ 8:38 AM link

Now for that coffee… to settle my stomach… ;)

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UPDATE, 11:20 am

Oooo This is delicious… Stop Me Before I Vote Again on ”ABJ”:  Anybody but Jane …  also: I had noticed that SMBIVA has taken to calling Pelosi, La Nan.  I think that works.. ;)

just a line as an amuse bouche:

[I]t’s litmus time, folks — lets see what the Nancompoop is holding. This is not Steny Hoyer here. There’s no balance of power prudence involved. Jane is remote-controlled head to toe by Israel, period.

So we must see — can or will the Dem caucus kick her downstairs? [snip]

This could be a win win… FOX is desperate to run days worth of vaguely – or very – racist <BUT! Fair and Balanced> reporting against Alcee Hastings… but again! a tough spot for the Dems.  What does one say about an impeached federal judge? 

”ooops”? 

Not quite enough, I suspect…  FOX helpfully added this am that he is one of only 7.  ;)  I suppose that could be true… 

While I was making coffee I had FOX on and heard of another win win… some bookstores had been shipped the OJ book, famously taken down by FOX’s own on-air talent… (and the sun rises every other day) AND it can be found on EBAY.  Just repeating their <cough strangle choke> reporting.

You have to love how the mills grind away the days in the USA!  Otherwise you are a TRAITOR.  But we all knew that…

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Also, here is the link to the WaPo article , mentioned up thread, in the long short, short long, Go Long, Go Short… Let’s cut to the chase:  get to the Long War any way you can article… 

From Thomas Ricks:

[T]hat combination plan, which one defense official called “Go Big but Short While Transitioning to Go Long,” could backfire if Iraqis suspect it is really a way for the United States to moonwalk out of Iraq — that is, to imitate singer Michael Jackson’s trademark move of appearing to move forward while actually sliding backward. “If we commit to that concept, we have to accept upfront that it might result in the opposite of what we want,” the official said.

The Pentagon official said this short-term boost could be achieved through three steps: extending the tours of duty of some units already in Iraq, sending other units there earlier than planned and activating some Army Reserve units.

The group concluded that such a step might be necessary because it is concerned that the continuing violence is undercutting the Iraqi government’s credibility.

“Folks increasingly realize that if violence can’t be contained, the spiral downward will continue, the national government will lose the effectiveness it has . . . . and then all bets will be off,” the official said. [snip]

Aww.  All bets would be offcatch that?  I wonder if they had thought they could pull off close to 4 years of unjust war without a single real rebuke… That was the real bet.  I think the American people have performed extraordinarily well.  And I think the arms dealers agree. 

Dom Perignon anyone? Slice of voter on a triscuit?

I am very mindful of Cheney’s words just before election:  they don’t face election anymore.  He did not even have to add they have the codes.

It will take full bore revolt inside the military.  From fragging to pushing the damned helicopters off the big floating bases we call warships.  There is a model… almost every war… but especially Vietnam.

Revolt!  REBEL!

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UPDATE, 12:15 pm

The art of politics is avoiding internecine pique… in case anyone was so deluded as to think there might be a principal – or two or three – running around uncaged. 

From Danny Schechter’s News Dissector today, a rumination related to FOX/OJ/Rupert/the kitchen sink:

AN EARLIER EPISODE

Some years back after Globalvision produced a film offering the factual basis for Oliver Stone’s JFK, we were approached by Fox to investigate the history of the Kennedy Family and the allegedly crooked role played by Joe Kennedy, once the US Ambassador to the UK.

Once the check arrived, we hired producers and swung into production only to be called urgently to the phone by Fox’s then head of News Gordon Van Sauter who ordered us to “Stand Down: put the project on hold.”

No one would tell us why until a NY newspaper suggested that Murdoch went apoplectic when he learned that Teddy Kennedy was heading the Senate Committee that could rule on Fox’s bid to own both a TV station and newspaper in New York. Rather than antagonize Kennedy, it was reported, the whole show was cancelled before it was even made.

What the big boss wants, the big boss gets. Murdoch got the ruling he wanted. Fox never approached us again for work after that. At least, we ended up with a kill fee.

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UPDATE, 12:50 pm…. in San Francisco.

Diary from XicanoPwr on Obrador [thanks to Madman]:

Although it was determined by Mexico’s top election court that Mexico’s ruling party conservative Felipe Calderón won the July 2 election, tens of thousands of loyal supporters still crammed into Mexico City’s Zocalo square to see Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) take the oath of office as Mexico’s “Legitimate President.” November 20, also marks the anniversary of the start of the Mexican Revolution in 1910. AMLO’s inauguration can be seen as another blow to President Vicente Fox and the National Action Party (PAN), Mexico’s ruling party, as Fox was forced to cancel Mexico’s traditional Nov. 20 parade commemorating the beginning of the country’s 1910-1917 Revolution.  [snip]

x-posted from his own blog Para Justicia Y Libertad

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UPDATE, 2:50 pm on the Pacific Ocean…

Mark Danner has a big 2 parter coming out in the December 21 NY Review of Books…   Tom Dispatch has it, courtesy of NYRoB:

How a War of Unbound Fantasies Happened, Part 1

Iraq, The War of the Imagination, Part 2.

From Part 1:

Today, if we went into Iraq, like the president would like us to do, you know where you begin. You never know where you are going to end.” — George F. Kennan, September 26, 2002

“I ask you, sir, what is the American army doing inside Iraq?… Saddam’s story has been finished for close to three years.” — President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran to Mike Wallace on Sixty Minutes, August 13, 2006

In the ruined city of Fallujah, its pale tan buildings pulverized by Marine artillery in the two great assaults of this long war (the aborted attack of March 2004 and then the bloody, triumphant al-Fajr (The Dawn) campaign of the following November), behind the lines of giant sandbags and concrete T-walls and barbed wire that surrounded the tiny beleaguered American outpost there, I sat in my body armor and Kevlar helmet and thought of George F. Kennan. […]

Fast forward, bathed as we are in daily washes of blood:

As the war drags on and alternatives fall away and American and Iraqi deaths mount, we seem to know less and less, certainly about “where we are going to end.” Thus we arrive at our present therapeutic moment — the moment of “solutions,” brought on by the recognition, three and a half years on, that we have no idea how to “end” Phase Two. This is now a matter for James A. Baker’s Iraq Study Group and the military’s “strategic review team” and the new Democratic committee chairmen who will offer, to a chastened president who admits he thought “we would do all right” in the elections, the “new ideas” he now professes to welcome.

However quickly the discussion now moves to the geopolitical hydraulics, to weighing partition against partial withdrawal against regional conferences and contact groups and all the rest, the truth is that none of these proposals, alone or in combination, will end the war anytime soon.

It bears noticing that Kennan himself, having predicted that we will never know where we are going to end in Iraq, lived to see disproved, before his death at the age of 101 last March, what even he, no innocent, had taken as a given: that “you know where you begin.”

For as the war’s presumed ending — constructed from carefully crafted images of triumph, of dictators’ statues cast down and presidents striding forcefully across aircraft carrier decks — has flickered and vanished, receding into the just-out-of-grasp future (“a decision for the next president,” the pre-election President Bush had said), the war’s beginning has likewise melted away, the original rationale obscured in a darkening welter of shifting intelligence, ideological controversy, and conflicting claims, all of it hemmed in now on all sides by the mounting dead. [snip]

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Comments»

1. NYCee - 22 November 2006

Whoops. I goofed on html. Here is a better version, Marisa.

I really like Mark Danner. He was one of the few sane voices allowed to squeeze into the outer edges of the MSM, the Charlie Rose turf, pre Iraq war. Thanks for posting that. Will check out after work.

Btw, here is a sorry statement on “reasons for Vietnam” from senator-elect Webb from his appearance on MTP last Sunday. The voices of pure sanity on matters of war and peace are still quite meager in our Congress, no?

Saw Winter Soldiers, the Vietnam atrocity testimony, on Sundance the other night, with footage interspersed. I followed it with another (taped) Sundance doc, Occupation Dreamland – troops in Fallujah, pre the “re-taking.”

Fuck’s sake. What a double feature. A mighty lesson, followed by the sorry scene of more troops in another bloody hell of a war of our choosing. Those vets in Winter Soldiers (missed the first part, but saw about two thirds) were THE TEACHERS. Remember, there was a lesson? No, they came out of the classroom dreaming more war, dreaming Occupation Dreamland. (Sundance Channel rocks.)

Webb has not learned it.

SEN.-ELECT WEBB: In a, in a way. I mean, any time you have these, these situations that go on for a long period of time, you have to be able to, to answer questions now. And I, you know, I’m one of these people who—there, there aren’t many of us—who can still justify for you the reasons that we went into Vietnam, however screwed up the strategy got, whereas I don’t think there were legitimate reasons for us to have taken this move into Iraq, again, with the situations that come—the other situations in the region that were a lot more…

Harmon, as for Harmon. I despise the woman. She was the other side of the coin, the antithesis of voices, like Danner’s, that gave comfort during the run up and after the war. Worse that she is a Democrat. I am heartened by Pelosi’s push against her for chair of the intel committee, and, wounded as Hastings is from his past, I would rather see him limp onto that seat in a NY Minute than that bleachy, nasty hawk, name of Jane. He cannot help but be infinitely better. She is a horror.

2. JJB - 22 November 2006

Re the Gemayel family, their political party was named after Franco’s fascist movement. Guess why? The grandfather of the just assassinated Lebanese Minister, also named Pierre Gemayel, found much to admire in Nazi Germany. It would be fair to refer to the clan as a collection of warlord gangsters, as they’ve probably made a lot of money off the hashish trade (and other drugs I’m sure), no doubt with the connivance of both the Israelis and the CIA. These are just the sort of people we supported for many years in Vietnam, BTW.

3. Madman in the Marketplace - 22 November 2006

Winter Soldier will be on Sundance again on 11/30/06 @ 1:30 AM. Gotta set the DVR.

Stan Goff has a piece up at Huff Po about the Gemayel family’s bloody history. Nasty pushback from Zionists in the thread, though.

4. Ezekiel - 23 November 2006

Top rec’d diary at dKos: “Bullshit Markos. Bullshit. We get it.

Markos does this so often that one has to infer that it’s not just a matter of arrogance.

5. marisacat - 23 November 2006

ooo thanks for that link. LOL The place IS a cult.
And while I was there I saw this, at the link where Kos original comment on impeachment/”I agree with Reid” was:

There’s one big lesson I learned in my Silicon Valley dot.com days — the more grandiose the talk when launching a venture, the more ill-will it generates and the more knives come out. Google came out of nowhere to take over the internet, despite grandiose claims from the likes of Microsoft.
We all saw what happened to the pathetic Pajamas Media, while Daily Kos has quietly risen into a position of prominence. That’s why I’m being low-key in my projects for next year. They’ll be quietly launched. Some will fail, some might succeed. It’s better to let success do the talking than being a boastful oaf before your project is even off the ground.

Pardon me while I laugh…

But in reading that I note [kos is in reaction to a vandeHei comment] the WaPo has lost Mike Allen (a few months ago to TIME,Inc) and now Harris and VanDeHei (neither of whom I could stand).
Plus you know, just observing the Kos/whackian helium effect… ;)

6. Madman in the Marketplace - 23 November 2006

Woke up this morning to lots of fuzzy “we love the troops” moments on CNN and news that Sadr City has experienced a series of coordinated attacks, and the Health Ministry in Central Baghdad also came under assault as well.

Hell on Earth, but we are going to “win” and not quit, right?

7. Madman in the Marketplace - 23 November 2006

that Little Orange Footballs diary is PRICELESS:

But I never thought there would come a day (call it a lack of imagination) when the most respected diarist and founder of our community would blatantly and disdainfully segregate us into the “impeach now” camp of ignorants. Markos, I could link to several diaries that lay out our honest desire for investigations and proof before pursuing impeachment. But, of course, we have been designated the “impeach now” people and since we “don’t get it” any justification however strong or well considered is to be impugned as radical ignorance and a resignation of efforts to “solidify our gains”. Bullshit Markos. Bullshit.

Come on, join us “single issue voters” and “women’s studies types” and “dirty hippies” and “conspiracy theorists” and all of the other people that the Munchkin King has attacked because they make his little “former” Republican soul feel all icky inside.

8. marisacat - 23 November 2006

LOL… Cspan is pretty hard to take today as well.

A caller just sang a patriotic song…

LOL.

But earlier Craig Crawford was good… he says too the draft calls will not be going away, under the verbiage they are REAL: that congress has looked down the road and sees all the wars coming in the GWoT.

Bingo… that was evident when they, the calls for a draft, first surfaced post 9.11…

9. NYCee - 23 November 2006

Ugh, I think I heard that song. You mean first out of the gate of viewer videos on “What it means to be an American”? I give thanks that that serving of pure corn was preceded by a crankier caller’s terse “It’s the almighty dollar.” (I paraphrase, gist intact.)

Ugh again. I popped onto DK just now and see the trite top o’ the morning, top o’ the fp Thanksgiving Thank You… to the troops. For? For this:

Food For Thought [Or, a little military with your cranberry, patriots!]

by DarkSyde

Thu Nov 23, 2006 at 08:04:02 AM EST

As we celebrate Thanksgiving here in the US, let us not forget the thousands of service men and women stationed around the world who cannot be with their loved ones. And let us be thankful for what measure of peace and prosperity we enjoy because of their willingness to serve; for life could be much worse:

10. marisacat - 23 November 2006

Quick! Wring the neck of a turkey. You know one is near by … ;)

11. JJB - 23 November 2006

What disgusting tripe:

And let us be thankful for what measure of peace and prosperity we enjoy because of their willingness to serve; for life could be much worse.

What peace are we enjoying? The same, undisturbed peace that was enjoyed by the German citizenry during the holiday season of 1941. Just what kind of service are those in the military performing for their fellow citizens? Just about none, that I can see, and it has been ever thus my entire life. I’m getting sick of this kind of kitchy sentiment, IMHO the average competent schoolteacher or nurse contributes far more to the well-being of our society than even a Medal of Honor winner.

As to the recent discussion of conscription, I find it interesting that so many people over on BigOrangeDemOperativeCentral are pushing the idea that a draft will mean that presidents will be far less likely to start wars than they are now. This in spite of the numerous occasions where troops were sent to Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, The Dominican Republic, etc. when we did have a draft. I’m sure some people are sincerely, naively, convinced this is true, but there are too many pushing it in spite of having inconvenient facts brought to their attention. This is how the draft will be shoved down our throats, as a way of making everything more fair and equitable. Of course, anyone who’s actually studied how the draft worked in both World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, and the peacetime years knows what a crock of feces this is, but anyone pointing that out will doubtless be branded an out-of-touch elitist. Thank god I had the foresight to obtain Irish citizenship for my son a few years back.

12. NYCee - 23 November 2006

“What disgusting tripe.”

My sentiments exactly, JJB.

Have a nice holiday, whatever youre doing, everyone…

13. wu ming - 23 November 2006

that line about peace and prosperity being the gifts of the military is so prevalent, and yet so utterly false. it’s all i can take not to cut it to pieces every time my dad – a vet – brings it up in passing. so obviously false, and so easily taken part if one doesn’t assume its truth from the get-go. and such an essentially fascist assumption at that.

the one thing i’ve never gotten anyone to disprove is, if the military is realy what keeps us safe, and our democracy stable, why the fuck were they impotent to lift a bloody finger on 9/11, and why haven’t they removed bush in a coup, after his assaults on the constitution? if the idea of a coup is shocking, then why claim our democracy is protected by the military, that our freedoms are thanks to them?

my fellow citizens, the one who stand up for our rtights and freedoms here at home, against the actual threats to our democracy, are the ones i should be grateful towards, right before i too stand up for my own rights as a citizen. noone else.

14. JJB - 23 November 2006

Most of the Founders would have been aghast at the idea of the military being the primary factor in guarding the liberty of the citizenry. In other words, the average member of The Federalist Society holds views that his supposed idol, James Madison, would have loathed.

NYCee,

Thanks, I’m just having a lovely day at home with my wife and son, late this afternoon we’re going to see a movie (“The Queen”). Beats trying to travel anywhere.

All the best to everyone, have a lovely holiday!

15. marisacat - 23 November 2006

They are working hard to turn the nation to full militarism. And the militarists are leading the way…

One reason I dislike and in fact oppose the Koses and the Webbs of the country. Quite frankly, Hackett as well. He campaigned in Ohio with folding tables covered with his military artifacts, guns, helmuts, etc. (saw the pics in the local Ohio press mit children and very Junior League wife… too many mixed messages). Sorry no. And I am not oppsoed to the military as such, I am opposed to the swirling madness and the “bow down”.

The military is taking ALL OF OUR MONEY.

The dull droning mantra from congress, no matter the party, is that Entitlements must be “looked at”. And despite the blither “for the middle calss” that means MIDDLE CLASS ENTITLEMENTS…. but never a word about the costs of endless war.

LOL I never bought the generals’ spring time whatever that was… and I just read (no transcipt til Monday) that Batiste seriously did an about face on Tweety yesterday… If so, I am nto surprised.

The military is one reason we have no decent health care – among other things – …and imo never will.

16. NYCee - 24 November 2006

Batiste was a wooden headed knucklehead on Tweety. He had that sort of mild, permanent grin, “the Lugar,” continually pasted to his face as he yammered on about fighting the war on terror and… he is going to be advising the Dems. War on Terror in Iraq. Ugh. He has that slow midwest delivery, but oh, marching on, marching on, dutifully delivering us onto more war. I cant even think right now of what he said in particular besides there’s more fight to be fought for our security and dont bother to sort them out, (‘oo’s foitin’ and a wot for?) as it’s really of no consequence. Tweety did give him the business, but he kept on keepin on.

He was such a jackass. We immediately fell upon his TV screened self in extreme mockery, with utter abandon.


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