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 Sunday, May 14, 2006

War with Iran: Lose-Lose Situation

  Read here full article "Talking Beats Fighting" by Charley Reese


"Iran's internal affairs are no concern of ours.

If you wish to worry about nuclear warheads, you would be better to worry about those attached to intercontinental ballistic missiles and sitting in silos in China and Russia.

I would worry more about those than about those not even built yet by people who say they have no intention of building them and who for some years won't even have the capability."
-Charley Reese

Beginning in 1991, we bombed and starved Iraq for 13 years.

That country, with an area of about 437,000 square kilometers and a population of about 25 million, has nevertheless given us three years of hell – thousands of casualties, hundreds of billions of dollars spent on it, and even on this very day, we do not control Iraq.

What do you think will happen if we blunder into Iran – a nation of 65 million people and a land area of 1.6 million square kilometers?

Some of the mental and moral midgets who talked us into the Iraq debacle may claim Iran can be handled by the Air Force.

Not so.

We drop one bomb on Iran and we are in a war right up to our necks.

The Iranians will fight with every means at their disposal, and that's a lot more than Iraq had.

I wonder if the president really thinks that after all his bullying, the Iranians are going to say, "OK, we won't enrich uranium."

Never in a million years.

What they are most likely to do is tell the United States that if their rights under the nonproliferation treaty will not be respected, then there is no point in their being a participant, and we can stick it in our ear.

What will Mr. Bush do then? Go to war and wreck the world economy?

I hope that then his rich friends will intervene and say, "Now, cool it, George, you're about to cost us all a lot of money."

Losing money – that might dissuade him. He seems utterly indifferent to the loss of lives and moral standing.

There's no country outside of the United States that wants a war with Iran.

  • Iran has invaded no one and has threatened to invade no one.

  • It is a signatory of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, and that treaty gives it the right to enrich uranium for its nuclear power stations. Tat's what Iran has done.

  • There is not one shred of evidence that the Iranians seek to build a nuclear bomb. They say repeatedly that they have no desire to build a bomb, and we have no evidence to contradict them.
  • However, even if they did, no nation has the right to tell them they can't.

    The U.S., Great Britain, France, Russia, China, India, Pakistan, and Israel all have nuclear weapons – why not Iran? India, Pakistan, and Israel, unlike Iran, have refused to sign the nonproliferation treaty and have refused to allow international inspectors.

    What kind of madness is it that makes an American president believe that he has the right to dictate to the world?

    It is wrong that Bush is sending his flunkies around the world to cause trouble for Iran with its banking and business connections. By what right does he do this?

    He does it because he has the power to do it, and that is the worst possible sign of a leader – that he does something just because nobody can stop him.

    Justice is not on our side in this affair.

    Iran's internal affairs are no concern of ours. If you wish to worry about nuclear warheads, you would be better to worry about those attached to intercontinental ballistic missiles and sitting in silos in China and Russia. I would worry more about those than about those not even built yet by people who say they have no intention of building them and who for some years won't even have the capability.

    President Bush should talk to the Iranians.

    Refusing to talk is childish. How would the Cold War have ended if Ronald Reagan had refused to talk to Soviet leaders? How would relations with China have been established if Richard Nixon had said he would never talk to Chinese leaders?

    For heaven's sake, how would the American Revolution have ended if the Americans had refused to talk to the British?

    It is those with whom you have a disagreement that you most need to talk to.

    There are only two ways to resolve a conflict – through negotiations or by force. Bush's refusal to talk to the Iranians, except in terms of threats and ultimatums, seems reckless. Unlike the use of force, talking doesn't cost you anything.

    New York Times columnist Tom Friedman said recently that if the choice is another military adventure led by this administration or a nuclear Iran, he'll take the nuclear Iran and rely on conventional deterrence.

    Smart guy. That's how any sensible person would see it.

    A nuclear-armed Iran would not be a threat to the U.S. or to Israel, both of which have plenty of warheads to act as a deterrent.

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    US Foreign Policy is BAD for American Business


    Justin Raimondo

    Read original article "American Dominatrix We're scaring the world – and they hate us for it" by Justin Raimondo

    Anti-Americanism is a big problem for U.S. business: if people turn against America because of the policies of our government, then that means lost profits.

    Our proclivity for alienating the citizens of practically every nation is costing us a pretty penny, and Business for Diplomatic Action Inc. (BDA), a non-profit organization founded by advertising executive Keith Reinhard, means to repair the damage.

    Although they don't come right out and say it, BDA is all too aware of the source of this hostility: American foreign policy.

    That's the major reason BDA is issuing a "World Citizen's Guide" for corporate travelers, which gives Americans a few pointers on how to deal with the dirty looks and muttered imprecations, and includes among its 16 suggestions:

    "Think as big as you like but talk and act smaller.

    In many countries, any form of boasting is considered rude.

    Talking about wealth, power or status – corporate or personal – can create resentment."

    Good advice for the ordinary private citizen, but what about all those "public intellectuals" whose voices have far more reach than the average businessman on a trip to Bali?

    Take, for example, Bill Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard and a familiar talking head on Fox News, who has publicly come out for a foreign policy based on "benevolent global hegemony"?

    This goes beyond mere "boasting," in my view, and even beyond arrogance: I mean, who else but an American would make the claim that a plan for world conquest is evidence of benevolence"?

    Okay, you say, but Kristol is an isolated case.

    Not quite.

    Where else but in Washington, D.C., could we have a "debate" on American foreign policy between Niall Ferguson and Robert Kagan, in which the two debaters quibble over whether the U.S. government should call itself an "empire" or a "hegemon"?

    Our politicians and their coteries of Washington policy wonks routinely discuss the prospect of invading this or that country the way other people debate the relative merits of shopping at either Macy's or Gimbel's.

    Right now we are having a national discussion about whether or not we should drop nukes on Iran.

    I mean – how rude!

    More advice from BDA:

    "Speak lower and slower. In conversation, match your voice level and tonality to the environment and other people.

    A loud voice is often perceived as bragging.

    A fast talker can be seen as aggressive and threatening."

    Speaking in low tones is not how the U.S. government communicates with the rest of the world, and of late the sheer volume of official American pronouncements has been ramped waaaaay up.

    Take, for example, our president, who, in laying out the principles and practice of what has come to be called the "Bush Doctrine," affects a tone somewhere between deafening and stentorian.

    This "doctrine," by the way, claims [.pdf] the "right" of the U.S. to invade any country, at any time, for any reason – and it does so in terms seemingly crafted to cause maximum resentment and fear.

    And then there's this question of "bragging"…

    It seems to me that a nation where phone calls between private citizens are listened to and collected by a government agency is hardly one to brag about how it's going to bring the benefits of "democracy" and "freedom" to the rest of the world.

    Yet that hasn't stopped the U.S. from seeking to "export" its brand of corporate statism to the far corners of the globe, either by force or by less direct forms of coercion.

    Americans like to talk, say the authors of the "World Citizens Guide," but they aren't that good at listening:

    "Listen at least as much as you talk.

    By all means, talk about America and your life in the country.

    But also ask people you're visiting about themselves and their way of life.

    Listen, and show your interest in how they compare their experiences to yours."

    I don't know how true this generalization about talk-happy Americans abroad is, but it certainly applies to our government – in spades.

    After all, didn't the Europeans tell us that the invasion of Iraq would be a disaster?

    Didn't our allies in the Middle East make similar predictions – and
    did we listen?

    Of course we didn't.

    And, quite aside from some 2,400 war dead, we are just beginning to feel the consequences of ignoring their pleas for restraint.

    But it isn't all bad news on the diplomatic front, as far as the behavior of U.S. officials is concerned.

    The "World Citizens Guide" exhorts us to:

    "Dress UP.

    You can always dress down.

    In some countries, casual dress is a sign of disrespect.

    Check out what is expected and when in doubt, err on the side of the more formal and less casual attire. You can remove a jacket and tie if you are overdressed.

    But you can't make up for being too casual."

    Sound advice, and I see that our own well-dressed government officials are taking it to heart.

    After all, as the victims of Hurricane Katrina were drowning, Condi Rice "went shopping at Ferragamo on Fifth Ave.," reported the New York Daily News. "

    According to the Web site, the 50-year-old bought 'several thousand dollars' worth of shoes' at the pricey leather-goods boutique."'

    However, it looks like the Americans are overdoing it, as usual. This Washington Post piece on Condi's unique sense of style speaks volumes:

    Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting"Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived at the Wiesbaden Army Airfield on Wednesday dressed all in black.

    She was wearing a black skirt that hit just above the knee, and it was topped with a black coat that fell to mid-calf.

    The coat, with its seven gold buttons running down the front and its band collar, called to mind a arine's dress uniform or the 'save humanity' ensemble worn by Keanu Reeves in The Matrix.

    As Rice walked out to greet the troops, the coat blew open in a rather swashbuckling way to reveal the top of a pair of knee-high boots. The boots had a high, slender heel that is not particularly practical.

    But it is a popular silhouette because it tends to elongate and flatter the leg.

    In short, the boots are sexy. …Rice looked as though she was prepared to talk tough, knock heads, and do a freeze-frame Matrix jump kick if necessary.

    Who wouldn't give her ensemble a double take – all the while hoping not to rub her the wrong way?

    Rice's coat and boots speak of sex and power – such a volatile combination, and one that in political circles rarely leads to anything but scandal. When looking at the image of Rice in Wiesbaden, the mind searches for ways to put it all into context.

    It turns to fiction, to caricature. To shadowy daydreams. Dominatrix!"

    That the U.S. secretary of state is parading around the world in dominatrix drag tells us everything we need to know about the country she is representing – and why the image of the "ugly American" is making an unwelcome comeback.

    What better outfit for the chief diplomatic official of a nation that routinely threatens other nations with invasion and worse if they don't kowtow to Washington's edicts?

    Americans may or may not need a "World Citizens Guide" to advise them on how to dress, talk, and act when traveling abroad and otherwise dealing with foreigners, but surely one specifically written for U.S. government officials is long overdue.

    It might start by advising Condi to lose the knee-high black leather boots, ditch the dominatrix drag, and then go into the finer points of international etiquette, starting with these three:

    • Stop lecturing foreign governments on their alleged shortcomings in the "democracy" department – especially when, like Russia, they are armed with nuclear weapons, barely emerged out of totalitarian rule, and are bound to resent being labeled as "backsliders."

    • Give up the idea that the U.S. has the "right" to "preempt" alleged threats before they coalesce – otherwise we might be inadvertently encouraging another Pearl Harbor (or, more likely, another 9/11).

    • Start seeing ourselves as others see us. I know it's hard: narcissism has been the leitmotif of American culture in the modern era. But if we take a long hard honest look in the mirror, it might be possible to see how, say, the Iraqis, or the Iranians, might not take too kindly to being involuntarily "liberated." "To thine own self a liberator, to the world an alarming portent," as the writer Garet Garrett put it half a century ago – and that about sums up America's image problem in the world at present.

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     Saturday, May 13, 2006

    April 18, 2006 : The Day America Stepped Off The Nuclear Cliff


    Jorge Hirsch

    Read here full article by Jorge Hirsch

    Remember the old cartoons where the character walks off a cliff and continues walking on thin air until he looks down and plunges?

    America walked off the cliff on April 18, 2006, and has been suspended above the nuclear abyss since, set to plunge down at a moment's notice.

    Even according to Fox News, a U.S. nuclear strike against Iran is now only a question of when, not if.

    Since April 18, 2006, America has been illegally and immorally threatening to use its weapons of mass destruction against a state that is not known with certitude to possess any weapons of mass destruction, to prevent that state from acquiring knowledge that is being acquired by other states at this very moment.

    Since April 18, 2006, America has shattered the legal and moral basis of all international agreements relating to arms control and nonproliferation to which it is a party, and indeed has punctured the legal and moral basis for the United Nations itself.

    And we all see it coming, slowly and inexorably. The actual attack was not in April as was predicted in this column, so it may be June or August, any time before the November election that could change the face of Congress.

    Those who want it and those who don't are equally impotent to influence the course of events to speed it up or slow it down: it follows a script in which every cartoon character repeats the same tired clichés that can be predicted without any imagination [1], [2], [3], [4], [5], [6].

    All the while, the U.S. plan to nuke Iran continues to move forward, focused and unrelenting.

    The Evidence That Iran Will Be Nuked

    The single focus of this column for many months has been to gather and expose the evidence that a nuclear strike against Iran is being planned, not just as a contingency but as a deliberate, premeditated goal that guides the actions of this administration.

    A brief recap:

    Sept. 29, 2005: "Because when Iran's case comes before the S[ecurity] C[ouncil] and no sanctions are passed due to Russia's and China's vetoes, the U.S. will be left with no diplomatic options – not a desirable position to be in, unless the purpose all along was to resort to a military option."

    Oct. 7, 2005: "Bunker-busting nuclear gravity bombs (B61-11 or similar) will be more effective than conventional ones in destroying Iranian underground installations, and at the same time will send a clear message to Iran that any response would be answered with an immensely more devastating nuclear attack."

    Oct. 17, 2005: "[A] nuclear superpower will have nuked a non-nuclear state that is an NPT [Nonproliferation Treaty] signatory and is cooperating with the IAEA, at the instigation of a state that is not an NPT signatory, that reportedly has over 100 nuclear bombs of its own…."

    Nov. 1, 2005: "The real reason for nuking Iran, however, is none of the above. It was spelled out with surprising candor in the Pentagon draft document 'Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations'…."

    Nov. 12, 2005: "The IAEA resolution of Sept. 24, 2005, allows the United States to carry out a nuclear attack against Iran 'legally.'"

    Nov. 21, 2005: "Because the United States is counting on the 'nuclear option' to ensure the success of military action against Iran, it is not seriously pursuing diplomatic alternatives, such as negotiating directly with Iran…."

    Nov. 26, 2005: "John Bolton … will be the ideal person to explain to the world, after the fact, why a preemptive nuclear strike on Iran was justified."

    Dec. 5, 2005: "The much-touted nuclear deterrent is not a credible strategy against 'rogue' non-nuclear nations, because nobody believes that the U.S. will use nuclear weapons in the scenarios described in the policy documents. They are just empty words – until the U.S. demonstrates, by doing it once, that it is actually willing to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear countries. And it is planning to do just that in the upcoming war with Iran."

    Dec. 16, 2005: "In preparation for the nuclear strike on Iran, the Bush administration in its second term has deployed into key positions hardliners that have both expertise in nuclear weapons and a known history of advocating the aggressive use thereof."

    Dec. 28, 2005: "The U.S. will claim the right under Chapter VII of the UN to enforce UNSCR 1540 by aerial bombing of Iran's nuclear and missile facilities. … A supporting role will be provided by UNSC 'anti-terrorism' Resolution 1373, adopted after Sept. 11, also under UN Chapter VII…."

    Jan. 9, 2006: "15 Reasons Why Iran Will Be Nuked…"

    Feb. 20, 2006: "The United States is preparing to enter a new era: an era in which it will enforce nuclear nonproliferation by the threat and use of nuclear weapons. The use of tactical nuclear weapons against Iran will usher in a new world order."

    March 10, 2006: "Initially, it will seem that the use of tactical nuclear weapons was required by military necessity. Slowly, evidence will accumulate that the use of nuclear weapons against Iran was a premeditated act, following many years of planning…."

    April 1, 2006: "Nuclear earth penetrating weapons may be used in the initial attack, and certainly will be used in the large scale attack that will follow…."

    Independently, Michel Chossudovsky [1], [2] and others have analyzed the evidence and predicted the existence of a carefully crafted plan for a U.S. nuclear attack on Iran.

    Then, on April 8, 2006, came the Seymour Hersh bombshell: "One of the military's initial option plans, as presented to the White House by the Pentagon this winter, calls for the use of a bunker-buster tactical nuclear weapon, such as the B61-11, against underground nuclear sites."

    Finally, America paid some attention [.pdf]. But only briefly.

    Seymour Hersh's and Other's Revelations

    From independent sources, the Washington Post reported April 9 that "Pentagon planners are studying how to penetrate eight-foot-deep targets and are contemplating tactical nuclear devices."

    The New York Times reported that a senior Pentagon official said, "I've never heard the issue of nukes taken off or put on the table," which is hardly reassuring. Seymour Hersh's article further stated, "The attention given to the nuclear option has created serious misgivings inside the offices of the Joints Chiefs of Staff," confirming my article of March 10, 2006: "Gen. Pace to Troops: Don't Nuke Iran. Illegal, Immoral Orders Should Be Disobeyed."

    As also predicted in my column, the "blame" for planning a nuclear attack is being put on the military.

    In science, a key test of the validity of a theory is its ability to predict results of experiments before they are performed. The fact that I and others were able to predict the "Iran Plans" from analysis of data that are completely independent of Hersh's sources lends credibility both to Hersh's report and to our analysis and its conclusion: that "America is embarked in a premeditated path that will lead inexorably to the use of nuclear weapons against Iran in the very near future."

    In a carefully calculated response, evidenced by the fact that Scott McClellan repeated the same two words eight times in the same press conference, the Hersh report was labeled "wild speculation" by the Bush administration. A spokeswoman for the Central Intelligence Agency stated, "The article contains information that is inaccurate."

    No explicit denial was issued by anyone in the administration.

    On April 13, Donald Rumsfeld was directly asked by an al-Arabiya reporter: "Is there a nuclear option on the table or off the table?" Rumsfeld's answer: "The more anyone discusses this, the more misinformation gets communicated. The president has spoken on this repeatedly. There is no need for people who work for the president to rephrase anything he has said. He has said it all, and I'll leave it with him."

    Off the Nuclear Cliff

    But the president had not said it all yet.

    Rumsfeld was predicting what Bush would say just five days later. When asked on April 18, "Sir, when you talk about Iran and you talk about how you have diplomatic efforts, you also say all options are on the table. Does that include the possibility of a nuclear strike? Is that something that your administration will plan for?," Bush responded (watch it by clicking here): "All options are on the table."

    That was the watershed moment when America walked off the nuclear cliff.

    Because, as President Bush himself said a few days later, "When people speak, it is important that we listen carefully to what they say and take them seriously."

    President Bush has told the world that America, the greatest nuclear superpower, is considering using nuclear weapons against Iran, a non-nuclear state that does not have a military alliance with a nuclear state and is a signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, as well as of the chemical and biological weapons convention treaties.

    What is the legal, moral, ethical, or logical argument now for America to demand that other countries not develop nuclear weapons, or any other "weapon of mass destruction," for that matter? What is the legal, moral, ethical, or logical argument now for "nonproliferation"?

    What is the legal, moral, ethical, or logical argument for demanding that Iran should not even have the knowledge, the know-how, or the capacity to ever build a nuclear weapon?

    Since April 18, 2006, it is the United States' official policy that it will enforce nonproliferation of nuclear and other WMD by the threat and use of its weapons of mass destruction, whether or not there is any real evidence that the adversary state is actually pursuing such weapons.

    What is left of the legal, moral, ethical, or logical basis for the United Nations itself, which was created "to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained"?

    What is left of the right of self-defense guaranteed by the United Nations Charter?

    Since April 18, 2006, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty is history.

    UNSC Resolution 1540, introduced by the United States and adopted under Chapter VII:

    "Affirm[s] that proliferation of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, as well as their means of delivery, constitutes a threat to international peace and security."

    "Encourag[es] all Member States to implement fully the disarmament treaties and agreements to which they are party."

    "Calls upon all States to promote dialogue and cooperation on nonproliferation so as to address the threat posed by proliferation of nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons, and their means of delivery."
    With breathtaking hypocrisy, the U.S. is about to undertake sanctions and military action against Iran based on UNSC 1540, because it will certainly not get Russia and China to approve any new Chapter VII resolution against Iran.

    Bolton, Rice, Bush, Joseph, Burns, Rumsfeld, Cheney, and the others in the gang: whatever you do, could you at least spare us the heinously hypocritical double-talk? Please? Do you believe there is anybody left who believes your charade?

    The Reality of a Threat

    Imagine your next-door neighbor mows the lawn on Saturday afternoon when you are taking a nap. You ask other neighbors to join in an initiative to report this nuisance to the homeowners association, but they point out that the noise level is below the maximum allowed by city ordinance.

    You then take a bullhorn, go out on the street and broadcast: "I am going to gun down my next-door neighbor if he continues to mow the lawn while I am having my nap." What will happen?

    Your next-door neighbor will be "deterred" by your threat and stop mowing the lawn. Unlikely, since he is acting within the law.

    Your other neighbors will worry a bit but say, no, he's never going to do it, he never has gunned down anybody before. Wait, actually he did, 60 years ago, but I was told there was a good reason for it then.

    So let's not worry about it? No.

    Most likely, your next-door neighbor and other neighbors will report you to the police. The police will come and ask you whether you really meant that you are going to gun down your neighbor.

    If you reply, "All options are on the table," you will go straight to jail.

    Under California Penal Code Sect. 422,
    "Any person who willfully threatens to commit a crime which will result in death
    or great bodily injury to another person, with the specific intent that the
    statement, made verbally, in writing, or by means of an electronic communication
    device, is to be taken as a threat, even if there is no intent of actually
    carrying it out, which, on its face and under the circumstances in which it is
    made, is so unequivocal, unconditional, immediate, and specific as to convey to
    the person threatened, a gravity of purpose and an immediate prospect of
    execution of the threat, and thereby causes that person reasonably to be in
    sustained fear for his or her own safety or for his or her immediate family's
    safety, shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail not to exceed one
    year, or by imprisonment in the state prison."

    Other states have similar provisions.

    The "unequivocal, unconditional, immediate, and specific" Bush nuclear threat is the April 18 statement together with the myriad of documents, speeches, and initiatives on nuclear policy and nuclear weapons by the administration in the last five years [1], [2], starting with these statements in the "Nuclear Posture Review" of 2001:
    "U.S. nuclear forces will now be used to dissuade adversaries from undertaking
    military programs or operations that could threaten U.S. interests or those of
    allies and friends," and "Nuclear weapons could be employed against targets able
    to withstand non-nuclear attack."
    Much has been made of Ahmadinejad's "threat" that Israel is a "disgraceful blot" that should be "wiped off the map." No matter how much we may dislike his words, that was not a "threat," because it did not refer to a future action by Iran. If you say "I wish my neighbor would die," you will not go to jail.

    There are good reasons why criminal law considers an individual's threat to commit a crime to be itself a crime. The same reasons apply to a country's threat to commit the illegal and immoral act of using a nuclear weapon against a non-nuclear country.

    Yet America is waiting for the threat to become reality to react to it. It will be too late then.

    The Numbness of America

    The president could have said: a nuclear option is not being considered. He could at least have said: we will only consider using nuclear weapons if attacked with weapons of mass destruction.

    He could have said, as Tony Blair did: "I don't know anybody who has even talked or contemplated the prospect of a nuclear strike on Iran. That would be absolutely absurd." He didn't. He said instead that "all options are on the table."

    When people speak, it is important that we listen carefully to what they say and take them seriously.

    It doesn't matter if nuking Iran is one of six options being considered, as Seymour Hersh reported, or one of 100. And it doesn't matter that Hersh's report is labeled a "left-wing" rant by some and not credible by others, and it doesn't matter that Britain's Jack Straw called it "completely nuts."

    All that matters is that the U.S president has officially declared that a nuclear strike on Iran is an option for America. America has been a different nation since that day.

    Did you hear the outcry in the media?

    In Congress?

    College campuses?

    National Academy of Sciences?

    Nonproliferation NGOs? [1], [2], [3], [4], [5], [6], [7].

    I didn't.

    By and large, there was a collective yawn.

    Sure it is an option, but surely he won't exercise it.

    There is something profoundly disingenuous about America's attitude toward nuclear weapons that cuts across party lines and political philosophies.

    It is the desire to extract benefit from keeping the option on the table, while not being willing to take responsibility and pay the price for it. Most Americans surely oppose using nuclear weapons against Iranian underground installations, and they will be outraged if it happens.

    Yet they will support keeping the option "on the table" to "deter" Iran. And they are not willing to consider the obvious fact that they will not be asked when the decision is made to drop nuclear bombs on Iran, and that after it happens it is too late to turn back.

    On April 18, 2006, America issued a grave threat.

    No matter how much you want to ignore it, it is a reality.

    Threats have consequences.

    The Future

    The levees are broken, and there is no physical barrier to hold the waters from flowing, following the laws of physics, and drowning everyone and everything in their path.

    The president has sole authority to order the use of nuclear weapons against Iran. He and Cheney and Rumsfeld have nothing to lose, as they will not be running in 2008.

    They are convinced that establishing the usability of America's nuclear arsenal against non-nuclear adversaries is in the long-term interest of America, and they will not ask your permission to launch a B61-11 against Iran.

    In a sense, they already asked on April 18, and you nodded by ignoring it. They are surrounded by like-minded people who were put in high places for that very reason. Those who don't agree, like Gen. Pace, will not be asked, or will resign before it happens.

    Bush is convinced that this will be his valuable legacy to America, and he and his cronies are willing to pay the price of a Democratic victory in the next presidential election.

    Floating over the nuclear abyss, we just have to look down, and following the laws of cartoon physics, we will plunge down into the new world of unrestrained use of nuclear weapons. Can we still reach back and get hold of firm ground?

    Can we still repair those levees before the water starts flowing? Only if we are willing to immediately confront the facts and build a concrete barrier, urgently.

    Wishful thinking will not do.

    In our constitutional system of government, only Congress can erect the barrier: a new law that would outlaw America's use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear countries, or at the very least make it illegal for the president to order such use without explicit congressional authorization. We need to get that law to pass!

    America's Collective Responsibility

    The cards are on the table.

    It is no longer possible to plead ignorance.

    If you agree with what is about to happen, at least you are consistent.

    But if you don't, you are evading your responsibility. Speak out now, act within your sphere of influence, do everything you can.

    Scream it from the top of your lungs; wear it on your T-shirt; use it as a bumper sticker on your car, on your Web pages, in your business stationery:


    Or forever hold your peace, and face the consequences.

    Just don't come later and say you didn't know and you didn't agree and you didn't support that course of action and you are sorry.

    Because you did know and you did agree and you did support it by your inaction.

    Being sorry will not make up for it.

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     Tuesday, May 09, 2006

    Iran plays trump card in standoff vs. West

      Read here article by Steven R. Hurst of AP

    Iran's president threw a deft trump card into his standoff with the West when he dispatched a letter to President Bush proposing "new solutions" - a diplomatic overture that complicates U.S. hopes for sanctions to punish the Islamic regime.

    While Mahmoud Ahmadinejad did not disclose what he wrote to the American leader, the letter's very existence appeared to offer Russia and China handy additional justification to block the U.S. sanctions drive while diplomatic channels remained open. Both countries hold U.N. Security Council vetoes and already were vehemently opposed to sanctions.

    Mark Fitzpatrick, of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, called Ahmadinejad's move "an astute negotiating ploy."

    "It's harder for the Americans to get 15 votes (a unanimous result) in the Security Council if they are seen as not willing to talk to the Iranians," the former State Department official said.

    The letter was particularly noteworthy, he said, as a possible window on a power struggle inside the Iranian hierarchy.

    "Just two weeks ago Ahmadinejad said there was no need to talk with the Americans about Iraq," Fitzpatrick said. "But now you have Ahmadinejad coming on board. It may represent evidence of internal jockeying over who can deliver the Americans."

    Washington was on record wanting its ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, to talk with the Iranians about curbing Tehran's influence inside its chaotic western neighbor.

    Many figures now at the top of Iraq's political and religious leadership spent years in exile in Iran during Saddam Hussein's rule, and there is growing concern that Iran has gained undue influence in Baghdad through the former exiles.

    As unexpected as the Ahmadinejad letter was in the international community, it shocked some Iranians as well.

    "I lost a bet when the news of the letter appeared. Given Ahmadinejad's hard-line stance, I bet friends Iran would never initiate peaceful steps with the United States," said Hamid Ghargouzloo, a 57-year-old engineer who trained at Texas State University in El Paso during the 1970s.

    Farhad Kafi, 68, praised Ahmadinejad's overture and voiced a yearning for better ties with Washington as he walked past the former U.S. Embassy in Tehran.

    "It was a wise and brave decision. I know it will take time for Iran and United States to get along. It doesn't matter what the letter says, it could be the end of the hostility," he said.

    The Ahmadinejad letter also stands to win him time - a most valuable commodity if Iran is, as Washington asserts, trying to build an atomic bomb.

    So far, Iran has been able to enrich small amounts of uranium to a level that, in sufficient quantities, could fuel a nuclear reactor to generate electricity. By virtually all estimates, Tehran will need several more years to make a nuclear warhead - a goal it denies holding.

    But if Iran is trying to buy time, Ahmadinejad and others in the government and scientific community need only look to North Korea, which managed to stall U.S. and international intervention as it successfully constructed several warheads even as it further crippled its economy.

    Regardless of motivation, however, Ahmadinejad has used the nuclear issue to whip up national pride and build support for his hard-line stance in a nation where his sharply anti-American and anti-Western policies were thought to have waning support.

    His angry rhetoric and insistence on Iran's right to enrich uranium had, to a degree, managed to divert the attention of an overwhelmingly young population that was believed disenchanted with Ahmadinejad's puritanical Islamic fundamentalism.

    Having played that hand successfully, it is hard to see a face-saving way out of the confrontation if Ahmadinejad does not get something back from Washington after this much-publicized missive to Bush.

    Washington has appeared disinclined to give any ground to the Iranians, apparently believing Ahmadinejad cannot withstand internal and international dynamics it believes are working against him.

    But Ahmadinejad is flush with oil money and has stymied American attempts, so far, to inspire a widespread international boycott of Iran. With additional trumps in his hand, the Iranian may have found a way past the U.S. stone wall and toward a dialogue that could produce a satisfactory result for both sides.

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     Sunday, May 07, 2006

    BIGGEST US Embassy in the World Being Built - In BAGHDAD

      Read here original article by Iason Athanasiadis on Asia Online

    A massive 42-hectare US Embassy complex is currently under construction inside the Green Zone.

    When ready, it will be the largest US embassy in the world.

    The US$592 million facility is being built inside the heavily fortified Green Zone by 900 non-Iraqi foreign workers housed nearby. Construction materials have been stockpiled to avoid the dangers and delays on Iraq's roads.

    Once built, the embassy will be entirely self-sufficient and provide a school, six apartment buildings, a gym, a pool, a food court and American Club, and its own power-generation and water-treatment plants for its 1,000 staff.

    The size of Vatican City, the complex will be six times as large as the United Nations compound in New York and two-thirds the acreage of Washington's National Mall.

    Iraq's interim government transferred the land to US ownership in October 2004 under an agreement whose terms were undisclosed.

    Once the new US Embassy is completed, the Republican Palace, currently housing the temporary US Embassy, will be turned back to the Iraqi government.

    The Republican Palace as Temporary US Embassy

    (Meanwhile) Iraq's latest conquerors triumphantly dominates the inner courtyard of Saddam Hussein's Republican Palace to be what is today the temporary US Embassy in Baghdad.

    Tuesday night is karaoke night at Saddam Hussein's former Republican Palace in central Baghdad's fortified Green Zone abd bawl out old rock 'n' roll and blues anthems to their heart's content.

    US soldiers take off their shirts to play volleyball, State Department contractors have a party on the lawn, and bikini-clad embassy workers splash in the swimming pool.

    A British journalist gazing over the scene for the firsttime can do is absent-mindedly mumble, "It's Saigon all over again."

    Aside from the current US Embassy and former Republican Palace being inside the Green Zone, a complex web of security has also been thrown up around the palace.

    Ordinary journalists must be escorted everywhere around the Green Zone, a 10-square-kilometer restricted area in the heart of Baghdad ringed by 3.5-meter-high blast walls and criss-crossed by still more concrete barriers, concertina wire, and checkpoints anchored by US armored vehicles.

    To the sides, 5-meter-high entrances open up onto crowded chambers now used as offices, where work stations sag under the load of computers and all the detritus of a modern embassy office.

    Hundreds of diplomats, military people and contractors crowd into the noisy, air-conditioned premises for dinner, while others take their food out to the garden, where the beat of heavy rock music rolls around the lawn, striking a discordant note with the softly illuminated neo-Babylonian architectural style of the palace reflected in the pool.

    Suited US State Department diplomats sit at the tables dotting the lawn, eating out of plastic, one-use trays alongside groups of T-shirt-wearing contractors, their M-3 rifles propped up against the garden chairs.

    The majority of US diplomats come on short, three-month rotations to Baghdad.

    With Iraq already recognized as the definitive US military adventure of the 21st century, word in the State Department is that a short posting in Baghdad is essential for career-minded young diplomats looking for rapid promotion.

    Added to the few opportunities to go out into highly unstable Baghdad, it is no wonder many US diplomats seem to think they are still picnicking by the Potomac River.

    The karaoke and pool-side volleyball will soon be transferred from the Republican Palace to a massive 42-hectare complex currently under construction inside the Green Zone.

    But until next year, when the project is to be completed, Saigon nights will continue at Baghdad's Republican Palace.


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     Saturday, May 06, 2006

    Why Kent State University Is Important Today


    Michael Corcoran
    (Michael Corcoran is a journalism major at Emerson College)

    Read here original article by Michael Corcoran

    Thirty six years ago today, Ohio National Guardsmen shot 13 college students at Kent State University who were protesting US incursions into Cambodia as part of the Vietnam War.

  • Nine victims survived, including one who is confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

  • Four students -- Jeffrey Miller, Allison Krause, Bill Schroeder, and Sandy Scheuer -- were killed.

  • The students were unarmed, and the closest was more than 60 feet away from the Guard at the time of the shooting.

  • There was no warning shot; the National Guard never issued an apology; and no one ever spent a day in jail for the killings despite the fact that the President's Commission on Campus Unrest, appointed by President Nixon in 1970, found the shootings to be ''unwarranted and inexcusable."
  • Yearly, since the tragedy, Kent State students, alumni, and others have met on the anniversary of the shooting to reflect and remember.

    Alan Canfora, who was shot by the Guard, says,
    "The students today act as the conscience of the college, and the country . . . just like the students did in 1970."
    This year's memorial will come, as the last three have, in the midst of a war that has become increasingly divisive.

    While the memory of Kent State and other violent clashes from that time between protesters and authorities did not deter the incumbent president from leading the country into another unpopular war, it is important to honor Kent State's spirit of dissent and what it taught about the bloody consequences of intense division.

    Halfway across the country, the lessons of Kent State are taught each semester in debate classes at Emerson College.

    J. Gregory Payne, associate professor of organizational and political communication and a Kent State historian, has been teaching students about history, advocacy, and rhetoric through the lens of Kent State for decades.

    According to Payne, remembering this tragedy is important because "Kent State is not about the past -- it's about the future."

    Consider the similarities:

  • In 1970, just as today, we had an unpopular president carrying out an unpopular war for questionable reasons.

  • Richard Nixon and George W. Bush embody many of the same divisive characteristics.
    Bush tells the world: "You are with us or you are with the terrorists."

    Nixon's public statement after the shootings blamed the students: "When dissent turns to violence it invites tragedy."
  • Again our civil liberties are being threatened.
    Bush has ordered the wiretapping of US citizens without a warrant and holds detainees indefinitely without trial;

    Nixon was spying on student activists and what he called ''domestic radicals."
  • But, perhaps the most telling comparison is the sharp division within the nation, both then and now.
    Americans are now, as we were then, split to the core on matters of war and peace, life and death, and cultural values.

    The President's Commission concluded it was ''the most divisive time in American history since the civil war."

    Bill Schroeder's parents received signed letters after the shooting saying, among other things, that their ''riot-making, communist son" deserved to die.
  • Today antiwar protesters are unfairly discredited by the administration as they were in 1970.
    When Cindy Sheehan took antiwar positions after her 24-year-old son, Casey Sheehan, died in Iraq, she was smeared by pundits like Bill O'Reilly, who said she was a pawn of ''far-left elements that are using her" and that Sheehan was ''dumb" enough to let them do it.
    Of course, the absence of a draft now and its presence then may explain why the antiwar movement during the Vietnam War had a greater intensity then it does now.

    Still, as the protests in New York City last week indicate, the longer the war in Iraq drags on, the more vehement the opposition seems to get.

    Musicians, once again, are singing songs of dissent.

    Last Friday Neil Young, who in 1970 wrote ''Ohio" in reaction to the shootings, began streaming a new antiwar album ''Living with War" for free on his website.

    Days later, Pearl Jam also released an album made up entirely of protest music.

    My generation can't ignore the lessons of Kent State.

    The same mindset and failure in leadership that led National Guardsmen to fire at students of the same age and from the same Ohio hometowns is similar to what led US soldiers to torture detainees in Iraq.

    Kent State should remind us of what happens when a grossly misguided war divides a country.

    If we can speak candidly and openly about our history and our present -- even the worst elements of it -- then we can ensure that the lives lost on May 4, 1970, were not in vain.

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