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 Sunday, December 03, 2006

The US President is the Main Obstacle to Peace in the Middle East


Other Breaking News
  • RUMSFELD HAD SAID US WAS FAILING IN IRAQ: In a move that will send shockwaves through the White House a leaked memo from former Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, in which he admitted American failings in Iraq and called for a major change in policy, emerged yesterday. The classified memo, obtained by the New York Times, revealed that the ultra-hawkish Rumsfeld believes that US forces in Iraq are not achieving their aims. He submitted the memo to the White House just two days before he resigned his post at the Pentagon. Read here for more

  • A truck has killed 18 people and injured eight when it ploughed into commuters waiting at a busy bus station south of Baghdad. Civilian casualties in Iraq have gone up by 44 per cent in November compared with October as the official data from the Iraqi interior ministry has shown. The revelation came amid a gun battle between Iraqi troops backed by US attack helicopters and fighters for several hours in central Baghdad on Friday.Iraqi interior ministry data showed 1,850 civilian deaths in Iraq in November, matching a 45 per cent rise in the number of civilian deaths tallied by Reuters. The violence has its epicentre in Baghdad, despite thousands of US troops being poured into the Iraqi capital.Read here for more

  • The Hizbullah-led opposition’s challenge to the Beirut government is a blow to US Middle East policy and shows Washington has limited options to head off Syrian and Iranian influence in Lebanon. With mounting calls for Washington to engage with Tehran and Damascus as part of its policy to ease violence in Iraq, both states aim to strengthen their hand by dealing the United States a political blow in Lebanon, analysts say. Read here for more

  • An Israel Defense Forces soldier, who shot and seriously injured a Palestinian at a roadblock, was sentenced to 14 days in a military prison. The soldier shot Haytem Yasin, 25, on November 4, at the roadblock of Asira al-Shemaliya. Yasin is being treated at Beilinson hospital in Petah Tikva, where he is in serious condition as a result of major abdominal injuries. Read here for more

  • FIJI: FIJI'S military commander has declared that the government has given him the "green light" to allow him to take control of the island nation.Speaking on local radio this afternoon, Commodore Frank Bainimarama said that he was taking the government's silence as an indication his clean up campaign, as he describes it, can begin. He said he would start considering an interim government. In a separate radio interview , Fiji Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase revealed he was effectively on the run.
    He would not disclose his location and said his Cabinet members had moved to separate sites for security reasons. Read here for more

Justin Raimondo
(Justin Raimondo is the editorial director of He is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (Prometheus Books, 2000). He is also the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement (Center for Libertarian Studies, 1993), and Into the Bosnian Quagmire: The Case Against U.S. Intervention in the Balkans (1996).He is a contributing editor for The American Conservative, a Senior Fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute, and an Adjunct Scholar with the Ludwig von Mises Institute, and writes frequently for Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture.

Read here Justin Raimondo's full article

I fear my readers must think I’ve forgotten about Iraq, since I haven’t written about it in well over a week.

I must confess not only to weariness concerning the subject, but also to being at a complete loss at what to say, except, perhaps, "I told you so."

It is hardly appropriate to gloat that you were right as the death toll mounts and a nation descends into chaos. No writer likes to repeat himself, and yet, after countless columns on the subject, dating from 1999, one cannot help sounding a few familiar notes.

We all read the same headlines every day, we see the news on television, the exploding bombs, the internecine struggle that even the "mainstream" media is now acknowledging is, indeed, a full-fledged civil war, the hapless-yet-brutal Iraqi "government" installed and supported by Washington, the hopeless mess unfolding before our eyes.

Yet there isn’t much anyone can do about it.

The President of the United States is the only man on earth who can stop the waste of Iraq and American lives and treasure, but he’s made it clear – over and over – that he just ISN'T buying it.

Only just this morning I awoke to the news that the president is not seeking a "graceful exit" from Iraq – or, indeed, any kind of exit, Baker Commission or no Baker Commission.

Yes, the U.S. position in Iraq is collapsing: yes, the Iraqi government is imploding: and, yes, the complete cluelessness of our policymakers is readily apparent. Yet none of this matters , since our foreign policy is in the hands of a single individual, the Boy Emperor Bush II.

In the realm of foreign policy, the American president is a monarchical figure, whose will cannot be challenged either by Congress or the people. The Founders, of course, never intended this, and would be horrified if they were around to see it.

It started with the precedent set by Harry Truman, that intellectual and physical pygmy – the Republicans called him the "little haberdasher" – who sent U.S. troops to Korea without consulting Congress, and kept them there until they sank in one of the earliest quagmires of the cold war – a pit from which we have yet to extricate ourselves.

If the president can, according to the Justice Department’s legal theorists, order torture [.pdf], seize people and hold them indefinitely without trial, then surely he isn’t going to let a little detail like Congress stand in his way.

We are all of us held hostage by this crazed commander-in-chief, whose Napoleonic dreams of empire will be the ruin of us.

What to do?

The only way we’re going to change American foreign policy and get a new direction in this country is if the pro-peace forces get their man in the White House.

Let's look around and see who we are dealing with: who are the major presidential candidates?

So far, there’s only one who is advocating U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, and, no, it’s not a Democrat – it’s Chuck Hagel, Republican senator from Nebraska.

In an op ed piece for the Washington Post, Hagel wrote:

"America finds itself in a dangerous and isolated position in the world. We are perceived as a nation at war with Muslims. Unfortunately, that perception is gaining credibility in the Muslim world and for many years will complicate America's global credibility, purpose and leadership.

This debilitating and dangerous perception must be reversed as the world seeks a new geopolitical, trade and economic center that will accommodate the interests of billions of people over the next 25 years.

The world will continue to require realistic, clear-headed American leadership — not an American divine mission.

The United States must begin planning for a phased troop withdrawal from Iraq."

I am tempted to quote the entire piece: I urge you to read the whole thing.

I would remind the senator that Vietnam was a defeat, and the sting of it kept us out of foreign adventures for a long while afterward.

And it was a military defeat: the myth of the stab-in-the-back is sustained only by the willful distortion of the history of the Vietnam war as it actually unfolded, as opposed to the version pushed by the David Horowitz School of Falsification.

We all saw that U.S. helicopter taking off from the rooftop of the American embassy in Saigon, with so many people hanging on to it for dear life that it’s a wonder it got off the ground at all.

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The American military was defeated in Vietnam, and no outcome in the entire history of warfare was more deserved, if only because it was entirely predictable.

As I pointed out in a long ago column, a good number of prominent figures spent the 1950s and early 60s warning against U.S. involvement in a land war in Asia:

"John T. Flynn, the Old Right radio commentator and journalist, sounded the alarm bells as early as the mid-1950s, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower started giving mostly covert support to Vietnam's French overlords and their native allies.

No less a personage than General Douglas MacArthur joined Flynn in his forebodings of disaster:

In April 1961, MacArthur warned JFK that it would be a big mistake to fight in Southeast Asia, and that America's line of defense ought to be Japan, Formosa, and the Philippines. General Matthew Ridgway, MacArthur's successor as Army Chief of Staff, made a similar argument, contending that a land war in Asia would be a disaster for the US.

Another critic of intervention at the time, General J. Lawton Collins, said that he did not ‘know of a single commander that was in favor of fighting on the land mass of Asia.’"

The policymakers went ahead anyway, however, and paid the price, in American and Vietnamese blood.

They also embedded in the American public an aversion to military adventurism, and it was only the dippy interventionism of the Clinton years – a creeping, half-hearted crusading spirit, or sense of "divine mission" – that lured us back into the error of our old ways.

After 9/11, when we fell into the Bizarro World alternate universe of the neocons – where a lesson learned means repeating past mistakes – the relapse was total.

Now that we have fallen into the abyss, what can get us out?

As Garet Garrett, the Old Right author and political seer, put it in the opening sentence of his gem of an essay, Rise of Empire:

"We have crossed the boundary that lies between Republic and Empire."

This is our predicament, and the key to resolving it is to be found in the closing phrases of Garrett’s 1952 polemic:

"No doubt the people know they can have their Republic back if they want it enough to fight for it and to pay the price.

The only point is that no leader has yet appeared with the courage to make them choose."

Is Chuck Hagel that leader?

I don’t pretend to know, and, as I’ve said before: put not your trust in politicians.

But he’s the best we’ve got, and he ain’t all that bad.

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