Friday, April 13, 2012

The War Party is alive and kicking

In her newly released book – Drift - Rachel Maddow of the MSNBC argues that the American nation has drifted away from its founding ideals and has become a nation weirdly at peace with perpetual war, with all the financial and human costs that entails. To understand how we have arrived at such a dangerous place, she discusses from the Vietnam War to today’s war in Afghanistan, along the way exploring the disturbing rise of executive authority, the gradual outsourcing of our war-making capabilities to private companies, the plummeting percentage of American families whose children fight our constant wars for us, and even the changing fortunes of G.I. Joe.

Back in 1792, Thomas Jefferson (then the Secretary of State) wrote, “One of my favorite ideas is, never to keep an unnecessary soldier.” As Maddow showed neither Jefferson nor the other founding fath¬ers could ever have envisioned the modern national security state, with its tens of thousands of “privateers”; its bloated Department of Homeland Security; its rust¬ing nuclear weapons, ill-maintained and difficult to dismantle; and its strange fascination with an unproven counterinsurgency doctrine. And add to that list the pre-emptive strikes that are always touted as self-defensive measures – shoot and kill first before asking questions and verifying the matter. It is perception that counts and not evidence proving contrary to the war-mongering impudent claims!

By now you must have known that the War Party is alive and kicking. The change in Washington in 2008, which saw the defeat of the Republicans in the 2008 election, failed to put a dent in its massive influence prowess. Thus, instead of a closure in two war fronts, we have settled in for what can only be described as an escalation in Afghanistan and Pakistan, while the U.S. soldiers will continue to remain inside Iraq for an unforeseeable future. There are rumors in the air that America may be dragged into yet another unnecessary and illegal war, much like its war against Iraq in 2003. And all these events are happening under President Obama’s watch!

In the immediate aftermath of 9/11 these warmongers – many are Washington insiders either active in politics or linked with dozens of think tanks and military industrial complex - wanted to use the event as the ‘Pearl Harbor’ moment to capitalize on their long-desired plans, concocted in the 1990s, to create a new American century which would ensure her unchallenged dominance in the 21st century. And what could have been better than a civilizational war with the world of Islam?
These warmongers, many of whom by then had become advisers to Bush Jr., settled for invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Blatant lies were told, sold and packaged through the embedded media (that forgot its true role) to make the case for invasion. Others were either bribed or bullied to go along with the illegal war. When the claims for the justification of the war were proven wrong, newer ones were manufactured, not the least of which included implanting democracy in the Middle East. But it was all talks, mere lips services to fool too many. None of the dictators was weakened, but rather strengthened to seal American hegemony in the region. As expected, such ploys did not work for too long. Most of the warmongering politicians that ran in 2008 election were solidly routed out by people’s verdict.

Obama promised change, and sounded sincere. And we believed him and hoped big until we were forced to settle for the sad reality that he is no different than any of his predecessors. The Nobel Committee had made a terrible mistake in 2009 when it bestowed him the peace prize. Even his diehard supporters would admit that when it comes to international policy matters, truly little has changed under Obama. He is surrounded by many advisers whose loyalty is more to the state of Israel than the interest of the nation. And they want America to fight the proxy-war for Israel against Iran.

Obama, like Bush Jr., spoke about democracy in the Middle East, but hardly did anything to make things better. He is more interested in punishing Iran, a country with a functioning democracy since 1979, than helping the Syrian people to topple the brutal dictatorship of Bashar al Assad whose family has been ruling the country for the past four decades. His administration provided the necessary justification for the Saudi intervention and collusion with the autocratic Khalifa regime in their violent crackdown of the democracy-loving people of Bahrain.

As I have noted earlier, there is a powerful group of Zionists inside the USA and many western countries that identifies itself as a vanguard of the rogue state of Israel. Events like the AIPAC annual conference allow them to mingle and solidify their ties to Israel. Because of the overwhelming power of this ‘Israeli Lobby’ it is also a much sought after event by many politicians, especially those who are running in the next election. They obviously don’t want to embrace the fate of either former 11-term congressman Paul Findley or 6-term congresswoman Cindy McKinney. President Obama’s attendance this year shows that the uneasy thought of being targeted has not escaped his mind either, let alone the power of AIPAC. After all, outside Obama, I am not aware of any U.S. president ever speaking in front of the AIPAC!

But before Obama could declare in that event that “I have Israel’s back” in its escalating confrontation with Iran, pro-Israel figures like the evangelical Christian leader Gary L. Bauer (who is also active in the group Christians United for Israel) and the Jewish neo-conservative commentator William Kristol were pushing for more. In a 30-minute video, the group that the two men lead, the Emergency Committee for Israel, mocked Obama’s “unshakable commitment to Israel’s security” and attacked his record on Iran as weak. With Israeli leaders warning of an existential threat from Iran and openly discussing the possibility of attacking her nuclear facilities, pro-Israel groups have been frantically beating up the drums of a war for the Obama administration and the Congress to act.

Among those advocating a more aggressive approach toward Iran are prominent Republicans in Congress, like Mr. Cantor (rumored to become Mitt Romney’s running mate in the presidential election) and Senator John McCain of Arizona, and the party’s presidential candidates (outside Congressman Dr. Ron Paul); some are even powerful legislators from the Democratic Party.

Many of these pro-Israelis are also part of the war party that is tied up with the military industrial complex.

So, just as with Iraq during Bush Jr.’s presidency, under Obama nothing truly has changed with administration’s character when it comes to its perception about Iran and her so-called controversial nuclear program. Like Ahmed Chalabi of the Iraqi National Congress (INC) we have the Mujahideen-e-Khalq, or MEK, an Iranian opposition group to excite our warmongers to justify a covert and overt war with Iran. Forgotten there is the fact that the group had collaborated with Saddam Hussein of Iraq, who provided it with funds and a compound, Camp Ashraf, north of Baghdad. With tanks provided by the Iraqi dictator, the group brutally crushed down Iraqi Kurdish people in the early 1990s.

Recently, Pulitzer-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has revealed that the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) has trained operatives from MEK at a secret site in Nevada. Writing in The New Yorker, Hersh reports JSOC began training the MEK in 2005 even though the group has been listed as a foreign terrorist organization by the State Department. The training included intercepting communications, cryptography, weaponry and small unit tactics. Last month, NBC reported that members of the MEK have been involved in the assassinations of five Iranian nuclear scientists. It is believed that the CIA and Mossad provided the material support for such murders.

And then there is the Jundallah, a terrorist organization, based in Iranian Balochistan, which has been linked to, and taken credit for, numerous acts of terror, kidnapping and the smuggling of narcotics. It has been fighting a proxy war against Iran on behalf of the CIA and Mossad. Iranian authorities and several other sources such as the ABC News, Daily Telegraph, and journalist Seymour Hersh have also reported that Jundullah, like the MEK, has received support from the United States against the government of Iran.

What is even more disturbing is that some former Washington officials, e.g., Tom Ridge, Rudy Giuliani, Francis Townsend, Louis Freeh, Hugh Shelton, John Bolton, have been vocally advocating on MEK’s behalf, often in exchange for large payments. As Jeremiah Goulka recently noted in the salon.com, given the cacophony of saber-rattling over Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program – which the U.S. intelligence community generally believes was shut down in 2003 – and the risk, however low, of actually getting prosecuted for “material support of terrorism,” it is important to examine why anyone would promote a designated terrorist organization. These officials were paid to speak on the MEK’s behalf, up to $30,000 per speech.

Tom Ridge, the former governor of the state of Pennsylvania and Homeland Secretary under Bush Jr., has his own security consultancy (Ridge Global, LLC) and lobbying firm (Ridge Policy Group). He chairs the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s national security task force and sits on the boards of at least one military contractor (TechRadium, Inc.) and one company (Geospatial Corporation) that serves the oil and gas industry. Townsend chairs an industry association for intelligence contractors (the Intelligence and National Security Alliance) and is the head of lobbying for a holding company (MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings Inc.) that owns the military contractor AM General. Giuliani, the ex-mayor of New York City, has a security consulting firm (Giuliani Partners) and is a partner in a law firm with prominent oil and gas and lobbying practices (Bracewell & Giuliani). He used to own a private equity fund that teamed up with Bear Stearns to invest in security companies. Louis Freeh, the 5th director of the FBI, has a security and investigations consulting firm (Freeh Group International Solutions, LLC) and a law firm (Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan, LLP), where he represents, among other clients, a Saudi prince in a bribery investigation involving an arms deal. Shelton has served on the boards of directors of several military contractors, such as L-3 Communications, CACI International, Inc., and Protective Products of America, Inc. Bolton, Mukasey, Rendell, and Dean are affiliated with major law firms whose clients include not just standard military contractors but many other more mundane corporations, that benefit from military largesse. (Bolton served as Bush’s representative at the UN; he is also affiliated with several pro-war think tanks.)

It is no-brainer that for people in the national/homeland security business, war with Iran would be a cash cow. They and their clients stand to benefit handsomely. Just stoking fears of war can get money flowing, from studies to retrofitting naval vessels. As Goulka noted, “Bombing would be better ... But full-on war, that’s the mother lode. An invasion followed by an Iraq-style lingering occupation and reconstruction would open up hundreds of billions and possibly even trillions of taxpayer dollars for the grabbing.”

There are tell-tale signs everywhere that the War Party is winning. And this, in spite of the dire warning last year from Robert Gates, the outgoing U.S. Defense Secretary of State who told Army cadets that “any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should ‘have his head examined!”

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton made clear last Saturday that time is running out for diplomacy over Iran’s nuclear program and said talks aimed at preventing Tehran from acquiring a nuclear weapon would resume in mid-April. With speculation over a possible U.S. and/or Israeli military attack adding urgency to the next round of discussions in Istanbul set for this week, Clinton said Iran’s “window of opportunity” for a peaceful resolution “will not remain open forever.”
She also expressed doubt about whether Iran has any intention of negotiating a solution that satisfies the U.S., Israel and other countries that believe Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons.

This kind of loose war talks is rather disconcerting given the fact that both American and Israeli intelligence say that Iran has neither started to build a nuclear weapon nor even decided to do so in the future. Both also regard the Iranian government as a “rational actor.”

Already the Obama administration has imposed the worst kind of economic embargo on Iran that is making the daily lives of average Iranians miserable.

The pro-war party in the media is also doing its part to beat up the drums of the war. They are blaming Iran for every thing that is going wrong with American occupation forces in Afghanistan and Iraq including the Qur’an burning incident where she is accused of fueling “the flames of violence” by supporting the Afghan insurgency. Iran has denied any government-backed effort to foment unrest in Afghanistan, but American officials see a pattern of malign meddling to increase Iran’s influence across the Middle East and South Asia.

Günter Grass, Germany’s most famous living author and the 1999 recipient of the Nobel Prize in literature, has seen it all. He recently published a 69-line poem, “What must be said,” in which he assailed Israel for its threats to attack Iran over its nuclear program. “Why did I wait until now at this advanced age and with the last bit of ink to say: The nuclear power Israel is endangering a world peace that is already fragile?” Grass writes in the poem. Grass is absolutely right in his assessment of Israel.

The 84-year-old Grass also criticized the planned delivery of submarines “from my country” to Israel, a reference to Germany’s plan to deliver Dolphin-class submarines to Israel that are capable of carrying nuclear-armed missiles. Germany risks being complicit in a crime, Grass observed.

In the poem, published by Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper and other European dailies on Wednesday, Grass also called for an “unhindered and permanent monitoring of Israel’s nuclear potential and Iran’s nuclear facility through an international entity that the government of both countries would approve.” It is widely believed that Israel possesses nuclear weapons, although the IAEA has never been allowed to inspect Israel’s nuclear arsenal.

The Israeli government is very upset with Grass and declared that he is unwelcome in Israel. In response to the publication, the Israeli Embassy in Berlin issued a statement offering its own version of “What must be said.” “What must be said is that it is a European tradition to accuse the Jews before the Passover festival of ritual murder,” the statement reads. Others have also reacted. The Central Council of Jews in Germany has called the poem an “aggressive pamphlet of agitation.” Grass, however, has found support from the head of the German PEN chapter, Johano Strasser, who also warned against exporting German weapons to Israel on Wednesday in a radio interview.
This is not the first time Grass has come out with critical views of Israel. In a 2001 interview with SPIEGEL ONLINE, he offered a solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “Israel doesn’t just need to clear out of the occupied areas,” he said at the time. “The appropriation of Palestinian territory and its Israeli settlements are also a criminal activity. That not only needs to be stopped -- it also needs to be reversed. Otherwise there will be no peace.” Again, Grass is right. But who is listening to him and who will stop Israel? Surely not those who could have made a difference to bring a peaceful solution to the problem!

As I have noted many times, peace cannot be attained in our world with policies that are outright hypocritical. The USA and other nuclear Brahmins of our world cannot have one set of rules for goyim nations like Iran, and another set for the ‘master race of chosen people’ – the rogue state of Israel. The latter is the only country in the Middle East which has not signed the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), and yet, the USA and her western allies have failed in demanding that Israel accede to the NPT and throw its nuclear facilities open to IAEA oversight. With a Khazarite control of the citadels of power in the USA, UK and France, the sad reality is we shall not realize a nuclear-weapons-free Middle-East, which has been a long-standing legitimate demand of the entire Arab world and peace-loving people of our planet. While the NPT conferences have been held every year since 1970, so far Israel has refused to budge on its nuclear policy.

In its dealings about matters relating to Iran’s nuclear program, the Obama administration has been keen on buying the necessary support within the UN. It played a big role in making sure that its stooge Yukiya Amano was chosen as the chief of the UN nuclear watchdog, IAEA, when the term for Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei ended in November 2010. The recent IAEA report uncritically purveying dubious "member state intelligence" in the name of the IAEA to support a flimsy argument that Iran is building nuclear weapons should come as no surprise after the release a year ago by WikiLeaks of secret diplomatic cables in which U.S. diplomats congratulated themselves on "the very high degree of convergence between [new IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano's] priorities and our own agenda at the IAEA," as reported in November 2010 by the London Guardian.

In a cable in October, 2010, the U.S. mission in Vienna went as far as describing Amano as “D.G. of all states, but in agreement with us.” “Amano reminded [the] ambassador on several occasions that he would need to make concessions to the G-77 [the developing countries group], which correctly required him to be fair-minded and independent, but that he was solidly in the U.S. court on every key strategic decision, from high-level personnel appointments to the handling of Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program.”

Amano has disgraced the impartial image of the IAEA and should step aside for the good of the agency and our planet that is tired of war based on deceptions and lies. We need a nuclear-weapons-free zone not just in the Middle East but also in the entire world. For all this to happen, we can start with a couple of things: elimination of massive stockpiles of nuclear arms (so that nobody feels threatened) and democratization of the UNSC taking away veto-wielding powers from the nuclear Brahmins (that are responsible for abusing their power for their own selfish reasons and not true peace).

Of course, none of these is going to happen. After all, such would be too much to ask of when the warmongers are controlling the levers of American government and media power! They are defiantly flaunting it, which, when you think of it, is quite a comment on our impotence and sad existence.

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