Saturday, January 29, 2005

Is this a new idea? Or simply a 'repackaged brand'?

I wish this was linked by the person who posted it here; it's sourced to the Inter Press News Service Agency. Note the date of the article; it's nearly a year old at least (which is perhaps why I could not find it at their site). It makes a point that I haven't heard much, but is beginning to be sounded out by those on the right :

Iraq under Saddam Hussein did not pose a threat to the United States but it did to Israel, which is one reason why Washington invaded the Arab country, according to a speech made by a member of a top-level White House intelligence group.

WASHINGTON, Mar 29 (IPS) - IPS uncovered the remarks by Philip Zelikow, who is now the executive director of the body set up to investigate the terrorist attacks on the United States in September 2001 -- the 9/11 commission -- in which he suggests a prime motive for the invasion just over one year ago was to eliminate a threat to Israel, a staunch U.S. ally in the Middle East.

Zelikow's casting of the attack on Iraq as one launched to protect Israel appears at odds with the public position of President George W. Bush and his administration, which has never overtly drawn the link between its war on the regime of former president Hussein and its concern for Israel's security.


”Why would Iraq attack America or use nuclear weapons against us? I'll tell you what I think the real threat (is) and actually has been since 1990 -- it's the threat against Israel,” Zelikow told a crowd at the University of Virginia on Sep. 10, 2002, speaking on a panel of foreign policy experts assessing the impact of 9/11 and the future of the war on the al-Qaeda terrorist organisation.

”And this is the threat that dare not speak its name, because the Europeans don't care deeply about that threat, I will tell you frankly. And the American government doesn't want to lean too hard on it rhetorically, because it is not a popular sell,” said Zelikow.

That post prompted this one (from one of that forum's staunchest conservatives, misspellings and inappropriate capitalizations included):

As a group, ignorance, hate and bigotry have no more blatant an exemplar than anti-semitism. Its a very sad - and idiotic - thing to transfer responsibility for one's own inadequacies and failings to the imagined nefarious deeds of an ethinicity. At root, The War On Terror is a war against anti-semitism, and will continue untill that despicable plague is excised from the human experience.

Asked for elaboration, the same fellow posted this:

It ain't our freedom that infuriates the militants, its our support for Israel that drives their antagonism toward us. To the mind of bin Laden and ilk, Israel stands only with US support; their intention is to cause the US sufficient inconvenience as to bring about a cessation of US support for Israel. While it will take time - a generation or two or three perhaps - having embarked on the endeavor, the militants have set in motion the machinery of their own doom. The expansion of democracy throughout the region is the single greatest threat to the aims of the militants, occasioning great desperation on their part. They - the militants - have fatally underestimated the resolve and fortitude of The US and her people, and draw false comfort from the partisan wranglin' brought on through the ridiculously misguided and thoroughly counter-productive efforts of The Democratic Party to reverse the decline it has brought on itself.

Breathtaking, isn't it?

So the first questions that come up for me are:

-- Does this mean George Bush was lying (again) when he said, "They hate us for our freedom"?

-- Or does it mean he's just dumb (again)?

Since I generally avoid exposing myself to ultra-right propaganda, I'm guessing this must be GOP Talking Point #57 (look, a Kerry reference!) in their ongoing attempt to find a rationalization justifying a war now nearly two years old. Like all the others, this one has probably been test-marketed in the right-wing blogosphere and served up through their media organs --the ones on the dole as well as the ones who aren't -- and is now being parroted by the poor saps at the bottom of the conservative food chain.

That ongoing ridiculousness aside, however, I have always gathered from what bin Laden has said that the religious fundamentalists on their end of the Holy Spectrum were incensed not so much by the nebulous tenets of 'democracy' and 'freedom' but by the general malicious influence (not to mention ubiquitous presence) of Americans and American culture on their world.

And it seems to me to be a very effective strategy thus far that Osama and his band of merry men have executed -- to gradually bleed the Great Satan white by fomenting insurgency in as many hot spots as possible.

That's what was done in Vietnam, after all, and in Afghanistan to the Soviet Union as well. Took a decade, both times.

(And I don't think it's unreasonable to assume that radical Muslims dream the same dream that radical Christians do: the vanquishing of all other religions to the exaltation of their own. I'm pretty sure without looking it up that Osama has expressed a bit of irritation at the Jewish state.)

I think all that has the ancillary purpose of weakening Israel, but I doubt that was their primary goal. The US has done much more to offend the Muslims in the past ten years than Israel has. And I think that's why we were attacked. By a crew of mostly Saudi zealots.

They could have flown planes into the Knesset, after all.

And in case no one's noticed, the Palestinians have a new leader who strongly advocates conciliation.

So by this rediscovered conservative logic, my question is:

Will the war on terror subsequently come to an end if the Palestinians and the Israelis declare peace on each other?

Friday, January 28, 2005

The sheople need to be made nervous again, apparently

Did Tom "Duct Tape" Ridge just blab himself out of a Presidential Medal of Freedom? Oh well, he's probably still in line for that seven-figure consultancy with Carlyle:

Departing Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said on Friday he believed another attack on the United States was inevitable, and warned that America should not focus just on al Qaeda, but also on similar groups that could carry out attacks.

"I have accepted the inevitability of another attack or attacks," Ridge said in an interview on the eve of his departure from the department launched two years ago to guard against another attack like that of Sept. 11, 2001.

"It could be al Qaeda or it could be al Qaeda-like organizations," said Ridge, who departs on Feb. 1. "I do think, when we talk about global terrorism, (it is) better ... that America doesn't focus just on al Qaeda."

"There are a lot of al Qaeda-like organizations and there are quite a few (Osama) bin Laden wannabes out there -- you've got one of them operating in Iraq right now," he said, referring to al Qaeda's leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
First of all, I thought we were only to be attacked if John Kerry was elected.

Secondly, I would like to know what steps Ridge has taken to protect his own family in the face of this inevitability, especially since he has been privy to the most sensitive national security intelligence. Does the Ridge household have sufficient plastic sheeting for the windows, doors, and fireplace? How about a five-tier, color-coded terror alert warning system electronic light bar in the kitchen? Is there breathing apparati readily available -- meaning upstairs and down -- for all family members? A helipad out back for rapid evac?

This isn't quite as dumb as Tommy Thompson giving our enemies suggestions on what to attack next, but it is in keeping wih the Bush administration's desire to keep the sheople scared.

Do you think it's working?

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

No on Gonzales

Let's be clear: His tortured legalese resulting in the atrocities at Abu Ghraib ought to be reason enough for the Senate to reject the nomination of Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General.

But now comes word that he pulled strings for then-Governor Bush at a voir dire so that Bush could avoid disclosing his own DUI conviction -- and has subsequently prevaricated about it, under oath, before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

I am reminded of attorney Tom Hagen's line in the opening scene of "The Godfather", where he explained to the movie mogul: "I have a very special practice. I represent one client."

Throughout his career as consigliere to Dubya, the task of Al Gonzales -- indeed his mission -- has been to find, or absent that, invent the justification for whatever it is that needed doing. Questionable or not, shady or not, legal or not. You can almost hear Bush saying "Git it done, Al," spoken with his trademark smirk, through the years.

Can't have the Guvna answer no questions about drinkin' and drivin'? Call in a chit wit' the judge. Got a death row inmate that needs killin'? Gloss over the fact that the condemned man's lawyer fell asleep during his trial. Need to make some camel jockeys -- errr, terrists -- spill their guts? Hell, that Geneva Convention's not only sixty years old, it's for pussies.

Conservatives get apoplectic when the Bush administration is called thugs, gangsters, or God forbid, a multinational corporation. When they do, we should simply open a page from any one of the law books in Alberto Gonzales' library. They all say the same thing.

"Git it done, Al."

To vote to confirm this man as attorney general goes against seemingly every concept of freedom, liberty, and democracy mouthed by the President last Thursday and espoused in the Constitution. Not that that sort of thing matters much.

The Senate should reject this nominee.

Sorry, been sick

And more than a little beesy.

Will now get right back to reporting.