Saturday, August 19, 2006


What's Good for the Goose...

By Gina Keating

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A lawyer plans to use a legal precedent that allowed President Bill Clinton to be sued while in office to force Vice President Dick Cheney and presidential adviser Karl Rove to testify in a lawsuit brought by former CIA operative Valerie Plame and her husband.

Judgment Day coming – for the neocons

By Patrick J. Buchanan (P-Patriot)

The Democrats are determined to make the election of 2006 a referendum on Bush and the war in Iraq. And, as of now, that is how history will likely record it. But beneath the surface of the national election, a different plebiscite is being held, within the conservative movement

Stumping for Joe

By Peggy Noonan (R-Insane)

"Joe Lieberman's shrewd decision to run against Washington."

Gee Peggy - is Joe finally going to reveal that he works for Israel?

Expect the GOP to Play the Osama Card

By Eleanor Clift

Expect the Republicans to use the specter of the terror leader to frighten voters ahead of the elections.

Voters Turn Away From Bush’s Error

By Joe Conason

As Connecticut Democrats went to their polling places to choose a Senate nominee, waves of rhetorical hysteria burst forth from the mouths of excitable conservatives. At stake in the primary was not only the fate of a single politician, they cried, but the very “soul of the Democratic Party” and perhaps even the fate of the West.

Osama bin Lieberman


By Molly Ivins

AUSTIN, Texas -- The most cunning refinement yet in the administration's plot to scare the liver, lights and onions out of us with Tales of Terror Plots is the Department of Homeland Security's brilliant move to declare Indiana the national center of terrorism, with 8,591 potential targets.

"State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America"

By Tony (the Hut) Blankley

Be careful Tony, someone might mistake you for being sane.

"Rice Flunks First International Crisis"

By Helen Thomas

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has flunked her first foreign policy crisis in the Middle East.

"Bought and Paid For"

A Matter of Timing

By Mortimer B. Zuckerman (AIPAC)

Mort shows his true colors...

"Brain damage?"

I think he is not just inarticulate. I think his brain is damaged, and that his short term memory is deteriorating. Notice how he completely loses the thread?

Friday, August 18, 2006

The Thirty Three Day War

From Mania to Depression


Thirty three days of war. The longest of our wars since 1949.

On the Israeli side: 154 dead--117 of them soldiers. 3970 rockets launched against us, 37 civilians dead, more than 422 civilians wounded.

On the Lebanese side: about a thousand dead civilians, thousands wounded. An unknown number of Hizbullah fighters dead and wounded.

More than a million refugees on both sides.

So what has been achieved for this terrible price?

"GLOOMY, HUMBLE, despondent," was how the journalist Yossef Werter described Ehud Olmert, a few hours after the cease-fire had come into effect.

Olmert? Humble? Is this the same Olmert we know? The same Olmert who thumped the table and shouted: "No more!" Who said: "After the war, the situation will be completely different than before!" Who promised a "New Middle East" as a result of the war?

THE RESULTS of the war are obvious:

* The prisoners, who served as casus belli (or pretext) for the war, have not been released. They will come back only as a result of an exchange of prisoners, exactly as Hassan Nasrallah proposed before the war.

* Hizbullah has remained as it was. It has not been destroyed, nor disarmed, nor even removed from where it was. Its fighters have proved themselves in battle and have even garnered compliments from Israeli soldiers. Its command and communication stucture has continued to function to the end. Its TV station is still broadcasting.

* Hassan Nasrallah is alive and kicking. Persistent attempts to kill him failed. His prestige is sky-high. Everywhere in the Arab world, from Morocco to Iraq, songs are being composed in his honor and his picture adorns the walls.

* The Lebanese army will be deployed along the border, side by side with a large international force. That is the only material change that has been achieved.

This will not replace Hizbullah. Hizbullah will remain in the area, in every village and town. The Israeli army has not succeeded in removing it from one single village. That was simply impossible without permanently removing the population to which it belongs.

The Lebanese army and the international force cannot and will not confront Hizbullah. Their very presence there depends on Hizbullah's consent. In practice, a kind of co-existence of the three forces will come into being, each one knowing that it has to come to terms with the other two.

Perhaps the international force will be able to prevent incursions by Hizbullah, such as the one that preceded this war. But it will also have to prevent Israeli actions, such as the reconnaissance flights of our Air Force over Lebanon. That's why the Israeli army objected, at the beginning, so strenuously to the introduction of this force.

IN ISRAEL, there is now a general atmosphere of disappointment and despondency. From mania to depression. It's not only that the politicians and the generals are firing accusations at each other, as we foresaw, but the general public is also voicing criticism from every possible angle. The soldiers criticize the conduct of the war, the reserve soldiers gripe about the chaos and the failure of supplies.

In all parties, there are new opposition groupings and threats of splits. In Kadima. In Labor. It seems that in Meretz, too, there is a lot of ferment, because most of its leaders supported the war dragon almost until the last moment, when they caught its tail and pierced it with their little lance.

At the head of the critics are marching--surprise, surprise--the media. The entire horde of interviewers and commentators, correspondents and presstitutes, who (with very few exceptions) enthused about the war, who deceived, misled, falsified, ignored, duped and lied for the fatherland, who stifled all criticism and branded as traitors all who opposed the war--they are now running ahead of the lynch mob. How predictable, how ugly. Suddenly they remember what we have been saying right from the beginning of the war.

This phase is symbolized by Dan Halutz, the Chief-of-Staff. Only yesterday he was the hero of the masses, it was forbidden to utter a word against him. Now he is being described as a war profiteer. A moment before sending his soldiers into battle, he found the time to sell his shares, in expectation of a decline of the stock market. (Let us hope that a moment before the end he found the time to buy them back again.)

Victory, as is well known, has many fathers, and failure in war is an orphan.

FROM THE deluge of accusations and gripes, one slogan stands out , a slogan that must send a cold shiver down the spine of anyone with a good memory: "the politicians did not let the army win."

Exactly as I wrote two weeks ago, we see before our very eyes the resurrection of the old cry "they stabbed the army in the back!"

This is how it goes: At long last, two days before the end, the land offensive started to roll. Thanks to our heroic soldiers, the men of the reserves, it was a dazzling success. And then, when we were on the verge of a great victory, the cease-fire came into effect.

There is not a single word of truth in this. This operation, which was planned and which the army spent years training for, was not carried out earlier, because it was clear that it would not bring any meaningful gains but would be costly in lives. The army would, indeed, have occupied wide areas, but without being able to dislodge the Hizbullah fighters from them.

The town of Bint Jbeil, for example, right next to the border, was taken by the army three times, and the Hizbullah fighters remained there to the end. If we had occupied 20 towns and villages like this one, the soldiers and the tanks would have been exposed in twenty places to the mortal attacks of the guerillas with their highly effective anti-tank weapons.

If so, why was it decided, at the last moment, to carry out this operation after all--well after the UN had already called for an end to hostilities? The horrific answer: it was a cynical--not to say vile--exercise of the failed trio. Olmert, Peretz and Halutz wanted to create "a picture of victory", as was openly stated in the media. On this altar the lives of 33 soldiers (including a young woman) were sacrificed.

The aim was to photograph the victorious soldiers on the bank of the Litani. The operation could only last 48 hours, when the cease-fire would come into force. In spite of the fact that the army used helicopters to land the troops, the aim was not attained. At no point did the army reach the Litani.

For comparison: in the first Lebanon war, that of Sharon in 1982, the army crossed the Litani in the first few hours. (The Litani, by the way, is not a real river anymore, but just a shallow creek. Most of its waters are drawn off far from there, in the north. Its last stretch is about 25 km distant from the border, near Metulla the distance is only 4 km.)

This time, when the cease-fire took effect, all the units taking part had reached villages on the way to the river. There they became sitting ducks, surrounded by Hizbullah fighters, without secure supply lines. From that moment on, the army had only one aim: to get them out of there as quickly as possible, regardless of who might take their place.

If a commission of inquiry is set up--as it must be--and investigates all the moves of this war, starting from the way the decision to start it was made, it will also have to investigate the decision to start this last operation. The death of 33 soldiers (including the son of the writer David Grossman, who had supported the war) and the pain this caused their families demand that!

BUT THESE facts are not yet clear to the general public. The brain-washing by the military commentators and the ex-generals, who dominated the media at the time, has turned the foolish--I would almost say "criminal"--operation into a rousing victory parade. The decision of the political leadership to stop it is now being seen by many as an act of defeatist, spineless, corrupt and even treasonous politicians.

And that is exactly the new slogan of the fascist Right that is now raising its ugly head.

After World War I, in similar circumstances, the legend of the "knife in the back of the victorious army" grew up. Adolf Hitler used it to carry him to power--and on to World War II.

Now, even before the last fallen soldier has been buried, the incompetent generals are starting to talk shamelessly about "another round", the next war that will surely come "in a month or in a year", God willing. After all, we cannot end the matter like this, in failure. Where is our pride?

THE ISRAELI public is now in a state of shock and disorientation. Accusations--justified and unjustified--are flung around in all directions, and it cannot be foreseen how things will develop.

Perhaps, in the end, it is logic that will win. Logic says: what has thoroughly been demonstrated is that there is no military solution. That is true in the North. That is also true in the South, where we are confronting a whole people that has nothing to lose anymore. The success of the Lebanese guerilla will encourage the Palestinian guerilla.

For logic to win, we must be honest with ourselves: pinpoint the failures, investigate their deeper causes, draw the proper conclusions.

Some people want to prevent that at any price. President Bush declares vociferously that we have won the war. A glorious victory over the Evil Ones. Like his own victory in Iraq.

When a football team is able to choose the referee, it is no surprise if it is declared the winner.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Better Saddam Than Dead

By David Corn

Better dead than Red. During the Cold War, that was the rallying cry of the diehard anti-communists, many of whom never had to face the choice. During those years, hundreds of millions of people—in the Soviet Union, in China and elsewhere—did not adhere to such an extreme slogan. They may not have fancied living in lands without freedoms, but they believed it was preferable to reside under repression than to die trying to topple tyranny.

There have always been brave souls—the rebels of Hungary and Czechoslovakia, the members of Solidarity in Poland, the dissidents of the Soviet Union, the champions of Tiananmen Square—willing to sacrifice their own existence to achieve freedom for their fellow citizens. But let's face it; most of us would rather be red—or any other color—than dead. And that's hardly an irrational choice, for even in a dictatorship, one is often free to enjoy family and friends and some of the mundane pleasures of life.

Which brings us to Iraq. The chaos and mayhem there has reached (or surpassed) a point when it may not be unsound to say that Iraqis were better off under Saddam Hussein. Think of it this way: in the years since George W. Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq, tens of thousands of Iraqis have been killed. The most recent statistics are staggering. In May and June, according to the United Nations, six thousand Iraqis were slain. Recently, the health ministry noted that 1,850 Baghdad residents were killed in July alone and 3,438 civilians were killed throughout the country. That is, in a three-month period, about 10,000 Iraqis have lost their lives in the troubles the invasion—and the poorly planned occupation—gave birth to. Yet despite these harrowing numbers, President Bush, according to The New York Times, is befuddled by the lack of public support among Iraqis for the American mission in their country.

As we all are aware, pre-invasion Iraq was a nasty place in terms of human rights and political freedoms. But in the years prior to the invasion, there was not this level of slaughter. Amnesty International's 2002 report (PDF here ) notes that “scores of people, including possible prisoners of conscience and armed forces officers suspected of planning to overthrow the government, were executed.” Scores of suspected government opponents were arrested, and their fates and whereabouts were unknown.

Scores of people killed—that's what now happens on a daily, rather than annual, basis. Of course, there were brutal and horrific acts of mass murder during Saddam Hussein's reign. The Anfal campaign of the late 1980s—which included chemical weapons attacks on Kurdish villages—led to the deaths of tens of thousands and the forced displacement of hundreds of thousands. Saddam's repression of the Shiite rebellion of 1991—which came at the end of the first Persian Gulf war after President George H.W. Bush called on Iraqis to overthrow the dictator and then did nothing to support the uprising—resulted in about 30,000 Shiite deaths. Since the invasion, the discovery of mass graves has reminded the world of these atrocities.

But the United States took no action at the time of these nightmares to stop the killings. And in the years since the Gulf War, a weakened Saddam had not repeated such genocidal acts. That is hardly praise. But let's be blunt: Far many more Iraqis have died due to the war Bush started than were killed by Saddam in the years prior to the invasion. The total number of civilian Iraqi deaths may well be more than 100,000. (The equivalent loss for the United States would be more than 1 million people.) This is much more than the recent death counts in Lebanon and Israel—which spark justifiable outrage on each side.

I imagine that hardheaded advocates of the war will say that such is the price of liberty, that eggs must be broken. Yet here's the rub: The Iraqi people did not decide that such a cost was worth bearing. They had it imposed upon them. In the examples of anti-communist rebellions cited above, freedom fighters in those countries were willing to take the risk and put their own lives at stake. They could determine if they wished to be dead rather than red. In Iraq, there was no such indigenous calculation. People in another country decided they knew what was best for Iraqis. And they then botched the job.

The Saddam regime is gone; that's true. But given what has taken its place, it would not be an irrational choice for many Iraqis to prefer the Iraq of 2002 rather than the Iraq of 2006. Think about it. Most Iraqis before the invasion—like most citizens in most repressive states—managed to get by. They may not have had freedoms, but they had their friends and relatives. They still fell in love, had sex, had families, played with their kids, followed sports. The lucky ones—like the lucky ones in all countries—had meaningful work. Now millions of Iraqis have lost a loved one. And in return, they have a country that is unstable and on the brink of collapse, and their daily lives are marked by crime and deep uncertainty involving life and death. It's a different sort of terror than what George W. Bush speaks of.

Is it better to be free in an environment of violent chaos than safe in circumstances without freedom? I'm not arrogant enough to say that I know the answer. I might well choose a life without political freedoms rather than lose my wife or children. Live free or die, they say in New Hampshire. But how many people really believe that? In any event, that choice should be left to those who are actually willing to die to make the point. The 100,000 or so dead Iraqis cannot tell us what they would prefer.

Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, and the other supporters of this war are responsible for the consequences of their actions—or they ought to be. One result is that tens of thousands of Iraqis are now dead who would not have been had the invasion not happened. Given that Bush hails the preciousness of each life when the subject is embryonic stem-cell research, I wonder why the Iraq war is not judged—and acknowledged—an abysmal failure by its creators. Do they not believe Iraqi lives are as valuable as frozen embryos?

Before the war, Bush and his aides said the primary rationale for the war was neutralizing a direct WMD threat to the United States. That turned out to be bogus. They also claimed that bringing freedom and democracy to Iraq would have a positive effect on the entire Middle East. Strike that, too. Additionally, they claimed the war would save the Iraqi people. Instead, it has created a hell for many Iraqis. The carnage that has come about due to Bush's invasion is unforgivable. In defending the war, Bush often points to the fact that a brutal dictator has been removed from power. But so profound is Bush's failure in Iraq that there is increasing merit to the argument that this single positive achievement was not worth the cost.

Let's ask all the dead Iraqis what they think.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Perpetual State of Fear

How can you control a population, if you don’t give them something to fear? Not to worry, though–those in Washington DC are nothing if not creative. We now have a new government-mandated fear. This time the enemy won’t let us down: it won’t take down the walls. It will be nebulous, and undefeatable, made more so by our own actions. We, the last of the generation of ‘duck and cover’ can now rest safely at night knowing that our children, our grandchildren, our great-grandchildren, will know fear. Every damn day of their lives.

You see, it is to our government’s advantage to have us be afraid. When we’re afraid, we don’t look around us and see how 43 million Americans still have no health care coverage; the middle class is dwindling while the ranks of the poor are increasing; there are jobs, but too many at wages that can barely cover subsistence living. You can get a happy meal for less than a gallon of gas now, and buying both feeds the same corporate machine which is raking in record profits at a time when our country is teetering on the edge of a major climate and economic shift.

When we, the people, are afraid, we’re so easy to manipulate. People concerned about cost of living? Just parade a few gays around, mention the sanctity of marriage. If that doesn’t work, show an Arab.

The Politics of Cowardice...

Osama bin Laden must be howling with laughter. He's a man with no armies to command or weapons to brandish, except for the most powerful weapon of all: fear. More Americans drown in bathtubs every year than are killed by terrorists -- and indeed we've now reached the point where bin Laden doesn't actually have to kill anyone to achieve his goal of promoting military conflict between the Islamic and Western worlds.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Monday, August 14, 2006

We the People

By Reuven Schossen

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America"

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Beautiful words! The US Constitution has been for me a timeless example of good and just government. Unfortunately, I do not belong to such a "We The People."

In the place I come from, there is no Constitution.

In the place I come from, different kinds of people have different rights and responsibilities. Usually, people with many rights have few responsibilities. Some of the people must serve in the army on pain of imprisonment; others are exempted. Of those exempted, some belong to the elite and enjoy unusual benefits; others belong to minorities with very few rights.

In a recent case, the Supreme Court of my country, sitting down to its most special meeting of thirteen of our most prominent judges, decided to forbid marriage between a citizen from one part of my country with a person from a territory occupied by my country.

In the place I come from, my religion was decided for me by the State and is coded into the internal passport required by my government. Trying to officially change my religion could be a useless lifelong struggle.

In the place I come from, I can marry a Christian in a church; but the ceremony will not be recognized by the state and my children will be bastards and denied many rights because my parents were Jews. There are no civil ceremonies and one must get married in the temple belonging to the religion indicated on the internal passport.

I come from Israel.

Can Israel justify discrimination using Scripture? Hardly so. Perhaps the most beautiful text denouncing discrimination is Galatians 3:28: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one..." You may say that Israel does not recognize the New Testament and thus is not bound by its message. But the whole of Isaiah 58 is a reminder that God requires charitability and respect for all people, especially the less fortunate. It is clear that the State of Israel is not the same as the spiritual Kingdom of Israel promised to believers regardless of their ethnic background.

It is time for you, American citizens, carriers - at least in name - of the Human Rights Torch, to decide if you will stand by the sublime ideals institutionalized by your ancestors or if you will continue to support a society which does not abide by such ideals and de facto violates them every day. History teaches that discriminating regimes do not last, the list is too long for such an article, hence I'll mention only Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union and the white regime in South Africa. Israel, unless it adopts a Constitution promising equal rights and responsibilities to all its citizens, regardless of religion, race and gender, will cease to exist. It is time for you, American citizens, to decide if your nation will follow Israel into the dustbin of history or will remember that "We the People" must set an example for others to follow.


Reuven Schossen is an Israeli political refugee, harassed by security services across several continents since he chose to leave his home country in disgust at the corrupt practises of Israel's leaders. The four articles below were published after he signed a contract with Publish America for his book, "Holygarchy," an account of his political and spiritual awakening in Israel and a revelation to the world of the racist, theocratic and "Big Brother" police state policies of the State of Israel. His efforts to secure political asylum and a new citizenship require the assistance of understanding individuals. Thorough research indicates that the San Francisco area would be the best place to apply for asylum in the US. Attorney fees will run to about $1,500. We are asking for financial assistance and sancutary in the San Francisco area so that Reuven can successfully secure political asylum here in the US. If you can help in any way, please contact Reuven at (505) 982-3609 or . His website is at and it is possible to donate via credit card or paypal from that site. During the Civil War, Americans of conscience created an "underground railway" to shelter African Americans who were brave enough to escape from slavery. Let's not betray the American tradition of helping those in need by letting Reuven's situation take a turn for the worse through our inaction. Even a brave reform rabbi has been willing to help Reuven, so let's not be frightened into paralysis by Israeli propaganda.

Leland Lehrman, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Power of Nightmares

In the past our politicians offered us dreams of a better world. Now they promise to protect us from nightmares. The most frightening of these is the threat of an international terror network. But just as the dreams were not true, neither are these nightmares.