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Thursday, April 09, 2015

What are we DOING?

Because Norman Finkelstein was one of the participants, I attempted to watch this debate on the topic of Bibi Netanyahu's victory. Unfortunately, the fellow on the other side of the fence made me too angry to continue. I forget the guy's name, but he's a flack for Israel. In his opening remarks, he argues that we must support Holy Bibi because Israel is standing up to jihadis who behead people. An obvious reference to ISIS.

The sight of this lying sack of crap made me want to shoot my computer monitor. For some reason, Finkelstein did not tell a necessary truth: Israel supports ISIS.

The reason for this sub rosa alliance is simple: ISIS wants rid of Assad of Syria, and so does Israel.

That goal is also shared by the regional allies of the United States and Israel. I'm talking about Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. They are the ones who funded ISIS.

Many articles have established this point. The most recent example is a piece by Lawrence Davidson, published in The Consortium.
U.S. allies in the region, specifically Israel and Saudi Arabia, had no problem with the drone attacks against al-Qaeda until 2011. That was when civil war broke out in Syria and when al-Qaeda and its offshoots showed up to fight against the embattled Assad regime in Damascus.

Keep in mind that Assad was seen as an enemy of Israel.
Unfortunately, Israel, and by extension the American Zionist lobby, had lost interest in U.S. concerns about al-Qaeda. Indeed, Tel Aviv had come to take the opposite point of view, seeing some merit in Islamic terrorists as long as they were Sunnis.

One has to keep in mind that the Israelis are obsessed with Shiite Iran and its nuclear energy program, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has hysterically proclaimed a danger to the survival of Israel. From that point of view any enemy of Iran is a friend of Israel – even if it is al-Qaeda.
Indeed, in 2013 Michael Oren, then Israeli ambassador to the United States (actually he grew up in West Orange, New Jersey), told the Jerusalem Post, “We always wanted Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran.”

A year later, Oren was at an Aspen Institute Conference and declared that Israel would prefer the victory of ISIS to the continuation of an Iranian-backed Assad. Nor have the Israelis been shy about acting on this preference.
Ah, those "Aspen roots." They wormed their way into Judy Miller's heart, and they've been strangling our foreign policy ever since.

It is consummately infuriating to see pseudo-pundits pretend that Bibi Netanyahu is an enemy of ISIS and Al Qaeda. The opposite is true: Israel supports ISIS and Al Qaeda.

If you are against Al Qaeda, you must be against Israel. If you are for Israel, you are for Al Qaeda. Israel is using the Sunni maniacs as proxy warriors against the Shiite states of Syria and Iran.

This country's blinkered support for Israel has caused the American government to do the unthinkable: We have forged a de facto alliance with the very jihadis whom most Americans despise. This is an "across the board" sin, committed by both Republicans and Democrats -- neither one of whom will tell you what's really going on.

What are we doing in that part of the world?

Did we engage in those cruel, seemingly endless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan simply to become the de facto allies of fundamentalist Muslim maniacs?

The report. Physicians for Social Responsibility has issued a report which reveals that our incursions into Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan have resulted in as many as two million civilian deaths. This is a controversial finding, and I urge readers to read the report and follow the details of the argument.

One thing is for sure: Our government and our media have played games with the evidence. They have told many lies in order to convince the citizens of this country that the body count is much lower than it actually is.

As you read this report, keep in mind this important quote from Noam Chomsky's book Media Control:
One of the questions asked in that study was, How many Vietnamese casualties would you estimate that there were during the Vietnam war? The average response on the part of Americans today is about 100,000. The official figure is about two million. The actual figure is probably three to four million. The people who conducted the study raised an appropriate question: What would we think about German political culture if, when you asked people today how many Jews died in the Holocaust, they estimated about 300,000? What would that tell us about German political culture?
That quote provides the heading for this essay by Simon Wood, which also looks at the findings of Physicians for Social Responsibility.
This report, published by a serious, credible, respected and decorated organization, makes it very clear that a war built on deliberate lies propagated uncritically by the corporate-owned media has led to the deaths of 1.3 million people, possibly 2 million. It will come as no surprise, therefore, that this landmark report has been greeted with absolute silence by the very same media outlets, while little effort is required to imagine the blanket response if this report concerned the actions of a current official enemy: Russia or Venezuela in particular. For Western leaders and other establishment figures, it seems mass killings on this scale - 'holocausts' - only occur when firmly esconced in (approved) history books, when they can safely bow their heads once a year and solemnly swear 'never again' and 'we shall not forget them'.

The lesson here should be simple: journalistic negligence of any sort - which can be caused by conflict of interest, editorial framing, or fear of challenging powerful figures for career reasons (loss of future access) - has cost innocent lives by the million.
Why did so many civilians die? What was the purpose of it all?

Most Americans would say that the war in Iraq was fought because we had to destroy Al Qaeda -- even though Al Qaeda had no connection to Saddam Hussein.

Most Americans would now say that we must support the Israelis because they are a regional bulwark against ISIS.

Yet Israel and Saudi Arabia are now partners. To a large degree, the Saudis created Al Qaeda. To a large degree, the Saudis created ISIS.

And Israel is obviously quite willing to see both ISIS and Al Qaeda (rebranded as the Nusra Front) prevail in the war against Assad. Michael Oren (as noted above) has made that fact quite clear.

For what cause did we kill so many civilians? For what cause did our own soldiers lose their limbs, their reason, their lives? For what cause did we blacken our name on the pages of history?

And for god's sake, why is Dick Cheney (a key architect of this massive crime) allowed to spew bile in the media when he should spending the rest of his life in prison? Rudolf Hess got exactly what he deserved when he was sentenced at Nuremberg -- yet what Hess did was nothing compared to the crimes of Dick Cheney.

What has happened to this country?

What are we DOING?
We're doing what we always have done.......pursuing our "national interests". I.e., the interests of corporations and elites. We've been a colonial power since our earliest days. Only American lives matter, the rest is "collateral damage", of course. When was the last time we had a truly representative government? The continental congress? Maybe, but they were all "elites" by today's standards, so when have we ever had a nation by and for the people? I'm starting to wonder if that was ever the case. I probably shouldn't let my cynicism paint the past with the brush of the present, but it's hard not to at this point. Certainly in my lifetime there hasn't been true "rule by the people". Corporations, bankers, and generational elites have called the shots since before I was born. I understand that sounds Alex Jonesy, but it's hard to feel any differently these days when media is so obviously pure propaganda and so many of my fellow citizens have no clue they are being lied to every minute of every day. Hell, my own parents think what they see on CBS news and CNN is the whole truth of what the US is doing in the world (and they are liberal Democrats, highly educated, in the case of my father, and certainly not stupid in the case of my mother). It's enough to drive one to despair. However, I won't do that, because there seem to be more and more people catching on, starting to see the wool they are trying to pull over our eyes. It's getting more obvious, maybe because the powers that be are confident there is nothing we can do about it. History shows they are most likely wrong. It's just a matter of how much damage they can do before the facade is torn down and they are led to the proverbial guillotine. Let's hope, anyway.
I like much of what you said, Gus, but this is not about corporations. I'm not sure what it IS about, but I honestly think that most corporations in this country would rather see the US pursue a more sensible and even-handed policy in the Middle East.
You are probably correct Joseph, though I think corporations will do whatever brings in profits for their shareholders, with no other considerations. Military contracting is huge business, for a lot more than just weapons. My reaction was mostly cynicism, though these days it probably seems more like realism.
It seems possible the USS America has no rudder and is simply drifting from one incoherent "policy" to another out of sheer ignorance, incompetence or just plain old hubris. Not long ago, we were allegedly at war with Al Qaeda. Now we're supporting them in Yemen and Syria. We're supposedly fighting ISIS, but we also support those that created it. We've also armed them to their hearts' content.

Pepe Escobar calls the US, "Empire of Chaos." That seems apropos. We're an empire and we act like it, but thanks to 30 years of Neo-Liberal misrule, we've also destroyed much of our economic power. Instead, we have financial power, which isn't worth all that much, considering all the trouble it causes everyone. So we're an empire already in decline and that makes us very dangerous indeed.

The biggest fear in Washington seems to be of "losing control," even of things we never really controlled to begin with. We're so obsessed with "regime change," we're willing to leave a couple dozen failed states in our wake and condemn all those people to a chaotic hellscape of despair.

Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Central African Republic, Mali, Niger, Somalia....... and now Yemen. The Saudis are bombing food supplies, refugee camps and their only remaining refinery just shut. So no food, medicine, fuel or even functioning water pumps for them! And while we're rushing fresh ordnance to the Saudis, the ever delusional John Kerry is accusing Iran of interfering in Yemen!

Empire of Chaos? Yeah, it fits.
What Gus said with an addendum-- power & control, allied with ego deficiencies, is a key motivator in all evil actions.
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