Saturday, March 22, 2008

Imperial Demon Watch: Osama bin Laden

How angry America gets when it attacks people and those people resist!

-----------Osama bin Laden, December 1998

How can they hope to be blessed with security while they are dishing out destruction, devastation, and murder on our people in Palestine and Iraq?

-----------Osama bin Laden, December 16, 2004

He dates his political awakening to 1973, when a U.S. airlift helped Israel turn the tide in the so-called Yom Kippur War. Egypt and Syria had overrun Israeli defenses and its vaunted Bar-Lev line at the beginning of the war, leading a stunned Tel Aviv to hint that it might resort to nuclear weapons if the U.S. didn't save the day for the Jewish state. When Washington's intervention helped deal the Arabs another bitter defeat, fifteen-year-old Osama stopped watching cowboy shows, refused to wear Western clothes (except at school, where it was required), and "would sit in front of the television and weep over the news from Palestine." [Lawrence Wright, "The Looming Tower - Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11."]

The immediate cause of the war was Israeli "development" of the Northeastern Sinai, which involved the forcible removal of Arab farmers from their lands. U.S. support for Israeli annexation of large parts of the Occupied Territories and its refusal to respond to Anwar Sadat's peace overtures, made war inevitable. For bin Laden, it made sympathetic consideration of Western culture impossible.

It was the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, which killed 20,000 people, overwhelmingly civilians, that planted in bin Laden the seed of revenge. In a November 2004 video he recalled the carnage, the "blood and severed limbs, women and children sprawled everywhere. Houses destroyed along with their occupants and high rises demolished over their residents . . ." He longed to strike back. "As I looked at those destroyed towers in Lebanon, it occurred to me to punish the oppressor in kind by destroying the towers in America, so that it would have a taste of its own medicine and would be prevented from killing our women and children. On that day I became sure that the oppression and intentional murder of innocent women and children is a deliberate American policy."

A decade before the release of this video, bin Laden had been stripped of his Saudi citizenship (1994) for his continued harsh criticism of the Saudi royal family. He wrote a letter to the Chief Mufti, the foremost juridical authority in the Kingdom, calling his endorsement of the 1993 Oslo Accords an "astonishing juridical decree," a betrayal of the word of God and the community of the faithful. Like millions of other Arabs, bin Laden was anguished at the contemptuous treatment Palestinian Arabs continually received at the hands of the West, and saw no reason why it should continue.

Bin Laden's letter argued flat out that the Jews that came to Palestine were not indigenous to the region: "The current Jewish enemy is not an enemy settled in his own original country fighting in its defense until he gains a peace agreement, but an attacking enemy. The only proper course of action, therefore, was to wage jihad, both for the sake of God and "so that Palestine may be completely liberated and returned to Islamic sovereignty." The Oslo Agreement, which nullified Palestinian national rights, converting the PLO to a municipal authority, was a patent fraud: ". . . the alleged peace that the rulers and tyrants are falling over themselves to make with the Jews is nothing but a massive betrayal, epitomized by their signing of the documents of capitulation and surrender of the Holy City of Jerusalem and all of Palestine to the Jews, and their acknowledgement of Jewish sovereignty over Palestine for ever."

In a March, 1997 interview with Robert Fisk of the London Independent, bin Laden again made clear that Israel was a primary grievance. Referring to the Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia the year before, he said: "The explosion in al-Khobar did not come as a direct reaction to the American occupation, but as a result of American behavior against Muslims, its support of Jews in Palestine and of the massacres of Muslims in Palestine and Lebanon - of Sabra and Chatila and Qana - and of the Sharm el-Sheikh conference." Sabra and Chatila was a 1982 massacre of over a thousand Palestinian refugees by Israel's Phalangist Christian allies in Lebanon; Qana was a U.N. base attacked by Israel in 1996, in which roughly a hundred Lebanese were killed; Sharm el-Sheikh was an "anti-terrorism" conference in which Bill Clinton accused Hamas and Hizbollah of terrorism but said nothing of Israel's far greater violence. Events like these merged Israel and the U.S. in bin Laden's mind. ""For us there is no difference between the American and Israeli governments or between the American and Israeli soldiers."

Four months after the 1998 attacks on the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which Bin Laden disclaimed responsibility for, he returned to the theme of the betrayal of Palestine: "Every time a king meets a president they say they have 'discussed the Palestinian issue,' but over half a century a clear picture has emerged: they have abandoned the mujahidin in Palestine. . . they have given a guilty verdict on those lions whose fathers and brothers have been killed, imprisoned, tortured, and persecuted . . . . I don't know what people are waiting for after this clearest of betrayals, and after the shameful way in which the Arab rulers have acted in the interests of the Jews or America."

An interesting side note on the Nairobi Embassy bombing concerns a young Arab questioned by F.B.I. investigator Stephen Gaudin. Identifying himself as Khaled Saleem bin Rasheed from Yemen, he shouted at Gaudin: "You want to blame this (bombing) on me? It's your fault, your country's fault for supporting Israel!" Livid at the death toll, he asked Gaudin: "Why did these people have to die? They had nothing to do with the United States and Israel and Palestine!"

In a statement faxed to Al Jazeera on September 24, 2001, bin Laden excoriated USrael hypocrisy in waxing moralistic on the issue of human rights while it was engaged in wholesale killing in Iraq and Palestine: "Until this point, a million innocent children have been killed in Iraq . . . As I speak, Israeli tanks and bulldozers are going in and wreaking havoc and sin in Palestine - in Jenin, in Ramallah, in Rafah, in Beit Jala . . . . and we do not hear anyone protesting or even lifting a finger to stop it." He insisted on reciprocal security or none at all: "I swear by God Almighty Who raised the heavens without effort that neither America nor anyone who lives there will enjoy safety until safety becomes a reality for us living in Palestine and before all the infidel armies leave the land of Muhammad." The U.S. response came two weeks later, when the White House announced that it had asked the five major U.S. T.V. networks to censor footage of al-Qaeda. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice "urged all the American network chiefs not to screen videos of Bin Laden."

In a October 21, 2001 interview with Al Jazeera reporter Taysir Alluni in Afghanistan, bin Laden expressed outrage that President Bush and Colin Powell had promised in their first few months in office that "they would move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and that Jerusalem would be the eternal capital of Israel." Asked about the justification for killing innocent civilians, Bin Laden condemned Washington's selective and self-serving morality: "Whenever we kill their civilians, the whole world yells . . . . and America starts putting pressure on its allies and puppets. . . . What about the people that have been killed in our lands for decades? . . . Who said that our blood isn't blood and that their blood is blood? . . . More than 1,000,000 children died in Iraq, and they are still dying . .. . Everyday in Palestine, children are killed . . . . How is it that these people are moved when civilians die in America, and not when we are being killed everyday?" Near the end of the interview he returned to the constant killing in Palestine: "By what right are our families in Palestine denied safety? The helicopters hunt them while they are in their homes, while they are amongst their women and children; everyday the bodies and wounded are removed."

In an interview published in London's Al Quds on November 12, 2001, bin Laden explained that, "The United States and their allies are killing us in Palestine, Chechnya, Kashmir, and Iraq," so "that's why Muslims have the right to carry out revenge attacks on the U.S.." He added that the democratic nature of the U.S. government implicated all Americans in such crimes. "The American people should remember that they pay taxes to their government and that they voted for their president. Their government makes weapons and provides them to Israel, which they use to kill Palestinian Muslims. Given that the American Congress is a committee that represents the people, the fact that it agrees with the actions of the American government proves that America in its entirety is responsible for the atrocities that it is committing against Muslims. . . . The onus is on Americans to prevent Muslims from being killed at the hands of their government."

In a statement recorded for release to Al Jazeera in December 2001, bin Laden reiterated his claim that the 911 attacks were retaliation for the West's injustices against Muslims worldwide. Once again, he drew attention to Palestine: "Our terrorism against America is a praiseworthy terrorism in defense against the oppressor, in order that America will stop supporting Israel, who kills our sons."

In a letter to the American people on October 6, 2002, bin Laden posed the question, "Why are we fighting and opposing you?" He answered succinctly: "Because you attacked us and continue to attack us." He again drew special attention to Palestine. "The creation and continuation of Israel is one of the greatest crimes, and you are the leaders of its criminals. . . . The creation of Israel is a crime which must be erased . . . The British handed over Palestine, with your help and your support, to the Jews, who have occupied it for more than 50 years, years overflowing with oppression, tyranny, crimes, killing, expulsion, destruction, and devastation." He rejected out of hand tortured Zionist justifications for taking control of the land: "It brings us both laughter and tears to see that you have not yet tired of repeating your fabricated lies that the Jews have a historical right to Palestine, as it was promised to them in the Torah." Debate, he noted, is not tolerated, as "anyone who disputes with them on this alleged fact is accused of anti-semitism." But the Zionist legend claiming justification for Israel "is one of the most fallacious, widely-circulated fabrications in history," since "the people of Palestine are pure Arabs and original Semites." Therefore, "it is the Muslims who are the inheritors of Moses (peace be upon him) and the inheritors of the real Torah that has not been changed," so "if the followers of Moses have been promised a right to Palestine in the Torah, then the Muslims are the most worthy nation of this."

Living under elected government, he went on, "the American people have chosen, consented to, and affirmed their support for Israel's oppression of the Palestinians, the occupation and usurpation of their land, and its continuous killing, torture, punishment, and expulsion of the Palestinians." Better choices exist. "The American people have the ability and choice to refuse the policies of their government, and even to change it if they want."

On the matter of violence, he observed that "If Sharon is a man of peace in the eyes of Bush," (which Bush declared he was), "then we are also men of peace. America does not understand the language of manners and principles, so we are addressing it using the language it understands."

In a video dated February 14, 2003, bin Laden warned that "The current Zionist-Crusader campaign . . . is the most dangerous and rabid ever . . . He claimed again that al-Qaeda's violence was merely retaliation, since "we strike them (the U.S.) because of their injustice towards us in the Islamic world, especially in Palestine and Iraq, and their occupation of Saudi Arabia. He observed that the 60 states identified by President Bush as prime targets in his "crusade" against terror pretty much defined the Islamic world. "Is the Islamic world not around 60 states? . . . Did they not say that they want to change the region's ideology, which vents hatred against the Americans?"

In a statement broadcast by Al-Jazeera a month after the Madrid train bombings in 2004 bin Laden accused Washington of "persistently ignor[ing] the real problem, which is the occupation of Palestine," and decried the double standard that allowed U.S. leaders to "indulge in lies and deceit about our right to self-defense," which proved "they have no self-respect." "They show contempt for peoples' blood and minds through such deceit, but it only means that your blood will continue to be shed." He was not too blinded by passion to see the injustice being done to ordinary Americans: ". . . an important truth becomes clear, which is that we are both suffering injustice at the hands of your leaders, who send your sons to our countries, despite their objections, to kill and be killed." He identified a common enemy benefitting from all the carnage: "It is all too clear . . . who benefits most from stirring up this war and bloodshed: the merchants of war, the bloodsuckers who direct world policy. . . President Bush . . . the big media . . . the United Nations . . . These and others are groups who are a mortal danger to the entire world, the most dangerous and difficult of these being the Zionist lobby . . ."

Condemning the transparent fraud of Bush's talk of peace, he asked: "Why hasn't he spoken about the one who slit open the bellies of pregnant women in Sabra and Shatila . . . the 'man of peace' [Ariel Sharon]?" He reiterated that al-Qaeda violence was retaliatory: "We only killed Russians after they invaded Afghanistan and Chechnya, we only killed Europeans after they invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, and we only killed Americans after they supported the Jews in Palestine and invaded the Arabian peninsula. . . " He offered to make peace with any state that agreed to leave Muslims alone: "So I present to them this peace proposal, which is essentially a commitment to cease operations against any state that pledges not to attack Muslims or intervene in their affairs . . . It will come into effect on the departure of its last soldier from our lands."

Just days before Bush was re-(s)elected in November 2004, bin Laden released a video telling the American people that its security was in its own hands, that it could achieve safety by reigning in its lawless government. "We have been fighting you because we are free men who cannot acquiesce in injustice . . . Just as you violate our security, so we violate yours. Whoever encroaches upon the security of others and imagines that he will himself remain safe is but a foolish criminal. When disasters happen, intelligent people look for the reasons behind them, so they can avoid them in the future."

Bin Laden's determination to rectify the injustice of dismembering Palestine is apparently not going away. On March 20, 2008 a videotape reputed to be his was aired on Al Jazeera, in which he urged holy war on behalf of the Palestinians. "Palestine cannot be retaken by negotiations and dialogue, but with fire and iron."

The Sources:

"Bin laden accuses pope of 'crusade' in new tape," March 20, 2008

Bruce Lawrence, ed., "Messages To The World: The Statements of Osama bin Laden" (Verso, 2005)

Lawrence Wright, "The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11," (Knopf, 2006)

Alfred Lilienthal, "The Zionist Connection - What Price Peace?" (Dodd, Mead, 1978)

Anonymous, "Imperial Hubris - Why The West Is Losing The War on Terror," (Brassey's, 2004)

Robert Fisk, "The Great War For Civilisation - The Conquest of the Middle East," (Knopf, 2005)

-----Michael K. Smith is the author of "Portraits of Empire" and "The Madness of King George (illustrations by Matt Wuerker,) from Common Courage Press. He can be reached at

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Campaign Ads Not Likely To Be Seen or Heard

Ad for Senator Barack Obama:

3 A.M.

The White House

Sound of phone ringing

Voice over asks:

“Do you know where your husband is?

Michelle Obama does”

Ad for Senator Hillary Clinton

3 A.M.

Sound of phone ringing

Voice of Geraldine Ferrara asks:

“Do you know where your husband is?

Michelle Obama do”

Hi...I’m Ralph Nader and this is Cynthia McKinney and we approve of neither of these ads, these candidates, their parties or their platforms ...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Israel: Time To Boycott, Divest and Sanction

"I am a black South African, and if I were to change the names, a description of what is happening in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank could describe events in South Africa."
~Archbishop Desmond Tutu

The situation in Israel has become more murderous and unjust than ever in the sixty year life of that nation. Founded over the bodies of an indigenous population, and rationalized as somehow permissible because of the Nazi persecution of European Jews in World War Two, the Jewish state has been treated by the USA as a holy land beyond criticism, and often beyond rational thought. The Palestinian people were thrown out of their homeland, into refugee camps, or forced to live in Israel as second class citizens, maligned and forgotten souls who had done nothing to incur the vengeful wrath that was visited upon them, and has grown worse over the years.

Israel’s birth at the expense of indigenous people was really not that different from America’s and in keeping with the ancient and bloody history of one people attacking another and taking over their habitat. But this new nation was supposed to somehow be uniquely based on justice, to serve a people who had survived persecution , abuse, loss of their homelands and massacres at the hands of oppressors. Result? They persecuted, abused , expelled from their homeland and massacred the inhabitants of Palestine. And this was treated with uncritical support and financing by much of the guilty west, never with more passionate and unquestioning devotion than by the USA.

We have been the major financial and military sponsor of the Jewish state, far surpassing aid it received from Germany, which at least had reason to atone for its previous dreadful treatment of Jews. Why has the USA given tens of billions of dollars and thousands of lives as well, to help perpetuate a Jewish apartheid state ? The answer is the American Jewish lobby, which uses the power of money, and guilt, and sees to it that our government responds to Israeli interests first, by often placing American interests second. This charge usually provokes frenzied accusations of anti-Semitism, even when it is made by supposedly safe establishment figures like academics or ex presidents. Though the anti-Semitic label is losing some of its power, it still can make presidential candidates and the American congress tremble in fear. Why? How?

The White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP) power structure that exercised much control over the U.S. government through the middle of the twentieth century has since been replaced by the Jewish Lobby. And though many critics insist on calling it just another lobby, it is unlike any other , past or present. It doesn't support industries, as most commercial lobbies did under WASP control, nor does it represent ethnic, racial or religious groups , as do lobbies which originated after the WASP era ended and identity group politics, no threat to their power, began. It stands exclusively for the interests of a foreign country, and it exercises an antidemocratic control over the American political process to an extreme that has become more threatening with time.

The worst political and military excesses of the USA in the Middle East are rationalized by some as simply being about control of oil. But whether they are sincerely ignorant , cynical apologists, or cringing cowards , they are in a state of treacherous denial. Our uncritical support for Israel is not only the cause of much hatred for our nation in the rest of the world, but could inflict future damage on the USA far beyond the tragedy of 911.

It is irresponsible to think, as some do, that a small minority of American Jews who speak out against Israeli policies can change the situation. They are relatively meaningless , not only in number and financial clout, but in that they rarely if ever identify the lobby, often in fear of being called self hating Jews. It is for the American people as a whole to speak in a democratic voice and demand an end to the existence of a Jewish state, perpetuated on the backs of a conquered people, and surviving in its present form only because of American dollars and military might . And to do so in no uncertain terms.

The economic policy of divestiture, boycott and sanctions worked to make the world aware that change had to come in the apartheid state of South Africa, and that kind of movement must be brought to bear on American support for the apartheid state of Israel. Many church , community and campus groups have already begun to take such action and need the support of new groups , to literally join in a democratic lobby against the lobby. And to do so with what power fears almost as much as the barrel of a gun ; that is, the contents of a wallet .

Our federal tax dollars supporting Israel are not the only ones we should be conscious of , though we need to pressure our government in Washington most of all . States, counties and municipalities, as well as labor unions and pension funds use our taxes to invest in Israel Bonds and financial paper, as well as private Israeli firms. We need to exercise control of our money and divest it from those sources that are under the sway of the lobby and are used to strengthen injustice. Funds supposedly under public and not private control need to be the first, but not the only targets of this campaign. And it must be conducted with all deliberate speed, to end a human rights atrocity and help bring about a democratic state of Palestine with equal rights for all its people; Jews, Christians and Muslims.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Bulletin: Diebold Programmed Democrats To Lose for Three Decades

In a stunning development that has thrown this year's presidential campaign into an uproar, the company that many have accused of rigging the 2004 presidential vote count has been shown to have programmed leading Democrats to throw one election after another for the past thirty years. Republican operatives employed by Diebold Organic Political Machines developed "neuro-chips" in which living brain cells and silicon circuits were fused, resulting in Democratic leaders literally programmed to do the GOP's bidding. The neuro-chips' electronic components and their living cells communicated with each other, overriding impulses to serve the interests of the general electorate instead of major corporate donors. The chips were apparently implanted when the unwitting victims were receiving oral surgery.

Former Diebold CEO Wally O'Dell tearfully admitted to reporters at the National Press Club yesterday that following the Watergate scandal he and other Diebold officials met to see what could be done to hold back what appeared to be a generation of guaranteed Democratic victories in the wake of disgraced Richard Nixon's resignation of the presidency in August 1974. "Everyone was predicting an era of Democratic Party dominance," he said. "We had to do something."

The plan adopted by O'Dell and his team - Project Cyborg - initially failed. "We programmed Jimmy Carter to make idiotic public statements like, 'I'll never lie to you,' and 'I've lusted after women in my heart,' but this wasn't enough to lose to an incumbent president, even an unelected college football lineman like Gerald Ford. However, O'Dell and his operatives did manage to give Ford 27 states to Carter's 23, even though Carter edged Ford out in electoral votes.

The next time around, however, the Cyborgers were ready. They programmed Carter to let the ailing ex-Shah into the country for medical treatment when Iranian demonstrators were demanding his extradition for decades of torture and other crimes against humanity. This predictably led to the hostage crisis that doomed Carter's presidency. O'Dell boasts that Diebold prevented Carter from listening to reason and stepping down in favor of Teddy Kennedy, who, unburdened by incumbent political baggage, was the Democrats' only hope of victory that year. Carter lost in an electoral landslide, 489 to 49, after a bungled hostage rescue killed eight Americans in the Iranian desert. "To this day Carter's presidency is considered a model of ineptitude," boasts O'Dell.

In 1984 Diebold had Walter Mondale kick off his campaign with the suicidal promise, "I'll raise your taxes," while Reagan vowed he would only approve a tax increase "over my dead body." Mondale's determination to charge voters more for government policies the electorate sharply disagreed with contrasted poorly with Reagan's rosy campaign theme of "morning in America." Reagan took 49 out of 50 states.

Jesse Jackson's populist campaign nearly derailed Project Cyborg in 1988. But successful chip implants on Democratic Party officials produced the Anybody-but-Jackson hysteria that converted Jackson from front-runner to also-ran in a matter of weeks. A far weaker candidate, Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, lost 40 of 50 states to George Bush Sr., as well as the electoral college by 426-112.

After Bill Clinton, a self-proclaimed "Eisenhower Republican," became the Democratic Party's standard-bearer, Diebold sat out the 1992 and 1996 elections. "With both parties headed by Republicans, there wasn't much need for us," comments O'Dell. "The slogans and frame of debate we had established in previous years carried through the 1990s without further assistance," he adds.

Diebold does take credit, however, for the late 1990s decision to stick with Clinton through the entire Monica Lewinsky scandal, rather than jettison him in favor of Al Gore. "Had Gore run as an incumbent president, he would have won by a considerable margin in 2000," observes O'Dell. "So we programmed key party officials to articulate the Blow Job Defense. Although we had our doubts about whether the party faithful were gullible enough to swallow it, time proved we needn't have worried."

This year Diebold is apparently responsible for Barack Obama's comment that he would have to see Bill Clinton dance first in order to judge if he is truly the nation's "first black president," as well as Hillary Clinton's virtual endorsement of John McCain in stating that the Arizona Senator is, like her, qualified to be president, but that Obama is not.

O'Dell, en route to a consultant position at Guantanamo Bay, says that a McCain presidency is in the bag. "Hillary's negatives are so high, she'd lose to a child molester. And Obama looks edgy and defensive when he's called a Muslim, as though there were something wrong with being one. Meanwhile, McCain has the courage of his convictions, boasting we'll stay in Iraq for 100 years. We've done our job. The phonies are going down to defeat - again."

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Head Lines

Bush Endorsement of McCain Called “Kiss of Death”

Mafia sues for copyright infringement, claims no kiss accompanied endorsement, so it wasn’t a real Kiss of Death

Anti-Italian McCain supporters say a kiss might have offended anti gay supporters of president and led to anti McCain votes in November

Bush says he could have tongue kissed McCain, spent the night with him at the Hi Ho Motel and , given the woefully inept opposition of Democrats, it still wouldn’t make any difference in November

Gay lobby urges Kiss, will withhold support until Bush follows through

Ahmadinejad warmly received in Iraq
Bush unable to attend ceremony
“Those Iraqis love him so much we’d have to surround him with even more bodyguards than McCain had when he visited” said a retired agent whose pension had just been dropped due to prime rate mortgage losses.

More than 1% of Americans in jail or prison, more than any other nation
Government boasts that nearly 99% are not in the slam, so there

Colombian puppet accuses Chavez of Genocide
Most Overused Word finally removed from vocabulary of people with ability to think
Politicians and major media will continue calling every hint of violence anywhere a case of genocide

Child accuses mother of Hate Crime for grounding him during Spring Break
Supreme Court to hear case, right after more important Gay marriage, privacy protection and price of chopped liver decisions

3 AM phone call ad backfires for Hillary

Millions ask” does she know where her husband is?”

Campaign counters with new add, featuring sleazy, swarthy looking drug dealer hanging out near school yard and asking “ any of you innocent white kids seen Obama ? I’ve got his heroin, cocaine, marijuana and meth supply for this week.”

Oil Prices rising almost daily

U.S. asks OPEC for some help

OPEC says “Drop Dead”

Obama calls for change in expectation of experience necessary for top job

“I’m as experienced a friend of Israel as any other candidate. What more experience is necessary? And i promise not to change our relationship one bit.”

Foxman of ADL says” we’re still suspicious of Obama’s involvement with the anti-Semite Farakahn, his extremist Christian Pastor’s influence on his philosophy, and his wife, who has not yet publicly repudiated his youthful antisemitic drug taking .”

Economy continues to approach, recede from, arrive at or sink lower into Recession

Economists cite goat blood and ashes mix revealing that things will soon get better, may get worse before that, then get better, then get worse, then better, then worse, until more goat blood and ashes are supplied

New Products offered to bring consumers back to the Mall

Used food to be sold at several Fast - Junk - Convenience - Comfort - Health food outlets.

74 year old Management Trainee at Quickee Bite Burger Chomp Salad Bar says “We noticed people coming in and eating leftovers that hadn’t been cleaned off the tables yet, and they weren’t paying. So, what the hell, you know?”

Wall Street sees immediate rise in fast food stocks, but attendant drop in garbage removal futures...

For the full story behind these headlines, consult local main stream media...


Saturday, March 1, 2008

Obama's Rhetorical Fog

Artful evasion of the moral point is a highly compensated political talent in Washington and few engage in it more skillfully than Senator Barack Obama.

Consider his September 2007 speech, "Turning the Page in Iraq," posted on his campaign website. Instead of attacking Iraq in 2003, he says, our priority should have been "finishing the fight" in Afghanistan. In other words, we should be slaughtering more Afghans instead of Iraqis. This in a country where the average life expectancy is barely forty years, and roughly a quarter of Afghan children never make five years old. Our having made their misery even more miserable is supposedly justified because we had to "smoke out" Osama bin Laden and his terrorist entourage. But who brought the moujahedeen to Afghanistan in the first place? It was the CIA and their civilian leaders in Washington, who engineered a war with the former USSR that killed roughly a million Afghans, which makes the appalling destruction on 911 seem trivial by comparison. Obama isn't talking about bringing these serial killers to justice. Reigning them in would seem to be an urgent necessity, but apparently it's not "change we can believe in." Change Obama does believe in involves putting in two additional combate brigades "to help Afghans help themselves." That's not change, that's doublethink.

Curiously, Obama speaks of "what we've gone through as a country in Iraq," as though Americans were the primary victims of the war. He barely mentions the Iraqi people, whose suffering is of such immensity that few of us can bring ourselves to consider it very deeply. And thanks to the slick deceptions churned out by the likes of Obama, we don't have to.

In order to sidestep our moral responsibility for the horrifying carnage we continue to inflict on innocent Iraqis, Obama draws up a laundry list of "costs" of the war, without mentioning the little matter of mass murder of Iraqi civilians. In his mind the latter does not rise to the status of a cost, while the alleged underfunding of "homeland security and counterterrorism" due to the hundreds of billions of dollars allocated to the occupation, does. And again, by counterterrorism Obama does not mean effectively bringing to an end the terrorism practiced by U.S. officials via military and CIA interventions throughout the world for the past six decades, which is the only course of action that would entitle us to "homeland" security. Of course, calling for an end to Washington's crimes against humanity would more than tarnish the luster on Obama's gleaming presidential bid: it would end his political career altogether.

Therefore, onward into the fog of distortion and deceit. Obama complains that "our moral leadership has been compromised by Abu Ghraib." This is a bit like saying that Jack the Ripper's habit of slashing women's throats compromised his feminist ethics. Vicious brutality and moral leadership are worlds apart. An empire aspiring to moral leadership is like a prostitute aspiring to virginity.

Obama worries that "our powers of deterrence and influence around the world are down," and that "our diplomacy has been compromised." Translating to standard English, deterrence means nuclear and other forms of terrorism, influence means coercion, and diplomacy means power projection. Unfortunately, Obama gives no clue why we should regard the waning of this bully ethic as a tragedy. Empires inevitably decline, as they should, and there is no reason to hope that Washington's power base lasts one minute longer than it proves able to - unless you are a politician whose blind ambition has sent his conscience into exile.

Like Obama. He regards the U.S. war in Iraq as merely "misguided," not criminal. But wars of unprovoked aggression cannot rightly be called "misguided." Imagine trying to get away with calling Hitler's 1939 invasion of Poland "misguided," while focusing laser-like on the costs it imposed on the German people. Would that be kosher? Ask a Zionist.

Obama says we Americans have lost "our sense of common purpose" in Iraq and must "reclaim" our foreign policy and "our politics," in order to "end this war that has cost us so much." (emphasis added) He seems not to notice that nothing like a sense of national purpose has been evident in the United States since the Great Depression and WWII. Nor has foreign policy ever been permitted to express popular preferences, which, according to poll results, favor diplomacy over force. That sentiment alone disqualifies the American people from any role in forming international policy, and makes Obama's call for us to reclaim such policy quite nonsensical.

Positioning himself as a peace candidate, Obama also calls for the "responsible removal of our troops" from Iraq. (emphasis added) What is the difference between responsible withdrawal and withdrawal without preconditions? Responsible withdrawal means drawing down our troop strength in accordance with the achievement of political "benchmarks" that we determine for ourselves. Morally, of course, an aggressor has no right to set preconditions, but rather, is obligated to withdraw and pay reparations for the crime of having invaded in the first place. Obama ignores this elementary point. His "responsible" withdrawal is actually redeployment, with the U.S. maintaining the fictitious right to continue its intervention in order to combat a resurgence of Al Qaeda, a force that was attracted to Iraq in the first place by the U.S. occupation. In short, Obama reserves the right to "defend Iraq" indefinitely with the U.S. military - just like George Bush.

Obama's delusions are a sight to behold. In a flight of incredible fancy, he claims that U.S. troops "have fought for over four years to give Iraqis a chance for a better future," a claim that is hard to square with Abu Ghraib, Fallujah, and Blackwater, not to mention the overwhelming majority of Iraqis who have said in polls that they want all U.S. forces out of their country.

But Obama is determined to make the problem "them," not us. He blames the Iraqis for being congenitally divisive: "They are not moving beyond their centuries old sectarian conflicts." He declines to mention that current divisions in the country are not centuries old, but have resulted precisely from the U.S. invasion and occupation. Ignoring this, Obama has the nerve to complain that "our troops fight in the 120-degree heat to give Iraq's leaders space to agree - but they aren't filling it." In short, "we" sacrifice, while "they" fail to agree. This is more than a little disingenuous. After all, who is demanding "Iraqi" leadership that sees the U.S. not as the criminal aggressor it is, but as an ally?

It's no surprise that, like his AIPAC masters, Obama believes Iran, not Israel, is the main threat in the Middle East. Says he: "Iran poses a grave problem. It builds a nuclear program, supports terrorism, and threatens Israel with destruction." In response, one can only point out that,(1) it is not illegal to develop nuclear energy, (2) the "terrorism" Iran supports is trivial in comparison with Washington's longstanding violence, and (3) Iran has not, in fact, threatened to destroy Israel. Prime Minister Ahmadinejad's alleged threat to "wipe Israel off the map" was actually more a prediction of regime change, which is not exactly an unreasonable expectation vis-a-vis a widely hated apartheid state that even Jimmy Carter, who believes Israel was "ordained by God," cannot abide.

Obama mentions that we should increase relief funding for displaced Iraqi refugees almost as an afterthought. No doubt we should, but what about reparations? Obama makes no mention of them. Instead, he goes on to state that "we should lead in forming a commission of the UN to monitor and hold accountable perpetrators of war crimes within Iraq," as though that could lead anywhere but to mass indictment of U.S. officials. But Obama isn't thinking of that. He's thinking of another imperial "axis of evil" - Iran, Syria, and Al Qaeda.

Obama says he wants to "spread hope, not hate" in the Islamic world. But in this week's debate with Hillary Clinton in Cleveland, he called Washington's commitment to Israel's security "sacrosanct." How much hope can Muslims be expected to muster up in response to such religious dogma from the leading presidential contender in the world's most powerful "secular" democracy? As the entire Islamic world knows very well, but Obama ignores, Israel's "security" is a euphemism for Jewish domination. If the U.S. backs Holy Apartheid so it can have its way forever while Palestinians languish in misery and are gunned down with impunity, how reasonable is it to expect friendly relations with the Muslim world? Not very.

Meanwhile, Obama stands on a high moral mountain and condemns Iraq as a "foolish" war. God help us if we allow ourselves to be drawn into the "smart" wars he and AIPAC are eager to have us fight against Israel's endless enemies.


"Turning the Page in Iraq," remarks of Senator Barack Obama, Clinton Iowa, September 12, 2007, available at

William Blum, "Killing Hope: U.S. Military And CIA Interventions Since World War II" (Common Courage, 1995) See "America's Jihad," Chapter 53.

William Blum, "Rogue State: A Guide To The World's Only Superpower," (Common Courage, 2000). See in particular pp. 4-5

Noam Chomsky, "The World After September 11," lecture at Tufts University, December 8, 2001

Jimmy Carter, "Keeping Faith - Memoirs of a President," (Bantam, 1982)

-----Michael K. Smith is the author of "Portraits of Empire" and "The Madness of King George" (illustrations by Matt Wuerker), both from Common Courage Press. He can be reached at