Monday, January 22, 2007

For violating unwritten law, Carter gets it from all sides

Editor's note: I will be moving over to the other blog.
Monday, January 22, 2007

Jimmy Carter, a devout Christian, has violated the 11th commandment, "Thou shalt not criticize Israel, for anything, ever." The continuing fallout from Palestine, Peace not Apartheid, in letters to the editor, resignations from the Carter Center, ("14 quit Carter Center board to protest book," Jan. 12) and attacks from columnists, constitute graphic proof of the accuracy of his conclusions regarding Jewish influence on American public debate.

In recent days, The Post's letters columns have featured a letter accusing this former president (who won a Nobel Peace Prize for refereeing the Camp David Accords) of either not knowing the facts or being prejudiced. Another suggested that his book was financed by Arab money. This is the same man described by Golda Meir as "a great friend of Israel."

Another, long letter from the national director of the Anti-Defamation League (Dec. 29) accused Mr. Carter of "repeating the canard of Jewish control" (of American foreign policy). This letter assured us that a careful distinction is made between legitimate criticism and anti-Semitism. No examples of "legitimate criticism" were offered. He was apparently unaware of The Washington Post's Richard Cohen's statement "that Israel's American supporters have immense influence over (U.S.) foreign policy is inarguable" (cited in Haaretz).

The truth of Mr. Carter's recent comment, "There's a tremendous intimidation in this country that has silenced our people, not just individuals, not just folks running for office. It's the news media as well," is evident every day. Europeans are much more sympathetic to the Palestinian cause and, of course, are accused of being anti-Semitic.

Americans, with access mainly to U.S. media, have no knowledge of The Council of Europe and Amnesty International's accusations of Israeli war crimes of disproportionate retaliation or of the horrific "collateral damage" resulting in the death of women and children as Israelis tried to kill suspected Hamas leaders. Israel is far, far ahead in the body count. How many Americans ever have seen the 20-foot wall dividing Arab families on TV?

No rational American elected official, candidate for office or prospective political appointee ever can question any action of Israel, or even consider publicly the possibility of reducing our financial or military support, without expecting prompt accusations of anti-Semitism. The prime minister of Israel, Ehud Olmert, stated candidly (Economist, Aug. 5), "Thank god we have AIPAC, the greatest supporter and friend we have in the whole world."

This is most frightening when considered in the context of the possible threat to Israel from a nuclear-armed Iran. President Bush has said, "We will not allow Israel to fall." If that time comes, will our elected officials have the courage to deny the demands of AIPAC and the rest of the Israel lobby?


Only Impeachment Can Prevent More War

Jan 22, 2007

By Paul Craig Roberts

Everyone knows that Bush's Iraq "surge" will not work. Even the authors of the plan, neoconservatives Frederick Kagan and Jack Keane, have emphasized that the plan cannot work with any less than an addition of 50,000 US troops committed to another three years of combat. Bush is only adding 40% of that number of troops, and Defense Secretary Gates speaks of the operation being over by summer's end.

On January 18 a panel of retired generals testifying on Capitol Hill slammed Bush's surge plan as "a fool's errand." Even the easily bamboozled American public knows the plan will not work. Newsweek's latest poll released January 20 shows that only 23% of the public support sending more troops to Iraq and that twice as many Americans trust the Democrats in Congress than trust Bush.

A majority of Americans (54%) believe Bush to be neither honest nor ethical, and 57% believe that Bush lacks "strong leadership qualities."

Nevertheless, Bush defended his surge plan, telling a group of TV stations last week, "I believe it will work."

Bush is correct that it will work--indeed, the surge is working. We have to be clear about how the plan works. It does not mean that 21,500 more US troops will bring order and stability to Iraq. The surge is working, because it is deflecting attention from the Bush Regime's real game plan.

The real game plan is to orchestrate a war with Iran and to initiate wider conflict in the Middle East before public and military pressure forces the Bush Regime to withdraw US troops from Iraq.

Two US carrier attack groups have been deployed to the Persian Gulf. US missile systems are being sent to oil producing countries to counter any incoming missiles from Iran should any survive the US attack. Israeli pilots have been training for an attack on Iran. US war doctrine has been changed to permit pre-emptive nuclear attack on non-nuclear countries. US attack aircraft have been deployed at bases in Turkey. A neocon admiral who attends AIPAC events has been made commander in chief of US forces in the Middle East. Obviously, the ground war in Iraq and Afghanistan are not the focus of the Bush Regime's new military deployments. The Bush Regime is focused on attacking Iran.

In CounterPunch (January 16) Col. Sam Gardiner reports that the Bush Regime has put into operation a group led by National Security Council staff whose mission is to create and foment outrage against Iran. Col. Gardiner details various signs of the Bush Regime's escalation and indicates some of the final deployments that will signal an imminent strike on Iran, such as "USAF tankers moved to unusual places, like Bulgaria" in order to position them for refueling B-2 bombers on their way to Iran.

Both Michel Chossudovsky and Jorge Hirsch have recently documented evidence that the Bush Regime is orchestrating a crisis with Iran that can lead to the use of nuclear weapons to attack Iran.

Civil libertarians who have observed the Bush Regime's concentration of dictatorial powers in the presidency expect that war with Iran, especially if fearful nuclear weapons are used, will be accompanied by Bush's declaration of a state of emergency. The Bush Regime will use the state of emergency to grab more arbitrary and dictatorial powers in the name of protecting "national security interests" and American citizens from "terrorism."

As the Regime's crimes against the US Constitution and humanity will be monstrous, dissent will be throttled in ways that will make Americans afraid to speak, or even to think, the truth. By stifling dissent, the Bush Regime will escape accountability for launching wars on the basis of blatant lies. It will complete its destruction of the civil liberties that protect free speech, dissent, and Americans from arbitrary arrest and indefinite detention without charges or access to attorneys.

Congress is wasting precious time with non-binding resolutions and debates over cutting off war funding. The Bush Regime is rushing the country into a war and a domestic police state. Writing in Slate, Dahlia Lithwick reports that one of the main goals of the so-called "war on terror" (essentially a propagandistic hoax) is to achieve a massive expansion in unaccountable executive power. This is a long-time goal of VP Cheney and his chief of staff, David Addington. It is also the main goal of the "conservative" Federalist Society, an organization of Republican lawyers from whose membership Republican judicial nominees are drawn.

American public opinion is being manipulated. In the name of protecting "American freedom and democracy," the Bush regime rides roughshod over both as it ignores both the public and Congress and proceeds with a catastrophic policy supported by no one but the Bush Regime and a cabal of power-mad neoconservatives.

Nothing can stop the Regime except the immediate impeachment of Bush and Cheney. This is America's last chance.

Paul Craig Roberts - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Keeping on bloody path of peace

Arab Combatant for Peace activist says will not abandon path to peace despite daughter's recent death at hands of Israeli Border Police
Ines Ehrlich

Abir Aranmin, a 10-year old Palestinian girl, was critically wounded last Tuesday after apparently being hit in the head by a rubber bullet fired by Israeli Border Guard police officers patrolling the West Bank town of Anata, near Jerusalem.

Abir, who had been lying clinically dead at the Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem for three days, as doctors fought for her life, was finally taken off life support Friday.

According to conflicting media reports, Abir, her sister and two friends came into the line of fire by Israeli border police, who were allegedly firing rubber bullets at several young boys throwing stones towards their patrol jeep. However, some eyewitnesses claimed that Abir was apparently killed by a blunt object, which corroborates the findings of an autopsy carried out on Friday. Police say the findings were inconsistent with her having been killed by a rubber bullet and indicate that she may have been hit by a rock hurled by possible rioters.

Crossing the Divide

Close encounters of a third kind / Ines Ehrlich

Former Palestinian prisoners and IDF combatants overcome mutual distrust on path to peace
Full story

The tragic irony of this event is that Abir's father, Bassam Aranmin, 38, was among the founders of Combatants for Peace, a group of former Israeli soldiers and Palestinian militants who have pledged to seek a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Arab conflict by laying down arms on both sides.

Abir's father, a former Fatah member, had served a seven-year prison sentence in an Israeli jail after being arrested in Hebron when he was 17 years old. In a meeting at the home of singer David Broza held several months ago, Aranmin told the Israeli audience that it was while serving time that he began to understand the need for reconciliation. He went on to tell of the lengthy conversations he had had with a prison guard saying that rather than becoming an enemy the guard had become a partner for dialogue.

With the tragic death of his young daughter, who was buried at a cemetery near Jerusalem's Old City walls by the Lion's Gate, it is hard to comprehend the twisted course fate has taken in light of one of Aranmin's most poignant statements which was often sounded at the group's meetings: "We've already spilled so much blood, now we want to save lives on both sides. This is why I've joined this movement. Our religion is tolerant and our message instructs us not to hurt innocent people."

Not seeking revenge

Supported strongly by members of the organization who are mourning along with Aranmin's family, he says he will not abandon the path of peace despite what has happened, and that he is not seeking revenge. He added that his only revenge is to bring the perpetrator to justice so that other children would not be hurt.

Police have launched an investigation into the event after the family lodged a formal complaint, and four border police officers have been questioned so far. Yet the question remains, what was the purpose of the patrol's presence in Anata at the time, as construction of the separation fence was completed months ago, during which border police would frequent the area to guard bulldozers at work.

Combatants for Peace is a non-profit organization comprised of dozens of Israeli and Palestinian individuals who were personally involved in the ongoing cycle of violence. They formed the group last year after each had reached a turning point, either as a militant or as an Israeli combat soldier, bringing them to the realization of the futility of bloodshed. The alternative path reached them independently of each other and it surprised them to find others who shared similar thought processes on the "other side."

Combatants for Peace calls for an end to the occupation and violence, the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem alongside Israel , and return to 1967 borders.

The Pentagon vs. Press Freedom

Jan 22, 2007)
By Norman Solomon

We often hear that the Pentagon exists to defend our freedoms. But the Pentagon is moving against press freedom.

Not long ago, journalist Sarah Olson received a subpoena to testify in early February in the court-martial of U.S. Army Lt. Ehren Watada, who now faces prosecution for speaking against the Iraq war and refusing to participate in it. Apparently, the commanders at the Pentagon are so eager to punish Watada that they’ve decided to go after reporters who have informed the public about his statements.

People who run wars are notoriously hostile to a free press. They’re quick to praise it -- unless the reporting goes beyond mere stenography for the war-makers and actually engages in journalism that makes the military command uncomfortable.

Evidently, that’s why the Pentagon subpoenaed Olson. They want her to testify to authenticate her quotes from Watada -- which is to say, they want to force her into the prosecution of him. “Army lawyers are overreaching when they try to prosecute their case by drafting reporters,” the Los Angeles Times noted in a Jan. 8 editorial.

The newspaper added: “No prosecutor should be able to conscript any reporter into being a deputy by compelling testimony about a statement made by a source -- or go fishing for information beyond what a reporter presents in a story -- unless it’s absolutely vital to protect U.S. citizens from crime or attack. This principle should apply whether or not the source was speaking in confidence, or whether or not the reporter works for a media organization.”

Olson is a freelancer whose reporting on Watada has appeared on the widely read website and has aired on the nationwide public radio program “Making Contact.” (Full disclosure: I was a founder of that program and served as an advisor.) For a number of years, she has been doing the job of a journalist. Now, in its dealings with her, the Pentagon is despicably trying to trample on the First Amendment.

As the LA Times editorialized, “there is something especially chilling about the U.S. military reaching beyond its traditional authority to compel a non-military U.S. citizen engaged in news-gathering to testify in a military court, simply to bolster a court-martial case. ... Sustaining the military subpoena would set a troubling precedent. It’s time for the Army to back off.”

But the Army hasn’t shown any sign of backing off -- despite an outcry from a widening range of eminent journalists, mainstream media institutions and First Amendment groups.

“Trying to force a reporter to testify at a court-martial sends the wrong signal to the media and the military,” said the president of the Military Reporters and Editors organization, James W. Crawley. He commented: “One of the hallmarks of American journalism, as documented in the Bill of Rights and defended by our armed services, is a clear separation of the press and the government. Using journalists to help the military prosecute its case seems like a serious breach of that wall.”

By sending subpoenas to Sarah Olson and to another journalist who has reported on Watada (Gregg Kakesako of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin), the Pentagon is trying to chip away at the proper role of news media.

Two officials of the PEN American Center, a venerable organization that works to protect freedom of expression, put the issue well in a recent letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates: “If Olson and Kakesako respond to these subpoenas by testifying, they will essentially be participating in the prosecution of their source. Reporters should not serve as the investigative arm of the government. Such a role compromises their objectivity and can have chilling effects on the press.”

Writing for Editor & Publisher magazine, Sarah Olson summed up what is at stake: “A member of the press should never be placed in the position of aiding a government prosecution of political speech. This goes against the grain of even the most basic understanding of the First Amendment’s free press guarantees and the expectation of a democracy that relies on a free flow of information and perspectives without fear of censor or retribution.”

And Olson added: “You may ask: Do I want to be sent to prison by the U.S. Army for not cooperating with their prosecution of Lieutenant Watada? My answer: Absolutely not. You may also ask: Would I rather contribute to the prosecution of a news source for sharing newsworthy perspectives on an affair of national concern? That is the question I wholly object to having before me in the first place.”

The Pentagon’s attack on journalism is an attack on the First Amendment -- and an attempt to drive a wedge between journalists and dissenters in the military. Resistance is essential for democracy.

Waiting for It

January 21, 2007

The prospect of the seemingly inevitable war against Iran is no less than terrifying. That the war has already started, with Special Forces and CIA operations on-going in that country, twenty-plus thousand more troops on the way to Iraq, the kidnapping of Iranian envoys in Iraq, our funding of opposition groups, and the arrival of second carrier group, is clear. We all know this will be disastrous, but Congress is doomed to offer only rhetorical resistance. The Doubleduh-Cheney Gang will have its way. It listens to nobody and really doesn't care about opposition. It marches to a drum that shuts out any other sound.

Retired USAF Colonel Sam Gardiner in CounterPunch, "The Pieces Are Being Put in Place":

The pieces are moving. They’ll be in place by the end of
February. The United States will be able to escalate military operations against Iran.

The second carrier strike group leaves the U.S. west coast on January 16. It will be joined by naval mine clearing assets from both the United States and the UK. Patriot missile defense systems have also been ordered to deploy to the Gulf.

Maybe as a guard against North Korea seeing operations focused on Iran as a chance to be aggressive, a squadron of F-117 stealth fighters has just been deployed to Korea.

This has to be called escalation. We have to remind ourselves, just as Iran is supporting groups inside Iraq, the United States is supporting groups inside Iran. Just as Iran has special operations troops operating inside Iraq, we’ve read the United States has special operations troops operating inside Iran.

Just as Iran is supporting Hamas, two weeks ago we found out the United States is supporting arms for Abbas. Just as Iran and Syria are supporting Hezbollah in Lebanon we’re now learning the White House has approved a finding to allow the CIA to support opposition groups inside Lebanon. Just as Iran is supporting Syria, we’ve learned recently that the United States is going to fund Syrian opposition groups . . .
The Center for Nonproliferation Studies published this detailed document, "A Preemptive Attack on Iran's Nuclear Facilities: Possible Consequences", two and a half years ago:
At a time when Iraq and the war on terrorism tend to dominate the debate on international affairs, the possibility of an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities has not been a major topic of discussion in the United States. There are reports, however, that the Bush administration has seriously considered this option but opted to put it on the back burner for the time being.[1] Further, on May 6, 2004, the U.S. House of Representatives passed Resolution 398 in a 376-3 vote, calling on the U.S. government "to use all appropriate means to deter, dissuade, and prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons."[2] If a similar resolution passes the Senate, it will give President Bush or any future administration the ability to launch a preemptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities whenever this is deemed necessary.

In Israel, planning and rhetoric appear to have progressed quite a bit further[3]; it appears that some in Israel are seriously considering a preemptive attack similar to the June 1981 attack on Osirak that destroyed Iraq's nuclear reactor.[4] Meir Dagan, the Chief of Mossad, told parliament members in his inaugural appearance before the Israeli Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that Iran was close to the "point of no return" and that the specter of Iranian possession of nuclear weapons was the greatest threat to Israel since its inception.[5] On November 11, 2003, Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said that Israel had "no plans to attack nuclear facilities in Iran."[6] Less than two weeks later however, during a visit to the United States, Israel's Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz stated that "under no circumstances would Israel be able to tolerate nuclear weapons in Iranian possession"[7] and just six weeks earlier, Mossad had revealed plans for preemptive attacks by F-16 bombers on Iranian nuclear sites.[8] This report will examine the following: The Iranian nuclear facilities most likely to be targeted and their proliferation risk potential; the likely preemptive scenarios involving Israel or the United States; and the possible consequences of any preemptive action . . .

Contrary to popular belief, it appears that Israel's attack on Osirak in June of 1981 did nothing to hinder Iraq's nuclear aspirations. Although it temporarily set back its capabilities, it served rather to reinforce and increase Saddam's desire for a nuclear arsenal. In fact, Iraqi nuclear scientist Imad Khadduri claims that Israel's preemptive strike against the French-built Tamuz Iraqi nuclear reactor, which was not really suitable for plutonium production anyway, had the exact opposite effect of the one intended: it sent Saddam Hussein's A-bomb program into overdrive and convinced the Iraqi leadership to initiate a full fledged nuclear weapons program immediately afterwards.[28]

Khidir Hamza, another Iraqi nuclear scientist and one of the leading proponents of Operation Iraqi Freedom and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, gave a near identical assessment. He told Mike Begala on CNN's Crossfire on February 7, 2003:

Israel -- actually, what Israel [did] is that it got out the immediate danger out of the way. But it created a much larger danger in the longer range. What happened is that Saddam ordered us - we were 400... scientists and technologists running the program. And when they bombed that reactor out, we had also invested $400 million. And the French reactor and the associated plans were from Italy. When they bombed it out we became 7,000 with a $10 billion investment for a secret, much larger underground program to make bomb material by enriching uranium. We dropped the reactor out totally, which was the plutonium for making nuclear weapons, and went directly into enriching uranium.... They [Israel] estimated we'd make 7kg of plutonium a year, which is enough for one bomb. And they get scared and bombed it out. Actually it was much less than this, and it would have taken a much longer time. But the program we built later in secret would make six bombs a year.[29]

Furthermore, in his book Saddam's Bombmaker, Dr. Hamza states that following the destruction of Osirak in June 1981, Saddam Hussein decided not to repeat the mistake of concentrating all of Iraq's nuclear assets in a single declared location. With the help of the Soviets, the Iraqis embarked on a covert nuclear program that simultaneously extended and hid Iraq's uranium enrichment facilities. Many of these facilities were disguised as warehouses or schools; others were hidden behind farmhouses - all of which was aimed at confusing the IAEA inspectors and preventing them from discovering Iraq's true nuclear potential.

It was Saddam's 1990 invasion of Kuwait, compounded by the difficulty of acquiring sufficient fissile material that doomed Iraq's nuclear prospects. Prior to the invasion, Iraq's nuclear program was moving full speed ahead to produce enough fissile material for nuclear bomb assembly, assuming it could obtain enough uranium. But Iraq's invasion of Kuwait changed everything, resulting in UN Security Council Resolution 687, which banned Iraqi possession of any WMD programs.[30] Iraq's defeat in the 1991 Gulf War, in addition to more than a decade of UN sanctions and inspections, virtually stripped Iraq off its nuclear technology gains and bomb-making ability . . .

With regard to Iran, there is no reason to believe that an attack on the facilities in Bushehr, Arak, or Natanz would have any different consequence than the Osirak example. Such an attack would likely embolden and enhance Iran's nuclear prospects in the long term. In the absence of an Iranian nuclear weapon program, which IAEA inspectors have yet to find, a preemptive attack by the United States or Israel would provide Iran with the impetus and justification to pursue a full blown covert nuclear deterrent program, without the inconvenience of IAEA inspections. Such an attack would likely be seen as an act of aggression not only by Iran but most of the international community, and only serve to weaken any diplomatic coalition currently available against Iran.

The most troubling aspect of such a scenario is that, unlike Iraq in 1981, Iran is not dependent on foreign imports for nuclear technology and already has available the raw materials, and most of the designs and techniques, required to pursue a nuclear weapons program. Iran has the necessary know-how and has already produced every stage of the nuclear fuel cycle.[31] Furthermore, Iran has uranium mines in Yazd and is in the process of constructing milling plants to manufacture yellow cake uranium and conversion plants that convert it to UF6 gas.[32] Iran has also begun manufacturing its own gas centrifuges used to enrich uranium. Even if Natanz, Arak, and Bushehr were destroyed in a preemptive strike, Iran probably has duplicate equipment that can be activated and has the know-how to produce more, to pursue a more vigorous and unabated nuclear weapons program in the long term . . .

In the event of an unprovoked preemptive attack on its nuclear facilities, Iran could justifiably argue that it requires nuclear weapons to guard against aggression and protect its sovereignty, effectively announcing its intention to withdraw from the NPT and altering the current international dynamic. Especially given the recent lack of substantiation in the Iraqi WMD case, such a strike would undoubtedly result in U.S. or Israeli diplomatic isolation . . .

The practical diplomatic consequences of a preemptive attack in Iran are worth considering. In the aftermath of such a strike, it is highly unlikely that the United States would be able to convince members of the UN Security Council to impose sanctions on Iran. Without international sanctions, Iran will be able to allocate greater financial and human resources to its nuclear program. If the Iraqi Osirak example is any indication, the size of Iran's nuclear program would probably increase dramatically, as the Iranian government touts an expanded nuclear program as the key to deterring Iran's enemies . . .

As the target of an unprovoked attack, Iran gains by pointing to justifications for escaping the constraints of the NPT, therefore becoming a much greater proliferation threat. Unrestrained, the Iranians will have the means and technology to eventually manufacture gas centrifuges and mine, mill, convert, and enrich uranium. Even under IAEA intrusive inspections, Iran has assembled more than 920 gas centrifuges, 120 of which were assembled in just two and a half months, between November 2003 and mid-January 2004.[33] To enrich enough HEU to make one nuclear bomb requires running 750 gas centrifuges for one year.[34] If Iran seceded from the NPT, and increased the size of its nuclear program, it would be able to manufacture and assemble many more gas centrifuges, and therefore rapidly enrich uranium. Once sufficient fissile material is obtained, designing a basic nuclear warhead can be easily accomplished. In the absence of intrusive inspections or threat of UN Security Council (UNSC) sanctions, the only way to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapons capability would be to occupy Iran, a very unlikely occurrence given the serious challenges already faced by the United States in a smaller, weaker Iraq . . .

Attacking Iranian nuclear facilities also has the potential of igniting a diplomatic crisis between the United States and Russia. The Russian Federation is not only Iran's foremost supplier of nuclear technology and training, it is reported that hundreds of Russian scientists and technicians currently work in Bushehr. A preemptive attack on Bushehr may kill a large number of Iranian and Russian personnel; the ensuing diplomatic crisis could seriously affect not only Russian-U.S. trade but also cooperation on international matters, including the war on terrorism . . .

An attack on Iran's nuclear facilities that are viewed by most Iranians as a symbol of national pride and technological progress would provide the Iranian mullahs the necessary justification to intensify their crackdown on dissidents and moderates, whom the hawks are likely to brand as agents of foreign powers. It is equally plausible that, fearing such a backlash, domestic opposition forces in Iran would band together with Iran's new hawkish majority in parliament and abandon their calls and protests for reform . . .

Open source information suggests that currently Iran possesses more than 500 Shehab ballistic missiles. Most of these missiles are Shehab-1 and -2, with a 300- to 500-kilometer (km) range and a 700- to 985-kilogram (kg) payload.[37] With these missiles, Iran is capable of reaching U.S. bases in Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, and Iraq. Iran is also believed to possess 25 to100 Shehab-3 ballistic missiles, displayed in a military parade marking the anniversary of the Iran-Iraq war on September 22, 2003.[38] The Shehab-3 has a 1,300km range, a 700kg payload, and is capable of reaching Israeli cities and bases (See: Chart 1). Iran could launch dozens of these ballistic missiles in the direction of Israel; and U.S. targets in the region, over a long period, depending on the size of the Iranian arsenal, the desired severity of the counterattack, and the ability of U.S. forces to find and destroy their missile launchers.

On the one hand, the destructive potential of these ballistic missile systems should not be underestimated. Although these Scud variants are relatively inaccurate - they are certainly incapable of the pinpoint accuracy associated with U.S. cruise missiles and guided munitions - they do have much greater accuracy and higher payloads than the Iraqi al-Husseins that turned out a mediocre CEP (circular error probability) of 1 to 3km in 1991.[39] Multiple missiles attacks on U.S. or Israeli targets carrying large warheads can potentially be very deadly, as demonstrated by an Iraqi Scud attack on barracks in Saudi Arabia in early 1991. It turned out to be the deadliest such incident of the entire war for U.S. troops, killing 28 and injuring 98.[40] . . .
The piece is excellent and goes on to consider the widespread potential consequences involving the whole of the Middle East. To imagine that we would escape increased attacks within our own borders is just ignorance.

Iran is no patsy. Russia and other European nations have a geopolitical stake there. Shi'ites all over the place will attack "American interests". We will not have stabilized Iraq enough to use it as a secure military base. We will take a big hurt.

About a year ago, reported:
When the media considers how the Iranians could respond, it generally only speculates on the Iranians responding passively and ceasing oil production. According to CNN, the result would be an immediate 5 percent drop in the global supply, which could cause prices to rise in excess of $60 a barrel, creating a minor pain for Americans at the gas pump. This scenario is dangerously optimistic. The hardliners controlling the Iranian government will not react timidly. While the Iranian military lacks the sheer power of the American armed forces, it does not need to match strength for strength.

After American or Israeli forces attack, the Iranians will likely retaliate using ballistic missiles, attacking Israeli cities and American bases around the Persian Gulf. Attacks against Israel should prove ineffective. Iran has a small inventory of missiles that have the necessary 1,300 km range to strike targets within Israel, according to, and since the First Gulf War, Israel has developed an effective anti-ballistic-missile program. The Iranians do have a sizeable arsenal of shorter-range missiles that could be used to strike American targets in Iraq.

Although Patriot Missile batteries proved effective against Iraqi missiles in the second Gulf War, it may be possible to overwhelm individual batteries. Only 54 such batteries were deployed during the second Gulf War, defending staging areas in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. There are likely fewer systems in theater at the moment, and American bases are dispersed throughout Iraq, making them harder to protect. By firing enough missiles into the Green Zone in Baghdad, the Iranians could decapitate the Iraqi government and kill a large number of American military leaders.

They could also attempt to attack the American 5th Fleet in the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea. The Iranians possess a significant stockpile of anti-ship missiles, consisting of hundreds of older French Exocets, Chinese C-802s, locally developed variants of the C-802 and a small number of highly lethal Russian missiles, according to

The Russian weapons are of particular concern because the SS-N-22 Moskit and SS-NX-26 Yakhont are designed to defeat the defenses of a carrier battle group. Traveling at more than two times the speed of sound, any vessel targeted by this warhead would optimally have 25 to 30 seconds between detection and impact, giving American warships no time to react defensively. The danger these missiles present becomes clear when the dimensions of the Persian Gulf are considered; at its widest, it is 338 km and narrows to a scant 48 km at the Strait of Hormuz, the only exit from the Persian Gulf. These missiles have a range of 120 km and 300 km respectively, making the Persian Gulf a shooting gallery. At best, the Iranians may manage to sink a few destroyers and frigates. At worst, they could destroy an aircraft carrier, killing thousands of Americans. Those who would dismiss this scenario should recall what the Argentineans managed to do in the Falklands War with only six Exocets.

The Iranians could also use their anti-ship missiles to cut off tanker traffic passing through the Strait of Hormuz. This would deny the world oil production from Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar and part of Saudi Arabia, driving prices far higher than normally postulated and causing severe harm to the global economy.

Their final and most dramatic option would be to launch a ground war against American forces in Iraq. American forces are not prepared for a ground war. They are scattered across the country, conducting peacekeeping operations in what could become hostile territory.

The reason Iraq has not yet turned into Vietnam is because the Shiite clerics who hold sway over the majority of the population have largely refrained from hostility against American forces. Aside from Muqtada Al-Sadr’s aborted insurgency, American forces have spent most of their time fighting Sunni insurgents.

Most of the more powerful clerics have strong connections to Iran. Iran has taken care to support these clerics by providing funds, training and weapons for their militias. In the event of an attack on Iran, various militias could rise against American garrisons. One cleric, Al-Sadr, has already pledged to do so. Alone, they would not be able to defeat American forces in Iraq, but they could lock American forces in place . . .
We cannot in America fathom what a disaster this will be. Wait for it.

Categories: , ,


Sunday, January 21, 2007


(Ben Heine © Cartoons)
UNBELIEVABLE!!! Can you imagine not being allowed to walk on the street that you live on? Can you imagine having to get to where you want to go via rooftops and balconies?
Can you imagine the hardship this creates for the ill and the aged?
Now imagine that this has been a reality for many residents of Hebron... for the past 6 years.
And yet, Israel claims to want peace, Olmert is prepared to speak with Abbas again regarding Palestinian statehood. What about Palestinian Rights TODAY..... RIGHT THIS MINUTE!!!
And they condemn Carter for speaking the truth? What about condemnation for the dehumanisation of an entire nation.... This oppression MUST END NOW!
The following is from the Palestinian News Network.....

For 6 years some Hebron residents forced to move via rooftop, now Israelis allowing them on street
(Jenin) Ali Samoudi
Six years ago Israeli forces occupying the southern West Bank denied the Palestinians of Hebron the right to walk on Shuhada Street. The Society for Citizens Rights conducted investigations in which it was apparent that Israeli forces were fundamentally violating the rights of thousands of people.

Each army unit in the city was given a new set of instructions to disallow Palestinians to move on this major street. The Society called for an investigation within the Israeli military while a lawyer sent the military prosecutor notice to investigate the ban of Palestinian movement on the central Hebon street.

Residents have long reported that to go somewhere just minutes away becomes an arduous journey due to the presence of soldiers. To reach their homes residents must climb over rooftops and balconies, or through the homes of neighbors, one after the other.

Zahira Rajab has lived on Shuhada Street for 13 years and requires daily medication and routine treatment. To reach the clinic she must travel the roofs and balconies of neighbors, and the same on the return.

She brought the matter to the attention of Citizens' Rights last year and ask for the restriction to be canceled. The Office of Counsel in the Israeli system's reply said in essence that the ban on movement was illegal and a mistake, and although it lasted for six years, would now be rectified. The Office of Counsel's response read in part, “The Palestinians have been prevented from literally walking in the street. This was by mistake. In the coming days soldiers will be given new instruction to allow the movement of the population, but it will be conditional on security measures.”

This is not the first case of its kind throughout the West Bank.

IAEA said that while the ban was not a normal daily occurrence, there were still 150 designated inspectors for Iran

Iran confirms ban on IAEA inspectors (2nd Roundup)

Tehran/Vienna/Brussels - Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki on Monday confirmed earlier reports that 38 International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors have been prohibited from visiting Iran.

'In line with rules and regulations of the IAEA, the host country has the right to oppose the entry of certain inspectors into the country,' Mottaki said in a press conference in Tehran.

Mottaki declined to give details of the nationality of the barred inspectors.

Iran generally has security concerns as far as visits of US nationals are concerned. Israelis are generally not allowed to come to Iran except in very rare cases.

A spokeswoman for the IAEA said in Vienna Monday that the matter was still under discussion with Tehran, stressing that this did not impede the UN nuclear watchdog's work.

'Details of inspector designation is a confidential matter between the IAEA and the country concerned,' spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said in a statement.

'In this case, we are discussing with Iran its request for withdrawing the designation of certain safeguards inspectors,' the statement continued.

Similar to an earlier case when Iran withdrew inspector designations, there is concern among analysts and some IAEA member states that Iran was effectively blocking the UN nuclear watchdog's work.

Sources within the IAEA said that while the ban was not a normal daily occurrence, there were still 150 designated inspectors for Iran, and that other countries had also, on occasion, withdrawn designations.

'It should be noted however, that there are a sufficient number of inspectors designated for Iran and the IAEA is able to perform its inspection activities in accordance with Iran's Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement,' the IAEA said in its statement, reaffirming its abilities to conduct inspections.

After the approval of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1737 which foresees sanctions against Iran if the Islamic state does not suspend uranium enrichment by the end of February, the Iranian parliament approved a bill obliging the government to revise cooperation with the IAEA.

Both the foreign ministry and the National Security Council which is directly in charge of the nuclear issue have stressed that cooperation with the IAEA and commitment to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) would continue.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has already ordered the government to implement the bill. On Sunday, he termed Resolution 1737 as 'dead at birth' and reiterated that 'even 10 more resolutions' would not stop Iran from pursuing its nuclear programmes.

The Iranian foreign minister said that Tehran had dispatched a letter to the 14 members of the UN Security Council, not only reiterating Iran's stance in the nuclear dispute but also protesting against Resolution 1737 and the sanction threats.

Referring meanwhile to ongoing military manoeuvres in south-east Iran, Mottaki said the manoeuvres were only a routine measure for maintaining readiness of the armed forces.

European Union foreign ministers meeting on Monday vowed strong and effective implementation of UN sanctions on Irann

A statement released by the 27-nation bloc said EU governments would prevent trade in sensitive nuclear technology with Iran.

In addition, the EU promised to implement a ban on transactions with and freeze the assets of individuals and entities linked to the nuclear programme.

EU travel by Iranian nationals involved in the nuclear sector will be restricted. Measures will also involve a ban on Iranians studying 'proliferation-sensitive subjects' in the EU.

The statement said the measures against Iran would be taken 'without delay.'

© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur

The Press and the Watada Trial


[posted online on January 22, 2007]

When Army Lieut. Ehren Watada's court-martial opens on February 5, more than Watada's refusal to deploy to Iraq may be put on trial. Also at stake is the independence of the press, especially some of its more vulnerable members. The US Army prosecutor in the case has subpoenaed two reporters to appear: Gregg Kakesako of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and Oakland freelancer Sarah Olson. The two are being asked to authenticate statements made to them by Watada in which Watada criticized Administration war policy and explained his reasons for refusing to deploy to Iraq last summer.

Watada, 28, is the highest ranking US military officer to refuse duty in Iraq; he faces charges of missing a movement and conduct unbecoming an officer, which could cost him six years in jail. Kakesako and Olson face six months in jail or a $500 fine if they refuse to testify. Kakesako isn't commenting, but Olson is adamantly opposing her compelled testimony. "When speech itself is the crime, journalists are turned into the investigative arm of the government," she told The Nation. "If I contribute to the Army's prosecution of Lieutenant Watada on speech-related charges, I will have colluded in suppression of speech. What could be more hostile to the ideas of a free press than that?"

Neither Watada, who is currently stationed at Fort Lewis, Washington, nor his lawyer has denied any of the anti-Iraq War statements. Indeed, on the same day Olson's story appeared on, Watada held a press conference repeating the same line of criticism. "As I read about the level of deception the Bush Administration used to initiate and process this war, I was shocked," Watada told Olson. "I became ashamed of wearing the uniform. How can we wear something with such a time-honored tradition, knowing we waged war based on a misrepresentation and lies?" A few months later, in a keynote speech at a convention of antiwar vets in Seattle, Watada further amplified his dissident views. A video of that speech, which was widely reported, including in the Washington Post, is available online.

The military's move to compel Olson to verify what Watada said thus appears gratuitous and unnecessary. Moreover, if the prosecution wants to authenticate what it deems actionable or illegal statements made by Watada in public settings, it should first verify whether the defendant disputes having made them. "When I defend a client like this, the first thing I do is ask the prosecutors if they have already asked the defendant to stipulate," says Los Angeles media attorney Susan Seager of the firm Davis Wright Tremaine. She says that while Olson is being called before a military court that can set its own rules, Justice Department guidelines state that where there is no shield law in effect, the first measure taken to verify information appearing in the press--before going to the reporter in question--should be to find an alternative source.

Dozens of reporters, myself included, have interviewed the free-speaking Watada, which raises further questions about why the military has singled out Olson, whose original article fetched a fee of only $300 and was published by a relatively obscure web news service. "Why harass this reporter?" asks Seager. "It's possible the military doesn't want reporters to write about this story anymore, and that's the real danger here--that reporters will figure it's not worth the hassle and the risk." And with fewer resources than other reporters, Olson might be a tempting demonstration case.

Olson's plight hasn't gotten much attention from professional media associations, in part because she's not being asked to reveal a confidential source but only to verify what's already been published, and no doubt in part because she works primarily for small alternative outlets. Olson is being defended, however, by the First Amendment Project in Oakland on a pro bono basis. The PEN American Center has sent a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates on her behalf. And Military Reporters and Editors president James Crawley issued a statement saying: "Trying to force a reporter to testify at a court-martial sends the wrong signal to the media and the military.... Using journalists to help the military prosecute its case seems like a serious breach of that wall." Olson has received a letter of support from the Society of Professional Journalists.

A compromise legal solution, which Watada's lawyer has hinted he'd consent to, would not require that Olson appear but instead to sign a sworn affidavit authenticating her article. While she's not revealing her legal strategy, Olson bristles at the notion. "I don't want to participate in the government prosecution of political speech," she says. "That includes signing an affidavit."

The debt we owe to a Carter critic

Monday, January 22, 2007

The debt we owe to Deborah Lipstadt

Deborah Lipstadt has written a very important commentary on Jimmy Carter and his book on the Palestinians (I won’t link to it at Amazon as Amazon has been playing peculiar games with it, presumably in order to suppress its sale). Lipstadt, a woman who until now has been famous only for having all of David Irving’s money, expressly makes the connection between Israeli treatment of the Palestinians and what was done to the Jewish people in the 1930’s and 1940’s. This argument usually hides in the weeds. It is the real basis behind all defenses of Israeli actions against the Palestinians, as well as many of the peculiarities of Israeli exceptionalism, such as Israel’s unique ability to shelter international gangsters on the basis that they are Jews, or Israel’s unique right to make peremptory attacks against other countries on the basis that there might be a possible threat against the state of the Jewish people. This doctrine has now been extended, in the case of Iran, to allow for peremptory attacks even when there is no threat against the Jewish people.

In Lipstadt’s view, which is the view shared by all Jewish defenders of Israel, Carter is wrong for failing to emphasize the Holocaust in a book about what Israel is doing to the Palestinians today. This lack of logic from Lipstadt would be the stuff of comedy if it did not form the basis for all the atrocities that Israel commits. Most apologists for Israel are too smart to put it in so many words, so we owe a bid debt of gratitude to Lipstadt for being so fucking stupid as to let the cat out of the bag. In fact, I think many people sympathetic to Israel don’t really realize the basis for the chip on Israel’s shoulder as they can’t bring themselves to believe that the basis could be something that is so insane.

The bigger picture is that many Jews feel that the Holocaust gives Jews, and by extension the Jewish state, a permanent ‘Get Out Of Jail Free’ card. The world stood by and let horrible things happen to the Jews, so the Jews have a unique right to obtain retribution in whatever way they see fit. One of the main ways they have seen fit to obtain justice is to grab themselves a country. No non-Jew has the moral right to complain about it, as every non-Jew inherits the guilt for the Holocaust. Thus, Jimmy Carter has no right to criticize the Jewish state for what it is doing to the Palestinians. Despite the fact the Palestinians had nothing to do with the Holocaust (in fact hardly anyone alive today had anything to do with the Holocaust), they also have no moral right to criticize what is being done to them. This is the kind of reasoning which makes sense to young children, and many criminals (“I have a right to rob banks because I had a sad childhood’), but doesn’t make any sense to the rest of us.

One of the peculiarities of the Jewish post-Holocaust experience is the fact that there is a certain sexual frisson created by fantasies of how the world will again conspire to destroy the Jewish people (and seeing the Holocaust everywhere can have some amusing consequences). Benny Morris (of all people) is obviously getting off on describing how the Jews will be destroyed by the inevitable nuclear attack from Iran, while the rest of the world secretly applauds. It’s Jewish masochistic porn. Of course, Morris isn’t an idiot, and is perfectly aware that Iran hasn’t threatened Israel’s existence, has no nuclear weapons, and has no foreseeable chance of having nuclear weapons, while Israeli leaders have directly threatened Iran and Israel has such weapons, so Morris’ fantasy is closer to sadistic porn rather than masochistic porn. Morris is following the same reasoning as Lipstadt. A Jew is entitled to write propaganda advocating an attack on innocent civilians living in a country that poses no threat to Israel. Why? Because of the Holocaust!

Countdown To No Confidence: T-60 Days

The right-wing doctrines that were developed as a response to the debacle in Vietnam; and how they are still in operation today.
Jan 21, 2006

by eOz

The Powell Doctrines (Lewis & Colin)

Two different people have had "doctrines" named after them: two people with the same last name. These doctrines share the fact they have been embraced by the right wing of the Republican party at various times. Both doctrines arose out of the Republican reaction to the debacle of Vietnam. Both doctrines have truth in them, but one is wise while the other is cunning.

As we approach the point of no confidence in this Administration and the Government, we examine two doctrines which have had a major impact on our nation, one of which helped define the political opposition progressives now face.

The quoted material in this diary is either in the public domain or constitutes fair use in accordance with copyright laws. The Powell Memo has been reproduced in toto by several publications and was first published in 1972 by columnist Jack Anderson. If it was copyrighted, the quotations herein are within the bounds of fair use. The Federalist material quoted herein is in the public domain, published in book form in the Gideon Edition of 1818.

Point of no confidence: March 21, 2007
Point of no return: Bush announces the surge -- January 10, 2007

In the immediate aftermath of the Sixties and the protests on college campuses across America, Lewis Powell was a lawyer serving on several corporate boards. He would later be appointed a Supreme Court Justice. In 1971, long before Watergate, he wrote a strategy memo for the United States Chamber Of Commerce. In this memo, he laid out the ways in which corporatations should mobilize to "defend the free market system" from the radicals and liberals.

The memo is credited by some to have led to the founding of the right-wing think tanks (Heritage Foundation, the Manhattan Institute, the Cato Institute, Citizens for a Sound Economy, Accuracy in Academe, etc.) who brought about the Reagan Revolution and continued the advance of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy (VRWC) up to the present day.

The Bush Administration has taken the VRWC strategy to its limits; the line at which our republican democracy is nearly crossing into fascism. Standing on this balance point, we would do well to consider the details of this memo and how they have been carried out. We should do this not just to defend against it, but to understand the fronts in this "culture war" as seen by the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. That conspiracy was laid out beautifully in this memo, and has been taken to heart in hundreds of think tanks and consultancies on the right wing.

The System

Powell defines The System for us by describing its opposition:

The sources are varied and diffused. They include, not unexpectedly, the Communists, New Leftists and other revolutionaries who would destroy the entire system, both political and economic. These extremists of the left are far more numerous, better financed, and increasingly are more welcomed and encouraged by other elements of society, than ever before in our history. But they remain a small minority, and are not yet the principal cause for concern.

The most disquieting voices joining the chorus of criticism come from perfectly respectable elements of society: from the college campus, the pulpit, the media, the intellectual and literary journals, the arts and sciences, and from politicians. In most of these groups the movement against the system is participated in only by minorities. Yet, these often are the most articulate, the most vocal, the most prolific in their writing and speaking.

Moreover, much of the media-for varying motives and in varying degrees-either voluntarily accords unique publicity to these "attackers," or at least allows them to exploit the media for their purposes. This is especially true of television, which now plays such a predominant role in shaping the thinking, attitudes and emotions of our people.

The opponents of the system become the targets of "education" programs later in the memo: professors, ministers, journalists, researchers, artists, scientists, politicians and judges. All have run amok in opposition to the Vietnam war, the civil rights movement, the environmental movement, the feminist movement and other "Marxist" activities. The only ones left out, according to this sad testiment to paranoia, is the corporate executive.

Powell refers to the thing-to-be-defended, variously, as "the free enterprise system", "the American political and economic system" and "Western values". As successful as this memo was, it does not, in itself, define a clear case: it is a paranoid vision, but has been an effective call to arms. The memo itself, of course, is not solely responsible for the rise of the VRWC.

The Chamber Of Commerce, the audience of this memo, itself often ignores most of the businesses in its area. When I was active with a local Chamber organization, I would talk to many small businesspeople who would not join because they didn't feel welcome at Chamber events. Mechanics and other businesses where the dress code was not suits felt uncomfortable at Chamber events among the bankers, accountants and executives of larger companies or large divisions of distant companies. I became disillusioned because the presentations to businesspeople were targeted to large businesses, many of whom were competing for the same talent pool as my nanobusiness (smallest of the small in "small business") does, and who benefit from things like the imbalance in health care insurance as it presently exists -- what helps them hurts the rest of us.

The Achilles heel of the businesses who support Republican causes is the fact that most small businesses are hurt by the laws being passed by the efforts of lobbyists and legislators supported by the spawn of Powell's Doctrine. Democrats often do not recognize the immense pool of businesspeople who could be called upon for support. Renewable energy companies, for example, have been actively suppressed by their competitors.

Lewis Powell points to Ralph Nader and Charles Reich as the most dangerous exponents of this anti-system assault. The paranoia of the poor, disadvanced corporations against this overwhelming onslaught is concisely stated as Powell's call to action. We now can look back and see the results.

It is still Marxist doctrine that the "capitalist" countries are controlled by big business. This doctrine, consistently a part of leftist propaganda all over the world, has a wide public following among Americans.

Yet, as every business executive knows, few elements of American society today have as little influence in government as the American businessman, the corporation, or even the millions of corporate stockholders. If one doubts this, let him undertake the role of "lobbyist" for the business point of view before Congressional committees. ...[T]he American business executive is truly the "forgotten man."

Current examples of the impotency of business, and of the near-contempt with which businessmen's views are held, are the stampedes by politicians to support almost any legislation related to "consumerism" or to the "environment."

As Al Gore points out in his documentary An Inconvenient Truth, whole sectors of our economy are waiting in the wings to emerge as the sustaining industries of the future. Fair regulation of environmental standards, as well as markets like "carbon trading", if opened up for all businesses of any size, would provide much-needed capital and cash sources for these businesses.

Powell recommends the business community focus on key battlegrounds:


The think tanks have spent a lot of money and time grooming their own "intellectuals" -- even trying to substitute those "experts" in debates such as global warming for the bulk of the scientific community. They have sponsored students attempting to get professors fired, eliminate tenure as a defense against political influence over universities and encouraged funding of universities by businessees

Social science faculties (the political scientist, economist, sociologist and many of the historians) tend to be liberally oriented, even when leftists are not present...Few things are more sanctified in American life than academic freedom. It would be fatal to attack this as a principle. But if academic freedom is to retain the qualities of "openness," "fairness" and "balance" -- which are essential to its intellectual significance -- there is a great opportunity for constructive action.

Note the buzzwords now infesting the MSM: fairness and balance. The way these terms have been applied to academia have changed the very nature of discourse and debate on television, with two "sides" always present -- usually one being a small, vocal minority outside the professional consensus given apparent status as a peer to a representative of a majority opinion. The "intelligent design" debate is a perfect example of this "balancing" of the naturally imbalanced to the detriment of public debate.

The Public

Reaching the public generally may be more important for the shorter term. The first essential is to establish the staffs of eminent scholars, writers and speakers, who will do the thinking, the analysis, the writing and the speaking. It will also be essential to have staff personnel who are thoroughly familiar with the media, and how most effectively to communicate with the public.

The People must be "educated" to appreciate the corporate mindset. Indeed, Lewis Powell cites how many students leave campus and enter the corporate ranks and come to change their world view -- to the good, in his mind. They come to appreciate the System, even embrace it as the true common good.


But one should not postpone more direct political action, while awaiting the gradual change in public opinion to be effected through education and information. Business must learn the lesson, long ago learned by labor and other self-interest groups. This is the lesson that political power is necessary; that such power must be assidously (sic) cultivated; and that when necessary, it must be used aggressively and with determination -- without embarrassment and without the reluctance which has been so characteristic of American business.

Lobbying the legislatures, installing the revolving door on people in government administration and applying legal pressure on and through the courts are the path to power and influence. In this area, the Vast Right Wing Conspiraacy has succeeded beyond their wildest dreams -- but still they are not satisfied. It is the nature of power that a thirst for it can never be slaked, and that is the glaring danger behind this philosophy in all its forms.


The early incarnations of the right-wing think tanks were modeled on Ralph Nader's legal team, so the assault on the Courts became the leading edge of the VRWC. Later luminaries in the movement included Ken Starr and the elves of the Federalist Society -- a notorious law student organization inspired by this portion of Lewis Powell's memo.

In seeking to control the public discourse by appealing to the ideal of the corporation as The System, Lewis Powell makes a mistake anticipated by the writers of The Federalist in the days before the Constitution was signed:

The idea of an actual representation of all classes of the people, by persons of each class, is altogether visionary. Unless it were expressly provided in the Constitution, that each different occupation should send one or more members, the thing would never take place in practice. Mechanics and manufacturers will always be inclined, with few exceptions, to give their votes to merchants, in preference to persons of their own professions or trades. Those discerning citizens are well aware that the mechanic and manufacturing arts furnish the materials of mercantile enterprise and industry. Many of them, indeed, are immediately connected with the operations of commerce. They know that the merchant is their natural patron and friend; and they are aware, that however great the confidence they may justly feel in their own good sense, their interests can be more effectually promoted by the merchant than by themselves. They are sensible that their habits in life have not been such as to give them those acquired endowments, without which, in a deliberative assembly, the greatest natural abilities are for the most part useless; and that the influence and weight, and superior acquirements of the merchants, render them more equal to a contest with any spirit which might happen to infuse itself into the public councils, unfriendly to the manufacturing and trading interests. These considerations, and many others that might be mentioned prove, and experience confirms it, that artisans and manufacturers will commonly be disposed to bestow their votes upon merchants and those whom they recommend. We must therefore consider merchants as the natural representatives of all these classes of the community.

With regard to the learned professions, little need be observed: they truly form no distinct interest in society; and according to their situation and talents, will be indiscriminately the objects of the confidence and choice of each other, and of other parts of the community.

Nothing remains but the landed interest; and this, in a political view, and particularly in relation to taxes, I take to be perfectly united, from the wealthiest landlord down to the poorest tenant. No tax can be laid on land which will not affect the proprietor of millions of acres, as well as the proprietor of a single acre. Every landholder will therefore have a common interest to keep the taxes on land as low as possible; and common interest may always be reckoned upon as the surest bond of sympathy. But if we even could suppose a distinction of interest between the opulent landholder and the middling farmer, what reason is there to conclude, that the first would stand a better chance of being deputed to the national legislature than the last? If we take fact as our guide, and look into our own senate and assembly, we shall find that moderate proprietors of land prevail in both; nor is this less the case in the senate, which consists of a smaller number, than in the assembly, which is composed of a greater number. Where the qualifications of the electors are the same, whether they have to choose a small or a large number, their votes will fall upon those in whom they have most confidence; whether these happen to be men of large fortunes, or of moderate property, or of no property at all.

It is said to be necessary, that all classes of citizens should have some of their own number in the representative body, in order that their feelings and interests may be the better understood and attended to. But we have seen that this will never happen under any arrangement that leaves the votes of the people free. Where this is the case, the representative body, with too few exceptions to have any influence on the spirit of the government, will be composed of landholders, merchants, and men of the learned professions. But where is the danger that the interests and feelings of the different classes of citizens will not be understood or attended to by these three descriptions of men? Will not the landholder know and feel whatever will promote or injure the interest of landed property? and will he not, from his own interest in that species of property, be sufficiently prone to resist every attempt to prejudice or encumber it? Will not the merchant understand and be disposed to cultivate, as far as may be proper, the interests of the mechanic and manufacturing arts, to which his commerce is so nearly allied? Will not the man of the learned profession, who will feel a neutrality to the rivalships among the different branches of industry, be likely to prove an impartial arbiter between them, ready to promote either, so far as it shall appear to him conducive to the general interests of the community?

The Federalist No. 35
Publius (Alexander Hamilton)
(emphasis mine)

Lewis Powell assumes the citizens who own things (the "landed citizens" above) are the best ones to represent everyone. But those who make things (the artisans and craftsmen) do not share the concerns of the owners of property and land. Moreover, those in academia (whom Powell fears) would be not feel represented by either of the other two "classes". The writers of The Federalist wisely foresaw that no scheme to elect representatives of the people by what they do for a living can work in practice. Lewis Powell's error is thinking there is something we can call The System, and those who understand that thing are better able to govern than other citizens. The result of this kind of representation would be tyranny, unrest and instability. The present Bush Administration is ample evidence of this error in thinking.

Lewis Powell concludes the meat of his argument with this axiom, which is a false doctrine:

As the experience of the socialist and totalitarian states demonstrates, the contraction and denial of economic freedom is followed inevitably by governmental restrictions on other cherished rights. It is this message, above all others, that must be carried home to the American people.

In fact, the opposite is true: the liberty of individual citizens has been increasingly restricted by applying "economic freedom" without wisdom or restraint. Since 1971, corporations have gained ground establishing their sovereignty as co-equal with the sovereignty of the People -- in the body of law and in court decisions. They do not have the right to vote, but they have gained the right to due process, to jury trial and to fund the campaigns of candidates to a degree which has distorted the election campaign process itself.

We now know that Powell was wrong, but his methods have been effective. We are less free than we were then as a result. The mythology he spins here has now been used to endanger civil rights, poison the environment, forestall the onset of environmental technologies (and the new businesses which the old businesses do not want to compete against), have lobbyists write many of the bills Legislators pass, distorted academic freedom, shouted down the reasoned opinions of scientists and now denies us our civil liberties in the workplace with surveillence, drug testing and unnecessary control over employees and customers which endangers liberty itself.

Justice is the end of government. It is the end of civil society. It ever has been, and ever will be, pursued, until it be obtained, or until liberty be lost in the pursuit. In a society, under the forms of which the stronger faction can readily unite and oppress the weaker, anarchy may as truly be said to reign, as in a state of nature, where the weaker individual is not secured against the violence of the stronger: and as, in the latter state, even the stronger individuals are prompted, by the uncertainty of their condition, to submit to a government which may protect the weak, as well as themselves: so, in the former state, will the more powerful factions or parties be gradually induced, by a like motive, to wish for a government which will protect all parties, the weaker as well as the more powerful.

The Federalist No. 51
Publius (Alexander Hamilton or James Madison)
(emphasis mine)

Lewis Powell, in this memo, is taking the side of the powerful against the weaker. The "uncertainty of their condition" should induce them to want the rights of minority interests to be protected. Powell articulates that uncertainty, but misapprehends it. By encouraging the "landed" class to attack the other classes in society, he ends up promoting more instability for everyone, which is not good for anyone.

The Powell Doctrine (Colin)

Colin Powell's doctrine emerged from another subculture: the military. This doctrine was a wise response by professionals in the military to the Vietnam war. It also depends on the fact that the United States military and diplomatic corps can overwhelm any adversary in a confrontation where conventional military rules are relevant.

The military is not the same as the military industrial complex. Colin Powell represented, briefly, that difference. However, the military industrial complex is the power player, and regularly endangers the United States military by forcing weapon systems sales to have a higher priority than paying military personnel, by selling weapons to enemies who will use them against our soliders, and by promoting war itself without purpose other than profit.

Diplomacy doesn't make private companies money. Ultimately, every war ends in the workings of diplomats, not military personnel. Powell recognized the balance which must be kept between diplomatic action and military action. Unfortunately, Colin Powell was duped by playing to his training as a "good soldier", and he ended up lying to the United Nations -- the greatest offense a diplomat can make. The irony of this situation put an end to his doctrine, but the doctrine deserves to live on.

Colin Powell has found out the hard way that the diplomatic component of this doctrine, and the restraint of a "wise Commander-In-Chief", are necessary for this doctrine to work. Once again, the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy troops took some good ideas and destroyed their wisdom by being unwise and mad for power.

In this light, the two Powell doctrines reveal that the real "system" both respected in the ideal will overwhelm such intellectual positions once greed and fear take over. Those who started with high-minded ideas and threw in their lot with the right wing movement have been betrayed and their ideas turned inside out by the gold rush to attain absolute power.

Our Progressive Doctrine

The progressive movement now is nothing like any previous movement, but it has its roots in many movements from the past. By examining the two Powell Doctrines and how they played out in the regressive movement which rose from the abyss of the Nixon resignation to the pinnacle of power and influence in the current Bush Administration, there is a lot to contemplate in examining these two doctrines and in looking at our own. The MSM and the regressive movement pundits are challenging the Democrats to "tell us your plan".

We need to enjoin the battle on fronts such as these:

  • Consumer protection
  • Privacy
  • Civil rights
  • Environmental technology
  • Alternative & renewable energy

We do not unify on all these issues. Each of us works on the problems we can help solve. These battles are not between "us" and "them" -- these problems beset all of us, even those who resist recognizing them (especially those who refuse to recognize them). Progressives don't propose "a plan" -- they engage the problem and try different solutions. Solutions that don't work are thrown aside and another tried. To the extent all of us are consumers, to that extent we expect to have recourse when duped or injured or sold a bill of goods. To the extent we all have portions of our lives we do not want exposed to everyone, we all want privacy. We all want to be treated as equals. We don't want to die of cancers or poisons. We all would like to throw off the yoke of the tyranny of the worldwide oil economy.

We have problems to solve, for the good of everyone. Those who have money and power have no special protection against any of these problems. They can only delay the inevitable and be harmed the more for the degree of that delay. Progressives are once again in the position of fighting battles as much for those who oppose us as for ourselves. Regressives fight battles in the political discourse to feel right until disaster proves them wrong. Regressive philosophies are wasted resources which could be sooner put to the work of the common good than they are willing to give them, but join us in the end they shall. Just like all citizens enjoy shorter work weeks and higher pay because of the battles fought by liberals and progressives in previous generations, even by those who opposed them, so we fight on for the good of everyone knowing that is the only way these problems will be solved for anyone.

Fundamentally, the progressive movement is not a single doctrine, or even a small cluster of them. We are unified, not by an ideology to which we subscribe, but by wanting to solve the problems posed by the ideal of a republican democracy in the real world. Progressives believe in real progress, achieved by applying the best fruits of reason available to us to the problems before us. To do this successfully in each generation, all citizens should have the opportunity for a liberal education based on ideas which most professionals in each field of study use in solving problems in their area of expertise. "The System" needs no defense -- it needs to adapt and change, because the totality of it is us.

In our republic, the People are sovereign, and that is the challenge of this experiment we call the United States. That ideal is the experiment. Can the People be sovereign over themselves? Can our doctrines adapt as reality changes? Can we be tolerant of other people and expect them to be tolerant of us?

As problems are understood, we instinctively band together to solve them, put them behind us and move on with our lives. We do not operate on the assumption the world is going to end, even if that is our personal belief. We do not impose on other citizens our personal beliefs exactly so they will not impose their personal beliefs on us.

But some beliefs are destructive and cause more problems than they solve. Colin Powell's Doctrine is not false, but it can be used to expand Pax Americana where such behavior is unnecessary and spawns more hatred of our nation throughout the rest of the world than necessary. Lewis Powell's doctrines are strategies which advance the interests of some businesses over others -- and business interests over those of private citizens, if not checked by progressive opposition.

Overton Cubed: VRWC As They3

The progressive movement is not the straw man cited by Lewis Powell, but we must counter the Overton window this memo set in motion. The ideas Lewis Powell discusses provided the framework for that window movement, but along three distinct dimensions which Lewis Powell himself did not envision in 1971:

  • Neoconservatism
  • Dominionism
  • Military-Industrial-Complex

These three components of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy can now be clearly traced. They don't act alone, but in concert. For this reason, we can apply the Overton window to these three exponents of the Powell Doctrines to create a three-dimensional "state cube" with eighteen subcubes. On each issue we can define the movement of public opinion (as academic, media, political, judicial and economic subgroups) which They3 have influenced over the past forty years.


Proposition: America must become an empire

Overton window movement: unthinkable->...->sensible


Proposition: America must be ready for the end of the world

Overton window movement: unthinkable->...->radical

Military Industrial Complex

Proposition: America must have the largest military economy in the world

Overton window movement: radical->...->policy

This example is only one where the proposition of one component of the VRWC takes synergy from the propositions of the other two. Similar interlocked Overton window movements involve "economic freedom" translated into:

  • "America must let the rich people (and corporations) rule"
  • "God wants good people to be rich" (the insidious Gospel of Prosperity)
  • "America must sell weapons -- the technology to make them and the knowledge to use them -- to everyone who has the money to buy them, even if they end up using them against us"

Similar lockstepped windows have evolved and wedded themselves together since Reagan took office and cursed the nation with ideology over reason. By working along three dimensions, they are difficult to oppose along any one dimension. We need to step back and see the whole interaction among these three movements which have become the "they" we liberals were often mocked about, as in "just who are they, those who are doing all these evil things you think are going on?", by our opponents in the sixties, seventies and eighties. Answering along any one dimension was an incomplete answer. Now, with the benefit of forty years of history, we can say who they are: They3.

Thus hundreds of subconstituencies have been stitched together in powerful databases and respond together to stay "on message" like a school of fish or a flock of birds -- all coordinated by a Rovian machine in which every household in America is classified and targeted with all the media all the time. This vast conspiracy is not secret -- indeed, it is proudly touted (until GOTV failed last November, anyway), and should not be underestimated in 2008.

The blogosphere, and dKos itself, is a response to the power of They3's media machine, and represents a way to restore the power of grassroots organization and to counter the message echo effect of this opposition in the political arena. Lewis Powell's memo was a catalyst in building that machine we now oppose in every corner of the nation. Google is similarly opening the whole body of academic literature to the independent scholar. YouTube is opening the power of television to small producers and artists.

Opposing The Cube

To counter the Overton interlocked cubes, we need to think in multiple dimensions, not in single ones. As dKos evolves, I believe the blogosphere will itself become multidimensional. Instead of only three dimensions, Peoplen will expand to engulf and nullify They3 -- if we have time. We must have the faith that we will have that opportunity, and take it. We can start with a three-dimensional Overton cube opposing the three dimensions the regressives have fallen into:

  • Our nation can never be an empire without losing its soul as a republican democracy
  • We resolve to save the world from ending, whether God is trying to end it or a bunch of criminals armed with weapons we invented made of parts we sold them and assembled by people who graduated from our schools
  • Our economy cannot depend on military budgets or industrial might by multinational corporations -- instead on the diversity of small businesses doing business with each other all over the world

The Powell Doctrines are artifacts of 20th century thinking that we now must cast off so we can embrace the 21st century world. In studying them, and their impact, we can understand the evolution of those who oppose progress because they fear it. They fear it because they cannot control it. They cannot control it because ideologies are challenged by change -- by progress itself. In this vicious circle, our opponents spin. It is up to us to move ahead, embracing change and celebrating diversity -- for their good as well as our own.

Our own Overton cubes should start with three themes central to the progressive agenda:

  • Peace
  • Prosperity
  • Privacy

by which we establish and defend the Four Freedoms FDR spoke of:

  • Freedom of expression
  • Freedom to worship (or not)
  • Freedom from want
  • Freedom from fear

This seven-dimensional Overton hypercube would be a great start for a progressive effort to sway public opinion. This People7 cube will be used in future diaries in this series as an illustation of progressive leadership from a state of no confidence.

At the point of no confidence, we must be prepared to lead, not prepare a "plan". We have problems to solve that will test the limits of our ability to reason. Such it has been for every generation of Americans. The People, and our common future, demand that we stop dithering and start solving the problems we face together. That impulse, that hunger for change, is the real message sent in November by the People to their Government.

See you again in ten days as the countdown to no confidence continues.

Prior: T-70: False Doctrines
Next: T-50: Clean Out The Barn

Please feel free to use this as a common thread. Pimp your own diaries, links and ideas without shame, because I want to hear from you. Promote the words of others that our fellow citizens need to hear when the point of no confidence is reached. Identify inflection points, realized and gathering, that you see. This power is the power of the Internet, of this online community and of the People. Use it now as more and more citizens need real ideas and real debate. Prepare yourselves for the moment for which many of us have worked decades: a chance to finish the work left undone after the resignation of Nixon.

Tags: no confidence, Powell memo, Powell Doctrine, Overton window, Rescued (all tags)