Thursday, March 8, 2007

Who likes to torture the most?

PalestineFreeVoice Mars 6 2007 - 10.23 am

Torture Of Prisoners

Muslims in Israel, who represent 16% of the total number polled, are overwhelmingly against any use of torture.

All of the countries surveyed have signed up to the Geneva Conventions which prohibit the use of torture and cruel and degrading behaviour.

"We are judged by how we treat our enemies rather than how we treat our friends"Jay Kandy, London

Countries that face political violence are more likely to accept the idea that some degree of torture is permissible because of the here>extreme threat posed by terrorists.

The Israelis has the largest percentage of those polled endorsing the use of a degree of torture on prisoners, with 43% saying they agreed that torture should be allowed.

The question

Most countries have agreed to rules prohibiting torturing prisoners. Which position is closer to yours?

**Here>Terrorists pose such an extreme threat that governments should now be allowed to use some degree of torture if it may gain information that saves innocent lives
Clear rules against torture should be maintained because any use of torture is immoral and will weaken international human rights

World split on torture ethics

Other countries that polled higher levels of acceptance of the use of torture include Iraq (42%), the Philippines (40%), Indonesia (40%), Russia (37%) and China (37%).

The Israeli figure conceals a stark difference in attitude within the country, split along religious lines.

A majority of Jewish respondents in Israel, 53%, favour allowing governments to use some degree of torture to obtain information from those in custody, while 39% want clear rules against it.

Meanwhile opposition to the practise is highest in Italy, where 81% of those questioned think torture is never justified.

Australia, France, Canada, the UK and Germany also registered high levels of opposition to any use of torture.

Views on torturing prisoners

Country Against all torture * Some degree permissible * Neither/Don't Know
Australia 75% 22% 3%
Brazil 61% 32% 8%
Canada 74% 22% 4%
Chile 62% 22% 16%
China 49% 37% 13%
Egypt 65% 25% 9%
France 75% 19% 6%
Germany 71% 21% 7%
Gt Britain 72% 24% 4%
India 23% 32% 45%
Indonesia 51% 40% 8%
Iraq 55% 42% 1%
Israel 48% 43% 9%
Italy 81% 14% 6%
Kenya 53% 38% 9%
Mexico 50% 24% 27%
Nigeria 49% 39% 12%
Philippines 56% 40% 5%
Poland 62% 27% 12%
Russia 43% 37% 19%
S Korea 66% 31% 3%
Spain 65% 16% 19%
Turkey 62% 24% 14%
Ukraine 54% 29% 18%
US 58% 36% 7%
Average 59% 29% 12%

*27,000 respondents in 25 countries were asked which position was closer to their own views:

* Clear rules against torture should be maintained because any use of torture is immoral and will weaken international human rights standards against torture.

* Terrorists pose such an extreme threat that governments should now be allowed to use some degree of torture if it may gain information that saves innocent lives.

The survey was carried out for the BBC World Service by polling firm Globescan and the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA).

All of the countries surveyed have signed up to the Geneva Conventions which prohibit the use of torture and cruel and degrading behaviour.

Source: BBC/Globescan/PIPA

© Copyright 2006 - PalestineFreeVoice - All rights reserved

Don't let the neocons call the shots on Iran

Wednesday, March 7, 2007 - 12:00 AM

Floyd J. McKay / Guest columnist

The most important battle in Washington today is not the shouting match between Congress and the White House on Iraq. The Bush administration will do what it damn well pleases in Iraq, and then blame the resulting catastrophe on Democrats, the media or Iran.

Ah, there's the catch. The important battle in Washington is over Iran, and neither Congress nor the mainstream media seems to be playing. They should — another mistake here and the Middle East will be Iraq writ large.

Combatants here are the familiar neoconservatives, centered on Vice President Dick Cheney and the others who manipulated us into Iraq, versus what might be called Friends of the Iraq Study Group. It's talk or bomb, and although at the moment it appears talking is the preferred option, never count the aggressive neocons out of the argument.

An ambitious "regime change" plan for Iran was first choice of many neocons before 9/11, but was sidetracked because Iran was actually helping us against the Taliban and because Iraq was considered an easier target. But Iranian regime change never went off the neocon table, and when Iran's nuclear ambitions surfaced, so did the old plans.

There are disconcerting reminders of 1964, when President Lyndon B. Johnson used trumped-up evidence of an attack in the Gulf of Tonkin to expand the Vietnam War. Today, two carrier groups are parked off Iran, tempting targets for any wacko with a gunboat full of dynamite.

We have captured and questioned hundreds of Iranians in Iraq, including some with diplomatic status. We are actively involved in building an insurgency inside Iran, using Kurdish tribes in the north and urban Marxist terrorists in Tehran. The neocons even have an Iranian counterpart to Ahmad Chalabi, the notorious liar and neocon favorite who fed us false intelligence on Iraq: a seamy Iranian named Manucher Ghorbanifar, an arms dealer and con artist linked to Oliver North during Iran-contra 20 years ago.

We are even hearing a renewal of the "domino theory" so discredited in Vietnam. "Most thoughtful people believe," Democratic hopeful John Edwards told a reporter, "that if Iran goes nuclear that the Saudis will go nuclear, the Egyptians will go nuclear, the Jordanians may go nuclear ... " Edwards wants "a thoughtful diplomatic process." Quickly, we hope, before Bahrain gets the bomb!

All of these actions can be seen as either "showing tough" to Iran or as goading Iranians to do something provocative, giving us an excuse to bomb their nuclear facilities. Add to this the itchy trigger finger of Israel, which no American politician dares criticize, and things become very dicey.

As with Iraq in 2002, the mainstream media are telling us little about backroom maneuverings focusing on Iran. The most effective journalism on this comes from three magazines, none of which much reaches the American heartland: The New Yorker, Vanity Fair and Rolling Stone. Backroom plotting doesn't play as well on television as pictures of suspected Iran-made roadside bombs.

Although it is far too early to count the neocons out — not while Cheney has Bush's ear — there are signs of a cooling of the regime-change rhetoric. Superhawk John Bolton has lost his United Nations platform, and some of the neocons at the Pentagon are gone. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice seems to be growing into her diplomatic role and she has access to the Oval Office that was not available to Colin Powell.

Within Iran, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's populist demagoguery may be losing popularity, pressed on one side by young urbanites who want attention paid to economic and social demands and on the other by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has recently left the door open to negotiations on Iran's nuclear future.

An American or Israeli air strike, however, would rally Iranians to Ahmadinejad and inflame Islamists across the region.

All these circumstances combine to make direct negotiations with Iraq's neighbors critical, as recommended by the Iraq Study Group. Pay no attention to the public comments of White House spokesmen — they are not credible — pay attention to what the White House actually does. If we engage in serious talks with Iran, it's positive even if the president won't admit a change of course.

Congressional Democrats must support the talks and reject the bombs. Iraq is gone, regardless of what President Bush does in his last 20 months. But if he launches — or allows Israel to launch — preemptive strikes on Iran, his successor will inherit a worse mess than Bush faced on Sept. 12, 2001.

Floyd J. McKay, a journalism professor emeritus at Western Washington University, is a regular contributor to Times editorial pages. E-mail him at

The Scandal at Walter Reed

Before the U.S. House of Representatives

March 7, 2007

The scandal at Walter Reed is not an isolated incident. It is directly related to our foreign policy of interventionism.

There is a pressing need to reassess our now widely accepted role as the world’s lone superpower. If we don’t, we are destined to reduce our nation to something far less powerful.

It has always been politically popular for politicians to promise they will keep us out of foreign wars, especially before World War I. That hasn’t changed, even though many in Washington today don’t understand it.

Likewise it has been popular to advocate ending prolonged and painful conflicts like the wars in Korea and Vietnam, and now Iraq.

In 2000, it was quite popular to condemn nation building and reject the policy of policing the world, in the wake of our involvement in Kosovo and Somalia. We were promised a more humble foreign policy.

Nobody wins elections by promising to take us to war. But once elected, many politicians greatly exaggerate the threat posed by a potential enemy-- and the people too often carelessly accept the dubious reasons given to justify wars. Opposition arises only when the true costs are felt here at home.

A foreign policy of interventionism costs so much money that we’re forced to close military bases in the U.S., even as we’re building them overseas. Interventionism is never good fiscal policy.

Interventionism symbolizes an attitude of looking outward, toward empire, while diminishing the importance of maintaining a constitutional republic.

We close bases here at home-- some want to close Walter Reed-- while building bases in Arab and Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia. We worry about foreign borders while ignoring our own. We build permanent outposts in Muslim holy lands, occupy territory, and prop up puppet governments. This motivates suicide terrorism against us.

Our policies naturally lead to resentment, which in turn leads to prolonged wars and increased casualties. We spend billions in Iraq, while bases like Walter Reed fall into disrepair. This undermines our ability to care for the thousands of wounded soldiers we should have anticipated, despite the rosy predictions that we would be greeted as liberators in Iraq.

Now comes the outrage.

Now Congress holds hearings.

Now comes the wringing of hands. Yes, better late than never.

Clean it up, paint the walls, make Walter Reed look neat and tidy! But this won’t solve our problems. We must someday look critically at the shortcomings of our foreign policy, a policy that needlessly and foolishly intervenes in places where we have no business being.

Voters spoke very clearly in November: they want the war to end. Yet Congress has taken no steps to defund or end a war it never should have condoned in the first place.

On the contrary, Congress plans to spend another $100 billion or more in an upcoming Iraq funding bill-- more even than the administration has requested. The 2007 military budget, $700 billion, apparently is not enough. And it’s all done under the slogan of “supporting the troops,” even as our policy guarantees more Americans will die and Walter Reed will continue to receive casualties.

Every problem Congress and the administration create requires more money to fix. The mantra remains the same: spend more money we don’t have, borrow from the Chinese, or just print it.

This policy of interventionism is folly, and it cannot continue forever. It will end, either because we wake up or because we go broke.

Interventionism always leads to unanticipated consequences and blowback, like:

A weakened, demoralized military;

Exploding deficits;

Billions of dollars wasted;

Increased inflation;

Less economic growth;

An unstable currency;

Painful stock market corrections;

Political demagoguery;

Lingering anger at home; and

Confusion about who is to blame.

These elements combine to create an environment that inevitably undermines personal liberty. Virtually all American wars have led to diminished civil liberties at home.

Most of our mistakes can be laid at the doorstep of our failure to follow the Constitution.

That Constitution, if we so desire, can provide needed guidance and a roadmap to restore our liberties and change our foreign policy. This is critical if we truly seek peace and prosperity.

Polarization's Roots? Follow the Money

March 8, 2007

By Greg Anrig, Jr.

Ed Kilgore, commenting insightfully at his NewDonkey blog about TNR’s Alan Wolfe-Peter Berkowitz debate over political polarization, joins Wolfe and Berkowitz in neglecting what may be the most important factor in setting in motion today’s vitriolic climate: the incendiary personalities of the right’s key original funders. Those individuals were Richard Mellon Scaife (who famously called a Columbia Journalism Review reporter “a f—king Communist c—t,” ugly, and with terrible teeth), William Simon (who ran the Olin Foundation during its heyday and was nicknamed “William the Terrible” for his temper), Michael Joyce (a combustible hothead who ran the Bradley Foundation for much of that same period before finally alienating his board), and Joseph Coors (said by his brother to be “a little bit right of Attila the Hun”).

Each of those guys hated what they called “the regulatory state” and “the welfare state” with the same passion that they hated communism, labor unions, civil rights activists, and the anti-war movement. Simon, Joyce, and Coors (all dead now) were public flamethrowers, while Scaife along with the libertarian Koch brothers generally vented their hostility toward the government more quietly through their philanthropic acts. But they all shared Grover Norquist’s mission of drowning the government in a bathtub, they didn’t give a damn about the niceties of social discourse, and in all probability they recognized how funding polarizing voices in and of itself could help undercut public support for government by elevating cynicism about politics.

The whole “war of ideas” depiction of policy debates was primarily a construct perpetuated with great fervor by the Heritage Foundation, which received abundant largesse over the years from the foundations run by those individuals. Before Heritage was launched in 1973, the pre-existing think tanks across the political spectrum, including conservative outposts like AEI and the Hoover Institute, saw themselves as engaged in disagreements that were essentially scientific -- not militaristic. For better or worse, places like Brookings, RAND, and the Urban Institute still don’t remotely consider themselves to be fighting on one side of a war the way the right now universally does.

The individuals most responsible for building the conservative movement’s ideas factories, advocacy groups, and media megaphones largely succeeded in their mission of inflicting enormous damage on government in America – and consequently on the country generally. One important element of that dubious accomplishment has been transforming the way we talk about issues from one in which evidence, reason, and good manners were the norm into one where school civics classes could qualify for PG-13 ratings. Election verdicts can help to begin the process of repairing some of the damage to the government. But thanks in no small part to the ill-mannered funders of the right, we’re probably stuck for good with rampant incivility.

Greg Anrig, Jr., has been vice president of programs at The Century Foundation since 1994. In that role, he supervises the creation and progress of the foundation's projects, which focus on U.S. policy related to economic and social inequality, the aging of the population, homeland security, and certain international issues. He has written and made media appearances about social insurance, taxes, pensions, and the economy. Before joining the foundation, he was a staff writer and Washington correspondent for Money magazine. He is the coeditor of the books Social Security: Beyond the Basics and The War on Our Freedoms: Civil Liberties in an Age of Terrorism. The views Anrig expresses on TMPcafe do not necessarily represent those of
The Century Foundation or its trustees.

Feds Seek To Protect Powerful D.C. Johns

Feds Seek To Gag D.C. Madam

Prosecutors fear leak of sensitive client, escort information

MARCH 7--Federal prosecutors want to gag an indicted former Washington, D.C. madam who has recently threatened to go public with details about her former customers. In a motion filed Monday in U.S. District Court, investigators are seeking a protective order covering discovery material to be provided to Deborah Palfrey and her lawyers. Palfrey, 50, was indicted last week on racketeering and money laundering charges stemming from her operation of the Pamela Martin & Associates escort service, which closed last summer after 13 years in business. In their motion, a copy of which you'll find below, government lawyers claim that some discovery documents contain "personal information" about Palfrey's former johns and prostitutes that is "sensitive." The prosecution filing does not detail the nature of this confidential information, though the identity of Palfrey's D.C. customers would surely be cloaked if the protective order was signed by Judge Gladys Kessler. According to the prosecution motion, while Palfrey and her lawyers would be able to use the discovery material to help prepare a defense, they would not be allowed to disclose the documents to anyone else (nor use the material for any other purposes). Palfrey, whose assets were frozen late last year, has recently floated the idea of selling her escort business's phone records. She has also "made statements that could be considered veiled threats to cause embarrassment to former customers and employees," according to the motion. In connection with an asset forfeiture action, Palfrey has sought to depose political consultant Dick Morris, who she has identified as a former escort service client. While no clients are identified in Palfrey's five-count indictment, the charging document indicates that 14 former associates testified before the grand jury that indicted her. Palfrey was previously convicted of operating a prostitution business in California and spent 18 months in prison (where the above mug shot was snapped). Before closing her business, Palfrey operated a web site touting Pamela Martin & Associates as "the best adult agency around," claiming that it had an "ongoing repeat clientele rate of 65-75%." Palfrey's site also advertised for escorts. Prospective hookers, she noted, had to be at least 23 years old with two or more years of college. And her $275-an-appointment employees had to be "weight proportionate to height." (5 pages)


Republican Senator on Justice Dept: They Lied to Me

Mar. 08, 2007
Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT: Ensign voices ire at agency

Explanations for dismissal of U.S. attorney differ


WASHINGTON -- Sen. John Ensign on Wednesday charged that the Justice Department botched the dismissals of U.S. attorneys and suggested he was misled as to why the Nevada chief federal prosecutor, Daniel Bogden, was removed from office.

Meanwhile, Sen. Harry Reid said he understood the department planned to take advantage of a loophole and fill its new vacancy in Nevada without submitting its choice for customary Senate review and confirmation.

"That's what they told Bogden," said Reid, D-Nev.

A day after Democrat-led committees in the House and Senate held investigative hearings, the Nevada senators' comments reflected the continuing controversy swirling around the dismissal of at least eight chief prosecutors, the circumstances of the firings and what course might lie ahead to fill the posts.

Ensign, R-Nev., said the removal of the U.S. attorneys "has been completely mishandled."

"It is not unusual to let U.S. attorneys go, but you need to have good reasons especially if you are going to do seven at the same time," he said.

Seven including Bogden were fired Dec. 7. Another had been fired previously.

Ensign was particularly irate over the firing of Bogden, an independent who Ensign picked in 2001 to oversee federal crime prosecutions in Nevada. Bogden, a prosecutor in the Northern Nevada office of the U.S. attorney, was nominated by President Bush and confirmed by the Senate in October 2001.

In December, the Justice Department fired Bogden over Ensign's objections. Ensign said last month he was told the dismissal was for "performance reasons."

Justice officials initially told Congress that was the reason. But Tuesday, Deputy Attorney General William Moschella told a House subcommittee "no particular deficiencies" in Bogden's performance existed.

Moschella said the department wanted someone with "renewed energy" to take the Las Vegas-based office "to the next level."

Ensign said Wednesday he was decidedly unhappy.

"What the Justice Department testified yesterday is inconsistent with what they told me," Ensign said. "I can't even tell you how upset I am at the Justice Department."

Asked whether he believed he was misled, Ensign said, "I was not told the same thing that I was at the hearing, let me put it that way."

Ensign said he pressed the topic at a meeting with White House officials Wednesday morning. He added he would be "making further inquiries."

"I am not pleased with the Justice Department at this point," he said. "I told the White House this morning if I could renominate (Bogden) I would."

What action Ensign could take beyond complaining to Bush administration officials over the handling of Bogden's firing is unclear.

The removal of the U.S. attorneys has been "a big mess" for the Bush administration, including antagonizing Ensign, a Republican ally, said Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond.

"What is troubling is that they don't even consult Ensign, who is their person," Tobias said.

Reid renewed a call for the Senate to repeal a section of the Patriot Act that was added last year. It allows the president to appoint new U.S. attorneys without seeking Senate approval.

The reasoning was to allow a president to fill posts quickly in terrorist emergencies. But Democrats have said the Bush administration was purging U.S. attorneys to name new ones under the provision.

"We need to change the law," Reid said. "What they have done to these prosecutors is immoral, illegal, unethical and really bad government."

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and other department officials have testified to Congress they plan to submit U.S. attorney replacements to the Senate for confirmation.

A Justice Department spokesman did not return a call Wednesday.

Bogden did not respond to a cell phone message Wednesday to comment on Reid's statement that Bogden was told of Justice Department strategy for a successor.

A legal source familiar with the appointment process said it seemed clear that the administration was preparing to "parachute in" a new U.S. attorney in Nevada, possibly from outside the state, under the Patriot Act umbrella.

Did they really think with only two years to go (in Bush's term) they would be able to nominate someone and get through the Senate Judiciary Committee?" the source said.

But uproar over the firings might have discouraged the administration from pursuing that course, the source said.

Ensign said he is reviewing applicants to succeed Bogden, and plans to refer a choice to the Justice Department. But he questioned how quickly a replacement could be seated and whether the Senate would confirm new U.S. attorneys in the charged atmosphere.

"Who knows whether we will be able to?" he said.

Besides Bogden, other federal prosecutors who were fired include Bud Cummins of Little Rock, Ark., David Iglesias of Albuquerque, N.M., Carol Lam of San Diego, Paul Charlton of Phoenix, John McKay of Seattle, Margaret Chiara of Grand Rapids, Mich., and Kevin Ryan of San Francisco.

Senate Republicans Deliver Sharp Criticism of Gonzales; New Attorney General Soon?

Senate Republicans Deliver Sharp Criticism of Gonzales
Senators Say Attorney General Fired Prosecutors Without Explanation

By Paul Kane and Dan Eggen
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, March 8, 2007; 3:36 PM

Senior Senate Republicans today delivered scathing criticism of Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales for his handling of the firing of eight U.S. attorneys, joining Democrats in chagrin that the prosecutors were dismissed without adequate explanation.

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, suggested that Gonzales's status as the nation's leading law enforcement officer might not last through the remainder of President Bush's term, pointedly disputing the attorney general's public rationale for the mass firings.

"One day there will be a new attorney general, maybe sooner rather than later," Specter said at a committee hearing where a new round of subpoenas to the Justice Department was considered.

After the meeting, Specter declined to elaborate on that remark, but told reporters that most of the blame for the ongoing controversy rests with the attorney general. "It's snowballing, mostly with the help of the Department of Justice," he said.

Two of the Justice Department's most vocal defenders on the issue, Sens. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), also had sharp words for senior Justice Department officials who attacked the credibility of the prosecutors publicly by saying they performed poorly at their jobs.

"Some people's reputations are going to suffer needlessly," Kyl said. "Hopefully we can get to the point where we say, 'These people did a great job.'"

Sessions said the firings were handled in an "unhealthy" manner. "They really should have talked with these people in far more detail," he added.

Kyl and Sessions said, however, that the evidence does not yet point to a widespread conspiracy to oust the prosecutors for political motives. Both said it was within Bush's right to ask for the resignations of the eight prosecutors.

The remarks from a trio of top Republicans marked the strongest criticism so far from Bush administration allies in the controversy. Senior Democrats on the panel continued to sharply criticize the firings.

The eight prosecutors were dismissed last year, seven of them on Dec. 7. The Justice Department has said that all but one were fired for "performance" issues, including failing to adhere to Bush administration policy on a number of matters. The other was removed to make way for an ally of White House political adviser Karl Rove.

One of the U.S. attorneys, David C. Iglesias of New Mexico, has charged that he was let go after a conflict with Sen. Pete V. Domenici (R-N.M.) and Rep. Heather A. Wilson (R.-N.M.) over a corruption investigation involving Democrats that his office was pursuing. He has testified to Congress that both called him shortly before the 2006 election to pressure him on the timing of indictments. Domenici and Wilson have acknowledged phoning Iglesias but said they were not trying to sway his investigation.

Specter said that an op-ed article by Gonzales that appeared in USA Today yesterday, in which he said the firings were an "overblown personnel matter," only served to exacerbate the problem. "I hardly think it's a personnel matter, and I hardly think it's been overblown," he said.

He read portions of the Gonzales article, pausing to critique each one. He added that the suggestion that the attorney general had lost "confidence" in the prosecutors needlessly suggested they performed poorly at their jobs.

"There will always be a black mark against them," Specter said.

Committee Republicans objected to issuing subpoenas to force the testimony of Gonzales's inner circle of aides, instead arguing that the panel should continue to negotiate for their testimony on a voluntary basis. Democrats agreed with that idea, saying they would be willing to conduct interviews in private if that produced information they are seeking about the decision-making process behind the mass firing.

Also today, a liberal-leaning advocacy group formally requested a third ethics investigation in the controversy. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) asked the House ethics committee to investigate allegations that a top aide to Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) called the U.S. attorney in Seattle to inquire about a vote fraud case.

Former U.S. attorney John McKay said Hastings's chief of staff called him shortly after a hotly disputed gubernatorial race inquiring about the pending inquiry, but McKay said he cut the call short. Hastings and his former aide, Ed Cassidy, have characterized the call as routine and appropriate.

CREW's executive director, Melanie Sloan, said that Hastings, ranking member of the House ethics panel, "attempted to use the criminal justice system to interfere with a gubernatorial election."

Hastings and Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Ohio), who chairs the House ethics committee, declined comment. They said they were forbidden from talking about any internal issues on the panel, which is officially called the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct.

CREW has also filed requests for probes of Domenici and Wilson. The Senate Ethics Committee has announced a preliminary inquiry into the Domenici call.


Democrats want Iraq troop pullout by fall 2008
[A Binding Resolution]
March 8, 2007

Washington, DC — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid today joined Assistant Democratic Leader Dick Durbin, Democratic Conference Vice Chairman Charles Schumer, Democratic Conference Secretary Patty Murray, Senator Russ Feingold, and Senator Evan Bayh to announce a new Joint Resolution to revise U.S. policy on Iraq. Iraq has fallen into a bloody civil war, and as conditions on the ground have changed so must U.S. policy change to meet them.

The Reid Joint Resolution builds on the longstanding Democratic position on Iraq and the Levin-Reed Amendment: the current conflict in Iraq requires a political solution, Iraq must take responsibility for its own future, and our troops should not be policing a civil war. It contains binding language to direct the President to transition the mission for U.S. forces in Iraq and begin their phased redeployment within one-hundred twenty days with a goal of redeploying all combat forces by March 31, 2008. A limited number of troops would remain for the purposes of force protection, training and equipping Iraqi troops, and targeted counter-terror options. A full description of the Reid Joint Resolution is attached to this release.

"The President's strategy in Iraq is not working, and Congress must decide whether to follow his failed policies or whether to change course," said Senator Reid. "Democrats believe, as does an overwhelming majority of the American people, that the time has come to transition the mission of U.S. forces in Iraq. Hopefully, Senate Republicans will now join Democrats and the American people in calling for a change in course. They must put doing the right thing above protecting the President."

"Democrats are united when it comes to changing our mission in Iraq," said Senator Schumer. "What's happened here is that Iraq has devolved into a Civil War. And that's not what we bargained for. That's why Democrats believe we should change the mission from policing a civil war to focusing on counter-terrorism. We want 2007 to be a year of transition. The focus should now be on our own plan to focus on counter-terrorism. Our goal is to ratchet-up the pressure on the President to change course."

"Democrats are united in our commitment to changing course in Iraq. We heard the American people and our military leaders. We heard our troops and their families. It's time to plan to end a war that this Administration has failed to effectively prepare for and execute. I urge our Republican colleagues to stand united with us in changing course in Iraq," Senator Murray said.

Senate Republicans have twice blocked the Senate from even debating the President's policies in Iraq and have given a green light to the President's escalation plan. Last November, the American people made a clear call for a new direction, and Democrats are committed to bringing stability to Iraq and bringing our troops home from a civil war.


Gay Porn Star New Right-Wing Darling

The " family values" crowd

34th CPAC 2007 a Huge Success!
The American Conservative Union and CPAC would like to express our deepest gratitude to all of the speakers, sponsors, contributors and volunteers who helped make this 34th Conservative Political Action Conference our biggest success to date!
Will US military kick out gay porn star and male prostitute Marine who starred in "Touched by an Anal"?

03/08/2007 12:41:00 PM ET

[ Ann Coulter's Pal ]

UPDATE: I'm waiting for Mr. Sanchez to endorse the Meehan legislation that would let him continue his service. In the military.

In this first-person piece he just wrote in Salon, former gay porn star and gay prostitute Matt Sanchez, a GOP hero, blames those evil liberals for outing his man-whore, porn star past. Sanchez, who starred in such thrillers as "Touched by an Anal: Four Hours of Heavenly Anal Action" - I'm not joking (this is NOT a work-friendly link) - now says that the porn industry is evil and liberal and that's why he became a conservative. Get it. It's our fault that he was a man-whore, it's our fault that he went in to gay porn. Uh huh. He also notes that his conservative friends are still embracing him. I'm sure they are. We've discovered long ago what hypocritees conservatives are about their family values. (We also discovered how many of the most ardent conservatives are big ole closet cases, so I'm sure they'd love to embrace you, Matt.)

Speaking of hypocrites, this guy says he's a Marine reservist. How cool is that. I didn't know they let gay porn star hookers in the Marine reservists. While I doubt there's a specific line-item in the Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT) legislation covering starring in gay porn and engaging in gay male prostitution, I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say it's probably covered by the spirit of DADT.

Then again, this guy is making history. By leaving this guy in the Marines, Bush is pretty clearly violating Dont' Ask Don't Tell and establishing a legal precedent for other gays (or guys who have starred in gay porn and worked as gay prostitutes) to stay in the military, since apparently gay sex no longer makes you gay per the Bush administration (then what does?). Yes, I'm sure Matt's conservative friends in the Bush administration, and his buddies Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity, won't have any problem with Matt remaining a Marine reservist and keeping his benefits now that they know he's a gay porn star hooker. They'll have no problem with Sanchez being the guy who brings Don't Ask Don't Tell to its knees (sorry, I had to). To paraphrase Syliva Plath, every conservative loves a gay man-whore.

The irony of course is that we evil liberals support Matt's right to serve in the military, his conservative buddies don't. Now, I've heard that Sanchez says he's not gay. Yeah, I'm sure there's an exemption in Don't Ask Don't Tell for guys who perform in gay porn movies and sell themselves as prostitutes to other man. He's not really gay, it's just a job, and an adventure!

Far more background from our Joe:

Andy at Towleroad tipped us off to the story of conservative star Matt Sanchez that was intially exposed by Joe.My.God. in post titled "Jeff Gannon Redux." That gets your attention, huh?

Seems that in addition to being a star at CPAC and in other right wing circles, including appearances on O'Reilly and Hannity, Sanchez has starred in a number of "films" that probably weren't being shown at CPAC -- or maybe they were:
Now, if you're like me, you might think, "Hmm, 36 years old and he's a junior in college and only a corporal in the Marines?" Odd, but not totally implausible. But Sanchez' face tinkled a few gay bells out there in fairyland, and last night I began to get emails letting me know that his rather late appearance on the Ivy League scene was because Sanchez has had a lengthy career in gay porn, working under the names Rod Majors (NSFW) and Pierre LaBranche, starring in such art films as Jawbreaker.... [This is where it gets not so work place friendly]
Seriously, you can't make this stuff up. Sanchez had a "devoted following" from his film career. One wonders if Sanchez had a devoted following at CPAC?

Joe.My.God. is staying on top of this one. He's talked to Sanchez and just posted an interview with him here.

by John Aravosis (DC)

this post here: Comment s (103)

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Why We Need To Talk About Iran

Mar 8, 2007

By Jon Soltz s

Our organization,, is in a fight to hold politicians accountable for flawed military strategies and blatant disregard for veterans’ issues.

We owe the success of our Body Armor ad to the amazing response it received on the blogs.

What I really want to focus on today, is the launch of a joint initiative between and Ret. General Clark’s WesPAC: We’ve produced a series of Video Blogs that examine how a war with Iran will affect U.S. Security, our troops in Iraq, and the overall stability of the Middle East.

The media spotlight on Iraq lately has featured the escalation as a central issue, when the more pertinent question we should be asking is about the looming confrontation with Iran. The push to send more troops into Iraq is directly related to what has become a proxy war with Iran. The administration is bolstering our military presence in Iraq in a vain attempt to create temporary security in the area, to create military leverage with Iran.

Anyone who’s fought in Iraq or studied the conflict at all has known, since the invasion, that Iranian involvement has increased inside Iraq. What we want the American public to understand is that by removing Saddam Hussein's regime, the U.S. administration has enabled Tehran to grow their influence in Iraq. We should be holding the Bush administration accountable for strengthening Iran, inside of Iraq.

Instead of allowing the administration to control the debate on why we should fight Iran, we should be grilling them about how their failed policies are responsible for the fact that Iran poses a larger threat now than it did 6 years ago. We should not only be asking why we should or shouldn't attack Iran, but even more importantly, why has the administration waited six years to respond to this issue?

The Endless Trail of Red Herrings


"Impracticality" due to the "existent reality on the ground" is often used as a fait accompli argument for finding any other resolution to the long-festering Israel-Palestine blot on humanity.
February 28, 2007—In reference to the interestingly titled and revealing commentary by Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery, "Facing Mecca" published by Media Monitors Network and picked up by several others including The Baltimore Chronicle on February 19, 2007, I wanted to pen my own humble thoughts down to suggest that the trail of red herrings is long, endless, and quite distinguished.

"Impracticality" due to the "existent reality on the ground" is often used as a fait accompli argument for finding any other resolution to the long-festering Israel-Palestine blot on humanity for the suffering that it is needlessly inducing upon the indigenous peoples, except the much-articulated two-state abstract solution as theoretically dictated by the Israeli government and the key power brokers and vested interests allied to it. And even in this constricted-solutions space, it is frequently used to nuance what is practicably realizable given the "existent reality on the ground," and what isn't.

While the world silently spectates the immense suffering that the occupation continues to bring upon an innocent people, the Israelis keep seeding the land with new "reality on the ground" which too then becomes "impractical" to undo, and becomes new leveraging points in any subsequent peace talks—take 10 and give back 1 if the Palestinians behave, then repeat! This reality formally got constructed in 1948 and is continually being constructed as we speak, at each turn becoming impractical to undo requiring the victims to continually have to accommodate to the new reality for peace settlement, because true justice is now deemed "impractical."

An interesting argument, this "impracticality."

Or is it indeed also a deliberate deception and red herring of the kind related by the "Israeli Patriot" in "Facing Mecca"?

"The British call this a "red herring"—a smelly fish that a fugitive drags across the path in order to put the pursuing dogs off the trail.

WHEN I was young, Jewish people in Palestine used to talk about our secret weapon: the Arab refusal. Every time somebody proposed some peace plan, we relied on the Arab side to say "no." True, the Zionist leadership was against any compromise that would have frozen the existing situation and halted the momentum of the Zionist enterprise of expansion and settlement. But the Zionist leaders used to say "yes" and "we extend our hand for peace"—and rely on the Arabs to scuttle the proposal.

That was successful for a hundred years, until Yasser Arafat changed the rules, recognized Israel and signed the Oslo Accords, which stipulated that the negotiations for the final borders between Israel and Palestine must be concluded not later than 1999. To this very day, those negotiations have not even started. Successive Israeli governments have prevented it because they were not ready under any circumstances to fix final borders. (The 2000 Camp David meeting was not a real negotiation—Ehud Barak convened it without any preparation, dictated his terms to the Palestinians and broke the dialogue off when they were refused.) [...]

The panic had immediate results: "political circles" in Jerusalem announced that they rejected the Mecca agreement out of hand. Then second thoughts set in. Shimon Peres, long established master of the "yes-but-no" method, convinced Olmert that the brazen "no" must be replaced with a more subtle "no." For this purpose, the red herring was again taken out of the freezer."

But while Uri Avnery exposes some red herrings very eloquently and quite courageously in this article, he does not explain how the same concept was still at play even at Oslo—an unacceptable proposal in reality that no self-respecting people would have willingly accepted—and that despite its unacceptability, Yasser Arafat had indeed accepted it, leading to the detachment of the late Edward Said from it eventually as the realization dawned regarding the true nature of the peace plan, and he insisted that no justice could be had in peace talks between unequals (see his own words here, here, here, here).

However, the observation of "yes-but-no" method of the disingenuous Israeli peacemaking overtures is indeed based on empirical reality. Should I applaud this courageous activist for outright admitting it for the benefit of the American and Western audience? This reality of duplicity is quite known to the recipients of its largess, but unfortunately quite unknown to those who innocently ally themselves to the cause of Israel in the West and wonder why the Palestinians are so moronically recalcitrant to all the generous overtures by Israel and don't want peace!

Are the arguments of "impracticality" also similar red herrings that continually defy justice being brought to bear on the issue?

This is the purpose of my essay, to explore "impracticality" to achieving justice and its concomitant harvest of peace, as opposed to the continual mantra of peace with "impracticality" as impediments to reaching fair and just solutions that are as obvious and as ignored by the power brokers and their allied vested interests as a black African elephant in the ivory white bridal suite sitting right in the middle of the newlyweds' bed.

Indeed, why not apply "impracticality" to all issues of injustices? It's indeed highly "impractical" to bring about a change in any status quo! That did not stop South Africa to be abolished as an apartheid state, nor did it stop severe punitive sanctions and boycotts and divestments to be imposed on it, with South Africa perennially being highlighted before the world in the press and media and by the outspoken commentators and intellectuals as a pariah state, before the abhorrent apartheid was forced to end there through the courageous struggle of its own indigenous peoples directly supported by the international community (with few exceptions, the most notable being some in the United States—see incumbent US Vice President Dick Cheney's voting record when he was in Congress on the resolution to free Nelson Mandela); and nor did it prevent the tea from being thrown overboard by a handful of patriots who are today venerated as the founders of a superpower nation. All very impractical acts as seen from the comfortable living rooms of the pundits. That is not to say that ending Apartheid has ended poverty in South Africa, or automatically created economic equity. The struggle still continues on, as it even does in the United States of America itself to create a fairer society, as one can glean from all the movements of the preceding century, Civil Rights, Labor Rights, Women's Rights, etc. But the key enabler is the tumultuous axiomatic construction of the state which must precede any incremental changes in realizing economic and social benefits. Such an axiomatic construction transpired for the United States of America by the writing of its seeding Constitution after the tea was thrown overboard, and for South Africa by outright abolishing Apartheid after a long struggle where the calls for its dismantling preceded its abolishment by many decades, and most vociferously by the first Statesman of the New South Africa, Nelson Mandela.

One could argue that while one waits for the justice based "impractical" solution to transpire, should one allow those suffering the injustices of oppression and inhuman subjugation, to continue doing so in the interim, or should one aim for any quick compromised "practical" solution that alleviates their misery? One of the finest red herrings thrown on the "fugitive .. trail" yet! When the question is posited in this way, it wonderfully co-opts the preeminence of morality over "impracticality" in intellectual thought by artificially constructing a false either or choice in the best mold of "either you are with us, or against us."

In reality, there are two rather straightforward truism responses to this that must coexist concurrently. The first is the moral response of the intellectual that is independent of the efficacy of its realization. This moral response is essential for identifying 'the right thing to do' space for the society as its moral compass.

The second is the "policy" response, so to speak. This is concerned with the efficacy of the measures required to bring injustices to a halt in any practical measure, while being cognizant of the path shown by the moral compass of the nation, and perhaps also being influenced by it rather than by some other distorted compass of the "high priests" of the ruling elite. Bringing "policies" to bear upon the problem space is a political advocacy process, a social activism process, a grass-roots mobilization process, a revolutionary process, and—in a democratic country like the United States of America—it is also a lobbying process, a seeding of the "right" thoughts in "Foreign Affairs" process, getting hands and feet and souls dirty process, and even a process of waging an all-out war on WMD pretexts to eradicate oppression and injustices of one's own vested interests.

The twain, "moral compassing" and "policy making," are not mutually exclusive. Indeed, the former must precede the latter in order to create the desired "policy advocacy" in society in the first place, which can then eventually seed the desired "policy making." Let me just refer to this bit of rational commonsense that derives from a moral sense of justice and fair play, as the principle of Moral-Activism.

And the same persons don't necessarily have to be doing both at the same time, i.e. "moral compassing" and "policy making." For instance, the abolitionists clamored largely theoretically in their intellectual writings and speeches for the abolition of slavery a good thirty years before an advocacy policy got crafted (due to whatever reasons of expediency and political forces), and the latter drew upon the former for the doctrinal motivations to create the momentum that launched the American Civil War against slavery. The example of South Africa cited earlier, on the other hand, is a more virtuous example of the principle of Moral-Activism. It is one where "moral compassing" and the ground-floor activism and protest manifested in many of the same peoples simultaneously. Among them, Bishop Desmond Tutu, and the incredibly famous and respected world Statesman, Nelson Mandela, who spent 27 years in prison for his unequivocal advocacy on the firm moral principles to end Apartheid. During this tenure in the "Gulag," he did not compromise because his people were suffering. Indeed, he was offered many such compromises, and shown many "practical" alternatives for being let out of jail and for the temporary band-aid relief of his peoples if he'd only give up his unequivocal moral call to end apartheid. Had he been co-opted at the time by this red-herring of "practical," and had he not had firm moorings in the moral-compassing of his own conscience that was the impetus behind his Moral-Activism, there'd be no new South Africa today.

Knowing the 'right thing to do space' in order to pursue an advocacy that is principled, even when the struggle may be long and arduous, is a simple straightforward truism that somehow seems to get lost when it comes to Israel-Palestine. I am sorry if the principle of Moral-Activism escapes all the "dissenting priests" in the entire Western Hemisphere. The red herrings they strew about with what's "practical" without any moral foundations—perhaps unwittingly for having followed their own compromised "super dissenting priests" who never laid out the "moral compass" on this issue for their flock due to their own reprehensible self-interests—has been the deaths of innocent people. Literally speaking. And I am sure they still sleep soundly at night!

So why am I not enthusiastically applauding Uri Avnery, the prominent and respected leader of Gush Shalom, Israel's peace activists, for exposing Israel's hypocrisy before the West? The answer depends on why isn't Uri Avnery bringing up a similar argument for abolishing Israel as an Apartheid state, as was made for South Africa, conclusively ending its Zionist reign of monumental terror and obscurantism (see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here), and making that country one uniform nation with equal rights for all its inhabitants (and keeping any name, even Israel, or in fairness and acceptance of a genuinely contrite mea culpa, calling it Israel-Palestine or Palestine-Israel, or indeed Palestine)? Where is the principled Moral-Activism in his advocacy?

The most à propos model for the reconstruction of this anachronistic apartheid-racist Zionist state in the holy lands is indeed South Africa.
The most à propos model for the reconstruction of this anachronistic apartheid-racist Zionist state in the holy lands is indeed South Africa. The incredible parallels have been discussed by many over the years as cited above in the long reading list for those unfamiliar with the subject matter, and need not be rehearsed again. Had these moral calls been vociferously made 50 years ago, 40 years ago, 30 years ago, 20 years ago, 10 years ago, after 911, and had the "dissenting priests" seeded the moral compass of the peoples by unequivocally demanding divestment, demanding sanctions, and demanding an end to the apartheid and racism ingrained in Zionism and hence in its Zionist state, this moral compassing would have surely seeded an activism that was principled, and we may have already seen the Palestinian tragedy very pragmatically reversed—were it not for the vested interests of the high priests and their various incantations that stayed mum, and are still mum on the subject. It is one thing to expect the "high priests" of the ruling elite to take these conscionable moralistic positions and be disappointed. It is quite another to have the "dissenting priests" also lead their flock to the same pastures, albeit through a more curious route! These vested interests from influence-peddlers have to be shoved aside to seed the roots of justice in any system of injustices, as the history of the world informs us to this day.
Vested interests from influence-peddlers have to be shoved aside to seed the roots of justice in any system of injustices, as the history of the world informs us to this day.
Here are some additional counter-perspectives to the two-state solution from another Israeli Jew, Israel Shamir, who does not buy the "impracticality" red herring, nor Ben Gurion's disingenuous "It is true God promised it to us" nonsense, and argues a moral position unequivocally.

I once met Israel Shamir, curious to learn if he was for real or just another red-herring for clever deflection of conscionable peoples' efforts. What little I discovered from his autobiographical and very personal public speech that I attended at a local university a few years ago, where he noted "Jews need a homeland [in Palestine] as much as fish need bicycles," made me realize that not all Israelis are blind-sighted—that moral traditions are still alive among them! Just that there are too few of these outspoken precious gems (here is another whose family even gave up their Israeli citizenship by choice as victims of their own conscience when they woke up from their Zionist slumber, once again demonstrating that actions speak louder than laments)! Each of them often tends to acquire the magic instantly affixing label of "self-hating Jew," and their political positions conveniently labeled anti-Semitic. See here and here on how this label is dexterously manufactured and deployed to discredit anyone who disagrees with either the official position of Zionism, or presents other milder variants of it, apportioning for themselves the vehemence of the Zionists in commensurate amounts!

Why does Uri Avnery indeed stop short of suggesting dismantling of the Israeli Zionist Apartheid state and making it one democratic equitable state for all its inhabitants? Indeed, by the admission of Israel's own founding patriots:

“Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you because geography books no longer exist. Not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either. Nahlal arose in the place of Mahlul; Kibbutz Gvat in the place of Jibta; Kibbutz Sarid in the place of Huneifis; and Kefar Yehushua in the place of Tal al-Shuman. There is not a single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population.” Moshe Dayan: Haaretz, April 4, 1969. (noted from the web, Dayan was probably quoting Ben Gurion from the 'The Jewish Paradox')
Where are Avnery's moral stances? Is he confused about the "right thing to do" as well? Doesn't seem likely, as unlike the American and other European audience, he sees the reality and history on the ground, from ground zero itself. Perhaps he may be reminded that if he claims his Jewish religion as a race, he may well be the inheritor of King Solomon the wise! And if he claims it as his faith (and is not an atheist like the majority of the European culturally Jewish immigrant inhabitants of Israel, see confessional writings such as "My Holiday, Their Tragedy"), then he is indeed the inheritor of the moral Ten Commandments of his lofty faith. But if he is only informed by cultural affiliation to the Jewish traditions, he is still a human being first and still the inheritor of the genuine wisdom of all the sages of the ages. Why this blindsight, especially being an activist for peace? Does not this mean also "activist for justice"? If he can forget about the crimes of his own founding fathers ("I am prepared to leave the history, ideology and theology of the matter to the theologians, ideologues and historians" and "If somebody is ready to make peace with me, within borders and on conditions agreed upon in negotiations, that is quite enough for me."), why stop short of full restitution and all live in peace within the same borders within which they all rightfully belong—Jews, Christians, and Muslims?

Indeed, if it were the victims who had made these conciliatory statements, these lofty proclamations would surely have elevated humanity to a new level of compassion and forgiveness in putting the past behind them—a mighty indomitable people indeed, as resolute in their suffering, as magnanimous in their victory. These statements coming from the victimizers, however, while to many in the West may be commendable, to me, for a conscionable activist of peace whom I also admire for his immense courage to continually speak out against the crimes of his own peoples, are quite indefensible, and downright disingenuous. Perhaps I may have missed something here, but it strikes me as rather odd that the occupier is claiming he is prepared to live amicably with the victims under secure borders. It is almost as if a thief broke into my house, locked me up in the bathroom, then when I made too much racket, he said he was willing to live peacefully in some well-defined rooms in the house! I am sorry if no one sees the irony of this.

Uri Avnery's confessional "I am an Israeli patriot" explains this enigma in as much clarity as the following gem from Baruch Kimmerling, another Israeli Patriot who calls Israel his land when he wasn't born there, and identifies himself in the oxymoronic category of "Jew, atheist, and Zionist"; where the latter two may be consistent, how does that pertain to being a Jew?

“As a Jew, an atheist and a Zionist, I have two memorial days in my country, Israel. One for the Holocaust and one for soldiers who fell in wars. I also have one day of celebration, the anniversary of the day Israel declared its statehood. [...] Independence Day is a holiday for me, but also an opportunity for intense self-introspection. A person needs a state and land, and this is my land, my homeland, despite the fact that I was not born here. I am proud of the unprecedented accomplishments of this country, and feel personally responsible for its failures, foolishness, injustice, evil, and its oppression of its citizens and residents (Jewish, Arab, and others) as well as of those who are defined and defined themselves as her enemies. I know that my holiday, a day of joy and pride for me, is a day of mourning and tragedy for some of Israel's citizens and, more so, for members of the Palestinian people everywhere. I know that as long as we, all Jews everywhere, do not acknowledge this, we will not be able to live here in safety, every man and woman under their vine and under their fig tree. Happy holidays, Israel.” (My Holiday, Their Tragedy, 2002.)
Disingenuous self-interest once again? Neither calling unequivocally for abolishing the Apartheid state (as far as I am aware, and if they have already done so elsewhere, I eat crow with pleasure). And neither extending to the displaced Palestinians the privileges they apportion for themselves in Israel—making it their home when not being born there (although Uri Avnery may well have been; I don't know, I have never met him) when they don't accord it to those who indeed were, and were kicked out by the very founding of the state which Kimmerling is so proudly calling his independence day. He does indeed magnanimously call for Jews to acknowledge the suffering of the Palestinians so that he can live in peace in Israel, but not for remedying the injustice in the only just and moral way—but then, being an atheist, whence the source of morality? God is dead, Nietzsche is alive, and so are his mantle-bearing ubermensch! Witness it in his own essay: the vacuous words without the concomitant unequivocal call to abolish Apartheid and make it one homeland for those forcibly displaced by his independence day:
"The transformation of the Holocaust into a solely Jewish tragedy, as opposed to a universal event, only weakens its significance and its legitimacy, tarnishing us and the memory of the victims. Likewise, its unnecessary overuse by Jews in Israel and the rest of the world, particularly political bodies, has made the Holocaust banal. Above all, a provocative and dangerous approach has bought a place in our hearts: that Jews, as the victims of the Holocaust, are permitted to treat goyim however they want. Forceful and condescending, "anti-gentile-ism" is identical to criminal anti-Semitism. ... What can I do? A person is closer to his own friends, tribe, and people. Along with that, however, I cannot forget or refrain from mourning the victims of this bloody conflict and feel deep empathy with those who have suffered and still suffer as a result of the fatal encounter between Jews and Arabs in this land. I hope that the day will come when we will commemorate together and mourn together, Jews and Arabs alike, for all of the victims of the conflict. Only then will we be able to live together in this place in safety. ... I know that as long as we, all Jews everywhere, do not acknowledge this, we will not be able to live here in safety, every man and woman under their vine and under their fig tree."
I am sorry that I am less than impressed, despite the self-flagellation. "What can I do?" Kimmerling asks? Here are three immediate things a conscionable Israeli can do if he is a Moral-Activist (see example here): 1) Start a campaign to demand genuine justice—not mere words of contrition—by requiring the Apartheid nature of the state and the "Berlin Wall" to be simultaneously demolished. 2) Stop paying taxes that contributes to the maintenance of the Apartheid state. 3) As a conscionable person, leave Israel until such time that others who have more right to be there, on account of having being born there, and were forcibly evicted, are also allowed to return. To me, it appears that without any of the concomitant actions for Moral-Activism, the only reason Kimmerling calls for the recognition of the plight of the Palestinians is so that he and Zionist Jews like him can live in peace.

Thus, what might any conscionable self-respecting Palestinian conclude from this? Apart from the cynicism that is now ingrained in the Middle East of this stereotype: they will first plan to kill you with a design most brutal, and then come to your funeral lamenting "We can forgive them for killing our children, we cannot forgive them for making us kill theirs," as was noted by Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, in order to win back their rights as human beings first from their monstrous oppressors who only think of themselves first and not of the abject suffering that is being unfolded right down the Jews-only highway from them, and who continue to maintain that "A person is closer to his own friends, tribe, and people." rather than demonstrate any genuine sympathy towards the sufferings of others at their own hands, they (the Palestinians) have to make the cost of occupation so exorbitant, that the next clarion call from people like Kimmerling would indeed have to be a demand for full restitution of the Palestinians so that he could indeed live in peace.

Also, let's not be fooled either that simply declaring Israel as a non-Apartheid state with a change in its laws as well as national flag will solve all the problems for the Palestinians, but it will be an amazing welcoming start from the present-day inhuman oppression that the world silently spectates. The economic hegemony of the European transplants into Israel and its high-tech economy all in the hands of the Jews, will likely stay the same—rights do not equate prosperity, but is indeed an axiomatic start. Witness South Africa—its economy and its lands are still largely in the hands of the tiny white minority, and the majority black indigenous population still lives in abject poverty. But one has to begin somewhere—the place to begin is wth the laws on the books, the constitution, and the philosophy of equal rights for all its citizens regardless of caste, creed, sex, religion, and ethnicity. How can any nation, founded on these lofty principles itself, befriend and support a nation that is its exact opposite? Only politics and self-interests of its ruling elite—as in the case of all cases of injustices in society since the very inception of society!

It is indeed interesting to identify all those "intellectuals," "moralists," "historians," "scholars," and high-profile pundits and prolific exponents who argue either "impracticality" or "Palestinian intransigence" or offer vacuous sympathy, to either continue to propose the severely compromised for one side, the two-state theoretical solution along 1967 borders as their gesture of "fairness" and "compassion," or continue to argue for the occupation because of docile unacceptability of occupation to those being occupied.

Identify all of these exponents of Israel, not very hard to do at all in this information age, and examine their own vested interests and/or affiliations because of which they shirk from taking the only genuinely moral and just position of dismantling the apartheid state of Israel into an equal state for all its denizens born there. If they support open immigration based only on the Jewish "race" or "faith" cards, and deny right of return, fair compensation (ask the Holocaust survivors for a quote of what that might be and what Israel extracts each year from Germany), and rehabilitation in their own ancestral lands for the displaced and dispossessed indigenous Palestinians and their children and grandchildren, and present themselves as "objective" erudite observers of the matter, the question must be asked by conscionable peoples on the morality and vested self interests of this doublespeak that seems to be gathering roaring applause in the liberal Left! It continually escapes everyones imagination to keep the diabolical game of Zionism in perspective—buy time to seed the land with birth rights, and continual small incremental encroachments, and systematic depopulation through intense oppression such that the victims would give up, die away, or become abject slaves!

And similarly identify all those who prominently accept the 1967 border solution—crafted any which horrendous way as inhabitable bantustans forming no semblance of an independent nation-state with all the same rights and privileges as any other independent nation-state, including having a well-equipped modern army, navy, air force, marines for self-defense, and own commerce and independent ingress and egress trade and movement points in and out of their nation-state for an independent economy and freedom of travel, just to point out two major gaping holes in all two-state solution proposals that have been put on the table—from the beleaguered side and ask whether they do so because by choice, or because of having had no choice in the matter and only wanting to just get to any peaceable solution, justice or not, so that some beleaguered peoples may live in some kind of semblance of peace as human beings first, and not as trampled sub-species of some "cockroaches" under the watchful gun turrets of Israeli sharp shooters mounted atop the 14-ft high apartheid wall that runs through their bedrooms and backyards! This sub-species classification for the Palestinians was created by the Israelis themselves—shocking? Read for yourselves:

We declare openly that the Arabs have no right to settle on even one centimeter of Eretz Israel ... Force is all they do or ever will understand. We shall use the ultimate force until the Palestinians come crawling to us on all fours.” and “When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do about it will be to scurry around like drugged cockroaches in a bottle.” Raphael Eitan, Chief of Staff of the IDF: New York Times 14 April 1983 (noted from the web)
Unless the vested interests are clearly and unmistakably disambiguated, the red herrings will continue to be strewn along all paths—deliberately or unwittingly makes no difference to one on the "fugitive" trail—to constrict the solution space to the exclusive benefit of one party and to the severe handicap of the other, until either Ben Gurion's call is realized: "We must do everything to insure they [the Palestinians] never do return ... The old will die and the young will forget", or General Shlomo Lahat's: "We have to kill all the Palestinians unless they are resigned to live here as slaves." And that is indeed the reality of Israel-Palestine today, as it has always been since its bloody and brutal inception 60 years ago, and intensely accelerated after the 1967 military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza strip.

Even the commonsensical proposition of why the Palestinians would ever accept an occupier was echoed by the very founding father of this Nakba for the victims (except at the barrel of a gun continuously held to their lives to slowly wear them down while continually playing the diabolical game of "yes but no" to mitigate international pressures as the systematic task of squeezing the victims goes on in the background, seeding new realities daily that perforce must subsequently be articulated as axiomatic "The Palestinians' return could be implemented in ways that minimize, rather than exacerbate, the disruption for Israelis living in the areas."):

"If I were an Arab leader, I would never sign an agreement with Israel. It is normal; we have taken their country. It is true God promised it to us, but how could that interest them? Our God is not theirs. There has been Anti-Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They see but one thing: we have come and we have stolen their country. Why would they accept that?" (Ben Gurion in The Jewish Paradox)

"Let us not ignore the truth among ourselves ... politically we are the aggressors and they defend themselves... The country is theirs, because they inhabit it, whereas we want to come here and settle down, and in their view we want to take away from them their country." (Ben Gurion, presumably quoted by Noam Chomsky in Fateful Triangle, noted from the web)

From the very conception of founding of Israel by Herzl in 1896 on the banks of the river Rhine “In Basle I founded the Jewish state ... Maybe in five years, certainly in fifty, everyone will realize it," to this very day, the battle cry of anti-Semitism has been diabolically harvested (see here), and sometimes even criminally (see here and here), to justify Zionism and its offspring, Der Judenstat. But in the reality of today, the Jewish state is an anachronism of history, a perception that legitimized it in the minds of the followers of this Zionist idea when indeed anti-Semitism was rampant in Christian Europe. Today, never mind European anti-Semitism, there are now laws appearing on the books in Europe that even criminalizes the mere questioning of the history as related by the Zionists to the world's public. Thus, the Zionist Jews are now pretty safe from any further persecution from Christian Europe, and there is little reason to maintain the Zionist character of the state in Palestine when it comes at the expense of intense suffering and injustice to another innocent people already living there. It would hardly matter to anyone if Der Judenstat was moved to Europe somewhere, compensation that it was for the pain and suffering imposed on the innocent Jews by the fanatic Christians of the previous century—unfortunately, the compensation was offered them at another's expense.

But today, it is high time to rectify and redress that blot on humanity by the very European and Western nations who now proclaim themselves as the emblem of civilization and morality and beacon of human progress and learning. Perhaps they can spotlight this beacon onto their own first sins and help redress the calamitous suffering that is transpiring right under their very noses on an entirely innocent people as a result of their own creation—both the first innocent victims, and then as a result of their shoddy compensation for their monumental crimes to those victims, the new innocent victims. Some luminous civilization out to teach the rest of the world how to live in civilized modernity as it continually constructs new victims!

And it is indeed instructional to learn of the sorrows and calamitous suffering from the perspective of the victims themselves, an oft-neglected sin in the West which prides itself in its own articulate description of the World's victims and in unfurling the crimes of their own hegemonic emperors by writing prolific books and touting their much wonted freedom of speech—to absolutely zero degree of efficacy except more books sold and more prominence gained—rather than listen to the victims themselves with as much credibility lent to their own suffering voices.

Somehow, the victim screaming in pain is considered biased, but their victimizers' description of their plight is academic honesty and intellectual brilliance.
Somehow, the victim screaming in pain is considered biased, but their victimizers' description of their plight is academic honesty and intellectual brilliance! I don't think I really need to hear it from Noam Chomsky to know how Palestinians are suffering, although his conscionable exposure of their plight in the West is certainly very important, and has been so for many years—but his half-baked two-state proposals for their solutions isn't.

When we give higher currency to conscionable dissent-makers whose prime cultural affiliations are with the victim-makers themselves, over those voices of anguish of the victims and those with cultural and civilizational affiliations to the victims as their extended family, we do a great disservice to both the victims and other well-intentioned bystanders longing to figure out how to make peace with justice.

Here is another example of this twisted view of justice even by well-intentioned exponents of the Palestinians' rights but civilizationally and culturally allied with the victimizers: "Palestinians Have A Right To Go Home" by the erstwhile vocal and conscionable Phyllis Bennis of the Institute of Policy Studies. After passionately arguing the Right of Return for the Palestinians in the abstract:

"Palestinians today make up one of every four refugees in the world. Their right to return to their homes, despite more than a 52-year delay in realizing that right, is no less compelling than the right to return home of any other refugees from any other war. International law is very clear: It doesn't matter which side wins or which side loses, after a war, refugees have the right to go home. The United Nations passed Resolution 194 (which the U.S. and every other U.N. member state except Israel voted to reaffirm each year from 1949 till 1994) specifically to make sure that those made refugees by the creation of Israel would be protected. And yet Israel specifically rejects that right of return because of concern that allowing the Palestinian refugees to come home would change the demographic balance of the Jewish state."
But now look at the disigenuousness of the solution space. An absence to any call to eliminate the main reason why the Right of Return is not being implemented by Israel—it's the Apartheid nature of the Jewish state which has been diabolically constructed on another people's land, where the indigenous population was predominantly non-Jewish! The "just" solution escapes Phyllis Bennis, even when she acknowledges the cause of the problem in this case.

And she also surveys the various implementation attempts by others:

"Is compromise possible? Absolutely. But only if it is based on recognition of the right of return as a real, fundamental right—not if it is based on Israel's superior power. Israel's proposal during the recent Camp David summit for a "humanitarian" family reunification program that would benefit only a few tens of thousands, out of the millions of stateless Palestinians, is one compromise that will surely not work. Another sure-to-fail compromise is the proposal being quietly bandied about in Washington and a variety of Middle Eastern capitals. This plan envisions a quid pro quo in which Baghdad would resettle many of the Palestinians (with or without their consent) from refugee camps in Lebanon to Kurdish areas of Iraq (from which equally unconsenting Kurds are already being expelled), in exchange for lifting the crippling economic sanctions against Iraq. Publicly denied by the relevant governments, the plan has in fact been discussed with Iraqi officials by the representative of at least one member of the U.S. Congress, and a number of Arab leaders are known to privately support the idea. This is a non-starter too."
But then makes this statement as her own suggestion:
"Real compromise is possible in determining how, not whether, the right of return will be realized. The Palestinians' return could be implemented in ways that minimize, rather than exacerbate, the disruption for Israelis living in the areas."
Why this axiomatic preference to minimize "the disruption for Israelis living in the areas"—they are the victimizers to start with, aren't they?

Instead, why does the erstwhile author not make the only conscionable call of Moral-Activism to abolish the apartheid state as the only just first step in the right direction?

The same is true of Noam Chomsky—while he supported the sanctions on Apartheid South Africa, he is against sanctions for Israel. Why should the vested interests of those civilizationally, culturally, and religio-historically allied with the victimizers, despite being courageously vocal in bringing the plight of the innocent victims to the attention of their own nations, be allowed to dictate, and dominate, the articulation of the solution space on behalf of the victims? I am sorry if no one sees the irony in this.

Indeed, Chomsky has himself informed many victims themselves, as well as the Western audience, of the pragmatic underpinnings of the terror that was ruthlessly employed in creating the Jewish State. In his Western State Terrorism, in Chapter 2, Chomsky writes:

"In 1943, current Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir wrote an article entitled “Terror” for the journal of the terrorist organization he headed (Lehi) in which he proposed to “dismiss all the 'phobia' and babble against terror with simple, obvious arguments.” “Neither Jewish morality nor Jewish tradition can be used to disallow terror as a means of war,” he wrote, and “We are very far from any moral hesitations when concerned with the national struggle.” “First and foremost, terror is for us a part of the political war appropriate for the circumstances of today, and its task is a major one: it demonstrates in the clearest language, heard throughout the world, including by our unfortunate brethren outside the gates of this country, our war against the occupier.”
Where the "occupier" was either the British, or the indigenous Palestinian population, or both, I am not sure. Neither, however, were spared the wrath of Jewish terror in the creation of the Jewish State, and the Palestinians bearing the biggest brunt of it. So Chomsky is not a stranger to the monumental crimes of Zionist Jews visiting the Nakba upon the innocent local peoples of Palestine, that Kimmerling proudly calls his "independence day." Neither is Chomsky any stranger to how anti-Semitism was deftly harvested to populate the new Jewish State, with the escaping Jews from Europe being cleverly diverted to the intended Jewish State in Palestine all throughout the 1940s even before the state was founded. As he has himself noted somewhere in his prolific writings, the affluent ones and the techno-scientists and the Jewish social elite escaping from the Nazis were allowed onto the shores of the United States, the rest were deliberately diverted to Palestine.

And Chomsky's "pragmatic" response to this genocide and mayhem of the local population during the founding of the Jewish State? All modern nations are formed on the unfortunate bloodshed of millions, the United States itself was formed on the blood of 10 million natives, and so on. This is all faits accomplis. So we have to move on and live among our internationally recognized secure borders according to international norms. (Précis of private communication from a while back on a different discussion thread)

Great. And here is where the red herring begins. Higher the priesthood, more tortuous the red herrings.

Noam Chomsky does not distinguish between a crime that happened in the distant past that we can do little about today in rectification, and one that is occurring concurrently in our present epoch, for which we can most assuredly do something in rectification, and for which a just and moral solution does indeed exist.
Chomsky does not distinguish between a crime that happened in the distant past that we can do little about today in rectification, and one that is occurring concurrently in our present epoch, for which we can most assuredly do something in rectification, and for which a just and moral solution does indeed exist. It has not receded into dusty pages of history far enough yet to have become a fait accompli that cannot be practicably undone—such as returning California to Mexico.

Today, Israel is the only nation on earth as far as I know, with no self-recognized borders except the entire 'land of Canaan', and where the writ of this apartheid state is continually extending over amorphous boundaries with new 14 ft walls being continually constructed to create giant prisons to enclose the indigenous population who refuse to "die", and whose "young" refuse to "forget", and who refuse to be "resigned to live here as slaves", and who miraculously escape "We have to kill all the Palestinians" call to ethnically cleanse the beleaguered Palestinians from their own homeland. Is there any other evidence of monumental terrorism even possible in the present epoch? While all eyes have been diverted to the "Islamic terrorists" and the "Bin Ladens" and "Orange alert" and strip search at airports, the big monstrous Jewish elephant in the Zionist state is blithely ignored—even as I write this today in February 2007—permitting them the ubermensch prerogative for Eretz Yisrael, which according to Zionism's overtly stated ideological underpinnings that entirely drives the political aspirations and its execution in the apartheid state, is "from the Nile to the Euphrates". Or it may be the other way around. It doesn't matter since it's a scalar and an all encompassing open secret that no one wishes to say out loud for some reason in the West, but surely, like Uri Avnery mentions the "Arab refusal" premising all facades of peace talks, and when that failing, the "yes but no" taking over, it is also much openly discussed in the Hebrew society as the premise upon which Israeli policies, its laws, and its visitation of brutal oppression upon the indigenous peoples, are made. But the Western intellectual exercising claims to "dissent chief priesthood" dare not base any advocacy based upon these facts of the oppressive regime. That this irony fails to strike the commonsense of many, is not surprising. For priesthood in any domain, is merely the shepherd tending to his respective sheep.

So why am I not enthusiastically applauding Noam Chomsky for his courageous "dissent"? The answer entirely depends on why is a similar argument for abolishing Israel as an apartheid state, as was made for South Africa, and conclusively ending its Zionist reign of monumental terror and obscurantism in the modernity of the 21st century, not being courageously made by him. Where is the principled Moral-Activism in his advocacy of a negotiated two-state solution? It isn't that the distinguished professor isn't familiar with the diabolical plans of the Zionist state—he is no ordinary intellectual—in the face of Israel's "existent reality" of take 10 give back 1, "yes but no", and the "Arab refusal" that has been their not so "secret weapon", nor is he unfamiliar with the Machiavellian motto of the Zionist state "wage war by way of deception" as its guiding principle, and nor is he unaware of the underlying implementation philosophy that has underscored the Zionist state's pragmatism of incremental faits accomplis by initiating new crises starting from its very birth pangs as was openly admitted by Ben Gurion himself: "what is inconceivable in normal times is possible in revolutionary times"!

What indeed are the underlying reasons for his abstaining from making the moral calls for a unified democratic Israel-Palestine for all the inhabitants of Palestine? What restrains him from articulating an unequivocal principled stance against the very root cause celebra of apartheid and the "ubermensch" racism ingrained in Zionism itself that makes Israel such a misconstruction of West's own cherished values of democracy and equal rights for all? Just to refresh ones' failing memory, for the 'Democratic' racism see here, the UN Anti-Zionist Resolution 3379 see here here, and its timed revocation in 1991 to officially assert 'Zionism is no longer racism' with the emerging new world order see here and here as the "high priests" tell it, and here as the "dissenting priest" tells it, and see here for how 3379 was originally spinned by the "highest priest" in the land in the influential Foreign Affairs magazine.

I do not hesitate to ask the following of such a distinguished intellectual, for I gave up following "priests" when I woke up to the presence of unexamined axioms in all "priestdom", and instead decided to think for myself thus absolving all "priests" of being responsible for either saving me from perdition or consigning me to it! But that does not absolve the "priests" of their own greater responsibilities of priesthood towards the rest of their flock who glibly accept anything from "high pulpits". Higher the "pulpit", higher their credibility, and greater the consequent responsibility. Has Noam Chomsky relinquished his claims to moral imperatives and moral high grounds of honest intellectualism that he previously asserted was the responsibility of intellectuals (see here, here, and here):

"It is the responsibility of intellectuals to speak the truth and to expose lies" and "the responsibility of a writer as a moral agent is to try to bring the truth about matters of human significance to an audience that can do something about them."?
It is inconceivable that Chomsky would not recognize that by not providing this unequivocal moral compassing for his nation in blanket uncompromising terms when it comes to Israel-Palestine, he unwittingly lends his own intellectual support to the hegemonistic aspirations of world's sole superpower nation which he fearlessly and uncompromisingly calls the "rogue state" (see here, here, here, here) every chance he gets. By inexplicably ignoring this "rogue state" conveniently using (and abusing) a minority among the Jews themselves to further its own hegemonistic interest of sustained indomitable preeminence in the affairs of the world (see here) by financially and politically maintaining Israel in its current abominable Zionist construction as its private little Nuclear armed proxy hegemon in the Middle East (see here, here, here, and here), and staying silent about the role that Zionists themselves are currently playing in the construction of his own nation's imperial foreign policies in a tortuous collaboration of self-interests (see here and here and compare authors here) which seems to be visible to all and sundry in the world, except inexplicably to the "arguably the most important intellectual alive", Chomsky is willingly co-opting himself to the interests of the "ruling elite" that he has spent his entire life sanity-checking. Indeed, Moral-Activism from intellectual supremos, demands uncompromising moral compassing, as he had himself noted during his earlier years of an idealist's dissent:
"Intellectuals are in a position to expose the lies of governments, to analyze actions according to their causes and motives and often hidden intentions. In the Western world, at least, they have the power that comes from political liberty, from access to information and freedom of expression. For a privileged minority, Western democracy provides the leisure, the facilities, and the training to seek the truth lying hidden behind the veil of distortion and misrepresentation, ideology and class interest, through which the events of current history are presented to us...." (Responsibility of Intellectuals)
In these "revolutionary times", I am unfortunately less than impressed by Chomsky's supposed raison d'etre of Palestinians suffering under the 'jackboots' of the Israelis being the basis of his "practical" two-states "policy advocacy" and the legitimization of the forced separation of an indigenous peoples from their own lands. The beleaguered Palestinians have already been suffering for more than 40 years under the same 'jackboots' and continually losing their lives and property to diabolically constructed faits accomplis that Chomsky knows all too well about. This rationale of 'any tactic for alleviating the misery of a defenseless peoples' for pushing various and sundry advocacy plans by the well intentioned, in the absence of Moral-Activism that is firmly seeded by a moral compass, ends up being another gigantic stinking red-herring in the long term, bigger and more deflecting, than all the obvious ones pointed out by Uri Avnery.

It is indeed but a truism that in every society there are always only a tiny handful who are the illustrious vanguards of morality and social justice. These handful tend to attract to themselves a majority of the well intentioned and conscionable peoples from the larger society to learn what is the 'right thing to do' space for their activism to redress social and political injustices. They supposedly rip apart the red herrings cleverly disseminated by the "high priests" of the ruling elite, dexterously guiding their flock to see the burdensome truth behind the lies and distortions inherent in incantations of power, and thus apportion for themselves credit for guiding their flock that is commensurate with their ranking in priesthood, as commonsense might dictate. And this credit for Western intellectuals on many issues of contemporary geopolitical concern is surely overwhelmingly positive, which is why the New York Times cited Noam Chomsky as "arguably the most important intellectual alive". All likely à propos for sanity-checking his own nation's hegemonistic foreign policies, including eloquently highlighting the fait accompli of long past crimes (history) of Jewish terrorism while founding the state of Israel upon the blood of the Palestinians. Except when it comes to resolving a just solution space (contemporaneously) for his already recognized Zionism's usurpation and coercive resettling of Palestine, then this epithet suddenly and inexplicably fails to deliver, in my humble (mis)perception.

It's almost as if unless the issue is already fait accompli, Chomsky won't touch it when it's so close to his heart. But once fait accompli, many books about it will be written delineating the monstrosity of the crimes and the mendacity of power that enabled the construction of such crimes, attracting a great following and great prestige for speaking up on the crimes of his emperors. If I was an emperor, I wouldn't mind having Chomsky on my tail either, because he will only be chasing faits accomplis— leaving me free to create new ones! And thus the New York Times epithet fails miserably on the contemporaneousness of this matter, and only on account of Chomsky's uncourageous silence in unequivocally articulating a moral compass on this issue when something can actually be done about it rather than courageously lament in history books after the fact. His undistinguished silence has likely misled, or indeed not been the prime mover of, many a movement that might have effectively called for an end to the Israeli racism and apartheid, and thus postponed the harbinger of justice to a suffering people. As the reality of faits accomplis on the ground might suggest, justice delayed, is justice denied, thus necessitating increasingly greater and more tumultuous radical transformation in bringing it about. Can the increased bloodshed be laid at the footsteps of the silently spectating world, and in commensurate measure, upon the silence of their ranking priest who claims "the responsibility of a writer as a moral agent is to try to bring the truth about matters of human significance to an audience that can do something about them"?

So we have the "high priests" of officialdom spinning their doctrines in manifest truism to serving the interests of their ruling elite, and we have the "dissenting priests" ostensibly sanity-checking and unraveling their spin. But who sanity-checks and unravels the self-interests of the "dissenting priests" and the concomitant red herrings?

Their inexplicable failure in providing a moral compass on this single most momentous issue of our time, only succeeds in carving out the entire solution space on Israel-Palestine in the West, between the "high priests" of the ruling elite and the "dissenting priests" of the conscionable flock, to the rather limited two-state axiomatic paradigm forcing the beleaguered peoples to choose between the reality of a brutal occupation, and the reality of continually shrinking buntustans that has no parallel to statehood anywhere else on Earth today.

So let's tepidly examine Noam Chomsky's own objectivity in the light of his own self-proclaimed self-interests that might coherently explain this odd blindsight in the most profound intellectual in the West. Having openly declared himself a Zionist, and a Zionist youth leader, albeit of the 1940s variety, whatever that might mean, I must ask why the profound intellectual of the dissent space would not conscionably recuse himself from bringing to bear his own Zionist-aspiration-driven personal advocacy on the Israel-Palestine solution space due to his obvious conflict of interest, and focused instead, as a conscionable intellectual must, on what the suffering Palestinian victims themselves advocate as their desired solution space? Just as he conscionably brings their miserable plight to the attention of his Western audience by courageously setting aside his personal Jewish affiliations when highlighting the monumental crimes of the cruel Zionists upon the Palestinians, why would he not also conscionably set aside his personal self-interests of his nuanced "Labor-Zionism" aspirations, and bring the Palestinian victims' own solutions—as the victims' natural right to demand their own redressing—to the attention of the same audience?

This is a rather clear and unambiguous litmus test of objectivity for anyone who claims to speaks out on behalf of any suffering peoples. And it also provides a rational mechanism to anyone to enable them to set aside their own self-interests. Just allow the victims to speak for themselves and propagate their own claims before the world! In the pungent stink of the gigantic red herring of what's "practical," as in the "two-state solution," we see the "practical" slowly becoming faits accomplis, as the good peoples in the West are continually deflected from demanding the moral compass towards the 'right thing to do' space by their prominent intellectuals co-opted by their own self-interests.

And this red herring of disingenuousness doesn't just end here. There is even a finer shade that must still be unraveled. For an intellectual laying claims to high morality of intellectualism, and often publicly teaching the Biblical Golden Rule "Do unto others as you have others do unto you," indeed, even creating logical corollaries to it which go something like this: "if it is good for me to do to you, it should be good for you to do to me, and if it is bad for you to do to me, it should be bad for me to do to you too," and continually teaching the public how to disambiguate on complex emotional matters that are typically steeped in hypocrisy due to self-interests, by looking at the issues from the point of view of a detached being sitting on Mars looking down upon the earthlings and employing the (Biblical) Golden Rule of Morality, what does it mean to be a Zionist? Chomsky has already recognized that nation states are formed on the bloodshed of the innocent native peoples as the natural consequence of the latter resisting the usurpation and resettling of their land by invaders, which even Ben Gurion recognized, as noted above, as why would the Palestinians ever accept the Zionist invaders peaceably—thus necessitating (in Gurion's own words) "We must expel Arabs and take their places" and "We must do everything to insure they (the Palestinians) never do return"!

Thus knowing full well that any Zionist aspiration for a land that is already continuously inhabited by an indigenous population for centuries will most assuredly continually lead to, and has already led to, their displacement and bloodshed, upon what "ubermensch" principle of morality is Chomsky's aspiration of Zionism based?

Is it what Golda Meir uttered:

"This country exists as the fulfillment of a promise made by God Himself. It would be ridiculous to ask it to account for its legitimacy." (Golda Meir, Le Monde, 15 October 1971, noted from the web here).
Or is it what Menachem Begin uttered the day after the U.N. vote to partition Palestine:

"The Partition of Palestine is illegal. It will never be recognized .... Jerusalem was and will for ever be our capital. Eretz Israel will be restored to the people of Israel. All of it. And for Ever." (Menachem Begin, noted from the web here)

Or is it based on the spirit, which for the nth time was candidly asserted by Yitzhak Shamir in his own straightforward diction, and Ariel Sharon in his characteristic bulldozing-speak (and which is unapologetically repeated ad nauseam by all Israeli statesmen and Zionist protagonists in their own choicest diction with the spectating world pretending to not notice):

"The settlement of the Land of Israel is the essence of Zionism. Without settlement, we will not fulfill Zionism. It's that simple." (Yitzhak Shamir, Maariv, 02/21/1997, noted from the web here)

"Israel may have the right to put others on trial, but certainly no one has the right to put the Jewish people and the State of Israel on trial." (Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, 25 March, 2001 quoted in BBC News Online, noted from the web here)

While one is surely entitled to fantasize whatever one's mind may conjure up, hen it becomes the unstated underpinning of one's advocacy of a solution space that drowns out the echoes and aspirations of the victims themselves, there are a lot of red herrings on the ground. In any case, this is how I view Chomsky's advocacy of the "practical." The best way to demonstrate that these are indeed misperceptions and there are no vested self-interests at play, is to loudly condemn Zionism in all its nuanced shades, to unequivocally call for an end to apartheid and "ubermensch" racism in Israel that is entirely seeded from the "ubermensch" racism in Zionism itself, to designate Israel as a rogue state in one's writings and to call for its boycott and for sanctions to be imposed on it, and to actively engage in echoing the victims' own demands for justice and not put forth one's own (tainted) solutions. The little guy on Mars is still awaiting an unequivocal moral compassing from "priestdom" on Israel-Palestine!

Indeed, I would be much more impressed if distinguished and prominent intellectual dissenters and Jewish moralists like Noam Chomsky outright condemned modern Zionism and its racist apartheid structure on the principled position of Moral-Activism, as much as they condemned Nazism and its National Socialist State that was also based on the same Nietzsche-ian "ubermensch" philosophy and which once engulfed the entire world in a world war to eradicate. Perhaps in the present "World War IV" against "Islamic terrorism"—with the amazing new doctrinal name of "Islamofascism" synthesized to seed all the "doctrinal motivations" needed to sustain this new "policy" of "perpetual war" mobilization—he can, faithful to his own intellectual positions taken earlier on the responsibility of intellectuals, himself being one, and not just a mere ordinary one, but "arguably the most important intellectual alive" in the entire Western Hemisphere, advocate its moral extension, or its real moral commencement, against the "Jewish Fundamentalism" and "Jewish Terrorism" and "Zionofascism" of his own peoples in Israel-Palestine whose crimes he has amply documented himself (see here, here, here, and here for a recap of what's already been shown conclusively above).

As a polite courtesy to the prominent intellectuals and peace activists whose positions are illustratively dissected here to demonstrate the endless trail of red herrings inherent in the very premise of any allowable discourse on this subject in the West, even in the so called dissent space, I sent them an earlier version of this article for comment. Only the erstwhile Noam Chomsky responded. We went back and forth a few times. I remained unconvinced of his continued tortuous "practicality" arguments and suggested to him that he might voice them publicly in response to my article, vastly opening up the discourse space. But he did put me in a temporary quandary by suggesting that I would be doing a grave disservice to the cause of the Palestinian peoples by making my views known in public, as it will unwittingly give the Israelis and their Zionist exponents further excuse to increase their oppression as a pretext that 'see—they want to dismantle us'. He also disconcerted me by saying why was I bringing the illustrious name of Edward Said into this (by the fact of having quoted Edward Said). That threw me off balance for several sleepless nights and days, delaying the publication of this article in much angst, fighting with my own conscience. Until I realized (yet once again) that if I was right there under the 'jackboots' of the butchers, any butchers, in any place, even as a Jew under the Nazis, I would want some conscionable person on the outside to yell out my message loud and clear to the world for me: 'I am a human being under the jackboots of the Nazis—do the right thing for at least my children.' By not honoring that call of anguish of the innocent victims when I perceive the reality of their immeasurable suffering which is a "mystery whose parallel may only be the one of Sinai when something was revealed," I would not like to become the recipient of their curse:

“and I still curse the killers, their accomplices, the indifferent spectators who knew and kept silent” (Ellie Wiesel in All Rivers Run to the Sea)

That clinched it for me. The tyrants will do what the tyrants will do in any case, and as they have been doing for decades. And the people of conscience must do what the people of conscience must do, regardless, to end despots' reigns.

We stay wrapped up in Ezra Pound's paradigm of deception with multiple red herrings: invent two lies and have the public energetically embroiled in which one of them might be true.
Moving right along disambiguating and dismantling the constricted solution space of swiss cheese bantustans being offered the Palestinians as new faits accomplis are carried out right before our eyes as we stay wrapped up in Ezra Pound's paradigm of deception with multiple red herrings (invent two lies and have the public energetically embroiled in which one of them might be true), the question arises that why should the dialog, when it comes to the Palestinians, begin with the 1948 construction of Israel through superpower politics? As for instance, in Phyllis Bennis' article where she passionately advocates justice for the refugees, she makes the following statement:
"The United Nations welcomed Israel as its newest member with Resolution 273, passed on May 11, 1949. The membership resolution stated specifically that entry to the world body was based on Israel's statements regarding its ability and willingness to implement the earlier Resolution 194 of December 1948, and the rights it granted to the Palestinians. Those were the right to return home and compensation for their losses during the war."
Sounds great, except that when it is applied to the more fundamental first cause question of why Der Judenstat was created in Palestine in the first place on another indigenous peoples' continuously inhabited land, three thousand year old history is drawn upon to show the aspirations of the victimizers and what transpired in Europe through the Holocaust as the final justification for its creation through the victimizers' own official instrument of adjudication. Why should that become so automatically axiomatic in one case, but the history and real lives of the peoples continuously living there before 1948 who are innocently victimized not be equally axiomatic? Does this have anything at all to do with attempting to bring justice in the best way possible to the tragedy unfolding on the ground, or the mere preservation of self-interests by arguing "impracticality"?

All conscionable peoples' voices of protest must be brought to bear on the plight of any innocent victims, for we are indeed one family in humanity, and when we collectively stand up against tyranny, we are at our finest in demonstrating that we have come a long ways from our humble Neanderthal beginning. However, in principled Moral-Activism, our conscionable voices can never be allowed to drown out the victims' own anguished voices themselves, the victims' own notion of what crimes are being heaped upon them, and the victims' own demands for what is fair and just restitution. Especially since the victims are still contemporaneous, and justice can still be afforded them. The crimes invoked upon them have not become fodder for erudite works of historical research as yet, as some like to pretend. The victims are still howling and writhing in insufferable pain.

The voices of the victims themselves describing their own fate are as potent, and as legitimate, as the Jewish moralist and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel's description of what the Jewish victims faced at the hands of another monumentally criminal oppressors. Just as the victims' own description of their Holocaust outweighs any detractors and revisionist historians claims to the contrary—indeed even laws are being constructed in many Western nations to make it illegal to challenge the victims stories and the victims suffering and the victims version of what calamity befell them—so must the systematic genocide and depopulation, terrorizing, and inhuman subjugation of an innocent people in their own words must now replace the many Diaries of Anne Frank. The past monumental crime is over, but its memory is now being devilishly employed to diabolically mask a new monumental crime in progress by the former victims themselves—see here, here, and here for how that's done, and here, here, and here to catch a glimpse of it in action to quell any criticism of Israel by constantly drawing upon allusions to the Holocaust "a hate-fest against Jews akin to a Hitler rally in Nazi Germany" and "Islamic Mein Kampf"—one might have thought that they may have known better, having suffered themselves and being God's chosen people and all!

Denying any genuine victim's indescribable calamity is monumentally shameful. The clarion call of "never again," however is not reserved to only one class of victims, as some have tried to do. And when those who were once victims themselves create new victims of their own, and in a manner of oppression and deception learnt from their past victimizers, I tend to lose much sympathy for them. It is a factual statement that one can even observe in themselves, and in any courtroom, for similar behavior exhibited by a past victim becoming the victimizer of a new innocent victim. Indeed, in a rational and fair court, they would be imperatively disarmed and locked up—for leaving weapons and power in the hands of the criminally insane would be an even greater monumental crime of any court!

Watching the Zionists operate, any Jewish person of conscience must surely be upset at what "great name" (sic!) some of their brethren have bestowed on an entire people, associating with the word "Jew" a high and moral tradition. But that does not appear to be the case at all, with rare exceptions (see here and here for some examples of such rare and genuine human beings who are so offended that they put their own lives on the line but remain largely unknown and unmourned in the victimizers' own civilizations, though they are idolized and immortalized as heroes by the victims themselves, and here for fair justice). Israel seems to continue to enjoy widespread support from the World Jewry, and most vocally from within the United States of America. Indeed, a lot of support for Zionist Israel comes from this superpower nation's ordinary Christian Zionist ideological supporters (see here and here), of which the mighty President of this "Roman Nation" is himself an exponent.

And here comes the fundamental dichotomy in dialogs with the victims. To the victims, the Zionists are monumental barbarians to be seen in the same dock someday as Eichmann in Jerusalem, with the front rows occupied by the new innocent victims who have as much right to succor and restitution as their victimizers were for their own Holocaust. And surely the new victims repeatedly, daily, hourly, every moment of their breath, invoke the same curse uttered by the former victims: "and I still curse the killers, their accomplices, the indifferent spectators who knew and kept silent." To them too, their plight must surely be an equal "mystery whose parallel may only be the one of Sinai when something was revealed." And despite this daily inhuman subjugation, they continue to make every attempt at civilized existence despite burying their children daily, barely escaping from under the roofs of demolished homes and the wrath of D9 bulldozers and F16s, and having to kiss their beloved child with his or her eyes precisely blown out by an Israeli 25-year-old sharpshooter as if he was "cockroach picking," and not go insane! The call of the Jewish moralists must be: "Although the Holocaust inflicted horrible injustice upon us, it did not grant us certificate of everlasting righteousness. The murderers were amoral; the victims were not made moral. To be moral you must behave ethically. The test of that is daily and constant."

One can read, hear, and see the Palestinian victims' scream in anguish and call for justice from the bespectating world in their own voices here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, ... just a few randomly chosen samples of how the Palestinians themselves view their own calamity and how the victims themselves perceive justice, but for the convenient ear plugs in well-intentioned peoples' ears. Compare the victims' own call for restitution to this articulation by Israeli Statesman Shimon Peres (the master of the art of "yes but no") here, and examine the vested interests of all those who echo it in all its nuanced shades.

And one can further watch how these screams are continually dismissed in the West, especially in the United States of America, by well-organized shills for the Apartheid State continuing to strew their own B-grade-quality of red herrings, considerably less abstruse in disguising their obviousness in their ongoing attempt to continually sow obfuscation any which way possible in order to continue to buy time for Der Judenstat in seeding new "impracticalities" to justice for their innocent victims. The following is only a random sample. The very first comment for this book Refugees in Our Own Land : Chronicles from a Palestinian Refugee Camp in Bethlehem by a commentator whose well-known affiliations are noted here, and other generous red herring droppings noted here, says the following:

" ... Had those things actually been perpetrated by Israel, I would be first in line to condemn them. But even the United Nations has concluded that Israel has not committed genocide, in Jenin, or anywhere else. As for murder, it seems that the only murder is taking place by Palestinians against Israeli civilians, and that whosoever amongst Palestinians has been killed has died either in battle, in the line of fire, or by accident, for which Israel has apologized. When, on the other hand, was the last time a Palestinian leader actually sought an end to suicide bombings, because they are evil, not because they are inexpedient."
And concludes by saying:
"My biggest problem with this book is that for most of the events that Hamzeh reports, she relies on hearsay. There has been no scientific or objective attempt to verify the information, much less the veracity of the sources. Even that might be all right, had the reporter not assumed an hysterical tone. But Hamzeh is so willing to believe everything nasty she hears about Israel or Israelis, or Jews for that matter, that nothing escapes unscathed. I want peace, but books like this one--filled with blame and outright hatred--do nothing to promote it."
Perhaps this commentator needs to be introduced to the "scientific or objective attempt to verify the information" standards adopted by the incumbent victimizers themselves to bring to the attention of the world what monumental crimes were once heaped upon them, or mandatorily be made to read the anguished words of Elie Wiesel in his own highly acclaimed "hysterical tone" of the calamity that is now a "mystery whose parallel may only be the one of Sinai when something was revealed" for their own innocent victims. A conscionable reader may perhaps inform the commentator, as well as all those allied with her (begin here and here, then progress to here, here, here, here, here) of this fact so that we may all endeavor together—for none of us is perfect and many of us are easily misled, sometimes by blind passion, sometimes by disinformation—to become human beings first!

It may be apropos to bring the late Edward W. Said's own rational words—one who was indeed from among the victims and deeply affiliated with their culture and civilization as both a spokesperson and an anguished exponent of his peoples cause—for summation away from my more emotional ones that synchronizes to the beat of Ellie Wiesel perfectly but perhaps not as eloquently or credibly. Excerpted from Edward Said's essay "The Mirage of Peace", October 16, 1995 in The Nation:

"The deep tragedy of Palestine is that a whole people, their history and aspirations have been under comprehensive assault--not only by Israel (with the United States) but also by the Arab governments and, since Oslo, by Arafat....

I do not pretend to have any quick solutions for the situation now referred to as "the peace process," but I do know that for the vast majority of Palestinian refugees, day laborers, peasants and town and camp dwellers, those who cannot make a quick deal and those whose voices are never heard, for them the process has made matters far worse. Above all, they may have lost hope....

I have been particularly disheartened by the role played in all this by liberal Americans, Jewish and non-Jewish alike. Silence is not a response, and neither is some fairly tepid endorsement of a Palestinian state, with Israeli settlements and the army more or less still there, still in charge. The peace process must be demystified and spoken about plainly. Palestine/Israel is no ordinary bit of geography; it is more saturated in religious, historical and cultural significance than any place on earth. It is also now the place where two peoples, whether they like it or not, live together tied by history, war, daily contact and suffering. To speak only in geopolitical clichés (as the Clinton Administration does) or to speak about "separating" them (as Rabin does) is to call forth more violence and degradation. These two communities must be seen as equal to each other in rights and expectations; only from such a beginning can justice then proceed."

And perhaps I may be allowed to offer my own much more modest rational conclusions, as seen from the eyes of an ordinary person, with my own personal biases and self-interests. Not being an intellectual, I am mercifully spared their burden of claims to deep thoughts, and can speak straightforwardly in ordinary human being first sense, the common man's sense, or commonsense. It is but a concatenation of obvious moral truisms for there isn't a whole lot to this summation beyond that.

All of the discussion in this article is the view from the victims, and/or from the civilizations sympathetic to the victims, and/or from the courageous conscionable peoples in all civilizations who are human beings first and can genuinely commiserate with the misery of other suffering human beings without putting their own self-interests above those of imperatives of morality, and what is fair and what is just, as amazingly and quintessentially delineated in the Biblical Golden Rule "do unto others as you have others do unto you." The victimizers' and their exponents' view obviously is incongruent with this. But can there be no objectivity? How does a judge ever make a ruling in any case? Is it only with victors' justice? No, not among civilized conscionable peoples, and among rational and moral civilizations. In these times of ease of access to information, amazing search engines and document archives at finger tips, it may indeed be deemed a moral crime, by the victims at the very least, to feign ignorance of the state of the world, or to disingenuously claim a different world view. But then it does require considerable skills to disambiguate the spin doctoring and vested interests that surround the information, especially for well intentioned bespectating peoples removed from the conflicts themselves. How is one to discern fact from fiction? Unless one is the victim of course—then one needs no discernment! The victims know with certainty what crimes are visited upon them and what is their demand for restitution and compensation. Perhaps others might just ask the victims themselves? But that might just be too much commonsense, the good lord of hypocrisy, the ubermensch, forbid!

Do we need to define some standard agreed upon usage of words, i.e. definitions, that are then applied to all sides of the arguments, ab initio, in order to discern them unhypocritically? How important is it to know the "first cause," and how appropriate is the principle of "all the evil that follow" to apportion the blame for all crimes stemming from the first cause? How far in history may one go? One year? Ten Years? Fifty Years? 100 Years? Three Thousand Years? Ten Thousand Years? To Adam? To Devil? To God? (To Big Bang, in case one is atheistic)? What key principle standard was employed at the conclusion of World War II at the Nuremberg and Tokyo Trials to apportion blame for the heinous war crimes committed by both sides of bombing civilian centers and causing the deaths of up to 50 million people—irrespective of whatever may have been the weaknesses in the execution of these standards due to self-interests of the victors as some have argued? (And we don't want to use these possible weaknesses in the execution of these standards as arguments to deflect our attention from the actual moral principles behind them which is the point of discussion—but do watch for it as some will surely try to distract attention from the actual moral principles themselves by bringing up various compromises and poor implementation of moral principles in the past as evidence for not following moral principles or not advocating justice based on moral principles—wonderfully smelly things, these red herrings, for some fishermen I am sure!)

Does the passage of time in the current epoch, as it blends into history, favor the status quo? Are we doomed to remain caught in this plight of the House of Zeus? Or is there a way to discern rationally, logically, fairly, to understand the "right thing to do" space? Once knowing that, it is always "impractical" to bring it about, as the odds are always against the underdogs—the victims—and in favor of the topdogs—another truism. Arguing truisms like the 'impracticality" argument to justify not articulating 'the right thing to do' is called what?

(In case one does not know how to answer this question, one may try any of these for size and see which ones may fit: "hectoring hegemons," "self-interest," "sophistry," "hypocrisy," "double standards," "superpower's uncle tom," "a red herring manufacturing factory that supplies wholesale to the consciousness of their nation using the credibility of the power of their name," "intellectually aiding and abetting in the conspiracy to perpetuate a monumental crime through advocacy speech and actions not rooted in Moral-Activism and thus deliberately enabling the continued perpetuation of the crime and its concomitant new faits accomplis," et. al)

And the most obvious moral truism summation for last—the now visible elephant dancing on the newlyweds' bed.

The most commonsensical solution that seems to be continually eluding the luminous West that supports the misconstruction of Israel as an apartheid state, with various and sundry Western intellectuals sheepishly apologizing for it by cleverly not talking about it in all their fancy and refined punditry of high morality and responsibilities of intellectuals, is the one nation state for all its inhabitants. In that tight geography, two nations just cannot be constructed justly; the one with the guns will always dictate the terms. And it is truly no ordinary piece of geography. It is so steeped in the history and intermingling cultures of all three Abrahamic religions that try as the European Zionists may to obliterate the vestiges of the other two, the history and its affiliations cannot be divorced from that geography. Abolishing apartheid and eliminating the racist Zionist philosophy and replacing it with a civil society and civil laws for all, is the only just solution. It is also the solution that the Palestinian peoples themselves demand. One nation of Muslims, Christians, and Jews, or stating it in another rational order, of Jews, Christians, and Muslims, living amicably together in the holy lands that all covet, equitably sharing the Land of Canaan. With the passage of time, in a peace seeded with justice, all wounds of the victims—the ones throwing the rocks and the stones at the tanks besieging their homes, and the ones going berzeck in blowing themselves up in a last ditched attempt to get back to their tormentors responsible for their insanity and their shattered tabula rasa—may be healed. The innocent Jewish victims of the Palestinians' struggle to live as free human beings on their own continuously inhabited ancestral lands against their inhuman oppressors, I hope will heal too—an innocent people traumatized by the first Holocaust, and then by the struggles against their own criminal oppression by another innocent people whom they gratuitously victimized, have a long and arduous self-healing process in front of them. It's time both sides were allowed to start the process by vehemently and righteously rejecting the insanely criminal and largely unexamined axioms, the anachronistic first cause celebra of their entire modern misery and the root cause of war mongering and suffering in the entire Middle East, from their midst. There is no reason, in the modernity of the 21st century, to have an Apartheid pariah state in our midst that has co-opted the very definition of justice from the lexicon of Western languages, and continues to create new innocent victims on a daily basis and has been doing so since its very inception in 1896, when its founder claimed along the banks of the Swiss Rhine: "In Basle I founded the Jewish state ... Maybe in five years, certainly in fifty, everyone will realize it." And most assuredly, there is no reason for any people, be they well-intentioned, or ideological, who may have supported it in the past, to continue doing so in the present, except with monumentally criminal intent of perpetuating crimes against a beleaguered humanity.

If an EU can transpire after killing each other for centuries and upon the ashes of 50 million dead just in the 20th century, with the determined will and singular focus to do so, a unified Palestine-Israel is a far more natural and historical reconstitution, except for the relative newcomer European Zionism parasite that has hijacked the region, and continually prevents and distorts its reseeding with red herrings. It's time to finally endeavor creating the long-cherished and elusive dream of a peaceful and fairer future for all of our children by the construction of a non-Apartheid equal and just state for all its inhabitants in Israel-Palestine.

Indeed it will then be a true "Zion that will light up all the world," one that can finally claim to be the genuine moral inheritor of the Ten Commandments, and of the noble Prophet—whom all three faiths in the region honor and respect, sharing in the same Abrahamic moral traditions—who identified his flock as God's chosen peoples!

Thank you.

Published with permission of the author. The author, a minor justice activist, grew up in Pakistan, studied EECS at MIT, engineered for a while in high-tech Silicon Valley (patents here), and retired early to pursue other responsible interests. He may be reached via Visit the author's blogspot.

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