Please Do Try to Keep Up, Won’t You?
Yes, this is the weekend catch-up of all those things that didn’t fit during the week.
KV Jr update
The source for the ‘body snatchers’ quote from Kurt [tag]Vonnegut[/tag] Jr mentioned in an earlier post was In These Times from 27 January 2003, where you will find the rest of the interview.
Here is a little more:
ITT: Based on what youâ€™ve read and seen in the media, what is not being said in the mainstream press about President Bushâ€™s policies and the impending war in Iraq?
KVJ: That they are nonsense.
ITT: My feeling from talking to readers and friends is that many people are beginning to despair. Do you think that weâ€™ve lost reason to hope?
KVJ: I myself feel that our country, for whose Constitution I fought in a just war, might as well have been invaded by Martians and body snatchers. Sometimes I wish it had been. What has happened, though, is that it has been taken over by means of the sleaziest, low-comedy, Keystone Cops-style coup dâ€™état imaginable. And those now in charge of the federal government are upper-crust C-students who know no history or geography, plus not-so-closeted white supremacists, aka â€œChristians,â€ and plus, most frighteningly, [tag]psychopath[/tag]ic personalities, or â€œPPs.â€
To say somebody is a PP is to make a perfectly respectable medical diagnosis, like saying he or she has appendicitis or athleteâ€™s foot. The classic medical text on PPs is The Mask of Sanity by Dr. Hervey Cleckley. Read it! PPs are presentable, they know full well the suffering their actions may cause others, but they do not care. They cannot care because they are nuts. They have a screw loose!
And what syndrome better describes so many executives at [tag]Enron[/tag] and [tag]WorldCom[/tag] and on and on, who have enriched themselves while ruining their employees and investors and country, and who still feel as pure as the driven snow, no matter what anybody may say to or about them? And so many of these heartless PPs now hold big jobs in our federal government, as though they were leaders instead of sick.
What has allowed so many PPs to rise so high in corporations, and now in government, is that they are so decisive. Unlike normal people, they are never filled with doubts, for the simple reason that they cannot care what happens next. Simply canâ€™t. Do this! Do that! Mobilize the reserves! Privatize the public schools! Attack Iraq! Cut health care! Tap everybodyâ€™s telephone! Cut taxes on the rich! Build a trillion-dollar missile shield! Fuck [tag]habeas corpus[/tag] and the Sierra Club and In These Times, and kiss my ass!
In a similar vein, [tag]Bill Maher[/tag] riffs on the ‘élite’ and how they are sadly lacking where they are sorely needed in the Bush administration. [tag]Monica Goodling[/tag], before resigning to avoid being questioned over the [tag]Federal Attorney[/tag]s scandal, was the third ranking official in the US [tag]Justice Department[/tag]. She has not herself been a [tag]Prosecutor[/tag] but she went to [tag]Messiah College[/tag] and then studied at [tag]Pat Robertson[/tag]‘s D-Grade Law School. This is scary for the rest of the world to know what sort of people are appointed to positions that affect us, especially if our name is, like, Muhammed, or [tag]David Hicks[/tag], or something. Essential offices in the [tag]US administration[/tag] that demand the most highly skilled people are being run by cronies, by worse than mediocrities, by stupid incompetents who are deciding the lives of people all over the world.
But what’s really good is Bill’s debunking of the ‘warm sound’ of [tag]vinyl[/tag] records. Especially if you’re over thirty.
Click on image
Tip to onegoodmove. We take one good move every day. It keeps us sane.
The Israel Lobby
[tag]Antony Loewenstein[/tag], currently in the US promoting his book, [tag]My Israel Question[/tag], has linked on his site to a paper by John [tag]Mearsheimer[/tag] and Stephen [tag]Walt[/tag], published in the London Review of Books, about the Israeli lobby in America, called, strangely enough, ‘The [tag]Israel Lobby[/tag]‘. It is well worth a read. The infiltration of the [tag]Bush[/tag] administration (and staffing of Senators’ and Reps’ offices) by the Israel lobby is almost complete. The past and present personnel list includes Iraq war architects Wolfowitz, Perle, Feith, Abrams, Bolton, Kristol, Libby and Wurmser, some of whom are also members of the Project for a New American Century and some of whom also wrote the discussion paper for then Israeli PM, [tag]Netanyahu[/tag], called ‘A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm’.
The effect of all this has been, according to Mearsheimer and Walt, to put the people of the US (and [tag]Australia[/tag], too) in danger.
â€˜[tag]Terrorism[/tag]â€™ is not a single adversary, but a tactic employed by a wide array of political groups. The [tag]terrorist[/tag] organisations that threaten Israel do not threaten the United States, except when it intervenes against them (as in [tag]Lebanon[/tag] in 1982). Moreover, Palestinian terrorism is not random violence directed against Israel or â€˜the Westâ€™; it is largely a response to Israelâ€™s prolonged campaign to colonise the [tag]West Bank[/tag] and [tag]Gaza[/tag] Strip.
More important, saying that Israel and the US are united by a shared terrorist threat has the causal relationship backwards: the US has a terrorism problem in good part because it is so closely allied with Israel, not the other way around. Support for Israel is not the only source of anti-American terrorism, but it is an important one, and it makes winning the war on terror more difficult. There is no question that many [tag]al-Qaida[/tag] leaders, including Osama [tag]bin Laden[/tag], are motivated by Israelâ€™s presence in Jerusalem and the plight of the [tag]Palestinian[/tag]s. Unconditional support for Israel makes it easier for extremists to rally popular support and to attract recruits.
This article is, of course, not uncriticized, to say the least, but it includes much food for thought and debate. If you would like to view a serious debate it is available here, also hosted (in New York) by the London Review of Books, and including Australia’s own Martin [tag]Indyk[/tag].
What Can You Say About Douglas [tag]Feith[/tag]?
The 6 April edition of the [tag]New York Times[/tag] reported on the continuing travails of Dougie Feith, Israel Lobbyist and ‘the dumbest fucking guy on the planet’ [General Tommy [tag]Franks[/tag]]. Colonel [tag]Wilkerson[/tag] said of him, ‘Seldom in my life have I met a dumber man’, and ‘I often wondered if [Feith's and Wurmser's] primary allegiance was to their own country or to Israel. That was the thing that troubled me, because there was so much that they said and did that looked like it was more reflective of Israelâ€™s interest than our own.’ Then CENTCOM Deputy Director, Lt. General Michael [tag]DeLong[/tag], said, ‘he’s full of baloney, his people working for him are full of baloney.’ [tag]Condolleeza[/tag] [tag]Rice[/tag] is said to have told Feith, ‘Thanks Doug, but when we want the Israeli position we’ll invite the ambassador.’
And Donald [tag]Rumsfeld[/tag] called him ‘without question, one of the most brilliant individuals in government’.
Feith served on the board of the [tag]Jewish[/tag] Institute for National Security Affairs ([tag]JINSA[/tag]), a think tank that promotes a military and strategic alliance between the United States and Israel.
And at the important time for this report, Feith was the head of the [tag]Pentagon[/tag]‘s [tag]Office of Special Plans[/tag] which second-guessed the CIA to provide alternative (and Iraq-War-friendly) intelligence briefings to the [tag]White House[/tag].
According to the New York Times, a report by the Pentagon’s acting inspector general, Thomas [tag]Gimble[/tag], released by Democrat Senator [tag]Carl Levin[/tag], of the House Armed Services Committee, on April 5,
the Pentagon provided â€œinappropriateâ€ analysis for its reports of a strong link between [tag]Saddam[/tag] [tag]Hussein[/tag] and [tag]Al Qaeda[/tag].
Mr. Levin, in a statement Thursday, said the analysis from Mr. Feithâ€™s office â€œwas not supported by available intelligence and was contrary to the consensus view of the intelligence community,â€ yet was â€œused by the administration to support its public arguments in its case for war.â€
Feith’s report to the White House claimed there was “consistent underestimation of importance that would be attached by Iraq and Al Qaeda to hiding a relationship”.
Indeed, in December 2002 [tag]Cheney[/tag] warned that Iraq â€œhad high-level contact with Al Qaeda going back a decade and has provided training to Al Qaeda terrorists.â€
All of this intelligence was, we know certainly in hindsight and some of us knew at the time, entirely untrue if not intentionally false. However, Dick Cheney, even when faced with the evidence, continues to promote the lie as if fanning the flames of a love so long dead even the worms have lost interest.
The [inspector general's] report appeared on the day Vice President Cheney again drew a link between the war and Al Qaeda, telling the radio host Rush [tag]Limbaugh[/tag] that â€œto advocate withdrawal from Iraq at this point seems to me simply would play right into the hands of Al Qaeda.â€
Four days after the White House briefing, Mr. Cheney referred at a fund-raiser to a â€œwell-established pattern of cooperation between Iraq and terrorists.â€
The Pentagon says the report is wrong to suggest that Feith’s work undercut the intelligence community. “The intelligence community was fully aware of the work under review and commented on it several times,” the Pentagon said.
One can only imagine what those comments by the intelligence community might have been:
“Baloney! Bullshit!, Bollocks! You must be joking! Which 5-year-old made this up?” Etc.
But Rumsfeld was right after all. We, too, are struck by the brilliance of the Feith logic:
Because [tag]Iraq[/tag] and Al Qaeda would take immense care to hide any relationship between them, the very fact that there was no evidence of a link between Iraq and Al Qaeda was the proof that they were hiding one! Just like the [tag]WMD[/tag]s! It’s perfect.
[tags]elite,Wolfowitz, Perle, Feith, Abrams, Bolton, Kristol, Libby, Wurmser,Project for a New American Century,A Clean Break,Securing the Realm[/tags]