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Total number of comments: 16 (since 2013-11-28 16:51:16)

AJ Oliver

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  • Iran and America's Memory Hole
    • Dear Jay & Others -
      I was around 30 years old before I learned of these events, and recall being shocked to my core. I knew immediately that my life would never be the same.
      Lots of academics know about it, but pretend they don't lest it interfere with their prospects of getting a grant and/or securing or keeping tenure.
      The result is that most Americans live in a fantasy world.

    • Hey Bob - I did not know it either for a long time. And one can see the nationalist double standard at work here. When our government engages in these sorts of outrages, to most of us it's no huge deal; but were some country to do it to the U.S. we would turn their land into a parking lot at the first opportunity. In part, that is why I attempt to be an internationalist.

  • What would Happen if the Int'l Criminal Court Indicted Israel's Netanyahu?
  • We have so much to Learn from Cuba
    • I very much respect Mr. Kennedy's efforts to normalize relations with Cuba, but the article should address the history of US terrorism directed against the Cuban people by Operation Mongoose - supervised by RFK senior.

  • Cuba: Top 5 other Dictatorships with which US has Diplomatic Relations
    • Cuba, unlike any other former commie nation I have visited, has a substantial portion of its population who think of themselves as revolutionary socialists. I would urge them to be very cautious about US penetration of their economic, social, cultural, and heck even sports institutions.

  • The Alamo of the Kurds: Kobane Near Falling to ISIL
    • I have rarely seen in one place so many
      compelling reasons to join
      Veterans For Peace

  • "Obama to outline campaign against ISIS" (Juan Cole at Chris Hayes, "All In")
    • Hey Prof Juan - You look tired. Take a break. Don't want to lose you.
      And jeeeez, if the MSM was anything other than a giant militaristic propaganda machine it would be full of anti-war analysts at this time instead of the neo-cons. The former have consistently gotten it right for at least the past 12 years on the Middle East, while the right has gotten it disastrously wrong.

  • Victim of McCarthy-Era Witch Hunt calls on U-Illinois not to Fire Critic of Israeli Policies
  • Hyenas vs. Rhinos: Who could the NYT get to write an Op-ed on Iraq? Hmm...
    • Few analysts in 2003 picked up on the fact that the bogus case for war was part of a larger and longer pattern of outragrous lies, so in all modesty, allow me to nominate myself . . The only major paper that was willing to publish this was in New Zealand, of all places !!

      NZ can ignore heavy American tut-tutting

      4:56 AM Thursday Apr 3, 2003
      New Zealand

      Comment by ARNOLD OLIVER*

      As an American political scientist visiting New Zealand, I have followed your debate on the war in Iraq with interest. At first I was reluctant to enter the discussion, recognising that the future of this country is yours alone to decide. But now that the Clark Government is being subjected to the kind of heavy-handed pressure that passes for diplomacy in the Bush Administration, it is appropriate that I respond.

      It should go without saying that governments in democratic nations have no more fundamental responsibility than to explain to their citizens, accurately and fully, why it is that war is necessary. When the youth of the country are being called upon to kill and die, political leaders owe the people nothing less than the whole unvarnished truth.

      It pains me to have to argue that the United States Government has been derelict in this most important duty. American officials have played so fast and loose with the facts of the Gulf conflicts, and for so long, that one has to question their respect for the democratic process, or for the legitimacy of international institutions.

      With respect to the Gulf, official deception in Washington is nothing new. Many of the officials who have led us into this war are the same ones who in 1990 orchestrated a public relations campaign to rally public support for Desert Storm.

      During the run-up to the first Gulf War, we were presented with the vision of a weeping young Kuwaiti girl testifying before Congress about the brutal Iraqi soldiers she had seen in a Kuwaiti hospital, taking babies out of incubators and stealing the machines.

      Then there was the claim that American troops had to be rushed to Saudi Arabia to defend it from the threat of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi troops and hundreds of tanks massed for an invasion.

      The incubator story, it turned out, was a fabrication. The teary-eyed girl was in fact the daughter of a Kuwaiti diplomat in the US, and had not even been in Kuwait when the alleged offences occurred.

      And the troop build-up story was almost certainly black propaganda. Commercial satellite photos taken at the time showed no Iraqi forces threatening Saudi Arabia, and the US Government has for 12 years refused to declassify the photos it claimed as evidence.

      Now, George W. Bush's national security team, sitting at the apex of a gargantuan intelligence bureaucracy with a combined annual budget of more than US$50 billion, is at it again. From the start it has been wholly unable to organise a factual case as to why this war is necessary.

      For openers, all their impressive resources apparently did not reveal to them that the British intelligence dossier that Secretary of State Colin Powell praised as "exquisite" in his United Nations speech on February 5 was mostly clumsy plagiarism. Far from being top secret, key parts had been lifted from an out-of-date journal article written by a student who had never been to Iraq.

      And with a faith in a compliant American media that could almost be touching were not its implications so terrifying, the Bush regime has even dared to rewrite history. In a September 7 speech, the President referred to a 1998 International Atomic Energy Agency report revealing that Iraq was only months away from having nuclear weapons.

      There was no such report. On the contrary, IAEA chief inspector Mohammed El Baradei has denied all along that Iraq has an active nuclear weapons programme, and during his March 7 report to the Security Council he revealed that documents describing Iraqi attempts in 1998 to buy uranium in Africa were transparent forgeries.

      While it is true that Iraqi compliance was not complete, UN weapons inspectors began to refer to US intelligence tips as "garbage after garbage" (CBS news), almost entirely wild goose chases that revealed no mobile weapons labs, no new activity at Iraqi nuclear sites, or, most importantly, any immediate threat from weapons of mass destruction.

      Further, no connection between Iraq and the September 11 attacks was established, much less that, in Powell's words, Iraq and al Qaeda were "partners".

      We are left with several possibilities. Either the Bush Administration was trying to subvert the work of the UN inspectors, or it really did not have much of a clue as to what was happening inside Iraq. Or both. Subsequent events point to the both.

      The Bush Administration's persuasive techniques have thus far consisted of throwing mud at the wall in the hope that something might stick, and never admitting - much less correcting - any mistakes.

      This singular lack of candour does a grave disservice to the American people and the world community, especially to those being torn from their families and sent away to fight. Unless and until the US Government can be far more honest with us, it has no right to demand that Americans or New Zealanders yield up our youth. If living in a democracy means anything, it has to mean that.

      Neither CNN nor the US Embassy in Wellington represent the views of tens of millions of Americans who are opposed to this illegal and disastrous war. Many of us are grateful for your Government's courageous decision to challenge it.

      We, not that clique in Washington, are your real traditional allies.

      * Arnold Oliver is a professor of political science at Heidelberg College in Ohio.

  • Tiananmen still Under Lockdown after all These Years
    • "political lies and denial of history continues to hurt and haunt", the U.S. too. This is the 50th anniversary of the US orchestrated military coup in Brazil, one of the great crimes of the century. Never forget.

  • Condoleezza Rice, Charged with War Crimes at Rutgers, withdraws as Commencement Speaker
    • "And graduating students at a liberal arts university deserve to hear from admirable people, like Foreign Service Officers John H. Brown and Peter Van Buren."
      I'd also suggest Col. Ann Wright as an excellent commencement speaker !! Veterans For Peace will be happy to help arrange it, or to line up someone equally good.

  • US sent CIA Director as Ambassador to Tehran after CIA overthrew Iran's Democratic gov't (US now Complaining about Hostage-Taker Amb.)
    • The turture - you all forgot to mention it. After the 1953 coup the US and Israel organized a massive torture apparatus in Iran. Few Iranian families were left untouched. It was evil incarnate.

  • Dear Royal Baby: We Americans apologize for our Revolution; please be our Absolute Monarch
    • Nothing against the little guy, but his direct ancestors were leaders of kick-ass tribes that used to hunt people like us for sport. Seriously.
      Nearly all of us are descended from people who used to be his (extended) family's property - at least that's the way they saw it until we straightened them out.
      Worshipping the "royals" is like led-to-the-slaughter lambs venerating their executioners.
      I don't get it, and never did.

  • Bigots Smash Window of Iraqi-American Restaurant: Then . . . Vets come to Save the Day
    • McPhee is correct. There is nothing heroic about being a spear carrier for the empire. And yes, if we really took our oath to the constitution seriously (like Bradley Manning did), we would have refused to follow a whole lot of orders . . (For those of you who do not know, Article Six, Section II states that all treaties signed by the U.S. are the law of the land. This includes conventions against torture, the UN Charter, the laws of land warfare, and much else. Military orders that contravene these are illegal and may not be obeyed.)

    • Good story, Juan, but it's more than a year old - from Jan, 2012. BTW, I'm a Veterans for Peace member; and have learned a great deal from your website. Keep up the good work!!

  • Afghanistan: The End of America's Longest War?
    • Longest war? The U.S. was in Vietnam from '54 to '75, and was instrumental in the French effort from '45 to '54. They call it the Ten Thousand Day War for a reason.

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