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Total number of comments: 4 (since 2013-11-28 16:50:49)

Derek

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  • Obama's Syria Strike Part of 'Broader Strategy' (Germanos)
    • It has been a naive conceit for Americans to believe that the affairs of faraway places can be run through the short sighted and utterly self interested meat grinder of inside the beltway Washington politics forever with no consequences. Of course there are absolutely vital US interests in Syria as there are in Egypt, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Lebanon and the rest of the volatile but ancient and precious part of the world that has so seized the ambitions of empires and made them a play thing. What is necessary is to bring the slaughter in Syria to an end and find a political path to a renewed Syria. That is not done with cruise missiles and “limited” death from above but a whole hearted commitment to the object of bringing an end to the slaughter and finding a path to peace. The actual, tangible, interests of American security depend on leadership that defines a path to peace in Syria and if that path requires a military component, leadership that will not shrink from it what ever it is. A military response must serve a strategy and a policy consistent enough and humble enough to be taken seriously but ambitious enough and principled enough that it may actually inspire Americans to understand what their interests are in Syria and make whatever sacrifice they are called on to make as they have done, or sought to do, on many an occasion.

  • Everybody Leaks in Washington: What the Bradley Manning Trial Tells us about a Broken System (Schanzer)
    • To call Mr. Schanzer's argument disingenuous would be an understatement. What takes place with the "select members of the elite Washington national security press corps" whom Mr. Schanzer seems to hold in such high regard for their supposedly responsible, first amendment protected use of leaked information is far too frequently an exercise in disinformation, outright war mongering and manipulation of public opinion. Clearly Mr. Schanzer has seen very little of what wikileaks and Bradley Manning have put on the record because the contrast with what we are provided by the "elite national security press corps" could not be more striking. If Bradley Manning had so much recourse why did we not see the "collateral murder" video when Reuters first requested it? If a legitimate press organization responding to the slaughter of two of their journalists could not effect a release of that material what chance would a lowly enlisted man have in bringing it to light? From Professor Schanzer's comfortable academic perch perhaps it looks like Bradley Manning had options. Mr. Schanzer is right about one thing. The decision to prosecute Bradley Manning for "aiding the enemy" is indeed a threat to the freedom of the press. That it is coming from the Justice Department of the sainted Barack Obama must be hard for liberals to bear but there it is. Freedom of the press may survive but if it does it will be through the courage and tenacity of whistle blowers like Daniel Ellesberg and Bradley Manning and journalists like Jeremy Scahill and Amy Goodman, it certainly will not be defended by the "elite" sycophantic Washington press corps or timorous academics too worried about their careers to see what a stinking mess cries out for the light of day.

  • Why they Hate us: Romney Secretly Plots to Screw Palestinians over Again
    • Thanks for this. The emphasis placed on the other of the Lord High Money Maker's comments needs a counterbalance to bring to light the truly awful nature of what, I think you correctly surmise, is not only the policy his Lordship would wish but the bi-partisan policy of the American government as it is supported enthusiastically by most of the chattering classes from Clint Eastwood to Jon Stewart. No idea seems so orphaned in modern America than that the Palestinians in the area of the old British mandate should be seen to be at all, much less the citizens of a state. This is a troubling and ominous symptom which, in an individual, would be evidence of a serious psychopathy. I agree with some of your interlocutors that the response to this must surely call into question the pursuit of a separate state for Palestinians as a solution. It may at least be time to take the position that a solution to the deplorable circumstances of the people of the occupied territories must be found either through the creation of a viable state or through a democratic one state solution with equal rights of citizenship for everyone. If the end result is to be a viable Palestine, for North Americans, the road probably must travel through the democratic secular state with no vestiges of apartheid policies and violent, racist repression of Palestinian people. As long as the anodyne notion of some "final status" agreement at some immeasurably distant point in the future continues to entrance the west in general it is easier to accept the dim evidence of brutal policy towards the Palestinians as the necessary condition for our brutalized consciences to bear. A divestment and boycott campaign for civil rights for Palestinians would much more likely to gain traction in the west than a campaign to establish a state that, however improbably, could serve as a platform to attack Israel. The campaign could be undertaken safe in the knowledge that Bibi and his American sycophants will not do anything towards actually settling the issues by means of a viable Palestinian state until the pip squeaks and if they still do not then at least the issue of civil rights in a single state will be in play.

  • Top Ten Myths about the Libya War
    • I wonder if this example of the differences between voices that shared a critical view of the Afghanistan/Iraq adventure post 9/11 will lead to some self reflection. Clearly the events in Tunisia, Egypt and now Libya together with the incredible courage and tenacity of people in Syria, Yemen and Bahrain to continue to resist in the face of this now formula response of tanks and heavy weapons against demonstrators has a message for the west.

      We have grown too comfortable with our choice of words, too lazy in our analysis to challenge the plutocrats and their phoney politics in North America effectively so we invent new horrors to lay at their feet, invest them with god-like powers of prescience and actual control over our democracy so that we can look from afar at others and opine but do nothing here. Rather than try to react nimbly to the unexpected outburst that is the Arab spring, to mobilize in support of this hopeful development, some have tried to force it into an unnatural and doctrinaire framework that, as usual, has some all knowing and malevolent intelligence guiding world events in the direction that the capitalists wish. In their heart of hearts people in this camp know they cannot win here. On the fringes perhaps Caesar's empire can be whittled away but here in Rome it is hopeless.

      Bah! Let us surround the plutocrats and the billionaire boys club! Let us mobilize our young and disenfranchised, resist the heavy weapons of the propaganda war and prevail in the struggle for the future! Let us banish the horrible vision of the degradation of the natural world and vast slums of poor surrounding the gated communities of the rich that is being prepared for us! If the people of Tripoli can be free maybe we can too!

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