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Total number of comments: 37 (since 2013-11-28 15:54:48)


Showing comments 37 - 1

  • Daesh/ISIL encouraging Loner attacks to Mask its Death Spiral
    • Regarding Daesh's potential longevity, would you please address the question of support, if any, they receive from ME elites, particularly the Saudis, and whether that will continue?

  • Will Syrian Kurds defeat ISIL , helping Democrats win White House in 2016?
    • " it would vindicate President Obama’s strategy "
      At this point, Obama's strategy is very much overdetermined by that of the R+6, they are draining the "quagmire" Obama predicted. To speak of vindication is absurd.

  • How the Israel Lobbies hurt U of Illinois-UC & 1st Amendment (Salaita Case)
    • Excellent post. Very heartening to see Salaita receiving proper support from the courts.

  • Did Jeb Bush just commit a War Crime in Justifying the Iraq War?
    • Good work on informing us of another dimension to the pervasive illegality fundamental to US foreign policy.

  • Fatal Triangle: Saudi, Iran, US Tensions spike over continued Yemen Airstrikes
    • good post. Regarding the Saudis breaking their own ceasefire, you might consider a post at the Sic Semper Tyrannis website. I can't assess its credibility, but the author claimed the Saudi suffered desertions in the face of prospective combat with the Houthis.
      link to

  • Rand Paul: GOP Hawks are Obama's "Lapdogs;" McCain: Paul 'Worst Candidate'
    • "it is a little difficult to see the difference between bombing Iraq to stop Daesh from taking it over and bombing Libya to stop Gaddafi from winning out"
      Gaddafi = Daesh? Gaddafi at one time advocated a form of pan-Arab unity, but that project was never so centralist or murderous. Daesh's ambition appears to be hegemonic. Please explain.

  • The von Moltke Fallacy and avoiding another World War, with Iran
    • Policeman, hardly. But certainly a capacity to act as an ally on issues of mutual interest is enough. Of the many twists to all of this, one I find most interesting is how the Israelis and Saudi relationship will unfold. For one thing, rapprochement between the two will likely set up strong tensions within the Saudi elite.

  • What's Religion Got to do with it? German Co-Pilot as Terrorist
    • Thank you for drawing attention to the disgusting attempt by CNN to create an Islamic connection to Breivik. Stuck in front of a CNN-blaring monitor at the gym yesterday, I struggled to ignore one of their experts going into excruciating detail about suspicions that the co-pilot was a terrorist, and, it hardly needs to be said, Islamic. As J.R. Saleem above suggests, even though we find out he's not Islamic still means we've been subjected to another round of media conditioning.

  • Sharpening Contradictions: Why al-Qaeda attacked Satirists in Paris
    • I'm afraid your focus on sharpening the contradictions doesn't work. Martin Luther King's strategy involved just that. What differentiates his approach is that he was committed to non-violence to provoke the other side to intolerable acts. Islamic radicals of this ilk commit the intolerable acts in the first round.

  • Top 5 Planks of 2016 GOP Platform? Torture, War, Bank Corruption, Paid-For Elections
    • It's not just the Republicans serving as ventriloquist's dummies. Obama, the Foamer-in-Chief, has hardly been unfriendly to Wall Street. The resistance by some Democrats to the spending bill is exposing significant internal rifts within the party, and this post obscures them with a too-easy Republican vs. Democrat analysis.

  • NYC Climate Demo: Top 5 Massive Rallies that had no Effect
    • A useful reminder, but the environmental crisis is different. With, say, the 2003 Iraq war, decisions by the US government could be implemented regardless of the demonstrations, and once implemented the largely volunteer base of the military and relatively low casualties insulated the conflict. The environmental crisis will threaten us all, at first capriciously, then generally. It is inescapable. Already it is shaping our sense of the future, e.g. conservative acquaintances of mine worry about their children. This isn't to urge complacency, but rather optimism.

  • US Public Worried about ISIL, Putin-- But Climate Change is Real Challenge
    • Although it's outside your purview, I wish that, instead of only mildly scoffing at the "Putin threat," you would do a walk-through of the development of the Ukraine crisis. In it I hope you might give some place, to the question of Russia's legitimate security concerns and the foolish expansion of NATO, the question of rotating oligarchic rule in the Ukraine, and the historically divided character of the Ukrainian polity. The MSM has been astonishing indifferent to these and other questions, preferring a collage of shallow impressions of demonstrations and airline disasters. It seems very much like we're witnessing a repeat of the start-up of the Cold War, even though it should be possible with Internet resources to thwart the resurrection of the Russian bear (which one of my idiotic Senators - supposedly the least idiotic - recently referred to).

  • Gaza: 4 Dead Boys on the Beach & Israel's Precision War
    • Why don't you even consider the possibility that this is not a matter of lack of intelligence but a surplus of viciousness? Over the years of the Occupation there have been numerous incidents of Israeli troops deliberately shooting Palestinian boys. Isn't it possible that this time they simply used a bigger gun? Furthermore, your weak critical standpoint leaves open the possibility that if the Israelis acquire better intelligence the dead will deserve it.

  • 5 Reasons India's new BJP ("Tea Party") Government may not be so Great for Business
    • Well, basically 05/18/2014 at 4:38 pm

      It seems very likely that Modi will take a more aggressive stance against tribal groups that have been resisting land seizures and resource extraction. I hope you give those groups, and the Maoist insurgency linked to them, more air time now. Arundhati Roy's efforts on their behalf need support.

  • The GOP, Race and Ted Nugent: If you won't Denounce Nazi Insults, What does that Say about You?
    • You hobble a very good essay with your concluding accusation of treason. As soon as you start characterizing public speech acts of this sort as having the potential to seriously injure national interests (Wikipedia, Oran's Dictionary of Law) you're inviting repression of free speech. I'm sure you're aware of this possibility, so why take the risk of aligning yourself with the right in this way, which has historically been so prone to magnify the country's vulnerability to speech in order to resort to repression? The best way of protecting national interests -- I'd prefer the interest of humanity as a regulatory idea, actually -- is to do what you were doing in your essay prior to your accusation.

  • Top Reasons Israel's Likud Really Opposes an Iran Nuclear Deal
    • Well, basically 11/08/2013 at 12:25 pm

      Instead of mirror thinking, you might have gone for paranoid, an overused term that really fits in this case since, in having built the bomb, the Israelis could be said to then be projecting their own idea onto an Other and taking that to be the Other's state of mind.

  • Top Ten Solar Power good news Stories Today
    • Well, basically 09/19/2013 at 7:38 am

      Thanks for the update. I'd suggest that you try to keep track of the NYTimes coverage of Germany's transition. Currently they are running pieces emphasizing poor planning, rising energy costs and associated hardship. A rebuttal would be useful.

  • The Ghost of Iraq haunts Obama on Syria as British Parliament Defects
    • Well, basically 08/30/2013 at 9:09 am

      "It is the classic story of the boy who cried wolf"
      That story ends with the boy being eaten by a wolf because no one comes to his aid when a wolf does attack, right? Do you want to raise that as an additional concern? What menace does this make us -- whoever that entails -- potentially vulnerable to?

  • Tunisia Plunged into Crisis by Second Political Assassination
    • Well, basically 07/26/2013 at 9:09 am

      Thanks for getting into the details enough to refer to Brahmi's left politics. Today's NYTimes completely avoided it, part of its ongoing effort to boil everything down to a secular-religious conflict, as though issues of economic power and class don't achieve political expression.

  • Aljazeera's Conspiracy Theory about Obama and Egypt is Brainless Mush
    • Well, basically 07/11/2013 at 8:11 am

      When you say the Egyptian elite's hostility to these groups is "xenophobic" it seems that you lose sight of the fact, as an authoritarian elite seeking to preserve their power, they would have good reason to be threatened by groups seeking to promote democratic politics and, inevitably, democratic institutions. That's not phobic, irrational, behavior. I can see why you're supportive of pro-democracy groups, but I can see why both Mubarak and Morsi supporters might distrust them, even without considering the possibility of a pro US tilt in their efforts.

  • Fathers and Sons and Chechnya
    • Well, basically 04/20/2013 at 9:26 am

      Thanks for the excellent backgrounder on the problematic allegiance options available to these young men. Sorta in the same vein, it's worth pointing out that the assassins of Alexander II were members of Narodnya Volya, a somewhat leftish, peasant-oriented group that sought to overthrow the Tsarist autocracy and establish a form of peasant commune-based socialism. That's hardly "nihilist," a term which only highlights a critical point of departure from conventional views but doesn't get at the eventual content of their thinking.

  • "Argo" as Orientalism and why it Upsets Iranians
    • Good work, I couldn't agree more. As art the film is humdrum, the acting, aside from the Hollywood brio, adequate but dull. It was a fallback from Zero Dark Thirty, a film that also slices and dices history to enable Americans to think of themselves as victims. As such, it's counterpointed well by Oliver Stone's Untold History series, which will never win any awards because it's not delusional (or could it be illusional?).

  • Why Tunisia's Arab Spring is in Turmoil
    • Well, basically 02/09/2013 at 12:37 pm

      I'd read your post earlier and waited too long, JohnH got there first. I'd underline his point about how the focus of the Western media -- and in this context that might be better formulated as "the bourgeois press," really -- on religious conflicts mirrors the dulling of class conflict reporting in the West. Tunisia becomes another instance of arbitrary religion-driven turmoil instead of another instance of the rich maintaining their exploitative positions against workers and peasants. (It's hard to write that without apologizing for sounding dogmatic, but it fits.)

      I hope you're encouraged to draw out this dimension in future pieces, particularly on Egypt, where the role of the trade unions in Mubarak's downfall has been terribly minimized.

  • Is Paul Ryan right that Obama's Foreign Policy is Blowing up in Our Faces?
    • good post. It would have been better if you would have considered whether Ryan is asking for a return to times when the US did sanction attacks on citizens seeking democratic reforms. Latin American examples are rife, e.g. El Salvador, Guatemala. It's not as though he's not drawing on precedent.

  • Tampa Area Republicans terrified of Tea Party, Ryan (Guzzo)
    • Well, basically 08/25/2012 at 8:29 am

      The article makes it seem as though the Tea Party, on the other hand, could serve to hide the fact that the most significant awful Republican policies come from segments that are hardly on the fringe. Ryan?

  • Dear MSM: Andrew Breitbart was not a Blogger
    • Well, basically 03/02/2012 at 9:11 am

      I don't think your argument that Breitbart was not a blogger succeeds, but your criticism is on the mark, and helps, a bit, to offset this sort of obitspeak from the New York Times today: "Mr. Breitbart earned a reputation for being playful but also selective with the facts..." It's as though they're trying to offer support for right wing complaints about the moral relativism of liberal media.

  • Iran Hype undermined by Obama Administration Admissions
    • Well, basically 01/11/2012 at 10:26 am

      Yes, good job today. I hope that you use every opportunity to speak out against this war ramp-up since, as the US election nears, the Israelis will be increasingly likely to attack Iran.

  • Egyptian Protesters Reject Military Concessions, Demand Officers Return to Barracks
    • Well, basically 11/23/2011 at 8:40 am

      I'd appreciate your thoughts regarding the report in the NYTimes today that some younger members of the Muslim Brotherhood have rejected the Brotherhood's compromise with the military and have instead continued to support the protests.

  • UNESCO Palestine Vote Isolates US Further
  • Iran Alleges Saudi Plot Story is MEK Sting
    • The story of the left opposition to the Shah is both sad and tragic, and should not be retrospectively formulated to accord with its current bizarre deformation. The left played a very significant role in the Shah's overthrow. As Misagh Parsa has shown, in much of the prelude to the Shah's departure clerical opposition lagged behind left action, particularly strikes by unions, student organizations and their supporters, remarkably. After the Shah's overthrow, Khomeini moved to take state power and went on the offensive against all sectors of the left, which had strong support in Iranian society. (While we're at it, let's not forget that there was once a socialist clerical faction around Ayatollah Taleghani.) Khomeini "marginalized" the MEK and the People's Fedayeen through murder and imprisonment. They fought back, in part through a campaign of assassinations against the Khomeini supporters who were killing them. Over time, as the MEK tried to maintain itself within the limited options open to it, a perverse process of cultification set in, likely conditioned by having to discipline its members as the leadership sold their souls to ally with Sadaam. However grotesque the finale, the early history of these groups was heroic and should not be retrospectively marginalized to simplify the story.

  • Wagging the Dog with Iran's Maxwell Smart
    • Thank you for being very blunt in your critical assessment. But is it worth considering the possibility that a faction in the Iranian government might have fabricated the plot knowing full well that it would never be carried out and making it so implausibly gimcrack that the US would look even more idiotic and war-prone than it already does? In these matters I never know how many layers of speculation to go through.

  • Panetta Slams Israeli Isolation; Is Israeli Policy Destabilizing US Allies?
    • "Avigdor Lieberman’s response to Erdogan’s criticisms has been to implicitly threaten to ally with the PKK Kurdish terrorist group against Turkey."

      Several years ago Sy Hersh wrote of Israeli efforts to develop an alliance with Iraqi Kurds because Maliki's government would have nothing to do with them. Has this been ongoing, and is Lieberman's threat really not a threat, but a reflection of some success to Israeli efforts?

  • Visiting Liberty Square (Occupy Wall Street)
    • Great report, hopefully giving more oxygen to an important protest. But why put it this way: "Notoriously, one officer is alleged to have used pepper spray on a peaceful protester"? Are we waiting for a court verdict? The white shirt, Bologna, who sprayed the women was filmed every which way. Is there a whiff of legal procedure about the accusation that requires suspended judgment? If so, does that mean we should consider all of the actions of the object of the protest to be "alleged," waiting, waiting, waiting for yet another duly constituted authority to pronounce a verdict? Or, perhaps, in the face of wholesale criminality ranging from the executive suites to cops using mace you, outraged, felt obliged to toss in some suggestion of restrained judgment to rein in yourself? Is the problem we face that we really know what they're doing?

  • Defections, US Withdrawal Point to Political Solution in Libya
    • Regarding the rebels' retreat, it's certainly sensible to do so in the face of overwhelming firepower *and* if you can count on air support to attack troops trying to take advantage of your flight. Now that NATO is involved, the rebels can be choosy in their tactical initiatives, they no longer have to fight to avoid being slaughtered in Benghazi. NATO will likely have increasing difficulty in getting them to do more than mop up after air assaults.

  • Bahrain Shiites Withdraw from Parliament, Call for King's Overthrow
    • In the Feb 18 New York Times Kristof reports that Saudi tanks and troops have been involved in suppressing the Bahrain protests. Care to comment?

  • Bachmann Harms US Economy, Security with Scurrilous Charges about Obama in India
    • Yikes. The realpolitik -- or is it realeconomik? -- embrace of making big arms sales to India, afraid of at least one other country the US makes big arms sales to, Pakistan, carries of whiff of David Broder, whom you were just lamenting earlier this week. Short-term rationality again trumps long-term.

  • Taliban Grant Renegade Afghan Soldier, Killer of 3 British Troops, Asylum

Showing comments 37 - 1