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Total number of comments: 34 (since 2013-11-28 15:36:22)


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  • Petraeus confirmed Quickly by Committee;
    Seminary rioting, Jalabad Airport Bombings
    • truly startling candor (video) as General McChrystal’s former colleague, Col. Douglas MacGregor, appeared on Judge Napolitano’s Freedom Watch show over the weekend : "Should be spending a trillion dollars to import democracy to the Muslim world? Absolutely not, it’s a hopeless endeavor. This is a bottomless pit for our resources. Nothing good is going to come from it."

  • Public Souring on the Afghanistan War
    • Mistah McChrystal - He Dead : "In a nutshell, it's about infinite war. It's easy to forget -- as much of US corporate media do -- that in the midst of all the "runaway general" hoopla, McChrystal's own COIN (counter-insurgency) strategy in Afghanistan had already been reduced, according to his own neologism, to "Chaos-istan" for quite some time. To apply counter-insurgency en masse against Pashtun brothers and cousins is a foolish recipe for failure. Washington does not even know who the "enemy" is; Afghans on the other hand see it as a war of Christian foreign invaders against the Pashtun nation. The recipe was originally "designed" by the new general in AfPak, McChrystal's boss, Central Command chief David "I'm always positioning myself to 2012" Petraeus, the conceptual hero of the "surge" in Iraq. Meet the new general, (not quite the) same as the old general; let's say Petraeus is a silkier version of Captain Willard, without the Kurtzean overtones of McChrystal. Cue that Peter Townshend power chord: "Won't be fooled again." Or will we?"

  • McChrystal Drama is Sideshow;
    Can Obama define a realistic Goal?
    • David Bromwich: McChrystal, Obama, and Authority "Why did he give interviews to Rolling Stone? One answer is egotism. Another is more politicking. But for what? An additional hundred thousand troops? (From where?) A different president to serve? (But we have a system that takes care of that.) A simple impression of disloyalty is left by the article. Disloyalty first of all -- but also a half-formed wish to be relieved of responsibility in order not to be blamed for defeat."

      Professor Cole: "Can Obama define a realistic Goal?"

      Yes: UNWIND THE WAR ECONOMY, Juan; and do so in a patient, political savvy way... imho It's a delicious political finesse really: Mr. Obama has given Generals Petraeus and McChrystal enough rope to hang themselves, all the troops and resources they needed to mount a ridiculous "offensive" against the rural / tribal hamlet of Marja, complete with this bizarre notion of "government in a box," (oh, how delusional it all seems now, in retrospect). Their precious COIN runs up against reality and then they take one look at Qandahar ~ jaws drop to the floor: "But, they're all Pashtun! and, Karzai's corrupt brother is the Governor! What are we supposed to do?"

      So, McChrystal is OUT; Petraeus is demoted: mow he must actually comeoutof the shadows and take ownership for COIN = "maintain the lush budget of the D.O.D." ...rather like mobilizing an Army of 100's of thousands to go into Watts, in search of an outlaw biker gang hiding out there. Petraeus my yet find a way of weasling out of this one, too ~ but right now, insofar as 2012 is concerned, General: fuggedaboutit!

  • Obama's MacArthur Moment? McChrystal Disses Biden
    • "President Obama absolutely must fire McChrystal" imho, The President should not need to relieve from duty this incompetent officer (for an act of apparent insubordination against the Constitutional civilian leadership of U.S. armed forces). Either General Petraeus or Admiral Mullen should remove General McChrystal from operational chain -of- command for engineering what will be recognized and recorded as one of the greatest military debacles in American military history.

  • US Strike Kills Civilians in Khost,
    Bombings Rock Helmand Capital
    UN: Roadside Bombings Double
    • "The Khost security commander, Abdol Hakim Ishaqzai, told Afghan Islamic Press in this regard that foreign aircraft had bombarded Mosakhel District during an operation, as a result of which five civilians were killed..." You know how we call it, "The Vietnam War," but over there in Vietnam they call it "The American War"-? So yeah, like i started wondering, "What do they call it, over there in Afghanistan?" ...the American War? ...the American Occupation?

      For that matter, what do we call it / characterize it as, 'officially' (?) wiki : "The War in Afghanistan is an ongoing coalition conflict which began on October 7, 2001, as the US military's Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) that was launched, along with the British military, in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks on the US. The UK has, since 2002, led its own military operation, Operation Herrick, as part of the same war in Afghanistan. The character of the war evolved from a violent struggle against Al-Qaeda and its Taliban supporters to a complex counterinsurgency effort."

      I'm sorry but Operation: 'Enduring Freedom' (OEF) comes off sounding too much like, The Seven-Year Itch, or something: "June 7, 2010, marked the 104th month of US military engagement in Afghanistan, making it 'the longest war' [?] in the history of the United States (American involvement in the Vietnam War lasted 103 months)." hmmm... "the Longest War." Well that rings true, but it just doesn't clang.

      One big characteristic of Bush/Cheney GWOT Ops is all these unknown casualties: "American Military Casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan Now Exceed 500,000 : Pentagon fudges the numbers to placate American public" (not to mention, what their casualties are! i mean, does it say on their I.D.'s, who's friend, and who's foe?) That guy who just tried to blow you up, or took a shot at you ~ he's the "Bad Guy," G.I. Joe.

      that's about all we know, for what it's worth. "the only good news for the White House is that almost no one in the United States seems to be paying attention." hmmm... 'The War of Unknown Soldiers', or just 'The Unknown War'-?

  • Obama Launches Green Equivalent of Moon Mission
    • ref: "the words of John F. Kennedy echoed in my mind" I'm glad you heard such a positive message, Juan. Unfortunately, fwiw I was profoundly disappointed by the President's speech, which, to my mind revealed that the Obama Administration is now operating as if it were a "hollow government" ~ in much the same way that BP is a "hollow corporation." I felt as if the administration was not leading but seeking consensus (not unlike in Europe, where governments and enterprises speak of "taking a decision," rather than "making a decision"). I got no sense of vision, whatsoever, for a 2010~2020 American Decade of focused, shared sacrifice and ultimate renewal. Indeed I actually felt anxious during his rhetorical references to (something like) "I have no answers, solutions, or agenda," and "am open to all ideas, thus;" as well as "Well, one thing we can all do is pray." In that regard, I was left feeling that Mr. Obama's speech was at times as weird as Mr. W.Bush and his apparent faith-based "Triumph of the Will" over reality; and realpolitik as feckless as that of Jimmy Carter.

      BP, it is important to note, is less an oil company than it IS A BANK that finances oil exploration. Deepwater Horizon was, after all an OCS - Outer Continental Shelf (recently opened up by Bush/Cheney) WILDCAT WELL that came in a GUSHER ~ literally blowing itself up in that process. "BP appears to have unleashed one of the 10 most productive wells in the Gulf, industry executives say, "BP screwed up a really big, big find."

      As the fourth largest corporation on the planet, it is interesting to note that BP is also one of the largest, post-modern HOLLOW CORPORATIONS: "Unlike ExxonMobil, which owns most of the equipment it uses to drill, BP contracts out almost everything. That includes the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig (Transocean). BP shaved $500,000 off its overhead by deploying a BOP - blowout preventer without a remote-control trigger – a fail-safe measure required in many countries but not mandated by MMS, thanks to intense industry lobbying. It opted to use cheap, single-walled piping for the well, and BP installed only six of the 21 cement spacers recommended by its technical contractor, Halliburton. All these equipment substitutions and patchwork of sub-contractors significantly increased the risk of a severe explosion."

  • Key Afghan Security Officials Sacked by Karzai
    Taliban Reject Peace Talks
    Bombings in Jalalabad, Kunduz, Qandahar
    • Interesting, and somewhat sad to note that the only "news" about our troops ~ with the exception of random periodic reports, often vague (e.g., "It may be that the attack also killed a US soldier, since one was reported KIA in ‘eastern Afghanistan.’") is this solitary, sorrowful metric of NATO-American KIA = attrition rate. It is as if there are no "daily briefings," of either progress or stasis; no sense, whatsoever of what 100,000+ people are doing, Over There. Sometimes I imagine them (sadly) as not unlike the expendable Unknown Soldiers of Blade Runner, fighting far away "Off World," other peoples and other places we, Over Here could not begin to imagine: “If only you could see, what I have seen, with your eyes.”

  • Rachel Corrie Steaming toward Gaza
    Likud Vows it will Not Arrive
    • ref : “How the Israeli army managed the US mass media and shaped their narrative.” Naomi Klein, Blinding the Witnesses «There is something way too literal about Israel shooting out the eye of a witness to its crimes. This photograph of Emily Henochowicz's bandaged face needs to be seen by the world. Like many of us around the world, Henochowicz, a 21-year-old Cooper Union art student, joined protests on Monday against Israel's outrageous attack on the humanitarian flotilla. But unfortunately, the protest Emily attended was in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, and like so many protests in the West Bank, it was violently attacked by the IDF. According to a report from the International Solidarity Movement, Emily "was hit in the face with a tear gas projectile fired directly at her by an Israeli soldier during the demonstration at Qalandiya checkpoint today." This courageous young woman is now the wrenching embodiment of a policy that systematically targets witnesses and human rights advocates -- from Stop the Wall's Mohammad Othman, arrested on his way back from a European speaking tour, to the vicious smear campaign waged against Justice Richard Goldstone...»

  • Eyewitnesses Say Israelis came in with Guns Blazing
    • Gulfnews Dubai/Cairo: "According to a report in The Guardian, an Algerian activist, who gave her name as Sabrina," provides a particular gruesome account of the massacre aboard the Mavi Marmara : “Israelis subdued captain by pointing gun at a child including... "They handcuffed us, pushed us around and humiliated us," Egyptian MP Hazem Farouq, who was also on the boat, said and added what he witnessed on the ship "defied his imagination" e.g... "It was hell on the sea. I saw Israeli soldiers killing activists in cold blood and then walking on their bodies" ... "Israelis left some of the injured activists bleeding without treatment until death." According to him, the blood was so copious on the ship that some Israeli soldiers slipped while on board.

  • Erdogan: Israel in danger of losing its "best friend" in the Region
    NATO HQ Seething
    • Doubts Grow Over Israel’s Value as US Ally : “Israel’s disastrous raid in international waters Monday on a Turkish-flagged flotilla carrying humanitarian supplies to Gaza has resurrected a long-running debate over whether Washington’s close alliance with the Jewish state really serves U.S. ‘strategic interests’. Ironically, one negative answer was provided in Jerusalem Tuesday by none other than the head of Israel’s vaunted foreign-intelligence agency, Mossad. Noting, among other things, the disappearance of the Soviet and Western blocs with the end of the Cold War, Mossad chief Meir Dagan told members of the Israeli parliament’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Tuesday that "Israel is gradually turning from an asset to the United States to a burden." That view was emphatically re-asserted the following day by one of Washington’s most highly respected and centrist Middle East analysts [Anthony H. Cordesman] in an essay entitled "Israel as a Strategic Liability?" that instantly became must-reading for regional specialists both in and outside the administration of President Barack Obama.

  • Eyewitness Account: 'They began to fire machine guns ...'
    • After yet another military debacle the small but powerful bloc of unwavering supporters of Israel must by now be feeling increasingly anxious as they become more and more aware of the profound incompetence, apparent of the IDF Officer Corps. "We thought it would be passive resistance, maybe verbal — but not at such strength," said an Israeli captain, injured during the Gaza blockade flotilla op. Imagine what it would have been like for these IDF assault troops if the "passive resistance" (by this officer's own account) practicing, peaceful demonstrators had they actually been (as the Israeli press contend) wearing similar body armor, sidearms; carrying assault rifles and/or light machine guns; and RPG's ~ perhaps capable of taking out one or more troop-carrying helicopters, hovering above ~ or even hitting one of the small craft IDF coast-guard scale vessels, cruising (apparently unconcerned for their own safety) alongside the innocent-looking civilian convoy. What a suicide mission, indeed it would have been for these IDF assault troops, confused and terrified as they apparently were by a civilians wielding no more potency than makeshift clubs and kitchen cutlery in addition to their righteous anger.

      And an IDF suicide mission is actually the best-case scenario, imho. Imagine if the Mavi Marmara was, as Netanyahu said: "This wasn't a love ship, it was a hate boat... This was not a peaceful operation, it was a terrorist operation..." actually was a Trojan Horse (!) So the IDF tow or tug-guide this gigantic IED into the Port of Ashdod, at which point some Tommy Tutone terrorist flips open his cell phone and dials 867-5309 whereby some tactical nuke WMD hidden behind a welded bulkhead goes >WHAM!< taking out Ashdod and a big chunk of Israeli coastline: thanks for the keys to the kingdom, Mr. Netanyahu.

      I mean, even if you're a knee-jerk supporter of "Israel's right to defend herself" -- after being sucker-punched by a savvy Hezbollah, failing to stop a puny flying pipe-bomb fireworks display from Gaza, and looking like terrified teenagers when confronted by an "angry mob" of middle-aged peace protesters wielding deck chairs -- you'd have to start questioning the Israeli Defense Forces' ability to defend themselves ~ much less, YOU.

  • Israeli Commandos Kill as Many as 10-16 Aid Activists,
    wound over 50 as they Board, Capture Gaza Aid Flotilla
  • "This Scares Everybody" says BP:
    Top Kill Fails, Imperils Gulf;
    "There are no Solar Spills"
    • The rising chorus of American voices calling for Mr. Obama "to become more involved" in the environmental disaster that will destroy the coastline and culture of the eastern half of the U.S. Gulf Coast (and quite possibly wrap around the Florida peninsula and lay waste to the southern half of the East Coast) is, in my opinion an expression the exasperation felt by most Americans that they, themselves are not involved in the defense of their homeland by this invader; That they, themselves are ready for action ~ ready to report for duty, Sir! ~ and crave for their leader to turn to them and say, "Follow me! We're getting killed on this beach (couch, cubicle, computer console chair) So get off your butts and let's start fighting back!"

      Obama's "Katrina" ? the headline blasts in that tense, passive-aggressive tense ( j'Accuse? ) ending with that wimpy, weasel ? rhetorical that supposedly makes it OK to label, I daresay all but libel someone with all kinds of negative JuJu. But they've got it all wrong, Juan. This is not Mr. Obama's "Katrina" moment — this is the President's "9/11" moment... That crisis = opportunity that Mr. Bush had, and squandered ~ when the whole nation (yea, and much of the world as well) was spontaneously flying American flags, and would have followed him to Hell and back; that precious moment when Mr. Bush responded with, "My fellow Americans... Go Shopping."

      NOW IS THE TIME for Mr. Obama to tell the American people: "YOU can do something about this. Stop using OIL. Stop using it whenever and where ever you can. Stop using petroleum products. We can change. YES WE CAN!" Not unlike Goebbel's Sportpalast speech of 1943 : “Two hundred years of American history are in danger. Do you believe in the final total victory of the American people? Are you, the American people willing to work 10, 12 and if necessary 14 hours a day, and to give everything for victory? Do you want total war? If necessary, do you want a war more total and radical than anything that we can even imagine today?

  • Kirchner: Bush angrily said War would Grow US Economy
    • "Bush is simplifying a known fact, that it was World War II that ended the Great Depression once and for all."

      "War has once and only once proven to be an economic ‘boon’. That was to the US during WW2 under specific conditions."

      That's twice so far in this thread (and this is informed comment :) it is/was not WAR that [ended this or that economic malaise] rather, it is/was a WAR ECONOMY... Cole: "You wonder who else among the Republican elite fell for Bush’s typical piece of stupidity re: war= growth." To which I would add, provocatively: including the "exception" often cited of Great Depression malady : WWII remedy. iow, WAR ECONOMY = spending, which ~ if one is a Keynesian ~ would to some extent follow the logic of "fiscal stimulus." indeed WAR ECONOMY Fascism in Italy and Germany during the 1930's, was a remarkable remedy to those countries' economic maladies. The Cold War ECONOMY was a fiscal stimulus (resurrecting Japan's daibatsu first, then South Korea, etc.); the Global War On Terror, imho, is/was a fiscal stimulus (interestingly, strongly felt in Europe). unwinding the US WAR ECONOMY that is "Iraq" and "Afghanistan" et al is proving to be politically and practically as difficult as the challenge of unwinding the current artificial / interventionist support of the US STOCK MARKET, which, in another popular fallacy (supported by Corporate Media) a surprising number of Americans believe that THE STOCK MARKET = THE ECONOMY.

  • Israel offered Nukes to Racist South Africa for Use on Black Neighbors
    • The New York Review of Books, Peter Beinhart The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment : “Of course, Israel—like the United States—must sometimes take morally difficult actions in its own defense. But they are morally difficult only if you allow yourself some human connection to the other side. Otherwise, ‘security’ justifies everything. The heads of AIPAC and the Presidents’ Conference should ask themselves what Israel’s leaders would have to do or say to make them scream “no!” After all, Lieberman is foreign minister; Effi Eitam is touring American universities; settlements are growing at triple the rate of the Israeli population; half of Israeli Jewish high school students want Arabs barred from the Knesset. If the line has not yet been crossed, where is the line?

  • US Troop Withdrawal in Iraq on Track
  • Karzai Defeats Obama 2-1
    • "PBS Newshour has video which is as usual professional. But the title, “Obama, Karzai Renew Pledge to Continue Fight Against Al-Qaida in Afghanistan,” drives me crazy. There is no al-Qaeda to speak of in Afghanistan and that organization is irrelevant to the social and political struggles in that country." I know, Juan ~ it's frustrating as hell. The whole military occupation of Afghanistan is just mind-boggling: the NATO-American forces, whatever their stated "strategy," in their day-by-day deeds seem to be casting about for something constructive to do, for some reason for their assault troops to actually be there. insofar as 'al-Qaeda' goes I daresay "that organization is irrelevant to the social and political struggles in Pakistan," too. If anything, I admit that I have become even more cynical about 'al-Qaeda' than you, professor — imho Zawahiri and his muse, bin Laden were a pair leading no more band of brigands than their own bodyguards, until the U.S. wanted to prosecute them in absentia in early 2001, and the only way they could do so was to employ the RICO - Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, thereby creating the genesis of some hierarchic, corrupt organization (not unlike, e.g., some notion of Cosa Nostra). We didn't find the "network of bunkers" in Tora Bora that Mr. Rumsfeld and the neocons all said was there for the same reason that we didn't find WMD's that they said were in Iraq: because there's no there, there. imho, 'al-Qaeda' is an ethereal cause célèbre, a djinni, not some real cabal of enemy combatants.. Not unlike the British historian / documentary film-maker, Adam Curtis ~ The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear ~ I have come to believe that 'al-Qaeda' is nothing more than a necessary invention for post-Cold War western states to continue their Military-Industrial rôle as "providing security to the populace." In the final analysis, 'al-Qaeda' is irrelevant to the social and political struggles in America! It is this futile, NO EXIT hunt for these phantom, existential fears of our own making that is the true enemy of our future.

  • Police: Shahzad has no Links to Taliban; Clinton Remarks Produce Firestorm in Pakistan
    • fwiw, I totally agree with you, Brian: "I suspect that, if it had worked, all it would have done was blown out the car’s windows and set the car on fire..." But the question remains: does the mechanism = message have to blow up, to cause KIA + WIA or be otherwise damaging to be terrifying? Just being there, this smoldering SUV in Times Square ~ look at what this "inept, perhaps even impotent device" has done to the American psyche ~ to the conversation.

      When one receives a bullet by post it doesn't have to go >BANG< to cause a Shiite or a Sunni, or an African-American, or an Irishman ~ living in the "wrong" neighborhood ~ to become totally terrorized; to pack up the families and abandon their homes; to take flight and become refugees. To be sure, the carnage is horror, but it is the message that is terror.

    • Slang expressions such as "lone wolf" and "one-off" are probably intended to express: (A) that the agent provocateur was not acting "under the direction or direct orders" of any Islamic nation; and (B) that the agent provocateur was not one member of a conspiracy ~ meaning that "if he was, then we should expect follow-on attacks by one or more of his associates in this group to which he belongs." But the slang, and even the professor's reckoning that "There is nothing in Shahzad’s background that links him..." to any nation or terrorist group fails to reassure us because history reveals that these "lone wolfs" and "one-offs" have a pattern — they are serial, albeit random-periodic attacks. One gets the sense that, even if they are "self-directed," they are persistent, and consistent in that they are all drawing upon the same, or very similar sense of some common cause célèbre.

  • Iraq Death Toll from Attacks rises to 119, Biggest since Start of Year
    • ref : “Attacks [by Sunni provocateurs] on Shiite mosques [and civilians] are intended to provoke reprisals against Sunni Arabs, sharpening the contradictions and polarization and making [heretofore nonviolent, but now "aroused victims of Shiite reprisals"] Sunnis easier to recruit and mobilize for the [delusional cause of a unified "Grand] Resistance" [to Shiite rule in Iraq — or even evolve into a greater ‘Sunni-Shiite War’ that would engulf the entire region in a sectarian bloodbath, dwarfing the horror we witnessed in the recent ‘Sunni-Shiite Battle for Baghdad’]. Though the 'logic' of Sunni militants trying to victimize their own peoples "to provoke a general uprising" is grotesque, professor, it is consistent with the delusional thinking of other militant groups, including the weird manifestos espoused by our own, so-called "domestic" terrorists.

  • Salisbury: Times Square Rorschach Test
    • "Such soft and tenuous facts, taken together, strongly suggest international plot and provide a foundation for political leaders, columnists, internet commentators and television personalities to build all manner of teetering dream houses. The administration, perhaps anxious to have attention diverted from the deadly mess in Afghanistan..." Fascinating how the author whacks "political leaders, columnists, internet commentators and television personalities" for speculation based on little or no direct evidence ~ then immediately engages in speculation, himself: "The administration, perhaps anxious to have attention diverted from the deadly mess in Afghanistan..." ;-)

  • Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: Niass & Shahzad
    • Re-reading my comment, I feel compelled to say: "To be sure, there are numerous non-State terrorist “hollow organizations” using likewise perverse interpretations of ‘Judaism’ or ‘Christianity’ as a figleaf, I daresay “brand” ~ as cover for their violent agents provocateurs; As well there exist many corrupted Temples and Churches that “Fill [an Educational and/or Spiritual] Void, but Fuel Militancy.” e.g., Gospel of Matthew 10:34 «I come not to bring peace, but to bring a sword» Aggression sanctified (if not rationally justified) "in the name of our god US -vs- the godless, apparent THEM, thus" certainly nothing new, nor is it ~ for goodness sake! some feature exclusive to any particular faith. With bible verses engraved on their gunsights, too many of our own soldiers pervert their own faith — just as surely as the drones, mass-produced by corrupted madrassas, screaming "God is Great!" do, just before blowing themselves up in a crowd of innocents.

    • "no contemporary Muslim-majority country I can think of would launch a war of naked aggression purely on an Islamic basis" You have chosen your words carefully, yes? For there are numerous non-State terrorist "hollow organizations" using ISLAM as a figleaf, I daresay "brand" ~ as cover for their violent agents provocateur anti-Western true reason -for- being; As well there exist many corrupted madrassas that "Fill [an Educational] Void, but Fuel Militancy." Without these two features, I do not think this bogus belief, that "Islam is not a religion of peace," would be so prevalent in modern Judeo-Christian western culture.

  • Suspect Arrested in Times Square Bomb Plot; Afghan anger at NATO Grows
    • News reports are saying that the arrested / alleged Times Square bomber, Mr. Shahzad, "traveled to Pakistan, attended some sort of 'training camp' while over there, and then returned to the States." Hello, Homeland Security? (!) You will recall that Ms. Napolitano, who characterized the last headline terrorist act as: "The System worked," has again gaffed, saying this one was not "anything more than a one-off" attack. Apparently what saved our bacon this time was the fact that many Times Square street vendors are Vietnam War Vets, who alerted local police to the LITERALLY "smoking gun".

  • From Waziristan to New York
    • The postmodern professional U.S. Army cannot cook their own food, or launder their own uniforms ~ much less build their own barracks and major bases. That many of these finely-specialized assault troops' own officers, their political leaders (and many people back home) believe that they have any training or capacity, whatsoever to plan and construct civilian infrastructure, much less "Nation Building," would be comic ~ were it not so tragic. imho History will note the scope and scale of this delusional thinking, apparent as utterly mind-boggling in retrospect.

  • I want My Country back from Big Oil
    • ref: "That [political pundits] and [corporate media] managed to switch 'the conversation' [ = news narrative from OIL] to "how fast the White House could respond to [a Katrina Hurricane-scale debacle in the Gulf of Mexico]" tells you everything you have to know about corporate propaganda in this country." HehHehHeh ~ and quite an effective bit of diversionary spin this faux-narrative has been, eh? A petroleum consumption culture so pervasive and presumptuous in The States that we begin to see bizarre Op-Eds & Essays such as NYTimes : "But whatever the magnitude of the spill... 50 miles off the coast of Louisiana, it is unlikely to seriously impede offshore drilling in the Gulf: The country needs the oil — and the jobs."

  • Can "Proximity Talks" Avert Boycotts of Apartheid Israel?
    • @JamesSpeaks ref : "Israel has built a wall part of the way… around itself." (!) profoundly true. I daresay this historical tendency has been and continues to be a dominant feature of most Fundamentalist religious cultures ~ perhaps to the extent that "reactionary persecution" becomes a rationale for their most precious myth: God's chosen people-?

  • Veiling ban in Belgium: It is all about the State
    • ref: "a way for the state and major social institutions to inscribe themselves [via costume/fashion dictates and/or mandates] on the bodies of women" in public places. What an fascinating, (and provocative) blogpost, professor Cole. Indeed the more we generalize it; e.g., take away "Islamophobia," or even gender specificity ~ the more interesting this whole topic: 'clothing as an extension = expression of public or private identity', becomes.

  • Chaudhry: Dis(re)membering \pä-ki-ˈstän\
    • One of the most convoluted essays that I have read about the Middle East and Southern Asia in a long time. Almost as "it's all about oil" obsessive as Mr. Escobar's Pipelineistan ~ but Mr. Chaudhry's rhetoric is less entertaining ~ more hysteric, nonlinear and ultimately indecipherable to this reader, fwiw.

  • Taliban Resemble Successful Insurgencies
    • imho It is inconceivable that the Obama administration would begin unwinding the $4+ billion USD/month supplemental U.S. WAR ECONOMY, or in any way changing the public (or private) timetables for the withdrawal of NATO-American military occupation forces from either IRAQ or AFGHANISTAN a mere ~6 months before the mid-term national election cycle.

      The best we can hope for is that responsible members of the NATO-American officer corps realize that their land-locked forces are engaged in meaningless endeavour of occupation ennui, act rationally to limit their own as well as indigenous peoples' KIA + WIA, and successfully stifle Generals Petraeus and McChrystal from initiating any more fantastical "assault strategies" = grand-scale military solutions to vanquish rag-tag gangs of "criminal combatants," or to prop up corrupt crony capitalist "governments in name only."

  • Anzalone: The Death of a Caliph
    • ref : “The ISI - Islamic State of Iraq is an umbrella organization for several of the most violent ‘jihadi-takfiri ’ insurgent groups operating in the country, the largest of them being AQI - al-Qa ‘ida in the Land of the Two Rivers/Iraq... WikiAQI : “The group's strength is unknown, with estimates that have ranged from 850 to several thousand full-time fighters in 2007. In 2006, the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research estimated that AQI’s core membership was in a range of "more than 1,000." (These figures do not include the other six AQI-led Salafi groups organized in the Islamic State of Iraq.) The group is said to be suffering high manpower losses (including from its many "martyrdom" operations), but for a long time this appeared to have little effect on its strength and capabilities, implying a constant flow of volunteers from Iraq and abroad.” personally, I find it strange that any Western leader, or media ~ would find any whiff of "victory" whatsoever in the assassination = (elimination, but not attrition, apparent) of any leaders or common guerrilla fighters of an organization whose principal weapon is, after all expendable suicide fighters — and subsequent, planned replacement by an endless stream of mass-produced Martyrs wrought by a Military-Theocracy Complex of corrupted madrassas. iow, Losing a "kamikaze" weapon for them is a bit like our losing an UAV "drone" mass-produced by our own Military-Industrial Complex, n'est-ce pas?

  • Gates Worries about Iranian Nuclear Research, while Khamenei blasts US for Hiroshima
    • imho Interesting that the West seeks sanctions rather than solutions to the "dilemma, apparent" of IRAN. To cut to the chase: (1) most modern nations feel uncomfortable with 'Theocratic States' in general, and 'Supreme Leaders' for life, specifically; and (2) almost everybody feels uncomfortable about 'nuclear' and other WMD's, no matter who has them. In this regard, Iran is not unique ~ it is simply the focus of an essentially Israeli-American prop-agenda, yes? The "dilemma, apparent" is that negative pressure by Israeli-American commercial & military interests, or by some cobbled-together consortium of countries, devolves into collective punishment : feeding and sustaining, literally serving the interests of the coercive and/or corrupt regime. otoh, When professor Cole the other day hinted at "thinking outside the [sanction] box," ie., what if we were, ourselves courageous enough to "Tear Down Our Walls," flood The People with commercial opportunities and open up cross-cultural exchanges... imagine the quandary the régime would find itself, no longer thought of as being "necessary for the security of The People" against external enemies. All we are saying is, give peace a chance... certainly, we have nothing to lose.

  • Wright: Assassinations Strengthen Religious Terrorist Groups
    • imho, The problem for NATO-American leaders is: by what metric(s) do they measure "success" = the benefits -vs- the costs in blood and treasure of their military occupation of Afghanistan? Most sanguine analysts would agree that the death -from- above drone & special op ground assassination programmes don't really make the West's occupation troops Over There (or their own, civilian populations Over Here) any "more safe" = success ~ the metric rhetoric is hollow, without any real meaning ~ indeed, as the great Russian General Zhukov pointed out as the principle reason for his victory over the supposedly invincible Germans : great soldiers are more than mere assassins. again, imho, By adopting "assassination" without moral hazard as a military means (to an indeterminate political end) all the NATO-American leaders have succeeded in doing is having their enemies (and their modus operandi) become their teachers.

  • 170 Killed in Afghanistan as Gates, Cheney, Palin Wrangle over Karzai
    • ref : “That isn’t an argument, it is just a contradiction. LOL... a righteous kill, professor Cole. Your rhetoric today reminds me of an essay by Michael Kinsley on Oct. 10, 2002, Get Serious : “The Bush campaign for war against Iraq has been insulting to American citizens, not just because it has been dishonest, but because it has been unserious. A lie is insulting; an obvious lie is doubly insulting. Arguments that stumble into each other like drunks are not serious. Washington is abuzz with the "real reason" this or that subgroup of the administration wants this war. A serious and respectful effort to rally the citizenry would offer the real reasons, would base the conclusion on the evidence rather than vice versa, would admit to the ambiguities and uncertainties, would be frank about the potential cost.

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