Wednesday, April 19, 2006

"My pacificism isn't a cloak I wear some days and others put on war drag"

Blogger was down for a little under an hour so I'm starting late. I have something I want to address at length so I may have little to offer on the Democracy Now! items. Please visit
Mikey Likes It! for a discussion on the topics by Mike.

"Bush Refuses To Rule Out Nuclear Strikes on Iran" (Democracy Now!):
At the White House Tuesday, President Bush refused to rule out the use of nuclear weapons in the impasse over Iran's nuclear program. "All options are on the table," Bush said. "We want to solve this issue diplomatically and we're working hard to do so. The best way to do so is there for (sic) to be a united effort with countries who recognize the danger of Iran having a nuclear weapon. And that's why we're working very closely with countries like France and Germany and Great Britain. I intend, of course, to bring the subject up of Iranian ambitions to have a nuclear weapon with Hu Jintao this Thursday. We'll continue to work diplomatically to get this problem solved."

He lies beautifully. He must have been taught at an early age. Oh, I'm sorry. I need to "get with the program," right? I need to join the shouting for more war, more force, all the time. That's what some of the left are doing right now and it's really disgusting me. No, not on Iran, but on other issues. I'll get to that after the next item.

"FBI Seeks Files of Deceased Investigative Journalist Jack Anderson" (Democracy Now!):
The Chronicle of Higher Education has revealed the FBI is seeking to search through the files of the late investigative journalist Jack Anderson. Anderson, whose legendary career included exposes of the Iran-contra scandal and the CIA's attempts to kill Cuban leader Fidel Castro, died in December at the age of 83. Federal investigators say they want to access Anderson's files to recover classifed documents and seek out evidence that could be used in the current prosecution of two pro-Israel lobbyists. Anderson's family has turned down the FBI's request. During his lifetime Anderson was viewed with derision by several administrations. He earned a spot on President Nixon's infamous "enemies list", and was reportedly the subject of a poisoning operation ordered by a White House aide.

Classified documents? Where does that end? Will they attempt to grab them from others? What if you were a victim of government abuse under an earlier Bully Boy and you were passed documents proving that? (Anderson did pass them on to one citizen who sued the government.)
Will the FBI show up to demand those as well. They have no right to them. But under a Bully Boy (or Gal since two female bullies seem interested in becoming president), right doesn't enter into it. Only the claim of "mine!"

Just yesterday we were talking about what? The Darfur screamers. Here comes another one.

"What to do about Darfur?" (Amitabh Pal, The Progressive):
What should be done to stop the mass killings in the Darfur region of Sudan? All progressives should be trying to answer this question.

All of us? Well how much time should all of us devote to it? If you're going to instruct us on what we must be do, could you also tell us how much time we should spend on it?

He continues:

The scale of the mass murder in Darfur boggles the mind. Africa Action, one of the foremost groups in the United States working on issues related to that continent, has compiled numbers on the tragedy. An estimated 400,000 people have died since 2003, when the Sudanese regime started unleashing its Arab militia proxies on the inhabitants of the area as a way of putting down a local rebellion. More than 2 million people have been made refugees either within their own country or have had to flee to neighboring Chad.

Since 2003, almost a half a million people. In Iraq, Robert Fisk and others estimate that we're near or at half a million dead. Refugees? You've got the brain drain, you've got people fleeing. You've also got little "gated communities" like Falluja where people may have to give retinal scans and carry i.d. They must prove to the foreigner fighters (that would the United States) that they're who they say they area. But apparently, Darfur is a "must." Top of our lists.

Now check out this point and note the Bully Boy tone:

I can anticipate objections to my support for NATO intervention. But if Security Council members impede the deployment of U.N. peacekeepers, what else can be done to stop the slaughter? I am a big admirer of Gandhian nonviolence and of peaceful resolution to conflicts, but in this particular situation, reality has shown over the past three years that such approaches will get us nowhere in saving innocent lives.

In this particular situation? So you should have principles but you should toss them out the window when given the chance?

Reality, Pal claims, has shown us that "peaceful resolution to conflicts" -- "over the past three years" -- "will get us nowhere in saving innocent lives." What is he speaking of? We didn't use peace in Iraq. We didn't use it in Afghanistan. We didn't use it in Haiti and peace never "broke out" in the occupied territories. Exactly what example from the last three years is he referring to because I apparently missed it?

I've never read such nonsense in my life from a left site.

Another way to deter the Sudanese regime is to try to bring those responsible to justice. There was a fascinating cover story in the New York Times Magazine earlier this month on the attempts of the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, to do this, and how even his preliminary efforts are striking fear in Sudanese government officials.

You know what I read? I read "Blah, blah, blah." He's criticized Thomas Friedman in the past. Otherwise I'm not remembering any criticism of the paper in recent months. What's my point? I'm tired of these shouts outs by alternative media to corporate media. Are you telling me that The Independent and The Guardian (to name only two foreign papers), haven't covered the situation? Are you telling me that independent media in this country hasn't covered it?

I'm also real tired of our "realistic" doves who transform to hawks when things get tough.

We are not the cops of the world. Bully Boy plays that game. The left doesn't need to.

Pal goes on to tells us that a legal approach was stymied by Bully Boy so it's not an option. So that just leaves sends in military force in the form of NATO (or possibly a "coalition"?). Those are his options after he dismisses peace options (that I'm not aware of our government excersizing) which failed, according to him, in the last three years.

Upfront, I don't put a lot of weight behind Pal's conclusions. I didn't like his Dalhi Lama piece which was pure puff. I didn't care for him when he was on KPFA and he seemed uninformed (as I recall it, the topic was India), the guest from Corporate Watch seemed to know what he was speaking of. I'm not alone in feeling that way. It was raised by members in the round-robin so I made a point, a week later, to listen to that discussion. (The comments seemed to contradict Arundhati Roy's reports in other outlets and also a friend of mine who got constant updates from his relatives in India.)

I'm even less impressed with him now. "Unless something is done fast" he warns later in his piece . . . Unless something is done fast, what? We might see the sort of slaughter that goes on the occupied territories?

If Darfur is someone's issue, fine. But quit trying to scare everyone in order to force them to work on your issue and get behind your one-solution only. I'm really getting sick of it. Pal offers the most limited range of options (all is ruled out except for NATO, that's not even from Colin Powell to Bully Boy -- A to B) and tell you that you must act now! Must! I'm not acting on anything.

Excuse me, Darfur is an area that our government would covet. As a feminist who never got on board the Afghanistan war, I'll be damned if I'm bullied by some on the left into hopping on board for more war.

Feminists didn't discover Afghanistan after 9/11. We were speaking out against the oppression of women long before 9/11, for years. Bill Clinton wanted to cozy up to them, so did Bully Boy. Then 9/11 happens. Suddenly, they're harboring a terrorist and Colin Powell says we have proof. Their government refuses to extradite Osama bin Laden without the US providing proof of his involvement in 9/11. At that point, proof should have been provided. It wasn't. Not only that, the American public never got proof. You can read that as more arrogance on the part of the administration (and disdain) or you can read it as there was no proof (which can be read as Osama wasn't involved or as more proof that basic evidence is no longer needed in this country for the Bully Boy to 'convict' -- just his 'gut').

What I do know is that they sold that war on the backs of feminists. Feminists were calling out the Taliban but where were these "Something must be done!" voices then? Laura Bush delivers a radio address (something Hillary would have been strung up for) to say that we're doing this war to liberate women.

Now a lot of people bought into the nonsense. Forget that Bully Boy had no record of liberating anything but corporate monies. So we bombed the hell of the country. That didn't help women or children or men. But we did it. The results? Besides death, nothing really. Osama bin Laden escaped. Things are as bad, if not worse, for women in Afghanistan now. Things are a little brighter in the tiny corner of Kabul but that's really it. There has been no liberation.

With Iraq, we've turned back the progress for women. (As well as killed "thousands!") Now Iraq and Afghnistan was the Bully Boy doing it his way. I'm not prepared to give him a blank check. Pal is. Even had he gotten behind the UN, UN forces in Haiti not only do not appear to help the people but some reports have them hurting the people.

You want me on board your project, come up with a solution that doesn't have Bully Boy written all over it. Don't tell me that there can be no peaceful resolution since that's failed the last three years (what world was Pal living on that he observed efforts for peaceful resolutions?). Don't then tell me that my choices are legal or force but we can't use legal because Bully Boy's circumvented it. So after screaming at the country to do something, Pal wants to tell everyone that the only thing to do, the only option, is send in NATO forces. (Shades of Kosovo?)

We are not the cops of the world. Every time we fall for that nonsense, we back up the Bully Boy and every other imperialist. What Pal proposes hasn't worked but he wants to let that reality escape him.

After Rawanda (after), Bill Clinton said "never again." I'm not Bill Clinton. Newsflash, he's no longer president. I'm not bound by some statement he makes to escape guilt.

If Darfur is your issue and you want people on board, it's incumbent upon to provide a plan. It's incumbent on you to know your facts. There's nothing Pal's written that convinces me that he does. He wants to create a sense of urgency. So did Judith Miller. Well, there's urgency going on all around the world. You want me on board, find a way to address the problem that doesn't make it worse. In the meantime, this government has created problems in Iraq and Afghanistan. There's Guantanaom that we're responsible for as well. Those are problems "we need to address!" and might need to before we go nosing around elsewhere if the only "solution" is to continue doing what has failed repeatedly.

Putting the same Bully Boy in charge (and we would be even if we didn't try NATO or a "coalition" but went with the UN) isn't an answer. After Kosovo, Pal should be embarrassed to scream that we respond in a knee jerk manner. Considering the resources, he should be embarrassed to advocate a "solution" that puts DC in charge of the region -- or are we to believe that what was done in Iraq was some aberration?

He wants to talk about the last three years and doesn't appear to have been awake during them.
He also appears to have no grasp of any form of involvement other than force.

I'm really sick of the George Packer "left" who scream force at the drop of a hat.

Newsflash, people are dying all over the world. They're dying in Nepal. They're dying in Columbia. Going to the same response, because it's quick and easy (if not succesful), isn't an answer. Trying to shame people into jumping on board your Force Wagon is ridiculous.

The world's seen enough of the Bully Boy administration. It's time for America to return to its beliefs and principles. Unleashing force on a situation that's already out of control isn't addressing it. Screaming and attempting to shame people to rush into a "just do something" mode is foolish. You want help? Come up with your plan. Don't try to shame people.

"Get over there now! With NATO!" isn't a plan.

Sidebar, I read every issue of The Progressive. Where is the Darfur coverage in print? Did I miss it? I'm not recalling it. I'm sure there must have been at least one article, maybe two. But for Pal to play Paul Revere (or Judith Miller), one would assume he'd need a number of articles he could point to. Or maybe, like Cheney, he feels he can justify invasion just on the basis of the New York Times?

There is more than enough going on in the world (and more than enough that our government has actively caused) to address. But if Pal's so sure that force is the answer, here's a bit of advice, be the first to sign up, Pal. Leave your arm chair, warrior, and you go out and "do something."

I'm sick of this nonsense. It's the equivalent of Pat Robertson saying Hugo Chavez should be taken out. It operates under the same prinicple which is "force is the answer."

The George Packers played that card trick with Iraq. "Do something!" That's how we ended up over there in an illegal war with no exit plan. When everyone's trying to rush to the easy solution, no one stops to think. I've seen how this administration handles "liberation" and I will not support or advocate more of the same.

People are dying all over the world. Come up with a plan or accept that whomever is on board is all you will have on board. Or maybe you can up with propaganda like a death camp that wasn't, but I guess we're not supposed to talk about that. Alexander Cockburn never shies from the topic but maybe Pal's unaware of it?

What Pal tells us, as opposed to what he screams at us, is that a New York Times piece moved him. Considering the track record of that paper, I'm not sure that's something to acknowledge when you're trying to make a case for intervention.

This isn't a case of burn out. This isn't a case of lack of compassion. This is a grown woman looking at the destruction the Bully Boy has already brought about and saying that I'm not getting on board with any one-answer-only scheme some screamer wants to market. (Speaking of marketing, I'm fully aware of how the "mission" would be marketed and used to justify more of the same.)

If the answer is always burn the village to save the village, find someone else to carry the gas can and matches because I'm not getting on board. Pal's become The Progressive's Nicky Kristof -- full on bluster if short on facts and ideas. My pacificism isn't a cloak I wear some days and others put on war drag. I do not support endless war which is all the current administration knows. Backing a NATO show of force means putting the Bully Boy in charge. Endless war and endless occupation are what he knows and practices.

By all means, screech at the top of your lungs about whatever topic you want. But if you're expecting support from a less trusting (more wise) public than you appear to be, don't be surprised when no one wants to join you on the Force Wagon that you drive for the Bully Boy (knowingly or not).

Be sure to check The Common Ills tonight because Kat has completed her latest CD review and will be posting it. Thanks to Kat and C.I. for listening to portions of this as I wrote it.