Subject: ON THE HISTORIES OF TYRANNY, SUBMISSION, AND RESISTANCE.
21 July 2007
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
Dr. Franz Fanon was definitely not a "mush mouth" intellectual (as Barrington Moore, Jr. unkindly depicted a number of his colleagues whose endlessly self-serving equivocations and evasions he thought were the hallmark of intellectual cowardice and dishonesty). Fanon wrote in the introduction of his influential book, The Wretched of the Earth (1961), that :
Two centuries ago, a former European colony decided to catch up with Europe. It succeededso well that the United States of America became a monster in which the taints, the sickness, and the inhumanity of Europe have grown to appalling dimensions.
Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies/
Director of Research
Universit Stendhal - Grenoble 3
from National Security Archive :
Date: Thu, 12 Jul 2007
Subject: Artists Pursue the Disappeared
National Security Archive Update, July 12, 2007
Artists Pursue the Disappeared
(Art Review by Archive Researcher Published in The Nation)
[An official of the movement describes its goals for all of Palestine.]
Damascus, Syria Hamas' rescue of a BBC journalist from his captors in Gaza last week was surely cause for rejoicing. But I want to be clear about one thing: We did not deliver up Alan Johnston as some obsequious boon to Western powers. . .
It was done as part of our effort to secure Gaza from the lawlessness of militias and violence, no matter what the source. Gaza will be calm and under the rule of law a place where all journalists, foreigners and guests of the Palestinian people will be treated with dignity. Hamas has never supported attacks on Westerners, as even our harshest critics will concede; our struggle has always been focused on the occupier and our legal resistance to it a right of occupied people that is explicitly supported by the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Yet our movement is continually linked by President Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to ideologies that they know full well we do not follow, such as the agenda of Al Qaeda and its adherents. But we are not part of a broader war. Our resistance struggle is no one's proxy, although we welcome the support of people everywhere for justice in Palestine.
The American efforts to negate the will of the Palestinian electorate by destroying our fledgling government have not succeeded rather, the U.S.-assisted Fatah coup has only multiplied the problems of Washington's "two-state solution."
Mr. Bush has for the moment found a pliant friend in Abu Mazen, a "moderate" in the American view but one who cannot seriously expect to command confidence in the streets of Gaza or the West Bank after having taken American arms and Israeli support to depose the elected government by force. We deplore the current prognosticating over "Fatah-land" versus "Hamastan." In the end, there can be only one Palestinian state.
But what of the characterization by the West of our movement as beyond the pale of civilized discourse? Our "militant" stance cannot by itself be the disqualifying factor, as many armed struggles have historically resulted in a place at the table of nations. Nor can any deny the reasonableness of our fight against the occupation and the right of Palestinians to have dignity, justice and self-rule.
Yet in my many years of keeping an open mind to all sides of the Palestine question including those I spent in an American prison, awaiting Israeli "justice" I am forever asked to concede the recognition of Israel's putative "right to exist" as a necessary precondition to discussing grievances, and to renounce positions found in the Islamic Resistance Movement's charter of 1988, an essentially revolutionary document born of the intolerable conditions under occupation more than 20 years ago.
The sticking point of "recognition" has been used as a litmus test to judge Palestinians. Yet as I have said before, a state may have a right to exist, but not absolutely at the expense of other states, or more important, at the expense of millions of human individuals and their rights to justice. Why should anyone concede Israel's "right" to exist, when it has never even acknowledged the foundational crimes of murder and ethnic cleansing by means of which Israel took our towns and villages, our farms and orchards, and made us a nation of refugees?
Why should any Palestinian "recognize" the monstrous crime carried out by Israel's founders and continued by its deformed modern apartheid state, while he or she lives 10 to a room in a cinderblock, tin-roof United Nations hut? These are not abstract questions, and it is not rejectionist simply because we have refused to abandon the victims of 1948 and their descendants.
As for the 1988 charter, if every state or movement were to be judged solely by its foundational, revolutionary documents or the ideas of its progenitors, there would be a good deal to answer for on all sides. The American Declaration of Independence, with its self-evident truth of equality, simply did not countenance (at least, not in the minds of most of its illustrious signatories) any such status for the 700,000 African slaves at that time; nor did the Constitution avoid codifying slavery as an institution, counting "other persons" as three-fifths of a man. Israel, which has never formally adopted a constitution of its own but rather operates through the slow accretion of Basic Laws, declares itself explicitly to be a state for the Jews, conferring privileged status based on faith in a land where millions of occupants are Arabs, Muslims and Christians.
The writings of Israel's "founders" from Herzl to Jabotinsky to Ben Gurion make repeated calls for the destruction of Palestine's non-Jewish inhabitants: "We must expel the Arabs and take their places." A number of political parties today control blocs in the Israeli Knesset, while advocating for the expulsion of Arab citizens from Israel and the rest of Palestine, envisioning a single Jewish state from the Jordan to the sea. Yet I hear no clamor in the international community for Israel to repudiate these words as a necessary precondition for any discourse whatsoever. The double standard, as always, is in effect for Palestinians.
I, for one, do not trouble myself over "recognizing" Israel's right to exist this is not, after all, an epistemological problem; Israel does exist, as any Rafah boy in a hospital bed, with IDF shrapnel in his torso, can tell you. This dance of mutual rejection is a mere distraction when so many are dying or have lived as prisoners for two generations in refugee camps. As I write these words, Israeli forays into Gaza have killed another 15 people, including a child. Who but a Jacobin dares to discuss the "rights" of nations in the face of such relentless state violence against an occupied population?
I look forward to the day when Israel can say to me, and millions of other Palestinians: "Here, here is your family's house by the sea, here are your lemon trees, the olive grove your father tended: Come home and be whole again." Then we can speak of a future together.
Mousa Abu Marzook is the deputy of the political bureau of Hamas, the Islamic Resistance Movement.
from Bruce Dixon :
July 16, 2007
by Bruce Dixon
Imagine, if you will, a modern apartheid state with first, second and eleventh class citizens, all required to carry identification specifying their ethnic origin. First class citizens are obliged to serve in the armed forces, kept on ready reserve status until in their forties, and accorded an impressive array of housing, medical, social security, educational and related benefits denied all others.
Second class citizens are exempted from military service and from a number of the benefits accorded citizens of the first class. They are issued identity documents and license plates that allow them to be profiled by police at a distance. Second class citizens may not own land in much of the country and marriages between them and first class citizens are not recognized by the state. Second class citizens are sometimes arrested without trial and police torture, while frowned upon and occasionally apologized for, commonly occurs.
Citizens of the eleventh class, really not citizens at all, have no rights citizens of the first class or their government are bound to respect. Their residence is forbidden in nearly nine-tenths of the country, all of which they used to own. The areas left to them are cut up into smaller and smaller portions weekly, by high walls, free fire zones and hundreds of checkpoints manned by the army of the first class citizens, so that none can travel a dozen miles in any direction to work, school, shopping, a job, a farm, a business or a hospital without several long waits, humiliating searches and often arbitrary denials of the right to pass or to return. Posh residential settlements for the first class citizens with protecting gun towers and military bases are built with government funds and foreign aid on what used to be the villages and farms and pastures of the eleventh class citizens. The settlers are allotted generous additional housing and other subsidies, allowed to carry weapons and use deadly force with impunity against the former inhabitants, and are connected with the rest of first class territory by a network of of first-class citizen only roads.
Citizens of the eleventh class are routinely arrested, tortured, and held indefinitely without trial. Political activism among them is equated to terrorism and the state discourages such activity by means including but not limited to the kidnapping of suspects and relatives of suspects, demolition of their family homes, and extralegal assassination, sometimes at the hands of a death squad, or at others times by lobbing missiles or five hundred pound bombs into sleeping apartment blocks or noonday traffic. Passports are not issued to these citizens, and those who take advantage of scarce opportunities to study or work abroad are denied re-entry.
The apartheid state in question is, of course, Israel. Its first class citizens are Israeli Jews, the majority of them of European or sometimes American origin. The second class citizens are Israeli Arabs, who enjoy significant but limited rights under the law including token representation in the Knesset. The eleventh class citizens are not citizens at all. They are Palestinians. One expects to be able to say that Palestinians live in Palestine and are governed by Palestinians, but the truth is something different. The areas in which Palestinians may inhabit have shrunk nearly every year since the Nakba, their name for the wave of mass deportations, murders, the dispossession, destruction and exile of whole Arab towns, cities and regions that attended the 1948 founding of the state of Israel. As the whole world, except for the US public knows, Palestinians have lived under military occupation, without land, without rights, without hope, for nearly sixty years now.
The difference between life inside and outside the US corporate media bubble is extraordinarily clear on this question. US authorities subsidize the state of Israel to the tune of at least six billion per year, and corporate media take great pains to protect US citizens from news of actual human and legal conditions their tax dollars pay for. The ugly and racist realities of Israeli society and life under Israeli occupation are rarely discussed anywhere most consumers of media might find them. It is nearly taboo in mainstream US print and broadcast media to apply the words racist or apartheid to the state of Israel or its policies, or to call its control at the point of a gun of millions of non-citizens what it is, namely the longest standing military occupation in the world today. In the US media, and on the lips of every administration since Harry Truman's Israel is a democracy, whatever that word has come to mean.
Though news stories in the US talk about autonomous Palestinian areas allegedly controlled by Palestinian authorities, often referring to Gaza and the West Bank by name, actual maps displaying the geographic boundaries of the so-called Palestinian controlled areas are rarely seen by American viewers, let alone maps comparing the size of Palestinian areas year to year, or showing the steady encroachment upon Arab land and water resources year to year by Israeli settlements, military outposts, Israeli-only roads, free fire zones and Israel's wall. The massive and militarized apartheid wall, as the rest of the world calls it, is termed a separation barrier or a separation fence in the US media, an understandable precaution against hordes of terroristic former owners of the land who lurk just outside.
Still, when you Google the terms Israel + apartheid, you get 5.5 million hits. A lot of somebodies somewhere are making the connection without the help of CNN, ABC or Fox News.
The parallels with apartheid South Africa are many and striking. Like its earlier apartheid cousin, Israel menaces all its neighbors with an impressive array of nukes and the largest military establishment in the region. As Noam Chomsky observed back in 2004:
Not discussed, in the US at least, is the threat from West Asia. Israel's nuclear capacities, supplemented with other WMD, are regarded as "dangerous in the extreme" by the former head of the US Strategic Command (STRATCOM), Gen. Lee Butler, not only because of the threat they pose but also because they stimulate proliferation in response. The Bush administration is now enhancing that threat. Israeli military analysts allege that its air and armored forces are larger and technologically more advanced than those of any NATO power (apart from the US), not because this small country is powerful in itself, but because it serves virtually as an offshore US military base and high tech center. The US is now sending Israel over 100 of its most advanced jet bombers, F16I's, advertised very clearly as capable of flying to Iran and back, and as an updated version of the F16s that Israel used to bomb Iraq's nuclear reactor in 1981.... The old South Africa bombed, strafed and invaded all its neighbors with some regularity, crippling their commerce and extracting horrific death tolls from refugee camps and other civilian targets. The last time Israel invaded and occupied Lebanon, it left 20,000 corpses.
White South Africans rightly fretted at the fact that they were a minority ruling over an unhappy majority, and concocted schemes to exile the country's black population to isolated rural reservations it called bantustans. Israeli pundits calmly discuss the demographic bomb, their name for the fact that second and eleventh class citizens, Israeli Arabs and Palestinians will soon outnumber them within the borders of their supposed Jewish state while Israeli politicians sit in Knesset and hold ministries in successive governments openly calling for mass deportations and ethnic cleansing.
White South Africans constructed for themselves a bogus scriptural narrative in which the God of Abraham promised them somebody else's land, and brought it into modern history with the embellishment that they were holding the line for the free world against godless communism and the black menace. How similar is Israel's line that European Jews are promised the land of Muslim and Christian Arabs, and that they now hold the line for the free world against radical Islam and those ungrateful brown people?
We at BC have to believe that if the American people knew the truth about what their tax dollars pay for in Israel and what is left of Palestine, there would be a deep and widespread revulsion, similar to that occasioned by US support for apartheid in South Africa. But there are important differences between that time and this one. Though unspeakably odious, racist South African was only marginally important to US interests. By contrast, the maintenance of Israel's apartheid regime, essentially a white hi-tech and military outpost in the middle of all those brown people sitting atop a large share of the world's proven oil reserves is absolutely central to US foreign policy for the foreseeable future. The US is Israel's banker, its arms depot, and its principal diplomatic sponsor. The US is far more complicit in the crimes of the Israeli state than it ever was in South Africa.
Racism and apartheid being what they are, and our historical experience in America being what it is, African Americans have a crucial role to play. African Americans have seldom supported US imperial adventures overseas as readily as whites. Our American experience inclines us to a skeptical appraisal of our government's means and motives at home and abroad. Even though we live as much within the media bubble as white America, where images of the broken and mangled families, the incinerated homes and bombed hospitals are hard to come by, our skepticism leads us to sympathize with those who live at the sharp end of US foreign policy far more often than do our white neighbors.
Our first duty is to tell the truth to each other. We must combat among ourselves the bogus historical narratives which permit indifference to US policy in the Middle East in general, and support of Israeli apartheid in particular. The churchgoers among us urgently, publicly and repeatedly must confront and debunk the nonsense which holds that wars and rumors of wars are something predestined to happen in the biblical holy land for what they are bad scripture and fake history. We need to interrupt, correct and school everyone who talks to us about a cycle of violence in the Holy Land, as though some raggedy fool with a suicide belt, or a few hundred fighters with small arms are or ever have been equivalent to the devastation wrought by the established gulags, checkpoints, airborne firepower, economic strangulation, house demolitions and nuclear armed might of the Israeli state. The two sides do not have access to anything like equal means of inflicting violence, and so cannot be equally culpable or equally responsible for stopping that violence.
We need to catch up with the rest of the civilized world, and talk about what we can do to emphatically withdraw our support from the apartheid state of Israel and its immoral and illegal occupation regime. The Presbyterian church, for example, has in the past considered selective divestiture from Israel and from US companies who profit from the occupation, as have the Anglicans. Both might do so again. What can our churches, our unions, our local elected officials, our young people do? What will we do?
Apartheid in South Africa eventually bit the dust mostly because the inhabitants of that country, black, brown and white resisted it, putting their bodies and lives on the line. Their resistance was aided and abetted materially, financially, politically and spiritually by people of good will the world over. Someday the sun will rise on a post-apartheid Jerusalem, one that belongs to all the people who live there of whatever origin. This is bound to happen because Palestinians as well as substantial numbers of Israeli Jews do and will continue to resist the regime. They will do what they can. What will we do?
Bruce Dixon can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
from Michael Parenti :
Date: Thu, 12 Jul 2007
Subject: Gender Savagery in Guatemala.
Below is an article by Lucia Munoz and me recently posted with Common Dreams.
It is also attached. Please feel free to distribute, post, etc.
If you wish to get active on this issue, please contact: Lucia Munoz <email@example.com>
Bill Moyers: On Impeachment
from Anthony Amove :
19 July 2007
by Anthony Arnove
THE BUSH administration is trying to spin a report on its escalation of troops to Iraq to say that the surge is succeeding. What would an honest assessment be?
AN HONEST assessment would be that the war has been lost. No amount of surges or new plans for victory can alter the fact that the Iraqi people want the occupation to end--and that they will continue to resist it until all U.S. and international troops have left.
Attacks on U.S. troops are up. Troops are being killed at a higher rate since the so-called surge. Iraq is in complete collapse and is a full-scale humanitarian disaster. The U.S. is now in the weakest position it has been in--regionally and internationally--in years.
The world is now a far more dangerous place, and the effects of the invasion and occupation of Iraq will adversely shape geopolitics for decades to come.
SEVERAL WELL-known Republicans in the Senate are coming out against the White House on Iraq. What are they proposing?
THE REPUBLICANS now criticizing the White House realize that the surge strategy is a failure. In particular, they understand that the Republican Party is paying a high price domestically for President Bushs intransigence in the face of widespread opposition to the war. They fear a Vietnam-style loss of the war at home. So elements of the Republican Party are looking to forge a new Washington consensus around a more realistic assessment of U.S. interests in Iraq and internationally. They dont want to end the war, but repackage it to dampen domestic opposition, cut some of the worst losses and regroup.
The 2008 election is casting a long shadow over the party right now. Republicans running for office can see that John McCain, who jumped on the Bush surge bandwagon, has seen his support fall to virtually nil.
Bushs popularity rating is the lowest of any president other than Richard Nixon at the height of the Watergate scandal, and establishment military analysts now publicly proclaim Iraq the greatest strategic error in the history of U.S. foreign affairs.
So clearly a new approach is needed. The elements of this approach are actually similar to what many Democratic critics have in mind: troop reduction, not withdrawal; a greater reliance on air power and over the horizon forces rather than boots on the ground; a retreat to bases and the Green Zone in Baghdad; and a shifting of the blame from the United States and its allies to the Iraqis.
In effect, its a blame and hold strategy. Blame the Iraqis for all the problems we created. Hold onto whatever the U.S. military can salvage in terms of military bases in Iraq--to have some influence over the future of Iraqs massive oil reserves and some ability to continue military operations in Iraq, and to project power against other countries in the region, particularly Iran.
SECTIONS OF the Bush administration appear to be looking for an exit strategy. For example, Defense Secretary Robert Gates is apparently developing a plan that involves pulling troops back to super-bases. What should we make of this?
THE WALL Street Journal ran an article on July 3 outlining Gates proposed plan, but its not really an exit strategy. As the Journal puts it, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and some allies in the Bush administration are seeking to build bipartisan political support for a long-term U.S. presence in Iraq.
What Mr. Gates and some other high-ranking administration officials have in mind is a modern-day version of President Harry Truman's Cold War consensus, a bipartisan agreement on the need to contain the Soviet Union, the Journal notes. They hope lawmakers from both parties will ultimately agree to make a scaled-back U.S. mission in Iraq a central component of U.S. foreign policy even after Mr. Bush leaves office.
Gates wants to secure that strategic goal by moving toward withdrawing significant numbers of troops from Iraq by the end of President Bushs term, according to the article. Without such an adjustment, some Bush administration officials fear that the U.S. could be forced into a hasty withdrawal that could have dire consequences both for the region and for U.S. stature in the world.
Bush is still talking about winning in Iraq, but at this point, elements of the administration are realizing that the United States is at best going to have to manage defeat.
WERE LIKELY to start hearing more from Democrats proposing withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. But you've written that a lot of these proposals have provisions to allow a continued U.S. presence, in one form or another. Can you talk about these proposals for withdrawal or redeployment?
THE DEMOCRATIC proposals are all for limited, not complete, withdrawal. The one exception is Dennis Kucinich, though he would replace U.S. troops with UN troops.
Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton would both keep troops in Iraq, only in smaller numbers. These troops would be engaged in force protection (an oxymoron, since you only need such troops if you are keeping bases and troops in Iraq), counterinsurgency operations (which of course is Bushs cover for the ongoing presence of troops in Iraq) and training (Iraqization). This is really a recipe for keeping troops in Iraq for years to come.
The redeployment plans come in a few varieties. Some Democrats would shift the base of U.S. operations to the Kurdish areas in Northern Iraq. Others would put troops over the horizon, in Turkey, Kuwait, Qatar, Djibouti and other regional bases of U.S. power. The idea is that rapid reaction forces could be on alert, either within Iraq or nearby, to intervene as the U.S. deems necessary.
This strategy would most likely be backed up--as Vietnamization was before it--with massive use of U.S. air power. Already, U.S. air strikes in Iraq have doubled, as part of an unreported air war.
Some Democrats would like to shift some of the troops now in Iraq to Afghanistan, arguing that Iraq was a distraction from the real fight against terrorism taking place there. Others would like U.S. forces to regroup and be in a better position to strike Iran or to intervene in other countries where the U.S. may face strategic challenges.
THE NEW York Times published an editorial in early July proposing withdrawal from Iraq as quickly as the Pentagon can "organize an orderly exit." What's the significance of this, and what do you think of the specifics?
THE TIMES editorial is too little and too late, but nonetheless, its significant.
While the editorial doesnt acknowledge this, the Times was instrumental in legitimizing and selling the invasion, by front-paging the administrations bogus claims about weapons of mass destruction and Iraqs ties to al-Qaeda. Even as more and more of the U.S. public and its own readership came to oppose the war and wish for a full withdrawal, the Times consistently made the argument that withdrawal would lead to chaos and civil war.
So for them to shift gears is important. Its a reflection of deeper divisions in the U.S. ruling class and a sign of the belated recognition of the fact that the U.S. has lost.
Thats what the Times is really against--not the war itself, but losing the war. But it opens up much more room for the antiwar movement to push the argument for full and immediate withdrawal, and to raise the bigger questions the Times wont raise.
ALMOST EVERYONE outside of George Bush and Dick Cheney acknowledges that the occupation of Iraq has become a disaster, yet almost everyone in the ruling establishment wants to maintain the occupation, if under a new packaging. Why? Whats at stake if the U.S. were to withdraw?
A LOT is at stake for the United States in Iraq. Iraq not only has the worlds second- or third-largest oil reserves, its in a region with two-thirds of world oil supplies and most of the worlds natural gas supplies.
If the United States is defeated in Iraq, it will be a huge setback, not only for its immediate objectives of dominating and controlling Middle Eastern and Western Asian energy resources, but in terms of the legitimacy of U.S. imperial power globally.
So it will make it harder for the U.S. government to achieve its economic, political and military objectives in Latin America, Europe and everywhere else it has interests. It will also make it harder for the establishment to sell future interventions to the U.S. public, which is now likely to be more skeptical about claims that the U.S. has to send troops to spread democracy, topple a dictator, stave off a humanitarian crisis or end a civil war.
The consequences are far worse than the defeat in Vietnam and would only magnify all the political problems the United States hoped to overcome by invading Iraq. It would also leave Iran, a serious rival power in the region, far stronger than before the U.S. invasion.
So the United States cant just walk away from Iraq. It will need to find some other strategy for continuing to exert influence in the country and in the region more generally, as well as to limit the fallout from its defeat.
SOME ANTIWAR activists look at the current situation, with even Republicans defecting from the White House, and conclude that the occupation will end soon--with U.S. troops perhaps home by Christmas. What do you think?
I SEE no sign of that at all.
Right now, U.S. troop levels are at about 160,000. Thats as high as at any point since the invasion. You have, in addition, some 126,000 private security forces, a significant number of whom are mercenaries, and maybe 15,000 international troops. Then, in Baghdad, the United States is building the largest embassy of any government in the world, and the U.S. military is also building bases around the country.
Plus, as I mentioned earlier, the withdrawal plans now being discussed all would leave significant numbers of troops in Iraq for years to come. A number of the plans leave loopholes that would allow the president to declare that national security interests necessitate keeping troops in Iraq at or near current levels.
Throughout the occupation, we have seen periodic headlines in the media about imminent troop withdrawals, projections of a smaller force and so on. I think these headlines have a lot more to do with taking the pressure off elected officials than with any real planning.
Its an effort to lull the public into complacency: Whats the point of marching or protesting if the troops are coming home soon anyway? In reality, we see more troops being sent over now, and tours of duty being extended.
WHAT WILL it take to end the occupation?
I THINK it will take much more pressure at home and also within the rank and file of the U.S. military in Iraq.
We have to take advantage of the cracks that are opening within the establishment to campaign vocally and publicly against the war, involving greater numbers of the people and communities affected by the war at home--which has gone hand in hand with the war against the Iraqi people.
We need to put pressure on both the Democrats and Republicans, and not simply collapse into a lobbying wing for the Democratic Party.
There will be immense pressure on the antiwar movement to give up its independence and get behind whatever candidate the Democrats put forward in 2008, no matter what their limitations. People will tell us this is how we can be relevant.
I think the antiwar movement would be irrelevant, though, if we did this. Well be much more effective if we articulate our own principles and demands--including immediate withdrawal--and fight for them.
And we also need to defend and support those soldiers who in greater numbers are speaking out, refusing service, declaring conscientious objection and, at great personal risk, organizing against the war.
In particular, I think we all need to help build Iraq Veterans Against the War, which is playing a vital role in building a movement of Iraq vets and also active-duty troops who can bring an end to this occupation.
SHOULD WE be optimistic? Is the antiwar movement stronger or weaker today?
I THINK we should be sober. On the one hand, we have come a long way. The majority of the country is with us--and on a whole range of issues, public opinion if shifting leftward.
The November 2006 elections were a clear vote against the war and for a serious change in priorities. And the frustration with the Democrats betrayals since November is leading to some very interesting ferment in the country--some of which we saw at the U.S. Social Forum in Atlanta, and which is reflected in the growth of IVAW.
On the other hand, we have a long way to go. The level of organization of the antiwar movement is still low relative to the depth and breadth of antiwar sentiment. The level of public protest is still low compared to the stakes for U.S. empire in Iraq.
And, as we discussed earlier, the pressure on the movement to limit itself to an electoral strategy focused on the 2008 presidential elections is going to be significant.
But there are definite grounds for optimism. One is that the U.S. public has come to its stance against the war by using its own reasoning, in the face of repeated pro-war propaganda from political elites and the establishment media.
You also see more and more people looking for alternative news sources, such as Democracy Now! and the dispatches of the journalist Dahr Jamail. You see Jeremy Scahills expos Blackwater reaching the New York Times bestseller list.
So there are grounds for optimism, but it will take a lot more than hoping for the best to end the occupation--and also to avert other disasters in Iran and elsewhere.
You need optimism. You need hope. But you also need organization and a focus on involving more people in active participation in democratic movements for more fundamental change over the long term.
As Martin Luther King, Jr. said in his important Riverside Church speech against the Vietnam War, The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit, and if we ignore this sobering reality, we will find ourselves organizing clergy and laymen concerned committees for the next generation.
They will be concerned about Guatemala and Peru. They will be concerned about Thailand and Cambodia. They will be concerned about Mozambique and South Africa. We will be marching for these and a dozen other names and attending rallies without end unless there is a significant and profound change in American life and policy.
But Im optimistic that more people within the antiwar movement are reaching that conclusion and are beginning to work toward those more profound and significant changes, which we urgently need to bring about if we are to have any meaningful future on this planet.
from Edward Herman :
Subject: Clinton on Iraq
Date: Mon, 16 Jul 2007
What Clinton (Almost) Doesn't Say
by Fred Hiatt
[IOWA, July 10 -- Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton traveled to this crucial caucus state today to assure voters that she would keep U.S. troops in Iraq for the foreseeable future because "we cannot lose sight of our very real strategic national interests in this region."]
You missed that news story? Me, too. It's not the message Clinton wanted to convey, and it's not the message that reporters took away from her speech.
But it would have been an accurate, if incomplete, rendition of her long address on Iraq policy. That she wanted to go on the record with such a view, but didn't want voters to really hear it, says much about the current Washington bind on Iraq policy.
Here's what she wanted voters to take away from the speech, judging by the top of the campaign's press release about it: "Today in Iowa, Hillary Clinton announced her plan to end the war in Iraq and urged President Bush to act immediately." Most of the address indeed focused on her plan to withdraw combat troops, which she said she would accompany with increased aid and diplomacy. She peppered the speech with criticism of Bush's war leadership and with phrases such as "as we are leaving Iraq."
But toward the end, Clinton noted that it would be "a great worry for our country" if Iraq "becomes a breeding ground for exporting terrorists, as it appears it already is." So she would "order specialized units to engage in narrow and targeted operations against al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations in the region." U.S. troops would also train and equip Iraqi forces "to keep order and promote stability in the country, but only to the extent we believe such training is actually working." And she might deploy other forces to protect the Kurdish region in the north, she said, "to protect the fragile but real democracy and relative peace and security that has developed there."
In other words, Clinton ascribed to what might be called the consensus, Baker-Hamilton view: Pull out of the most intense combat but remain militarily engaged by going after terrorists, training and advising Iraqi troops, and safeguarding at least some regions or borders. It's the position set forth in the proposal of Democratic Sens. Carl Levin and Jack Reed and in the compromise proposal of Republican Sens. John Warner and Richard Lugar. Last week President Bush said it's "a position I'd like to see us in."
If everyone agrees, what's the problem? Bush and the Democrats have very different ideas of the conditions needed to move to Baker-Hamilton. (So, by the way, did Republican Jim Baker and Democrat Lee Hamilton when they co-wrote the report.) Bush thinks U.S. troops can pull back only after they have established, with their new counterinsurgency strategy, sufficient peace to allow Iraqi factions to begin making political compromises.
Democrats say such compromises aren't likely anytime soon. As Vice President Adel Abdul Mahdi, one of Iraq's more sober-minded leaders, told the New York Times this month, "I am optimistic in the medium and long term . . . [but] it needs five or six or seven or 10 years." During that time, Democrats (and increasing numbers of Republicans) do not want U.S. troops in "the crossfire of sectarian violence," as Clinton said last week.
But, respond supporters of the surge, Baker-Hamilton can't work without security. Training the Iraqi army will be futile if all around is chaos; embedding as advisers will be even more dangerous than patrolling Baghdad now; and how successful could Clinton's "narrow and targeted operations" against terrorists be from a distance? NATO's inability to counter al-Qaeda across the Afghan border in Pakistan, and Israel's frustrations with Hamas in Gaza or Hezbollah in Lebanon, are not encouraging.
Bush, in other words, views Baker-Hamilton as a prize to be won by means of successful combat. According to advisers, he sees himself playing for time, maneuvering so that his successor -- Hillary Clinton, maybe -- will have Baker-Hamilton as an option when he or she moves into the Oval Office in January 2009. Democrats, on the other hand, see it as the least bad response to irrevocable defeat.
There's another problem, too: Democratic primary voters do not want to hear of adjustments, redeployments, reductions. They want all troops out, now. That is why Clinton will devote one paragraph to the military defense "of our very real strategic national interests in this region" and more than 10 pages to troop withdrawal.
That suggests that by the time Bush is ready for or forced into compromise, compromise may no longer be possible in Congress. Which in turn means that, bleak as all the options appear now, the choices that a President Clinton would face in 18 months might look far worse.
from Information Clearing House :
Date: 14 July 2007
Subject: Israel Attacking Iran.
One of Israel's top officials says he's got the go-ahead from NATO's U.S. and European officials to attack Iran. Chertoff, aware of a longstanding, fierce debate in the White House over attacking Iran, admits a "gut feeling," saying it's about Al Qaeda but probably feeling queasier about what an attack on Iran would do to inflame terrorists.
A Different 'Gut Feeling': Israel Attacking Iran