Monday, July 30, 2007



From NBC's Mike Viqueira
A group of House Democrats will introduce a resolution calling on the Judiciary Committee to begin impeachment proceedings against Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) will sponsor the measure. It will be dropped in the hopper tomorrow.

It's too early to say whether it will actually get anywhere.

Here's the text of resolution…

Directing the Committee on the Judiciary to investigate whether Alberto R. Gonzales, Attorney General of the United States, should be impeached for high crimes and
1 Resolved, That the Committee on the Judiciary shall
2 investigate fully whether sufficient grounds exist for the
3 House of Representatives to impeach Alberto R. Gonzales,
4 Attorney General of the United States, for high crimes
5 and misdemeanors.

Film legend Bergman dies aged 89


Film legend Bergman dies aged 89

Xan Brooks and agencies
Monday July 30, 2007

The legendary Swedish film-maker Ingmar Bergman died this morning at his home on the island of Faro. According to his daughter, Eve, the director of The Seventh Seal and Persona died peacefully in his sleep. He was 89.

Having initially trained on the stage, Bergman went on to direct nearly 50 feature films, beginning with Crisis in 1946. His breakthrough came in 1957, courtesy of an extraordinary double-headed triumph of Wild Strawberries and The Seventh Seal. He would go on to win three best foreign language film Oscars, for The Virgin Spring, Through a Glass Darkly and Fanny and Alexander.

Such was Bergman's stark, uncompromising vision that he found himself a byword for existential gloom, a man whose films offered a pitiless vision of a Godless universe. Yet while there is no denying the serious nature of Bergman's work, the stereotype conveniently ignored the lush eroticism of films shown in films such as Summer With Monika, or the joyous comedy that runs through Smiles of a Summer Night or A Lesson in Love.

A frequent sufferer of depression, the director knew the importance of keeping his demons at arm's length. "If I can master the negative forces and harness them to my chariot, then they can work to my advantage," he said. "Lilies often grown out of carcasses' arseholes."

Bergman officially retired from film-making with his flamboyant, semi-autobiographical family fable Fanny and Alexander in 1982. However, he went on to make a belated swansong with the made-for-TV drama Saraband in 1982. The film reunited him with two of his favourite actors, Liv Ullmann and Erland Josephson. Ulmann was also the mother of one of Bergman's daughters, Linn.

In later years, Bergman rarely left his home on the remote Swedish island of Faro and earned a reputation as a recluse, a stern old magus locked away from all but his nearest and dearest. In the course of a rare interview in 2004, he admitted that his own personal favourites of his films were Winter Light, Persona and Cries and Whispers. However, he added that he now rarely watched any of his movies because he found them "too depressing".

A colossus of world cinema, Ingmar Bergman influenced a generation of film-makers who were inspired both by his effortless command of the medium and his high-minded sense of its moral and artistic possibilities. In 1988, Woody Allen hailed him as "probably the greatest artist, all things considered, since the invention of the motion picture camera."

"Ingmar Bergman was one of the great directors of cinema," British film-maker Michael Winterbottom told the Guardian today. "He was a man of great integrity, homesty and energy ... It's impossible to imagine anyone contributing more to the history of cinema." Before going on to direct features himself, Winterbottom was responsible for a major Bergman documentary, The Magic Lantern, in the 1989.

Bergman was married five times and had nine children. A date for his funeral, which will be attended by family and close friends, has yet to be set.

The Corporation

Friday, July 27, 2007

Anarchy made easy

Anarchy copy A young and clever George Orwell knew the significance of a beautiful idea. He left his wife and career in England to fight in the Spanish Civil War in December of 1936, siding with the Anarchists who opposed Hitler-backed Nationalist, Francisco Franco. The upsurge of fascism so frightened the fresh faced idealist that he was willing to die to end it. Orwell recognized the elegance of the Spanish Anarchists' radically different way of administrating their affairs. As a result of the war, his affection for the new society was inverse to his disgust for totalitarianism, a position that informed his future classics Animal Farm and the prescient 1984.

A society like the Anarchist collectives had never before or since existed, an entirely autonomous community divested of centralized rule. But how would a modern Anarchist system operate? Could there be roads, bridges or sanitation? Who would defend the masses from oppression? If it were sustainable back then would it be more so today?

The Principles of Anarchy: An Introduction

An Anarchist is against all categories of authority. The most obvious being government, but in a free society corporations and organized religion would also be relinquished. Modified versions of Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, etc. would be acceptable as long as they were personal expressions of faith and not a component of a larger hierarchic structure such as the Catholic Church. These institutions constrict the freedom of their adherents. It is impossible to move unencumbered while under the thumb of any system which asserts control from aloft. Today's dominant attitudes of helplessness and disenchantment can be linked to this cultural feature. People elect Representatives to govern while citizens play no direct part in legislation. As bureaucracies grow (because that's what Capitalism does - it expands) they monopolize the lion's share of wealth and power. It is the goal of Anarchism to bridge this chasm and place people in charge of themselves.

Under Anarchism all property serves as a public resource, therefore it is false to assume nothing is owned in Anarchistic communities. On the contrary, the public owns everything. This is why it is believed, as proprietors, individuals are more inclined to be dutiful stewards of what belongs to them. A timeless example of this principle in action can be taken from the book of Nehemiah. In it Nehemiah must rebuild the walls of Jerusalem after a vicious attack. He assigns laborers to work on restoring, not the sections of the wall farthest from where they live, but sections of the wall nearest to each worker, ensuring a quick and meritorious result.

The story of Nehemiah and the wall of Jerusalem illustrates the underpinnings of the Anarchist's view of human nature. Everyone is an egotist at heart, selfish and individualistic. But most people are social animals as well capable of compassion and sympathetic toward sufferers. This is why the laborers Nehemiah placed in charge of the construction of the wall cooperated with each other. They wanted protection. Anarchist collectives would work for the same reason. The members of the collective value nourishment, social relationships and creative expression, and would enter into a social contract without the supervision of government. Unfortunately, there is one fatal flaw in this story. To any self-respecting Anarchist Nehemiah must go.

There's no business like no business

From the perspective of the Anarchist, Capitalism degrades human potential when greed becomes the engine of society. Profits justify all beastly pursuits: theft, murder, deceit. The only unpardonable sin is losing money. Cities, for example, serve as a surplus of available labor for corporations. The design of a city centers around the needs of businesses, clustering employees and their families around factories, providing the employees with food, clothing and entertainment along with modes of control. The aim of Anarchists would be to abolish these inhibiting conditions.

After wresting authority away from their corporate handlers the workers would go on to erect "syndicates". Each syndicate would be devoted to a specific aspect of production necessary for the continuance of the community. One syndicate would specialize in chairs another in toilets and another in ceiling fans and so on and so forth. The workers in a particular syndicate would have dominion over the policies in their workplace. Each worker has an equal vote in the direction of their co-operative. For the day-to-day decisions required to run a complex syndicate workers would divide the collective into administrative branches through popular vote. At this point it is up to an individual to persuade their fellow workers of their education and skills in order to be placed in the proper administrative branch.

In keeping with the spirit of self-management the community also deserves a say in how their syndicates operate. That is why all the syndicates would be owned by everyone in a commune. A collection of syndicates is called a confederation. Just how workers determine the best methods of how their syndicate produces, the members of the confederation decide what is produced and how much.

It is important to keep in mind that this is the formula of choice when it comes to any Anarchist commune. Hospitals, schools and the military are all organized in this fashion. The reason for this is simple. When a syndicate's course is no longer navigated by the workers, but by a tiny elite, it reverts back into a corporation.

A worthy aside, the word "labor" has a different meaning in a free society. Within the current system people compliment machines in an assembly line mentality, but self-facilitating communes would use technology to eliminate dangerous, tedious and undesirable work. The result would be an abundance of leisure time with a few hours of intermittent labor resembling art more than drudgery. Those assembly lines would run themselves leaving the workers to decorate the products at the end. And even in cases like the construction of roads and bridges, the hazardous aspects will be automated and workers, free from bosses and arbitrary deadlines, will take pride in what they produce because it will be for their benefit.

When workers manage themselves it is unlikely they would pollute their streams and sky or maintain an unsafe working environment. Today's corporations have made these practices apart of their culture. Consumption and competition animates Capitalism but in tomorrow's society producers and consumers will be one in the same.

Welcome to the neighborhood

For all the praise in reference to "the people" it could be wrongfully assumed Anarchists romanticize the masses. Untrue. Anarchists make no illusions about the gullibility of massive groups of people. It is the multitude who allowed the minority, the wealthy oligarchy of policy-makers, to enslave them in the first place. The answer is to transform the majority into well-educated cells.

Communes are structured in exactly this way. While they will communicate with other communes it is important to reach a balance so as not to become bloated with a large population. When free people are taught outside the restrictions of a repressive society it is difficult to imagine this being a problem. Work in an Anarchist society is voluntary so if someone wants to leave a syndicate, or even a commune, he or she may. The end result being a vibrant culture in a constant state of flux.

But even with each individual expressing him or herself freely without the deterrence of laws a few basic needs will remain. Health care will be just as vital as ever. Hospitals would function in the same way as syndicates. The doctors and nurses would organize, split into administrative branches based on their training and abilities, and be available for public use at any time. Doctors would visit the homes of the handicapped and the elderly who cannot care for themselves. The treatment people receive under this system, it could be said, would be superior because they would be cared for as patients and not customers. Additionally, those who entered into the health care profession would not do so for material gain but because of their passion for the work.

Some criminal element could be expected to dwell inside any commune. Plenty of crime would have been extinguished after the socialization of a community's resources. Still a fraction of criminals would linger. Prisons have never been a popular solution and embodies everything Anarchists abhor about authoritarian rule. Instead the treatment of a criminal would be based upon their specific crime. He or she may be ostracized from the commune through popular vote or, depending upon the crime, given an opportunity to observe the destructive effects they had on the community. Popular opinion also would be used to pressure an injurious individual. A court system, constructed by the people of the commune and served in by everyone via lottery, would determine the guilt or innocence of an individual as well as his or her punishment. For those who need to be removed from society altogether, such as rapists, child molesters and sociopaths, asylums would be built in order to treat the offender without harm to others.

As for protection, a police force could be built if a commune desired. However, it would not patrol neighborhoods in the traditional sense, instead it would be an on-call service, much like a fire department, for anyone who wished to utilize it. And just like any other syndicate in the commune, the people hold sway over the policies of the police force. So if somebody abuses his or her power they can be immediately dismissed.

Anarchy made easy?

Because there have been so few examples of functional Anarchist societies in history these suggestions cannot be seen as gospel truth. Many of these ideas are taken either from noteworthy Anarchist thinkers or from the Spanish Civil War where they were put into practice. Freedom requires massive amounts of education on a large scale. It took the people of Spain seventy years to prepare for their revolution all the while overcoming illiteracy and a civil war, but with the internet and relative peace (at least here in the United States) the conditions are markedly better to annunciate the message. Isn't it time to start thinking like George Orwell and recognize the significance of this beautiful idea?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Friday Flashback: Joe Cocker - "Let's go get stoned" Woodstock performance

A letter from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the American people

Last year the President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, wrote President Bush an 18-page letter inviting diplomacy. Bush ignored the letter. After, Ahmadinejad addressed the American people through the following epistle. Americans need to read this before making up their minds about the alleged "evil" of this potential nuclear threat. Here's the source of the full text

Message of H.E. Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
President of the Islamic Republic of Iran
To the American People

In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

O, Almighty God, bestow upon humanity the perfect human being promised to all by You, and make us among his followers.

Noble Americans,

Were we not faced with the activities of the US administration in this part of the world and the negative ramifications of those activities on the daily lives of our peoples, coupled with the many wars and calamities caused by the US administration as well as the tragic consequences of US interference in other countries;

Were the American people not God-fearing, truth-loving, and justice-seeking, while the US administration actively conceals the truth and impedes any objective portrayal of current realities;

And if we did not share a common responsibility to promote and protect freedom and human dignity and integrity;

Then, there would have been little urgency to have a dialogue with you.

While Divine providence has placed Iran and the United States geographically far apart, we should be cognizant that human values and our common human spirit, which proclaim the dignity and exalted worth of all human beings, have brought our two great nations of Iran and the United States closer together.

Both our nations are God-fearing, truth-loving and justice-seeking, and both seek dignity, respect and perfection.

Both greatly value and readily embrace the promotion of human ideals such as compassion, empathy, respect for the rights of human beings, securing justice and equity, and defending the innocent and the weak against oppressors and bullies.

We are all inclined towards the good, and towards extending a helping hand to one another, particularly to those in need.

We all deplore injustice, the trampling of peoples' rights and the intimidation and humiliation of human beings.

We all detest darkness, deceit, lies and distortion, and seek and admire salvation, enlightenment, sincerity and honesty.

The pure human essence of the two great nations of Iran and the United States testify to the veracity of these statements.

Noble Americans,

Our nation has always extended its hand of friendship to all other nations of the world.

Hundreds of thousands of my Iranian compatriots are living amongst you in friendship and peace, and are contributing positively to your society. Our people have been in contact with you over the past many years and have maintained these contacts despite the unnecessary restrictions of US authorities.

As mentioned, we have common concerns, face similar challenges, and are pained by the sufferings and afflictions in the world.

We, like you, are aggrieved by the ever-worsening pain and misery of the Palestinian people. Persistent aggressions by the Zionists are making life more and more difficult for the rightful owners of the land of Palestine. In broad day-light, in front of cameras and before the eyes of the world, they are bombarding innocent defenseless civilians, bulldozing houses, firing machine guns at students in the streets and alleys, and subjecting their families to endless grief.

No day goes by without a new crime.

Palestinian mothers, just like Iranian and American mothers, love their children, and are painfully bereaved by the imprisonment, wounding and murder of their children. What mother wouldn't?

For 60 years, the Zionist regime has driven millions of the inhabitants of Palestine out of their homes. Many of these refugees have died in the Diaspora and in refugee camps. Their children have spent their youth in these camps and are aging while still in the hope of returning to homeland.

You know well that the US administration has persistently provided blind and blanket support to the Zionist regime, has emboldened it to continue its crimes, and has prevented the UN Security Council from condemning it.

Who can deny such broken promises and grave injustices towards humanity by the US administration?

Governments are there to serve their own people. No people wants to side with or support any oppressors. But regrettably, the US administration disregards even its own public opinion and remains in the forefront of supporting the trampling of the rights of the Palestinian people.

Let's take a look at Iraq. Since the commencement of the US military presence in Iraq, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been killed, maimed or displaced. Terrorism in Iraq has grown exponentially. With the presence of the US military in Iraq, nothing has been done to rebuild the ruins, to restore the infrastructure or to alleviate poverty. The US Government used the pretext of the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, but later it became clear that that was just a lie and a deception.

Although Saddam was overthrown and people are happy about his departure, the pain and suffering of the Iraqi people has persisted and has even been aggravated.

In Iraq, about one hundred and fifty thousand American soldiers, separated from their families and loved ones, are operating under the command of the current US administration. A substantial number of them have been killed or wounded and their presence in Iraq has tarnished the image of the American people and government.

Their mothers and relatives have, on numerous occasions, displayed their discontent with the presence of their sons and daughters in a land thousands of miles away from US shores. American soldiers often wonder why they have been sent to Iraq.

I consider it extremely unlikely that you, the American people, consent to the billions of dollars of annual expenditure from your treasury for this military misadventure.

Noble Americans,

You have heard that the US administration is kidnapping its presumed opponents from across the globe and arbitrarily holding them without trial or any international supervision in horrendous prisons that it has established in various parts of the world. God knows who these detainees actually are, and what terrible fate awaits them.

You have certainly heard the sad stories of the Guantanamo and Abu-Ghraib prisons. The US administration attempts to justify them through its proclaimed "war on terror." But every one knows that such behavior, in fact, offends global public opinion, exacerbates resentment and thereby spreads terrorism, and tarnishes the US image and its credibility among nations.

The US administration's illegal and immoral behavior is not even confined to outside its borders. You are witnessing daily that under the pretext of "the war on terror," civil liberties in the United States are being increasingly curtailed. Even the privacy of individuals is fast losing its meaning. Judicial due process and fundamental rights are trampled upon. Private phones are tapped, suspects are arbitrarily arrested, sometimes beaten in the streets, or even shot to death.

I have no doubt that the American people do not approve of this behavior and indeed deplore it.

The US administration does not accept accountability before any organization, institution or council. The US administration has undermined the credibility of international organizations, particularly the United Nations and its Security Council. But, I do not intend to address all the challenges and calamities in this message.

The legitimacy, power and influence of a government do not emanate from its arsenals of tanks, fighter aircrafts, missiles or nuclear weapons. Legitimacy and influence reside in sound logic, quest for justice and compassion and empathy for all humanity. The global position of the United States is in all probability weakened because the administration has continued to resort to force, to conceal the truth, and to mislead the American people about its policies and practices.

Undoubtedly, the American people are not satisfied with this behavior and they showed their discontent in the recent elections. I hope that in the wake of the mid-term elections, the administration of President Bush will have heard and will heed the message of the American people.

My questions are the following:

Is there not a better approach to governance?

Is it not possible to put wealth and power in the service of peace, stability, prosperity and the happiness of all peoples through a commitment to justice and respect for the rights of all nations, instead of aggression and war?

We all condemn terrorism, because its victims are the innocent.

But, can terrorism be contained and eradicated through war, destruction and the killing of hundreds of thousands of innocents?

If that were possible, then why has the problem not been resolved?

The sad experience of invading Iraq is before us all.

What has blind support for the Zionists by the US administration brought for the American people? It is regrettable that for the US administration, the interests of these occupiers supersedes the interests of the American people and of the other nations of the world.

What have the Zionists done for the American people that the US administration considers itself obliged to blindly support these infamous aggressors? Is it not because they have imposed themselves on a substantial portion of the banking, financial, cultural and media sectors?

I recommend that in a demonstration of respect for the American people and for humanity, the right of Palestinians to live in their own homeland should be recognized so that millions of Palestinian refugees can return to their homes and the future of all of Palestine and its form of government be determined in a referendum. This will benefit everyone.

Now that Iraq has a Constitution and an independent Assembly and Government, would it not be more beneficial to bring the US officers and soldiers home, and to spend the astronomical US military expenditures in Iraq for the welfare and prosperity of the American people? As you know very well, many victims of Katrina continue to suffer, and countless Americans continue to live in poverty and homelessness.

I'd also like to say a word to the winners of the recent elections in the US:

The United States has had many administrations; some who have left a positive legacy, and others that are neither remembered fondly by the American people nor by other nations.

Now that you control an important branch of the US Government, you will also be held to account by the people and by history.

If the US Government meets the current domestic and external challenges with an approach based on truth and Justice, it can remedy some of the past afflictions and alleviate some of the global resentment and hatred of America. But if the approach remains the same, it would not be unexpected that the American people would similarly reject the new electoral winners, although the recent elections, rather than reflecting a victory, in reality point to the failure of the current administration's policies. These issues had been extensively dealt with in my letter to President Bush earlier this year.

To sum up:

It is possible to govern based on an approach that is distinctly different from one of coercion, force and injustice.

It is possible to sincerely serve and promote common human values, and honesty and compassion.

It is possible to provide welfare and prosperity without tension, threats, imposition or war.

It is possible to lead the world towards the aspired perfection by adhering to unity, monotheism, morality and spirituality and drawing upon the teachings of the Divine Prophets.

Then, the American people, who are God-fearing and followers of Divine religions, will overcome every difficulty.

What I stated represents some of my anxieties and concerns.

I am confident that you, the American people, will play an instrumental role in the establishment of justice and spirituality throughout the world. The promises of the Almighty and His prophets will certainly be realized, Justice and Truth will prevail and all nations will live a true life in a climate replete with love, compassion and fraternity.

The US governing establishment, the authorities and the powerful should not choose irreversible paths. As all prophets have taught us, injustice and transgression will eventually bring about decline and demise. Today, the path of return to faith and spirituality is open and unimpeded.

We should all heed the Divine Word of the Holy Qur'an:

"But those who repent, have faith and do good may receive Salvation. Your Lord, alone, creates and chooses as He will, and others have no part in His choice; Glorified is God and Exalted above any partners they ascribe to Him." (28:67-68)

I pray to the Almighty to bless the Iranian and American nations and indeed all nations of the world with dignity and success.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

President of the Islamic Republic of Iran

29 November 2006

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

We won't get fooled again?

Iran Sanctions As we embark on one of the longest Presidential campaign trails in American political history the Democrats are enjoying their newfound stardom. Bush has been rendered a lame duck and no Republican candidate, America's Mayor included, has made so much as a spark against the supernova that is Obama and Clinton. Part of their success, if their respective race and gender are taken into account, is their fierce antiwar rhetoric. Barack sports his refusal to authorize the war on his sleeve and Hillary wants to start planning our exit from the region. That's all fine and dandy, but isn't it time to start looking toward our next war? Where do these candidates stand on Iran? Here's the answer:

Its success in attracting attention to the ostensible nuclear threat posed by Iran is another demonstration of the power of the Israel lobby to influence U.S. foreign policy and affect the policy debate in Congress. TIP’s press conference was striking for the strong written statements of support issued by more than 13 presidential candidates, including Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.


“Allowing Iran, a radical theocracy that supports terrorism and openly threatens its neighbours, to acquire nuclear weapons is a risk we cannot take,” said Obama in a statement read aloud to reporters. “All nations need to understand that, while Iran’s most explicit and intolerable threats are aimed at Israel, its conduct threatens all of us.”

Obama recently introduced the Iran Sanctions Enabling Act, one of several bills making its way through Congress that calls for stiffer economic sanctions on Iran’s energy industry and countries that do business with Iran.

“We cannot permit Iran to build or acquire nuclear weapons. We must also not let go unanswered its state sponsorship of terrorism. We must not stand silent in the face of brutal repression of women and minorities. And we must not tolerate threats to the existence of Israel,” said New York Senator Hillary Clinton.(Source)

It's interesting to see how much the Democrats, for being such self-lauded radicals, are retailing Republican buzz phrases. For instance, Congressman Brad Sherman of California repeated the lie that Ahmadinejad used the line "wipe Israel off the map". This is not only untrue but impossible. The speech he delivered was in Persian, a language which has no comparable idiom as to "wipe something off the map". More accurately translated Ahmadinejad said he wanted the Israeli government to be erased from the pages of time. His dispute is with Zionism, not Jews.

Moreover, a line of delineation needs to be drawn between nuclear technology for energy purposes, Iran's stated motive, and militaristic ends. It is easy to argue, as one should, that a leader cannot be taken at face value, their actions must be scrutinized additionally. Even when analyzed by this measure Iran appears to pose no threat. It was the only country to vote for a restriction on the production of Fissile Material used in creating nuclear bombs. Such a ban would have allowed for closely monitored nuclear production for non-military purposes.

Iran should not be tampered with, it will burn itself out like a contained brushfire. Don't let the media, Bush or even his opponents tell you otherwise. Sanctions are unnecessary as Iran has not wondered outside the boundaries of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, and if Iraq sanctions are any indication economic constraints would only harm the people. Under US/UK sanctions the Iraqis were forced to eat garbage and drink dishwater, this type of treatment would help mend a frayed relationship between the Iranian government and its people in opposition to our interference. If the Iranian President should seek the bomb it would only be the doing of imbeciles from America's trigger-happy ruling class.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Cavuto getting whooped by Tommy Chong

Murdoch's influence on media is profound. The reason FOX makes so much cash isn't because of a superior message, as FOX predictably claims, it's because Rupert has slashed large numbers of fact-finding resources and filled the void with colorful blow hards like Cavuto. They hardly ever break a story they just add their opinions to stories other people uncovered. But how pathetic is it that an economic "expert" like Neil could get owned by Tommy Chong? No disrespect to Tommy, he's actually quite intelligent, but I doubt he could have kept a real reporter like Bill Moyers on the run like he does with the Italian Stallion.

Orwell that ends well

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Stop wasting our time!

Senate Iraq DebateSo I'm an insomniac but sometimes that works to my advantage. For instance, just now I saw on ABC World News this morning the reason why we're not going to end this war with any amount of diplomacy or grace. As Congress' pajama party rages into the predawn hours I witnessed cots being rolled into Capitol Hill. Wow, our brave leaders on the Hill must mean business, going without posturepedic support for an entire night. I happen to know for a fact that Dick Durbin's sleep number is 37 and you don't want to see Harry Reid without his blanky.

It's too bad we can't send a couple of these guys to fight in the war they're trying to stop - a war most of them were so quick to approve and so slow to oppose. How fatigued will they be after their 4th consecutive deployment? Kind of makes this wank-off look hollow.

I hate to admit it but the Republicans are right. This is meaningless. The Senate needs 60 votes in order to move forward, and even then they're just spinning their wheels because between Bush's veto power and signing statements he's going to mutilate any legislation challenging his direction in Iraq. And thanks to America's biggest Dick, the Executive's poisoned tentacles have infected all orthodox channels of oversight. The neoconservative giant has grown too big, too fast.

But this deranged mammoth has feet of clay. The way to bring an end to this insanity is simple and obvious - impeachment. Obama balks at the word. And so does Schumer. Even Wisconsin's own Russ Feingold, who only last year called for a censure of the President, thinks impeachment trials would waste Congress' time. If we don't have Feingold who do we have left? In four months, the time it took to impeach Clinton, we could purge the White House of its villainous occupants and install Pelosi as President. Yeah, I know she's not much to look at, but it's what we'll have to put up with until we swear in President elect Mike Gravel. So, unless they're spending the night reading over Kucinich's articles of impeachment in anticipation of co-sponsoring it, this pizza party is just a charade.

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Gandhi Protest

GandhiTo say Gandhi was ahead of his time is to woefully short change the Mahatma. First there is a resurgence of hunger strikes on college campuses. Now, a flower protest emerges. Those who detract from nonviolent protests think it's lazy, that only those who aren't willing to die for their cause will engage in such tactics. This is exactly backwards. People like Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. who chose pacifism were demonstrably braver because they faced imprisonment, even death, armed only with compassion. Too often we carelessly look back on history thinking it was predestined, that it had to turn out in our favor. This is not so. Progress doesn't happen as a result of happy accidents. It is brought to fruition through constant (sometimes over generations) pushing and shoving, charges and retreats.

But take heart in the words of Gandhi who said:

"When I despair, remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end they always fall -- think of it, always".

The Gandhi Protest

Several readers commented on a posting earlier this week about 200 skilled immigrants from India who tried a Gandhi-like tactic and sent flowers to the government's immigration director for help in moving their green card applications along. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services forwarded the flowers to soldiers recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital, saying it understood the intent of gesture.

Here's a sample:

"I wonder if USCIS really understood why the flowers were sent. It was a symbolic protest by legal immigrants AGAINST the way USCIS treated them. How could they send it in the 'same spirit' to soldiers whom we all empathize with?"
"What an inspirational act. Too bad the message did seem to have gotten lost in translation. Just imagine what would have happened in WWII if the US would have turned away the immigrating sciencists and engineers. How come some 50 years later, the US is struggling to see the value of inviting the world's best and brightest to immigrate here."
"I'm sorry that these people were tricked into coming to America with the promise of a welcome and eventually a Green Card. The fact is that H1-B immigrants were brought here in order to replace US workers."
"Viceroy Lord Wavell and his assistants laughed when M.K. Gandhi told them that one day they will be forced to leave India. What they did not understood that they were not politicians, they were bureaucrats. When the political power behind peaceful civil disobedience was unleashed, a nation took shape, and what Gandhi told Wavell became a reality.

"Something similar repeated in United States recently when thousands of legal immigrants were given a cold shoulder, despite of their merit based claim for an American Green Card. They decided to apply Gandhian way of peaceful protest by sending thousands of flower bouquets to USCIS, an American agency responsible for immigration and citizenship. Instead of offering an apology, USCIS chief decided to again ignore the immigrants and simply issued a statement that the flowers will be forwarded to the injured service members recuperating at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Once again a bureaucrat miscalculated the power hidden behind a peaceful protest. Now the power behind flowers is becoming a media mainstream story. NY Times, Washington Post, Reuters, Yahoo News are a few to name. Bollywood, has recently issued a statement providing its full support to Immigration Voice, the non profit organization behind the flower campaign.

"An American way of fighting injustice 'A law suit' is on its way, the usual rallies and demonstrations are about to begin. However, in America, its first time after Martin Luther King Jr., that someone has tried to apply Gandhi's way to fight injustice. It is yet not clear that what would be the outcome of this campaign, but there are rumours that USCIS is already discussing internally to reverse the discriminatory decision which caused this embarrassing flower campaign against them.

"It's amazing to witness that 60 years after Gandhi's demise, his ideology is still relevant. We are sure its gonna remain relevant till there are Lord Wavell's in this world. Lord Wavell's can momentarily laugh thinking that unorganized immigrants are helpless, but when the peaceful protest will demonstrate its political power, they surely will realize what Gandhi and Gandhian ways are all about."

By Dan Beyers | July 13, 2007; 6:00 AM ET

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Cindy Sheehan Street Debate

Sheehan is confronted by Bush's base...I don't mean a member of Bush's base, I mean the one guy who still supports him.

This is why we need environmental regulations

Chemical spillBP to dump more toxins in Lake Michigan

WHITING, Ind., July 14 (UPI) -- An enormous BP oil refinery in Indiana is planning to pour significantly more ammonia and industrial sludge into Lake Michigan, it was reported.

The move by the British Petroleum oil refinery of Whiting, Ind., runs counter to years of efforts to clean up the U.S. Great Lakes, The Chicago Tribune reported Saturday.

State regulators exempted BP from environmental laws to pave the way for a $3.8 billion expansion to let BP refine heavier Canadian crude oil. Regulators justified the move, in part, by noting the project will create 80 new jobs.

BP, which aggressively markets itself as environmentally friendly, already is one of the largest polluters along the Great Lakes.

Under the new state water permit, BP can release 54 percent more ammonia and 35 percent more sludge into Lake Michigan every day. Ammonia promotes algae blooms that can kill fish and the sludge is dense with heavy metals, the newspaper reported.

The refinery still will meet federal water pollution guidelines, but state and federal officials acknowledge it is the first time in years a company has been approved to dump more toxic waste into Lake Michigan.

© Copyright 2007 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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Friday, July 13, 2007

Friday Flashback: Bad Religion - "Infected", Dead Kennedys - "Kill the Poor"

Bad Religion - "Infected"

Dead Kennedys - "Kill the Poor"

The Perfect Drug: What will end our oil addiction?

HydrogenNobody remembers when Bush said we need to kick our "oil addiction" - not even Bush. But he did say it, and, even if he didn't mean it, it is true. We're jonesin' for a fix and like a crackhead without enough junk we're hurting others along with ourselves in search for another taste of Texas Tea.

A solution the President offered during that speech was biomass cultivated from switch grass, willow and sugarcane. We are lead to believe corn-based ethanol is the cleanest alternative to fossil fuels, however, if implemented today we'd only be trading one devil for another. Ethanol yields less energy than it takes to produce and would result in catastrophic depletion of American top soil.

So the solution is evident. If not biomass then nuclear power would be the best alternative. Not so. Just think of all the waste left behind, who wants a three-legged baby or radioactive breast milk? No clear-thinking person wants a Three Mile Island or Chernobyl in their backyard. Not even the greatest salesman alive could sell someone on that. And an energy shift big enough to power America would generate massive amounts of waste which wouldn't be dumped in Trump's neighborhood. Instead, the unused radioactive material would most likely be buried in primarily Black and Hispanic communities. Never mind the enfeebling diseases to follow, you can still vote by absentee ballot.

image006Now you're calling me a defeatocrat, aren't you? I won't let you have your coal, oil, uranium or your switch grass...what could possibly be left? Hydrogen - that's what. Although automotive companies are trying to place a monopoly on this technology, there are soon to be relatively inexpensive kits available which have been tested and proven to work in most late model cars. There are two primary components: a tank and a refueling generator. When you store your vehicle you connect the hydride tanks to the refueling generator, Hydrogen is then chemically bonded to the hydride which clings to the hydrogen until it's heated. When I say cling I'm talking Bruce Lee, kung-fu grip type of clinging. mits4For example, if the tank is cracked open or even split in two none of the hydrogen will escape or explode. The only way to release the chemically bonded hydrogen once absorbed by the hydride is through heat. This makes it even safer than the gas tank you have in your car right now. The waste emitted from a hydrogen fuel system is water vapor and nitrogen oxides. It doesn't get much cleaner than that. And because the hydrogen fuel system is solar power based the total maintenance cost is much cheaper than filling up every five days and should pay for itself, depending upon your driving habits, within a few years. Here's some in-depth information on how the hydrogen system works.

Special thanks to Eben for bringing this technology to my attention. Kudos!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

A thought on the O'Reilly quote

At this point, to get angry over the stupidity that bursts from O'Reilly's piehole is a waste of time. He's not an elected official, so he's not accountable to us. Those in his choir don't care what we have to say and we already know the guy's an imbecile. Talking about all of his faux pas, although amusing, seems to be on par with celebrity gossip.

But his latest odyssey into fuzzy logic has definitely raised an eyebrow. Not because of what he said as much as it's a sentiment I've seen propagated too many times without being sufficiently countered. To start, let's take his quote about antiwar "secular progressives" at the NY times:

"It is beyond disappointing this campaign is not succeeding, but I'm still praying for a miracle, as a stable Iraq makes the world a safer place. I believe that prayer is not being shared in some precincts here in America, but of course I could be wrong." (Source)

The same has been said about peace demonstrators and liberal activists couched in less guarded language from the likes of Limbaugh and Savage just to name a couple. If we follow O'Reilly's thinking to it's natural conclusion we can only arrive at one place. If Progressives cheer with every car bomb in Fallujah, then Conservatives applaud with each attack on domestic soil. Madrid, London, New York. Those would have been political godsends. Think about it, they've got the most to gain. Broader public support (see Bush's approval ratings after 9/11), heightened nationalism, and a calcified enemy presence. All ideal conditions for manipulation en mass.

If O'Reilly and the rest want to play this game then they must accept the converse as being true. It is time to end intellectual hypocrisy in national debate.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Banned Bush Interview from Ireland

Dear Mr. President, you can no longer say the words "let me finish" until you have a thought worth finishing.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Congress and the media despise democracy

"I believe if we began impeachment proceedings we will be engulfed in more of the politics that has made Washington dysfunction..."(Source)
-- Barack Obama

"... rather than seeking impeachment, I have chosen to propose comprehensive oversight of these alleged abuses."(Source)
-- John Conyers

Nearly half of the US public wants President George W. Bush to face impeachment, and even more favor that fate for Vice President Dick Cheney, according to a poll out Friday.

The survey by the American Research Group found that 45 percent support the US House of Representatives beginning impeachment proceedings against Bush, with 46 percent opposed, and a 54-40 split in favor when it comes to Cheney.(Source)

A healthy segment of the American public support the impeachment of the President and the majority of Americans hunger for Cheney's head on a stick, so why doesn't the media coverage reflect this? Pelosi has never reconsidered putting impeachment back on the table, only 9 co-sponsors (a 10th is on the way) have joined Kucinich in his move toward unseating those renegades holding the rule of law hostage, and Hillary has characterized Congress as lacking an "appetite" for impeachment.

Let's assume we didn't invade Iraq for oil (even though Australia left that cat out of the bag) and we're in the Middle East to spread peace, love and understand via our dignified version of democracy. It is our obligation to practice what we preach. Either we believe in democracy or we don't. If we do then the horrifying amateur act that has been the Bush/Cheney administration need to be gonged out of office now. If not, the media needs to broadcast more celebrity gossip instead of informing the populace, Congress needs to ignore the will of the people and the executive branch needs to acquire additional, Constitutionally-illegitimate powers. In other words, if we don't give two squats about democratic rule we don't have to change a thing.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Brainy and Breezy: Smart books for stupid people

Reading. Is there a bigger waste of a summer? School's out, the days are long and the nights - even longer. Dostoevsky's great, but not while sucking down a belly shot or setting off Works Bombs during the 4th of July. But then the dog days hit. Your body wreaks of Kessler's and bug spray, and you've pissed off all those barflies you started June with after one too many Jose Cuervo-charged, "Real World" smackdowns. After the secondhand smoke clears, all that's left is you and your books. These are a couple of my favorites, originally recommended by my girlfriend the blogger at Where I Drown (love you, honey).

Ishmael Daniel Quinn has a secret he's not going to tell you - his large, telepathic gorilla will. Quinn sounds certifiable, I know, but Ishmael, the title character and the name of the aforesaid primate, will have you thinking it's the rest of us who're loony. The too-simple plot is an afterthought, acting as wallpaper behind the dialog. The navel-gazing protagonist answers a classified ad requesting a student who has a strong desire to save the world. When he answers the ad he is greeted by Ishmael who agrees to take the nameless main character under his tutelage.

Beyond the plot it's difficult to reveal much more without diluting the joy of discovery that accompanies every turn of the page. This much I can say: Ishmael promises to so profoundly alter your understanding of the human animal that you'll feel a subtle sense of alienation from the rest of the world. It takes until chapter two to start fearing he just might deliver. The trouble is not religious or racial or economic, although it encases all three. And, unlike many contemporary problem-spotters, Quinn offers a single solution which could save the world if only we had the courage to pursue it. By the end it is you, the reader, who become Ishmael's student.

Galapagos VonnegutRule number 6 for writing fiction according to Kurt Vonnegut: "Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them -- in order that the reader may see what they are made of." Kurt ain't playin' either. Not only does he put a character or two characters or even a cluster of characters under duress he puts humanity under taxing, even misanthropically fatal, conditions and watches it squirm. You need only recall Cat's Cradle to know we don't always make it out alive. Galapagos is Vonnegut's version of Utopia, which reads like a Dystopian saga for us technocrats. The narrative includes multiple continents and travels across a million years of human destiny. It's an interweaving tangle of characters colliding against each other all converging at the same place Darwin made his heretical discovery with his ship, "The Beagle," 180 years ago. After the onset of a worldwide nuclear war all of humanity is poisoned, except for that remote archipelago supporting the last survivors of the human race. From there we evolve into a species more suited for that environment - developing flippers, shedding hair and losing intelligence.

What makes the novel so terrifying is how right Vonnegut could turn out to be. Well-conceived satires like Network have proven the more outlandish one tries to portray the world the more closely the world adheres to his or her forecast. The reality of complete nuclear destruction is urine-inducing by itself, but to imagine mankind without its identity is petrifying.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Noam Chomsky on Iraq 6/29/07

chomskyImminent Crises: Threats and Opportunities
By Noam Chomsky

Regrettably, there are all too many candidates that qualify as imminent and very serious crises. Several should be high on everyone’s agenda of concern, because they pose literal threats to human survival: the increasing likelihood of a terminal nuclear war, and environmental disaster, which may not be too far removed. However, I would like to focus on narrower issues, those that are of greatest concern in the West right now. I will be speaking primarily of the United States, which I know best, and it is the most important case because of its enormous power. But as far as I can ascertain, Europe is not very different.

The area of greatest concern is the Middle East. There is nothing novel about that. I often have to arrange talks years in advance. If I am asked for a title, I suggest “The Current Crisis in the Middle East.” It has yet to fail. There’s a good reason: the huge energy resources of the region were recognized by Washington sixty years ago as a “stupendous source of strategic power,” the “strategically most important area of the world,” and “one of the greatest material prizes in world history.”1 Control over this stupendous prize has been a primary goal of U.S. policy ever since, and threats to it have naturally aroused enormous concern.

For years it was pretended that the threat was from the Russians, the routine pretext for violence and subversion all over the world. In the case of the Middle East, we do not have to consider this pretext, since it was officially abandoned. When the Berlin Wall fell, the first Bush administration released a new National Security Strategy, explaining that everything would go as before but within a new rhetorical framework. The massive military system is still necessary, but now because of the “technological sophistication of third world powers”—which at least comes closer to the truth—the primary threat, worldwide, has been indigenous nationalism. The official document explained further that the United States would maintain its intervention forces aimed at the Middle East, where “the threat to our interests” that required intervention “could not be laid at the Kremlin’s door,” contrary to decades of fabrication.2 As is normal, all of this passed without comment.

The most serious current problem in the minds of the population, by far, is Iraq. And the easy winner in the competition for the country that is the most feared is Iran, not because Iran really poses a severe threat, but because of a drumbeat of government-media propaganda. That is a familiar pattern. The most recent example is Iraq. The invasion of Iraq was virtually announced in September 2002. As we now know, the U.S.-British invasion was already underway in secret. In that month, Washington initiated a huge propaganda campaign, with lurid warnings by Condoleezza Rice and others that the next message from Saddam Hussein would be a mushroom cloud in New York City. Within a few weeks, the government-media propaganda barrage had driven Americans completely off the international spectrum. Saddam may have been despised almost everywhere, but it was only in the United States that a majority of the population were terrified of what he might do to them, tomorrow. Not surprisingly, support for the war correlated very closely with such fears. That has been achieved before, in amazing ways during the Reagan years, and there is a long and illuminating earlier history. But I will keep to the current monster being crafted by the doctrinal system, after a few words about Iraq.

There is a flood of commentary about Iraq, but very little reporting. Journalists are mostly confined to fortified areas in Baghdad, or embedded within the occupying army. That is not because they are cowards or lazy, but because it is simply too dangerous to be anywhere else. That has not been true in earlier wars. It is an astonishing fact that the United States and Britain have had more trouble running Iraq than the Nazis had in occupied Europe, or the Russians in their East European satellites, where the countries were run by local civilians and security forces, with the iron fist poised if anything went wrong but usually in the background. In contrast, the United States has been unable to establish an obedient client regime in Iraq, under far easier conditions.

Putting aside doctrinal blinders, what should be done in Iraq? Before answering, we should be clear about some basic principles. The major principle is that an invader has no rights, only responsibilities. The first responsibility is to pay reparations. The second responsibility is to follow the will of the victims. There is actually a third responsibility: to bring criminals to trial, but that obligation is so remote from the imperial mentality of Western culture that I will put it aside.

The responsibility to pay reparations to Iraqis goes far beyond the crime of aggression and its terrible aftermath. The United States and Britain have been torturing the population of Iraq for a long time. In recent history, both governments strongly supported Saddam Hussein’s terrorist regime through the period of his worst crimes, and long after the end of the war with Iran. Iran finally capitulated, recognizing that it could not fight the United States, which was, by then, openly participating in Saddam’s aggression—something that Iranians have surely not forgotten, even if Westerners have. Dismissing history is always a convenient stance for those who hold the clubs, but their victims usually prefer to pay attention to the real world. After the Iran-Iraq war, Washington and London continued to provide military equipment to their friend Saddam, including means to develop weapons of mass destruction and delivery systems. Iraqi nuclear engineers were even being brought to the United States for instruction in developing nuclear weapons in 1989, long after Saddam’s worst atrocities and Iran’s capitulation.

Immediately after the 1991 Gulf War, the United States and the United Kingdom returned to their support for Saddam when they effectively authorized him to use heavy military equipment to suppress a Shi’ite uprising that might well have overthrown the tyrant. The reasons were publicly explained. The New York Times reported that there was a “strikingly unanimous view” among the United States and its allies, Britain and Saudi Arabia, that “whatever the sins of the Iraqi leader, he offered the West and the region a better hope for his country’s stability than did those who have suffered his repression”; the term “stability” is a code word for “following orders.”3 New York Times chief diplomatic correspondent Thomas Friedman explained that “the best of all worlds” for Washington would be an “iron-fisted military junta” ruling Iraq just the way Saddam did. But lacking that option, Washington had to settle for second-best: Saddam himself. An unthinkable option—then and now—is that Iraqis should rule Iraq independently of the United States.

Then followed the murderous sanctions regime imposed by the United States and Britain, which killed hundreds of thousands of people, devastated Iraqi civilian society, strengthened the tyrant, and forced the population to rely on him for survival. The sanctions probably saved Saddam from the fate of other vicious tyrants, some quite comparable to him, who were overthrown from within despite strong support from the United States and United Kingdom to the end of their bloody rule: Ceausescu, Suharto, and quite a rogues gallery of others, to which new names are being added regularly. Again, all of this is boring ancient history for those who hold the clubs, but not for their victims, or for people who prefer to understand the world. All of those actions, and much more, call for reparations, on a massive scale, and the responsibility extends to others as well. But the deep moral-intellectual crisis of imperial culture prevents any thought of such topics as these.

The second responsibility is to obey the will of the population. British and U.S. polls provide sufficient evidence about that. The most recent polls find that 87 percent of Iraqis want a “concrete timeline for US withdrawal,” up from 76 percent in 2005.4 If the reports really mean Iraqis, as they say, that would imply that virtually the entire population of Arab Iraq, where the U.S. and British armies are deployed, wants a firm timetable for withdrawal. I doubt that one would have found comparable figures in occupied Europe under the Nazis, or Eastern Europe under Russian rule.

Bush-Blair and associates declare, however, that there can be no timetable for withdrawal. That stand in part reflects the natural hatred for democracy among the powerful, often accompanied by eloquent calls for democracy. The calls for democracy moved to center stage after the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, so a new motive had to be invented for the invasion. The president announced the doctrine to great acclaim in November 2003, at the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington. He proclaimed that the real reason for the invasion was not Saddam’s weapons programs, as Washington and London had insistently claimed, but rather Bush’s messianic mission to promote democracy in Iraq, the Middle East, and elsewhere. The media and prominent scholars were deeply impressed, relieved to discover that the “liberation of Iraq” is perhaps the “most noble” war in history, as leading liberal commentators announced—a sentiment echoed even by critics, who objected that the “noble goal” may be beyond our means, and those to whom we are offering this wonderful gift may be too backward to accept it. That conclusion was confirmed a few days later by U.S. polls in Baghdad. Asked why the United States invaded Iraq, some agreed with the new doctrine hailed by Western intellectuals: 1 percent agreed that the goal was to promote democracy. Another 5 percent said that the goal was to help Iraqis.5 Most of the rest took for granted that the goals were the obvious ones that are unmentionable in polite society—the strategic-economic goals we readily attribute to enemies, as when Russia invaded Afghanistan or Saddam invaded Kuwait, but are unmentionable when we turn to ourselves.

But rejection of the popular will in Iraq goes far beyond the natural fear of democracy on the part of the powerful. Simply consider the policies that are likely to be pursued by an independent and more or less democratic Iraq. Iraqis may have no love for Iran, but they would doubtlessly prefer friendly relations with their powerful neighbor. The Shi’ite majority already has ties to Iran and has been moving to strengthen them. Furthermore, even limited sovereignty in Iraq has encouraged efforts by the harshly repressed Shi’ite population across the border in Saudi Arabia to gain basic rights and perhaps autonomy. That is where most of Saudi Arabia’s oil happens to be.

Such developments might lead to a loose Shi’ite alliance controlling the world’s major energy resources and independent of Washington, the ultimate nightmare in Washington—except that it might get worse: the alliance might strengthen its economic and possibly even military ties with China. The United States can intimidate Europe: when Washington shakes its fist, leading European business enterprises pull out of Iran. But China has a three-thousand-year history of contempt for the barbarians: they refuse to be intimidated.

That is the basic reason for Washington’s strategic concerns with regard to China: not that it is a military threat, but that it poses the threat of independence. If that threat is unacceptable for small countries like Cuba or Vietnam, it is certainly so for the heartland of the most dynamic economic region in the world, the country that has just surpassed Japan in possession of the world’s major financial reserves and is the world’s fastest growing major economy. China’s economy is already about two-thirds the size of that of the United States, by the correct measures, and if current growth rates persist, it is likely to close that gap in about a decade—in absolute terms, not per capita of course.

China is also the center of the Asian Energy Security Grid and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which includes the Central Asian countries, and just a few weeks ago, was joined by India, Iran, and Pakistan as observers, soon probably members. India is undertaking significant joint energy projects with China, and it might join the Energy Security Grid. Iran may as well, if it comes to the conclusion that Europe is so intimidated by the United States that it cannot act independently. If Iran turns to the East, it will find willing partners. A major conference on energy last September in Teheran brought together government officials and scholars from Iran, China, Pakistan, India, Russia, Egypt, Indonesia, Georgia, Venezuela, and Germany, planning an extensive pipeline system for the entire region and also more intensive development of energy resources. Bush’s recent trip to India, and his authorization of India’s nuclear weapons program, is part of the jockeying over how these major global forces will crystallize. A sovereign and partially democratic Iraq could be another contribution to developments that seriously threaten U.S. global hegemony, so it is not at all surprising that Washington has sought in every way to prevent such an outcome, joined by “the spear carrier for the pax americana,” as Blair’s Britain is described by Michael MccGwire in Britain’s leading journal of international affairs.6

If the United States were compelled to grant some degree of sovereignty to Iraq, and any of these consequences would ensue, Washington planners would be facing the collapse of one of their highest foreign policy objectives since the Second World War, when the United States replaced Britain as the world-dominant power: the need to control “the strategically most important area of the world.” What has been central to planning is control, not access, an important distinction. The United States followed the same policies long before it relied on a drop of Middle East oil, and would continue to do so if it relied on solar energy. Such control gives the United States “veto power” over its industrial rivals, as explained in the early postwar period by influential planners, and reiterated recently with regard to Iraq: a successful conquest of Iraq would give the United States “critical leverage” over its industrial rivals, Europe and Asia, as pointed out by Zbigniew Brzezinski, an important figure in the planning community. Vice President Dick Cheney made the same point, describing control over petroleum supplies as “tools of intimidation and blackmail”—when used by others.7 He went on to urge the dictatorships of Central Asia, Washington’s models of democracy, to agree to pipeline construction that ensures that the tools remain in Washington’s hands.

The thought is by no means original. At the dawn of the oil age almost ninety years ago, Britain’s first lord of the admiralty Walter Hume Long explained that “if we secure the supplies of oil now available in the world we can do what we like.”8 Woodrow Wilson also understood this crucial point. Wilson expelled the British from Venezuela, which by 1928 had become the world’s leading oil exporter, with U.S. companies then placed in charge. To achieve this goal, Wilson and his successors supported the vicious and corrupt dictator of Venezuela and ensured that he would bar British concessions. Meanwhile the United States continued to demand—and secure—U.S. oil rights in the Middle East, where the British and French were in the lead.

We might note that these events illustrate the actual meaning of the “Wilsonian idealism” admired by Western intellectual culture, and also provide the real meaning of “free trade” and the “open door.” Sometimes that is even officially acknowledged. When the post-Second World War global order was being shaped in Washington, a State Department memorandum on U.S. petroleum policy called for preserving absolute U.S. control of Western hemisphere resources “coupled with insistence upon the Open Door principle of equal opportunity for United States companies in new areas.”9 That is a useful illustration of “really existing free market doctrine”: What we have, we keep, closing the door to others; what we do not yet have, we take, under the principle of the Open Door. All of this illustrates the one really significant theory of international relations, the maxim of Thucydides: the strong do as they can, and the weak suffer as they must.

With regard to Iraq today, talk about exit strategies means very little unless these realities are confronted. How Washington planners will deal with these problems is far from clear. And they face similar problems elsewhere. Intelligence projections for the new millennium were that the United States would control Middle East oil as a matter of course, but would itself rely on more stable Atlantic Basin reserves: West African dictatorships’ and the Western hemisphere’s. But Washington’s postwar control of South America, from Venezuela to Argentina, is seriously eroding. The two major instruments of control have been violence and economic strangulation, but each weapon is losing its efficacy. The latest attempt to sponsor a military coup was in 2002, in Venezuela, but the United States had to back down when the government it helped install was quickly overthrown by popular resistance, and there was turmoil in Latin America, where democracy is taken much more seriously than in the West and overthrow of a democratically elected government is no longer accepted quietly. Economic controls are also eroding. South American countries are paying off their debts to the IMF—basically an offshoot of the U.S. Treasury department. More frightening yet to Washington, these countries are being aided by Venezuela. The president of Argentina announced that the country would “rid itself of the IMF.” Rigorous adherence to IMF rules had led to economic disaster, from which the country recovered by radically violating the rules. Brazil too had rid itself of the IMF, and Bolivia probably will as well, again aided by Venezuela. U.S. economic controls are seriously weakening.

Washington’s main concern is Venezuela, the leading oil producer in the Western hemisphere. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that its reserves might be greater than Saudi Arabia’s if the price of oil stays high enough for exploitation of its expensive extra-heavy oil to become profitable. Extreme U.S. hostility and subversion has accelerated Venezuela’s interest in diversifying exports and investment, and China is more than willing to accept the opportunity, as it is with other resource-rich Latin American exporters. The largest gas reserves in South America are in Bolivia, which is now following much the same path as Venezuela. Both countries pose a problem for Washington in other respects. They have popularly elected governments. Venezuela leads Latin America in support for the elected government, increasing sharply in the past few years under Chávez. He is bitterly hated in the United States because of his independence and enormous popular support. Bolivia just had a democratic election of a kind next to inconceivable in the West. There were serious issues that the population understood very well, and there was active participation of the general population, who elected someone from their own ranks, from the indigenous majority. Democracy is always frightening to power centers, particularly when it goes too far beyond mere form and involves actual substance.

Commentary on what is happening reveals the nature of the fears. London’s Financial Times warned that President Evo Morales of Bolivia is becoming increasingly “authoritarian” and “undemocratic.” This is a serious concern to Western powers, who are dedicated to freedom and democracy everywhere. The proof of his authoritarian stance and departure from democratic principles is that he followed the will of 95 percent of the population and nationalized Bolivia’s gas resources, and is also gaining popularity by cutting public salaries and eliminating corruption. Morales’s policies have come to resemble the frightening leader of Venezuela. As if the popularity of Chávez’s elected government was not proof enough that he is an anti-democratic dictator, he is attempting to extend to Bolivia the same programs he is instituting in Venezuela: helping “Bolivia’s drive to stamp out illiteracy and pay[ing] the wages of hundreds of Cuban doctors who have been sent to work there” among the poor, to quote the Financial Times’ lament.10

The latest Bush administration’s National Security Strategy, released March 2006, describes China as the greatest long-term threat to U.S. global dominance. The threat is not military, but economic. The document warns that Chinese leaders are not only “expanding trade, but acting as if they can somehow ‘lock up’ energy supplies around the world or seek to direct markets rather than opening them up.”11 In the U.S.-China meetings in Washington a few weeks ago, President Bush warned President Hu Jintao against trying to “lock up” global supplies. Bush condemned China’s reliance on oil from Sudan, Burma, and Iran, accusing China of opposition to free trade and human rights—unlike Washington, which imports only from pure democracies that worship human rights, like Equatorial Guinea, one of the most vicious African dictatorships; Colombia, which has by far the worst human rights record in Latin America; Central Asian states; and other paragons of virtue. No respectable person would accuse Washington of “locking up” global supplies when it pursues its traditional “open door policy” and outright aggression to ensure that it dominates global energy supplies, firmly holding “the tools of intimidation and blackmail.” It is interesting, perhaps, that none of this elicits ridicule in the West, or even notice.

The lead story in the New York Times on the Bush-Hu meeting reported that “China’s appetite for oil also affects its stance on Iran….The issue [of China’s effort to ‘lock up’ global supplies] is likely to come to a particular head over Iran,” where China’s state-owned oil giant signed a $70 billion deal to develop Iran’s huge Yadavaran oil field.12 That’s a serious matter, compounded by Chinese interference even in Saudi Arabia, a U.S. client state since the British were expelled during the Second World War. This relationship now threatened by growing economic and even military ties between China and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, now China’s largest trading partner in West Asia and North Africa—perhaps further proof of China’s lack of concern for democracy and human rights. When President Hu visited Washington, he was denied a state dinner, in a calculated insult. He cheerfully reciprocated by going directly to Saudi Arabia, a serious slap in the face to Washington that was surely not misunderstood.

This is the barest sketch of the relevant global context over what to do in Iraq. But these critical matters are scarcely mentioned in the ongoing debate about the problem of greatest concern to Americans. They are barred by a rigid doctrine. It is unacceptable to attribute rational strategic-economic thinking to one’s own state, which must be guided by benign ideals of freedom, justice, peace, and other wonderful things. That leads back again to a very severe crisis in Western intellectual culture, not of course unique in history, but with dangerous portent.

We can be confident that these matters, though excluded from public discussion, engage the attention of planners. Governments typically regard their populations as a major enemy, and keep them in ignorance of what is happening to them and planned for them. Nevertheless, we can speculate. One reasonable speculation is that Washington planners may be seeking to inspire secessionist movements that the United States can then “defend” against the home country. In Iran, the main oil resources are in the Arab areas adjacent to the Gulf, Iran’s Khuzestan—and sure enough, there is now an Ahwazi liberation movement of unknown origin, claiming unspecified rights of autonomy. Nearby, Iraq and the gulf states provide a base for U.S. military intervention.

The U.S. military presence in Latin America is increasing substantially. In Venezuela, oil resources are concentrated in Zulia province near Colombia, the one reliable U.S. land base in the region, a province that is anti-Chávez and already has an autonomy movement, again of unknown origins. In Bolivia, the gas resources are in richer eastern areas dominated by elites of European descent that bitterly oppose the government elected by the indigenous majority, and have threatened to secede. Nearby Paraguay is another one of the few remaining reliable land bases for the U.S. military. Total military and police assistance now exceeds economic and social aid, a dramatic reversal of the pattern during Cold War years. The U.S. military now has more personnel in Latin America than most key civilian federal agencies combined, again a sharp change from earlier years. The new mission is to combat “radical populism”—the term that is regularly used for independent nationalism that does not obey orders. Military training is being shifted from the State Department to the Pentagon, freeing it from human rights and democracy conditionality under congressional supervision—which was always weak, but had some effects that constrained executive violence.

The United States is a global power, and its policies should not be viewed in isolation, any more than those of the British Empire. Going back half a century, the Eisenhower administration identified three major global problems: Indonesia, North Africa, and the Middle East—all oil producers, all Islamic. In all cases, the concern was independent nationalism. The end of French rule in Algeria resolved the North African problem. In Indonesia, the 1965 Suharto coup removed the threat of independence with a huge massacre, which the CIA compared to the crimes of Hitler, Stalin, and Mao. The “staggering mass slaughter,” as the New York Times described it, was greeted in the West with unconcealed euphoria and relief.13 The military coup destroyed the only mass-based political party, a party of the poor, slaughtered huge numbers of landless peasants, and threw the country open to Western exploitation of its rich resources, while the large majority tries to survive in misery. Two years later, the major problem in the Middle East was resolved with Israel’s destruction of the Nasser regime, hated by the United States and Britain, which feared that secular nationalist forces might seek to direct the vast energy resources of the region to internal development. A few years earlier, U.S. intelligence had warned of popular feelings that oil is a “national patrimony” exploited by the West by unjust arrangements imposed by force. Israel’s service to the United States, its Saudi ally, and the energy corporations confirmed the judgment of U.S. intelligence in 1958 that a “logical corollary” of opposition to Arab nationalism is reliance on Israel as “the only strong pro-Western power in the Middle East,” apart from Turkey, which established a close military alliance with Israel in 1958, within the U.S. strategic framework.14

The U.S.-Israeli alliance, unique in world affairs, dates from Israel’s 1967 military conquests, reinforced in 1970 when Israel barred possible Syrian intervention in Jordan to protect Palestinians who were being slaughtered during Black September. Such intervention by Syria was regarded in Washington as a threat to its ally Jordan and, more important, to the oil-producers that were Washington’s clients. U.S. aid to Israel roughly quadrupled. The pattern is fairly consistent since, extending to secondary Israeli services to U.S. power outside the Middle East, particularly in Latin America and southern Africa. The system of domination has worked quite well for the people who matter. Energy corporation profits are breaking all records. High-tech (including military) industry has lucrative ties with Israel, as do the major financial institutions, and Israel serves virtually as an offshore military base and provider of equipment and training. One may argue that other policies would have been more beneficial to the concentrations of domestic power that largely determine policy, but they seem to find these arrangements quite tolerable. If they did not, they could easily move to terminate them. And in fact, when there are conflicts between U.S. and Israeli state power, Israel naturally backs down; exports of military technology to China are a recent example, when the Bush administration went out of its way to humiliate Israel after it was initially reluctant to follow the orders of what Israeli commentator Aluf Benn calls “the boss-man called ‘partner.’”

Let us turn next to Iran and its nuclear programs. Until 1979, Washington strongly supported these programs. During those years, of course, a brutal tyrant installed by the U.S.-U.K. military coup that overthrew the Iranian parliamentary government ruled Iran. Today, the standard claim is that Iran has no need for nuclear power, and therefore must be pursuing a secret weapons program. Henry Kissinger explained that “For a major oil producer such as Iran, nuclear energy is a wasteful use of resources.” As secretary of state thirty years ago, Kissinger held that “introduction of nuclear power will both provide for the growing needs of Iran’s economy and free remaining oil reserves for export or conversion to petrochemicals,” and the United States acted to assist the Shah’s efforts. Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Paul Wolfowitz, the leading planners of the second Bush administration, worked hard to provide the Shah with a “complete ‘nuclear fuel cycle’—reactors powered by and regenerating fissile materials on a self-sustaining basis. That is precisely the ability the current administration is trying to prevent Iran from acquiring today.” U.S. universities were arranging to train Iranian nuclear engineers, doubtless with Washington’s approval, if not initiative; including my own university, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for example, despite overwhelming student opposition. Kissinger was asked about his reversal, and he responded with his usual engaging frankness: “They were an allied country.”15 So therefore they had a genuine need for nuclear energy, pre-1979, but have no such need today.

The Iranian nuclear programs, as far as is known, fall within its rights under Article IV of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which grants non-nuclear states the right to produce fuel for nuclear energy. The Bush administration argues, however, that Article IV should be strengthened, and I think that makes sense. When the NPT came into force in 1970, there was a considerable gap between producing fuel for energy and for nuclear weapons. But with contemporary technology, the gap has been narrowed. However, any such revision of Article IV would have to ensure unimpeded access for nonmilitary use, in accord with the initial bargain. A reasonable proposal was put forth by Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency: that all production and processing of weapon-usable material be under international control, with “assurance that legitimate would-be users could get their supplies.”16 That should be the first step, he proposed, towards fully implementing the 1993 UN resolution calling for a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty (called FISSBAN, for short), which bans production of fissile materials by individual states. ElBaradei’s proposal was dead in the water. The U.S. political leadership, surely in its current stance, would never agree to this delegation of sovereignty. To date, ElBaradei’s proposal has been accepted by only one state, to my knowledge: Iran, last February. That suggests one way to resolve the current crisis—in fact, a far more serious crisis: continued production of fissile materials by individual states is likely to doom humanity to destruction.

Washington also strenuously opposes a verifiable FISSBAN treaty, regarded by specialists as the “most fundamental nuclear arms control proposal,” according to Princeton arms control specialist Frank von Hippel.17 Despite U.S. opposition, in November 2004, the UN Disarmament Committee voted in favor of a verifiable FISSBAN. The vote was 147 to 1, with 2 abstentions: Israel, which is reflexive, and Britain, which is more interesting. British ambassador John Freeman explained that Britain supported the treaty, but could not vote for this version, because he said it “divides the international community”—divided it 147 to 1.18 A later vote in the full General Assembly was 179 to 2, Israel and Britain again abstaining. The United States was joined by Palau.

We gain some insight into the ranking of survival of the species among the priorities of the leadership of the hegemonic power and its spear carrier.

In 2004, the European Union (EU) and Iran reached an agreement on nuclear issues: Iran agreed to temporarily suspend its legal activities of uranium enrichment, and the EU agreed to provide Iran with “firm commitments on security issues.” As everyone understands, the phrase “security issues” refers to the very credible U.S.-Israeli threats and preparations to attack Iran. These threats, a serious violation of the UN Charter, are no small matter for a country that has been tortured for fifty years without a break by the global superpower, which now occupies the countries on Iran’s borders, not to speak of the client state that is the regional superpower.

Iran lived up to its side of the bargain, but the EU, under U.S. pressure, rejected its commitments. Iran finally abandoned the bargain as well. The preferred version in the West is that Iran broke the agreement, proving that it is a serious threat to world order.

In May 2003, Iran had offered to discuss the full range of security matters with the United States, which refused, preferring to follow the same course it did with North Korea. On taking office in January 2001, the Bush administration withdrew the “no hostile intent” condition of earlier agreements and proceeded to issue serious threats, while also abandoning promises to provide fuel oil and a nuclear reactor. In response, North Korea returned to developing nuclear weapons, the roots of another current crisis. All predictable, and predicted.

There are ways to mitigate and probably end these crises. The first is to call off the threats that are virtually urging Iran (and North Korea) to develop nuclear weapons. One of Israel’s leading military historians, Martin van Creveld, wrote that if Iran is not developing nuclear weapons, then they are “crazy,” immediately after Washington demonstrated that it will attack anyone it likes as long as they are known to be defenseless.19 So the first step towards ending the crisis would be to call off the threats that are likely to lead potential targets to develop a deterrent—where nuclear weapons or terror are the only viable options.

A second step would be to join with other efforts to reintegrate Iran into the global economy. A third step would be to join the rest of the world in accepting a verifiable FISSBAN treaty, and to join Iran in accepting ElBaradei’s proposal, or something similar—and I repeat that the issue here extends far beyond Iran, and reaches the level of human survival. A fourth step would be to live up to Article VI of the NPT, which obligates the nuclear states to take “good faith” efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons, a binding legal obligation, as the World Court determined. None of the nuclear states have lived up to that obligation, but the United States is far in the lead in violating it—again, a very serious threat to human survival. Even steps in these directions would mitigate the upcoming crisis with Iran. Above all, it is important to heed the words of Mohamed ElBaradei: “There is no military solution to this situation. It is inconceivable. The only durable solution is a negotiated solution.”20 And it is within reach. Similar to the Iraq war: a war against Iran appears to be opposed by the military and U.S. intelligence, but might well be undertaken by the civilian planners of the Bush administration: Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, and a few others, an unusually dangerous collection.

There is wide agreement among prominent strategic analysts that the threat of nuclear war is severe and increasing, and that the threat can be eliminated by measures that are known and in fact legally obligatory. If such measures are not taken, they warn that “a nuclear exchange is ultimately inevitable,” that we may be facing “an appreciable risk of ultimate doom,” an “Armageddon of our own making.”21 The threats are well understood, and they are being consciously enhanced. The Iraq invasion is only the most blatant example.

Clinton’s military and intelligence planners had called for “dominating the space dimension of military operations to protect U.S. interests and investment,” much in the way armies and navies did in earlier years, but now with a sole hegemon, which must develop “space-based strike weapons [enabling] the application of precision force from, to, and through space.” Such measures will be needed, they said, because “globalization of the world economy” will lead to a “widening economic divide” along with “deepening economic stagnation, political instability, and cultural alienation,” hence unrest and violence among the “have-nots,” much of it directed against the United States. The United States must therefore be ready to plan for a “precision strike from space [as a] counter to the worldwide proliferation of WMD” by unruly elements.22 That is a likely consequence of the recommended military programs, just as a “widening divide” is the anticipated consequence of the specific version of international integration that is misleadingly called “globalization” and “free trade” in the doctrinal system.

A word should be added about these notions. Both are terms of propaganda, not description. The term “globalization” is used for a specific form of international economic integration, designed—not surprisingly—in the interests of the designers: multinational corporations and the few powerful states to which they are closely linked. An opposing form of globalization is being pursued by groups that are far more representative of the world’s population, the mass global justice movements, which originated in the South but now have been joined by northern popular organizations and meet annually in the World Social Forum, which has spawned many regional and local social forums, concentrating on their own issues though within the same overarching framework. The global justice movements are an entirely new phenomenon, perhaps the seeds of the kind of international that has been the hope of the workers movements and the left since their modern origins. They are called “antiglobalization” in the reigning doctrinal systems, because they seek a form of globalization oriented towards the interests of people, not concentrated economic power—and unfortunately, they have often adopted this ridiculous terminology.

Official globalization is committed to so-called neoliberalism, also a highly misleading term: the regime is not new, and it is not liberal. Neoliberalism is essentially the policy imposed by force on the colonies since the eighteenth century, while the currently wealthy countries radically violated these rules, with extensive reliance on state intervention in the economy and resort to measures that are now banned in the international economic order. That was true of England and the countries that followed its path of protectionism and state intervention, including Japan, the one country of the South that escaped colonization and the one country that industrialized. These facts are widely recognized by economic historians.

A comparison of the United States and Egypt in the early nineteenth century is one of many enlightening illustrations of the decisive role of sovereignty and massive state intervention in economic development. Having freed itself from British rule, the United States was able to adopt British-style measures of state intervention, and developed. Meanwhile British power was able to bar anything of the sort in Egypt, joining with France to impose Lord Palmerston’s doctrine that “No ideas therefore of fairness towards Mehemet [Ali] ought to stand in the way of such great and paramount interests” as barring competition in the eastern Mediterranean.23 Palmerston expressed his “hate” for the “ignorant barbarian” who dared to undertake economic development. Historical memories resonate when, today, Britain and France, fronting for the United States, demand that Iran suspend all activities related to nuclear and missile programs, including research and development, so that nuclear energy is barred and the country that is probably under the greatest threat of any in the world has no deterrent to attack—attack by the righteous, that is. We might also recall that France and Britain played the crucial role in development of Israel’s nuclear arsenal. Imperial sensibilities are delicate indeed.

Had it enjoyed sovereignty, Egypt might have undergone an industrial revolution in the nineteenth century. It shared many of the advantages of the United States, except independence, which allowed the United States to impose very high tariffs to bar superior British goods (textiles, steel, and others). The United States in fact became the world’s leader in protectionism until the Second World War, when its economy so overwhelmed anyone else’s that “free competition” was tolerable. After the war, massive reliance on the dynamic state sector became a central component of the U.S. economy, even more than it had been before, continuing right to the present. And the United States remains committed to protectionism, when useful. The most extreme protectionism was during the Reagan years—accompanied, as usual, by eloquent odes to liberalism, for others. Reagan virtually doubled protective barriers, and also turned to the usual device, the Pentagon, to overcome management failures and “reindustrialize America,” the slogan of the business press. Furthermore, high levels of protectionism are built into the so-called “free trade agreements,” designed to protect the powerful and privileged, in the traditional manner.

The same was true of Britain’s flirtation with “free trade” a century earlier, when 150 years of protectionism and state intervention had made Britain by far the world’s most powerful economy, free trade seemed an option, given that the playing field was “tilted” in the right direction, to adapt the familiar metaphor. But the British still hedged their bets. They continued to rely on protected markets, state intervention, and also devices not considered by economic historians. One such market was the world’s most spectacular narcotrafficking enterprise, designed to break into the China market, and also producing profits that financed the Royal Navy, the administration of conquered India, and the purchase of U.S. cotton—the fuel of the industrial revolution. U.S. cotton production was also based on radical state intervention: slavery, virtual extermination of the native population, and military conquest—almost half of Mexico, to mention one case relevant to current news. When Britain could no longer compete with Japan, it closed off the empire in 1932, followed by other imperial powers, a crucial part of the background for the Second World War. The truth about free trade and economic development has only a limited resemblance to the doctrines professed.

Throughout modern history, democracy and development have had a common enemy: the loss of sovereignty. In a world of states, it is true that decline of sovereignty entails decline of hope for democracy, and decline in ability to conduct social and economic policy. That in turn harms development, a conclusion well confirmed by centuries of economic history. The work of economic historian M. Shahid Alam is particularly enlightening in this respect. In current terminology, the imposed regimes are called neoliberal, so it is fair to say that the common enemy of democracy and development is neoliberalism. With regard to development, one can debate causality, because the factors in economic growth are so poorly understood. But correlations are reasonably clear. The countries that have most rigorously observed neoliberal principles, as in Latin America and elsewhere, have experienced a sharp deterioration of macroeconomic indicators as compared with earlier years. Those that have ignored the principles, as in East Asia, have enjoyed rapid growth. That neoliberalism harms democracy is understandable. Virtually every feature of the neoliberal package, from privatization to freeing financial flows, undermines democracy for clear and well-known reasons.

The crises we face are real and imminent, and in each case means are available to overcome them. The first step is understanding, then organization and appropriate action. This is the path that has often been followed in the past, bringing about a much better world and leaving a legacy of comparative freedom and privilege, for some at least, which can be the basis for moving on. Failure to do so is almost certain to lead to grim consequences, even the end of biology’s only experiment with higher intelligence.

1. See Aaron David Miller, Search for Security (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1980); Irvine Anderson, Aramco, the United States and Saudi Arabia (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1981); Michael Stoff, Oil, War and American Security (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1980); Steven Spiegel, The Other Arab-Israeli Conflict (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985), 51.
2. National Security Strategy of the United States (Washington DC: The White House, March 1990).
3. Alan Cowell, “Kurds Assert Few Outside Iraq Wanted Them to Win,” New York Times, April 11, 1991.
4. Nina Kamp and Michael E. O’Hanlon, “The State of Iraq,” New York Times, March 19, 2006.
5. Walter Pincus, “Skepticism About U.S. Deep, Iraq Poll Shows; Motive for Invasion Is Focus of Doubts,” Washington Post, November 12, 2003; Richard Burkholder, “Gallup Poll of Baghdad,” Government & Public Affairs, October 28, 2003.
6. Michael MccGwire, “The Rise and Fall of the NPT,” International Affairs 81 (January 2005): 134.
7. Zbigniew Brzezinski, “Hegemonic Quicksand,” National Interest 74 (Winter 2003/2004): 5-16; Stefan Wagstyl, “Cheney Rebukes Putin on Energy ‘Blackmail,’” Financial Times, May 4, 2006.
8. See Ian Rutledge, Addicted to Oil (London: I. B. Tauris, 2005).
9. See Multinational Oil Corporation and U.S. Foreign Policy, Report to the Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate, January 2, 1975 (Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 1975).
10. Hal Weitzman, “Nationalism Fuels Fears over Morales’ Power,” Financial Times, May 2, 2006.
11. National Security Strategy of the United States (Washington DC: The White House, March 2006), 41.
12. David E. Sanger, “China’s Rising Need for Oil Is High on U.S. Agenda,” New York Times, April 18, 2006.
13. Editorial, New York Times, August 25, 1966
14. Mark Curtis, The Great Deception (London: Pluto Press, 1998), 133.
15. Darna Linzer, “Past Arguments Don’t Square with Current Iran Policy,” Washington Post, March 27, 2005.
16. Mohamed ElBaradei, “Towards a Safer World,” The Economist, October 16, 2003.
17. Frank von Hippel, “Coupling a Moratorium To Reductions as a First Step toward the Fissile-Material Cutoff Treaty,” in Rakesh Sood, Frank von Hippel, and Morton Halperin, “The Road to Nuclear Zero,” Center for Advanced Study of India, 1998, 17.
18. See Rebecca Johnson, “2004 UN First Committee,” Disarmament Diplomacy 79 (April/May 2005), and Jean du Preez, “The Fissban,” Disarmament Diplomacy 79 (April/May 2005),
19. Martin van Creveld, “Sharon on the Warpath” International Herald Tribune, August 21, 2004.
20. Jeffrey Fleishman and Alissa Rubin, “ElBaradei Asks for Restraint on Iran Sanctions,” Los Angeles Times, March 31, 2006.
21. Michael MccGwire, “The Rise and Fall of the NPT,” International Affairs 81 (January 2005), 127; John Steinbruner and Nancy Gallagher, “Constructive Transformation,” Daedalus 133, no. 3 (Summer 2004): 99; Sam Nunn, “The Cold War’s Nuclear Legacy Has Lasted too Long,” Financial Times, December 6, 2004.
22. National Intelligence Council, Global Trends 2015 (Washington DC, December 2000); U.S. Space Command, Vision for 2020 (February 1997), 7; Pentagon, Quadrennial Defense Review, May 1997.
23. See Afaf Lutfi al-Sayyid Marsot, Egypt in the Reign of Muhammad Ali (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1984), 240; Harold Temperley, England and the Near East (London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1936).

Noam Chomsky is Institute Professor and Professor of Linguistics Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This article is based on a talk delivered May 12, 2006, in Beirut, two months before Israel began its military campaign against Lebanon on July 13, 2006. It appears in Inside Lebanon: Journey to a Shattered Land with Noam and Carol Chomsky (just published by Monthly Review Press, order online at or call 1-800-670-9499).