Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The 800 pound gorilla in the room

Okay, as far as he goes, Josh Marshall is basically right when it comes to Bu$hCo:
I haven't had a chance yet to weigh in on today's news about the IC's apparent conclusion that the Iranians shuttered their nuclear program in 2003. But it's awfully big news. There's a secondary, though still very interesting question, of just why the NIE findings were released at all, and what intra-administration in-fighting might be behind it. But it shows us once again, for anyone who needed showing, that everything this administration says on national security matters should be considered presumptively not only false, but actually the opposite of what is in fact true, until clear evidence to the contrary becomes available. They're big liars. And actually being serious about the country's security means doing everything possible to limit the amount of damage they can do over the next fourteen months while they still control the US military and the rest of the nation's foreign policy apparatus.
Yup, contrary to the official state propaganda, Iran hasn't been pursuing nuclear weapons. That was already a given. And yet, we've had all sorts of hype about the need for economic sanctions along the lines of what was done to Iraqis [1], which as we all now are well aware led to a whole lot of casualties (including 500,000 dead kids due to starvation and disease). We get all sorts of hype about the need to do aerial strikes against Iran (again as was done to Iraq & also the Balkans [2] both circa 1990s), which will also lead to plenty of dead civilians. Needless to say, the propaganda has worked its black magic, much as it has before. It's the same lies all over again, just with a different target. Let that sink in.

Of course the last sentence betrays the 800 pound gorilla that our elites (and unfortunately most Americans) ignore: why not impeach the bastards? Maybe because Bu$hCo is a symptom, not the disease itself. The disease will likely continue to metastasize much as it has been over the past few decades. The Democrat-controlled Congress will not impeach anyone in this White House because the crimes of the Executive Branch are essentially their own. The occasional Congressional lone wolf, such as Kucinich (and Cynthia McKinney before him) shall be ignored, whatever legislation they offer with regard to impeachment simply knocked (as Pelosi might say) off the table and into the dustbin. It's almost a foregone conclusion that the Dems will get complete control of the War Machine next year, and any serious soul-searching now would merely spoil the fun. That people halfway across the world die in the interim is just the cost of doing the business of empire.


[1] From Chomsky's Hegemony or Survival (pp. 126-128): The 1991 war, involving the purposeful destruction of water, power, and sewage systems, took a terrible toll, and the sanctions regime imposed by the US and UK drove the country to the level of bare survival. As one illustration, UNICEF's 2003 Report on the State of the World's Children states that "Iraq's regression over the past decade is by far the most severe of the 193 countries surveyed," with the child death rate, "the best single indicator of child welfare," increasing from 50 to 133 per 1,000 live births, placing Iraq below every country outside Africa apart from Cambodia and Afghanistan. Two hawkish military analysts observe that "economic sanctions may well have been a necessary [sic] cause of the deaths of more people in Iraq than have been slain by all so-called weapons of mass destruction throughout history," in the hundreds of thousands according to conservative estimates.

... Academic researcher Joy Gordon ... learned enough, as have others, to reveal a shameful record of deliberate cruelty and efforts pursued "aggressively throughout the last decade to purposefully minimize the humanitarian goods that enter the country ... in the face of enormous human suffering, including massive increases in child mortality and widespread epidemics." The US blocked water tankers from reaching Iraq on grounds so spurious that they were rejected by UN arms experts, "this during a time when the major cause of child deaths was lack of access to clean drinking water, and when the country was in the midst of a drought." Washington insisted that vaccines for infant diseases be withheld until it was compelled to back down in the face of vigorous protest by UNICEF and the World Health Organization, supported by European biological weapons experts, who charged that the dual-use claims by the US were "flatly impossible."

[2] Just to give you a bit of an idea, here's Chomsky from Hegemony or Survival (pp. 57-58): Andrew Bacevich gives an even more cynical interpretation, dismissing all humanitarian motives. Clinton's resort to force in Bosnia in 1995 and his bombing of Serbia in 1999 were "not, as claimed, to put a stop to ethnic cleansing or in response to claims of conscience, but to preempt threats to the cohesion of NATO and the credibility of American power."

And some example of the human cost in the Balkans from William Blum's Rogue State (p. 104): After the April NATO bombing of a Belgrade office building -- which housed political parties, TV and radio stations, 100 private companies, and more -- the Washington Post reported:
Over the past few days, U.S. officials have ben quited as expressing the hope that members of Serbia's economic elite will begin to turn against Milosevic once they understand how much they are likely to lose by continuing to resist NATO demands.
Before missiles were fired into this building, NATO planners spelled out the risks: "Casualty estimate 50-100 Government/Party employees. Unintended Civ Casualty est: 250 - Apts in expected blast radius." The planners were saying that about 250 civilians living in nearby apartment buildings might be killed in the bombing, in addition to the government and political party employees.

From the same book, pages 7-8: There's also President Clinton himself, who on day 33 of the aerial devastation of Yugoslavia -- 33 days and nights of destroying villages, schools, apartment buildings, the ecology, separating people from their limbs, from their eyesight, spilling their intestines, traumatizing children for the rest of their days ... destroying a life the Serbians may never know again -- on day 33 William Jefferson Clinton, cautioning against judging the bombing policy prematurely, saw fit to declare: "This may seem like a long time. [But] I don't think that this air campaign has been going on a particularly long time." And then the man continued it for another 45 days.

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