Blood on Our Hands!

Posted in On Foreign Affairs, On War and Peace in the Mid East! with tags , on July 22, 2014 by playthell

Israeli Bombing of Gaza

The Israeli bombing of Gaza

 The US Cannot Escape blame for Israeli War Crimes

Thomas Jefferson, the brightest of the Founding Fathers, thoughtfuly considered the widespread institution of African slavery in America and commented in his book Notes from the Colony of Virginia:”I shudder for my country when I reflect upon the fact that God is just.”  If Barack Obama is the thoughtful, humane, Christian that he appears to be – and I believe that he is – then he must be having many such moments.  For it is with full American support that the Israeli government conducts bombing raids over populated areas of Gaza – the giant concentration camp on the West Bank where the Palestinian people live under armed Israeli occupation –both by the Israeli military and Jewish civilian Settlers; which is a war crime.

The present genocidal bombing attacks on the largely unarmed, trapped, despised Palestinians was sparked by the killing of three Jewish youths at the hands of unidentified assailants. In retaliation for this crime the Israeli’s have decided to wreak collective punishment on the Palestinians.  As I write this policy has resulted in over 516 Palestinian deaths – which includes 120 children and 80 women  – as the entire world watches in horror.

Eyewitness reports by foreign sources, such as Danish doctors, tell horrifying stories about headless Palestinian children being brought into the hospitals….several of which have also been hit.  And aside from the fatalities there are thousands of people with serious injuries that require hospital treatment.  Thus far Israel has lost 18 soldiers; alas a single Palestinian family lost 18 members.  Only the most intellectually depraved morally deformed minds can conclude that the Israeli government’s actions are justified, that this is a balanced equation, yet we hear many othrewise honorable people arguing just that.

Since everyone who understands how the world works know that America is Israel’s enabler, without whose support the Zionists would be unable to carry out these crimes against the Palestinian people, a shocked world wants to know why President Obama appears to be hiding out in the White House and  has suddenly lost his voice.  When compared to his vehement denunciations of Russia for their alleged support for Ukrainian rebels, his tepid calls for a “ceasefire” and pained public expressions of sympathy for the Palestinians that have fallen victims to Israeli bombs and bullets – which his government continues to supply – comes across as too little too late.  And based upon any objecting reading of current events, this approach has been less than useless in restraining the murderous actions of Bibi Netanyahu – America’s main man in the Middle East.

President Obama’s mealy mouth mutterings regarding Israeli crimes in Gaza can only be understood in the context of the domestic political realities he faces – i.e. avoiding giving the radical Tea Party Republicans who control the House any grounds to impeach him, and preventing a Republican takeover of the Senate in the next elections.   Then there is the omnipotent powers of the faceless forces that shape US policy in the Mid-East by controling the Congress, forces most Americans know nothing about; let alone how to effectively oppose.

This ignorance is due to the negligence, or outright duplicity, of the major corporate media in the US that work overtime to obfuscate the fundamental issues at play in the protracted conflict between Israeli and Palestinian.   This kind of widespread distortion of reality, which amounts to a massive disinformation campaign aimed at the US electorate, is no willy nilly affair or happenstance.   It is orchestrated by the Israel Lobby, a confluence of organizations and powerful individuals that work to promote Israeli interests in the US.  And it has reduced the US press – whose raison d’etre as envisioned by the drafters of the First Amendment is to watch over those in power – has been reduced to a cowardly toothless tiger.

Yet despite their enormous power – which has successfully promoted policies that has made the US the most hated nation in the Islamic world – Abraham Foxman, who heads the rabidly pro-Israel Anti-Defamation League,  denies that any such pro-Zionist pressure group exists.   Yet the League has been fingered as one of the major players in the Israel Lobby by Professors Mearshimer and Walt, two scholars who recently published a thoughtful and thoroughly researched scholarly book : “The Israel Lobby and American Foreign Policy,”

Upon reading it Fox freaked out,  he has taken his denial to the extent of publishing a bogus book of propaganda and shameless special pleading – the text bears his name but might well have been written by a committee –which claims to be a rebuttal of the analysis provide by Mearshimer and Walt.   As tenured professors of political science specializing in International Relations at Harvard and the University of Chicago, these scholars are at the top of the American academic pyramid, thus they are beyond the reach of the disciplinary machinery of the “nonexistent” Israel Lobby that seeks to punish them with slander.

Fortunately, we live in the marvelous age of video tape and the Internet; hence I am including a video clip of Professors Mearshimer and Walt’s discussion of their research, as well as the orchestrated attempts to intimidate them by forces in the Israel Lobby, who are attempting to slander them and impugn their integrity by labeling them “anti-Semites,” a standard tactic of the organized apologists for Israeli crimes. Here the reader can see for themselves that despite  the well organized slander campaign of the Israel Lobby – which, as the professors demonstrate, commands wide support in the major corporate media that live on advertisement dollars – the professor’s make an unimpeachable case based on irrefutable evidence.  By comparison, it will be easy to see that their critics are nothing more than “special pleaders” and shameless propagandists.

It is a supreme Irony that the very people who deny the existence of the Israel Lobby are deploying their shills in the media to suppress and discredit this honest and excellent scholarly study, which leaves no stone unturned in their explanation of how our foreign policy in the Middle East is shaped by this special interest Lobby that operates on behalf of a foreign country whose ambitions often conflict with, and even injures,  the national security interests of the USA.  How is it possible that the US, which spends billions of dollars buying Arab Oil, is the most despised nation in the Arab world?

The answer lies in America’s myriad duplicities in dealing with the Muslim world.  Along with support for tyrannical corrupt Arab governments ala Saudi Arabia; the equally inept and corrupt newly installed American backed regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq; militarily induced “regime change” in Iraq during 2001 and the 1953 CIA overthrow of a democratically elected government in Iran, America’s uncritical support for Israeli oppression of the Palestinians and aggression against other Islamic states, over the last 60 years, has been the most important source of anti-American rage in the Muslim world.  As I write millions of Muslims view the US as “The Great Satan,” i.e. the apex of evil.

This is far too great a price to pay for an alliance with a foreign country in which we have no vital national interests.   It is a source of puzzlement to thoughtful people who study American foreign policy in and out of the US government. Yet only a brave few few dare say the obvious: We need to quickly abolish our “Special Relationship” with Israel because aside from the towering moral questions raised by this partnership in crime, it is leading us into constant wars that produce new Jihadist who dream of pulling off a bigger terrorist strike than 9/11.  One former high ranking CIA expert on the region, Dr. Michael Scheuer, is openly calling for our government to scrap this disastrous relationship in no uncertain terms, and he openly points to the Israel Lobby as the main obstacle to ending it.  He has even publicly charged that the “Israel owns the US Congress.”  ( see video clips at bottom of this essay)

The discourse around Israeli/American relations has become so debased that even the right wing pundit/policy wonk Pat Buchannan now sounds like a wise man.  In a recent television interview Pat gave a brilliant analysis of the fundamental folly of US Middle East Policy, from which President Obama would have greatly benefitted.  ( See: the video clip at the bottom of essay) Alas, such is the state of the nation in summer of 2014, a time when wars and rumors of was rage like wildfire.  It is no wonder that millions of cluless religious zealots belive we are living in the last days in time…the End Time.

Since I have already written extensively about this match hatched by misguided or cowardly politicians on this blog – just put “Israel and America” in the search Engine – I shall not re-litigate my case here.  Suffice it to say that if Barack Obama was King he would not allow a foreign power to dictate our policy in matters of war and peace where American blood and treasure is at stake.

But as I pointed out in an essay published before his first election, when everybody was talking as if once Barack took office he would wave his hand and make all their dreams come true: his power, like that of all presidents, is checked by the Congress – which has been paralyzed by a reactionary right/wing rejectionist Republican majority in the House – and restrained by the Federal Courts, which was largely appointed by Republicans and has proven hostile to his objectives, even setting the stage for a transition from popular democracy to a plutocracy with the “Citizens United” decision.  A cynical observer might well conclude that the court ruled this way, in a split decision along partisan lines, in order to make sure the “wrong” kind of person never rises to the Oval office again!

Hence it comes as no surprise that many things President Obama has attempted to achieve on behalf of the American people has been throttled by these countervailing forces in our divided government. As I write a voice message coming over my computer calling for the impeachment of President Obama, largely based on his reluctance to bomb everywhere there is a development not to their liking, which dramatizes the dimensions of the pitfalls he faces.  To put the matter succinctly: We should write the president and our representatives in the House and Senate protesting the crimes spawned by Israeli aggression against the Palestinians in Gaza.

If you pay taxes there is blood on your hands….and unless you take action that will empower the president to stand up to the demands of the Israel Lobby, which threatens to wreck his legacy and obscure his myriad accomplishments on behalf of the American people, the blood on our hands will become an indelible stain on the soul of the nation which no detergent can wash away.  Since I consider Barack Obama the most gifted, humane and enlightened president to ever occupy the Oval Office – see: The GOAT, and The Real Barack Obama vs. the Reagan Myth” on this blog – I am convinced that if we are to steer this nation away from constant foreign wars and ultimate disaster the time is now.  It may well prove now or never!

Scene of the Crimes
Israeli Bombing of Gaza Wipes out Family 
 The Consequence of Israeli Bombing in Palestine
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How Israel Spends YOUR Tax Dollars
Israel's gaza-bombing II
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Double click on link to:
Watch Professors Mearshimer and Walt’s analysis of the Israel Lobby

http://youtu.be/rzXS3tmZrcU

                    To hear Ex-CIA expert Dr. Scheuer on why e should dump Israel

http://youtu.be/sJbOaVAbg6s

http://youtu.be/XHl1JnQoIWQ

For Pat Buchanan on Israel’s Nukes

http://youtu.be/L033M6wqNCI

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Playthell G. Benjamin
On the Road, Way Out West
July 21. 2014 

Frederick Douglass Speaks on 4th of July

Posted in Frederick Douglass' 4th of July Speech with tags on July 4, 2014 by playthell

Frederick_Douglass_by_Samuel_J_Miller,_1847-52 (1)

 Douglass As he Looked when this Speech was made

 

What Does the 4th of July Mean to the American Slave?

Fellow citizens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here today? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles ofpolitical freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? and am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us?

Would to God, both for your sakes and ours, that an affirmative answer could be truthfully returned to these questions! Then would my task be light, and my burden easy and delightful. For who is there so cold that a nation’s sympathy could not warm him? Who so obdurate and dead to the claims of gratitude that would not thankfully acknowledge such priceless benefits? Who so stolid and selfish that would not give his voice to swell the hallelujahs of a nation’s jubilee, when the chains of servitude had been torn from his limbs? I am not that man. In a case like that the dumb might eloquently speak and the “lame man leap as an hart.”

But such is not the state of the case. I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us. am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity, and independence bequeathed by your fathers is shared by you, not by me.

The sunlight that brought light and healing to you has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me by asking me to speak today? If so, there is a parallel to your conduct. And let me warn that it is dangerous to copy the example of nation whose crimes, towering up to heaven, were thrown down by the breath of the Almighty, burying that nation in irrevocable ruin! I can today take up the plaintive lament of a peeled and woe-smitten people.

“By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down. Yea! We wept when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there, they that carried us away captive, required of us a song; and they who wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How can we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land? If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth.”

Fellow citizens, above your national, tumultuous joy, I hear the mournful wail of millions! Whose chains, heavy and grievous yesterday, are, today, rendered more intolerable by the jubilee shouts that reach them. If I do forget, if I do not faithfully remember those bleeding children of sorry this day, “may my right hand cleave to the roof of my mouth”! To forget them, to pass lightly over their wrongs, and to chime in with the popular theme would be treason most scandalous and shocking, and would make me a reproach before God and the world.

My subject, then, fellow citizens, is American slavery. I shall see this day and its popular characteristics from the slave’s point of view. Standing there identified with the American bondman, making his wrongs mine. I do not hesitate to declare with all my soul that the character and conduct of this nation never looked blacker to me than on this Fourth of July!

Whether we turn to the declarations of the past or to the professions of the present, the conduct of the nation seems equally hideous and revolting. America is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future. Standing with God and the crushed and bleeding slave on this occasion, I will, in the name of humanity which is outraged, in the name of liberty which is fettered, in the name of the Constitution and the Bible which are disregarded and trampled upon, everything that serves to perpetuate slavery-the great sin and shame of America! “I will not equivocate, I will not excuse”; I will use the severest language I can command; and yet not one word shall escape me that any man, whose judgment is not blinded by prejudice, shall not confess to be right and just….dare to call in question and to denounce, with all the emphasis I can command,

For the present, it is enough to affirm the equal manhood of the Negro race. Is it not as astonishing that, while we are plowing, planting, and reaping, using all kinds of mechanical tools, erecting houses, constructing bridges, building ships, working in metals of brass, iron, copper, and secretaries, having among us lawyers doctors, ministers, poets, authors, editors, orators, and teachers; and that, while we are engaged in all manner of enterprises common to other men, digging gold in California, capturing the whale in the Pacific, feeding sheep and cattle on the hillside, living, moving, acting, thinking, planning, living in families as husbands, wives, and children, and above all, confessing and worshiping the Christian’s God, and looking hopefully for life and immortality beyond the grave, we are called upon to prove that we are men!…

What, am I to argue that it is wrong to make men brutes, to rob them of their liberty, to work them without wages, to keep them ignorant of their relations to their fellow men, to beat them with sticks, to flay their flesh with the lash, to load their limbs with irons, to hunt them with dogs, to sell them at auction, to sunder their families, to knock out their teeth, to burn their flesh, to starve them into obedience and submission to their masters? Must I argue that a system thus marked with blood, and stained with pollution, is wrong? No! I will not. I have better employment for my time and strength than such arguments would imply….

What, to the American slave, is your Fourth of July?

 I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass-fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are, to Him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy-a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages!

Cedar Hill: Frederick Douglass’ Last Home
Frederick_Douglass_House II
From Slave cabin to fine mansion looking down upon Washington

 

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Frederick Douglass

Rochester, New York

July, 4 1852

 

Barack Obama vs The Supreme Court

Posted in Playthell on politics with tags , , , on June 30, 2014 by playthell
Barack and Roberts
Let’s get ready to Rumble!  

On the High Court, Minorities and Organized Labor

Although the press boisterously proclaims the recent Supreme Court decision is a defeat for President Obama, it is actually another defeat for the American people dealt by the Robert’s court, especially for minorities and the working class in general.  Reduced to its fundamental significance it makes it possible for the Republicans, or any opposition party, to virtually veto presidential appointments by never adjourning for ten days even if the senate is not conducting any formal business.

By virtue of the changes in the Senate rules initiated by the majority of Democrats who now control the Senate, under the enlightened leadership of Senator Harry Reid, adopting a procedure that allows presidential appointments with a simple majority vote, this reckless ruling will have little effect. The case that brought the issue of the limits of executive power before the Supreme Court was filed by Noel Canning, a soft drink bottling company, who protested a decision by the National Labor Relations Board that found them in violation of collective bargaining laws.

Canning argued that the NLRB’s ruling was invalid by virtue of the fact that it did not have the necessary quorum legally required to make such judgments, because the board members appointed by President Obama were unconstitutionally installed.   The High Court ruled unanimously in Canning’s favor, and declared the president had exceeded his constitutional authority.

Fortunately, despite the fact that this ruling is potentially disastrous for organized labor, its consequences will be minimized due to the fact that of the present five board members three are Democrats.  However the 465 decisions handed down by the board during the period the Supreme Court now says it  was illegally constituted stand in danger of being re-litigated, which could throw the critically important work of the Labor Relations Board into chaos.  Such a state of affairs would greatly benefit the corporate class and wreak havoc on organized labor – a boon for the plutocrats and a bust for the working class.

In this sense the ruling was characteristic of decisions by the Robert’s Court. Although this ruling was sparked by a labor dispute, its implications are far reaching.  It goes to the heart of the American approach to popular constitutional democracy, calling into question whether the time honored system of checks and balances, the “three fold division of power,” can promote efficient government in a polity which is fractured into extreme ideological parties.

The ruling addressed the fundamental question of the constitutional power of the President to make interim appointments while the senate is in recess. It is a model of legal reasoning, arriving at a consensus on the intent of the Constitution by a close reading of the text and weighing that against historical precedent.  Hence while virtually all legal scholars agree that the ruling is a defeat for President Obama that could plague future presidents and make it nearly impossible to govern this complex nation effectively, it does not negate the right of the President to make interim appointments.  The Devil is in the details alas.

The question presidents will have to satisfy in the future is what constitutes a congressional recess and how long must the Senate be out of session before the President can justifiably invoke this power of interim appointments. The justices, who ruled unanimously, appear to agree that the Senate must be out for a minimum of 10 days, and a quorum of Republican Senators met every 6 days although they conducted no business.

President Obama, who recognized this as a charade designed to prevent him from making important appointments because the Republicans had ideological differences with his choices, appointed members to the NLRB so that they would have enough members as required by law to make decisions on matters of critical importance to working Americans.   However the Court held that even if President Obama’s claims of Republican obstructionism prove true, it is not sufficient grounds to ignore the constitutional restraints on executive powers.

While one cannot credibly argue that the Court’s decision is part of the Republican plot to cripple this President because of the unanimity of the Justices opinion, it will nevertheless strengthen those forces who do seek to cripple President Obama.

When added to the Citizens United Decision giving plutocrats the right to spend unlimited money to elect candidates they favor; the neutering of the Voter Rights Act; the lowering of protections for women seeking legal abortions, and the ruling earlier today barring public unions from compelling Home Care Workers to pay dues despite they work on a unionized job and enjoy the benefits of a unionized worksite, and the gutting of Affirmative Action programs combine to work against the interests of all women, the working class in general and Afro-Americans in particular.

Since this decision supplies fuel for the political arsonists in the Republican Party who accuse President Obama of conducting himself like a King and overstepping his constitutional authority – when he is merely trying to govern – and would love to find cause to initiate an impeachment proceeding, the question of whether or not this decision regarding the limits on presidential power is part of a right-wing conspiracy to cripple President Obama’s presidency is a moot point…..because it is a distinction without a difference.

The US Supreme Court
Supreme_Court_US_2010 II
Their decisions have brought justice and Injustice

 

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Dead Man Walking!

Posted in On Foreign Affairs with tags , , , on June 27, 2014 by playthell
Boko Haram Leader
Abubakari Shekau: Leader of Boko Haram

How Nigeria should deal with Islamic Terrorists

Like most Islamic fanatics Abubakari Shekau and his co-religionist in Boko Haram – Nigeria’s version of the modern Jihad –is probably looking forward to dying in their attempt to promote Islam through violent means.   And the Nigerian government should do everything they can to hasten their trip to the bosom of Allah!

What ought to be clear to everyone by now – especially those naïve American leftist who were pissed because Osama bin Laden was not read his Miranda rights before US special forces iced his ass – is that the Islamic Jihadists cannot be reasoned with.  They must be destroyed, and given their increasing ruthlessness in which the battle field is everywhere 24/7, we must use any means necessary.

The second mass kidnapping of school girls, the slaughter of children in schools, and the detonation of bombs in public places, such as yesterday’s bombing in a shopping mall located in Abuja, the federal capital of Nigeria, evidence a state of emergency.   A vast resource rich country of 160 million citizens that produces some of the finest crude oil in the world, Nigeria is divided into a host of contending ethic groups that often act like antagonistic fiefdoms.

However the main division is between the northern and southern regions of the country, a geographical split that correlates with the religious of beliefs of the populous: The Muslim north largely populated by the Hausa and Fulani vs. those who practice Christianity and traditional African polytheistic religions in the south such as the Yoruba and Ibo

Hence the Nigerian crisis is marked both by historical irony and contemporary tragedy.  It is a grand irony that the two religions whose teachings were used to enslave Africans and deny their humanity – both sanctioned unspeakable crimes against African peoples – should now inspire them to slaughter each other.  If the Nigerians don’t soon check themselves they will wreck themselves.  Among the myriad problems facing Nigerians in the struggle to modernize, and perhaps the most dangerous, is the spread of the militant Islamic madness by the Boko Haram sect.

What makes them so dangerous is that like their counterparts – the ISIS in Iraq and Syria, Al Qaeda, and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan – they are promoting a reactionary political agenda under the guise of Islamic orthodoxy that is diametrically opposed to the kind of thinking that is a pre-condition to modernization.  The beginning of modernization is studying the experience of the countries that have achieved that level of development and learning the lessons they have to teach: the good, bad and ugly.  From the study of western civilization Africans can learn, among other vital lessons, how Europeans managed to conquer them, destroy their civilization, reduce millions of their kith and kin to a the legal status of livestock under a system of slavery on plantations thousands of miles across the vast Atlantic ocean for four centuries.   Then invade and colonize their counties, exploiting their labor and fleecing their valuable natural resources.  Those are lessons well worth learning.

The members of Boko Haram should be especially interested in the lessons they can learn from the study of western civilization.   For instance they would be wise to interrogate the historical record in order to understand how Islamic civilization went from the world’s leader in science in the medieval period, to slaves of the west by the 19th century.  Falling so far behind by the 20th century that they are either willing vassals of the western powers – especially the US aka “Great Satan” – or they are reduced to suicide bombers in their futile attempt to eradicate western influence from their lives.

The sad truth is that the US and other “western” nations could recolonize the Islamic countries and Africa as easily as they did it before.   And it’s not because they are white, it’s because they are right on the role of science and technology in building national power and prosperity.  Hence to wage a terrorist war against the populace, slaughtering them for trying to get a modern i.e. “western education,” constitutes a crime far beyond the murders they are committing.  They are trying to strangle the dreams of a people and thwart the potential of the nation. The theocratic Islamic caliphate envisioned by Boko Haram, that would sell girls into slavery and kill male children for getting a “western education,” establish Sharia law and slaughter the opposition, is a formula for national suicide.

Hence the choice for Nigeria is clear, no negotiation with Boko Haram, they must be exterminated the way Sukarno did the Communists in Indonesia!    Those who understand the dynamics of movements will recognize the wisdom of my prescription.  To negotiate with them, to lend them any trace of legitimacy, is to embolden them and aid their recruitment efforts: they must be exterminated like vermin.  Those who think this is too harsh a judgment should examine their crimes.  Consider the charts below compiled by Professor Clionadh Raleigh of the University of Sussex in Britain.

 Charts Plotting the Murders
Boko Haram_civilian_death_in_boko_624_update_v3
 Plotting Boko Haram’s Crimes

 Boko Haram_nigeria_boko_attacks_624_v2

It won’t be pretty, much worse than watching the making of sausage, but if Nigeria is going to survive “they gotta do what they gotta do…that’s what it is” as the mobsters say.  The faint of heart and professional sob squad should look the other way; this is a state of emergency.   We must remember that when the American union was threatened Abraham Lincoln, “The Great Libetrator,” suspended the writ of hebeaus Ccorpus which allowed the US government to imprision US citizens without charges indefinitely.

Nigerian President Goodluck Johnathan, a doophus looking dude who always wears a stingy brim felt fedora despite the West African heat, looks oddly out of touch with reality and appears to be ineffective in dealing with the Boko Haram fanatics.  As of this writing he has yet to visit the site where the school girls were kidnapped, citing the advice of his security people as the reason.   Goodluck has refused offers of military assistance from President Obama, defering to the military command’s insistence that they are qualified to handle the crisis.

At present they are claiming  to know where the kidnapped girls are being held, but are trying to negotiate their freedom because an armed assault would result in their deaths at the hands on their captors.  The Nigerian government’s  refusal of American military aid so infuriated Senator John Mccain that he declared if he were American Commander-In- Chief he would just go and get the girls and certainly would not be deterred by somebody named “Goodluck Johnathan.”  Let the Pan-Africanist and anti-imperalist Marxist, people cut from the same cloth as myself – denounce the Arizona Republican for not displaying proper respect for Nigeria soverignty,  but for once I agree with Big Mac!  Lenin was right: Politics does indeed make strange bedfellows.

 Aftermath of Boko Haram Attacks
Boko Haram bombing
 
Random Death and Destructions
 Boko Haram _murders children at schoo _Damaturu_Yobe_state_June_2013.

 

 The Slaughter of School Children
 

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 Playthell G. Benjamin

On the road way out west

June 26, 2014

 

 


Jazz and Gumbo!

Posted in Cultural Matters, Music Reviews with tags , , , on June 24, 2014 by playthell

 Wynton and me

Two Southern boys Partying in the Big Apple

 A New Orleans Style Party at Wynton’s Crib

   The night had been a smash before the party got started.  Earlier in the evening the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra played their season opening concert featuring the inimitable Ahmad Jamal at the piano and we had all attended. It was an affair to remember as the sold out crowd repeatedly rose to their feet in ovations to the musicians.  It is always a special treat to hear Jazz performed in the House of Swing, especially the Rose Theater, the acoustic engineering alone would make it a rare treat for the serious jazz fan; but the opulent and imaginative interior decoration enriches the experience in ways that’s hard to explain but you know it when you feel it.

Hence everyone was in high spirits as we retired to Wynton’s crib for Gumbo and wine, with some succulent and exotically seasoned fried shrimp appetizers.  Nerves were on edge as we waited for the huge pot of Gumbo to heat up, but as there was abundant French breads fruits and wine we persevered. Wynton’s crib is a great place for a party.

It is spacious, elegant but manly and livable, and enjoys a magnificent panoramic view of Manhattan and New Jersey.   The size of the pad and the diversity of the crowd were such that there were actually several parties going on simultaneously.  Wynton mostly hung out in the main drawing room where the piano is located.  Chess sets were also in abundance in the great room, and like the piano they would be played several times before the evening was over.

 Wynton Plays Chess with is homeboy Matt Dillon
 Wynton and LD

 Hanging out at Wynton’s place brought to mind a party I once attended at Duke Ellington’s spot on Central Park South, right after his triumphal concert with the New World Symphony in Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, circa 1974.  That gathering also attracted an accomplished international crowd of beautiful people, but Ellington was a much older man and he was treated in the way that religious devotees treat their messiah.

People seemed to struggle to keep from genuflecting before the great man, even the titled European Aristocrats at the party had to struggle to maintain their cool.  But here the vibe was totally different.  Although I’m certain that the guest at Wynton’s party were just as aware that they were hanging out with history, that our host was a rare genius whose great works will live long after he has departed this world, still everybody was laid back and treated Wynton the way he acts: like one of the guys.

 Like Duke Ellington, music is Wynton’s mistress…
 Wynton's Piano
 …..and Just as in Ellington’s apartment, the piano is omnipresent  

 Wynton is the most unpretentious person I know, given his truly spectacular gifts and achievements; he seems indifferent to his greatness and regards celebrity as a picayune matter.  I have known him for twenty years now and I have never seen him talk down to anyone nor show any trace of arrogance or vanity; he seems to always be trying to get better at what he does and help others achieve their dreams.

Musically it amounts to an incredibly generous attitude that I also noticed in Betty Carter and Duke Ellington, who regularly discovered young talent, nurtured it, and graced the stages of the world with their gifts. Although I find him a jovial and even tempered guy, I don’t know anybody who works harder at their chosen profession nor enjoy it more.  Wynton has a restless and endlessly creative mind that is constantly conjuring up new musical ideas, or strategizing with the managers at JALC to market the program, or managing the diverse personalities of the great artists who make up the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and consistently giving great performances on the trumpet around the world.

Thus I would argue that what some critic’s mistake as arrogance is simply the self-assuredness that comes with great achievements and knowing what you are talking about. Hence confidence is mistaken for arrogance.  Wynton does not suffer fools gladly…and neither do I! He relaxes by taking young street b-ball players to the hole, or bombing them out with his “fabled” jump shot on the courts of nearby projects, or scheming on the chess board for the best strategy to defeat his opponents.

But when he defeated Matt Dillon in a game he damn near jumped up did a break dance, yet gracefully acknowledged that Matt had trounced him countless times on the Chess board, even conceding that his opponent had the better game. As soon as Matt decided the Gumbo was properly heated the guest hurried to cue up, and once they savored the gourmet New Orleans cuisine it quickly became apparent from the soft ecstatic moans, and squeals of delight, that Matt “done messed around stuck his foot in the pot” as the old folks used to say down south.

Chef Matt Dillon: The Man of the Hour!

Wynton's buddy Matt

His Gumbo Inspired Much Love from Everyone

Gumbo is obviously a word that is derived from Louisiana’s African heritage, a cultural reality that the arbiters of American culture prefer to ignore.  As cuisine it is a kind of amalgamated stew with generous proportions of shellfish – oysters, clams, shrimp – along with chicken, sausage, peppers, etc served with rice.  It is like a French version of the Spanish dish Paella, except its soupy and a lot spicier.

When properly prepared the myriad flavors assault the senses with a cacophony of delectable sensations that makes it an intense sensual experience rather than merely a meal. It was the kind of meal we used to call “fightyamammys” in Florida back in the day; the idea was that some meals are so good you’ll “fight your mammy” over it.

The cultured and highly civilized guest could barely manage to contain the predatory side of their character in their quest for more of this bewitching brew. After the guest had stuffed themselves on Gumbo and Baguettes, the wine poured and Wynton sat down to the piano and began a lively rendition of “Happy Birthday to you.”  It turned out that it was the birthday of Joe Temperley, the great Baritone Saxophonist with the Lincoln Center Orchestra.

Joe Temperley
 DSC_0004
Playing his Baritone Sax next to the Bassist

Joe is living proof of the global influence of the language of Jazz.  As one of the two great traditions of complex instrumental art music produced in the western world, everybody who is serious about acquiring instrumental virtuosity attempts to play one or the other.  And in rare instances – ala Wynton Marsalis, Hubert Laws, Carlos del Pino, Paquito de Rivera, John Lewis, et al – a truly great musician will perform in both traditions.

Although both genres are expressions of modern western art music, Jazz is the musical Gumbo that was conjured up in the clash and diffusions of West African and European culture as it was played out in the United States.  Wynton recognized this vital cultural connection when he composed A Tribute to Congo Square, an extended work of several movements written as a remembrance of that hallowed ground in New Orleans where the roots of Jazz were formed, for performance by the JALC in collaboration with Adada! a Ghanaian percussion ensemble. The uniqueness of this cultural amalgamation can be seen in the fact that Jazz is strikingly different from the other neo-African musical forms that developed in other parts of the African Diaspora in the Americas.

Offering a Musical Libation to the Ancestors
           Wynton and the Aficans
Photo by: Frank Stewart

There are of course the obvious similarities that are common to all neo-African music, which is a reflection of their common origins, the most important characteristics being polyrhythm, antiphony and polyphony, but while the  music of Cuba and Brazil has remained dance oriented and thus rhythmically restricted to the needs of dancers, jazz is a complex instrumental music in which experiments in melody and harmony were as important as rhythmic innovation; and since the advent of bop it has become increasingly divorced from the dance, evolving into a concert music designed for listening, or deep intellectual and spiritual musings.

Yet what finally sets Jazz apart from any other music of the western tradition are the elements of blues and swing guided by a democratic philosophy that values individual freedom and promotes innovation, which are quintessential American values and thus Afro-American music is a product of the unique experience of Afro-Americans.

We are the only African people who grew up in the belly of the most powerful and technologically advanced nation in the world and played an integral role in its development since birth. The USA is inconceivable without the input of Afro-Americans. From the five thousand patriot/soldiers who fought in the American Revolution that ushered in the bloody birth of our nation, to the quarter of a million black men who bore arms in defense of the Union when the southern aristocrats led the red neck rabble into a treasonous rebellion against our government that tore the nation apart in defense of human slavery, to the many others who fought in the rest of America’s wars that preserved the nation and helped it grow powerful.

And the most powerful defenders of the unique American concept of freedom have been Afro-American clerics, activists and intellectuals. Then there were the unsung millions who cleared the land and tilled the soil, turning the south into the cotton kingdom and making New Orleans the wealthiest city and biggest sea port in the nation by 1850.  A financial empire built on unrequited black slave labor.

But in a grand historical irony, out of this bitter and shameful history came a percolating cultural stew that produced Jazz and Gumbo.  And we had a generous serving of both at Wynton’s crib that enchanted evening, as Matt Dillon not only prepared the Gumbo, he also pre-programmed the music on his computer and we were serenaded with classic recordings from the jazz tradition past and present.  

Joe Temperley, looking as contented as a Carnation cow, gave me a nod, an assured wink, and then declared: “This Gumbo is so delicious eating it is more fun than playing the saxophone.”  Coming from a great Jazz master of the baritone sax, whose big lush silky tone and flawless flow marks him as the rightful heir to the legacy of the late great Harry Carney of the Ellington Orchestra, That’s a rave!

When I was invited to Duke Ellington’s party thirty four years ago I gave not a thought to the fact that I would be an eyewitness to history; I felt the same way about Wynton’s party.  Yet in during the course of the event I realized that it was an event that should be recorded for posterity. So I preserved Ellington’s party for history in the essay “An Evening with Edward Kennedy Ellington.

The Duke!

Duke+Ellington - paragon of elegance

The standard to which the JALC Aspires 

The present soirée will be commended to the historical record as Jazz and Gumbo.  And,fortunately, this time I had my camera…and I remembered the words of James Vanderzee, the photographer who set out to preserve for future generations the images of elegance, accomplishment and pride exhibited by African Americans during the cultural awakening of the 1920’s known to history as The Harlem Renaissance: “A picture will last forever!”

********************

Double Click to see Wynton Warming up Before the Gig

 http://youtu.be/ZqtHqCIMyMs

 D0uble Click to see Ahmad Jamal with JALC Orchestra
- Picture Perfect –
http://youtu.be/NBLIhUOWm9Q
Flight to Russia
http://youtu.be/iW7SRlaLrgE
Photographs and Text
By: Playthell G. Benjamin
*Photos of Wynton, Adada!
and Joe Temperly in Sax Section. 

By: Frank Stewart.

Posted: June 24th 2014
*** The event was held at an earlier date.
 

   

On Dirty Dick and His Doophus Daughter

Posted in On Foreign Affairs, On War and Peace in the Mid East! with tags , , on June 21, 2014 by playthell
Dirty Dick and Liz Cheney Dirty Dick and Lying Lizzie

 Two Shameless, Soulless, Dangerous Charlatans!

The scathing editorial criticizing President Obama’s foreign policy on the editorial page of the June 18, edition of the Wall Street Journal, “The Collapsing Obama Doctrine,” written by Dirty Dick Cheney and his pugnacious nauseating daughter Lying Lizzy, is a brazen misrepresentation of history that assumes its readers are stupid.  Alas, this latest condescension should come as no surprise to those who have been paying attention to Republican strategy.  As Ihave often noted in the past, the Republican Party or GOP – Grand Obstructionist Party – calculates the ignorance and historical amnesia of the American public into its formula for victory at the polls.

This is because in order to win elections one must first win the public debate, which is increasingly conducted through short messages and power packed slogans carefully crafted by professional advertising people – and the Republicans have repeatedly demonstrated that they are willing to jettison facts in favor of self-serving fictions. These are electronic messages, beamed into the minds of millions on FOX “News” and the verbal arsonists on WABC AM – White Apartheid Broadcast Cabal – the epicenter of the broadcast sector of a right-wing media complex in which the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal are the preeminent print outlet.

Published by that politically backward, far right, racist Australian media mogul Rupert Murdock, whose mass media outlets have played a major role in the success of right-wing politicians in the US, Australia and England, the WSJ editorial page is the perfect podium for Dirty Dick and Daughter aka “Dangerous and Deceitful,” to launch their bogus attack on President Obama. Hence the Cheney Duo’s latest screed should be regarded as nothing more than a self-serving attempt by Dirty Dick and his daughter to regain his place as a credible analyst of foreign affairs, in the hope of influencing the direction of American foreign policy by making us forget the scurrilous role he played as the chief architect of the misguided criminal invasion of Iraq.

Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many,” They write. “Too many times to count, Mr. Obama has told us he is “ending” the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—as though wishing made it so. His rhetoric has now come crashing into reality. Watching the black-clad ISIS jihadists take territory once secured by American blood is final proof, if any were needed, that America’s enemies are not “decimated.” They are emboldened and on the march.” The sheer audacity of the Cheneys almost takes one’s breath away.

What President Obama promised the American people was that he would end American involvement in the decade old war which Dirty Dick convinced a clueless George Bush to launch.  He kept that promise.  What we are witnessing now is the result of the miscalculations of Cheney and the Neo-Con Cabal from the Project For a New American Century – a foreign policy think tank founded by he, Donald Rumsfeld and that little chatty pugnacious nerd Bill Kristol – that convinced a clueless George Bush to invade Iraq based on a pack of carefully calculated lies!  (For a detailed analysis of how this happened see: “How the Iraq War was Hatched in a Think Tank” on this blog.)

As always, the Republicans are allergic to history; hence they wish to begin their analysis with present moment.  That’s why they never learn from history and continue to repeat its mistakes.  After recounting an odyssey through an Arab world that is plagued with war and rumors of war, in which he quotes unnamed Arab officials lamenting President Obama’s lack of action against the militant Islamist Jihadist that are threatening their existence, Dirty Dick tells us the following:

When Mr. Obama and his team came into office in 2009, al Qaeda in Iraq had been largely defeated, thanks primarily to the heroic efforts of U.S. armed forces during the surge. Mr. Obama had only to negotiate an agreement to leave behind some residual American forces, training and intelligence capabilities to help secure the peace. Instead, he abandoned Iraq and we are watching American defeat snatched from the jaws of victory.”

I cannot recall a more blatant, shameless, attempt to rewrite the facts of history as an astonished world watches.  Let me remind Dirty Dick and his fellow reactionary revisionist of some incontestable facts that nullifies their attempt to substitute propaganda for history.  When they announced their plans for “regime change” in Iraq based on manufactured “evidence” about Saddam Hussein’s collaboration with Al Qaeda and the stockpiling of “weapons of mass destruction” with which he intended to arm Al Qaeda for future attacks on America – a totally bogus claim which nobody who was knowledgeable about modern Arab politics believed – I wrote a scathing rebuttal of their position, see: “The Prophetic Commentary on Iraq.”

The Arab league warned that a US invasion of Iraq would “Open the gates of hell!”  Subsequent events have proved them, and the most vocal opponents of the war such as yours truly to be right, and everything the Bushmen, led by Dirty Dick and Devious Don Rumsfeld, said about the rationale and consequences of the Iraq invasion has been proven tragically wrong…everything!   We were also told before the invasion that the war would be short, would easily pay for itself with Iraqi oil revenues, and that the Iraqis would welcome the American invaders as “liberators.”

Shock and Awe!

Shock & Awe II

Saturation Bombing of Baghdad Design to Break Iraqi Will to Resist

High on hubris after the massive bombing – labeled “Shock and Awe” – that preceded the ground invasion of Iraq, there were no limits to the delusions of grandeur entertained by the Bushmen and their supporters in the corporate media.  Hence when George W. Bush swooped from the sky onto the deck of the massive aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln in a S-3B Viking fighter jet, jauntily deplaned decked out in fighter pilot’s gear, posed under a giant banner proclaiming “Mission Accomplished” and announced “Major combat operations in Iraq have ended….In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed,” to whoops and hollers from the swabbies, virtually no one doubted it.

This was especially true of the “watchdogs” in the press that had supported the invasion despite the skepticism of scholars, and the protests of millions of anti-war demonstrators in the US and abroad.  Consider the remarks of Chris Matthews, the “hard-nosed” reporter and proud Democrat who hosts MSNBC’s nightly program “Hardball.”

In a bipartisan patriotic love fest among American Exceptionalists Matthews says to the right wing verbal arsonist Ann Coulter The president’s performance tonight, redolent of the best of Reagan — what do you think?” To wit Ms. Coulter gushes “It’s stunning. It’s amazing. I think it’s huge. I mean, he’s landing on a boat at 150 miles per hour. It’s tremendous. It’s hard to imagine any Democrat being able to do that. And it doesn’t matter if Democrats try to ridicule it. It’s stunning, and it speaks for itself.” 

The Great Pretender!
Bush in Flight Suit
Faking the heroism of his Daddy in World War II 
Real Deal: George H. W. Bush at 19 Years Old

bush_george I - fighter piolt

The Youngest fighter Pilot in the American Military

Unable to contain his excitement at The Great Pretender’s tough guy act, Matthews gushes like a little kid discussing a cowboy movie.  “He looks for real. What is it about the commander in chief role, the hat that he does wear, that makes him — I mean, he seems like — he didn’t fight in a war, but he looks like he does.”  Brian Williams, presently the anchorman on NBC Evening News, but was anchoring “The News with Brian Williams” on the cable channel CNBC at the time, opined that very evening “And two immutable truths about the president that the Democrats can’t change: He’s a youthful guy. He looked terrific and full of energy in a flight suit. He is a former pilot, so it’s not a foreign artform to him. Not all presidents could have pulled this scene off today.”

Since I have always regarded Brian as nothing more than an air head with a pretty face who has been trained to read the news effectively – assets better suited to actors than serious journalists – I am not surprised at his empty headed prattle.  But Matthews broke my heart; alas I expected more from him.   After all, it was widely known that Bush had used his father’s connections to get himself assigned to the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam War, and when the U.S. Air Force experienced a shortage of pilots for the plane Bush was trained to fly and they asked for volunteers he failed to step up!

This is the story that brought the downfall of Dan Rather, CBS Evening News anchorman and heir to Walter Cronkite, whom polls had shown was “the most trusted man in America” during his tenure.  How could these crack “newsmen” not know anything about these allegations?  In the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attack the blood lust for revenge was so rampant, especially among white guys, that they lost any semblance of objectivity.  That’s why we must be wary of calls for American military intervention in the current Iraqi crisis; we must not go down the wrong road again…we simply can’t afford it in blood or treasure.  The price will prove far too high.

When the mainstream media fails to review government justifications for military interventions in foreign countries we end up with debacles that confuse the public, and demoralize voters.  It leads some to conclude that the government is composed of corrupt liars and just tune out of the political process.  This is the affect that the Iraq war had on many Americans when they finally learned the truth; which is than none of the reasons the Bush Administration gave for starting this 10 year war proved true.

 Dirty Dick and Livid Lizzie claim that “Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many.”  However we don’t have to look far in order to disprove this claim.  The sole charge that the Cheneys level at President Obama is that he said the war would be over by a given date, and that he said Al Qaeda had been decimated.  And he points to the ISIS insurgency as evidence of how wrong President Obama is.  But even if Dirty Dick is right, and he is not, it would be picayune stuff compared to the blunders of the Bush administration.

Let us begin with the fact that the most devastating attack by a foreign power on American soil since the War of 1812 was the 9/11 attack.  It is a matter of record that the Bush Administration had been given repeated warning that Osama bin Laden was preparing such an attack, and they did absolutely nothing to prevent it.  Instead they dismissed such warnings as bogus, despite the fact that they were coming from the FBI and the CIA independently.

Condoslezza Rice

president-bush-kissing-condoleezza-rice 
The Wicked Witch of the West Suckin Up to Power
And While she Fiddled Around Dreaming of  Star Wars

BIN LADEN

Osama leveled the World Trade Centers

 World Trade Center Aflame

 The Worse National Security Failure in US History!

Dr. Condoleezza Rice dismissed the Al Qaeda threat with the observation that no camel driver in the desert could pull off such an attack, and went on about the business of building support for construction of a “star wars” anti-ballistic missile system –something the Republicans like Dirty Dick and Big Mac are trying to resurrect.  The acting Director of the FBI says when he tried to present evidence to Attorney General Ashcroft that such a plot was real, he poo pooed his warnings.  At the time, Ashcroft was too busy with the critical work of covering up the naked breast on the statues of Lady Justice perched in the Justice Department!

On the day the attack occurred the Bush Administration, despite several warnings, were totally unprepared.  In fact Dr. Rice, Bush’s National Security Advisor was scheduled to give an important address on the urgent need to build the anti-ballistic missile system, a reckless move that would have violated long standing treaties between the US and Russia, sparking a new nuclear arms race.  So they slept on the fact that the energized Jihadist movement and not a dismantled Soviet Union was the urgent threat to US national security.  President Bush, and his know-it-all Vice President Dirty Dick, completely failed to understand this.  And it led to the greatest national security failure in US history!

That initial failure was followed by a series of colossal blunders by the Bush Administration that led directly to the ISIL insurgency we are facing now.  To put it succinctly, the Bush Administration originally told the American public that “regime change” in Iraq was imperative, in order to effectively fight the terrorist threat from Al Qaeda because Saddam had given them aid and comfort in his country and thus had conspired with them in the 9/11 attack.

Furthermore since Saddam had amassed stockpiles of “weapons of mass destruction” i.e. nuclear and chemical weapons, he had to be removed because if he remained in power we would soon see a “nuclear cloud” over America.  This became the main talking point of the Bush Administration as they all repeated the scenario ad nauseum – it’s all on video tape hence it cannot be denied!  They even manufactured bogus evidence and sent a duped Secretary of State Colin Powell before the UN to present it; an act he now regards as the worst incident of his long public career in the military and government.

All these claims have proven to be totally false.  Peter Borger – CNN’s National Security Analyst, expert reporter on the Middle East, and author of the authoritative book, “The Longest War: The Enduring Conflict between America and Al-Qaeda –  has written an illuminating report reviewing the record of the Bush Administration in Iraq.  Mr. Borger points out that after carefully examining 34 million pages of records from the Saddam Hussein government, our Defense Intelligence Agency failed to find a single shred of evidence of collaboration between Saddam and Osama bin Laden.  And the Pentagon fared no better after its investigation of 600,000 official documents and thousands of hours of taped conversations of Saddam and high officials in the Iraqi government.  Not a stitch of evidence could be found to corroborate the Bush Administration’s narrative about Iraqi/al Qaeda collaboration.

After studying the results of all these investigations, Borger tells us: “The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence concluded in 2008, as every other investigation had before, that there was no “cooperative relationship” between Hussein and al Qaeda. The committee also found that “most of the contacts cited between Iraq and al Qaeda before the war by the intelligence community and policy makers have been determined not to have occurred.”  Hence the evidence is indisputable that the Bush Administration, led by Dirty Dick Cheney and Devious Don Rumsfeld, attacked an unoffending nation, embroiling this nation in the longest war in our history based on a damned lie!

And that is not the dirtiest of their deeds: They knew it was a lie all along.  For a full explanation and evidence for this claim read my essay “How the Iraq War Was Hatched in a Think Tank.” The analysis in this essay will demonstrate that one need not resort to implausible paranoid theories about the Bush Administration ordering the 9/11 attack, a claim whose obscenity is surpassed only by it absurdity. In order to understand why the Bushmen would lie about Iraqi culpability in the 9/11 attack, one need only examine the agenda of the Project For a New American Century, the foreign policy think tank founded by Dick and Don, from which many critical functionaries in the Bush Administration’s National Security Team.

A hotbed of Neo-Con ideologues and policy wonks, these PNAC zealots took over American foreign policy after 9/11 and saw their opportunity to take Saddam out – something they had been trying to accomplish ever since the “Desert Storm” invasion under George the Ist.  Dick and Don tried their best to persuade George H.W. Bush to overthrow Saddam after expelling Iraqi forces from Kuwait, but he heeded the wise counsel of General Colin Powell, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who warned him of the hazards of such a move by citing the Pottery Barn Rule: “You Break it/You own it!”

General Colin Powell: Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff

 George Bush Meeting With Military Advisors

Dirty Dick,  George I, and General Powell
 Powell Dissed Cheyney Too!

Colin Powell and Cheney

Powell’s Favorite nickname for Cheney: “That fuckin Crazy!”

George the First decided to listen to the General who had just led a stunning defeat of Saddam’s army, and rounded on “The Crazies,” which was his secret name for Cheney and Rumsfeld.   But George the First was much smarter than Junior.  He really was a fighter pilot – a courageous one too – and he was the former Director of the CIA, so he was unimpressed with the neo-con dunderheads who beguiled his son into invading Iraq.  If the poot-butt pretender had sought advice from dad he would have avoided committing the greatest blunder in US diplomatic history!

Alas, it seems Junior was so interested in removing himself from his father’s shadow and show he was finally his own man he feel prey to the machinations of “The Crazies.”  I advance this as speculation only, but I have yet to hear a better explanation.  The argument that he overthrew Saddam because the Iraqi leader had once attempted to assassinate his dad is spurious at best, for I can find no evidence to support that claim.  However one can find abundant evidence for my claim in the essay cited above.

Since Dirty Dick has a record of telling blatant lies it should surprise no one that he has resorted to lies in an attempt to obfuscate his, and his callous goofy daughter’s,  role in the present disastrous Sunni Jihadist insurgency in Iraq, which threatens to topple the American backed Shiite government headed by Al Maliqui.  Witness their pitiful attempt to revise the historical facts.

When Mr. Obama and his team came into office in 2009, writes the Cheney’s, “al Qaeda in Iraq had been largely defeated, thanks primarily to the heroic efforts of U.S. armed forces during the surge. Mr. Obama had only to negotiate an agreement to leave behind some residual American forces, training and intelligence capabilities to help secure the peace. Instead, he abandoned Iraq and we are watching American defeat snatched from the jaws of victory.”

This is hogwash!  To begin with not only was Al Qaeda alive and well in Iraq, the Bushmen were unable to find Osama bin Laden – i.e. Osama been Forgotten – during two terms in office.  In fact, Osama was comfortably ensconced in Pakistan, posting video tapes mocking the Bushmen’s efforts to find him!   Bush himself says in a video-taped interview that he was no longer even thinking about bin Laden, let alone trying to find and capture him.  That task had to await the arrival of Barack Obama into the Oval Office.  Chilly B. went gangsta and took Osama out!

But Cheney is engaged in a transparent smokescreen here, his ultimate objective is to obfuscate the fact that it was the ill-conceived actions of the Bush Administration that brought al Qaeda into Iraq in the first place: before the invasion there were no al Qaeda cells in Iraq and no violent sectarian conflict.  Mr. Borger explains just how it happened:

Instead of interrupting a budding relationship between Hussein and al Qaeda,” the Iraq War precipitated the arrival of al Qaeda into Iraq. Although the Bush administration tended to gloss over the fact, al Qaeda only formally established itself in Iraq a year and a half after the U.S. invasion.  On October 17, 2004, its brutal leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi issued an online statement pledging allegiance to Osama bin Laden. Zarqawi’s pledge was fulsome: “By God, O sheikh of the Mujahideen, if you bid us plunge into the ocean, we would follow you. If you ordered it so, we would obey.”

 Zarqawi’s special demonic genius was to launch Iraq down the road to civil war. In early 2004, the U.S. military intercepted a letter from Zarqawi to bin Laden in which he proposed provoking a civil war between Sunnis and Shia. Zarqawi’s strategy was to hit the Shia so they would in turn strike the Sunnis, so precipitating a vicious circle of violence in which al Qaeda would be cast as the protector of the Sunnis against the wrath of the Shia. It was a strategy that worked all too well, provoking first sectarian conflict in Iraq and later civil war.”

That’s how Iraq got in the murderous mess it is in as I write.  No amount of hysterical deceptive prattle attempting to blame President Obama can change these facts.  In the next installment on the Iraqi crisis I will discuss what the President should do next, casting a critical eye toward the recommendations of Dirty Dick, his daughter, and assorted Republican chicken hawks and pugnacious dunderheads.

 The ISIL Jihadist Commit Mass Slaughter
ISIS Mass Killings
Bush and Cheney’s Real Legacy in Iraq
 Double Click to See Paul O’Neil tell real story

http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/paul-oneill-speaks-out

Former Bush Cabinet tells how the decision was made to invade Iraq
Click to see ABC Report on Iraq

http://abcnews.go.com/US/video/reid-scoffs-cheneys-iraq-criticism-24197492

Senate Majority Leader Responds to Dirty Dick
********************

 

Playthell G. Benjamin

San Francisco, California

 June 20, 2014

A Fool’s Errand!

Posted in On Foreign Affairs, On War and Peace in the Mid East! with tags , on June 16, 2014 by playthell
george hw bush strike group
 USS George H. W. Bush Carrier Strike Force

 Is Barack about to Repeat Bush’s Folly?

Amid cries from media talking heads and some members of Congress to “do something” in order to save Iraq from falling under the control of Islamic Jihadists, President Obama has ordered the USS George H. W. Bush carrier strike group to the region.  The fleet is anchoring in a position that is within striking distance of Iraq by the planes and missiles with which the carrier is armed.  Witnessing this turn of events the thoughtful observer who is paying attention to developments in Iraq, particularly the rise of ISIS Jihadist, is forced to wonder just what is going on.

At the root of our government’s response is the deeply held belief by many Americans that the US President should be able to impose his will on the world.  This explains why even those Americans who tell pollsters that they are tired of war, and don’t want to see their country embarking on yet another foreign war, still blame President Obama for not being able to control events in volatile hot spots across the globe.  However President Obama knows that he is in the same situation as Abe Lincoln when, referring to the outbreak of the American Civil War, Lincoln said “clearly I have not controlled events, but events have controlled me.”

If President Lincoln couldn’t prevent a Civil War on US soil, where white Christian brothers slaughtered each other in what was then the bloodiest war in history, how is President Obama supposed to stop a civil/religious war among Muslims thousands of miles away that has been raging for 1800 years?  The neo-con militarist and assorted chicken hawks assure us that we can accomplish our objectives with airpower.

Although I am a former member of the United States Strategic Air Command, the greatest bomber fleet ever assembled, I agree with Colin Powell, an Army General, that proponents of air power always make claims they cannot keep.  And I have no doubt the idea that the Iraqi insurgents can be defeated with bombing strikes will prove a bogus claim.

How can I speak with such certainty in this matter you wonder?   Well, one does not have to be a mental colossus in order to figure it out.  During my stay in SAC I learned a lot about what bombing can do; I also learned what it can’t do. And bombs cannot distinguish innocent civilians from the Jihadists.

Alas it is indisputable fact that one of the main things which turned the populace against the US in Iraq and Afghanistan is the killing of innocent civilians due to “friendly America fire.”  Most often this takes the form of bombs gone awry, missing their targets and slaughtering innocent souls.  Hence it is a no brainer to figure out that more bombing, and the “collateral damage” of more dead civilians, will not win friends and influence Iraqi’s to love America.

I am convinced that to resume bombing of Iraq is the essence of “folly” as defined by the Pulitzer Prize winning historian Barbara Tuchman in her path breaking book “The March of Folly.”  It is, I think, an omen of some sort that I should be writing the same kind of critical arguments on what appears to be the second invasion of Iraq – albeit solely with air power this time – as I published on the eve of the first invasion.  Then I pointed out that George Bush’s decision to invade Iraq was dangerous folly because all of the objective evidence suggested it would prove contrary to American National Security interests.  (See: “The Prophetic Commentary on Iraq”)

Now I am compelled to raise my voice in a warning to President Obama: bombing Iraq will not stop the Jihadists!  But it will produce more anti-American zealots among the population.  This is not a matter of conjecture, all we need do is analyze the consequences of the Bush invasion, where bombs were deployed promiscuously.  Most Americans have forgotten now, being a nation of folks who suffer with historical amnesia, but the invasion of Iraq began with a massive bombing attack code named “Shock and Awe.” 

It was a spectacular display of American airpower broadcast in real time on television, I called it “March Madness;” it was supposed to frighten the Iraqi resistance into surrender.  It didn’t.  Hence we now find ourselves a decade later still trying to disengage from that little desert country after a massive expenditure of blood and treasure has left us with more enemies than friends.

This explains why despite the increasingly hysterical cries from elements in the media and Congress to “do something,” Barack Obama must not repeat Bush’s Folly with a massive bombardment of Iraq again….that would be a fool’s errand indeed!

Fighter Planes on the Flight Deck of Carrier

aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). George H.W. Bush is conducting training operations in the Atlantic Ocean.

Making more enemies in Iraq?

 

Playthell G, Benjamin
San Francisco, CA
June 16, 2014
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