Archive for the On Foreign Affairs Category

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
 **********************
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

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

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

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

 

 


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

A Tragic Reality Check in Iraq

Posted in On Foreign Affairs, On War and Peace in the Mid East! with tags , on June 13, 2014 by playthell
iraq.si Rebel Army, ISIL, advancing on Mosul

American Meddling in Middle East Ends in Disaster….Again

While US pundits and policy wonks despair over the success of Islamic Jihadists in Iraq with the dramatic capture of Mosul, the nation’s second largest city, it comes as no surprise to this observer.  On the eve of the US invasion of that country, with the clearly stated objective of overthrowing Saddam Hussein, I wrote an extended commentary pointing out that this would prove a grave mistake because the policy was based on a lie cooked up by politicized intelligence operatives.  (See: “The Prophetic Commentary on Iraq” on this blog)

I pointed out that the central premise in the Bush Administration’s argument for invading Iraq, that Saddam Hussein was an ally of the Jihadists that attacked the US on 9/11 was a transparent lie.   I argued instead that Saddam Hussein was actually an enemy of the Jihadist in Al Qaeda and committed to the defeat of Osama bin Laden – who viewed all secular leaders of predominantly Muslim countries like Saddam as apostates worthy of death!

Hence by removing Saddam the US weakened the war against the Jihadists, because it was the secular military strong men like Saddam that had prevented the Islamic zealots from taking over these countries – often through popular elections such as in Algeria.  Subsequent events in Egypt and Libya have proven my argument true and now it is coming to pass in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was all predictable to anyone with an understanding of the modern political history of the Islamic world and committed to an objective assessment of the facts, rather than tailoring them to justify a preconceived policy.

The deterioration of the US backed regime in Iraq – whose installation cost Americans five thousand lives over ten years of military and related action for a price of around two trillion dollars – must be viewed as yet another spectacular failure of US policy in the Islamic world.  In fact, it is no exaggeration to say that the advance of fundamentalist militant Islam has been aided and abetted by American intervention in the region more than any single source.

For instance the overthrow of President Muhammad Mossedeck in Iran during 1953, under President Eisenhower, led directly to the Islamic revolution in Iran, which was so popular the US was powerless to stop it. This, of course, was an unintended consequence of a US covert action, just as the present disaster in Iraq is an unintended consequence of the misbegotten American invasion.   Alas, some conspiracy theorists on the right will no doubt view the present victory of the Jihadist forces in Iraq as a sinister covert plot by the “secret Muslim ally” of the Jihadists in the White House, an undercover Kenyan who deceived the American people into voting for him twice, and now has betrayed our trust by removing American troops from Iraq in order to create the conditions for a Islamist takeover.

No matter that such sinister charges make no sense; it didn’t stop the conspiracy theorist on the left from concluding that George Bush actually ordered the terrorist attack on 9/11, or that the CIA was the moving force behind the popular uprisings of the “Arab Spring.”  However the Republican critics of President Obama’s policy toward the Arab Spring, or the Syrian Uprising, or the Iranian nuclear program, are just as devoid of reality as the zealots on the left.

The truth is that Barack Obama has been Solomonic in the wisdom he has employed in dealing with these bewilderingly complex foreign events. (See the essays in the section “On War and Peace in the Middle East” and other relevant essays listed under “On Foreign Policy on this blog) The beginning of this wisdom is the president’s recognition that America cannot control these events with military force.  In this the American people have been fortunate indeed.

When we consider the consequences of the major thrust of US policy in the Islamic world over the last 60 years, it is easy to recognize that it has been a dismal failure and we needed a change of vision and policy.   This is why early on in his administration Barack travelled to Egypt to offer an olive branch of peace to the Islamic world, even as he declared total war on those who chose the Jihadist path. (See: “Of all the Places in the Islamic world, Why Egypt?” on this blog)

If we look at the three most explosive problems the US faces in the Middle East as I write – the Islamic regime in Iran; the rising power of Islamic Jihadist in Afghanistan and Iraq; the protracted Israeli/Palestinian conflict that constantly threatens to plunge into violence, we can see the consequences of American meddling in an attempt to install or defend client regimes that will defend American hegemony in the region.  Added to this dismal record of monumental failures is the uncritical American support for the corrupt and fascistic royal family of Saudi Arabia, which is what got us in trouble with Al Qaeda in the first place.

Arizona Republican Senator John McCain, who was roundly defeated by Barack Obama in his bid for the presidency, offered this bit of advice.  “”The President should get rid of his entire national security team including the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.”  Bringing back the generals who failed to defeat the Insurgents in Iraq for half a decade would “turn this whole situation around,” in the opinion of this Vietnam era warrior and member of the Senate Arms Services Committee.  Luckily, McCain stopped short of calling for the resumption of American bombing in Iraq the way some are doing.  At least as of this writing….but as Fats Waller would say: “One never knows, do one?”

Yet, listening to McCain’s reactions to the major trouble spots on the American foreign policy radar – i.e. Iran, Ukraine, Syria, et al – one shudders to think of where this nation would be if John McCain had been in office for the last six years.  He wanted to intervene everywhere during the Arab Spring uprisings, and criticized President Obama for “leading from behind” in Libya.  Which has proved to be a brilliant innovative strategy that accomplished American objectives without involving us in yet another war in the Arab world.

Big MAC would have long ago bombed Iran and he would have maintained the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan until “victory” was won!  He even suggested that we use American policy in Korea as a model for Iraq and Afghanistan – although American military forces are still stationed in Korea after sixty years, and we have yet to sign an armistice officially ending the Korean War!

McCain would arm the Syrian Rebels, which would be a repeat of the mistake the US made in arming and training the Afghanistan Mujahideen – which metamorphosed into the Taliban and Al Qaeda!   At the time we were told that these people were “heroes” because they were fighting the Russians, now they have become our worst nightmare.

The spectacular success of the Islamist forces in Iraq – whose objective is to build an Islamic Caliphate that includes Syria – is evidence that things have gone as badly in Iraq, a country that had no problem with ethnic strife nor Islamic insurgents before the Neo-Con Bushmen led by “Dirty Dick” Cheney convinced Clueless George to overthrow Saddam Hussein, a leader who had committed no hostile act against the US. (See: “How the Iraq War was Hatched in a Think Tank” on this blog)

And now McCain wants to arm and train pro-western forces in the Ukraine, despite the fact that they are riddled with neo-Nazis – with the ultimate objective of incorporating that former Soviet Republic into NATO.  This is a prescription for nuclear war!  Hence, to put it succinctly, If John McCain was our president instead of Barack Obama we would be in wars all over the globe, and hovering on the brink of nuclear annihilation.  Bluesman Percy Mayfield’s lyrics would have become a tragic prophecy:

“The whole world is in trouble and the danger zone is everywhere….if man don’t put an end to his horrible sins, hate will set the world aflame…what a shame!”

Soldiers of Allah

Isis Militants

Fighting for the Islamic Caliphate
This is Part I of a series of Articles on the Iraq Crisis.
Playthell Benjamin
San Francisco, California
June, 2014
*Note: To locate any of the articles cited above just enter the titles into the search box.

May the Circle Stay Unbroken

Posted in Cultural Matters, Music Reviews, On Foreign Affairs on May 1, 2014 by playthell

Duke Ellington in Stetson

The Sound Sorcerer wielding his Mighty Axe; his sound was heard around the world

 Jazz and Modern Black Culture in South Africa

It is interesting to read Playthell’s article, “An Evening with Edward Kennedy Ellington;” it got me thinking of life in the Ghetto of Soweto, in South Africa. The Townships might not have had the architectural wonders of New York and its chic urbane life-style, but, Duke still affected and influenced the life, music and self-esteem of Africans under Apartheid. There has long been a struggle against Apartheid by the indigene refuting the claim that we were uncouth and backward.

As the Township of Soweto expanded and grew, so did the music scene: the South African Jazz Scene. Some of the jazz groups had “American” as their names. There were Jazz big bands; the fashion of the day were Dobbs brim hats, Florsheim shoes – some two tone – double breasted jackets with broad lapels and the whole dress code as was worn by the Americans of the ’30s, 40s and 50s.  I guess what I am saying is that, because of the inhumanity of Apartheid we witnessed an oppressed people immerse themselves in the American Jazz music and African American culture, language and mannerism as a way of keeping our souls intact.

Louis Armstrong Master Musician and Fashion Plate
Louis_Armstrong_and_Velma_Middleton,_Carnegie_Hall,_New_York,_N.Y.,_ca._Feb._1947_ Notice the sharp two toned shoes

John Hodges

 JohnnyHodges0161-thumbnail

 Notice the elegant broad lapels

The sleeve jackets of the LPs were the point of discussions from the Shebeens – Taverns/Speak Easies – of the day. Discussion about music, styles, musical signatures of The “Duke”, the “Count”, Hodges, Archie Shepp, Philly Jo Jones(some People even renamed themselves after their favorite artist here in Mzantsi), Coltrane, Monk, Miles, Bessie Smith, Sonny Rollins, Stitt, Sidney Betchet, Stachmo, Jelly roll Morton, Fats Waller, Charlie Parker, Ida Cox, Lucille Hegamin, Rosa Henderson, Bertha “Chippie” Hill, Sara Martin, Trixie Smith, Lizzie Miles, Sarah Vaughn, Mahalia Jackson, Mamie Smith, Josie Miles, Edna Benbow HIcks, Eartha Kitt, Mae Harris, Lulla Miller, jimmy Lunceford, Billie Holiday, Etta James, Charlie Christian, Ron Carter, Yusef Lateef, Ella Fritzgerald, Scot Joplin, and a host of other many American musicians-too numerous to list here.

Virtuoso Trumpeter Miles Davis
miles-davis-Fashion Icon
Fashion Trend Setter
He Was Miles Ahead in his Ideas and Style
 miles davis  Fashion Icon
In Music and Fashion!
 South African Jazz Trumpeter Hugh Masakela
Hugh masekela-1959 Miles’ Musical Progeny
Real Cool Cats

THE THREE JAZZOMOLOS

Swinging the Blues in South Africa
 Ella Fitzgerald….You Send Me!
 Ella-fitzgerald-4ec7911607ac3
The First Lady sings while master trumpeter / jazz innovator Dizzy Swoons

 

 Sarah Vaughn: The Divine One!
Sarah Vaugh II
The Afro-American elegance and sophistication that inspired South Africans

 

The Divine One and Ella’s Musical Daughters
 SWINGIN DEAUVILLE 1991
Merriam Makeba with the Great Gillespie

 

 This South African Songstress

 South African Jazz singer

She can feel it in her soul: Dem dirty blues and all that Jazz
Jazz Musicians were Africa Conscious
Africa Brass - Coltrane
And Glorified the “Motherland” in their Music

The American Jazz idiom was dominating thoroughly and completely here in Mzatnsi. How do I know all these name of all these musicians.  Well, as kids in the early sixties, we would sit with our Uncles and fathers and hear them argue and debate that was the best on drums, saxophones, composition and arrangements, and passions would rise to pitch level.

There were people who never thought of other artist as deserving mention or to be listened to because they did not meet their standard of what was Jazz or the like. So as we grew up in the late sixties, we were exposed to a variety of different artists of this American genre. Well, in most cases, my generation was scoffed-at by our old timers for not listening to real and classic Jazz when we listened to Jimmy Smith, John Patton, Harold Mabern, Blue Mitchell, Lou Donaldson, Billy Cobham, Booker T., Soul Music and funk.

We were ridiculed by these stalwarts and keepers of the Old Jazz, as me and my peers referred to Classical jazz as “not listening to Jazz,” and knowing nothing about it. But today, with most of them gone, and many of those who survived apartheid – the old timers I referred to above – have formed Jazz Clubs here in South Africa. They meet on weekends and bring out their best collection and spend the whole day listening to jazz, eating and imbibing large amounts of alcohol.

And whilst engaging in this celebration of jazz here in Mzantsi, you would hear talk like Playthell’s, whom I will cite below, as being what was said about these musicians by our elders. Most of the other stuff was learned and read from the LP liner notes by some Jazz critic or aficionado, and From Down Beat Magazine and so forth. It would go something like this passage from Playthell’s essay:  

“Some of these people had crossed an ocean to attend the concert earlier in the day. After a while, it was clear that several of the guests had seriously followed Duke’s work for thirty to forty years. … As Duke responded to requests and moved from one tune to another, I was impressed by the fact that most of these songs were now part of the standard repertoire of American music. … I wondered at the artistic sensibility that could conceive these elegant tone poems, based in sophisticated urban blues and surrounded by consistently inventive orchestrations…. ….When he composed his suites to various regions of the world he never wrote the music when he was in those places.

‘I don’t want to be overly influenced by the local musical traditions, so I always wait until I’m back home to write my impressions.’ And he also confessed to me after a few rounds of Champaign: ‘I’m a sophisticated savage.’ Before I could persuade him to elaborate on his colorful claim our conversation was disrupted by others demanding the attention of the great man. I understood and bowed out.  That enchanted evening in July, 1974 demonstrates that rest the world has long recognized the extraordinary creative contribution of the Duke. It is long past time this prophet became s hero in his own land.”

To be honest, what Playthell wrote above would be taken by these Jazz aficionados, turned on its head, made theirs. And included in their folklore about Jazz, as if it was they who spun the yarn above, and had experienced it, so that they have a one-up on their fellow Jazz buffs.. But, with time, those with the means, have been visiting The Newport Jazz Festival, Montreux Festival, and many of those in Europe.. And the comeback with fantastic tales of their visits and so forth, today (Most of it exaggerated, somewhat, but with some kernel of Truth.

Duke, Armstrong and Singer Jimmy Rushing
Duke Ellington,  Rushing, Louis Armstrong, Billy Strahorn with Photomodels at 1962 Newport Jazz Festival 
Hanging out with High Fashion Models Backstage at Newport 1962

 Today in south Africa, we have come a long from the days I described above.. People are not more able to listen to jazz without the pressures of apartheid dehumanizing us. But African American Jazz in South Africa made our lives more bearable and full of hope. We never gave the Boers a chance to tell us nor believed we were barbarians or savages. Duke and the rest of the African America Jazz Masers, confirmed to us, since most of us looked like many of them and vice-versa- we knew that we were better than what the Apartheid monsters said we were.

There were many Jazz bands that were spawned as a result of our exposure to the American music scene and its Jazz Masters. These I might talk about in another palaver we might have on this subject. But Playthell’s article, with its cultural opulence and high art life-style, is still what makes our world go round. Duke was our demi-god when it came to Jazz, Style, dress/fashion, comportment and Class. He personified all this and then some to my uncles and their friends.

A Paragon of Male Elegance
Duke Ellington esq-best-dressed-duke-ellington-lg-2
Esquire Magazines “Best Dressed Man”
A Playful Moment with the Great Ray Nance
Ray Nance
 Jiving around onstage in Sweden
A Triple Threat and More….

Ray Nance II

Sweet Ray Nance: a Master of Trumpet, Violin and Dance….he could Sing too!

Our Elders copied many of Duke’s mannerism that Playthell describes above, which he observed on his visit to the Maestro’s apartment.  As you can imagine, many have tried, albeit not on par with Playthell’s analysis, to be what the Duke represented and even added they own spin to the act. Apartheid, in its evil intent to dehumanize us, failed dismally because many Africans in South Africa knew that their Nazi-like oppressor’s claims of racial superiority were lies.

We lived our lives full of Jazz and our spirits danced above the concentration camps they built for us Called Townships… Like the humongous one called Soweto (Southern Western Townships) Digging jazz is still the way to go.. although the present-day youth in south Africa – as in the United States – are out of sync and do not know any better.. Some of us still know what time it is when it comes to Jazz music…

Young South African Jazzmen
 South African Jazzmen.jpg Today

 All Races come together playing Jazz

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 Double Clink on Link to see Duke and Ray Nance

http://youtu.be/gOlpcJhNyDI 

The Ellington Orchestra in live Concert, Zurich 1959

http://youtu.be/Qkn57XP-_kM

SkhoKho Sa Tiou

 Mzantsi, South Africa

May Day 2014

JOHN KERRY MUST RESIST ISRAEL LOBBY!!!!

Posted in On Foreign Affairs, On War and Peace in the Mid East! with tags , , , , on April 29, 2014 by playthell

 john-kerry-351

 Taking flack for telling the Truth

Kerry Must not Resign over Israel Comment

Senator Ted Cruz, a far rightwing Republican charlatan from Texas, has called upon Secretary of State John Kerry to resign because of some remarks he made at the recent Trilateral Conference about the future of Arab/Jewish relations in Palestine/Israel.  Speaking of the consequences that would result from the failure of the present talks between Israel and the Palestinians fail Secretary Kerry said that Israel would become an “Apartheid state.”

Senator Cruz says this remark shows that the Secretary of State is unfit to conduct American foreign policy, and Senator Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat who rarely agrees with the Texas Republican Cruz on anything has quickly joined him in criticizing Secretary Kerry, expressing horror that Israel, “the only democracy in the Middle East,” should be associated with a massive crime against humanity like South African Apartheid. Politics does indeed make strange bedfellows.

Cruz is an opportunistic charlatan whose political success is based on playing to the most extreme rightwing elements of the Republican base – including the “Christian Zionist” among the evangelicals – and his sympathies lie with Neo-Con hawks like Dick Cheney on foreign policy.   And despite her progressive record on other issues Barbara Boxer is a standard-issue Democratic apologist for Israeli excesses.  Like other members of Congress they are both prisoners of the Israeli Lobby.

This explains why they have both rushed to denounce Secretary Kerry’s remarks, and like a kid who has been chastised for wandering out of the yard without permission, Kerry has apologized for breaking the rules.  Since what the Secretary of state said was true, the question before the American people is: Can the Secretary of State serve the best interests of the United States if he cannot even discuss issues critical issues candidly, especially when these issues involve American blood and treasure?

This imposed silence amounts to a form of censorship through political intimidation, orchestrated by the Anti-Defamation League. The League, which directs much of the activity of the broader “Israel Lobby” even as its Director, Abraham “The Inquisitor” Foxman, produced a book denouncing Professors Mearsheimer and Walt’s study and denying that the Israel Lobby exists –  is clearly injurious to American national security, although everyone is in denial about this phenomenon.

 

I wrote about this imposed silence on the question of Israel’s support for Apartheid and the role they played in fingering Mandela in my Eulogy on Commentaries On The Times: ”Nelson Mandela: Freedom Fighter.”

“It is conventional wisdom that no….censorship exists in America, but if one’s work is critical of Israel the normal rules about free inquiry don’t apply.  One need only look at the fate of scholars, both Jew and Gentile, who have written critically about Israel: the learned Jewish theologian Mark Ellis; the courageous investigative journalist Robert I. Freedman, the independent Jewish scholar Lenni Brenner, and especially the non-Jewish scholars John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt, authors of the penetrating study The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy.”

to read the complete article, see http://commentariesonthetimes.wordpress.com/2013/12/09/nelson-mandela-freedom-fighter/

The US government’s absolute refusal to criticize Israeli policies toward the Palestinians no matter how atrocious, coupled with promiscuous use of horrendous deadly force against Islamic peoples, and the atmosphere of intimidation that suppresses honest debate at home, is the main source of Anti-American hatred in the Muslim world that has made us the primary target of the modern Jihad.  All Americans need to understand the process by which US policy toward Israel is shaped because there will never be peace in the Middle East until the Palestinians receive a just settlement from the Israeli government.  Until then there will be constant wars and rumors of wars in the Middle East.

In order to gain a fuller understanding of this ongoing crisis, and why Kerry should stand up to the “Israel is always right crowd,” read my essay cited above and “The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy” by John Mearshimer and Stephan Walt, at The London Review of Books Online.  The authors of this study are political science professors at two of the world’s most prestigious universities – Harvard and the University of Chicago – and they know whereof they speak!

“Why has the US been willing to set aside its own security and that of many of its allies in order to advance the interests of another state?” they ask.   And their answers should outrage all patriotic Americans. “One might assume that the bond between the two countries was based on shared strategic interests or compelling moral imperatives, but neither explanation can account for the remarkable level of material and diplomatic support that the US provides. Instead, the thrust of US policy in the region derives almost entirely from domestic politics, and especially the activities of the ‘Israel Lobby.”

Based on this claim, we might reasonably ask whether those who actively seek to suppress honest debate on Israeli policies toward the beleaguered Palestinian people are a danger to US national security.  For it is self-evident that the best interests of the US is not their paramount concern.

 

Senator Ted Cruz

Cruz - shady character

Republican Charlatan!

Senator Barbara Boxer

Barbara+Boxer+Holds+News+Conf+Wall+St+Reform+ZuoDxn1iL5Zl

Shameless Democratic Apologist for Israel
**********************

 

 

Playthell G. Benjamin

San Francisco

April 29, 2014

 

 

What Militant Islam Looks Like in Africa

Posted in On Foreign Affairs with tags , , , on April 13, 2014 by playthell

 Boko Harem - Islamic Terrorists

Nihilistic Boko Haram Fanatics in Nigeria

 

A Clear and Present Danger to Nigeria’s Quest for Modernity

The latest atrocity committed by fanatical Islamists is the slaughter of over a hundred people in the predominantly Muslim northern region of Nigeria. Gun-wielding Islamic zealots for a Jihadist group calling itself Boko Haram – which means “against western education” – is blamed for the slaughter. In order to understand the thinking behind such bloodthirsty acts one need only study the views of Abubaker Shekau, the supreme leader of Boko Haram.

A shadowy figure that never appears in public and makes his views known through internet video tapes, like Osama bin Laden, Shekau has a proactive attitude toward religiously inspired murder.  In this he is a cookie cutter copy of all jihadist leaders. In a report filed by Addullah Tasiu of the BBC’s Hausa Service, we are told by Professor Abubakar Mu’azu from the University of Maiduguri that Shekau is “is the leader of the more militant wing of the group as testified by his aping of Osama Bin Laden in his video appearances.”

These videos are posted online surreptitiously by a secret cell in Boko Haram known as the “Public Enlightenment Department.” In one of these videos, released in the aftermath of a killing spree where Boko Haram butchers slaughtered 180 innocent people in Kano – the largest city in the predominately Muslim northern region – Abubaker Shenkau looks into the camera and announces to the world: “I enjoy killing anyone that God commands me to kill – the way I enjoy killing chickens and rams.”

To those looking on, this writer included, the question that begs an answer is: “What manner of man is this that could say such a thing?   Shekau does not appear in public due to the fact that the founder of Boko Haram, and his immediate predecessor, Muhammad Yusef, was killed by security forces and Shekau himself barely escaped execution by them.

Now the most wanted man in Nigeria, he would surely be shot on sight if discovered by Nigerian security forces or captured and subjected to a worse fate as an example to others who would follow in his footsteps, Shekua remains in hiding and we are left with descriptions of him by people who knew him before he became notorious.

The Nigerian journalist Ahmed Salkida is such a person.  We are told in the BBC report that Salkida’s access to Skekau and other Boko Haram militants once attracted the attention of Nigeria’s security forces, which became suspicious of his relationship with them, and he barely escaped execution on the spot by virtue of the intervention of a superior officer.  Salkida describes the Boko Haram leader as “a fearless loner, a complex, paradoxical man – part intellectual, part gangster” who is between 36 and 40 years old.  In the picture below he reminds me of former New York Knicks star Earl “The Pearl” Monroe.

Abubeker Shekau
abubakar boko haram
Nigeria’s Most Wanted

A closer look at the life of Skekua and his fanatical co-conspirators in Boko Haram reveals similar patterns of development with other militant Islamic Jihadist movements such as the murderous Taliban in Afghanistan and the multi-national Al Qaeda, the authors of the 9/11 terrorist attack on New York City. The “Taliban,” which translates in English as “Seminarians” are doctrinaire Islamic fundamentalists committed to the establishment of Sharia Law.

Hence this is a religious movement born in the Islamic seminaries in Afghanistan. Abubaker Shekau was recruited and tutored by Mamman Nur, a mutual friend of his and of Boko Haram founder Muhammad Yusef, who were also seminary students.  Mamman is charged with organizing the notorious 2011 bombing of United Nation’s offices in Nigeria. Addressed by the clerical title “Imam” by his followers, Shekau is viewed by authorities as “the quietest and perhaps the most radical of them,” reports the BBC’s Tsiu.

According to Ahmed Sakilda, the journalist who knows him best: “He is one of those who believes that you can sacrifice anything for your belief,” Mr Salkida says.  Mr Shekau is fluent in his native Kanuri, Hausa and Arabic languages – he does not speak English. I used to joke with him that he should teach me Arabic and I would teach him English.”

Like the Talaban,Boko Haram is opposed to all western influence and is willing to resort to intimidation and murder to keep women in a state of complete subjugation to men, forcing them to wear veils, denying them education and employment as professionals, and even needing male permission to leave the house.  Both movements justify such practices as following the dictates of the Koran.

This is what happens when these ancient religious texts are taken literally – for the Christian Bible also contains its share of barbaric absurdities if taken literally. Boko Haram has an organizational structure based on independent cells with a decentralized command structure that makes them impossible to effectively infiltrate.  Their operational principles appear to be “invisible organization” and “Phantom Leadership.”

This explains how they are able to conduct lightning strikes all across Northern Nigeria and disappear as if into thin air.  And the increasing ruthlessness of the Nigerian security forces only serves to increase support for the movement among devout Muslims.

A Boko Haram Cell

 Boko Horem II

 African Soldiers of Allah

Many of these people dwell in a universe dominated by radical Islamic theology that envisions a world that harkens back to the 11th century, a time when, as the Afro-American Astrophysicist Dr. Neil Degrasse Tyson points out, a leading Islamic philosopher decided that mathematics was “the work of the Devil’ and set in motion the anti-intellectual forces that ended Islamic civilization’s 300 years of preeminence in science.

Alas the rejection of “western education” is the 21st century counterpart of this reactionary self-destructive mindset – which arrested development of Islamic civilization and led to the ascension a modern western civilization that dominated the world and the subjugated the Islamic world to the humiliation of European colonialism – the consequences of which they are still struggling to overcome.

Hence when we consider that the main targets of Boko Haram are schools, libraries, cell phone services,  newspapers, etc – the tools of modernization – the Nigerian government has no choice but to crush Boko Haram if it intends to continue its march towards modernity…which is a precondition for effectively competing in a 21st century world.

A Boko Haram’s Mosque
_57829325_girlsmaidugurimosque_afpboko haram mosque
 They would replace Modern schools with this

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Playthell G. Benjamin
San Francisco, California
April 13, 2014

An Open Letter to President Obama

Posted in On Foreign Affairs with tags , , , , on March 28, 2014 by playthell
Barack Obama Barack’s Resolve in full Effect

 

Mr. President: Stand Your Ground against the Warmongers!

Throughout your tumultuous and productive presidency, through thick and thin, I have been an unwavering supporter and friend.  I have fearlessly defended your record and character from attacks on the right and left. I have shared your vision and supported your policies because I believed they were the best possible choices among the possibilities.

Upon coming into office you inherited one of the worst crisis’ in history, a multi-level mess that involved a wrecked economy, a world financial system on the brink of collapse, and two foreign wars; yet you resolved them with Christian compassion and Solomonic wisdom. I have been looking over your shoulder the whole time, recording your major moves in writing – which has now run into hundreds of essays, and the first volume of a compilation will be published this year.

It is because I have paid such close attention to your policies and proposals, and the nasty nature of a Republican opposition whose actions have endangered national security and bordered on treason, that I have repeatedly taken on friends and colleagues on the radical left, or pompous self-righteous liberals, in a protracted no holds barred rumble when they attacked you because you didn’t embrace their ideology or couldn’t make all their dreams come true. I, on the other hand, am amazed at what you have actually accomplished under the circumstances. Since I have written about this elsewhere I won’t reiterate it here.

Unlike some of your most vociferous critics, ala Cornel West and Boyce Watkins, who portray your compromises as betrayal, I know that you are just playing politics.  And like you, who is obviously gifted at the game, I understand that politics is the art of the possible!  Hence if we look candidly at the present political realities in US domestic affairs and our foreign relations just now, it is fair to say that you have some monumental fights ahead.

Between the tumultuous events abroad, which the US cannot control but refuses to accept, and your increasing inability to govern at home because of the disloyal Republicans in the House of Representatives and US Senate, whose sole mission has not been to govern effectively but to destroy your presidency, it does not take a seer to see that it will require your best efforts to avoid disaster at home and abroad.

As the crisis in the Ukraine grows more antagonistic it is absolutely critical that you follow the example of your fellow Chicagoan, the brilliant song poet and compassionate humanist Oscar Brown Jr.,  who declared “I always live by one golden rule: Whatever happens don’t blow yo cool!” If ever there was a time to be the calm and collected fellow we came to know as “No Drama Obama” ……it is now.  For you are confronted with a situation that if handled badly could result in a catastrophe worse than the Old Testament’s descriptions of the Flood of Noah, which, despite its horrors and widespread destruction, life flourishes on this planet.

But as James Baldwin, the prescient Afro-American scribe and seer warned: “God gave Noah the rainbow sign….no more water, the fire next time!” This, in essence, is the fundamental issue: Will you be the one to spark the atomic fire that will incinerate the earth and destroy not only modern civilization but all life on this planet, which, as near as our brightest scientist can tell, is unique in the vast expanse of the universe?  In the absence of great diplomacy while mediating the crisis between Russia and the Ukraine, the destruction of the world will be your legacy Mr President.  “To be or not to be?….this is the question.”

Doomsday!

Atomic Explosion II
The end of our world is closer than you think

I have been told that my concern about thermonuclear war is excessive by some very intelligent and well-meaning people, but I find their confidence to be based more on faith that politicians will act rationally than any understanding about how nuclear weapons systems actually work.  In fact, like most Americans, they have not really given the matter much thought. Thus they discount the possibility that a nuclear war could start by accident.

But I have been intensely interested in the question of nuclear warfare for over half a century now, because it has been omnipresent in my life, and I don’t share their optimism. Coming of age at the height of the “Cold War” with the Soviet Union I participated in gruesome “atom bomb drills” at school which required us to go through the motions of procedures we were told would be required for surviving an atomic bomb detonation. Unlike the blasé attitude of the public today, people in the 1950’s thought an atomic war with Russia was not only possible but probable.  General Curtis Lemay, commander of the US Strategic Air Command,  thought it was enevitable.

Indeed, this fear was the raison d’etre for our massive Civil Defense programs. The more cynical among the students – this writer included – took these exercises as a sort of make believe; a sick joke in the tradition of gallows humor.  None of us thought we would survive such a war. In fact we even designed a sign and surreptitiously posted it on the bulletin board that announced: “In case of an atomic attack get under your desk, pull you head between your knees, and kiss yo ass good bye!”

A few years later, when I wound up in the Strategic Air Command with a Top Secret security clearance, which was then the supreme US nuclear strike force, I no longer wanted to survive a nuclear war because I knew the aftermath would be such a horror the living would be jealous of the dead. Back then the threat came largely from transcontinental strategic bombers that could refuel in mid-air.

Today the threat lies in intercontinental ballistic missiles with MIRV – Multiple Independent Reentry Vehicles – nuclear warheads which can strike several targets at once.  They can be fired from land, air or sea and they are all subject to computer errors!  Furthermore I know for sure that there are people sitting in front of radar screens in secret locations unknown to the general US public as I write who will launch our missiles should the right scenario appear on their screens.  Having dwelled among them I know they will do it!

The same thing can be said of the Russians.  And if they ever launch these doomsday weapons we can kiss this planet goodbye….if we have time before the big bang. This is why ratcheting up tensions with talk of expanded naval maneuvers in the Black Sea, while ground forces exercise in the former Warsaw Pact countries that border Russia and was part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics during the communist period of Russian history, is the extremist folly….the acme of absurdities!

When George Bush was poised to invade Iraq based on the flawed logic, outright lies and consequently bad advice of his top advisors – most of whom are now attempting to goad you into taking antagonistic actions toward Russia by calling you weak in a Greek chorus of repetitive voices accompanied by rattling sabers – I vociferously opposed it from the beginning.

In an essay titled “The Iraq Attack: Bush’s March of Folly” –See: The Prophetic Commentary on Iraq at www.commentariesonthetimes.wordpress.com. –  I predicted an attack on Iraq would end in a tragic fiasco that would do nothing to diminish the threat from Islamic Jihadists.  Today, with the impeccable hindsight of history it is altogether fitting to call that essay “prophetic,” for the facts prove me entirely right.

I am calling your attention to this essay – and my essays on the “Arab Spring” such as Sleeping in the Same Bed Dreaming Different Dreams - not to gloat, but if by chance my letter should reach you I want to point out that I have a paper trail which demonstrates why you should be listening to me rather than some of those jokers who are presently advising you on foreign affairs.

Although the Iraq war cost us trillions of dollars and buckets of blood, the nation survived Bush’s folly.  Alas, the world cannot survive similar blunders in the present situation.  A drift into military hostilities with a nuclear armed Russia could, as a recent Russian commentator reminded us, “reduce the US to a pile of radioactive dust.”  The fact that we can return the destruction as the MAD doctrine dictates is no consolation…it is the essence of a pyrrhic victory.

Thus you must resist calls for military adventurism in Eastern Europe Mr. President, no matter how loudly the hysterical warmongers on the right may howl; led by that soulless opportunist and Vietnam-era snitch posing as a war hero John McCain, who seems intent upon exorcising his Vietnam demons by starting wars everywhere in the hope of winning one somewhere.  And his Senate sidekick Lindsay Graham, a shameless moral jellyfish whose allegiance is dictated by expedience in matters of principle, deserves no hearing.

Let them talk, you are the Commander-In-Chief, and we chose you over the Mack Man for the position, so you need pay him no rabbit ass mind. The boisterous Arizona jingoist is just one of a hundred Senators, and nowhere near the best statesman in that august body, but you sir are the President.  Fortunately for this nation and the world, McCain is all blow and no go, but what you say and do can determine the course of history.

You have inherited a very dangerous situation in Eastern Europe due to some badly misguided decisions by your predecessors; the most volatile of which was the decision to recruit former members of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. This was as bone headed a move as ever there was in the history of modern diplomacy.

As a student of history you well understand that NATO was a creation of the Cold War era following the carnage of World War II, when the Us and Russia were feverishly contending for world domination as representatives of the capitalist and communist systems.  Thus NATO should have been disbanded at the end of the Cold War in the 1990’s when the Russians dismantled their communist system, outlawed the Communist Party and disbanded the Warsaw Pact – a military alliance between socialist countries that was the counter-force to NATO.

But instead of ending the alliance the US fought not only to preserve NATO but expand it….right to the doorsteps of Russia. This means that should Slovenia or Latvia have a military conflict with Russia the US is at war with Russia! Which is why heating up the rhetoric with Russia poses such great dangers; if ever there was a time for cool heads to prevail it is now Mr. President.

Hence it is imperative that you play past all the tough talk from your critics on the right, tell them them save the drama for they mamma, and don’t take no wooden nickels masquerading as real currency.  Keep your eyes on the prize – a peaceable settlement of the Ukrainian crisis – for the fate of the earth hangs in the balance.

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

  Playthell G. Benjamin
On the beautiful San Francisco Bay
March, 27 2014

Putin, Obama and the Ukrainian Crisis

Posted in On Foreign Affairs, Uncategorized with tags , , , on March 8, 2014 by playthell

Barack - putin-obama_2252410b

Can Barack and Putin work it out?

 Successful Diplomacy or Nuclear Apocolypse?

The Ukrainian crisis is a very complex affair, dramatic changes are occurring so quickly things could fall apart. In the past few weeks we have witnessed a democratically elected president driven from office and into exile by raging mobs in the street who disagreed with his decision to form closer economic ties with Russia, rather than seizing an opportunity to form closer economic ties with the European Union.  A new government of questionable legitimacy has been hastily cobbled together, with the new President, Arseniy Yatseniuk, also holding the office of Chairman of the Parliament, although the Fatherland Party, which he represents, only holds 25% of the seats in the Ukrainian parliament.

This is equivalent to President Obama being overthrown by an armed right-wing mob and somebody from the Tea Party becoming President, Speaker of the House and the Majority leader of the Senate.  While the US accepts this arrangement, albeit temporarily until new elections can be held, the Russians do not, they view these developments as an illegal coup engineered in Washington and the European Union, with Andrea Merkle of Germany playing a major role.

The American role in manipulating events that led to the overthrow of the elected president Ukraine, Victor Yanukovych, is confirmed in statements made on the phone by Undersecretary of State for Europe,Victoria Nuland, which was tapped by some hacker and put on the internet.  Nuland’s conversation with the American ambassador to the Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, leave no doubt that Washington was moving people and parties as if the Ukraine were a chessboard….they were involved in the overthrow of the president up to their teeth.  I have attached the transcript of Secretary Nuland’s conversation with Ambassador Pyatt’s conversation to the bottom of this essay, so the reader can see for themselves the extent of American meddling.

Victoria Nuland and Geoffrey Pyatt
American diplomats Victoria Nuland and Geoffrey Pyatt Plotting the future of Ukraine with Vitali Klitchko and Arseniy Yatseniuk

 Now the question is whether the country will break up, when the predominately Russian-speaking population in the Crimea region votes on whether to rejoin Great Russia in the upcoming referendum. This is such a volatile issue the country could quickly descend into civil war. In such a scenario the Russians will certainly become militarily involved, and the fact is that an American guided missile ship is steaming by the Crimean Peninsula right now –  probably armed with nuclear missiles – right through the shipping lanes where the Russian naval vessels routinely patrol.

This strikes me as an extraordinarily reckless move, and I am surprised that President Obama let his military advisors talk him into it – or maybe he ordered this despite the advice of the Joint Chiefs. In any case, despite the lame explanation that this voyage had been planned before the Ukrainian conflict began, I find the President’s decision to order an American warship into these troubled waters impossible to reconcile with the geo-political realities of this historical moment.

The USS Tuxton Cruising the Black Sea
American Missile Ship in Black Sea
An American Missile Ship armed with Tomahawks and other weaponry
A Russian Delta Class Nuclear Submarine
N1401-SCN-S94-011
Playing A Deadly Game of cat and Mouse on the High Seas

I becomes even more puzzling when we learn that the Tuxton, which is armed with Tomahawk Cruise missiles, is steaming to the Black Sea in order to participate in joint naval exercise with the Romanian and Bulgarian navies.  The US government has announced that we will be sending in 12 F-16 fighter planes and 3oo air-force service personnel to Poland, at the request of Polish Minister of Defense Tomaz Simoniak, who is concerned about the Russian takeover of Crimea.  And the US sent five F-15 fighter planes to Lithuania last Thursday, because their Minister of Defense was alarmed by “Russian Aggression in the in Ukraine.”

The Pentagon has also announced that these American fighter planes will be patrolling the skies over the Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.  What we the people desperately need to know is what are their orders, what are the rules of engagement and with whom are they to engage.  We need to know the answers to these questions because if these American fighter planses have orders to engage Russian aircraft this is a scenario that could spark a nuclear confrontation!  Yet the US cannot avoid these actions because of NATO.

The essential problem with NATO,  for the US government, goes back to a decision made a decade ago on May 2, 2004, when the 19 member states of NATO decided to admit seven former members of the Warsaw Pact, including former Soviet Republics which had become independent states after the collapse of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, whose center of power was Moscow, thirteen years earlier.  Latvia, Estonia, Romania, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Bulgaria all joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Many observers thought this was a bad idea at the time – this writer included – and believed that it would come back to haunt us.

Well, we were right.  In the euphoria following the collapse of Communism, when talk of a “new world order” based on a unipolar world where all roads led to Washington, and projections for “a new American Century” appeared to be simply acknowledging the obvious, people forgot that nationalism and religious fanaticism have led to more wars than communism ever did.  These are the forces that America now struggles to deal with in the Mid-East and  in Eastern Europe, with the eye of the storm in Russia, which is well armed with nuclear weapons and whose armies are invincible on Russian soil.  Hence bombing Russia or invading her are both out of the question.

Yet the US is committed to an organization whose fundamental objective is mutual defense.  And NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer left no doubt when he told the Foreign Ministers assembled for the admission of the former Russian allies: “The accession of Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia demonstrates the principle that freedom is irrepressible.   From now on, 26 Allies will be joined in a commitment to defend each others’ security and territorial integrity. This is the strongest, most solemn commitment nations can undertake.”

Herein lies our problem and it is a mess.  This commitment means that should any of these former Soviet Republics get in an armed dispute with Russia, the US is bound by NATO protocol to act as if the attack was against America!  And yet, as if we are not  in enough of a quagmire, there are Republican Senators calling for the Ukraine to be admitted to NATO.   It is an invitation to disaster!

The dangers portended by Ukrainian events require the most calm and thoughtful deliberation, exactly the kind of approach that President Obama has been pursuing.  Unfortunately, he is not indifferent to the vicissitudes of American domestic politics and this crisis is unfolding just as the Republicans are holding their C-Pac convention.

This is where all those who pretend to the presidency hold forth before the most rabidly right-wing sector of the Party – the so called Republican base – who are rabid Obama-haters.  A parade of presidential hopefuls seeking to seduce this crowd and gain their support try to out-do each other in rushing to the far right of the American political continuum.

They all know that the easiest way to get some love from this crowd is to bash President Obama, so we see the President trying to conduct very difficult and dangerous diplomatic relations with Russia while assailed by a constant chorus of ridicule from Republicans Rudy Giuliani and John McCain, to Lindsay Graham and the Alaskan Barbarian Sarah Palin.

There are two themes that run through their attacks on the president. “The Ukraine crisis is the result of Barack Obama’s “weakness” in asserting American military power in promoting US foreign policy objectives in places like Syria and Iran, and this has emboldened America’s adversaries around the world.”  And “he is being bullied in the Ukrainian conflict because President Putin knows Obama is a punk.”

These vociferous denunciations of President Obama are accompanied by praise songs for the “toughness and decisiveness” of Putin; one wise media wag has labeled the phenomenon “Putin Love.”  None dare call it by its proper name: disloyal opposition bordering on treason! When you consider that far from doing nothing,  as the Republicans charge repeatedly, the evidence shows that President is doing far too much in the Ukrainian mess; this baseless criticism exposes the same deep-seated racist attitudes that compelled white American soldiers to permit German Nazi prisoners of war to share bathrooms with them, while the black American soldiers guarding them had to relieve themselves in ditches beside the road!

What Dr. DuBois said of Jack Johnson, the first black Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the world, is also true of Barack Obama, the first son of an African father to become President of the most powerful nation in the world.  Whites didn’t hate Jack Johnson because of anything he did, because they had done far worse; the source of their hatred is his “unforgivable blackness.”  Hence they see in Barack things that are not there, but are projected onto him  - by envious, racist whites who become hysterical at the very thought of a black First Family in the White House,   an uppity nigger with an African name who is way smarter than they are, running the USA….which they believe is a white man’s job and it just drives them bonkers!

The Republican warmongers hold an Oxymoronic position regarding the President: on the one hand they hate Putin and call him a ruthless dictator – House Speaker John Boehner call the Russian President “a thug” – but they are pissed off because President Obama is not more like him.   Sarah Palin, one of the loudest and most mindless voices on the right, denounces Obama as “a tyrant who ignores the constitution and constantly violates the law”, but gushes over Putin: “He rides bare-chested on a horse, wrestles bears and drills for oil….while Obama walks around in Mommy Jeans.”  This white trash debutante who nearly became vice-president on the US appears to cream in her jeans when she rhapsodizes about the manly virtues of the Russian President…Putin Love indeed.

 Alexander Putin: Tough Guy or…..
Alexander Putin on horseback  Just A Wrinkled old White Boy Riding a Nag

The more we hear from these twisted people the more obvious it becomes how lucky we are that Barack Obama and not John McCain became president five years ago. Under a McCain presidency we would be in wars everywhere, and the Alaskan Barbarian would be a heartbeat away from the Oval Office.  When viewed from the perspective of the Bush Administration’s foreign policy, Barack’s wisdom in managing this nation’s foreign affairs has been Solomonic.

He has found and offed Osama bin Laden, something the tough talking Bushmen never managed to do…in fact George Bush gave up trying to find him. The former President said he wasn’t even thinking about him anymore as he waged a war of choice against Sadam Hussein and Osama bin Laden became “Osama been Forgotten.”

Barack has also devastated Al Qaeda’s leadership, successfully wound down two wars the Republicans started that have become by far the longest running wars in our history – over twice as long as World War II – and he has kept us out of other foreign wars that John McCain would have eagerly waded into.  And Barack is the only American President to have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.  He was awarded the Prize even while waging two wars, but they were wars that he inherited from the Bush years and the wise members of the Nobel Prize committee were prescient in their vision of Barack as a peacemaker who would steer American away from the war path.  In his acceptance speech President Obama displayed his gift for reconciling contending forces that he has employed in his diplomacy. (See: “Hooray for the Juggler!”)*

Alas, with the Ukrainian crisis we are witnessing the return of all the warmongering cretins from the neo-con cabal hatched in The Project for a New American Century – see “How the Iraq War was Hatched in a Think Tank” – that pushed a clueless George W Bush into invading Iraq; the same crew that his wiser father George I called “The Crazies” – Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, John Bolton, et al.

Once again the Grand Obstructionist Party is sending in the clowns….and they are a murderous bunch with blood and gore on their hands…..much of it innocent blood from the needless slaughter of women and children.  And these homicidal jokers are itching to start another war.  Just look at that madman John Bolton, Bush’s UN Ambassador, whining about President Obama’s reluctance to intervene in every crisis that arises in the world with armed forces, or that little grinning jackal Bill Kristol, who, from his position as Editor of the influential right-wing Journal The Weekly Standard and Director of the Project for a New American Century, played a major role in convincing Bush to invade Iraq on phony information.

Now here he is again, while the nation is still recovering from that criminal folly, recklessly calling for ratcheting up tensions with the Russians by “humiliating Putin.”  These neo-con clowns never learn; they are stuck on stupid.

Bill Kristol
 Bill Kristol
A tough talkin mouse
 Dirty Dick Cheney
Dirty Dick Cheney
War Criminal!

However this little poot-butt provocateur, Wee Willie Kristol, who like Dirty Dick Cheney has never spent a day in the military, does not seem to understand that provoking a military conflict in the Ukraine is a very different class of event from invading Iraq, because within such a conflict lies the seeds of our own destruction; which was never a possibility in the invasions of Iraq, Afghanistan, or even Vietnam.

Yet any military conflict with Russia could devolve into nuclear war; a prognosis that has been greeted with disbelief, even ridicule, by some really smart and thoughtful people. They are certain that the mostly straight white males who monopolize the instruments of power are rational actors, and supreme egotists, committed to self-preservation.  Therefore any mention of the possiblilty of a nuclear exchange between the US and Russia over the Ukraine is prima facie “absurd.”

It is fairly certain that no rational person would make a decision to destroy modern civilization.  I even had a wag with a PhD in political science tell me as much in this very language as he dismissed my concerns, and I must confess that on the face of it he appears to be right.  Yet the leading nations are well-armed with nuclear weapons and nuclear war remains an option, despite their awareness of the fact that all mankind has achieved during our history on earth would evaporate in a flash.  And those who survive would be struggling to sustain life on a radioactive planet with Stone Age technology.  This could be our fate an hour from now if the US and Russia had a nuclear exchange.

Such an event is, in fact, unthinkable.  Until you begin to consider that the mere possession of nuclear weapons is evidence of a collective madness among our leaders, who are prepared to perpetrate a massive crime against humanity, a catastrophe of biblical proportions, for their deployment would be worse than the sum total of all the atrocities man has committed against man in the history of the world.  An attack with nuclear weapons would instantaneously achieve mass murder on a scale that would make the Nazi holocaust look like a minor event.

Yet the most advanced civilizations in the world are awash in these weapons and cannot find a way to rid mankind of this horror!  This means that all of these “rational actors” in whom my friend has placed his confidence are ready and willing to slaughter millions of innocent civilians; all they need is the right scenario to develop on a computer screen and they will launch.  And since I have been in the room with the people who are assigned this task during a stint in Strategic Air Command at the height of the Cold War, right on the cusp of the Cuban Missile Crisis, I have no doubt that they will do it.

I would have done it!   That’s the way we were trained and I, like everybody else in Central Security Control, would have been convinced that I was serving the best interests of my country.  Yet I would not have raped a woman, mugged anybody and robbed them of their coin, and would readily give the elderly or handicapped my seat on the bus…in fact I was something of a Good Samaritan in everyday life…but I would have pushed the button and launched a nuclear attack on Russia upon command. This is what the philosopher Hanna Arendt meant by “The banality of evil.”

The real danger here is not that a group of men will sit quietly around a table ensconced underneath a mountain somewhere and decide to launch a nuclear attack, even though I believe the only reason they won’t is not moral restraint but the MAD doctrine: Mutual Assured Destruction, because I know men are indeed capable of such evil.  The clear and present danger that confronts us is that it could all happen by accident.

In the event of a serious miscommunication where a computer says the other side has launched an attack ,there is so little time to retaliate by those who believe that their nation is under attack they would have to launch immediately.  This is why fomenting hostility and mistrust between the US and Russia is akin to playing Russian roulette with the whole world.

Hence all the talk from Republicans about building anti-missile systems on the doorstep of Russia in places like Poland, and recruiting Poland, Georgia and Ukraine into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, NATO, is a doomsday scenario.  The people who advocate this madness often talk as if the rest of us are fools.

For instance Lindsay Graham, a Republican Senator from South Carolina, often talks this way. A smart man, albeit unprincipled, this former Air Force lawyer is openly calling on President Obama to invite former Republics that were a part of the Soviet Union until the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991 – and they became independent nations – to join NATO.  We are left to speculate as to what the senator’s motives are, but he talks like a man who is intoxicated on the opiate of “American Exceptionalism,” terrified by a Tea Party threat to “primary” him, and seduced by the limelight that follows actors on the stage of national politics.

Professor Stephen Cohen – the Director of Russian Studies Centers at Princeton and Columbia Universities –is convinced that should the US pursue this course it will lead to nuclear catastrophe.  Dr. Cohen – whom I regard as a cut above former  functionaries in the US foreign policy establishment like Madeline Albright, Ziebnew Brzezinski, and Hilary Clinton – argues that if the US put troops in  Poland, which has now joined  NATO, the Russians will militarily occupy the Ukraine and they will be prepared to defend their position at all cost, including nuclear holocaust!

Since Romania and Bulgaria, who were formerly Russia’s allies in the now disloved Warsaw Pact, have also joined  NATO, should the US gain control of the Ukraine they would have succeeded in bringing their forward military position to Russia’s front door.  The Russians will resist this advance and any conflict between Russia and one of these new NATO countries would immediately become a military confrontation between the US and Russia. It is in the nature and letter of the agreement.

This is a plausible scenario of how a nuclear war could begin, because when there are military tensions between nuclear armed nations they put their nuclear forces on Alert. And once this happens the possibilities for an accidental nuclear conflagration greatly increases.  That’s why we need careful diplomacy in times like these and any suggestion of introducing military forces into the equation, such as conducting military maneuvers in the area, deploying American forces on Polish soil, or promoting any military activity in Crimea is destabilizing.

The Crimean Peninsula

Crimea -

Is it worth risking war with Russia

Never has this nation needed the calm deliberative style of President Obama more than now. His choice of quiet diplomacy over saber-rattling and caustic rhetoric calms the situation and gives everybody time to think. If John McCain were president just now the world would be in a state of nuclear terror as the destruction of our planet hung in the balance. Rejecting this old whacko warmonger in favor of the humanist visionary Barack Obama was the American electorate’s finest hour!

One of the greatest dangers of the American Exceptionalist doctrine is that it encourages national chauvinism and prevents Americans from recognizing the just claims and interests of other nations; they view the world with blinders on, like a draft horse pulling a wagon in city traffic that you want to look in only one direction. Alas, while this may be a good thing for draft horses it is suicidal in international politics where nuclear weapons are involved.

In order to understand how Putin would view the Ukraine entering NATO, one need only recall the US response when the Russians deployed missiles in Cuba.  The US government under President Kennedy was prepared to start a nuclear war over it.  When Kennedy ordered the US Navy to blockade Cuba and challenge a nuclear armed Russian fleet on the high seas, the world came so close to destruction the Cuban Missile Crisis –as it has become known in historyhad a lasting effect on Robert McNamara, the American Secretary of Defense at the time.

Before coming into government Robert McNamara was a hot shot corporate Titan, a former Air Force captain who was computer savvy – which was unique in the early 1960’s – McNamara was president of the Ford Motor Company, but after he left government he spent the rest of his life promoting peaceful development among the world’s poorest countries by employing the resources of the World Bank, which he headed.

Later in life he produced a documentary film titled “The Fog of War” in which he recounts how close they came to destroying the world during the Cuban Crisis.  He even traveled to Russia and Cuba and talked to his counterparts on the other side.  The question he most wanted them to answer was “would you really have launched your nuclear weapons?”  The fact that they said yes, as did he, shook him to the core, this question hounded him to his dying day is: “how could a group of rational, intelligent, sane, men even consider such a crime against the earth?

I believe the answer lies in our basic instinct for survival and the strong impulse to protect home and family.  The US government felt Americans could not live with the threat of Russian nuclear weapons just 90 miles away on the Island of Cuba because it threatened our national existence.  Hence no measure was too extreme to prevent it….even gambling with the fate of the earth.  That’s how the Russians feel about American incursions into their spheres of influence: and there is every reason to believe they will use any means necessary to prevent Americans from gaining military hegemony on their door step.

This is why President Obama must remain steady as she goes in steering the American ship of state through these troubled waters, and he must pay the Republican clowns screaming on the sidelines no mind.  First of all their criticisms of his foreign policy, like their claims that he is a lawless dictator who has usurped the Constitutional powers of the government, are all a damned lie!  These jackanapes –who chatter on ad nauseum spouting putrid nonsense like drunken magpies – foam at the mouth as they denounce the president’s “weakness” and “indecisiveness” in refusing to “do something” about the Russian transgressions.  This, like all of the criticism in their narrative of the Obama residency is a balantant lie!

They conveniently forget – and some are so ignorant of US history they never knew – that the Russians invaded several Eastern European nations while Republican Presidents occupied the Oval Office –and these were actual invasions, not like this little walkabout in the Crimea, where nobody will even admit they are Russian soldiers. There was the 1956 invasion of Hungary under Eisenhower – a Five Star general who only a decade earlier had led the victory over Nazi Germany as the Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe.  But he refused to intervene despite many calls to do so.  Ike weighted the costs – a possible nuclear war with Russia – against the nebulous benefits, and decided to chill out despite the shrill cries for intervention on the right.

General Eisenhower
Eisenhower
Ike Maintained his Cool

When the Warsaw Pact forces – a group of five Eastern European countries led by the Soviet Union – invaded Czechoslovakia during the presidential elections of 1968, Richard Nixon did nothing to intervene in the situation after he won by a landslide.  Nixon, who had been Ike’s vice-president when the Soviets invaded Hungary, was no stranger to Russian invasions and was enraged by the Czech affair, but made no attempt to intervene in the situation because he knew that the Soviets had gained parity in nuclear weapons with the US.

Furthermore, given American actions in invading Cuba after the Revolution led by Fidel Castro turned in a socialist direction, Nixon, a very bright but morally deformed man, must have recognized that the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia to overthrow the Dubcek government, which was moving away from the Russian communist model, mirrored US actions in Cuba, although they would never admit this obvious parallel.  So he sought the friendship of China, breaking an American policy of ignoring mainland, or “Red China,” that had prevailed since the triumph of the Communist Revolution led by Mao Tse Tung, and promoted the absurd fiction that “the real China” was the off shore island of Taiwan. 

The strategy of exploiting serious ideological difference between the two communist titans, China and Russia,  by cozying up to China,  led  to an American rapprochement with China and Detente with Russia. This artful foreign policy was possible because Nixon was advised by Henry Kissinger, whereas George Bush was advised by people like Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and their Guru, the neo-con warmonger Paul Wolfowitz and his PNAC cabal.

In 2008 the Russian army invaded the former Soviet Republic of Georgia, and Bush, already burdened with two wars that he started, did nothing!  And although Senator John McCain is demanding an investigation of the CIA to find out why they didn’t predict a situation that erupted at rapid speed, a question whose answer does not require a costly congressional investigation; the answer is obvious to any reasonably informed person looking objectively upon the situation rather than through a veil of bias.

The fact is that there is nothing unusual about the CIA getting caught off guard: they got caught off guard in each of the full scale Russian Invasions under three Republican presidents. Thus all of this self-righteous posturing and demonstrations of outrage from people like John McCain,  that smug Howdy Doody looking charlatan that sits in the governor’s mansion in Louisiana, that fat dumb dope fiend Rush Limbaugh and that evil hysterical anorexic witch Gun Boat Annie Coulter are pure bullshit, as the Princeton Philosopher Harry G. Franks describes bullshit arguments in his book  “Bullshit”.

Consider the account of Daniel Fata – the assistant secretary of defense for European and NATO policy from September 2005 to September 2008, which was most of George Bush’s second term.  He recalls in an interview with Professor Stephen Benedict Dyson, a Professor of political science at the University of Connecticut,  that when the Russian Army invaded Georgia ““We were scrambling for information during these critical initial hours. My desk officer, who had great personal ties at the highest levels in Tbilisi, had the most usable real time information via texts from his friends in Georgia.” And he went on to observe “Putin was never punished by the international community.”  Notice he said nothing about the Bush Administration punishing Putin…it appears to have never entered their minds!

Bush evidently decided that he had gotten in enough trouble listening to Cheney, Rumsfeld, and their neo-con crew.  In view of the history of Republican presidential inaction in the face of actual Russian invasions…..why are these chattering clowns so hard on President Obama, who has not even been confronted with a “Russian invasion?”  At worse, thus far, the president is dealing with a pooty-pop police action.  And as I have shown: Barack has already done far too much!

To treat the Crimean situation as some major aggression by the Russians that threatens US interests, and therefore requires our intervention, is surely some species of madness. This peculiar madness is magnified when you reflect upon the fact that American officials travelled to the Ukraine and openly encouraged the insurgents to overthrow the pro-Russian President

Yet given the level of routine obfuscation and outright lying, the massive and systematic disinformation campaign being conducted by the right-wing media complex, and the fact that the overwhelming majority of their listeners are pugnacious airheads whose understanding of political reality is akin to the man who couldn’t tell his rectum from a hole in the ground, you have an untutored impassioned mob who can be manipulated into believing anything.  Hence the Republican politicians who are hurling slanders at the President that have not a trace of truth, but plays big with their audience, could just be playing politics.

If that is true, and given the intellectual shallowness and situational ethics that inform the actions of many Republican politicians in could well be true – then they are even more dangerous than the true believers.  Intelligent people who hold sincere beliefs can be persuaded to change their view, but a soulless, ignorant, charlatan has nothing there.  They’ve got a hole in their soul, and thus could demagogue a grave issue of national security for partisan political advantage.

These are people for whom only money and power are sacred; so even now they are trying their best to tie the conflict in the Ukraine to the refusal of President Obama to sign the Canadian pipeline deal.  Aside from confusing the foreign policy debate, their constant chatter, scripted lines repeated ad nauseum,  paid for by plutocrats and beamed into the skulls of the vast untutored working class – and that includes many white collar “professionals” – shamelessly plays on their fears in order to panic them into voting reactionaries into political office who despise them and constantly injure their interests.

President Obama is in a tight predicament.  He is bound by an attitude of fear and suspicion toward Russia that has long been cultivated in this country. The ignorance of Americans regarding Russia is abominable, hence they are prepared to believe the worst.  When coupled with the sense of American Exceptionalism that almost all Americans in their smug self-righteousness believe in, it makes sense to them when the Republican clowns cry out about President Obama’s weakness in the face of Russian aggression.

Since they know nothing of American history, they really believe that Putin would never have committed such a criminal act of aggression if that “lily livered; mommy jean wearing; secret agent for Al Queda; European socialist communist low down dirty half-breed mongrel nigger” had not “duped the American people and wormed his way into the White House”.

Yet even if we discounted all the other madness in this description of our fabulous President, arguably the best ever, and simply accepted that they believe Barack could deceive the Secret Service, the FBI, the National Immigration Service, the National Security agency et al, even  believed that Donald Trump’s alleged private investigators could detect such fraud, is frightening testimony of the epidemic of irrational thinking among millions of Americans who come out aggressively and vote!

Barak Obama’s actions and pronouncements regarding the Ukrainian situation are formulated with an eye toward domestic politics.  After all, he is not only a politician but a great one….perhaps the greatest of all times.  In fact I have argued this very point elsewhere see: “The GOAT: Greatest of All Times” on this blog.  And the first step in being a successful politician is to recognize that politics is the art of the possible!  Barack not only recognizes this, he understands how to win elections.

The fact that fact a young black guy who looks like he might be hanging out on the basketball, courts in Chicago waiting for a pick-up game, and is married to a big fine chocolate, brilliant, sassy soul sister who can dance her ass off and will bust a move anywhere, getting himself elected president twice, is driving a lot of these white boys like Donald Trump – who was born to the purple but can’t get elected to the villager dogcatcher’s post in Washington – clear out of their  minds!

So the Republican propaganda machine, disguised as news sources, make up lies about him and broadcast them on a non-stop loop, right into the fickle brains of Dumb Dora and Joe Six Pack.  And they have done it so well that millions of Americans – most white but some black leftist too – actually believe it.  And that is part of my evidence for his greatness: with all of their researchers they cannot come up with an authentic complaint against Obama.  Yet perception is reality in the eyes of the beholder.  Hence President Obama must pay homage to the prevailing American myth….because it is firmly rooted in the Master Narrative of American civilization.

Hence we see President Obama, a brilliant man who must recognize that Russia has a legitimate right to their Sphere of Influence, and that Putin is doing nothing that the US has not done –and far worse – all over the world!  Yet he must pay lip service to the American Exceptionalists vision or be labeled a traitor and hung if they had their druthers. And he knows that none of his major policy objectives can be realized so long as Republicans control the House of Representatives, and should they take the senate in the elections this year he will spend the rest of his second term mainly casting vetoes, Barack must pay attention to domestic politics.  All of these factors figure strongly in the presidents public posture toward Russia.

As important as these other issues are, they are picayune matters compared to a military conflict with Russia.  This is as serious as it gets.  Things on the ground in the Ukraine are changing so fast the President must focus on the fundamental issues involved here and correctly decide where American interests truly lie. Considering that he has ordered an American guided missile ship into waters off the coast of Crimea, one wonders if he is becoming confused on this issue.  Hilary Clinton, his recently retired Secretary of State is obviously confused by the Ukrainian affair because she is talking like a babbling idiot….  spouting dangerous and misleading nonsense comparing Putin to Hitler and muttering about the similarity to the Munich Conference?

This kind of crazy talk invites comparison of President Obama to the British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. I am expecting to hear cries of “appeasement” from the Republicans any day now.  Although she has tried to equivocate on here statement, saying she was not implying an exact comparison, Hilary comes across as either a fool or an opportunist.  Conversations about Hitler and Munich conferences from the middle of the last century is not the conversation we should be having now….for it confuses far more than it clarifies and provides fuel for the verbal arsonists in right-wing media.

All of this is a distraction.  The thing that should remain uppermost in President Obama’s mind and that of all American political leaders is whatever happens in the Ukraine it is not worth one ounce of American blood, nor the profligate squandering of American treasure. President Obama should also be aware that many thoughtful Americans, this writer included, resent the fact that the Republicans who control the House of Representatives quickly voted a billion dollars in emergency aid to the Ukraine, while denying benefits to American workers suffering long term unemployment, and kills every program President Obama proposes to help desperate Americans and rebuild the nation’s crumbling infrastructure.

Yet above and beyond all everything else, no matter what, the President must constantly think about avoiding any action that could make the Russians nervous about their national security, because they will surely put more nuclear weapons on alert….alas some are already on alert.   For most people these weapons are like something out of science fiction like the transformers firing laser beams, that explains why most are going merrily about their business totally unaware that 40 minutes from now our world go up in radioactive flames. They are like sheep quietly going to slaughter; for if they had any idea what a nuclear war means they would out in the streets demanding that President Obama call off the proposed naval exercise involving the US and Romanian forces in the Black Sea.

Ignorance about the world is dangerous in any case, but ignorance about the nuclear forces of the US and Russia could prove fatal.  Both nations have triple threat strike forces that consists of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles, Long range bombers, and naval forces composed of nuclear submarines and missile ships that fire from surface platforms.  The IBMs can be launched from silos on land or beneath the sea; they go up out of the earth’s atmosphere and return to earth to hit their targets.  They also have MIRVED warheads – Multiple Independent Reentry Vehicles – which means that a single missile carry up to eight separate warheads capable of being programmed to strike different targets.

In order to gain some understanding of the scale of destruction a single missile can wreak consider the following facts.  The atomic bombs dropped on Japanese cities had an explosive power equivalent to 20, 000 tons of high explosive TNT, plus the intense heat from the nuclear reaction and the radioactive fallout. The nuclear warheads carried by the MIRVED missiles are 5 megatons each, which amounts to 45 million tons of TNT per missile!   And we have thousands of them ready to launch at a moment’s notice….and so do the Russians.  And since this is a neutron hydrogen bomb, the radiation is immeasurably more intense.

I can still remember the day I first found out about all this.  It was in an orientation class for those of us with Top Secret security clearances when I arrived on the Strategic Air Command base in Glasgow Montana, up on the DEW line – Distance Early Warning – out in the Great Plains near the Canadian Border, where I would be stationed.  At the time SAC was the center of the US nuclear strike force and from where we were the giant B-52 Strato-Bombers, which flew at supersonic speeds at very high altitudes, could be over Moscow in less than an hour.  After showing us the official SAC films on the atomic bombing of Japan, an unspeakably horrible event, the colonel conducting the class said, “Or this is nothing…those bombs are like firecrackers compared to the ordinance we have on this base.”

After seeing the giant radioactive fireball rise up over Japanese cities, and heard the tales of poisonous black rain and the nuclear night that followed the atomic flash upon detonation, creating such intense heat people who saw it eyeballs melted and people were bursting into flames everywhere.  And all this was from the little 20,000 tons of TNT bomb; the instructor pointed out that we had bombs of 100 million ton capacity!  I thought it was madness, and I have never changed my views on the matter of nuclear weapons.  As I have said previously, I consider the mere possession of them to be a crime against humanity.

However the bombers, while still active, are third in destructive capacity in the tripartite US nuclear war machine. There are the missiles I described, and then there are the nuclear submarines, marvelous frightening instruments of mass destruction, one of which has more firepower than all of the ordinance exploded in World War II, including the two atomic bombs dropped on Japan.  And we have about a dozen of them prowling under the world’s ocean seas.

Should a nuclear exchange begin there will be two chain reactions: the atomic one and a human one.   For once it starts the computers will take overs and both sides will empty their arsenals in order to make sure the other side will not survive….the computers are programmed to see to that.  It is such an unspeakable horror, the destruction of all life on our planet, it is no wonder people don’t want to think about it, but I’m just keepin it real!  It is no exaggeration to say that those who do survive for a while will envy the dead.  This is the possibility we are playing with as I write.

The way things are developing in terms of the rapid deterioration of US/Russian relations over the crisis in the Ukraine is frightening to those who pay attention to the possibility of blundering into an accidental nuclear war.  As I said early on in this essay I was prompted to write it because of an exchange I had with a friend who smugly assured me that a nuclear exchange between the US and Russia couldn’t happen.  However I take my cue from the people who understand this problem best: The Bulletin of Atomic Scientist.  Their views regarding the danger of an outbreak of nuclear war – which is to say its probability – is succinctly expressed by the position of the hands on the Doomsday Clock.

This clock was created in 1947 by the scientists from the Manhattan Project, the guys who invented the atomic bombs that were dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki only two years earlier, the only time atomic weapons have been used in human history.  Over the last 67 years the hands on the clock have been moved 18 times by the scientists affiliated with the Bulletin, which includes 18 Nobel Laureates, an astonishing number for any organization.  The scientists move the hands on the Doomsday Clock based on their assessment of how close human beings have come to self-annihilation.

At present the hands on the clock stands at five minutes to mid-night! And, despite so major changes in US/Russian relations, the nuclear arsenals possessed by these nations remain the most dangerous threat to continued human existence.  The Bulletin of Atomic Scientist sums it up thusly:

“Today, the mind-numbing possibility of nuclear annihilation as a result of a deliberate attack on the other by the United States or Russia seems a thing of the past, yet the potential for an accidental, unauthorized, or inadvertent nuclear exchange between the United States and Russia remains, with both countries anachronistically maintaining more than 800 warheads on high alert, ready to launch within tens of minutes”.

That’s why President Obama had better move with the greatest caution in his policy choices regarding the Ukraine.  He must maintain his fabled cool as – “No Drama Obama” – pay the hysterical hawks on the Republican right no mind and make keeping the peace his first priority.  Because as we know from former Defense Secretary Bob McNamara: things get confusing in the fog of war. And before you know what happened we could be the late….great….planet earth.

 Doomsday!!!

Atomic_bomb_explosion-SPL

It could come to this!

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

Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
March 8, 2014

****** Transcript from hacked phone conversation between Undersecretary of State for Europe, Victoria Nuland for and the US Ambassador as they secretly  minipulate the political events in Ukraine.

An apparently bugged phone conversation in which a senior US diplomat disparages the EU over the Ukraine crisis has been posted online. The alleged conversation between Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and the US Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, appeared on YouTube on Thursday. It is not clearly when the alleged conversation took place.

Here is a transcript, with analysis by BBC diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus:

Warning: This transcript contains swearing.

Voice thought to be Nuland’s: What do you think?

  • Jonathan Marcus: At the outset it should be clear that this is a fragment of what may well be a larger phone conversation. But the US has not denied its veracity and has been quick to point a finger at the Russian authorities for being behind its interception and leak.

Voice thought to be Pyatt’s: I think we’re in play. The Klitschko [Vitaly Klitschko, one of three main opposition leaders] piece is obviously the complicated electron here. Especially the announcement of him as deputy prime minister and you’ve seen some of my notes on the troubles in the marriage right now so we’re trying to get a read really fast on where he is on this stuff. But I think your argument to him, which you’ll need to make, I think that’s the next phone call you want to set up, is exactly the one you made to Yats [Arseniy Yatseniuk, another opposition leader]. And I’m glad you sort of put him on the spot on where he fits in this scenario. And I’m very glad that he said what he said in response.

Jonathan Marcus: The US says that it is working with all sides in the crisis to reach a peaceful solution, noting that “ultimately it is up to the Ukrainian people to decide their future”. However this transcript suggests that the US has very clear ideas about what the outcome should be and is striving to achieve these goals. Russian spokesmen have insisted that the US is meddling in Ukraine’s affairs – no more than Moscow, the cynic might say – but Washington clearly has its own game-plan. The clear purpose in leaking this conversation is to embarrass Washington and for audiences susceptible to Moscow’s message to portray the US as interfering in Ukraine’s domestic affairs.

Nuland: Good. I don’t think Klitsch should go into the government. I don’t think it’s necessary, I don’t think it’s a good idea.

Pyatt: Yeah. I guess… in terms of him not going into the government, just let him stay out and do his political homework and stuff. I’m just thinking in terms of sort of the process moving ahead we want to keep the moderate democrats together. The problem is going to be Tyahnybok [Oleh Tyahnybok, the other opposition leader] and his guys and I’m sure that’s part of what [President Viktor] Yanukovych is calculating on all this.

Continue reading the main story

Ukraine unrest: Timeline

21 November 2013: Protests start after Ukraine announces it will not sign a deal aimed at strengthening ties with the EU

17 December: Russia agrees to buy $15bn of Ukrainian government bonds and slash the price of gas it sells to the country

16 January 2014: Parliament passes law restricting the right to protest

22 January: Two protesters die from bullet wounds during clashes with police in Kiev; protests spread across many cities

25 January: President Yanukovych offers seniorjobs to the opposition, including that of prime minister, but these are rejected

28 January: Parliament votes to annul protest law and President Yanukovych accepts resignation of PM and cabinet

29 January: Parliament passes amnesty law for detained protesters, under the condition occupied buildings are vacated

Nuland: [Breaks in] I think Yats is the guy who’s got the economic experience, the governing experience. He’s the… what he needs is Klitsch and Tyahnybok on the outside. He needs to be talking to them four times a week, you know. I just think Klitsch going in… he’s going to be at that level working for Yatseniuk, it’s just not going to work.

Pyatt: Yeah, no, I think that’s right. OK. Good. Do you want us to set up a call with him as the next step?

Nuland: My understanding from that call – but you tell me – was that the big three were going into their own meeting and that Yats was going to offer in that context a… three-plus-one conversation or three-plus-two with you. Is that not how you understood it?

Pyatt: No. I think… I mean that’s what he proposed but I think, just knowing the dynamic that’s been with them where Klitschko has been the top dog, he’s going to take a while to show up for whatever meeting they’ve got and he’s probably talking to his guys at this point, so I think you reaching out directly to him helps with the personality management among the three and it gives you also a chance to move fast on all this stuff and put us behind it before they all sit down and he explains why he doesn’t like it.

Nuland: OK, good. I’m happy. Why don’t you reach out to him and see if he wants to talk before or after.

Pyatt: OK, will do. Thanks.

Nuland: OK… one more wrinkle for you Geoff. [A click can be heard] I can’t remember if I told you this, or if I only told Washington this, that when I talked to Jeff Feltman [United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs] this morning, he had a new name for the UN guy Robert Serry did I write you that this morning?

  • Jonathan Marcus: An intriguing insight into the foreign policy process with work going on at a number of levels: Various officials attempting to marshal the Ukrainian opposition; efforts to get the UN to play an active role in bolstering a deal; and (as you can see below) the big guns waiting in the wings – US Vice-President Joe Biden clearly being lined up to give private words of encouragement at the appropriate moment.

Pyatt: Yeah I saw that.

Nuland: OK. He’s now gotten both Serry and [UN Secretary General] Ban Ki-moon to agree that Serry could come in Monday or Tuesday. So that would be great, I think, to help glue this thing and to have the UN help glue it and, you know, Fuck the EU.

Jonathan Marcus: Not for the first time in an international crisis, the US expresses frustration at the EU’s efforts. Washington and Brussels have not been completely in step during the Ukraine crisis. The EU is divided and to some extent hesitant about picking a fight with Moscow. It certainly cannot win a short-term battle for Ukraine’s affections with Moscow – it just does not have the cash inducements available. The EU has sought to play a longer game; banking on its attraction over time. But the US clearly is determined to take a much more activist role.

Pyatt: No, exactly. And I think we’ve got to do something to make it stick together because you can be pretty sure that if it does start to gain altitude, that the Russians will be working behind the scenes to try to torpedo it. And again the fact that this is out there right now, I’m still trying to figure out in my mind why Yanukovych (garbled) that. In the meantime there’s a Party of Regions faction meeting going on right now and I’m sure there’s a lively argument going on in that group at this point. But anyway we could land jelly side up on this one if we move fast. So let me work on Klitschko and if you can just keep… we want to try to get somebody with an international personality to come out here and help to midwife this thing. The other issue is some kind of outreach to Yanukovych but we probably regroup on that tomorrow as we see how things start to fall into place.

Nuland: So on that piece Geoff, when I wrote the note [US vice-president's national security adviser Jake] Sullivan’s come back to me VFR [direct to me], saying you need [US Vice-President Joe] Biden and I said probably tomorrow for an atta-boy and to get the deets [details] to stick. So Biden’s willing.

Pyatt: OK. Great. Thanks.

Jonathan Marcus: Overall this is a damaging episode between Washington and Moscow. Nobody really emerges with any credit. The US is clearly much more involved in trying to broker a deal in Ukraine than it publicly lets on. There is some embarrassment too for the Americans given the ease with which their communications were hacked. But is the interception and leaking of communications really the way Russia wants to conduct its foreign policy ? Goodness – after Wikileaks, Edward Snowden and the like could the Russian government be joining the radical apostles of open government? I doubt it. Though given some of the comments from Vladimir Putin’s adviser on Ukraine Sergei Glazyev – for example his interview with the Kommersant-Ukraine newspaper the other day – you don’t need your own listening station to be clear about Russia’s intentions. Russia he said “must interfere in Ukraine” and the authorities there should use force against the demonstrators.

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