Archive for the On Foreign Affairs Category

Is Anti-Zionism Anti-Semitism?

Posted in Is Anti-Zionism Anti-semitism?, On Foreign Affairs, On Israel, On War and Peace in the Mid East! with tags , , , on August 6, 2014 by playthell
Anti-Zionist Neturei_Karta_Jewish_group_protest_against_Israel (1)
Deeply Religious Hasidic Jews Protest Zionism

 Abe Foxman says yes….Others Jews Say No

More and more these days one hears Jews of many political and religious views complain of a experiencing a growing hostility toward them as a result of the policies of the Israeli government.  One has only to witness the random attacks on Jews by Arabs on the streets of Paris recently to recognize why they feel that this the most dangerous threat faced by all Jews everywhere. This sad state of affairs results from the fact that so many people are convinced  Zionism and Judaism are synonymous, that they are one and the same.  But as Rabbi’s and Judaic scholars point out: “Judaism is thousands of years old, while Zionism is barely a hundred!”

This conflation is especially troubling to anti-Zionist Jews and others who oppose the policies of the Israeli government.   Although you wouldn’t know it from watching the major media….such oppositional Jews are everywhere.  Yet they are seldom seen or heard, fostering the impression that Jews are in lockstep regarding Israeli government policies, and this belief is fostering hatred toward all Jews.  This is true even in a city like New York, a center of world Jewish power.

In an article titled “Convergence of Hate,” published in the July 31 edition of The Jewish Daily Forward, Jane Eisner, a liberal middle class Jew living on the affluent Upper West Side of Manhattan was shocked to discover anti-Jewish graffiti scrawled on her sidewalk.

Since the letters were written in white chalk and were upside down from where I stood, it took a moment to decipher their meaning, and another moment to get over the shock.  This was on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, the epicenter of the liberal American shtetl, a place so ubiquitously Jewish that even the smallest grocery store posts Friday night candle-lighting times each week. So to see even this mildly anti-Israel graffiti was a surprise. For the first time since we moved to the neighborhood a couple of years ago, we felt uncomfortable, targeted, as people who care about Israel and as Jews.”

Mrs. Eisner tells us that she and her husband wondered “whether that scrawled sidewalk sentiment was a legitimate criticism of American policy or rank anti-Zionism. And when does anti-Zionism bleed into simple hatred of Jews?”   That’s a good question, because to the extent that this happens it is largely due to the fact that these people believe that the policies of the Israeli government reflects the religious beliefs of the Jewish faith held by all Jews.  How did they get this mistaken idea?  Ironically the main purveyors of the idea that Judaism and Zionism represent a single world view, and are thus inseparable, has been the major media and the leaders of pro-Israel Jewish Organizations in the US.  Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League heads the list.

However there is a growing legion of anti-Zionist Jewish secular intellectuals, Rabbi’s and theologians who vehemently disagree with this view on secular and sacred Grounds.  These increasingly vocal opponents of Israeli government policies overwhelmingly believe that those supporters of Israel who conflate Judaism and Zionism employ this strategy in order to silence opponents of Israel by dishonestly accusing them of being anti-Semitic – “a Jew hater.”  And while it has worked very well in silencing criticism of Israel among the Goyim, it has proved useless when the critics are Jewish.  Hence the defenders of Israel coined a special term for them: “Self-Hating Jews.”

But that’s not the worst of it.  The Jewish establishment, led by Abraham Foxman and the ADL, has attacked them in myriad ways.  I have heard stories from Jewish academics and Journalists about the trials and tribulations they have suffered at the hands of pro-Zionist organizations – including getting them fired from their jobs and even murder.   As was the case with the prolific Jewish theologian Dr. Mark Ellis, and the great investigative journalist Robert I. Freedman.  However, because the Zionist claims are based on Scripture, let us begin this discussion of anti-Zionist Jews with the critique of Orthodox Rabbi’s.

Anti-Zionist religious Jews are ridiculed and threatened in America, beaten down on the streets in Israel by the police and soldiers, even imprisoned when they demonstrate for peace with the Palestinians.  One of the reasons that the Israeli government considers these Orthodox Jews so dangerous is that they reject the Zionist master narrative for Israel’s raison d’etre, especially the claim that Jews were the constant victims of violent oppression when they lived in Muslim countries before the establishment of Israel.

The Rabbi’s Visit Iran
Anti- Zionist Rabbi's meet Ayatollah
 And were warmly received by the Ayatollah!

These anti-Zionist Jews say the Zionist claim is a lie calculated to manufacture hostility toward the Arabs among their powerful Christian benefactors, and represents a historical slander against the very people among whom they found refuge over the centuries of fleeing oppression and death in Europe.  To demonstrate their point Rabbi Israel Dovid Weiss visited Iran and met both the Ayatollah and Prime Minister Ahmadinejad.

In a January 15, 2007 article in the New York Times – “New York Rabbi Finds Friends in Iraq and Enemies at Home” – we are told that In a March 2006 broadcast on Iran’s IRIB radio, the official government station, Rabbi Weiss  declared that “it is a dangerous deviation to pretend that the Iranian president is anti-Jewish and anti-Semitic. He is extremely friendly and he understands the difference between the Zionists and the Jews who do not embrace the state of Israel… We don’t look at him as an enemy.”

Rabbi and Ahmadinejad

anti-Zionist jews-iran

 Jew and Persian Embrace

Rabbi Weiss, along with what he insists are hundreds of thousands of religious Jews around the world view the state of Israel as a sacrilege, a violation of the will of God.  There is no shame in their game regarding the matter and they put their position bluntly and without apology, convinced that it is they that are doing the will of God and are the true peacemakers.  Their argument against Israel is that is that the Torah expressly states that the New Israel can only be established by the Messiah upon his return.  And that the Torah expressly forbids men from trying to “hasten” the end times by human agency.

They also claim that the Zionist founders of Israel were not religious but political men, Jewish nationalists with imperial ambitions, swine eaters and wine drinkers, who dispossessed the Palestinian people of their land by naked aggression.  Hence they contend that the Zionists “high-jacked” Judaism and its symbols for a nefarious political scheme that they believe sully the moral principles of Judaism. And for this they have called for the death of the Zionist state of Israel; even embarking on a mission to meet with Muslim leaders to personally talk with them and state their position: Zionism is the enemy of Judiasm.  This belief is what compelled the Rabbi’s to visit Iran.

When he attended “The International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust” in Iran, Rabbi Weiss’ many enemies accused him of being in league with holocaust deniers.  But, alas, we have the record of the Rabbi’s speech to the gathering.  He said in part:

Now maybe I can say that at the discussion of the holocaust, I may be the representative, the voice of the people who died in the holocaust because my grandparents died there. They were killed in Auschwitz. My parents were from Hungary. My father escaped and his parents remained. He wasn’t able to get them out of Hungary and they died in Auschwitz as were other relatives and all the communities that they knew. So to say that they didn’t die, to me you cannot say that. I am the living remnant of the people who died in the holocaust and I am here, I believe sent by God, to humbly say, simply to speak to the people here and say, ‘You should know that the Jewish people died, and do not try to say that it did not happen. They did die!’ There are people throughout the Jewish communities, still alive in their seventies and eighties and every one of them will tell you their stories. It is something which you can not refute, but that being said, it doesn’t mean that the holocaust is a tool to use to oppress other people”

Rabbi Weiss went on to elaborate on the last point regarding the tendency of the Zionists to invoke the memory of the holocaust in order to evoke feelings of guilt and use it to raise political support and money for their nationalist cause.  He explicitly rejects this tactic “

The Zionists use the Holocaust issue to their benefit. We, Jews who perished in the Holocaust, do not use it to advance our interests. We stress that there are hundreds of thousands Jews around the world who identify with our opposition to the Zionist ideology and who feel that Zionism is not Jewish, but a political agenda…What we want is not a withdrawal to the ’67 borders, but to everything included in it, so the country can go back to the Palestinians and we could live with them.”

The Orthodox Rabbis also take the position that the Zionist militarists in Israel  are the real danger to peace in the Middle-East not Iran…and they have said so in massive demonstrations!  This is a grave blow to the Israeli narrative, which casts Iran as the war mongers, despite the fact that they have engaged in all manner of aggressions against Iran including sabotague and assasssination of Iranian scientists.  As a consequence of taking this position Rabbi Weiss, along with his followers in the Neutari Karta and the Satmar Hassidim, have been denied service at Kosher stores in New York, had his Synagogue picketed, and threatened with bodily harm on the streets.  But the Rabbi and his followers are like the apocryphal trees planted by the “rivers of waters” They shall not be moved!

Hassidim Protests hostility toward Iran

Anti-zionist Jews demostrate against Iran

A Very Courageous Act in New York!
 Anti-Zionist Jews Protest Israeli atrocities in Gaza
Anti-Zionist Jews support Arabs of Gaza 
Doing their religeous duty
Click to witness Anti-Zionist protest at Israeli Embassy
http://youtu.be/Jl0xkgBKNro
Double Click for Rabbi Dovid Weiss’s views on Zionism
 http://youtu.be/JHj5aH4Mox8
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Playthell G. Benjamin
August 5, 2014

Blood on Our Hands!

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

Israeli Bombing of Gaza

The Israeli bombing of Gaza

 The US Cannot Escape blame for Israeli War Crimes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

http://youtu.be/rzXS3tmZrcU

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

http://youtu.be/sJbOaVAbg6s

http://youtu.be/XHl1JnQoIWQ

For Pat Buchanan on Israel’s Nukes

http://youtu.be/L033M6wqNCI

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

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

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

 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

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