Krauthammer and the return of the “Comintern”

Index"Hamas is a client of Iran. Gaza now constitutes the farthest reach of the archipelago of Iranian proxies: Hamas in Palestine, Hizbullah in Lebanon, the Mahdi army (among others) in Iraq and the Alawite regime of Syria.

This Islamist mini-replica of the Comintern is at war not just with Israel but with the moderate Arab states, who finally woke up to this threat last summer when they denounced Hezbollah for provoking the Lebanon war with Israel. The fall of Gaza is particularly terrifying to Egypt because Hamas is so closely affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, the chief Islamist threat to the secular-nationalist regime that has ruled Egypt since the revolution of 1952. Which is why Egypt has just invited Israeli, Jordanian and moderate Palestinian leaders to a summit next week — pointedly excluding and isolating Hamas."  Krauthammer


I won’t quibble with Dr. Krauthammer over his characterization of all those governments and movements as mere "proxies" for Iran however inadequate that categorization is.  Relationships in "the region" are not that simple.

In many ways these states and groups are making use of Iran as much as they are being made use of.  Symbiotic relationships like this are hard to classify in the simplistic way that he is doing it here.  Often a supposed "client" has so much agenda of its own that to describe it that way is meaningless.  When I was in government, (oh happy day of my deliverance), I used to hear people from the proto-neocon group describe Iraq, Syria, or Egypt as "clients" of the USSR.  That was absurd because the Soviet Union was never able to control these countries in the ways implied by the "C" word.  Yemen is a good example today.  If GWB and his crew think that Salih is under their control because he "strokes" them and takes their money, they are sadly misled (by him).

The use of the word "Comintern" continues the neocon/Bush crew IO propaganda theme that the Islamicate civilization is rising like the phoenix from the ashes of its previous clashes with the West (sounds a bit tolkienesque) to consolidate itself into a massive state power which will be an existential threat to, what, "The Shire?"  This is drivel, but the idea appeals to those who treasure vaguely understood half truths about the Saracen Menace. In furthering that theme, the neocon/Bush crew are trying hard to stitch together in popular imagination an image of the Saracen Menace united in all its variety behind the banners of Iran.  This is a massive undertaking for any propagandist or group of propagandists, but their previous successes were so great that they are encouraged to make the attempt.  Will they succeed?  Who can tell? 

The takfiri jihadis ARE a menace, but they are a menace best dealt with by stealth and guile.  pl

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59 Responses to Krauthammer and the return of the “Comintern”

  1. Point well taken. I’ve always felt that the neocons were an ideology in search of an enemy. Likening the threat from Islamic civilization to Comintern (or Hitler, which I’ve also seen) just distracts everybody from dealing with the real threats. Not all of those threats are military—the most dangerous is actually environmental—but all of them require new thinking, which you won’t see from the neocons.

  2. Montag says:

    You mean the Dark Lord of Mordor ISN’T behind this? But it has his fingerprints all over it!
    “One ring to call them all,
    One ring to find them;
    One ring to bring them all,
    And in the darkness bind them.
    In the land of Mordor where the shadows lie.”
    I call that irrefutable evidence.

  3. Montag says:

    OOPSIE! The first line should have been, “One ring to RULE them all,”

  4. J says:

    sadly, ‘stealth & guile’ are not in the bush admin.’s tactical dictionary. they wouldn’t know its meaning if it slammed them in their neocon faces. now ‘ruthlessness, treason, incompetence, how-to-lose-friends-&-make-enemies, and back-stabbing ARE in their bush admin. tactical dictionary

  5. jamzo says:

    “archipelago of Iranian proxies” is not quite as catchy as “axis of evil”
    it seems like krauthammer is a card-carrying member of the sunni party and committed to islamic religous war to save the middle east from being conquered by the “dangerous” shia

  6. Cloned Poster says:

    Which is why Egypt has just invited Israeli, Jordanian and moderate Palestinian leaders to a summit next week.
    1. Count the US dollars that that these clients recieve annually in US defence Aid.
    2. Count the US dollars they want now to project there power into an effective concentration camp that is GAZA.
    3. Are Iranian ships docking in GAZA ports?
    I think that Pawns on a chessboard should be renamed “Pals”.

  7. Eric Dönges says:

    “The takfiri jihadis ARE a menace, but they are a menace best dealt with by stealth and guile. pl”
    I agree, and would add that the best people to deal with them are the Muslim societies they pervert and hide in. How about we in the Western world stop meddling in the internal affairs of people who don’t like our interference and let them clean house themselves ?

  8. Cold War Zoomie says:

    Speaking of Saracens, this bloke looks pretty darn menacing…
    Saracens Head
    You can always get a nice pint of Bombardier at his cousin’s pub in Bedford, though…
    Saracens Head Bedford
    After awhile it’s hard to respond seriously to these people trying to run our country even though they are incredibly dangerous.
    I don’t think their propaganda is going to work this time around.

  9. zanzibar says:

    One thing the neo-cons are very accomplished at is propaganda. They have a large contingent of propagandists, they have simplistic and easily digestible emotional messages that play well to a largely apathetic American populace, their messaging is well coordinated and they have the complicit corporate media to carry and amplify.
    If only their propaganda and execution served US national interests and not just the whims, fancies and greed of a few elites.

  10. b says:

    I suspect this being part of the hidden agenda:
    Krauthammer and others seem to have recognised that Islam, in its ideological economic dimension, does not agree with their radical capitalistic ideology.
    Ursary (interest) payment and all. Islamic economics
    In this, Islam is a “danger” to them the same way that communism or socialism was.
    al-Sadr’s father wrote a major book about Islamic economics that certainly doesn’t agree with the Chicago school: Iqtisaduna.
    Simpler: As communism is gone as a counter-ideologogy to robber-barons, what is left that could endanger their total victory?

  11. Martin K says:

    Sir, may I air a completely off-topic comment, from pure Norwegian irritation? I refer to the Guardians story entitled “US air strike kills 25 Afghan civilians”, at,,2109039,00.html.
    Quote: “A US air strike in southern Afghanistan has killed up to 25 civilians, a local police chief said today.
    The victims included women, children and a cleric as well as 20 suspected Taliban militants, according to Mohammad Hussein Andiwal, the Helmand province police chief.”
    While I am not as old or cunning as the esteemed persons on this and other mil-vet foras, I have served my conscription and one of my close friends is serving on/off Kabul/Mazar al Sharif at this very moment. And i ask myself this, in the view of various US cowboy commanders: Why in f&%ks name cant they understand that massive retaliation is counterproductive to general advance of the front? (By front I mean the hearts and minds operation wich is the articulated emic/underlying premise for the whole project, standing up/standing down, blah blah.) Why do these cowboy stupid propagandapoints for the enemy keep on appearing? Did they not learn anything from Fallujah? In Afghanistanb you are walking a tightrope, in that most of the clans earn more money with cooperating with the US than fighting them. Most of their young fighters propably would be willing to freelance-fight you for good money, just for the shere hell of it. With these civilian bombings, you are loosing the war.
    Killing a village to “save” the hostile countryside is, has always been, and will always be a loosing position unless overwhelming power is brought to bear. “Going Roman” is just about the most stupid idea I have heard when it comes to dealing with the “umma”, the muslim world. Shock and Awe should be renamed Shock and Rage, judged by its results in practical application in long term ground-based conflicts.

  12. frank durkee says:

    What unsettles me is the inability to simply describe a situation with some nuetrailty, clarity, and sensitivity to how the whole situation[ including one’s own actions], might/will look to ‘the others’ involved. Both the inability to understand and state how ones actions contribute to the dilemna one seeks to solve as well as allowing for the legitimacy of othersw perceptions and resultant actions harm our capacity to identify and act on our genuine self interest. Granted this is not easy, none the less one may hope, perhaps in vain, that at least some in the government and outside attempt to do this. Believing ones own propaganda is the surest path to failure. In a complex situation, and most looked at on this blog are. The lack will almost guarentee failure.

  13. W. Patrick Lang says:

    My kind of saracen. don’t know if you know that St. George is the patron saint of the Palestinians. A Byzantine soldier, he was brought back to England by the crusaders. pl

  14. arbogast says:

    Once again, right on the bullseye.
    A friend of mine said that if an “Islamic” government unfriendly to US/Israel came to power in Pakistan, that the US would launch pre-emptive nuclear strikes against their nuclear sites.
    Is this likely?

  15. John Howley says:

    Did someone say Pakistan?
    From today’s WaPo, SECOND tiny blurb under “World in Brief:”
    “ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Satellite images show that Pakistan is building a nuclear reactor that can produce weapons-grade plutonium, an American watchdog group said, warning that the new facility could contribute to a nuclear arms race with archrival India.
    A picture taken June 3 shows work progressing rapidly on the reactor at the Khushab nuclear site, about 100 miles southwest of the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, the Institute for Science and International Security said.
    A senior official at the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission said the country was “extending our infrastructure” but declined to address the details of the report.”
    With all the hyperventilating about “those people” getting the bomb, one would think this might merit more ink.
    Is Khusab anyplace near where OBL hangs out?
    And we’re helping Inda juice up its nuclear program?
    Promoting democracy is too complicated for me to figure out.

  16. arbogast says:

    In all the confusion, it’s easy to forget that the bad guys have enormous financial resources. Cécile Hennion in Le Monde has this to say,
    La qualité et la modernité des armes utilisées par les miliciens islamistes ont constitué une autre mauvaise surprise. Selon la même source de renseignement, les francs-tireurs du Fatah Al-Islam disposent de fusils de snipers de gros calibre, 12,7 mm, pouvant atteindre des cibles distantes de près de 1 kilomètre. Des armes correspondant à cette description ont été retrouvées en Irak en 2006, selon des rapports de l’armée américaine.
    Les enquêteurs travaillent également sur les sources de financement du groupe, qualifié d'”extrêmement riche”.

    Whatever else you can say about oil, every time a barrel of oil goes up in price, the bad guys get better weapons.
    One of the reasons Bush used to attack Iraq was a fear that terrorists would be bankrolled by oil money.
    He was right. In fact, in typical Bush fashion, he has proven himself right by getting everything all wrong.

  17. jr786 says:

    b writes: Krauthammer and others seem to have recognised that Islam, in its ideological economic dimension, does not agree with their radical capitalistic ideology.
    The opening paragraph of the startling National Security Strategy of the United States, 2002 reads:
    The great struggles of the twentieth century between liberty and totalitarianism ended with a decisive victory for the forces of freedom—and a single sustainable model for national success: freedom, democracy, and free enterprise. In the twenty-first century, only nations that share a commitment to protecting basic human rights and guaranteeing political and economic freedom will be able to unleash the potential of their people and assure their future prosperity. People everywhere want to be able to speak freely; choose who will govern them; worship as they please; educate their children—male and female; own property; and enjoy the benefits of their labor. These values of freedom are right and true for every person, in every society—and the duty of protecting these values against their enemies is the common calling of freedom-loving people across the globe and across the ages.
    Right and true for every person, in every society…across the ages
    The perennial, evangelical tone of this document transforms social, political and economic concepts into Universal Commandments: materialism becomes idealism.
    As a capitalist manifesto it appears shortly after the end of history, as famously declared by ur-neocon Francis Fukuyama, and recognizes that any remaining resistance can only come from something other than the now defeated communism. That explains the fervent religiosity that saturates the document, whose tone, for Muslims anyway, its unspoken target, resembles the sureness of Koran 5:3, which reads in part:
    This day have those who disbelieved despaired of your religion, so fear them not and fear Me. This day have I perfected for you your religion and completed my favor to you and chosen for you Islam as a religion.
    This is the ground being contested, the ground of certainty and authority, the flash points of which would make for an interesting discussion.

  18. b says:

    @jr786 – 05:03pm
    Thanks for your take on my speculation. Like you, I sense there is something more to this.
    An ideological war about the “basic law/tenents” of the ruling economic doctrine.
    I have expanded on my above comment in this still rudimentary piece: Islam – Comintern: Capitalism’s Ideological Enemies (please comment).
    Nearly all wars are about some (perceived) economic advantages clad in propaganda – be it “Lebensraum” or “manifest destiny”, “Jewish world conspiracy” or “Islamic extremism”.
    The “long war” certainly has such aspects.

  19. Just an ex grunt says:

    To Martin K.:
    Because when the only tool you know how to use is a hammer, all your problems look like nails.

  20. robt willmann says:

    Usually, this silly and juvenile propaganda by Charles Krauthammer, one of the cheesier promoters of the Iraq War and the gangster foreign policy toward the Middle East, would rate at most a yawn. But its running in tandem with other recent propaganda about Iran should snap everyone awake.
    A scant two days ago, on June 20, 2007, the U.S. House of Representatives passed House Con. Resolution 21, “calling on” the United Nations to indict Iranian President Ahmadinejad with the war crime of genocide. This resolution, introduced back on January 9, 2007 by New Jersey Congressman Steve Rothman, passed by a vote of 411-2, with 11 members voting “present”. It has now been referred to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
    Recently, more hype has emerged about Iran providing weapons to the Taliban in Afghanistan. On around June 13, Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said on CNN that there was “irrefutable evidence” that Iran was supplying arms to the Taliban.
    The Iraq War funding bill passed not long ago had in an early version a prohibition that the Bush jr administration could not launch an attack against Iran without specific Congressional authorization. That provision was stripped from the bill, without objection by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
    While Krauthammer’s ticky-tacky progaganda is aimed at the masses, the important stuff to condition and inoculate Congress and its so-called leadership is rolling right along, and is very dangerous.
    Congress is the only institution that could cause a problem for an attack on Iran, unless military officers refused to obey an order for such an attack. Thus, the ongoing operant conditioning of Congress will help keep that gutless body in line if a war is launched against Iran without a constitutional declaration of war, or will make getting Congress’ authorization easy if a false flag incident occurs that is blamed on Iran, or some other kindling is set afire.

  21. zanzibar says:

    IMO, the issue is not capitalism per se. Capitalism as I see it has to do with property rights that lead to entrepreneurial activity and innovation. The problem that I see in contemporary capitalism is crony capitalism and oligarchies. Where profits are privatized and losses socialized. As a result moral hazard is introduced and leads to bubbles and misallocation.
    I also believe that Islamic societies are not immune to cronyism like any other society. Its human nature to take advantage and Islamists have not transcended human behavior. Communism the other major ideology in the recent past had the notion that all productive assets belonged to the “proletariat” when in reality it belonged to a few – the elite party members.
    Despite its flaws capitalism, IMO, comes best in recognizing the differences of individual abilities and initiative. And provides the most level playing field. If we could have capitalism with rules of fair play and transparency it would best suit the human temperament, IMO. That’s why I believe that the US economy is losing its vigor since transparency is not required and securities laws and traditional accounting principles are only selectively applied. I remember well the Microsoft anti-trust case. Who would have expected that a Google would arrive from a gleam in two Stanford students eyes to challenge that monopoly. This is what makes capitalism so vibrant as it enables entrepreneurs to challenge entrenched interests when the system is transparent and open. I don’t believe there is any discord between capitalism and Islam. I have read many historic texts of the fascinating spice trade between the Arabs, Indians and others and how cultures got influenced as a result. The stereotype of haggling for rugs in Fez is such an evocative example of capitalism in an Islamic setting.
    Krauthammer and his ilk do not really represent capitalism, IMO, but represent the status quo of elites afraid of change that entrepreneurial capitalism brings and the possible threat to their power and wealth. They are the biggest proponents of using the state to further their interests while espousing rhetoric against government intervention in commerce.

  22. kao_hsien_chih says:

    One might note that the original uses of “comintern” were in themselves misleading: the first two cominterns were relatively impotent talking shops of lunatic intellectuals. The 3rd Comintern run from Moscow didn’t really foment revolutions dedicated only to worldwide communist revolutions either–the communist revolutionary leaders in different countries all had their own agendas. They were happy to take AKs from Moscow and nod when necessary, but not really obedient…unless they had a Soviet bayonet thrust against their necks.

  23. Char;les says:

    A while ago in here, there was a post and discussion about the necessity of “thoughtfulness’ in the formulation and execution of foreign policy. In the discussion of this latest of Pat’s thoughtful posts, many seem to have confidence in the idea that people cannot be hornswoggled – I don’t even know what that means, but it sounds like what I mean – hornswoggled again and again without waking up to the smell of the enormous, reductive piles of shit they are being fed whilst the shovelers dine on filet mignon and foi gras. Awaken to refuse to partake once again. Or be able to restrain their government – or the parts of it that seem free – on your children’s dime – to act out the most unimaginably hare brained schemes in the most incompetent fashion imaginable with complete immunity and impunity – able to restrain that cabal from acting contrary to the interest and needs of the Republic as a whole?
    But I ask you – how much faith can we place in a place where these criminals have stolen your country, “caged” votes, totally ignored the constitution not just abroad, but especially at home, without any real action being taken by the opposition ot the other arms of the government. The Dems are a sad joke, now busily electioneering rather than looking to save the Republic. And they have definitely signed on to this War on Terror trumps ALL other concerns thingy, as well as the absurd canard that America cannot afford to fix its various alledgedy broken social programs, e.g. social security in such dire straits that it must have the unimaginable sum of $70 -80bn so it doesn’t go bust in 70 years, while Congress just signed off on what, $85 bn just for the next four months of Iraq? Apparently because we can’t tax the rich, or make our corporations work for us, rather than agin us, and besides, we need the dough for arms.
    A country where the absurdly considered, wittily named Crusader mobile howitzer, so heavily armoured that it required a much less armoured bulldozer to go out front to prepare a site, is “wound down” by paying the manufacturer $450M to let us abandon it. Because there are no longer any fixed in place set battles to fight with it in the ME, never mind they couldn’t figure out how to make another platform to protect the bulldozer and the howitzer long enough to be emplaced. Well, they couldn’t figure out how to get Congress to buy it, what with the squawking of the Ospreys and all. Damn those insurgents and their flip-flop clad fleetness of foot. Where the F22 fighter program, developed to defeat a Mig 29 variant never built, is on target at many, many billions of pork, while $1m cruise missiles are reloaded with a few pounds of explosive where nuclear weapons once balanced terror, so empty places like Dora Farms can be struck from afar to “decapitate” the fearsome enemy in one brilliant bit o’ tactics, with only a bit of “collateral” damage. Where Los Angeles class Attack subs, their designed targets now rusting in various Soviet, er, Russian ports, are actually being reconfigured to shoot torpedoes full of Marines(seven in each tube) to land on beaches in various “hot spots”, – I shit you not, I couldn’t make this up – when the whole damn planet is being turned into one big global hot spot amenable only to full spectrum dominance.
    Where subsidized corn is touted as fuel, though it takes more inputs than it will ever yield while millions starve and cities go thirsty but gee isn’t the golf course such a pretty green. Where genuine concerns about global warming don’t yield federal emission and mileage standards but rather another kick at the subsidized oil-from-coal`boondoggle that Congress shut down a few decades ago as impractical at twenty times the cost of oil right after OPEC reared up on its hind legs and launched an embargo out of sheer petulance with U.S. foreign policy.
    Where whatever the motives of Bush et al, whether oily or just fervently nutty, oil companies who had been forced to write down their proven reserves by their accountants now enjoy a 2 TRILLION DOLLAR increase in their book value by the magic of the $70 bbl of oil every time some petty Iranian whacko burps, and a little bit of refinery shortage to turn it into gas in the most voraciously auto mad nation on earth. $10bn profits per quarter for just one seventh sister! Sweet crude indeed.
    Where at a recent Homeland security conference, a senior mandarin summed it all up by demanding: “Show me new products. What have you got?” as though just one more boondoggle, er, I mean, breakthrough, in esoteric surveillance or data management will save the day against the wily takfiri jihadists – or the ignorant native sympathizer just too pissed off to sit idle.
    Where Choicepoint, the massive data collection firm, now planning to acquire the DNA of every American, to go along with the 16 billion files it already has on you, does the dirty work just like the contractors in Iraq do, so that the government can sit back and say no laws were broken in the staging of this epic. Better yet, those costs aren’t in the budget on the face of it, but buried in some obscure account labeled “other”.
    Two of Choicepoint’s most important recent jobs were the purging of the Florida voters lists of alleged “felons”, the company subsequently lying about cross-checking 95% of social security numbers of the poor saps on the scrub sheets, (they checked 5%) but who diligently noted the race of every one on their “lists”;(Think of the case of the Green Zoners asked not what they could do for their country, never mind Iraq, but whether they were Republicans and how’d they feel about abortion). More recently, Homeland Security, more particularly the FBI, have been contracting them to obtain government records on every citizen in those Latin American terrorist hotbeds of Argentina, Brazil, Honduras, Mexico and Venezuela. Yet we all know that similar data on countries like, oh, say, Saudi Arabia, the epicenter of global terrorist financing(at least until the Afghan Heroin market picks up, thank you very much) and home to 14 out of 19, I think it was, 9/11 crew, is terra incognita, strictly verboten, haram, the part of the map labeled “There be monsters”. Monsters not be disturbed nor divined lest the victims find out how they are fed and protected by the very people charged by law with protecting them, monsters left unchained in the hopes that they will bite us, rather than their own, in the ass the next time they need to blow off a little steam. Needless to say, gathering that kind of info in the countries I listed is a crime in them, but gosh golly, it was those evil contractors, not Uncle Sam, getting up to no good for no good reason other than that these countries were at risk of voting the “wrong” way, like those damned Palestinians.
    And you honestly believe that America, the people, the common man, the press, whoever, is up to the task of separating truth from lies, let alone ensuring the crafting and execution of A prudent foreign policy. Even just one?
    Lets see, isolating the Pals didn’t work before, so, Eureka, lets cut ’em in half, just isolate one half and feed the illegitimate other half after a felicitous period of starvation and lecturing of the whole because they didn’t do what we wanted? Well, they did do what we wanted, but it wasn’t what we wanted, so lets do it again. Maybe a three state solution. Maybe, we keep starving, parsing and lecturing, someone else, not us of course, does the shooting, er, I mean, the heavy lifting, we can figure out one final solution.
    Please, I gotta go put up the for sale signs on the swamp and the bridge I just bought off that young man, he looked so nice, well dressed, a little inarticulate, but he seemed so certain, and everyone else nodded, seemed downright upset they hadn’t thought of buying them before I did, and though I got no takers for the ones I bought, buggered if that fellow ain’t threatening to flood the market, make the ones I bought high damn near worthless, whatever will I do.
    Obviously the 4th estate isn’t up to the job; as Krauthammer demonstrates, they’re leading the charge. Roger the wily old political adviser now astride the Fox News organ touts the nuking of Iran lest the Shia menace take hold of the gas taps or strap a nuke the size of a boxcar to a an ICBM with a rubber band and guide it to New York or Jerusalem before any one notices.
    Pffffffft. (gigantic rude farting noise).

  24. Leila A. says:

    St. George – patron saint of my father’s village in South Lebanon, beloved by Levantine Christians all over. His origins are murky. Some sources say his mother was from Lod (Lyd), a famous Palestinian town. I feel very, very kindly towards St. George – his image on a horse, slaying a dragon, hovered in all my paternal relatives’ homes.
    I assume that he’s patron saint of Christian Palestinians, Col. Lang? Some Muslims do worship Christian saints – there’s plenty of crossover from what I know, and in doing research on St. George I found references to Muslim versions of him. But is he “patron saint” of the whole Palestinian movement? That would be very interesting…

  25. Krauthammer is such an easy target that the interesting challenge he poses is to take what he says and turn it into something worthwhile.
    In an effort to develop his “Comintern” idea, I have renewed interest in Billington’s Fire In the Minds of Men, a history of radical movements between the French and the Russian Revolutions.
    It would be interesting – or at least not a total waste of time – to consider to what extent Hamas resembles the “bomb throwing Russian anarchists” of that era, the sorts of fellows Turgenev and Dostoevsky wrote about.
    Of course, these were pre-Comintern fellows. If we were to delve into the Comintern itself, we might consider Mikhail Borodin, the Comintern agent who, in the early twenties, helped Sun Yat Sen reorganize the Chinese Nationalist Party. He remained active in Chinese affairs until Chiang Kai Shek purged the Communists in 1928.
    On the whole, this is a pretty scruffy scenario which, unfortunately for Krauthammer, would call more for Indiana Jones than George Smiley.

  26. Whenever I hear of Charles “cabbage smasher” Krauthammer and/or any of his rabid ruminations I think of that line reportedly attributed to Bush factotem Condoleeza Rice where she told Douglas Feith (whom General Tommy Franks called “the stupidest fucking man on earth”): “If we want the Israeli view, we’ll call in their ambassador.”

  27. Curious says:

    Everytime I am listening to neocon, I got the feeling of listening to cheap car salesmen. No use arguing with them. Everybody knows they are talking up a used car. And he is trying to part your money from you.
    Same with neocon and Israel. Everybody knows Israel cannot sustain their current posture without DC money and weapon supply. (talking about client state) They need US involvement in the middle east. And everybody knows, Israel couldn’t care less about “moderate arab states or otherwise”. The only good arabs for Israel is dead arab. They get away with it so far. generally attacking everybody around them.
    Except Israel now meets their match. Hezbollah and Hamas. Highly independent, discipline, unpenetrable, supplied by Iran, and able to win actual war.
    Hence Israel new found love toward moderate arab. (as if) Only few months ago they were dissing Egypt, Jordan, and Turkey. Suddenly they are now “moderate”? A little too quick flipping rethoric aren’t they?
    If Abbas is half smart, he will play Hammas against Israel to squees support and milk Israel-US position and strengthening his hand.
    I mean, it’s just the most obvious trategy isn’t it?
    Israel is so afraid of Hamas, it is ready to call Abbas their new best friend. (Nevermind they didn’t even want to talk to Abbas only few months ago.)
    Nothing changes, just bunch of crooks trying to kill each others.

  28. Martin K says:

    On topic: The really troubling issue concerning Krauthammer/ the neo-cons, is that they are not rational players in any meaningful, long-term thinking way. In a twisted irony, they themselves seem to have fallen into the traps of the Soviets and their Five Year plans in that they construct plays, not consistent policies. They seem to have an event-horizon that never stretches any further than to the next election, and so make their plans according to short-term goals (in addition, of course, to always pour money back to their benefactors). This is, I think, an inherent weakness in unconstrained capitalism, that it leads to concentrations of power not guided by planning but by profit-maximalization. For Haliburton and their friends, the US state is just another company to be slaughtered.
    Off topic: Just an ex-grunt, I understand what you mean but that excuse just isnt good enough. From what i hear from my friend in Afghanistan, punitive air-strikes like this is the worst form of retaliation possible. It pisses off all Afghanis, especially the killing of a mullah and as far as security in the north is concerned our guys are basically sitting ducks relying on the kindness of mr. Dostum.

  29. Matthew says:

    Col: It’s Carlos Lehder all over again. The only “empire” in the ME is American. The Caliphate fantasy is akin to the drug lords ruling the Americans. It is the necessary bogeyman to justify the American presense in the oil-producing region. And, I suspect, the Islamic menace will dissipate as soon as the Military-Industrial Complex can shift onto the next enemy, i.e., the Chinese.
    Of course, I could be wrong, but on my worst day I am always more right that Krautie.

  30. Sid3 says:

    The indispensable value of Krauthammer’s work is that when he defines the “enemy”, he in reality identifies not only himself but also the spirit of his ideology — the neoconservative movement.
    Others have already pointed out that the neoconservative movement is historically rooted in the comintern “mission”.
    What is Krauthammer’s ultimate aim for US foreign policy? What is the motivation of his “human action”? Perhaps one can look at the exact point where the desires of Likud, the neoconservatives, and the rapturists intersect. Then all you have to do is determine if such an objective is traditionally within US national interests.
    In my opinion, Krauthammer’s goal is not part of the American tradition. His voice on US foreign policy does not ring true and following his path will not lead to an American victory against the takfiri jihadis.
    For that matter, Krauthammer’s zietgiest is not that of Martin Buber as well, in my opinion. No wonder Buber split ways with Herzl. Maybe like Buber, America should split ways with Krauthammer.

  31. steve says:

    What do posters feel will be the outcome in the likely event that Abbas agrees to some final status of Palestine along the lines of the current bantustans?
    The obvious answer would appear to be an inflamed/increased Palestinian resistence, more full-scale Israeli military intervention in the territories (and from Israel’s standpoint, Jordanian and Egyptian military intervention), etc.
    Of course, I would suspect that Israel would raise the old cliche that no Palestinians want peace, etc.
    To me those are the obvious things.
    Does anyone postulate a more nuanced outcome?
    Posted by: W. Patrick Lang | 23 June 2007 at 07:54 AM”
    Yes, colonel, an interesting article, particularly to note that all three faiths worshipped at the shrine (Jews for Elijah’s burial site). Would have been interesting to visit places such as that in Palestine in, say, 1900, to see the religious/ethnic stew that appeared to be functioning rather peacefully.
    I certainly learned something new about St. George.

  32. FB Ali says:

    Arbogast & John Howley (Re Pakistan)
    The Taliban in Afghanistan used to have religious police enforcing public morals. They had regular police and paramilitaries crushing any popular move for justice and freedom.
    Today, in Pakistan, government police and paramilitaries are busy suppressing a popular movement for the rule of law and an end to military rule. At the same time unofficial religious “police” (aka madrassa students) brazenly enforce public morals, kidnapping people they accuse of immorality, and even the odd policeman who comes enquiring about the missing persons. Right in the middle of the capital, Islamabad, a mile or two from the presidential palace. A government minister publicly advocates suicide bombing in response to the British knighting Salman Rushdie.
    The US and the West is fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan. They are also supporting an increasingly Talibanized regime in Pakistan, with a nuclear capability.
    Would you say there is some flaw in the perspective?

  33. VietnamVet says:

    The world has turned up side down. Sic Semper Tyrannis 2007 is about the only place to discuss the new topsy turvy world. Corporate media ignores reality filling the airways with tabloid nonsense and propaganda.
    Funded by oil money; Hezbollah has found the way to defeat a Western armored army by modern commercial communications, defense in depth and the brotherhood of Islam. The only way to eliminate Hezbollah is bulldoze Southern Lebanon flat and salt the soil, or atomic weapons.
    The USA is even more precarious position than Israel, occupying the center of Islam with nearest secure base in Kuwait and not enough troops; Iraq Push Revives Criticism of Force Size.
    The talk of atomic strikes, no matter how crazy sounding, becomes plausible. It is the only possible outcome of continued Likud Neo-Con escalation. The alternatives are Israel becoming a secular state and American withdrawal from the Middle East. For a successful disengagement, the USA has to achieve energy independence to dry up excess oil money that funds radical Islamic movements. The military industrial complex and big oil have to be broken apart and the US government starts serving its citizens rather than Wall Street and its wealthy Stakeholders.

  34. Just an ex grunt says:

    To Martin K,
    I used that old homily
    to describe the motivation
    (as I suspect them to be, anyway) of the Bush/Cheney
    type of strategies we are still pursuing, because I believe it applies to them on several levels.
    If you look at the careers of Cheney and Rummy, they got to where they are by being brutal bureaucratic infighters. Bulldozing has always worked for them. For Bush, it has always worked because of his position, the son of an enormously powerful man.
    Put such people in a stressful situation, operating from a nexus of fear (this Krauthammer stuff is more than just propoganda, they really believe it) and brutality is to be expected. Both on the field and diplomaticly.
    In Somalia, we started a war
    against the Islamic Courts
    on the bare whisp of a chance they might someday be sympathetic to extremists.
    Just my opinion as to why
    more nuanced and thoughtful strategies are not sought for and implimented by these folks, and I hope the good Colonel or yourself corrects me if I am way off beam on that.

  35. Sid3 says:

    To Duncan Kinder:
    You bring up a fascinating point re: Fire in the Mind, Dostoyevsky, et al.
    During his second inaugural speech, Pres. Bush used the words “Fire in the Mind”
    Raimondo the Rothbardian picked up on the phrase and wrote about it in the American Conservative mag. back in 05. Highly recommended. Again it seems to demonstrate that Bush and company are describing their own tactics when they describe the enemy. The historical roots of neoconservatives are in the Comintern mission, at least according to this argument.
    Here’s a link:

  36. I just had a thought, which prompted me to revisit portions of Barbara Tuchman’s important book Stilwell and the American Experience in China, 1911-1945 (New York: MacMillan, 1970).
    Considering the influence of American protestant missionaries in the powerful Republican China Lobby that launched the McCarthy era witchunts, Republican hack Charles Krauthammer seems only too familiar in his cynical attempts to use evangelical protestants as agents of the Israeli Lobby through similar attempted prosecutions of “Commintern” (meaning code for “Democratic Party”) types.
    Can anyone possibly credit as sincere the “temporary friendship” of an American Jew with American Christians who believe that Armageddon Day should come real soon now so that Jesus can come back again and this time forcibly convert Israeli Jews to Christianity or else consign them to burn in hell with all the other un-believers?
    Krauthammer, like most Israelis (of whatever nominal citizenship) can’t help but consider American fundamentalist Christians useful idiots too ignorant of their own religious history (ancient and contemporary) to figure out its glaring contradictions as these render them hapless dupes of an Israeli Lobby in no way planning on any Armageddon Day that features Jews as the missionary meal of Christian choice.
    Not for no reason does Kevin Phillips call the transformation of the GOP into “America’s first religious political party” by the apt term “Disenlightenment.”
    Krauthammer and other partisans of the Israeli Lobby know all this, of course, but figure they can play with the fire of religious ignorance and bigotry in the sort run and not get burned when disillusionment sets in and the ancient, endemic Christian charges of “Crucifixion Denial” against Jews resurface with a renewed vengeance.

  37. arbogast says:

    I am totally ignorant of military matters, but I believe that the conclusion is inescapable, in the absence of proof to the contrary, that the United States is incapable of protecting its troops in Iraq:
    BAGHDAD (AP) — Roadside bombs killed seven American troops in Iraq on Saturday, including four in a single strike outside Baghdad, the military said, as U.S. and Iraqi troops captured two senior al-Qaida militants in northern Iraq.
    We have spent billions on roadside bomb defenses, but when we start to move around outside our defensive positions, the enemy is able to pick us off at will.
    What I would compare the roadside bombs to is artillery fire. I am under the impression that poorly protected positions cannot withstand continual artillery fire for very long.
    Is it not time to admit military defeat? Forget about the political side. Military defeat.

  38. Char;les says:

    RE: PL “What do posters feel will be the outcome in the likely event that Abbas agrees to some final status of Palestine along the
    lines of the current bantustans?”
    Surely he will be tempted, and under under enormous pressure from all sides, as well, no doubt, from his own ego, to make just such a “deal”. And just as surely, he would be assassinated.
    And just as surely, this is what Israel desires and plans. They must know to the point of moral certainty that no honourable Palestinian leader could accept such a “state”; it would be ungovernable in any event. The benighted people, with a sense of history and time we in the west have no conception of, would hold out for another generation or three, black clad wailing mothers sure that eventually, Israel must fall to demographics, time, Arab frustration and one little bit of nanotechnology or WMD smuggled into the ghetto, or to the sheer fervour of their prayers and misery, manifested in their children.
    Arafat, who would have liked nothing better than to end his days as the Palestinian Nelson Mandela, walked away from Ehud Barak’s offer of “95%” of the West Bank and Gaza because in fact the offer was for 100% of several Bantustans with 40% of the water and perpetual Israeli secured highways to the illegal settlements, because he knew it was utter bullshit, and life threatening. The alternative to being castigated by Israel as a non-partner for peace would have been his own head. For his principles, he was held prisoner at tankpoint until just days before his death, when it seemed a tad unseemly not to let him flee to Paris and die there rather than imprisoned inside his shattered compound, the stuff of heroic myth-making.
    There will be no peace until Palestine is mostly free as a contiguous viable state with all the settlements removed, some face-saving right of return formulation, and especially nowadays, some sort of international status guaranteeing some shared sovereignty over a sliver of East Jerusalem and the Dome of the Rock. Which is going to require an armed force strong enough to defeat Israel, because until Israel is beaten,or really faced with the “existential threat ” they bandy about so blithely, there will be no real negotiation, let alone concession and retreat.
    Just as without a real state on the table, there will be no realistic Palestinian partner for peace, and nor should there be. It will also require heroic restraint on the part of the Palestinians, a government coherent, powerful and wise enough to not hold out for the maximalist position of Death to Israel. when the time comes.
    Some day, America will lose sway in a Saudi Arabia that has bankrolled the Islamic bomb. Some day, no matter what the cost, Israel will be fought, made to make peace or destroyed, whatever the cost. It is not going to happen the other way around, no matter how deluded today’s various plotters, statesmen and the U.S. Congress and their paymasters may be today. The idea that the present formulation or variants thereof can secure Israeli facts on the biblical ground for more than a few more decades is ludicrous, as many Israelis know.
    A more “nuanced outcome” would require genuine steps toward the viable Palestinian state from Israel, and the world’s forceful intervention on the Palestinian side. The current powers that be are far too besotted with their own various flavours of koolaid to choke that down. Hence, violence until victory or extermination of one or the other, and lets face it, the state of Israel, no matter how well armed, no matter how much a shining beacon of civilization and guilty Western recompense afloat on Israel bonds and greenbacks, is a little speck in the shifting sands of timeless Arabia.
    And the wailing mothers know this in their souls.

  39. Char;les says:

    Martin K :
    Today, 91 civilians dead over ten days, Karzai is all over the news declaring that the Nato mission in Afghanistan will fail, not that the Taleban would win, but that Nato would just fail – and the Taleban and Pakistan and the Heroin cartels are certainly more forceful than the current Afghan government – unless the carnage is stopped.
    Obviously, Karzai is aware that his government would fail as well, tarred as failed collaborators with the alien infidels(the warlords and the heroin powers currently ensconced in the “democratic” Afghan government aside, who are timeless.)
    But the reduction of collateral damage would require force and casualty levels that Nato is obviously not prepared to sustain.
    Today, our(Canada’s) Parliament having adjourned for the barbecue circuit until September, our little Bushy tailed PM Harper, at the helm of a shaky minority government, has announced that Canada will not be continuing its involvement in its present configuration past our present commitment to 2009 without the concurrence of all parties, which will defintely not be forthcoming. We are up to 61 dead out of a force of 2500 who have been doing the heavy lifting down south Kandahar way whilst our Euro-Nato allies flit about with very restrictive r.o.e’s that mostly preclude anything so messy as casualties in the double digits. That’s why the head of Nato was here this week begging thatwe stay on – because we’re one of the few nations actually fighting, but rightly or wrongly, that ain’t gonna happen.
    Besides, Pakistan’s not about to withdraw from what it considers an extension of its field of operations, its own front yard, any more than Hamas is, whatever the current fantasies that pass for diplomacy may be. Local forces are going to defeat western efforts no matter what. Sad, but true.

  40. Sid 3:
    Re: Pres. Bush used the words “Fire in the Mind”
    I just pulled out my copy of Fire in the Minds of Men. ( I haven’t read it in twenty years.)
    Billington, in his introduction, states:

    The revolutionary faith was shaped not so much by the critical rationalism of the French Enlightenment (as is generally believed) as by the occultims and prto-romanticism of Germany.

    ….The industrial revolution was permitting men to leash fire to machines–and to unleash fire power on each other–with a force undreamed of in earlier ages. In the midst of those fires appeared the more elusive flame that Dostoevsky described in the most searching work of fiction ever written about the revolutionary movement: The Possessed.
    He depicted a stagnant (tranquil?) provincial town that was suddenly inspired (infected?) by new ideas. Shortly after a turbulent literary evening, a mysterious fire broke out; and a local official shouted out into the nocturnal confusion: “The fire is in the minds of men, not in the roofs of buildings.”….

    The flame of faith had begun its migrations a century earlier, when some European aristocrats transferred their lighted candles from Christian altars to Masonic lodges….

  41. pbrownlee says:

    And precisely how did Arafat die? Another of the region’s multitude of mysterious mortalities?
    Unlike the culling of Hamas’s leadership which, apparently, is always an act of prudent statecraft.

  42. Will says:

    charle,s has presented a unique and utterly realistic view not often seen through non-Arab eyes. Arab eyes see thru the haze of emotion and rage but he seems to have a cool, rational look-see.
    Krauthammer, an invalid in a wheelchair, is a man of much education- a lawyer and a psychaitrist. He is a rabid Likudnik warmonger. But in one of his columns, he has presented a cool and realistic acknowledgment to Richard Milhous Nixon for saving Israel in the 1973 October War. He says although Nixon made private Jewish jokes and abusive language, the American resupply operation early in that War called Nickel Grass, saved their butts.
    The Chariman of the Joint Chiefs General Brown complained bitterly that our own combat troops in Asia were being shortchanged of supplies. And resupplying an occupying power that had consistently rebuffed peace overtures against countries trying to regain their occupied territory resulted in the Arab Oil Embargo against America and Europe. The price of Oil skyrocketed. Some analysts point to this as a devastating effect on the South Vietnamese economy and a factor in the fall of Saigon. Another instance of the law of unintended consequences.

  43. confusedponderer says:

    The old cold war prism at work! Neocons work by rules of thumb to form their world views it seems:

    1. you always deal with states, like the Soviet Union and it’s satellites, or Iran and it’s proxies and
    2. the enemy is a homogenic entity (aka ‘world communism’, or ‘islamofacism’ that is because of 1. neccessarily a state ideology
    3. which cannot be appease because it is irreconciable and very wicked
    4. thus there is only holocaust or victory
    5. and those who don’t follow their lead are either appeasers or ‘finlandised’

    The neo-cons require arch-enemies because only a very evil arch-enemy will make people to buy their rabid policies.
    When things are calm nobody listens to them, when everybody is afraid people listen to their lunacies. Exemplary view by Norman Podhorez, who can’t wait to bomb Iran, conceding that this will unleash a wave of anti-Americanism and terror – alas, the price of being virtuous, conveniently, paid for by someone else.
    Or take his even crazier son John Podhorez:

    What if the tactical mistake we made in Iraq was that we didn’t kill enough Sunnis in the early going to intimidate them and make them so afraid of us they would go along with anything? Wasn’t the survival of Sunni men between the ages of 15 and 35 the reason there was an insurgency and the basic cause of the sectarian violence now?

    The title suggests a few follow ups: Are Hamas, Hezbollah too evil to lose? Damn it. Did the US lose in Vietnam because they committed too few massacres? Should the Israelis have build concentration camps and kill all military aged Palestinians, Lebanese to win? Is that America’s grave mistake in Iraq? What then is the ‘solution’ for Iran? Where is Victor Davis Hanson quoting the Peloponnesian war, and praising Tamerlan style peacekeeping?
    So, there are two men considered to be at the top of the “conservative intellectual” heap, and their prescription is indiscriminate bombing of civilians and/or a targeted campaign to eradicate an entire demographic– a ‘controlled genocide,’ you might say– and no-one cares.

  44. jr786 says:

    Will writes:
    Arab eyes see thru the haze of emotion and rage
    You left out the sheesha smoke and the musky clouds of jasmine wafting through the harem of the Commander of the Faithful.

  45. Martin K says:

    will writes: “Arab eyes see thru the haze of emotion and rage but he seems to have a cool, rational look-see.”
    Isnt it amazing, Will, an intelligent sand-nigger? The whole concept of “Arab eyes” is a very big part of the problem of the neo-cons/genocide fraction, in that it is a workable generalization desired to create a reality of a common enemy. I would recommend reading Said concerning the concept of generalization.
    It still amazes me that we now have an active torture/genocide lobby with real power in the west again.

  46. Homer says:

    Krauthammer: Mahdi army (among others) in Iraq
    WPL: I won’t quibble with Dr. Krauthammer over his characterization of all those governments and movements as mere “proxies” for Iran
    What about the UIA in the Iraqi Parliament?
    How could that be omitted from the list of proxies?
    Also, pls elaborate on the Mahdi army as a proxy to Iran.
    I have read that Al-Sadr is not pro-Iranian, esp. in comparison to the SCIRI and al-dawa.

  47. Montag says:

    Didn’t PM Harper pull a Bush in response to Canadian public opinion turning against his little escapade in Afghanistan? I saw a news report that he changed the longstanding policy on the return of Canadian military coffins to Canada. Previously when they arrived and were received by relatives it was entirely at the discretion of the relatives whether the media would be allowed to cover the “return” of the soldier.
    But Harper saw the pictures of flag-drapped coffins as subversive, so he banned the media outright, just as we do at Dover AFB–screw the relatives, eh? But they fought back. They would videotape the arrival and then play it at the funeral where the media WERE present, along with some scathing commentary like, “This is what Harper didn’t want you to see.” And the furor caused Harper to revert to the old policy like a scalded cat.
    The Pentagon tried the same thing with the Louisiana National Guard when they were due to receive 6 coffins at once back in Louisiana. The Pentagon tried to extend the ban on the media to the arrival there, as well as Dover AFB, “advising” the LNG that the media should be banned locally too. Well, the LNG knew how to handle such “advice” from the Pentagon–wipe then flush. They made sure the media was there.

  48. Char;les says:

    Montag, yes indeed Canadian PM Harper is now a temporary creature of the polls and wind currents, but only because he has a minority government. He is a true believer in the worst kind of fervent way.
    One of his only saving graces is that he is so intolerant of dissent and dismissive and publicly demeaning of other’s points of view, that his default debating style is the slimy ad hominem attack of a petulant child and the inability to accept criticism that seems to go along with that mindset. He is emulating the cut taxes, law and order, public morality, either you’re with me or a traitor approach that seems to work so handily south of me – but Canadians instinctively recoil from the more intolerant bits. After all we have gay marriage, all but the professionally homophobic have swallowed it and moved on, and just about everybody up here has admitted inhaling at some time or other.
    Also, since he is on a mission of which he is morally certain, rather than just a hungry pol or public do-gooder, and his fellow travelers have the unfortunate predilection of periodically letting the gee, shucks mask slip with the most neolithic comments, he has had to paranoically keep all the reins of government in his tightly clenched little hands while he shifts hither and yon hoping bamboozle up a majority. But he does slip. We have a great sticky centre here that is hard to polarize, as well as the much more liberally minded, vote critical province of Quebec, fondly dubbed “The Latin Quarter” by our own little Spy magazine, “Frank”. That crap just doesn’t sell as well or as widely up here, it seems. Vive le difference!

  49. Char;les says:

    Will and Martin re:
    “charle,s has presented a unique and utterly realistic view not often seen through non-Arab eyes. Arab eyes see thru the haze of emotion and rage but he seems to have a cool, rational look-see.”
    Please, you need to read a few more of my posts – I am furious to point of unbridled rage.In different circumstances, my demons might undo me, but many fine human beings(along with my plethora of greater and lesser pagan gods) have helped me along the upward spiral of enlightenment. Not a few of them right here.
    And my view is neither unique nor original. The most I can claim is to read as widely as possible. I’m just an eclectic, capacious synthesizer, and my thoughts above are inspired by those from Lawrence of Arabia to my favourite heroic self-hating Jew, the great and dispassionate Noam Chomsky. You want to know about America, Israel and Palestine, read his exhaustively, exquisitely footnoted “The Fateful Triangle” where each speaks to their own the unvarnished emotive speech that betrays the lies we hear for the truth that must be known. Be prepared to be angry.
    How can anyone watch the news and not be enraged? and yes, enraged at Arab stupidity and cupidity as well. I’ve had the great pleasure of knowing a few living, breathing exiled “sand niggers” including a lovely Iraqi librarian who in a few moments tempered my reactive doe-eyed enthusiasm for Al – Jezeera.
    But the rubble of Palestine, the hulk of yet another Palestinian car extra-judicially blasted from the sky, the endless reports of “5 Palestinians killed today, THREE of them militants. . . ” meaning five human beings at least two of them “civilians” . . . well this when the blood rose to my eyes, and it was long before the Iraq war.
    Israel kidnaps Palestinians EVERY day when not murdering them. I had to reformat my hard drive, but I will find and post the site that reports the names, the villages, from the West Bank, every day. Some no doubt murderous characters themselves. An air strike in Gaza today, I hear on the news. But often teens. Children. By the thousands they languish in Israeli prisons for having the temerity to resist armour with stones, exploding humans and the mighty Qassam rocket.
    Arabia is an ancient civilization that provided us with baklava, belly dancing and the zero – each divine achievements in their own right. The first written, codified, laws to reach Europe courtesy of Hammurabi.
    The poetry of the 8th century Arabs – many of them devout Muslims mullahs, as they were literate – need not blush before Shakespeare; indeed, perhaps he had the benefit of it. I myself have cravenly used the Song of Solomon to beguile fair maidens; neither Elvis nor the Beatles ever helped me to convince one to reveal herself to me, though in deference to Willy, I did once arm myself with Sonnet CXVI for one fervent assault on virtue. (Mission Accomplished. No flight suit required)
    The mosques of Cordoba and Granada, tiled with patterns only recognized as quasicrystalline in the 1970’s, are as unique as snowflakes – the tiles NEVER repeat their patterns, and I spent many a befuddled day in my youth trying to divine them. Stone-still, mesmerizing as gyrating hips. All Buddha had was some beads and a Mona Lisa smile… which I grant Leonardo, is Divine if you look long enough.
    But make no mistake, for all these gifts from our creators, I AM ENRAGED. . . and I thank you all, and particularly, of course, Pat, again, for this part of my spiral. . . . blessedly, haltingly, an UPWARD spiral which brooks no despair, anger and sorrow notwithstanding.
    If you wish to know when this Iraq war was lost, read Pulitzer alumnus Anthony Shadid’s account of the ordinary Iraqi’s views before, during and after the invasion and occupation in “Night Draws Near” It was lost long ago.
    Occupation is as visceral an insult to an Arab, just far more deadly, as is the bottom of your shoe. Don’t forget, this was early on a U.N. legalized foreign occupation. . . by the greatest power on Earth . . . who can’t keep the power on after 5 years. Ipso facto, they must MEAN it to be so. . .Liberation went to occupation that must be fought, resisted not just by a few “dead-enders” but by every proud Iraqi everyman, a tiny stratum of muckety-mucks excepted, in a matter of weeks, years ago.

  50. Abu Sinan says:

    “Some Muslims do worship Christian saints – there’s plenty of crossover from what I know”
    No Muslim worships Christian saints or any other saint. The worship of anything other than God would be to violate the very core of Islam, being that there is only one God and ONLY He is worshipped. Anything else would violate the strict monotheism of Islam.
    Some Muslims, mostly Sufi, do “venerate” their own saints and sometimes the saints of other religions, including Christianity and Hinduism, but never worship them.
    Some would argue that the Shi’a have made their own “saints” and venerate them as well.
    Even this “veneration” is viewed by most mainstream Sunni Muslims as being out of bounds. In Islam it is forbidden to worship anyone but God and it is also forbidden to seek intersession from men or to pray to anyone but God.
    The radical Sunnis go so far as to say that even the veneration of saints makes one a “kaffir” (non believer).
    Belief in saints, therefore, is not a mainstream Islamic belief, rather it is practiced by some Sufis and some Shi’a, but not the majority of Muslims.

  51. Peter Principle says:

    Col. Lang: “This is a massive undertaking for any propagandist or group of propagandists, but their previous successes were so great that they are encouraged to make the attempt. Will they succeed?”
    According to a new Newsweek poll, 41% of Americans asked still believe Saddam was behind 9/11, while 20% think Iraq had WMDs prior to the 2003 invasion and 11% agree that the USA has already tracked down and captured Osama bin Ladin.
    Such a degree of public ignorance doesn’t automatically mean the answer to Col. Lang’s question is yes, but it certainly suggests it is possible.

  52. Leila A. says:

    Abu-Sinan – thanks for the correction, especially on the distinction between worship and venerate. As a rather secularized Protestant, I have a tin ear for this sort of thing. I appreciate the correction.
    While I am certain that “mainstream Sunnis” disapprove of the veneration of saints, I do notice that “the people” tend to go their own way. When I lived in Cairo 24 years ago (ulp) there was an enormous mass frenzy around a supposed sighting of the Virgin Mary above some religious monument in Old Cairo. Tens of thousands of people crowded the area for a week, hoping to catch another glimpse of the Virgin soaring into the sky. These were not all Copts – many, many of the faithful were Muslims. Yes the scholars and bourgeoisie shook their heads and issued stern fatwas, but the people were desperate for a visitation.
    The mainstream pundits of any faith (capitalism, neo-conservatism, neo-liberalism, Sunni Islam, High Church of Englandism – you name it) can issue policy papers and letters and encyclicals but the people will always follow their own paths, no matter how Not Approved. Populist mass movements will always break out to the dismay of the Mandarins. I have a soft spot for saints and am happy to see them venerated, especially in ways disapproved of by the hierarchy. This must be the result of my mixed secular-Protestant-Melchite-Catholic upbringing.

  53. Abu Sinan says:

    Being originally from a Protestant background, from a wider Catholic family, I have no time for the veneration of saints. I find it an affront to monotheism.
    Having said that, I am fascinated by the lives of saints and have visited the mosques/churches of more than a few of them. My favourite would have to be the supposed final resting place of St Patrick and St Columba in Downpatrick Ireland.

  54. Martin K says:

    Charles: Would just like to point out that my use of the term “sand-nigger” was heavily ironic and in no way racistic, as I hope my reference to Said made clear. I, too, am in a constant state of slowburn rage over the conditions not just in Palestine, but in almost all the areas of the new US Middle East “empire”. Take a look at Ethiopia and conditions for opposition to the government there. Or the rights of immigrant workers in the Emirates. Or the corruption and barbarity of the house of Saud. Et bloody cetera. I am not in any way an “anti-american” but I am rapidly becoming anti-US-policy, so much so that I am now pondering refusing turning up for my repetition-service and taking the two months in jail instead, for reasons of honour. The way these last two invasions have been carried out seems to me to be the first improvised occupations since the East India trade company “accidentaly” ended up owning half of India, and that is just no way to wage a “democratic liberation of the opressed”.
    In my eyes, again and again it comes down to the question of motivation and culpability. Why did the war play out the way it did? Where does the moneytrail lead? Just like we used to refer to the first Gulf War as the biggest car-accident in modern history, this second seems like the biggest bank-robbery ever. And the robbers are getting away sot free, it seems. Why? Because of system-breakdown. If the US has no way of finding out where all that graft and theft from the “reconstruction-effort” of Iraq went, then the US system has ceased to function. When obvious and blatant theft and corruption is allowed to go unpunished as part of the state, then you have indeed gone over the edge and become a privilegium-state. (privilegium: Roman term meaning “private law). When Dick Cheney can declare himself no longer a part of the republic and refuse to yield to Congress through legal wizardry, that means that you now have a actual junta in government. This in turn means the de-facto ending of the republican idea, with the president now instead being the chosen dictator with powers to carry away anyone and torture them without recause to the law. By abolishing Habeas Corpus, you are now living in a good, oldfashioned dictatorship.
    Again and again, it basically comes down to what seems to be a sickness in the world of democracy, the sickness of dumb shortsightedness and greed, the sickness of unbridled capitalism and its opportunities for sharks, the sickness of the victor believing what he sees in the mirror when he looks at himself. The sickness of lack of empathy and the belief that ruthlesness is enough to own other people. Its very sad.

  55. Montag says:

    Martin K
    During the Constitutional Convention of 1787 the story goes that they created the office of President, but then were stuck on how to address the person filling this then-unique office. One suggestion was to take a lead from Poland, which elected their King, and refer to him as, “Your Elected Majesty.” But fortunately George Washington set the standard by insisting on, “Mr. President.”
    No doubt Dick Cheney wishes they’d followed through with a good idea like that.

  56. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Abu Sinan & Leila A.:
    Under the rubric of monotheistic purity the Wahabis destroyed historical Islamic cemeteries in Arabia; specifically Baqi’a. Their crimes against historical memory of early Islam was compounded by their vindictive destruction of the historical settlements, house, and places of early Islam – again under the flagging flag of their militant monotheism.
    The Shia veneration of saints is clearly a sore point for many a Sunni. But people follow their own path. The Shia veneration of the saints – ahl al biyt – makes it possible for them to be more understanding of the Hindu practices of veneration of avatar of God – the various Hindu deities. Thus the number of Hindu-Muslim clashes in India that involves the Shia has been less than a 100-th of those involving Sunni Muslims.

  57. Leila A. says:

    Ah, monotheism. My monotheism is not very pure. In the one, many; in the many, one.

  58. Charles says:

    Martin, not to worry,I know irony when I see it, except at my most obtuse.

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