John Bolton: Administration Attempting to Deal with Lincoln Chafee

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chafee flag.jpg
Yesterday, the Department of State sent a high level emissary to see if any deal-making could be done with Senator Lincoln Chafee regarding his opposition to John Bolton.
President Bush’s speech yesterday at the UN seemed nearly a tailor-made response that the White House might begin to take seriously a new round of credible diplomacy in the Middle East.
On Palestine/Israel, Bush stated:

The world must also stand up for peace in the Holy Land. I’m committed to two democratic states — Israel and Palestine — living side-by-side in peace and security. I’m committed to a Palestinian state that has territorial integrity and will live peacefully with the Jewish state of Israel. This is the vision set forth in the road map — and helping the parties reach this goal is one of the great objectives of my presidency. The Palestinian people have suffered from decades of corruption and violence and the daily humiliation of occupation. Israeli citizens have endured brutal acts of terrorism and constant fear of attack since the birth of their nation. Many brave men and women have made the commitment to peace. Yet extremists in the region are stirring up hatred and trying to prevent these moderate voices from prevailing.
This struggle is unfolding in the Palestinian territories. Earlier this year, the Palestinian people voted in a free election. The leaders of Hamas campaigned on a platform of ending corruption and improving the lives of the Palestinian people, and they prevailed. The world is waiting to see whether the Hamas government will follow through on its promises, or pursue an extremist agenda. And the world has sent a clear message to the leaders of Hamas: Serve the interests of the Palestinian people. Abandon terror, recognize Israel’s right to exist, honor agreements, and work for peace.
President Abbas is committed to peace, and to his people’s aspirations for a state of their own. Prime Minister Olmert is committed to peace, and has said he intends to meet with President Abbas to make real progress on the outstanding issues between them. I believe peace can be achieved, and that a democratic Palestinian state is possible. I hear from leaders in the region who want to help. I’ve directed Secretary of State Rice to lead a diplomatic effort to engage moderate leaders across the region, to help the Palestinians reform their security services, and support Israeli and Palestinian leaders in their efforts to come together to resolve their differences. Prime Minister Blair has indicated that his country will work with partners in Europe to help strengthen the governing institutions of the Palestinian administration. We welcome his initiative. Countries like Saudi Arabia and Jordan and Egypt have made clear they’re willing to contribute the diplomatic and financial assistance necessary to help these efforts succeed. I’m optimistic that by supporting the forces of democracy and moderation, we can help Israelis and Palestinians build a more hopeful future and achieve the peace in a Holy Land we all want.

What the President has outlined does not constitute a credible policy or even really a new direction. It simply signifies that he is beginning to get the sense that there are some “really important issues” over there that need attention.
The President is at least talking about Israel/Palestine and has not backed away from his encouragement of a two state outcome. But he has not put together a plan that makes the rhetoric believable as of yet.
Our advice to Senator Chafee — keep your powder dry.
John Bolton is the wrong person to handle America’s diplomacy at the UN — and is the world’s best expert in setting the UN up for failure. One only has to remember Bolton’s promises that he would conscientiously approach reform at the UN in an above the board manner. But succeeding at actually getting the UN back in good shape or getting the kind of Human Right Council the US could support — something that should have been the absolute highest priority for Ambassador Bolton to accomplish — would not be good line items in John Bolton’s resume as the nation’s poster-person for “pugnacious Americanism.”
On the Middle East, beware, the administration is also pretty good at setting up Middle East diplomacy for failure — embracing one side at the expense of the other, over and over again. A real program will lay out the ground rules of fair and just negotiations and not leave the environment one that Vice President Cheney and his team can easily tip at the end.
Stand strong on Bolton.
— Steve Clemons
Ed Note: I had a great time at the Birmingham Committee on Foreign Relations last night after an excellent evening discussion with members of the Nashville Committee on Foreign Relations the night before. Today, I am flying to New York to attend and blog the Clinton Global Initiative.

— Steve Clemons

Comments

68 comments on “John Bolton: Administration Attempting to Deal with Lincoln Chafee

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  2. Carroll says:

    I’m sure I’m not the only one who doesn’t care to see entire articles routinely pasted in the comments section here, no matter how interesting the subject matter—I’m sure the publishers care about copyright infringement, for instance.
    Posted by marky at September 23, 2006 02:26 AM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I am not sure the publishers care about copyrights when the articles are not behind a subscription wall and are available to the entire world with a mouse click.
    But since it “offends you to have a lengthy article at the end of a dying thread I will try to put in links instead just for you.

    Reply

  3. Frank says:

    A mind image cartoon: Visualize an elephant labeled “GW Bush”, led by a major domo waving a prod labeled “AIPAC” in front of the elephant. Following the elephant are three senators tagged “Warner”,”McCain”, and “Graham” near a two wheeled supported rubbish can labeled “Torture” sweeping and shoveling elephant dung into the cartlabeled “broken laws”,expelled by the elephant, . Following this cart are two more similar brush and shovel can equipped carts, piled high with dung labeled “broken laws”. One cart, labeled “FISA” is pushed by a tagged senator “Spectre”, and the third cart, labeled “Iraq”, pushed by a tagged senator “Roberts”. Trailing behind the carts are seen goose stepping figures labeled “republican congress”. The caption ….”The republican circus march continues”. In the distance could be seen the circus tent destination labeled Iran….
    A more than true nightmarish cartoon.

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  4. elementary teacher says:

    Ok, Ok, I’ll sit next to MP. He can buy me drink and we’ll talk religion the whole flight. 😀

    Reply

  5. Pissed Off American says:

    Perhaps we can get a group rate on air fare to Venezuela. I hear the President there hs an acute sense of smell, and if he smells shit, he’s not afraid to say so.

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  6. Dirk says:

    If Bush does attack Iran it looks like he not only has to worry that the Persian Gulf will be blocked at the straits of Hormuz, but that Venezuela will will stop shipping to the US as well.
    From Yahoo:
    He also referred to his past threats that he could cut off oil exports to the U.S. if it tries to oust him.
    “Believe me, if I were to decide tomorrow to stop sending oil to the United States … the price would go up to $150, $200 a barrel. But we don’t want to do it, and we aren’t going to do it,” Chavez said. “We ask only for respect.”
    http://tinyurl.com/jnxqj

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  7. marky says:

    I’m sure I’m not the only one who doesn’t care to see entire articles routinely pasted in the comments section here, no matter how interesting the subject matter—I’m sure the publishers care about copyright infringement, for instance.

    Reply

  8. Carroll says:

    Speaking of Bush’s new “push” on the Pal/Isr settlement process.
    Here is the Forward’s article :
    Bush Presses Israel in Apparent Bid to Maintain Anti-Iranian Front
    Ori Nir | Wed. Sep 20, 2006
    WASHINGTON — In an apparent effort to bolster Arab and European support for anti-Iranian measures, the Bush administration is urging Jerusalem to take steps to ease tensions in the West Bank and Gaza and to generate progress toward possible negotiations with the Palestinians.
    Israel, according to American, Israeli and European sources, has agreed to such an approach. In meetings last week with American officials in Washington, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said that her country would begin to implement aspects of the long-stalled road map peace plan, even if the Palestinians fail immediately to implement the reciprocal steps required under the internationally backed agreement.
    The issue was discussed in meetings that Livni held with President Bush and his chief foreign policy advisers — including Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas — last week in Washington and this week in New York. Bush, speaking before the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, said that creating “a Palestinian state that has territorial integrity” is “one of the great objectives” of his presidency. He stopped short of announcing the intensification of American efforts to revive the peace process through mediation, but he did say that he had directed Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice “to lead a diplomatic effort to engage moderate leaders across the region” to help Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert “in their efforts to come together to resolve their differences.”
    Senior administration officials said that Bush’s comments, as well as the series of meetings that his secretary of state held in New York this week, are intended to produce progress on the peace process.
    The sense of urgency to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts emerged as Bush and his chief foreign policy advisers headed to New York this week for the president’s annual address before the United Nations General Assembly.
    Behind this sense is the growing realization in Washington that in order for America to maintain a solid international coalition to fight terrorism and to confront Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons, America and Israel must show progress toward resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The notion was articulated plainly in a September 15 speech by Philip Zelikow, special counselor to Secretary of State Rice, in Virginia at the annual conference of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
    Speaking before a large crowd of American officials, foreign diplomats, reporters and trustees of the prestigious pro-Israel think tank, Zelikow said that the Europeans and the moderate Arabs are America’s most important allies in confronting Iran and Islamist terrorism, “and some sense of progress and momentum on the Arab-Israeli dispute is the sine qua non for them to cooperate actively with the United States on lots of other things that we care about.
    “We can rail against that belief; we can find it completely justifiable. It is a fact. That means an active policy on the Arab-Israeli dispute is an essential ingredient to forging a coalition that deals with the most dangerous problem.”
    America’s European and Arab allies are not demanding that a “linkage” be created between cooperation on confronting Iran’s nuclear ambitions and progress on the peace process. “We are not saying that all problems in the Middle East would be resolved if we solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but we are saying that no problem in the region could be resolved unless a solution is found to the issue of Israel-Palestine,” a senior European diplomat told the Forward.
    The notion of linking the Israeli-Palestinian peace process to confronting Iran’s nuclear ambitions is causing concern among some pro-Israel activists in Washington. One such activist, speaking on condition of anonymity, called it “absurd” and said that such an approach would give Khaled Mashal, the militant director of Hamas’s political bureau in Damascus, “a veto-right on confronting Iran.”
    Following Zelikow’s comments and similar remarks from another senior administration official that indicated such linkage, several pro-Israeli activists asked other senior administration officials to clarify the administration’s position. On Monday, Rice reportedly told Livni in New York that the United States does not see such a linkage between efforts to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions and progress on the Palestinian front.
    Meanwhile, many senior Israelis are not voicing alarm over the idea of such a link. One Israeli official, speaking not for attribution, said there is no cause for alarm because the Israeli government is willing to generate progress with the Palestinians regardless of the confrontation with Iran. Ephraim Sneh, leader of the Labor faction in the Knesset, said that Israel “has its own reasons” to move toward negotiations with the Palestinians. He said he is “dubious,” however, about whether such progress would convince the international community to form a strong, unified front to block Iran from obtaining the atomic bomb.
    Uzi Arad, who advised former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and is still close to the head of the rightwing opposition Likud party, told the Forward that if Israelis agree — as they should — that all efforts ought to be devoted to stopping Iran’s nuclear quest, then “it would be wise to adopt a slightly more flexible policy toward the Palestinian issue.” He added that “there is much that could be done” to engage with the Palestinians, short of making significant concessions.
    According to foreign diplomats, Israeli sources and several Washington insiders, administration officials agreed with Livni that Israel would start taking measures in the West Bank and Gaza to ease Palestinian freedom of movement and to help stimulate the stagnant local economy. These measures would be taken along the lines of the internationally sponsored road map agreement, sources said.
    Although the plan calls for a reciprocal approach in which Israeli steps are to be matched with corresponding Palestinian ones, Livni reportedly agreed to start on the path of the road map regardless of Palestinian action. In several closed, off-the-record meetings that Livni had during her Washington visit, she indicated that Israel would take such measures to kick-start the plan.
    On Monday, Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz ordered the Israeli military to renew preparations to demolish Jewish structures built illegally in settlements in the West Bank, Ha’aretz stated. Peretz reportedly rejected recommendations from some senior officers to freeze the demolition efforts. Demolishing illegal Jewish constructions in West Bank settlements is one of the chief requirements of the first phase of the road map.
    A senior European diplomat, speaking with the Forward last week on condition of anonymity, said that the European Union and the Bush administration see eye to eye on the urgent need to improve the economic situation on the ground in the Palestinian territories, particularly in Gaza. First and foremost, he said, is the need to immediately increase the flow of incoming and outgoing cargo at the Karni crossing point. According to a recent World Bank report, the average number of trucks leaving Gaza with export goods has fallen to less than 25 this summer in the past year from the already low baseline of 45 per day prior to Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza. In addition, the European diplomat said, Israel and Egypt are willing to do their share to increase the flow of people and goods through the Gaza-Egypt crossing in Rafah. Israel also has agreed to lift more of its restrictions on travel inside the West Bank.
    The E.U. believes that a sense of political progress could further split the militant Islamist movement Hamas and encourage its political wing, which now dominates the Palestinian government, to moderate, the senior European diplomat said. Economic improvement, deeper Israeli and international political engagement with Abbas, and a reiteration that the international community would interact with a Palestinian government that renounces terrorism, recognizes Israel and accepts Israeli-Palestinian agreements all could push Prime Minister Ismail Haniyah of Hamas to fulfill these three international conditions, the European diplomat said.
    MEANWHILE….the settlements continue.
    JERUSALEM, Sept 21 (Reuters) – Israel plans to build 164 new homes in three Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, despite an obligation under a U.S.-backed peace “road map” to halt such construction on land Palestinians seek for a state.
    The Israel Lands Administration, a government agency, issued a tender inviting bids on 88 plots in the Ariel settlement, 56 in Alfei Menashe and 20 in Karnei Shomron. The tenders were published by Israeli media on Thursday.
    Israel’s Peace Now settlement watchdog criticised the move.
    “This tender hurts the interests of the state of Israel. It is a provocative step which goes against the majority of the Israeli public,” said Mossi Raz, a senior member of the group.
    The latest tender follows one published on Sept. 4 to build 690 new homes in the settlements of Maaleh Adumim and Beitar Ilit, the largest number of housing bids for settlement building offered since Prime Minister Ehud Olmert took office on May 4.
    Israel Lands Administration data showed a separate 98 housing plots were marketed in the West Bank from January to August.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    First, don’t take seriously anything the US or Isr says about moving on to a deal with the Pals while they are still building settlements and the US is still letting them.
    So what will happen?
    Will Israel do their typical stall with US blessing believing that the EU and Arabs states can’t keep up their unified stance on the Iran-Palestine package?
    Does the EU and the Arabs cave for a few small concessions on Palestine or hold the line on finalizing a real peace deal?
    Is Isr going to continue to go for both Greater Israel in Palestine and destruction of nuke potential in Iran?
    While the Isr stall is progressing will the zio/neo lunatics pony up a way to launch an “unallied” attack on Iran?
    Or..
    Are we approaching AIPAC’s worst nightmare where zionist interest run smack up against the real interest of the US in maintaining some glimmer of a foothold and relationship with Arab states vital to American interest?

    Reply

  9. Easy E says:

    Amazing Steve hasn’t moved on to another issue yet. I tend to agree with Carroll. If I could, I would consider dual citizenship in another country. Likewise, I’ve gotten more apprehensive (aka embarassed) about traveling internationally. A coup is long overdue. Hopefully some ex-generals, ex-joint-chiefs-of-staff, and non-partisan political leaders with some spine can help in neutralizing this neocon administration. Perhaps it’s time the U.S. attains the dissent, passion and outrage of a banana republic to quell this poison.

    Reply

  10. Matthew says:

    The torture debate is a symptom of the disease: The Bush Administration doesn’t believe in law. Think about it. Acknowledging international legal norms implies having to follow them. If anyone wants to defend Bush, here’s my challenge: How would we react if the Saudi said they had a right to “interpret” the Geneva Convention?

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  11. Carroll says:

    Steve, I’ve been watching the great ‘compromise’ in which your country is prepared to legalize torture.
    I never thought I’d say it, but I’m sickened by America. I think I might have to stay away for a while.
    Posted by Den Valdron at September 22, 2006 07:04 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>
    If it makes you sick, imagine how sick it makes most or some of us Americans. I have been urging a coup since we invaded Iraq. I would leave the country for some fresh air but I am too embrassed to travel on an American passport right now.

    Reply

  12. Carroll says:

    It’s all about whether Islam is a religion of peace or the sword–both are true.
    Posted by MP at September 22, 2006 07:01 PM
    >>>>>>>>
    Well, that is true of most religions. Judism and christianity are pretty bloody also. I try to avoid religious or bible discussions … first because I am not educated enough in all the details of them and second, even if I was it’s something you could talk about forever and never be able to reach any universal truths or conclusions that would satisfy everyone about what this or that meant 20 centuries ago when this and that person wrote it.

    Reply

  13. marky says:

    Easy E, the difference is that the public already (presumably) has a conception that the GC are valuable and good. If the fight is framed in terms of Bush wanting to violate the GC at will, I think it’s tough for Bush.
    In contrast, Saddam was a known bad actor, one who tried to kill my President’s daddy—so believing he was involved in 9/11 is not a stretch for the lightly informed.

    Reply

  14. Easy E says:

    Case in point: Nearly 1/3 of all Americans still believe Saddam involved in 9/11.
    http://www.rawstory.com/news/2006/Poll_Nearly_third_of_Americans_still_0922.html
    The radical right controls the MSM ensuring that just enough uninformed sheeple keep the Repugs in power.

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  15. Easy E says:

    Marky, I wish you were right. My fear is that most of the public is still comatose and doesn’t give a damn about any Geneva Convention. The mainstream media will do a good job distracting from the real issues, distorting the truth, instilling fear, and ensuring Repugs retain control of Congress. We can always hope though.

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  16. Marky says:

    Den, I’m not much of an optimist, but I think the Dems can win this one.
    Bush is saying that the Geneva Conventions aren’t good enough for him—he needs to be able to torture. I don’t think it’s too hard to push back on that one. I imagine that most people have a high regard for the Geneva Conventions, even if they haven’t read them. Bush is passing a law which allows him to be a monster, and I think the public can understand that.

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  17. Marky says:

    I’m with MP on this one: Christianity’s long history of anti-semitism is no accident—it’s based in scripture.
    And, by the way, I’m a firm believer that the only useful definition of “true Christian” is one who calls himself a Christian, provided that he is part of a like-minded group.
    There is no central authority in Christianity and it’s just ridiculous to say Pat Robertson is not a Christian because you don’t like his beliefs. Yes, he is a Christian—and he’s reprehensible. There’s no contradiction.

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  18. Den Valdron says:

    Steve, I’ve been watching the great ‘compromise’ in which your country is prepared to legalize torture.
    I never thought I’d say it, but I’m sickened by America. I think I might have to stay away for a while.

    Reply

  19. MP says:

    But Carroll, it was Matthew who issued the challenge.
    The best parts of each religion do, in essence, disavow various sections of their texts. Actually, they try to get around having to either follow or disavow those sections becuase, of course, the texts can’t be wrong, can they?
    In this light, I’m reading a fascinating article in a recent New Yorker about a Muslim mystic from Sudan whose last name was Taha. Very, very interesting. Well worth reading. It’s all about whether Islam is a religion of peace or the sword–both are true.

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  20. Carroll says:

    “In the end it REALLY is the higher moral ground that wins.”
    Posted by erichwwk at September 22, 2006 05:12 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I am clinging to that belief as hard as I can. I am just worried about all the dead things between now and the win.

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  21. Carroll says:

    Posted by Matthew at September 22, 2006 03:41 PM
    >>>>>>>>
    No problem….I just don’t know enough about either to commment. I read the old and new eons ago but basically blanked out the bible from my interest field because a human wrote it and humans continue to argue over it and apply their own meanings to it…which is a sure fire tenured occupation for God merchants since God has never resurfaced to contridict any of them. I got kicked out of thelogy class umpteen times for saying the Pope couldn’t possibily be infallible since he is only mortal, so basically I flunked religion.
    But my memory is that the old is a more fire and brimstone and the new is a more gentle version.
    Posted by MP at September 22, 2006 09:36 AM
    *&*^*&* it MP!…please quit picking at that scab. When I googled looking for info on anti-semitism in the new testment I noticed that people are suggesting parts of the old testament be disavowed by jews, parts the new testament be disavowed by christians, parts the Koran be disavowed by Muslims..probably in the next hundred years the the old,the new and the koran will all be rewritten by popular demand so no one will have anything to complain about.
    If this nonsense doesn’t end soon I am going to have an Ann Coulter moment where I suggest we round everyone up and convert them to Buddhist just to shut them up.

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  22. MP says:

    “MP: Good point. But the New Testament didn’t oppress Jews. People who wanted to oppress Jews just happened to also read the New Testament. If you can find a citation where Jesus called on Christians to repress Jews, I will happily concede the point to you.”
    I’d have to get out my concordance, but I’ll try from memory. My Jebbie education is a bit dusty.
    I do believe Acts pretty much sets out the case that Jews were responsible for killing Christ. Certainly this was the dominant interpretation held by the chief interpreters of the NT, the Catholic Church, for many centuries. I believe it wasn’t until Pope John that this interpretation was formally repudiated.
    Martin Luther was no fan of the Jews, either. I don’t believe they made up this interpretation out of whole cloth.
    Unfortunately, folks like Mel have resurrected, or given renewed voice to, this interpretation. (Mel even argued that he wanted to do a movie that portrayed Christ’s death in an historically accurate fashion.) So it would appear to be alive and well, despite Vatican II. Given how popular The Passion was here in America–and even in some predominantly Muslim countries –one can only assume (admittedly without proof) that those scenes of the devil sliming around in the midst of the Jewish crowd as Jesus suffered still have resonance with many, many Christians, and even Muslims.
    It could and should be argued that 2000 years of Christian interpretation of the NT and OT were wrong on this point as a point of fact. So, I would NEVER argue that being Christian requires one to believe in these old and dangerous myths. I have a Jesuit education and loved our local Congregational minister much more than the kids who attended his church back in my home town. I’m no Christian-hater.
    It’s true that books don’t oppress people. But I’m not sure I can go along with your statement: “People who wanted to oppress Jews just happened to also read the New Testament.” The “just happened to” part is hard to swallow. You make it sound like a chance encounter when, in fact, Christian leaders cited Christian doctrine to support their evil ends.
    You could say that these folks weren’t “true Christians,” and, of course, I’d agree. But you’d have to admit, I think, that, given that this routine went on for two centuries, it is reasonable to say they got their ideas from somewhere, and the NT and Christian doctrine were where they got them (or where they got them reinforced). It wasn’t as if they were a bunch of roving anti-Semites who ran across the NT and simply adopted it as a pretext for doing what they already loved doing best. Jews were clearly considered evil for not having accepted the savior and, worse, for having killed him. Their very own messiah.
    It has been argued that gentiles have hated Jews for having given them Christianity…and burdened them with Jewish morality (the ten commandments) as mediated through Christina doctrine. Without the Jews, the gentiles could have frollicked and killed without any sense of guilt, just like the pagans of yore. But it was the Jews qua Christians who spoiled all the fun by convincing the gentiles that some of this–actually a lot of it–was wrong and they were going to burn in hell forever for indulging in it. And they’ve never forgiven the Jews for this. It’s a theory.

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  23. erichwwk says:

    re Col. Gardiner and billmomn.
    This is indeed a no win for the US and a no lose for Iran. Most folks outside the U.S. now realize that, hence the speech from Hugo Chavez and the loud applause.
    The U.S.A. is truly becoming isolated. In the end it REALLY is the higher moral ground that wins. Germans stopped fighting in 1945 because they knew they were in the wrong; the reverse is true for most oil rich nations. The world sees the violence in lebanon, and wants it sopped. The US responds by sending more bombs to Israel, and the fuel with which to deliver them with. That is not a winning strategy, anymore than “bombing them back to the stone age” has any chance of LR success. The US political elite has been doing this for so long it has really losts its ability to tell wrong from right. The failure to turn atomic weapons over to the International Community in 1945, and attempting world superiority, is now coming home to roost. This craziness over perceived military hardware superiority is what collapsed Hitler in the end as well.
    Isn’t insanity the repeat of behavior, expecting different results?
    US Federal accounting from 1940-1996 is @
    http://www.brookings.edu/fp/projects/nucwcost/figure2.htm
    The Military Industrial Complex has become a failed state, and a breeding ground for corruption
    and violence.

    Reply

  24. Matthew says:

    Carroll: Sorry that so many attributed my post to you.
    MP: Good point. But the New Testament didn’t oppress Jews. People who wanted to oppress Jews just happened to also read the New Testament. If you can find a citation where Jesus called on Christians to repress Jews, I will happily concede the point to you.

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  25. gq says:

    Where’s the saint Chafee on the torture bill?

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  26. Carroll says:

    Just for the sake of conversation, here is an interesting musing from billmon on the Iran question…I think everyone is trying to figure out why Iran seems unconcerned about a US attack.
    September 21, 2006
    Only the Beginning
    One of my core assumptions about a U.S. sneak attack on Iran has been that the war would quickly spread — to Iraq, the Persian Gulf and Lebanon, and to the rest of the world via terrorist attacks. This would give the neocons that third or fourth world war they’ve been looking for, although probably under conditions that would make it impossible for the United States to win.
    But I’ve been having serious second thoughts about that assumption, in part because the Iranians simply aren’t acting as if they expect all-out war, or even a climactic showdown over their nuclear program.
    At first I thought this was due to miscalculation — that the strategists in Tehran had concluded the Cheney Administration was in way too much trouble in Iraq to even think about launching another war of choice, especially one in which the costs would vastly outweigh the benefits.
    As Col. Gardiner has already reminded us, that kind of analysis is both strategically correct and extremely naïve.
    You can call Iran’s rulers many things, but naïve is generally not one of them. Ahmadinejad can and sometimes does come across like the kind of loon who tries to sell you religious pamphlets at the airport (or did, before security got so tight) but the nonchalance emanating from Tehran these days is too widespread and brassy to credit just to him.
    The Iranians must see the same signs we all do: the deliberately incited media frenzy, the melodramatic warnings from exile groups, the intelligence strong arm tactics, the stovepipe operations, the efforts to discredit the UN inspectors, and now the military deployments. How can they be so seemingly certain it’s just an elaborate bluff? Even the Israeli air assault on Lebanon doesn’t appear to have made a dent in their confidence.
    It finally occurred to me that I may have been looking at this the wrong way. I’ve been thinking about an American air strike as the Cheney Administration’s way of kicking over the table and ending the chess match. But the Iranians may see it as simply another move on the board — a disastrously bad move they could then exploit to improve their position.
    It’s not so much that the Iranians want the Americans to attack their country, but they may be fully prepared to deal with it and use it to their own Machiavellian advantage — not just politically and diplomatically, but also to advance their alleged nuclear ambitions. They may even be counting on it. If this is correct, their initial reaction to a U.S. air strike may be surprisingly restrained.
    But this, in turn, raises some ominous questions: If a conventional air strike, even a big one, won’t scare the Iranians, what will? And how far up the escalation ladder is the Cheney Administration willing to go to try to force them to knuckle under?
    The Logic of Defiance
    Assume, just for the sake of the argument, that Iran has a parallel, covert nuclear program explicitly aimed at producing weapons. Neither the Pentagon nor the Israelis know what facilities are part of this program or where they are hidden. The covert program may be wholly or partially redundant — it could include a second enrichment hall, for example, or another heavy water reactor. If that’s the case, an air strike against the known, UN-monitored civilian sites might not set the weapons program back much, if at all.
    (An alternative hypothesis would be that the Iranians believe technical capabilities, not infrastructure, are the key, and are confident they could repair any damaged or destroyed facilities without falling too far behind their nuclear timetable.)
    Either way, the post-strike political environment could give the Iranians plenty of breathing room to resume and even accelerate their weapons program — assuming that they have one. Having launched a massive, unprovoked attack on another country and suffered the inevitable blowback (skyrocketing oil prices, recession, disaster in Iraq, global condemnation) would the United States have the political will to do it again in one or two or three years time?
    The Iranians might well conclude, rationally, that we wouldn’t. What’s more, a U.S. attack would provide them with the perfect excuse — and complete political cover — to expel the IAEA inspectors and/or withdraw from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty all together. In the end, this could actually speed up Iran’s nuclear “break out” by allowing the regime to fully integrate its civilian and covert military programs and stop playing cat-and-mouse with the inspectors.
    Post-strike economic conditions could also work to Tehran’s tactical advantage. One assumes an American strike would initially cause a huge spike in the price of oil — to say, $150 or $200 a barrel. While that risk premium would presumably decline if an attack didn’t lead to total war or total chaos in the Persian Gulf, or any of the other worst-case scenarios, some or most of it would almost certainly linger.
    Result: Iran’s economy would be left floating on an even bigger oil revenue windfall — assuming, that Iranian oil could still be taken to market and the revenues used to purchase vital imports (i.e. no blockades, embargos or asset freezes, or no effective ones, anyway.) The extra money would help pay for repairing the strike damage and provide funding for a crash nuclear program, while also helping the regime keep a lid on popular discontent.
    If that’s how things play out, what could or would the U.S. response be? Additional air strikes — this time without clear, identified targets? A naval blockade — in the face of sky-high oil prices and retaliatory efforts by Iran to harass or interdict the Straits of Hormuz? A call for tighter economic sanctions — after the Cheneyites have demonstrated they won’t wait to see if sanctions can work? Saturation bombing — when the United States is already universally seen as a brutal aggressor?
    One way or another, we’re talking about a continuing war of attrition — military, political, economic and diplomatic. This may be a war the Iranians feel they can win, and come out the other side with a greatly strengthened regional position, the moral and diplomatic high ground, and, in due course, nuclear weapons.
    In other words, without a ground invasion, and regime change, there may not be a scenario in which the United States can succeed in using conventional military force to stop Iran from joining the nuclear club — or at least, not for long.
    But it’s now almost universally agreed that a ground invasion is off the table. Even the nuttiest neocons are shying away from the idea — just as their Israeli compatriots blinked this summer when it came to ordering a full-scale re-invasion of southern Lebanon. I guess you don’t have to be sane to understand that shoving your hand down a spinning garbage disposal will leave you in a world of hurt.
    In any case, the Pentagon doesn’t have enough troops to occupy Iran, and has already had a belly full of counterinsurgency warfare. (If you’re wondering how much worse Iran could be than Iraq, check out this map. It is to scale.)
    Nuke Unto Others
    There is only one U.S. move I can think of that could possibly offset Iran’s natural advantages in this game of geopolitical chess — the use of tactical nuclear weapons. The objective of such a strike would not only be to destroy Iran’s nuclear plants more completely, but to demonstrate to Tehran that the old rules don’t apply, that America is prepared to commit even barbarous war crimes if that’s what it takes to deter hostile powers from acquiring, or even trying to acquire, nuclear weapons.
    It would, in other words, take the logic of preventative war — and Cheney’s one percent doctrine — to their ultimate conclusion.
    Perhaps saturation bombing — the indiscriminate destruction of Iran’s civilian infrastructure and economic resources — could accomplish the same goal. It would, however, take longer, be messier (from the Pentagon’s point of view) and wouldn’t have the same psychological shock value as the deliberate first use of tactical nuclear weapons. A certain kind of mind (that is, one resembling a vacant lot) might even convince itself that a nuclear strike is actually the more humane option, or that it’s what Harry Truman would have done, or some other piece of sophism.
    The consequences, of course, would be appalling — for the Iranian people, for the world, for Americans who prefer not to be regarded as the direct, linear heirs of the Nazi Party. But if the overriding objective is to stop Iran from building a bomb — or rather, to make absolutely sure they can’t or won’t build one — and military force is held to be the only option left on the table, then a tactical nuclear strike, or even multiple strikes, may be the only way to do it.
    Matt Yglesias has reported chatter in Washington that the Cheneyites might order such a strike and then deny it, relying on the chaotic aftermath and the residual traces of Iran’s own nuclear materials to cover their traces. This sounds absurd to me — I’m reasonably sure it would be technically impossible to hide the tell tale signs of a nuclear detonation. But the fact that it’s being talked about — even if just as a cocktail party rumor — is a bad sign. It means the idea is being normalized, injected into the debate, made thinkable. I can already imagine the boys at Fox News awarding Shrub brownie points because he doesn’t deny ordering the first use of nuclear weapons.
    It’s getting very dark in here — the little bit of light left is primarily the result of me trying to convince myself the signs we saw in the run up to the Iraq invasion don’t have the same significance this time around. Who knows? Maybe doing the same things and expecting different results isn’t crazy after all.
    Or, at the least, maybe the use of tactical nukes is off the table. Maybe my logic is wrong, or isn’t compelling enough to outweigh the obvious drawbacks, even for Dick Cheney. But if that’s the case, then a U.S. air strike on Iran might mark the beginning, not the end, of a long, drawn-out struggle — one that Iran, paradoxically, might have an incentive to keep within relatively tight limits.
    Not a peaceful resolution, exactly, but not the battle of Armageddon either — at least not yet.

    Reply

  27. Carroll says:

    Meanwhile here is the Biden-Gelb plan for Iraq..Gleb is the head of the CFR.
    #Maintain a unified Iraq by decentralizing it in to regions. A central government would be left in charge of common interests.
    #Guarantee Sunis a fair share of oil revenue so that each group has an incentive to maximize oil production, making oil the glue that binds the country together.
    #Create a massive job program while increasing reconstruction aid – especially from the oil-rich Gulf states. This job program would be tied to the protection of minority rights.
    #Hold an international conference that would produce a regional nonaggression pact and create a Contact Group to enforce regional commitments.
    #Begin the phased redeployment of U.S. forces and withdraw most of them by the end of 2007.
    They say..”This plan is consistent with Iraq’s constitution and has been endorsed by many experts on Iraq.”
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    This is still a US plan (more like the Cheney Plan) not an Iraq plan. And every day I am more convinced that the chaos in Iraq has been deliberate by the US to finally get to the place where carving out seperate regions would be the only thing left to suggest.
    They are going to “impose” an international regional non agression pact on Iraq? And they are going to get the different “regions” to all agree with all the other internationals involved?
    The Arab states are going to fiance cleaning up the mess the US made?
    Make “oil” the glue the holds the country together?…the capitalist creed of greed is going to make them all “get along”?
    Huummm…so in this plan how long until the Kurd region or the Sunnis take exception to some division of oil wealth or other dictate from the “central goverment” and it starts all over again?
    If there was a plan that didn’t have US/Isr interest at heart in it, why wouldn’t they simply
    suggest that Iraq like another Arab country just distribute all the oil proceeds equally among all the citizen of Iraq? Seems to me that would give them ALL a better reason to drop their differences for an equal economic reward to all Iraqis instead of splitting them up where eventually the “regions” will start druming up greivences or claims of unfairness against another “reigon” or the “central goverment”.
    These “Plan” people remind me of my cat from hell who has spent every day of her 10 year life formulating different plans and carrying out dozens of various intrusion ploys to try and get into drawers or cabinets I have locked her out of.

    Reply

  28. Carroll says:

    POA & MP
    I would like to take credit for the post but it was actually Matthew who said it…
    “When I read Mr. Morrow’s posts, I always silently say: “I hope he’s not a Christian.” Unfortunately, I think he probably is…my problem is I actually read the New Testament, which is a real detriment to the Old-Testament-Dominated Christianists. That’s the problem with taking Christ seriously, he changes your heart. Christianists, in contrast, just use Christianity to justify dominating others. Sorry, Mr. Morrow, but whatever “side” you’re on, I’d prefer to keep my distance.
    Posted by Matthew at September 21, 2006 08:20 PM

    Reply

  29. pauline says:

    I like this from Wayne Madsen Reports —
    “House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi called Hugo Chavez a “thug” for the Venezuelan President’s “diablo” remarks about George W. Bush. Pelosi was speaking at a Washington news conference today when she denounced Chavez as a thug and said he demeaned himself and Venezuela. Pelosi seems to forget that it is a thug who tried to oust Chavez in a bloody 2002 coup, a thug who has invaded and killed tens of thousands of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan, a thug who gave Israel the green light to pulverize Lebanon and kill over a thousand civilians, and a thug who wants to torture prisoners in U.S. custody. And while Pelosi was calling Chavez a thug, he was busy negotiating the sale of cheap heating oil to the people of Harlem. When was the last time Ms. Pelosi did anything to provide cheap commodities to the poor?”

    Reply

  30. MP says:

    Carroll writes: “my problem is I actually read the New Testament, which is a real detriment to the Old-Testament-Dominated Christianists.”
    Don’t fall into the trap of believing that the New Testament is all about love while the Old Testament is all about war and vengeance. This is an old, old canard used to oppress Jews–the theological heart of the oldest form of anti-Semitism. There are quotations enough to satisfy any preconceived notion of any of the three Abrahamic religions.

    Reply

  31. pauline says:

    imo. Bush seems to be proud of torturing innocent Muslims with no care at all for the Geneva Conventions Common Article 3 other than to use it for deal making with other repubs to make sure congress gives in and allows him not to be sued and jailed as a war criminal. No wonder he’s in such a hurry to get a “rendition” bill passed.
    Also, as a quick flash back648, “Republican presidential candidate Gary Bauer criticized Gov. George W. Bush Tuesday for making fun of an executed Texas woman in an interview Bush gave to Talk magazine.
    “I think it is nothing short of unbelievable that the governor of a major state running for president thought it was acceptable to mock a woman he decided to put to death,” Bauer said of Bush.
    Bush is portrayed in Talk as ridiculing pickax killer Karla Faye Tucker of Houston for an interview she did with CNN broadcaster Larry King shortly before she was executed last year. Just before her execution date, Tucker appealed for clemency on the grounds that she had become a born-again Christian.”
    Kill’em in Texas, kill’em in the MidEast.
    “what me worry?” gwb

    Reply

  32. elementary teacher says:

    Yes, keep your distance from it, Matthew. Those sentiments have nothing to do with Jesus — who loves all people, is full of mercy and open to anyone who wants to know him. Though everything else may fail, his love never will.
    Alicia

    Reply

  33. Pissed Off American says:

    When I read Mr. Morrow’s posts, I always silently say: “I hope he’s not a Christian.”
    Posted by Carroll
    To echo Chavez’ accute sense of smell, I must say to you, Carroll……
    Wake up and smell the sulphur. There is NOTHING “Christian” about these evil bastards in the White House, or their online souses.

    Reply

  34. Carroll says:

    I have been pondering the Morrow’s and other groups that are such UN haters all afternoon now…
    Let’s suppose they are successful in getting the US to rennounce their membership in the UN …then we would have the Isrmerica Holy Cultist Universal Godfather governing council in Jerusalem for the US & Isr…and the rest of the world would have the UN…
    I can see the smiles of satisfaction and hear the other 199 countries of the universe as they sing bye,bye baby, goodby.
    No more US vetos, no more US platform, no more US demands for cooperation for wars on terriers, no more evil axis speeches, no more influence…nothing, nada, zip.

    Reply

  35. PUBLIUS says:

    BEWARE:
    http://www.rawstory.com/news/2006/Newsmax_Rove_promises_GOP_insiders_October_0921.html
    Excellent and crucial work in Birmingham and Nashville, Steve. People in those parts are hungry for sage guidance on what to do about the state of our nation’s dealings with the world.

    Reply

  36. marky says:

    On to the next issue, will Chaffee come out swinging in favor of the torture “compromise”?

    Reply

  37. Matthew says:

    When I read Mr. Morrow’s posts, I always silently say: “I hope he’s not a Christian.” Unfortunately, I think he probably is…my problem is I actually read the New Testament, which is a real detriment to the Old-Testament-Dominated Christianists. That’s the problem with taking Christ seriously, he changes your heart. Christianists, in contrast, just use Christianity to justify dominating others. Sorry, Mr. Morrow, but whatever “side” you’re on, I’d prefer to keep my distance.

    Reply

  38. Robert Morrow says:

    on Drudge: Richard Armitage threatened to bomb Pakistan back to the Stone Age after 9/11. No doubt because of the Pakistanis being TOTALLY in bed with Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
    http://www.breitbart.com/news/2006/09/21/060921191305.ugcxd7ae.html
    I have a whole new level of respect for Armitage even if he did out Valerie Plame. When it comes time to cull some more Muslims, thin the herd if you will, Pakistan is a great place to start. I have a friend from Pakistan and I asked him about what percent of Pakistani hate America’s guts. He said about 84%.
    Pakistan can burn in hell for all I care. Ditto Mecca and Medina. By the way, Carroll, the homos did not fare too well under the Taliban. The Taliban used to line the homos up in front of walls and then bulldoze the walls. That is when these Islamofascists weren’t blowing women’s brains out in soccer stadiums for having sex outside of marriage.
    I have another friend who was a Green Beret who told me the “hunting was good” in Afganistan for the Taliban/Al queda terrorists. He also said the Al Queda were “fudgepackers” up in those caves. I said “for real?” He said “for real!”
    In the sicko Muslim culture, the Al Queda and Taliban leaders have their fair share of pedophilic homos, who troll the villages for young boys to suck their willies up in the caves.
    I really wonder what is rattling around in the minds of liberal Americans – especially the feminists and the Demo party homos – when it comes to Islam. All those scary things the American liberals say about conservatives and Republicans – well they are reality when it comes to the true Muslims, the Islamofascists who are running around beating – stoning – their daughters to death in “honor killings,” bulldozing homos, female genital mutilation, head chopping for drinking a beer, flying a kite or reading a Bible.
    If the Muslim jihadists ever do get a good kill strike the in the USA – and they very well might one day – then you can kiss good-bye the religion of Islam and at least a couple of hundred million of its adherents. A good start would be the Pew Research Center public opinion surveys of which countries – mainly Muslim – hate the USA the most.
    I would start with the countries that hate the USA the most, target their major population centers – start punching buttons until we have Orkinized the Islamo problem.
    And an “Allah Akbar” right back at you. Hey did any of you watch Nick Berg get his head sawed off while he squealed like a pig. Go to Mike Savage’s web site and learn something:
    http://www.homestead.com/prosites-prs/

    Reply

  39. Carroll says:

    I think Morrow is trying to direct you to this site, which is what you get when clicking on his name…
    http://www.usasurvival.org/about.html
    Cliff Kincaid’s site.
    According to what he writes, after he thins out the Muslims, he will start on all the homosexuals. I am sure somewhere in there he also thinks blacks should be sent back to Africa.
    But nutcases have free speech too…and good thing it is…else we wouldn’t know who they are.

    Reply

  40. .... says:

    fortunately the usa isn’t the center of the universe, in spite of the madness of morrow and other likeminded nuts. that there is a group of warmongers controlling the most powerful military on the planet is cause for concern though.

    Reply

  41. Robert Morrow says:

    Hey, Matthew, are you in bed with the Islamofascists? So you are big into removing posts, eh? Are you into chopping off heads and clits, too? Here is a book for you: The Truth about Muhammad: Founder of the World’s Most Intolerant Religion by Robert Spencer.
    Also, are you a big UN-lover, too? Most Americans can’t stand the UN or the Islamofascists and we really haven’t gotten around to properly dealing with them both … yet.
    http://www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/1596980281/ref=s9_asin_image_1/102-2528150-4227357

    Reply

  42. Carroll says:

    Question..
    Maybe I have never noticed this before but there seems to be an increasing number of public figures and assorted both official and “unofficial spokespeople” for various “agendas” who have bodyguards surrounding them where ever they go….
    I am wondering how many politicans and others have bodyguards these days? Is this a new trend or not?
    Delay had a gang of bodyguards that followed him every where he went.
    Recently I saw Hillary at some press conference and she had two sort of thuggy looking guys, not spit and polish SS types, standing behind her with their eyes constantly rotating 360 degrees.
    Then I saw the nutcase Howoritz of the frontpagemag rag on c-span making some fire and brimstone speech and behind him was some unshaven 6’5″ Mossad looking creature with the same rotating eyeball scan.
    This country is getting more like some bannana republic every day where all the polyster self styled elites and rulers have to be protected not only from the crazies they themselves created, but from the general citizenship…maybe they are all afraid of a coup…I wonder if they keep a flight bag packed with cash and their passports so they can escape an American insurgency.
    I’d like to know what the deal is on providing bodyguards to politicans and if we taxpayers pay for them or the polticans hire them with their own money..anyone know?

    Reply

  43. Matthew says:

    Steve: A few weeks ago you removed a post that contained an anti-Semitic remark about Henry Kissinger–and you were right to do so. Anti-Semitic remarks have no place on a forum dedicated to ideas. However, I don’t believe you made a “bigot” exception for posters to defecate only on Islam. In that vein, you might cast a glance on at Mr. Morrow’s revealing post. Consistency is a virtue.

    Reply

  44. Carroll says:

    Seig heil Morrow….
    Maybe you had rather live under the new Jerusalem UN with the other nutcase cultist…who are a collection of militant zionist and christians and whose JS organization is financed by a wanted Russian- Jewish mafia figure who escaped to Israel and can’t even get a visa to enter the US…and who is so slezzy that even uber neo James Woolsey resigned from the organization:
    http://www.nysun.com/article/27684
    “The reason both men gave for their resignations was new information they received regarding one of the summit’s biggest donors, Michael Cherney, an Israeli citizen who has been denied a visa to enter America because of his alleged ties to the Russian mafia.
    Jerusalem Summit Aims to Create Alternative to UN
    …truths were established at Mount Sinai when G-d gave the Torah. Congressman Beauprez added, “If the United Nations continues to be dysfunctional, then other means must be sought” to bring an end to…
    http://www.jerusalemsummit.org/eng/full.php?id=100&speaker=199&summit=31
    ..and where Steve’s friend, who he suggest for the UN, and who seems to be Bolton with a sex change operation, will no doubt be the new head
    Prof. Anne Bayefsky
    Fatal Failure. The U.N. won’t recognize the connection between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism.
    November 30, 2004 , 8:24 a.m.
    Last June, the United Nations held its first-ever conference on anti-Semitism. Though the organization’s very raison d’etre rises from the ruins of Auschwitz and Belsen, it has never produced a single resolution dedicated to combating anti-Semitism or a report devoted to this devastating global phenomenon.
    The willing vehicle for such a heist is the United Nations.
    Europeans could not quite bring themselves to say that terrorism aimed at ethnically cleansing Israel of Jews was also a form of anti-Semitism.
    Islamic states said no.
    ..wherein she goes on to say critism of Israel and zionisism is anti-semitism
    ..what Israel does is self defense, what others do is terrorism.
    …says Iran is maybe 12 months away from nukes
    …that the UN is the vehicle for anti-semitism
    …that the UN anti-semitism experts are all anti-semites
    …ad nausum
    ..note to Steve, maybe you ought to rethink your support of this woman..we need an American point of view at the UN, not another cult member…if you think George won’t appoint anyone outside the right wing then how about suggesting James Baker?

    Reply

  45. Robert Morrow says:

    The United Nations’ madhouse just keeps sinking lower and lower. After the President of Iran was calling for the 12th Imam to come and Hugo Chavez was calling Bush the devil, all those head-chopping, clitoris-chopping, socialist, anti-democrats America-haters and 3rd world countries like France were clapping and laughing away.
    I oppose the Bolton nomination because I oppose sending any validity to that worthless organization. I am embarrassed the Bush and Colin Powell give speeches there like they are asking permission for something. US foreign policy should always be a coalition of the willing. Who cares about pleasing Islamofascists and loser European socialists that MOST Americans don’t want to be like anyhow?
    Some people think that Islam will breed its way to take over the world. I don’t think so. If that Iranian keeps it up and if the true Muslims keep it up (a true Muslim is an Islamofascist), then there is going to be a large CULLING of Muslims. A thinning of the herd, if you will.
    As for the UN, my 3 point reform program is defund, dissolve, and defumigate.

    Reply

  46. Henry Ehrlich says:

    Am I wrong or is this the first president of the United States has used the term Holy Land to refer to Israel and Palestine in an international, non-sectarian setting? The only people I know who use that term are Christianists whose constitute the base that Bush is trying to rally for the mid-term elections.

    Reply

  47. Henry Ehrlich says:

    Am I wrong or is this the first president of the United States has used the term Holy Land to refer to Israel and Palestine in an international, non-sectarian setting? The only people I know who use that term are Christianists whose constitute the base that Bush is trying to rally for the mid-term elections.

    Reply

  48. .... says:

    some might find this story from the jewish forward revealing for how it explains where the pro israel funding is going in the election chafee has coming up..
    Chafee Survives Challenge
    Beth Schwartzapfel | Wed. Sep 13, 2006
    Stephen Laffey received 11th-hour support from several pro-Israel political action committees, but he still fell short of defeating incumbent Senator Lincoln Chafee in Rhode Island’s GOP primary.

    Reply

  49. ahem says:

    I hope that Chafee sees the bait-and-switch. Bush wants Bolton around after his appointment expires for a repeat of 2002, with the ‘q’ swapped for an ‘n’.

    Reply

  50. Easy E says:

    WAKE UP PEOPLE! Both sides of the aisle are controlled by neocons, as evidenced by Hillary
    http://www.rawstory.com/news/2006/Sen._Clinton_calls_on_Red_Cross_0920.html
    Anti-neocon movement needs Dem leadership with chutzpa of Chavez http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14923411/
    and citizenry with outrage of Hungarians
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060919/ap_on_re_eu/hungary_politics and Mexicans http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/14092006/6/n-world-mexico-protests-force-fox-ceremony-retreat.html
    Election time is almost here, as is the predictable October Surprise http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/osamatape2.html
    Spineless political leadership and comatose public will lead America to destruction. Need to get out the vote and TAKE BACK CONGRESS.

    Reply

  51. Easy E says:

    WAKE UP PEOPLE! Both sides of the aisle are controlled by neocons, as evidenced by Hillary
    http://www.rawstory.com/news/2006/Sen._Clinton_calls_on_Red_Cross_0920.html
    Anti-neocon movement needs Dem leadership with chutzpa of Chavez http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14923411/
    and citizenry with outrage of Hungarians
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060919/ap_on_re_eu/hungary_politics and Mexicans http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/14092006/6/n-world-mexico-protests-force-fox-ceremony-retreat.html
    Election time is almost here, as is the predictable October Surprise http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/osamatape2.html
    Spineless political leadership and comatose public will lead America to destruction. Need to get out the vote and TAKE BACK CONGRESS.

    Reply

  52. Easy E says:

    WAKE UP PEOPLE! Both sides of the aisle are controlled by neocons, as evidenced by Hillary
    http://www.rawstory.com/news/2006/Sen._Clinton_calls_on_Red_Cross_0920.html
    Anti-neocon movement needs Dem leadership with chutzpa of Chavez http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14923411/
    and citizenry with outrage of Hungarians
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060919/ap_on_re_eu/hungary_politics and Mexicans http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/14092006/6/n-world-mexico-protests-force-fox-ceremony-retreat.html
    Election time is almost here, as is the predictable October Surprise http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/osamatape2.html
    Spineless political leadership and comatose public will lead America to destruction. Need to get out the vote and TAKE BACK CONGRESS.

    Reply

  53. Matthew says:

    I just love that story about the bank heists in Nablus and Jenin. As someone who has always believed the IDF is a criminal organization, it is refreshing to see them doing what they do best: commit crimes. They are also great at kidnapping (i.e., almost 10,000 Palestinians and Lebanese in Israeli prisons).

    Reply

  54. Richard W. Crews says:

    Palestine & Israel solution SEP06
    The Palestinian/Israeli problem is the core of the MidEast Troubles. Without a solution here, there will be no solutions anywhere in the area. Without dwelling on history, I will go directly to the solution.
    First, Jerusalem becomes an International City and the Israeli capital is re-acknowledged as Tel Aviv. The Palestinians name their own capital.
    Second, Israel pulls back to the pre-1967 borders.
    Thirdly, the area of Jerusalem is physically defined to form many functions :
    – The city will become host to most large-scale UN functions.
    – Jerusalem will have a local security force and a UN security force of limited scope.
    – The borders will be maintained by Israel and Palestine, either in tandem or separately.
    – There will be an International airport.
    – The area will be large enough to be physically defended and observe adjacent areas.
    – The area will control the major highland aquifers, and oversee per capita national allocations.
    – The area will allow a transnational journey by either nationality. By passing through Jerusalem, an Israeli transits N/S, and a Palestinian travels E/W. This allows Palestine to have international borders with Jordan and Egypt, but not Syria or Lebanon, respecting current treaties and civilities.
    The area will be a duty/tax free area, and the allocated ownership will be dispersed to the “right to return” Palestinians, the displaced Israeli colonists, and all who have lost their homes. Internal agriculture (because of crowded conditions) will also be “eminent domained”, the owners compensated and they and the land are included in the allocation.
    The Jerusalem area should be as small as possible, hence the agricultural exclusion. The land should be Israeli or Palestinian, as much as possible.
    Jerusalem will be a service, marketing and manufacturing zone. Each family unit will be prorated by size, then entered into a lottery for both a plot of residential land and a plot of commercial value. The allocations will be random to negate ghettoes and insularity. The residential and UN infrastructure will be internationally funded and built immediately. The residents will have startup funding of some sort. The residents of Jerusalem will have ownership, equity, involvement, and potential.
    They, and the UN personnel, will not abide terrorism, and will self-police effectively. The key to controlling terrorism is to remove the cause and the base. This will do both. This is a step towards World Peace.

    Reply

  55. Easy E says:

    Fifth former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Hugh Shelton, has publically declared his objections to Bush torture plan:
    http://thinkprogress.org/2006/09/20/shelton-objects/
    On another note, to counter Bush/neocon authoritarian rule, Democratic leadership will need to be much more hardhitting a la Chavez
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14923411/ and American citizens need to demonstrate outrage a la Hungarians http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060920/ap_on_re_eu/hungary_politics
    America is doomed with spineless politicians and comatose sheep.

    Reply

  56. Easy E says:

    Looks like a fifth former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Hugh Shelton, has criticized the Bush’s torture plan:
    http://thinkprogress.org/2006/09/20/shelton-objects/
    On another note, to counter Bush/neocon authoritarian rule, Democratic leadership needs to be more hard-hitting like Chavez http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14923411/ and American citizens need to show more outrage like the Hungarians http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060920/ap_on_re_eu/hungary_politics .
    America is doomed with spineless politicians and comatose sheep.

    Reply

  57. Carroll says:

    Excuse me…shouldn’t there have to be some proof that this money was destined for terrorist?
    Israel apparently thinks it can steal anything it wants to, without proof of anything, without even being asked to provide proof before stealing money.
    It appears whenever Israel wants some extra money they go on a begging campaign to fellow jews or just run over to Palestine and steal some.
    Disgusting.
    http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2006/09/20/africa/ME_GEN_Israel_Palestinian_Money.php
    Israeli troops raid Nablus, Jenin financial institutions, confiscating funds the army says were earmarked for terrorism
    The Associated Press
    Published: September 20, 2006
    NABLUS, West Bank Israeli troops destroyed five foreign exchange depots and a bank in the West Bank early Wednesday, making off with hundreds of thousands of dollars the army said was earmarked for terrorism.
    The troops entered Nablus and Jenin overnight, pulling Jenin money changers from their homes and forcing them to open their businesses, two Jenin money changers said. The army confiscated hundreds of thousands of dollars, although the exact amount was not immediately known.
    The Israeli military refused to give details of the operation, saying only that forces operated in Nablus overnight targeting “funds that serve terrorism and the terrorist infrastructure.”
    In 2004, at the height of a Palestinian uprising, Israeli troops raided two banks in the West Bank city of Ramallah, confiscating $9 million (€7.11 million) the army said belonged to Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other militant groups.
    Mohammed Assar, a money changer in the West Bank town of Jenin, said troops made off with $254,000 (€200,727), and destroyed his business.
    “They took me from my house and forced me to open the door and took everything I have: money, checks, dollars, shekels,” Assar said. “They didn’t leave me anything except for the rubble.”
    Hussein Yunis, another money changer in Jenin, said his son was pulled out of the house in the middle of the night and dragged to their place of business.
    “They took my son and took everything inside,” Yunis said, adding that it was still not clear how much money was missing.
    str-rpm

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  58. Hedley Lamarr says:

    If you assume the cynical view that Republicans actually WANT every agency of government they touch to fail, thereby reinforcing their push to have less of it, does it really matter which failure-in-waiting they nominate?
    Other than poor Colin Powell, which other high level appointee might make us believe otherwise?

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  59. Carroll says:

    I am wondering again how long until the US tries to withdraw from the UN and expells it from NY. The constant drumbeat by the zionist and neo’s to destroy the UN goes on and on.
    I know I have posted something on this before but I cannot stress enough how f****** insane and serious about their insanity these people are..just read through the people behind dismantling the UN and replacing it with a new world body in Israel…can you imagine a world run by these nutcases?
    I doubt Europe or any other countries in the world except the US would recongize a “new” UN in Israel…so we would have two worlds…one composed only of the US and Israel and the rest of the world would have the UN..probably moved to Paris. Actually I can see the rest of the world smile and chuckle with satisfaction if this were to happen.
    http://www.jerusalemsummit.org/eng/news.php?news=91
    Jerusalem Summit Aims to Create Alternative to UN
    United States Congressman (R-CO) Robert Beauprez was one of those to address the Summit on Monday under the topic entitled, “Assessing the UN: The Search for Alternative Approaches.”
    Congressman Beauprez spoke of the fabrication and untruths spread by Israel’s enemies, adding “When truths go unchallenged, peace is a casualty” and “when untruths are tolerated, good people die”. Beauprez added that some 3400 years ago, the current day’s truths were established at Mount Sinai when G-d gave the Torah.
    Congressman Beauprez added, “If the United Nations continues to be dysfunctional, then other means must be sought” to bring an end to the ongoing conflict. The 2004 summit features an innovative new concept called the Council of Civilizations – an international body intended to offer an alternative model to the United Nations.
    Beauprez wasn’t the only speaker addressing the second Jerusalem Summit to call for the establishment of a new international body representing democratic states to undertake the charter of the United Nations which many claim has been sorely ignored. Isi Liebler, Senior Vice President of the World Jewish Congress opened the summit declaring that, since its inception, the United Nations has become a “burden to global tranquility” and in its present form, it would be best for the UN “to disappear”.
    http://www.jerusalemsummit.org/eng/declaration_full.php
    ISRAEL AS THE KEY TO THE HARMONY OF CIVILIZATIONS
    Billions of people believe that Jerusalem’s spiritual and historical importance endows it with a special authority to become a center of world’s unity.
    Israel’s unique geographic and historic position at the crossroads of civilizations enables it to reconcile their conflicts. Israel’s unique spiritual experience enables it to find a golden mean between the fault lines dividing civilizations: between tradition and modernity, religion and science, authority and democracy.
    We call upon all nations to choose Jerusalem, the eternal and indivisible capital of Israel, as a center for this evolving new unity. We believe that one of the objectives of Israel’s divinely-inspired rebirth is to make it the center of the new unity of the nations, which will lead to an era of peace and prosperity, foretold by the Prophets.
    Most Islamic countries, regrettably, have sworn to destroy Israel. We call on the countries of the Free World to realize the following: if the people of Israel can live in peace in their Promised Land, peace will have a chance to reign in the whole world. If radical Islam succeeds in destroying Israel, there will never be peace, and Western civilization will fall to Jihad as well.
    For the sake of the entire world and therein, the land of Israel must belong to the people of Israel.
    If Israel and Jerusalem are fortified, they will become the center where mankind will gather to usher in an era of peace and prosperity. But the West’s failure to save them may well spell doom for civilization itself.”

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  60. weldon berger says:

    Steve: hasn’t Bush’s entire post-911 presidency been predicated on the notion “that there are some ‘really important issues’ over there that need attention”? And isn’t our current situation the result of those attentions? Why on earth would you think his speech represents even the dim awareness you ascribe to it?

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  61. vachon says:

    I heard Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s answer to Bush last night when CNN broadcast live from the UN. (I thought Blitzer was going to have heart failure afterwards, saying if he’s known it was going to be *that* kind of speech, CNN might not have run the whole thing. Now that took my breath away.) Bolton doesn’t stand a chance with this guy. It’s like Hulk Hogan meets George Cloony.

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  62. Marky says:

    I have another scenario. Suppose in a few weeks that Chaffee looks certain to lose. Might he then switch his vote to Bolton in return for some plum after the election? Maybe he can vote for Bolton after the election regardless.
    I agree with Zathras—Chaffee is only a “hero” because the rest of his party are fascists.
    God knows what Schumer and Lieberman might do to help Chaffee’s nomination too, for that matter.

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  63. Marky says:

    It will be wonderful if Chaffee loses, because then a sane turn in US foreign policy may not depend on someone who is so weak.

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  64. Carroll says:

    Nothing new in Bush’s speech. My prediction…nothing will done about Isr/Pal. A pretense will be made and drawn out by the US while Isr continues their “facts on the ground”. I am only interested to see if the EU and Arab states buy this bullshit yet again or move ahead with their own efforts and plans.
    It appears to me (from the gist of the Arab press) that the Arab leaders are feeling very threatened by unrest in their own countries..and they will have to do something…because their populations definitely aren’t buying any more talky-talky from their rulers or ours.

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  65. Zathras says:

    There is a surreal aspect to Bolton’s renomination, only partly due to the efforts of Bolton’s more dedicated detractors to make a hero out of Lincoln Chafee.
    Chafee is a lightweight. He always has been. This isn’t a political statement; if he were much more conservative, or a Democrat, he’d still be a lightweight — an indifferent and not terribly effective legislator, a guy who would most likely never even have gone into politics if his father (a very different character) had not left him such a politically golden name in Rhode Island. Your cupboard is pretty bare if you’re in a major political fight and Chafee is your champion.
    But the larger weirdness in the Bolton affair is the position of the committee chairman, Richard Lugar. His long feud with the last Republican chairman of Foreign Relations, Jesse Helms, must predispose him against throwing his weight around to sink administration nominees. Helms did this all the time, and burdened administrations of both parties as they tried to conduct foreign policy.
    Yet Helms only took to extremes what other committee chairman have often done in the past, which was to serve as a check on Presidents determined to fill high government offices with unsuitable people. A committee chairman who is never willing to do this risks making his committee — and himself — look ineffectual. This is certainly the appearance the Foreign Relations committee presents today.
    My personal view is that Bolton has served adequately at the UN since his recess appointment. But he is hardly irreplacable, and the upper levels of the Bush administration’s foreign policy operation are badly in need of new blood. Bolton got his recess appointment, and his shot at the UN. That’s enough.
    Lugar could impose that verdict on the administration at any time. Instead he just lets the Bolton matter hang like a dark cloud over his committee, playing the role of the good soldier for a President who has always taken him and his committee members for granted, and who in any case needs Lugar’s support more than Lugar needs his. Say what you want about Jesse Helms, but he was never taken for granted and his views were never ignored.
    One of Helms’ worst failings was his enthusiasm for creating pointless deadlocks over nominations that lasted for months and burdened American foreign policy, deadlocks that Lugar as a mere member of the committee was powerless to prevent. He’s not powerless anymore, but in the face of the pointless deadlock over Bolton he’s acting that way. It’s a strange development for a Senator who waited to chair the Foreign Relations Committee as long as Lugar did.

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  66. Punchys says:

    I have seen the latest poll results for Chaffee in R.I., and he does not appear to be winning. I cannot imagine him reversing himself now, knowing that he’s already behind in a very blue state, and this action would be deleterious to his “moderate” reputation.
    That said, I’d still like to know what the relative odds are that President Bush re-appoints Bolton in spite of a no-vote in Congress. Would he be that bold (that stupid?)–and based on his past petulance, I’d say it’s probable–to attempt something like this? Or is that the most ridiculous thing to even consider?

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