Launch of Center for a New American Security

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cnas.jpg
I’m attending the launch conference today for the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) that is headed by two former CSIS senior staffers, Kurt Campbell and Michele Flournoy.
The conference has pulled together a real who’s who of the Democratic national security establishment into this invite only confab at the Willard Hotel. But there are some of the Republican persuasion here too — including Philip Zelikow who until recently served as Counselor to Condoleezza Rice, Peter Feaver of the National Security Council, and a lot of folks from the uniformed services — who reportedly are 70% Republican and 30% Democrat in their ranks.
In a session titled “The Inheritance and the Way Forward”, panelists CNAS CEO Kurt Campbell, UT Austin LBJ School Dean and former Deputy National Security Advisor Jim Steinberg, Princeton University Woodrow Wilson School Dean Anne-Marie Slaughter and futurist and Johns Hopkins University SAIS professor Francis Fukuyama sorted through the mess that America has in its foreign policy portfolio.
In a question I posed, I asked the panelists to suggest real proposals that would reverse the real collapse in the perception of American power in the world. I mentioned the Pew Research Center Global Attitudes Survey (of which a new phase of information is about to be released) that show that what used to be Bush-focused anger and frustration around the world has turned into systemic disdain and disregard for the United States. In other words, global anti-Bush attitudes have become more firmly rooted anti-American views. I asked what could they recommend to the next President to help turn this “perception” of our decline around.
Anne-Marie Slaughter said that the first thing she’d recommend is that the next President go on a “listening tour” — a real listening as opposed to a “telling tour” — along the lines of what Senator Hillary Clinton did in up-state New York. The second initiative that Slaughter would push would be for America to initiate a process ot get fundamental reform and redesign of the UN Security Council. She said that when India, Germany, Japan, Brazil, no African nation, and other key states are not part of the most important international power management machine, then this furthers global frustration with the lack of fairness and equity among key stakeholder states. She made the point that we need more of the world’s population to be stakeholders in the international order.
Kurt Campbell responded by saying that the most important initiative that could be initiated to change the terms of America’s global engagement and change the way America is “perceived” globally would be a fundamental shift in our efforts on global climate change. Campbell argued that this would helps us reconnect in constructive ways with the G8 members. Campbell also added that the US and China are actually working together to try and block climate change efforts — and this is wrong-headed and must be reversed.
James Steinberg said that the most important thing the next American leader can do is to step back from the impulse to offer meaningless platitudes in defining the goals and objectives of American foreign policy. He said that we must “match rhetoric with reality.” Announcing lofty goals that are not connected to “means and ends” undermines American credibility in the world and has contributed to the perception that America’s ability to achieve change in the world is eroding. Steinberg said that the next US President needs to “think before pledging”.
Francis Fukuyama did not get a chance to respond as moderator Richard Danzig called for the next question.
steinberg perry.jpg
(Former Clinton Administration Deputy National Security Advisor James Steinberg and former Defense Secretary William Perry)
I thought that all of the responses I heard were sensible — but I guess I would have added something that focused on changing America’s stance on the Middle East. My view matches Zbigniew Brzezinski’s that the combined storm of America’s engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan, brewing problems with Iran, lack of meaningful success in Israel-Palestine peace, and regional disdain among Arab Muslims for the United States is the defining challenge for America.
We need to turn that around and given the collapse in legitimacy America has experienced because of failure in Iraq, much more priority should be given to establishing a stable Israel-Palestine deal that produces two states and includes other regional deal-making including normalization of relations with Syria and a new set of economic and collective security arrangements with Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, and other regional players.
That did not come up in the session and should have — but it was nonetheless a good exchange.
I’m now listening to a discussion about Iraq. CNAS Senior Vice President James Miller gave a number-specific, calendar-specific four year withdrawal strategy from Iraq. I have a hard time seeing how such a strategy can be publicly embraced given the fear so many in America have that the Pentagon and White House are not being truthful about Iraq and what are real long term intentions are there.
General Anthony Zinni basically whacked the earlier presentation (in a tactful way) by saying that there can not be an “Iraq strategy” without a regional strategy. He agrees with my view that we need some sort of new regional security arrangement among key players that today are not acting in any real unified manner.
Philip Zelikow and Washington Post correspondent Tom Ricks are up next. Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed is moderating the meeting.
More later.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

79 comments on “Launch of Center for a New American Security

  1. MP says:

    Strange. I just read the article Carroll links to above and, really, can’t find much wrong with it. Certainly, C’s description of it has virtually nothing to do with the article itself. This seems to happen a lot on these threads: the link doesn’t support the comment. Maybe Carroll objects to Slaughter finding anything positive to say about Israel’s relations with the rest of the world–or anything even mildly critical of Walt? The article is also out of date–it was written while Sharon was in power. So it’s hard to know if Slaughter still stands by her views here…

    Reply

  2. MP says:

    Oh, and just for the hell of it, here is a quote from MA translated by NY Times Tehran bureau, by an Iranian, not MEMRI employee, as quoted by Hitchens:
    “For a start, let us look at the now-famous speech that Ahmadinejad actually gave at the Interior Ministry on Oct. 26, 2005.
    (I am using the translation made by Nazila Fathi of the New York Times Tehran bureau, whose Persian is probably the equal of Professor Cole’s.)
    The relevant portions read: “Our dear Imam [Khomeini] said that the occupying regime must be wiped off the map and this was a very wise statement.”
    So much for Cole’s nonsensical assertion that “wiped off the map” can’t be said in Persian. The full NY Times article here:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/30/weekinreview/30iran.html?ex=1183694400&en=ea6c1c76d9273125&ei=5070

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  3. MP says:

    POA writes: “Israel has repeatedly threatened Iran.”
    Only because Iran has repeatedly threatened Israel. Moreover, Iran has “called for” Israel to “vanish,” something Israel has never done to Iran.
    Not only in its rhetoric…but in its funding, arming, and training Hezbollah.
    POA writes: “Iran isn’t currently killing Jews. Israel is currently killing Muslims.”
    But Muslims are killing Jews, including Muslims funded, armed, and trained by Iran and by others.
    The fact that you want to pin the AIPAC label on me is, well, the shoe doesn’t fit and I’m not wearing it. Sorry I don’t conform to the POA-approved orthodoxy on these threads–where only opinions ranging from A to B are okay, and often not that–but I tend to think for myself.
    POA writes: “No, you just minimize the threat posed by the Israeli butchers.”
    Sorry, not true. But I do see the conflict differently than you do, and I have no intention of being silenced just because you don’t like it.

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  4. Carroll says:

    Posted by PissedOffAmerican at June 29, 2007 11:30 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Exactly.

    Reply

  5. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “I don’t minimize the threat posed by Bushco. I don’t minimize the threat expressed in those statements by Iranian leaders.”
    Posted by MP
    No, you just minimize the threat posed by the Israeli butchers. One thread after another…
    “I don’t like AIPAC BUT….”
    “I don’t agree with what Israel is doing BUT….”
    Heres the deal, MP….
    Israel developed Nuclear weapons in the EXACT MANNER that they are accusing Iran of doing. Without oversight, and clandestinely.
    Israel has repeatedly threatened Iran.
    Iran is not in violation of UN resolutions, Israel is.
    Iran isn’t currently killing Jews. Israel is currently killing Muslims.
    Iran isn’t stealing Jewish land. Israel is stealing Palestinian land.
    Iran isn’t peppering its neighbors with cluster bombs, Israel is.
    Iran isn’t destroying the crops of its neighbors, Israel is.
    Need I go on?

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  6. Limbo says:

    MP just wastes our time.

    Reply

  7. MP says:

    Sandy writes: “And, by “ours” I mean those of us here on these threads who are genuinely worried about what is happening in…and to….THIS country. Not Israel first, as it would appear your priority is, MP.”
    I think it would be hard for you to find a sentence I’ve written that proves I’m more concerned about Israel than I am about this country. So let’s leave that one alone, shall we? Either that, or back up your statement, and I’ll try to respond to it.
    I’m not overblowing A’s intentions or power–but I’m not underplaying them either. Nor am I disregarding actual things that have been said and that have been Iranian policy, either. Much ink has been spilled on these threads “proving” that A didn’t say this…that the mullahs couldn’t mean that…when, in fact, it appears that they have and they do.
    Whether they will some time in the future is a question, and one I don’t have answer for. No one does, really. And that’s my point. I mean, it’s not as if the Iranians have said, “If only Israel would do this or that, everything would be fine.” They are interested in Israel “vanishing.” You tell me what that means and how you think they think that’s going to happen. So far, the explanations given haven’t been all that convincing, to me at least.

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  8. Sandy says:

    “…it’s still worth a read, if you’re actually thinking for yourself and haven’t completely given in to the “mind meld” all too evident on these threads….” MP
    The “mind meld”? Whose? Yours (you and Hitchens, et al)…or ours?
    And, by “ours” I mean those of us here on these threads who are genuinely worried about what is happening in…and to….THIS country. Not Israel first, as it would appear your priority is, MP.
    Hitchens says:
    “No, what worries me more about Ahmadinejad is his devout belief in the return of the ‘occulted’ or 12th imam…. This uncultured jerk is, of course, only a puppet figure with no real power, but this choice of puppet by the theocracy is unsettling in itself….”
    It is one thing to feel “unsettled” by the rantings of “an uncultured jerk….who is…of course…only a puppet figure with NO REAL POWER….”
    and, I would say, quite another thing (for those of us with “mind meld” …to concentrate….first….on the rantings …..and ACTIONS…and track record….of some uncultured jerks….who DO have REAL POWER.
    ….and who can hardly WAIT to use it.

    Reply

  9. MP says:

    And now for Hitchens’ take on said phrase. Hitchens and I disagree on the Iraq war, but it’s still worth a read, if you’re actually thinking for yourself and haven’t completely given in to the “mind meld” all too evident on these threads:
    http://www.slate.com/id/2140947/

    Reply

  10. MP says:

    Sandy writes: “MP — for every outrageous, threatening statement you can quote us from Iranians…..I can quote you three or four from George W. Bush.”
    I agree with you about GWB–but the point being raised was about what A said or didn’t say–and, more broadly, what Iranian intentions or views MIGHT be.
    Bush/Cheney must be stopped from bombing Iran. I believe they will be for the reasons I explained above, though I can’t predict the future. And it’s just my opinion.
    At the same time, I object to the white-washing of Iranian state- ments. Why should we? And since these comments are pointed at Israel, why should they?
    Do I believe they/we should bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities? No. For all sorts of reasons. But do I believe they have reason to be nervous…ah, yes, I do.
    I also object to the fallacious reasoning often evident here. The casual reader, or not very careful thinker, might come to the conclusion that Iran’s animosity and bad “intentions” toward Israel are a figment of the Lobby’s propaganda machine–whereas they appear not to be…or not entirely.
    (You know…MEMRI purposely mistranslated A, so the whole thing must be a crock…a ruse to get the US to fight Israel’s war…or a ruse to get Israel to bomb Iran. But, in fact, MEMRI could have ACCURATELY translated A, and I, at least, wouldn’t have come to a benign conclusion about his intentions.)
    Will Iran actually follow through on what they appear to be saying? I think it’s unlikely. I think it’s mostly saber rattling mixed with a certain amount of religious zeal.
    I don’t minimize the threat posed by Bushco. I don’t minimize the threat expressed in those statements by Iranian leaders.

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  11. Sandy says:

    MP — for every outrageous, threatening statement you can quote us from Iranians…..I can quote you three or four from George W. Bush.
    He is way more of a threat to Israel….and to the U.S.A (and to you and your way of life now)…..than A., et al, is.

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  12. MP says:

    I’ll try one more time…
    Whereas on December 14, 2001, former leader of Iran and current leader of Iran’s influential Expediency Council Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani threatened Israel with destruction by nuclear attack, saying, ` [Struck out->][ i ][][ in Israel ][<-Struck out] , while it will merely harm the Islamic world’;

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  13. MP says:

    Sorry Selise, the quotes got cut off somehow. Here they are:
    Whereas on October 26, 2005, at the World Without Zionism Conference in Tehran, Iran, Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called … Israel as `a disgraceful blot [Struck out->][ on ][][ a ][][ i ][][ in Israel ][<-Struck out] , while it will merely harm the Islamic world’;

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  14. Sandy says:

    Selise, I just want you to know that your many cautions wrt h.con.r.21 are NOT falling on deaf ears. It sounds to me (having read back to your various posts here as well as those on Firedoglake) that you are as genuinely concerned as I am that these madmen (Bush and Cheney and all who go along with them) are — obviously — building their case to bomb/nuke Iran.
    Everything has been put in place. The naval ships in the Gulf. The legislation (including also calling for a state of emergency to completely shut everything down and take over…when they do it), etc.
    The OUTRAGE that ONLY TWO reps — Kucinich and Paul — voted against h.con.r.21 ……giving Bush what he needs to point back to…..after they do it…..well….
    There can be no doubt …..none whatsoever…..what we have here — wolves in sheeps’ clothing (as “reps”….of anything).
    Our government HAS been taken over! Not “might” be!
    All that is left is choosing the best time to do it. They really MUST before leaving office….so they still have some months yet. They don’t give a DAMN what anyone else thinks, including (maybe especially) the rest of their Republican party.
    My guess is, as I’ve said, whenever the biggest distraction is needed — either poor results from “the Surge” — the Israeli Spy Trial of Rosen and Weissman — the Supreme Court ruling against Bush (as Jonathan Turley has spoken of), etc.
    Of course they will have to manufacture a phony attack of some sort…..to pretend to attack Iran “back” for something.
    Such is the level of trust earned by our “leaders” of the “free???” world.
    Pathetic.

    Reply

  15. MP says:

    Selise, I agree; it’s worrisome. But my sense is that Lugar is going in the opposite direction, as is Hagel. Moreover, if Bush bombs Iran, it’s on Republican heads–as is the Iraq war, despite the original bi-partisan resolution.
    And the Republican leadership can’t afford another foreign adventure like this, IMO, even if it’s “just bombing.” For one, think of the Iranian response with conventional forces and covert forces in Iraq…in Lebanon…elsewhere. Cheney may not care, but you can bet Lugar and friends do. Obviously, I can’t predict the future, but I think bombing is unlikely.
    BTW, thanks for sending me to HR Con r 21. Here are some more quotes from the legislation. Do you think these were mistranslated or taken out of context as well? What’s the general thinking on these…
    Whereas on October 26, 2005, at the World Without Zionism Conference in Tehran, Iran, Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad …described Israel as `a disgraceful blot [Struck out->][ on ][][ a ][][ i ][][ in Israel ][<-Struck out] , while it will merely harm the Islamic world’;
    Has Juan Cole commented on this language?
    What do you think?
    BTW, I got this language through Thomas.

    Reply

  16. selise says:

    “Bombing Iran would destroy the Republican Party for eons.”
    not if there is bipartisan support. see h.con.r.21

    Reply

  17. MP says:

    One reason I don’t think it will happen is…Lugar’s speech on the floor. Bombing Iran would destroy the Republican Party for eons. A rebellion among high-level Republicans will be enough to stop them. My prediction.

    Reply

  18. MP says:

    If it happens, Sandy, it will be because Cheney has convinced Bush to do it. But I’m betting it won’t happen. Hope I don’t have to eat my words.

    Reply

  19. MP says:

    Sandy writes: “All well and good….”
    Maybe you can explain to what is all well and good about a head of state saying that another country should…vanish?

    Reply

  20. Sandy says:

    All well and good….but who is it who wants to bomb….nuke….Iran?
    And, who is it who will DO it?

    Reply

  21. MP says:

    selise writes: “please, by all means, condemn him for what he actually said. but not for what he didn’t say, and not in a way that give bush cover for attacking iran.”
    Yes, I agree–condemning him for what he said, actually said, is what I was doing. I made it pretty clear that I do NOT support bombing Iran in any way and therefore am NOT giving Bush cover whatsoever–nor the hawks in Israel. Nor have I come to the conclusion that A is asking for genocide.
    But I DO find this discussion a bit odd. Once you grant the premise that MEMRI mistranslated the quote, you then expect the ACCURATE, Juan Cole-approved translation to show him to be saying something quite benign and acceptable.
    But, in fact, what you find is the opposite.
    What he is saying is UNacceptable (to me, anyway) and is vague enough to encompass all manner of interpretations. Many, if not all of them, are, in my book, violent.
    Then, when you read the benign interpretations of what he said and think about them for a moment, you see how ludicrous they are. Israelis are supposed to rise up and overthrow their government like the people of the USSR? Ah sure, except for the fact that Israelis LIKE their country. And, unlike many folks here in America, they have NO problem speaking up about virtually anything, including the conflict with the Palestinians. A far cry from Iran, but that’s besides the point.
    Then, when you read Juan Cole saying that he was shocked that an Israeli might get nervous when A says Israel should “vanish,” you just have to shake your head in wonder.

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  22. WhatBillOfRights says:

    MP writes:
    “coupled with his fun Holocaust symposium–make folks who are and have been in the line of fire
    nervous.”
    Hey MP — “The line of fire” — ?????? For a second there I thought you were talking about the Iraqis, Palestinians, Afghans, Lebanese, whose destruction we are funding. Then, I realized that it was you writing and thought, should I justify his or her dribble with a response?
    As we all know here, USRael routinely threatens countries — by routinely I mean on a daily basis — that stand in the way of their (our?) hegemony.
    USRael on a daily basis BOMBS countries that Israel does not want to make nice with, or wants to steal the land/oil/ water of — Somalia, I’m looking at you.
    In any case, there is nothing wrong with questioning the accuracy of the official narrative of any historic event.
    Perhaps, if the world survives the neo-cons’ utter madness, Iraq will become a dominant force in global politics (while the U.S. “empire” becomes the Banana Republic it kind of already is) Then Iraqis may just write the history of Iraq’s own Holocaust, and pin the blame exactly where it belongs — on USRael.
    Whoops — I think that Iraqis already do pin the blame on this Donkey/Elephant bipartisan effort to rid their country of its inhabitants for Eretz Israel and profit.

    Reply

  23. ExBrit says:

    Dan,
    Terrific satire. I hope you write for a living. Please sign me up for a yearly subscription of SHIT and the accompanying Bulletin.

    Reply

  24. selise says:

    “…but I understand why words like this–coupled with his fun Holocaust symposium–make folks who are and have been in the line of fire nervous.”
    MP – i get nervous too. no one is trying to defend ahmadinejad. my point is that he has NOT called for genocide. and that that h.con.r.21 is based on two false claims – his call for genocide, and that iran is known to have a nuclear weapons program.
    please, by all means, condemn him for what he actually said. but not for what he didn’t say, and not in a way that give bush cover for attacking iran.

    Reply

  25. MP says:

    POA writes: “MP, your strawman arguments are tiresome. The point being made is not that the poor innocent Israeli propaganda mill, MEMRI, “misunderstood” the comment. The point is that the comment was purposely misrepresented by MEMRI.”
    Yes, but MY point was that the ACTUAL words as translated by Cole–which has been public for donkey’s years now–this is hardly news–seemed reasonably violent themselves, certainly in their implications. A point that is, unfortunately, overlooked. I think I was pretty clear about this.
    Though I like and read Cole pretty regularly, I find some of his judgements rather naive. In the same post, he seems shocked that an Israeli, even an educated one, might get the heebie jeebies when the Iranian President calls for his government, really his country, to “vanish.”
    Ahmadinejad gets the heebie jeebies when ordinary citizens of his country speak out.
    Personally, I think Ahmadinejad is hot air–but I understand why words like this–coupled with his fun Holocaust symposium–make folks who are and have been in the line of fire nervous.
    As to propaganda–which country–which people–should throw the first stone?

    Reply

  26. RonK, Seattle says:

    Again: To the extent that the way forward requires establishing trust and confidence both domestically and internationally, can we treat the Bush record as an episode within the normal range of expression of the American character? Must we do something (what?) to mark it as an aberration, not indicative of US character and not susceptible of recurrent episodes? Or can we just leave it in the amnesiac past and let our credibility going forward rest entirely on the cumulative impression left by our conduct going forward (supplemented by whatever deep reservoir of credibility remains from previous history)?

    Reply

  27. p.lukasiak says:

    Dan… The CRAP piece is brilliant

    Reply

  28. Alan says:

    Another Centre for something where the same people go to hear one of their own purveying conventional wisdom. Why am I so disdainful? It seems that other than providing temporary shelter for those out of office or power (who have great difficulty getting actual work in the real world) the centres provide a place to pass the time, provide a half decent meal and drinks, and ensure that no one’s brainpower is seriously tested.
    See: I am too cynical to bother about reading any more policy guff out of Washington. I’m joining CRAP. I will send by check for $2500 but will not sign it.
    I am so tired of these think tanks where they produce so much garbage. Do these people have time to read the stuff?

    Reply

  29. Carroll says:

    Methodists ‘bordering anti-Semitism’
    ADL Director slams American Christian group for Israel divestment call
    Yaakov Lappin Published: 06.27.07, 16:37 / Israel Jewish Scene
    The United Methodist Church’s call to divest from companies linked to Israel “is bordering on anti-Semitism,” Anti-Defamation League Director Abraham Foxman told Ynetnews on Wednesday.
    Foxman furiously condemned recommendations made by the New England branch of the Methodist Church for its members to divest “from twenty companies identified as supporting the Israeli occupation in Palestine.”
    The recommendations were made by a “task force” of clergy and church members set up to implement a “resolution to end the Israeli occupation,” a statement by the Church added.
    >>>>>>>>>
    I love this kind of anti-semitism. It’s the new little black dress for generation next.

    Reply

  30. Carroll says:

    While I am on a roll let me also address Anne Marie Slaughter…she for whom the UN must be reformed.
    I challenge everyone to read a few dozen or even half dozen essays of Ms. Slaughter..you will have whip lash from all her word smithy contridictions.
    She is either too stupid or too lazy to cover herself.
    Ms. Slaughter can’t make up her mind on premptive war..it’s illegal but necessary. …therefore illegal doesn’t count….therefore her concern with the reforming the UN..and including others, mostly Israel, ..is to make the UN “conform” to US policy so whatever we deem “necessary” under whatever cabal or nutcase leader will be “legal”.
    As typical of her kind she includes “dipolmacy” in her every ditty…but the dipolmacy is to IMPOSE US elite style democracy on every other country and the “concern” for freedom reigning worldwide is just crutons on the salad.
    As an example of the tortured route she takes in her essays, her own agenda,her basic dishonesty and habit of ascribing contridictions to others when the contridictions are actually hers.. here you go:
    http://bostonreview.net/BR30.1/slaughter.html
    In this piece she is trying to defeat the Walt paper and actually argues that in “foreign policy and the “US interest” “domestic concerns” of US “politicans” must figure into American interest…those domestic concerns being the jews and their lobby influence on those politicans. Then at the tail end of her arguement she drops a word about aids?.That Walt didn’t mention aids in his paper on the US and primary power..oh how he have not mentioned aids?…shame on him! The aids concern a little drop of do goodism used haphazardly by Marie as the deodorant for her US/Isr world view.
    I don’t think I have ever seen quite such a arguement from a suppose international policy expert as one arguing that the foreign interest of an “entire country”, the “super power” of the world who effects the rest of the world should be swayed by the domestic political self concerns of politicans beholding to a “minority” lobby.
    The ridicule and contempt the policy people like Slaughter get here is well deserved.

    Reply

  31. Carroll says:

    Putting on my thoughtful cap I agree with Zinni about the need for a regional stragety…
    But my idea of a regional stragety might be different.
    I do not want the US “interest”, as it is defined but left unsaid by elites, to consist of forever enforcing those interest that mostly benefit the elites themselves with the blood and money of ordinary US citizens.
    If we valued peace, stability and security over those elite interest our regional stragety would be guiding the Arab nations into building their own regional stragety for their own region…not playing them off or encouraging them against each other for our elite benefit.
    But you will never hear the elites suggest that the Arab world should have control over the Arab world or that they should cooperate among themselves ..you will never see any effort put toward that goal…quite the opposite.
    When I get tired of all the stale talkies wonkies and “stragjums” I start thinking if there could possibly be a pony under all this shit.
    Something really radical like giving the Iraq regional tinderbox to Iran and Saudi..just saying “here, it’s yours” clean it up and enjoy. And if you clean it up the Iraqis get it all, their oil, everything we have built there, the bases, the embassy, damages for the destruction..and you get the credit. In addition you get US peace treaties with Arab nations if you sign mutual peace treaties with each other. You can take our billion dollar embassy and turn it into the new Arab Union or UN center of Arabia…the only catch to all this is each country has to abide by and adopt the minimun human rights standards of the UN regardless of their form of government.
    Sign on the dotted line and we are out of here.

    Reply

  32. Carroll says:

    http://www.slate.com/id/2169292/pagenum/all/#page_start
    Impeach Cheney
    The vice president has run utterly amok and must be stopped.
    By Bruce Fein
    >>>>>>>>>>>
    Well everyone from Steve to Fein, who was Reagan’s Dep. Att. General, to the WP has done their part…let’s watch congress wiggle out of this one.
    Will they cave and hold a “private sit down” with Cheney in the spirit of bi=partisanship to spare everyone’s tender feeelings or send the Sargent at Arms to go get him?

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  33. Carroll says:

    So Steve won’t think we don’t appreciate these peeks at the foreign policy trend setters and
    self styled elites…we do.
    Letting us know what the people we have all become so familiar with are saying has a value…even if it is letting us know how little they have really changed their tunes.
    Maybe that is why he points it out.
    But only the shadow knows for sure.

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  34. Llyonnoc says:

    I don’t want to read all the comments right now but I will go back and read them and I may find what I am about to say has already been said. I’m really surprised that Steve, whom I respect highly, found those answers to his questions acceptable. Even my donkey tied out outside knows that we Americans will suffer unless and until we get our relationship with Israel straightened out.
    We don’t do Israel any good by backing its every move. Since we have begun our unquestioning acceptance of everything Israel chooses to do, even the goat next to the donkey knows Israel has been getting into more and more difficulty.
    Each of these panelists choose to duck the real issue, especially that one talking about global warming. Even the dumb cow tied next to the goat knows most people don’t give two turds about America’s position on global warming. It is all Israel all the time. We are in Iraq because of US Israel supporters (since when have we ever cared what Arab dictators do to their citizens)who figured by taking out Saddam we’d be able to take over Iraq and make it Israel’s buddy. It’s time for both the USA and Israel to develop policies in their own interests. Our and Israel’s interest is not the same. One final note, we give Israel 4 to 5 billion dollars a year and then we hear everyone telling us what a good ally it is. It’s not our ally, it’s our handmaiden, and history will tell the Israelis that when they let others decide what their future would be that’s when they got into great trouble.

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  35. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Well Dan, I don’t think I want to donate to crap. However, I certainly do have some crap to donate.

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  36. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “As to the translation problem, I think Ahmadinejad needed to speak more clearly if he didn’t want to be misunderstood by a people who have, within living memory, experienced genocide and whose country is, in part, a reaction to that event and many others that led up to it. Otherwise, he might scarce them into doing something very, very stupid.”
    Posted by MP
    MP, your strawman arguments are tiresome. The point being made is not that the poor innocent Israeli propaganda mill, MEMRI, “misunderstood” the comment. The point is that the comment was purposely misrepresented by MEMRI.
    But you knew that. You just can’t resist that straw, can you? You should really look for a fresh bale, though, because the one you keep using has had a bull crapping on it for some time now.

    Reply

  37. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “I thought that all of the responses I heard were sensible — but I guess I would have added something that focused on changing America’s stance on the Middle East. My view matches Zbigniew Brzezinski’s that the combined storm of America’s engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan, brewing problems with Iran, lack of meaningful success in Israel-Palestine peace, and regional disdain among Arab Muslims for the United States is the defining challenge for America.”
    Gads, I fail to see where Steve mentions our unfettered support for Israel’s human rights abuses, our military complicity in war crimes by giving Israel logistical support and armament, and our nasty habit of invading Midde Eastern nations by declaring them in violation of UN resolutions they aren’t actually violating, while turning a blind eye to the myriad of resolutions that Israel is in fact violating.

    Reply

  38. Carroll says:

    Posted by Dan Kervick at June 27, 2007 10:04 PM
    >>>>>>>>>
    ROTFLMAO

    Reply

  39. Dan Kervick says:

    Carroll,
    I now have my own think tank. It’s called the Center for Renewal of American Policy, and publishes the soon-to-be-prestigious journal Studies in Historiography and Internationalist Theory. In addition, the bimonthly Bulletin of Studies in Historiography and International Theory provides real time strategic advice to its subscriber base of high-level global professionals and full-time blog addicts.
    I have designated myself the sole Fellow of CRAP, a position which carries an annual stipend of $90,000. At the moment, however, I am in arrears on payment of the stipend. We are in the process of rectifying that situation by recruiting a group of Contributing Fellows ($2,500) and Friends of CRAP ($1000). Would you like to be a Friend or Contributing Fellow? I am sure you will find participation very rewarding – and it will look like it means something on your resume. If so, please send your contribution (personal checks or cash only) to:
    Dan Kervick
    Fellow, Director and Office Manager
    CRAP
    1700 East Southwest St. North
    Basement Level Mailbox
    Front Royal, VA 22630
    Upon receipt and successful cashing of your contribution, you will receive a certificate of Contributing Fellowship or Friendship, one-year subscriptions to SHIT and Bull. SHIT, and free guest passes to all CRAP functions and events (schedule of events forthcoming).
    You may wish to know where the Center for Renewal of American Policy stands on the vital issues of the day. Here is a brief outline of our position:
    1. We are opposed to all past wars that have gone badly, but support all wars that have gone well, and support, with reservations, most future wars, insofar as they have not gone badly yet. Our motto is “Formulating Tomorrow’s Excuses Today.” We are neither pro-war nor anti-war, but call our position “antipro-war”; and we hew to a radical centrist strategy halfway between prevention and promotion of war that we call “provention”. Our soon-to-be-renowned series “White Papers in Peacewar Provention” is published through a generous grant from the Lemming Foundation.
    2. We stand forthrightly with the glorious Founders of the Republic in extolling the value of all manner of commissions, panels, study groups and working groups. We propose that the next President establish a Working Group on the Formation of Study Groups on Commisions and Panels, to be housed in the Department of Homeland Security, and that the reports of this working group be stovepiped directly to the President’s paper shredder, thus bypassing much needless red tape, bureaucratic interference and executive cognizance.
    3. We believe the United States should make a clear, ringing statement to the effect that it categorically rejects preventive war, except – and this is an important caveat – in those cases in which the President determines that the national interest is served by a preventive war. We believe such a statement satisfies reasonable requirements of executive bloviation, while rejecting extremist calls for meaningfulness.
    4. We believe in standing up to and containing the Soviet Union and China, because of the profound challenge these states pose to Goldman Sachs and ExxonMobil … I mean Liberty and the Rule of Law.
    5. We believe in increasing the size of the US armed forces to 100,000,000 men and women under arms. This will give every American the opportunity to serve his country with pride and honor. (CRAP publishes a pamphlet entitled “So You’re and American Soldier Now: 10 Quick Tips to Not Getting Your Ass Blown Off”. The pamphlet sells for $9.95 and is available at Borders, Barnes & Noble and most military recruiting stations.)
    As soon as the CRAP website is up and running, you will be able to download the PDF of our chief national strategy blueprint: “15 Billion Americanish Clones Under America: a Strategy for the Next Several American Centuries”. Our strategy recommendations are based on our profound conviction that inside every Muslim, Confucian, Catholic or Hindu is an American bureaucrat struggling to get out and form her own think tank. We like to call this agenda “Total Fucking World Domination with a American Characteristics.”

    Reply

  40. JohnH says:

    The think tanks are the first place to clean house, neo-con, realist, and centrist, whatever that is.
    Instead of desk jockies with elite pedigree, it’s time to bring in people with on the ground experience, who have lived in the country, read the newspapers, and speak the language, and have a personal feel for the culture. (And no, I’m not suggesting hiring expats with a perverse mission, like Ahmed Chalabi or Luis Posada Carriles.)
    Simply instituting a basic requirement for country knowledge from personal experience would mitigate the syndrome whereby the likes of Paul Wolfowitz, Doug Feith, Anne-Marie Slaughter, Madeline Albright, Bob Gates, Condi Rice and John Podesta, who have never lived in the third world, get to share their obliviousness of foreign cultures amongst themselves and decide what policies are best for those foreigners.
    Credit Steve for at least having attended high school in Japan, even if it was affiliated with the US military and probably isolated from the natives. It would be interesting to know how many other experts from CAP have spent that much time in the countries they claim to know.

    Reply

  41. Limbo says:

    gq –perhaps it is just you who feels that the comments on this blog have declined in quality. But, in my opinion, the comments here have not gone down, they have just become more to the point, which would be that we’re F’ ed.
    I would venture to guess that the rest of us who comment on Steve’s blog are commenting in hopes of reaching the jerk-offs in Washington that Steve talks to on a daily basis.

    Reply

  42. Carroll says:

    Posted by Dan Kervick at June 27, 2007 08:17 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Hysterically well said.
    Is there any market for recycled hot air? If one pops up I want the rights on the DC area.

    Reply

  43. Carroll says:

    Posted by MP at June 27, 2007 06:58 PM
    >>>>>>>>>
    Feeling a bit pissy today are we MP? Well, slap some ice on that inferiority complex and stick to the subject. Which is…does a collection of mongrel nabobs who think only in terms of directing US globably for the good of who?..do they even know who?…do they even know or care what the whos want?….decide what America will do …or do the Americans who actually fuel this US power decide what America will do?
    And no I don’t need in lesson in democracy but I am pretty sure the country is about to get one in the not too distant future.
    As for the outsider thingy..well that is a choice isn’t it?…people can choose to be innies or outies.

    Reply

  44. Dan Kervick says:

    Yet another mainstream, centrist think tank. Why? Was there a perceived shortage of mainstream, centrist think tanks? Apparently. I’m beginning to think that there is simply more corporate and foundation think-tank-funding money out there than there are think tanks to absorb it, so the think tanks proliferate like flies, whether they are needed or not. One pictures Washington as a movable feast of foreign policy mavens who spend their endless days roaming from think tank to think tank, listening to each other’s talks, admiring the impressive uniformity of vision, and performing intellectual 69. Argle goes to Bargle’s think tank, where he is regaled with Bargle’s foreign policy wisdom – Argle knows it’s wisdom, because he has had the same ideas himself – and then Bargle goes to Argle’s think tank, where Argle essentially delivers Bargle’s wisdom back to him in only slightly modified form. Each has his world rocked, by sensual flattery of his partner.
    Did you get the thing in the logo about the welded white line repair of the tragic red and blue state division of the national shield? Red on the right and blue on the left. Clever!
    I note that the board includes Madeleine Albright, John Podesta and William Perry. These folks are also on the board of the Truman National Security Project. The other board members also participate in various degrees of think tank board incest.
    What do these boards do exactly? Don’t these folks get tired of all that redundant boarding? Or maybe front page “board membership” just provides free advertising for strategy entrepreneurs to hock their wares. Here’s how the Albright Group, for example, defines its own purpose:
    “The Albright Group is a global strategy firm that works with businesses and organizations to achieve their objectives, improve their returns, and enhance relationships with key stakeholders. We meet the needs of our clients with insight, innovation and integrity.”
    That is, they sell influence (“enhance relationships with key stakeholders”) to corporations in need of an assist overseas in improving their bottom line. But they sell it with integrity. mind you! Albright is a true blue Democrat of course, and will probably be some kind of foreign policy tzarina in the next administration, where she can work from the inside helping democratic corporations democratically dominate foreign markets, democratically dispossess foreign peoples and democratically rake in lots of democratic money, perhaps with an occassional democratic nudge of local governments by our democratic armed forces. Let freedom ring!
    Perhaps there is a method behind this mad proliferation of thinkeries. Maybe the idea is to flood the marketplace of ideas with different versions of the very same ideas, only coming from a hundred different directions. The ideological hegemony and sheer exhaustion of the channels of elite communication is guaranteed to prevent our best and brightest from being exposed to any dangerously novel, anti-imperial notions.
    Read “The Inheritance and the Way Forward” at the CNAS site. Having read dozens of versions of the same report, I imagine just about any one of us could now write this drivel ourselves. Restore America’s image … rebuild alliances … more soft power … less brute force, etc., etc. It’s so inspiring! And look at this example of outside-of-the-box thinking:
    “More specifically, the president should designate a senior national security official (most likely the national security advisor) to lead an interagency process to develop a national security strategy and identify the capabilities required to implement it—diplomatic, informational, military, and economic.”
    That is, the president should instruct the national security advisor to do one of the standard jobs of the national security advisor. Bold!

    Reply

  45. gq says:

    Is it me, or has the quality and content of comments diminished greatly?

    Reply

  46. Limbo says:

    Israel’s Air Force prepares for an attack on Iran (from the Jerusalem Post no less, that would be the same Jerusalem post of Wolf Blitzer and Richard Perles’,infamy.
    http://tinyurl.com/3br38m
    How’s Israel going to pay for her attack on Iran and who is going to pay in the end?

    Reply

  47. springboard says:

    Why do you fawn over Jim Steinberg? Is he the NSC designate? Why? He couldn’t hack managing a wing at Brookings and he seems eager to get out of Texas before doing anything of note there….
    He just seems like a really bad manager–and an ill tempered guy to boot. Does he deserve continued relevance in national security affairs?

    Reply

  48. selise says:

    RonK – i’m glad that you’ve brought up the Truth and Reconciliation processes. that would be my preference for a method to repudiate our current foreign policy of domination and explotiation.
    i do think we’re “there”… over 4 million refugees? probably on the order of a million dead?… and that’s just iraq.

    Reply

  49. MP says:

    Carroll writes: “If patriotism is the last refuge of the scalawags, then claming a “heritage” in America that you have made no contribution to, no sacrifices for,
    ME: Who would those people be, C?
    and don’t actually have any ancestors or founding fathers or history in more than one generation away,
    ME: Worried about your lifetime seats at DAR?
    is the first refuge of the opportunistic migrating global orphans of the last decades who abandoned the non or less democratic heritages of their own failed ancestors to presume to tell America how to change or improve America?
    ME: Gosh, I can almost hear Bull Connor.
    ….and their right to do this is?….based on the failures of their own ancestors? .
    ME: I guess…anyone who’s a citizen has all the rights of citizenship. Maybe you need a lesson in democracy.
    There is a book begging to be written entitled…..”Who Are these F***** People and What are They Doing in Our Country”
    ME: It’s already been written. The first few chapters were penned by the Native Americans. Maybe they get a couple of volumes all to themselves. Up next are the blacks. After these two groups are killed off or otherwise molified, then succeeding waves of immigrants are forced to read this book as a way of ensuring that they know their place as “outsiders.”

    Reply

  50. MP says:

    Okay EASY/sdemetri and friends…here is Juan Cole’s quote…from his post that I DID read:
    “As most of my readers know, Ahmadinejad did not use that phrase in Persian. He quoted an old saying of Ayatollah Khomeini calling for ‘this occupation regime over Jerusalem” to “vanish from the page of time.’ Calling for a regime to vanish is not the same as calling for people to be killed. Ahmadinejad has not to my knowledge called for anyone to be killed. (Wampum has more; as does the American Street).”
    I imagine that it is possible to say in Persian–“I think there should be one state for Jews and Palestinians.” Instead he (according to Cole) “called for ‘this occupation regime over Jersualem” to “vanish from the page of time.”
    I agree. He didn’t say, “wipe off the face of the earth.” (Assuming this translation is correct.) Moreover, it’s a long way from espousing genocide.
    OTOH, it’s long way from a description of some sort of peaceful process of change. It also ignores the fact that this “regime” is something Israelis are in favor of. It’s their government. It’s their country. They’ve endured a lot of hardships to build the country and to live there. They don’t want it to “vanish.”
    Given that its people support their government, I’m not sure how this regime is going to disappear without a lot of people getting killed unless Israelis themselves decide to change it. So “calling for” the regime to change–again, Cole’s locution–strikes me as calling for some sort of violence.
    The analogy to the USSR is (predictably) inapposite insofar as that regime was inherently repressive and undemocratic and dysfunctional and not supported by huge swaths of the populace (though by some, as we’ve learned). The same might also be said about Iran, but let’s not get distracted.
    In any event, the USSR crumbled from within (with some external pressure) via a popular movement. So, if K and A are calling for the Israeli people to change their government and country, then cool. Israellis are pretty darn vocal already, but the more the merrier. By contrast, the Iranian regime gets pissed off when ITS people start calling for change–and feels the need to jail, torture, and kill some of those offenders, including the chldren –but these are details.
    But frankly, even with Cole’s good translation, the statement feels pretty violent to me. Just to be clear, I don’t believe that Iran is planning to attack Israel or is interested in genocide. Bombing Iran would be an immoral, fool’s errand. A, I believe, is simply taunting, both with this and the flap over the Holocaust “research.” He should be ignored, to the degree that’s possible.
    But again, his message is directed at a people who have experienced true genocide before. He shouldn’t be surprised if they aren’t sitting around parsing translations of his words to find out what he really meant by the word “vanish.” Personally, I don’t think he expects them to, either.

    Reply

  51. RonK, Seattle says:

    Returning to the original topic, an important subsidiary question would be “Can US soon regain stature in the world community without a decisive, prominent, explicit collective repudiation of the Bush Era, and if so, how?”
    It’s difficult to disown that big a chunk of a nation’s historically evident intentional conduct. It’s also difficult to return to good standing without a strong signal to the effect “that wasn’t the real US”.
    Bush’s soiled imprint on the national linen is unfortunately rather large to get by with a bygones-be-bygones “let’s move on and strive to do better”.
    It’s also not (yet) of the magnitude ordinarily reserved for Truth and Reconciliation processes.
    Which branch do we take? And how?

    Reply

  52. Ed Nashton says:

    Those are quite possibly the stupidest answers that I’ve seen from a group of “learned” individuals in sometime.
    UN reform? Tackling climate change? Are they kidding? That’s not going to change the fundamental disagreements that we have with the rest of the world on a host of issues vital to U.S. interests.
    Steve, I think your focus on the Middle East is the first area that we need to seriously reevaluate. It’s really too bad (although not surprising) that Wilsonians like Anne-Marie Slaughter are still living in a cocktail party fueled dream world.

    Reply

  53. easy e says:

    Off topic, but entertaining……
    SHIP OF FOOLS
    Johann Hari’s article just confirms how insane, delusional, ignorant and evil the neocons and rightwingers really are.
    “I am traveling on a bright-white cruise ship with two restaurants, five bars, and 500 readers of NATIONAL REVIEW. Here, the Iraq war has been ‘an amazing success.’ Global warming is not happening. Europe is becoming a new Caliphate. And I have nowhere to run….”
    Article: http://mparent7777-2.blogspot.com/2007/06/just-how-insane-are-neocons.html
    Sadly, the corporate mainstream media has turned America into a “Ship of Fools”.

    Reply

  54. Mark says:

    Is Thomas Ricks reporting or is he part of this Democrat group?

    Reply

  55. JohnH says:

    The most important thing the next President can do is to hire people who actually know something about the hot spots that the US government is dealing with.
    Example #1: The US embassy in Iraq has only a dozen or so employees fluent in Arabic. Talk about living in a bubble!
    Example #2: When Pat Lang was interviewed for a top job by Doug Feith, he was apparently turned down because he spoke Arabic and had extensive experience the Middle East. As in Vietnam, where the US government got rid of everyone who knew about the French experience and replaced them with people who were “uncontaminated,” the same apparently happened with Iraq policy. Anyone who knew something was a risk to the ideologues.
    Example #3: Roger Morris has a series running over at tomdispatch.com. It’s basically a history of how the national security establishment, including SecDef Gates, have proclaimed themselves as experts yet know almost nothing about the countries they’re making policy about. What they do understand is how to create an external threat, hype it, and feed the gluttonous Defense Department bureaucracy and their partners in the defense industry.
    Example #4: I asked an acquaintance involved on the front lines of helping countries create democratic institutions why the EU has had such success in creating democracies while the USA has had almost none. The answer: the EU has people who are experts in local countries while the US has experts in specific functional areas, such as democracy building. The problem is that the Americans are not expected to know anythng about the context that they supposed to build the democracy in. By the time they learn, they’re off to the next project.
    In addition, the next president should avoid reliance on entrenced members of the existing foreign policy and national security mafia. That includes the ‘experts’ from Johns Hopkins and the Woodrow Wilson School. This small, self selected elite will only perpetuate the disastrous, misguided policies that have served the nation so poorly. Instead, the next administration should focus on pragmatists who actually know something about the country they’re expected to deal with.
    For starters, the next administration might engage some of the more than 100,000 Returned Peace Corps Volunteers who speak the language and have grass roots experience. They’re not likely to drink the koolaid, because they have the language skills to check out what’s really happening. There are plenty of resources available beyond the narrow scope of the existing foreign policy and national security mafia, and it’s time they were used.

    Reply

  56. easy e says:

    MP, Ahmadinejad’s comments were not “mistranslated”.
    INTENTIONAL MISINTERPRETATION by the complicit U.S. corporate mainstream media (via MEMRI) would be a more accurate description.
    Here’s some information that you and the AIPAC/AEI hacks want to keep suppressed.
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=NOR20070120&articleId=4527
    http://www.mohammadmossadegh.com/news/caught-red-handed/

    Reply

  57. Carroll says:

    Well, I downloaded and read the entire 44 pages of “The Inheritance and Way Forward”.
    Want to know what the way forward is?
    It’s a “watereddown” version of the same old empire thing…a kinder, gentler empire.
    Where we advance American “interest” (whatever they may be, still undefined or unadmitted to so far) and maintain our “supremacy” thru a mixture of force and diplomacy instead of just force.
    “And” of course prepare for generations long wars against terriers and extremism.
    We rebuild our military and increase international funds for various American interest errands while at the same time reducing our national debt by raising taxes and cutting cost here at home…since obviously this means cutting cost in things other than armed forces and international budgets I leave it to you to imagine where those taxes and cuts will be applied.
    I am beginning to see nothing as useless and more in the way of the American “peoples” actual interest than these endless collections of talking tanks declaring what America should be about.
    I am always struck by the fact of how noticeable it is that a lot of these think tanks stars are primilarly people who talk about “our” founding fathers” and “our” principles and “our” ancestors as the justification for “their” personal opinion when in fact the majority of them have “no” Americans ancestors and “no” American heritage to wrap themselves in.
    If patriotism is the last refuge of the scalawags, then claming a “heritage” in America that you have made no contribution to, no sacrifices for, and don’t actually have any ancestors or founding fathers or history in more than one generation away, is the first refuge of the opportunistic migrating global orphans of the last decades who abandoned the non or less democratic heritages of their own failed ancestors to presume to tell America how to change or improve America?….and their right to do this is?….based on the failures of their own ancestors? .
    There is a book begging to be written entitled…..”Who Are these F***** People and What are They Doing in Our Country”
    Americans know what American principles and interest are, it doesn’t need to be “revised” by late to the party comers who found it easier to move on and try to redecorate their new digs instead of actually building a democractic house from the ground up.
    One wonders why they didn’t make the effort in their ancestors lands.

    Reply

  58. john somer says:

    The US should not support Germany’s bid for a seat on the Security Council but should try to persuade Britain adn France to give up their seats in favor of one for the European Union. That would indicate a real willingness to improve the workings of the UN

    Reply

  59. CB says:

    Between the “line up the usual suspects” of the board and the presence of Fukuyama who’s twisted logic is part of the origin of the economic mess this country is in.
    I say, put them all on an piece of free floating ice in the melting arctic they don’t believe in and wave goodbye. THEN the country may begin to repair the damage.
    Too much time talk in little tanks, try listening to the world. We really have had enough.

    Reply

  60. CB says:

    Between the “line up the usual suspects” of the board and the presence of Fukuyama who’s twisted logic is part of the origin of the economic mess this country is in.
    I say, put them all on an piece of free floating ice in the melting arctic they don’t believe in and wave goodbye. THEN the country may begin to repair the damage.
    Too much time talk in little tanks, try listening to the world. We really have had enough.

    Reply

  61. p.lukasiak says:

    “I’m sure the creation of this new washington think tank is just the thing needed to cure the many ills our country is suffering now…NOT.”
    My sentiments exactly. So I decided to see what this “Center for a New American Security” was all about… and its pretty obvious when you look at its Board….
    The Honorable Dr. William J. Perry
    Chairman of the Board (Clinton Sec. of Defense)
    The Honorable Dr. Madeleine K. Albright (Clinton Sec. of State)
    The Honorable Richard L. Armitage (Colin Powell’s butt boy)
    Norman R. Augustine (former head of Lockheed Martin)
    Admiral Dennis C. Blair, USN (Ret.) (Military)
    The Honorable Dr. Richard J. Danzig (Clinton Sec. of the Navy)
    William J. Lynn (Clinton UnderSec. of Defense – Comptroller)
    Lieutenant General Greg S. Newbold, USMC (Ret.) (Military)
    John D. Podesta (Clinton Chief of Staff)
    In other words, this new “think tank” is just a front for Hillary’s campaign (and, if she wins, will be there to provide “independent” justification for whatever security policy she wants.)
    Meet the new boss…its the same as the old boss…

    Reply

  62. WhatBillOfRights says:

    If MP had actually bothered to read the full text of Ahmadinejad’s statements (and again the link to Juan Cole’s site provides them) he might have answered his own “question.”
    Ahmadinejad, who is basically the mayor of Tehran, if even that, was comparing Israel to the U.S.S.R., a country which “vanished from the pages of time” after being bogged down in Afghanistan with the able help of the very same CIA asset Usama Bin Laden, who is reputed to have orchestrated the September 11 attacks from a cave in Afghanistan.
    BTW: When’s the last time we heard from that evil genius, Usama, in person? Instead we get regular threatening missives from Adam Gadahn, AKA Pearlman, the “American Al Qaeda”, whose grandfather was active in the Anti-Defamation League. Gadahn lived with his grandparents during his teens.
    And Osama Bin Laden’s FBI most wanted poster STILL does not accuse him of the 9/11 attacks — check it out for yourselves at the FBI Most Wanted website:
    http://tinyurl.com/syn8m
    “Usama Bin Laden is wanted in connection with the August 7, 1998, bombings of the United States Embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya. These attacks killed over 200 people. In addition, Bin Laden is a suspect in other terrorist attacks throughout the world.”
    And here’s yet another thing to put in my “Veeeeery Interesting” file — turns out that Larry Silverstein, he of World Trade Center infamy, had weekly conversations with Benjamin Netanyahu. This as reported in Ha’aretz, probably the most sane Israeli paper.
    This isn’t the Ha’retz article on the Silverstein/ Netanyahu connection that I was looking for but I think it’s even better, though it has some really fine propaganda in it:
    http://tinyurl.com/yjmxux
    ” Shortly after the events of September 11, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon called Larry Silverstein, a Jewish real estate magnate in New York, the owner of the World Trade Center’s 110-story Twin Towers and a close friend, to ask how he was. Since then they have spoken a few more times. Two former prime ministers – Benjamin Netanyahu, who this week called Silverstein a “friend,” and Ehud Barak, whom Silverstein in the past offered a job as his representative in Israel – also called soon after the disaster. Yaakov Terner, the mayor of Be’er Sheva, sent a letter of condolence.
    Many Israeli politicians are acquainted in one degree or another with the 70-year-old Silverstein. For 10 years, he tried to bring about the establishment of a free-trade zone in the Negev, until the project fell apart. “This is a tragedy,” Silverstein, deeply disappointed, said then. ”
    “Poor” old Silverstein ended up making a “killing” off of the WTC — buildings that he bought most probably knowing that they were full of asbestos. How convenient.
    Connect the dots, people, it’s all there…
    The Liberty may not have been the first false flag attack by Israel, but it sure won’t be the last.
    And Steve (or this website’s moderator) please not that I am backing up everything I claim with credible sources.

    Reply

  63. sdemetri says:

    No, it isn’t up to Ahmadinejad. But proposing a one state solution is a long way from genocide, which is what the mistranslation is all about. Some folks can only hear what they want to hear.
    Bush proposes regime change, and by the hyperbolic rhetoric of several neocons, acheiving it by a nuclear attack seems to be perfectly ok. I don’t get a reciprocal attitude even from Ahmadinejad, as intemperate as his statements may be.

    Reply

  64. selise says:

    mp-
    “You mean, so when Bush calls for “regime change” in, say, Iran, that’s cool? The Iranian regime doesn’t take lightly to that phrase, does it?”
    of course not. but it’s not genocide – which is what our congress just called it.
    “I think Ahmadinejad needed to speak more clearly”
    if juan cole is correct, he did speak clearly – the problem is that it was mistranslated.

    Reply

  65. MP says:

    sdemetri writes: “Ahmadinejad has proposed in many foreign speeches, including here in the US in Mike Wallace’s interview for 60 Minutes, and in Time magazine, a one state solution. The former deputy mayor of Jerusalem, a Jew, has proposed the same. I don’t buy the genocide BS.”
    The only problem with this formulation is that…it isn’t up to Ahmadinejad, is it? Right now, Bush (some say) is proposing that Iran no longer be ruled by a religious hierarchy…how is MA taking that proposal? There are, of course, many proposals–Ben Gurion once complained that he presided over a country with 1.5 million prime ministers– but it is the Israelis who get to decide the character of Israel.
    If they want a one-state solution, then I’m fine with it.
    As to the translation problem, I think Ahmadinejad needed to speak more clearly if he didn’t want to be misunderstood by a people who have, within living memory, experienced genocide and whose country is, in part, a reaction to that event and many others that led up to it. Otherwise, he might scarce them into doing something very, very stupid.

    Reply

  66. MP says:

    selise writes: “mp – if you would read juan cole’s analysis (helpfully linked to by “bill-o”), you would know… it’s “regime change” not genocide.”
    You mean, so when Bush calls for “regime change” in, say, Iran, that’s cool? The Iranian regime doesn’t take lightly to that phrase, does it?

    Reply

  67. WhatBillOfRights says:

    FreeRepublic’s posters’ comments about axing Bush were over immigration, but hell, the people over at Democratic Underground were about equally as enraged at the amnesty bill for the same reason as the Freepers , i.e., it screws the “average” American.
    So we, as Americans of all political stripes, have found some common ground in forcing that horse’s a*s, GW, out of office.
    Hey MP, ever heard about the sex ring in Barney Frank’s office? Congressman Foley? “Hot tub” Tom DeLay?
    Two Israeli companies, Amdoc and Comverse, track information about almost every call made in the U.S.
    Comverse had the added privelege of installing the phone system on Capitol Hill. And, according to the Starr report, Clinton told Monica that a foreign government was tapping the White House’s phones.
    But don’t trust me, WATCH this FOX (of all stations) investigative report on Comverse and Amdocs:
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article6480.htm
    Watch it or read the transcript from no other than Brit Hume himself. Here’s just one segment from the report:
    Carl Cameron Investigates Part 3 : Comverse, CALEA, Israel and the terror investigation
    HUME: Last time we reported on an Israeli-based company called Amdocs Ltd. that generates the computerized records and billing data for nearly every phone call made in America. As Carl Cameron reported, U.S. investigators digging into the 9/11 terrorist attacks fear that suspects may have been tipped off to what they were doing by information leaking out of Amdocs.
    In tonight’s report, we learn that the concern about phone security extends to another company, founded in Israel, that provides the technology that the U.S. government uses for electronic eavesdropping. Here is Carl Cameron’s third report.
    (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
    CARL CAMERON, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The company is Comverse Infosys, a subsidiary of an Israeli-run private telecommunications firm, with offices throughout the U.S. It provides wiretapping equipment for law enforcement. Here’s how wiretapping works in the U.S.
    Every time you make a call, it passes through the nation’s elaborate network of switchers and routers run by the phone companies. Custom computers and software, made by companies like Comverse, are tied into that network to intercept, record and store the wiretapped calls, and at the same time transmit them to investigators.
    The manufacturers have continuing access to the computers so they can service them and keep them free of glitches. This process was authorized by the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, or CALEA. Senior government officials have now told Fox News that while CALEA made wiretapping easier, it has led to a system that is seriously vulnerable to compromise, and may have undermined the whole wiretapping system.
    Indeed, Fox News has learned that Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller were both warned Oct. 18 in a hand-delivered letter from 15 local, state and federal law enforcement officials, who complained that “law enforcement’s current electronic surveillance capabilities are less effective today than they were at the time CALEA was enacted.”
    Congress insists the equipment it installs is secure. But the complaint about this system is that the wiretap computer programs made by Comverse have, in effect, a back door through which wiretaps themselves can be intercepted by unauthorized parties.
    Adding to the suspicions is the fact that in Israel, Comverse works closely with the Israeli government, and under special programs, gets reimbursed for up to 50 percent of its research and development costs by the Israeli Ministry of Industry and Trade. But investigators within the DEA, INS and FBI have all told Fox News that to pursue or even suggest Israeli spying through Comverse is considered career suicide.
    And sources say that while various F.B.I. inquiries into Comverse have been conducted over the years, they’ve been halted before the actual equipment has ever been thoroughly tested for leaks. A 1999 F.C.C. document indicates several government agencies expressed deep concerns that too many unauthorized non-law enforcement personnel can access the wiretap system. And the FBI’s own nondescript office in Chantilly, Virginia that actually oversees the CALEA wiretapping program, is among the most agitated about the threat.
    But there is a bitter turf war internally at F.B.I. It is the FBI’s office in Quantico, Virginia, that has jurisdiction over awarding contracts and buying intercept equipment. And for years, they’ve thrown much of the business to Comverse. A handful of former U.S. law enforcement officials involved in awarding Comverse government contracts over the years now work for the company.
    Numerous sources say some of those individuals were asked to leave government service under what knowledgeable sources call “troublesome circumstances” that remain under administrative review within the Justice Department.
    (END VIDEOTAPE)
    And what troubles investigators most, particularly in New York, in the counter terrorism investigation of the World Trade Center attack, is that on a number of cases, suspects that they had sought to wiretap and survey immediately changed their telecommunications processes. They started acting much differently as soon as those supposedly secret wiretaps went into place – Brit.
    HUME: Carl, is there any reason to suspect in this instance that the Israeli government is involved?
    CAMERON: No, there’s not. But there are growing instincts in an awful lot of law enforcement officials in a variety of agencies who suspect that it had begun compiling evidence, and a highly classified investigation into that possibility – Brit.
    HUME: All right, Carl. Thanks very much.
    Content and Programming Copyright 2001 Fox News Network
    And read about Amdocs for yourself:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amdocs
    The money quote on this is:
    “Amdocs NYSE: DOX, headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri but primarily based in Ra’anana, Israel, is a provider of software and services for billing, CRM and OSS systems. Its clients are primarily focused on the telecommunications, including such “Tier-1” players as Comcast, Cablevision, DirecTV, Jupiter Communications, Cable One, Sprint-Nextel, Cingular, Vodafone, T-Mobile and Sensis.
    The company was originally called “Aurec Group” (the Hebrew word for Artery (“עורק”), which in Hebrew is used to describe a communication channel) and dealt only with directory services, i.e. Yellow Pages. They now provide application suites for CRM, sales, and billing operations for telecommunication service providers. Amdocs still provides publishing software for creating print and online directories. The company also offers outsourced customer service and data center operations.
    Amdocs claims to be the largest billing system’s software and services provider in the world.[citation needed]; in the USA, they provide billing and directory assistance for 90% of the phone companies.[citation needed]”
    Israel has the US congress by the balls, but it will be the balls (and the ovaries) of our children that will be blown-up in the next USRael war, as they are being in this one.
    By the way, Comverse owned Verint, the company in charge of security of the London Tube system on the morning of the 7/7 attacks. Early Israeli reports said that Netanyahu, who was in London at the time, was warned of the attacks beforehand. Needless to say, later Israeli reports denied that Netanyahu was warned.
    I don’t know if any of you are old enough to remember “Laugh-In” but all I would say about Israeli companies having control of our security/ communications systems is “Veeeerrrry Interesting”

    Reply

  68. sdemetri says:

    Ahmadinejad has proposed in many foreign speeches, including here in the US in Mike Wallace’s interview for 60 Minutes, and in Time magazine, a one state solution. The former deputy mayor of Jerusalem, a Jew, has proposed the same. I don’t buy the genocide BS.

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  69. selise says:

    mp – if you would read juan cole’s analysis (helpfully linked to by “bill-o”), you would know… it’s “regime change” not genocide.
    now, i don’t know the language or the culture. but juan cole does, and he’s been a good source in the past.

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  70. MP says:

    Bill-O writes: “”As most of my readers know, Ahmadinejad did not use that phrase in Persian. He quoted an old saying of Ayatollah Khomeini calling for ‘this occupation regime over Jerusalem” to “vanish from the page of time.’ Calling for a regime to vanish is not the same as calling for people to be killed. Ahmadinejad has not to my knowledge called for anyone to be killed.”
    Then, what does it mean? Maybe Easy E can give us an answer…

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  71. MP says:

    Bill-O writes: “Or maybe Mossad just has the goods on every member of Congress…”
    Ha, ha, ha!

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  72. easy e says:

    Israel’s “endless wars” unfortunately will succeed. A key enabler, the U.S. corporate media, is a key reason which happens to be in the hands of the Likud propaganda tool, MEMRI:
    http://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/1511
    MEMRI Loss
    -by Kurt Nimmo
    As we have known for some time now, MEMRI, short for the Middle East Media Research Institute, specializes in disinformation by distorting translations of film and print media stories originating in Arabic, Iranian and Turkish media. In essence, what MEMRI does is change the context of news stories by way of mistranslation and excision. Call it MEMRI loss, the deliberate mangling of media. MEMRI did this to Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by turning a speech he delivered in 2005 into a racist and genocidal screed. MEMRI accomplished this through mistranslation. Not a day passes now we do not witness corporate media claims Ahmadinejad wants to wipe Israel off the map. In fact, Ahmadinejad said the “regime that is occupying Qods [Jerusalem] must be eliminated from the pages of history.” He did not say Israel must be wiped off the map. But this engineered lie is repeated constantly by the corporate media and to such a degree it is now accepted as fact.
    Earlier this week, as Israeli PM Olmert met with Bush, we once again heard this MEMRI spawned lie. Olmert “said he wanted to discuss with Mr. Bush the threat to Israel from Iran, whose president has said Israel must be ‘wiped off the map.’” the Associated Press reports. “Mr. Bush replied that he views Iran’s statements as a ’serious threat’ to Israel and that ‘all options are on the table’ to make sure Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon.” In other words, Olmert used the MEMRI lie as the cornerstone for his argument that Iran must be attacked and Bush agreed. It wasn’t long ago the neocons made up similar lies about Saddam Hussein, lies that have so far resulted in the murder of more than 750,000 Iraqis.
    For those of us who know something about history, these neocon lies may be accurately compared with the lies and disinformation used by the Nazis to ultimately invade countries and slaughter millions of people. MEMRI, according to Norman G. Finkelstein, employs “the same sort of propaganda techniques as the Nazis. They take things out of context in order to do personal and political harm to people they don’t like,” or people Likudniks and neocons want the United States military to mass murder.
    Finkelstein had a close encounter with MEMRI in 2006, when “he gave a TV interview in Lebanon on the way the Nazi Holocaust is used to silence critics of Israel,” according to Lawrence Swaim, writing for InFocus, the largest Muslim newspaper in California. “MEMRI recently posted what it alleged was an interview I did with Lebanese television on the Nazi Holocaust. The MEMRI posting was designed to prove that I was a Holocaust denier,” Finkelstein told the newspaper. “Far from being a Holocaust denier, Finkelstein’s own parents were Holocaust survivors, a fact he has often spoken about,” Swaim adds. “But MEMRI was able to create the opposite impression, as Finkelstein demonstrated on his Web site, by editing out large chunks of the actual interview.”
    “MEMRI is a main arm of Israeli propaganda,” explains Finkelstein. “Although widely used in the mainstream media as a source of information on the Arab world, it is as trustworthy as Julius Streicher’s Der Sturmer was on the Jewish world.” Ken Livingstone, mayor of London, accuses MEMRI of “outright distortion,” while former CIA case officer Vince Cannistraro has written that “they (MEMRI) are selective and act as propagandists for their political point of view, which is the extreme-right of Likud,” in other words, the people associated with MEMRI—David Wurmser, Douglas Feith, Elliot Abrams, Richard Perle and other neocons—are racist reactionaries, no different than the above mentioned Julius Streicher (instead of hating Jews, the neocons hate Arabs and Muslims).
    (As an aside, a few pranksters connected to the former Marxist gone neocon David Horowitz’s FrontPage operation, funded by the CIA operative Richard Mellon Scaife, have spent time modifying photos of Streicher in Photoshop, dropping your humble blogger’s head on Streicher’s body, apparently as a reaction to my criticism of Israel and the “extreme-right of Likud” neocons, thus demonstrating not only the silliness but the vicious tenacity of people who cannot stand to hear criticism of their beloved apartheid state, even in the blogosphere.)
    “According its critics, until MEMRI starts translating Hebrew stories about the rightward drift of Israeli society, torture of Palestinians in Israeli jails, the forced exile of Ilan Pappe and Azmi Bishara, and the elevation of the neo-fascist Avigdor Lieberman to deputy prime minister of Israel, they aren’t really covering all Middle Eastern media,” Swaim concludes.
    Of course, these topics are strictly forbidden, not only for a Mossad operation pretending to be a media translation service, but for the rest of us as well. For instance, in Canada, a news website, the Peace, Earth and Justice News, may soon be convicted of disseminating hate by the Canadian Human Rights Commission at the behest of the League for Human Rights of B’nai Brith for posting an article written by your humble blogger on this very subject, as well as for daring to post articles penned by a handful of others accused of “hate crimes” for criticizing Israel.
    Come the North American Union, all of us may be sharing a Canadian jail cell or one in Israel, in much the same way Ernest Zündel is locked in a German prison for the crime of bucking the Zionist orthodoxy. As we know, or some of us do—most Americans believe Israel is a democracy—prison cells in Israel, for non-Israelis, often translates into a death sentence. Others are murdered outright—for instance Rachel Corrie, American member of the International Solidarity Movement, crushed to death by an IOF bulldozer for the crime of demonstrating against the demolition of the home of Samir Nasrallah, a Palestinian pharmacist.
    Finally, it appears an appreciable number of mostly clueless Americans are stupid enough to fall victim to MEMRI’s lies, as millions of them sincerely believe Ahmadinejad wants to wipe Israel off the map. Of course, they know nothing of MEMRI, or that it is an Israeli intelligence operation run by Yigal Carmon, who “served” in the IOF’s intelligence branch, or that it was co-founded by one Meyrav Wurmser, wife of “Clean Break” author David Wurmser, a dual citizen questioned by the FBI for allegedly passing state secrets on to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. It should be noted that Meyrav Wurmser wrote her Ph.D. thesis on Revisionist Zionism, the racist and murderous political philosophy behind the Herut and Likud parties in Israel, thus demonstrating Meyrav’s racism and hatred is a generational affair.
    Naturally, when the depleted uranium tipped bunker busters and cruise missiles begin taking out grandmothers and babies in Iran, MEMRI, the mass murdering Likudniks and neocons will be to blame.
    However, instead of justice, the perps will likely move on to teach a new generation of psychopaths at Georgetown University or retire to palatial estates on land ethnically cleansed of Palestinians.

    Reply

  73. HyperIon says:

    I’m sure the creation of this new washington think tank is just the thing needed to cure the many ills our country is suffering now…NOT.
    WBOR wrote: “At Freerepublic.com yesterday posters were calling for Bush to be impeached or suffer an even worse fate.”
    i don’t go there anymore but i have a feeling that their outrage is about immigration, not iraq.

    Reply

  74. WhatBillOfRights says:

    Professor Juan Cole has a great article at antiwar.com today (taken from Cole’s blog “Informed Comment”) on the mis-translation of Ahmadinejad’s comments and how it is being used to lie Americans into supporting an attack on Iran.
    Send Cole’s article to everyone you know and call up your congress putz (all three of them, as well as other reps from your state for good measure) and quote it, after which threaten to throw their smug butts out of office if they don’t stop the madness that would be a USrael attack on Iran.
    Here is Cole’s money quote:
    “As most of my readers know, Ahmadinejad did not use that phrase in Persian. He quoted an old saying of Ayatollah Khomeini calling for ‘this occupation regime over Jerusalem” to “vanish from the page of time.’ Calling for a regime to vanish is not the same as calling for people to be killed. Ahmadinejad has not to my knowledge called for anyone to be killed.”
    Juan Cole’s entire article (and I would suggest you read it in its entirety):
    http://tinyurl.com/27pcj9
    But really, we do not have a Senate ratified defense treaty with Israel so why should we care what Iran does to the “only ‘democracy’ in the Middle East?”
    As someone else pointed out, and as I researched, Iran will never nuke Israel because Jerusalem is the third holiest site in Islam because Muslims believe that Mohammed ascended into heaven there.
    Tell that to your congress critters too when you ream their a*sses over this new round of war-mongering for Israel.

    Reply

  75. selise says:

    dan – obama’s claim (in a presidential debate) that everyone knows that iran has a nuclear weapons program, contrary to iaea statements, did not reassure.

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  76. Dan Kervick says:

    I asked what could they recommend to the next President to help turn this “perception” of our decline around.
    I think the single thing which would be most likely to improve the perception of the United States around the world (and by “the world”, I don’t just mean Europe) would be to elect Barack Obama. He is clearly the best positioned to remind people around the world about some of the things they don’t detest about the US, and even admire, and might even captivate much of the globe’s imagination with both his oratory and his personna, especially in the developing world.
    Obviously that’s not the only factor to consider in choosing a president, but it is one important one.

    Reply

  77. selise says:

    i’d like to add that refraining from attacking iran would be a constructive way to prevent our reputation from sinking even lower.
    after the house of representatives vote last week on h.con.r.21 i’m really worried.

    virtually the entire house of representatives (only 2 “no” votes – kucinich and paul) voted to ask the UN security council to charge ahmadinejad with “violating the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and United Nations Charter” based on basically his calling for the genocide of israelis and because “Iran has aggressively pursued a clandestine effort to arm itself with nuclear weapons”.
    only problem is that the first is a lie (mistranslations) and there is not evidence for the second (see IAEA).
    when kucinich tried to enter into the congressional record the correct translation, he was prevented from doing so.
    so, now we have a document that bush can point to (after bombing iran) and say – “see, even the dems know that the iranian leader is a genocidal maniac pursuing nuclear weapons.”
    this seems just so crazy. steve, do you have any clue what the heck is oing on?

    Reply

  78. WhatBillOfRights says:

    Steve — I heard you being interviewed on antiwar.com radio and you sound like a very nice man, so I would like to apologize for my previous comment.
    It was borne out of the frustration many of us out here in the “heartland” feel — that while the power elites muck around in Washington, OUR lives are becoming increasingly difficult and “our” congress “people” aren’t listening to us. Nor are the various pundit babas, like Fukuyama, who bears some responsibility for Mess-O-Potamia.
    And I echo many here who are terrified that the children we cherish will end up in pieces on a battlefield fighting another country’s war — a country allied with the most unsavory elements of our military- industrial complex.
    Why don’t you tell your friends, enemies, contacts, etc., in D.C. that the anger out here, in the real America, is palpable?
    At Freerepublic.com yesterday posters were calling for Bush to be impeached or suffer an even worse fate. Many were also calling for a new American revolution.
    Now the “aristocracy” in D.C. should realize that when they’ve lost the Free Republic “GOP Do or Die” crowd, this country really is on the verge of a revolution with Americans united on one thing, which is to kick out the bums who have destroyed our country.
    Please tell them Steve, our pleas are falling on deaf ears.
    BTW: a two state solution would solidify Israel’s apartheid nation. We need a one state solution and Israel needs to learn how to be a good neighbor. The U.S. government is Israel’s ultimate enabler, and has shown that it is willing to destroy America in order to remain in power by currying the favors of the pro-Israel policy.
    Or maybe Mossad just has the goods on every member of Congress…

    Reply

  79. WhatBillOfRights says:

    In four years my oldest will be 19 — tell all of those Washington poobahs to go F themselves — my son is NOT going to die in one of Israel’s endless wars.

    Reply

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