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30 June 2005        Free

News, Views, & Analysis Governments, Lobbies, & the
Corporate Media Don't Want You To Know

Upcoming Exclusively
from MER:

* Germany to America
* Bandar Departs Washington

No doubt as this kind of things spreads via the Internet those who are already enraged and fighting will become still further enraged and fight still harder.


The 1979 Iranian revolution changed the world not only in the Middle East.  It also led to the election of Ronald Reagan in the U.S.   And now a major campaign is underway to target Iran, including by linking th new President-elect to the American hostages held in 1979 for more than a year.

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MER - MiddleEast.Org - Washington - 30 June:   In some ways the emphasis should be on 'Latest'.   In other ways, crucial ways, the emphasis needs to change as the Bush approach itself has morphed.  Moreover those in charge in Washington are not really looking back, they are looking ahead. 
    These two very crucial things have changed:
   * A much more comprehensive and coordinated propaganda campaign is again underway as previous MER articles have outlined.
   * Emphasis on 9/11 and the 'necessity' to act in advance of threats materializing is not really about  Iraq at this point, it is really about shifting thinking to Iran and Syria in the Middle East, Israel's major enemies, and to North Korea not only for its own weapons but for its potential to help others opposed to the 'New World Order'.
     Following are two very interesting articles about the latest Bush Speech and what it's really all about - both published yesterday, the day after the speech.  The first comes from Australia where the World Socialist organization has a very active and outspoken organization; the second from Professor Juan Cole who has his own blog/commentary that is often of considerable interest.

Bush at Fort Bragg—

fear-mongering, lies and desperation

President Bush’s speech before a captive audience of 740 troops at Fort Bragg, North Carolina Tuesday night was a repellant spectacle. It combined the pack of lies that the country has heard over and over again for nearly four years with appeals to backwardness, ignorance and fear, all intended to quash the mounting popular opposition to the war in Iraq.

Filled with non sequiturs and self-contradictory arguments, the speech asserted yet again that the unprovoked US invasion and occupation of Iraq were in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, and that Iraq remained the frontline in the “global war on terror.”

Is it really necessary to answer these bogus claims yet again? These were the arguments the administration attempted to sell to the American people before the invasion, manufacturing phony intelligence about meetings between Iraqi agents and Al Qaeda that were debunked well before the first troops were sent in.

Once again Bush employed the injunction that we not forget “the lessons of September 11.” But what are those lessons? No Iraqis were involved in the 9/11 attack, and there was no link between the organizers of that crime and the regime in Baghdad. If there is anything to be learned, it is that the Bush administration seized upon the hijack-bombings—or allowed them to take place—as a pretext for executing longstanding plans to conquer Iraq and its vast oil wealth.

The central justification given when the war was launched—the alleged threat from Iraqi “weapons of mass destruction”—went entirely unmentioned in Bush’s half-hour address.

Bush now casts the war and the continuing occupation of Iraq as a struggle for freedom and democracy. But his speech testified to the disintegration of democratic processes within the United States itself.

He appeared before massed troops, under discipline to sit through his lies and stupidities. He addressed the nation not from the Oval Office, as a democratically elected leader, but from Fort Bragg, so as to project the image of a war-time “commander-in-chief.” Under Bush, this designation has been transformed from an affirmation of civilian control over the military to a byword for militarism and an imperial presidency answerable neither to the law nor the populace.

The basic assumption of those who wrote the speech was that the American people are nothing but fools who can be endlessly manipulated. In an attempt to dissuade the majority of Americans from their well-founded conclusion that the war should never have been launched and withdrawal should begin, Bush claimed “we have made significant progress” over the past year.

He chose the date of his speech to coincide with the first anniversary of what was proclaimed the “handover of sovereignty” to an Iraqi regime headed by a former CIA agent. This was but one of numerous “turning points” that produced only growing resistance and carnage. Since that date, more than 900 US troops have been killed, along with uncounted thousands of Iraqi civilians.

The number of daily attacks and the number of US troops killed over the past month both stand at nearly double what they were a year ago. For the Iraqi people themselves, the conditions of life are worse now than they were a year ago. Violence is endemic, with the US occupation forces and their Iraqi puppets controlling nothing outside of Baghdad’s heavily fortified “Green Zone.”

Less power is being generated today than a year ago, with most people having electricity for only six to eight hours a day. Clean water and adequate sanitary facilities are lacking, producing widespread illness, particularly among children. And at least 40 percent of the population remains unemployed.

Added to these horrendous conditions is the oppression of foreign occupation, with Iraqis deprived of all essential democratic rights—including the right of life itself—by an all-powerful US military force. There is no “sovereignty” under conditions in which 140,000 American troops are deployed in Iraq.

These are the conditions that have given rise to mass resistance which the American military has proven powerless to stop.

Bush’s attempt to dismiss this resistance as the work of “foreign fighters” and “ruthless killers converging on Iraq” is ridiculous. The American military now runs a vast prison system in Iraq, holding well over 10,000 so-called “security detainees.” Out of these, barely a few hundred are non-Iraqis.

As for the “foreign fighters,” Bush noted that they “have come from Saudi Arabia and Syria, Iran, Egypt, Sudan, Yemen, Libya.” These are countries whose people share with the Iraqis common language, culture and history of anti-colonial struggle. If they are “foreigners,” what are the US troops?

Describing the enemy that the US occupation army confronts in Iraq, Bush declared: “They are waging a campaign of murder and destruction. And there is no limit to the innocent lives they are willing to take... men with blind hatred and armed with lethal weapons who are capable of any atrocity... they respect no laws of warfare or morality.”

He could well have been talking about his own government, which launched an illegal war of aggression that has claimed an estimated 100,000 Iraqi lives. It has used bombs, missiles and napalm against civilian targets, and reduced Fallujah, a city of 300,000, to ruins. On a daily basis it carries out raids, killing innocent civilians and detaining others.

To justify these crimes with a load of Manichaean rubbish—presenting US imperialism’s dirty colonial war as a struggle for “good” against “evil”—is to appeal to everything that is backward, ignorant and fearful in America.

“We fight today because terrorists want to attack our country and kill our citizens, and Iraq is where they are making their stand,” Bush said. If Iraq is where people are “making their stand,” it is because it is their country, and they will never accept its conquest.

Bush made the unlikely claim that the bloody catastrophe in Iraq is inspiring people throughout the Middle East. If anything, the events there have provoked mass revulsion and outrage in the region. Bush sought to claim credit for elections in the Palestinian territories and in Lebanon, though votes in the former have been taking place for several years, and in the latter for decades.

There was, underlying the specious claims of progress and vows to “complete the mission,” a definite strain of desperation. Bush has often chosen to use soldiers as extras in his televised performances, but this time his audience was somber, interrupting his speech with restrained applause just once—and then at the prompting of a White House advance man. No doubt, back-to-back tours in Iraq and the prospect—enunciated by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld—of a dozen more years of fighting has dampened enthusiasm within the ranks.

The speech concluded with an appeal for American youth to consider a “military career”—a bit of hustling for the military that was prompted by a disastrous decline in recruitment, posing before the Pentagon the potential shipwreck of the all-volunteer army.

At the same time, Bush invoked the need for “sacrifice,” without ever spelling out what he meant. He suggested merely that Americans fly the flag on the 4th of July to show their support for the troops. Nowhere in his speech did he acknowledge that nearly 1,750 American soldiers have been killed in Iraq, or that his administration has expended approximately $200 billion on the war.

The clear implication, however, was that the killing and dying, and the squandering of vast sums will continue indefinitely. The speech constituted a warning. The American ruling elite is not about to accept another Vietnam. It has no intention of allowing popular opposition to force an end to the war.

This is not to deny the existence of divisions within the political establishment over the conduct of this war. The Democrats have emerged as the faction pushing for more decisive action and criticizing the administration for mismanaging the war effort. No less than the Republicans, they are committed to “completing the mission” in Iraq, i.e., subjugating its people by military force and assuring US hegemony over the oil-rich Persian Gulf.

The Democrats’ chief foreign policy spokesman Senator Joe Biden praised Bush for speaking to the American people on Iraq, declaring, “Unless we regain their support, we’re in real trouble.” He repeatedly warned that there are not enough US soldiers on the ground, and suggested that more force is needed to do the job.

While the mass media interrupted their prime time schedules to broadcast Bush’s speech, some commentators expressed concerns afterwards that the president had failed to supply any new arguments or policies to reverse the sharp decline in support for the war. This failure is not a matter of poor speechwriting. Like it or not, the administration confronts an objective reality in Iraq where everything it has asserted or predicted has been refuted by events.

In concluding his remarks, Bush declared, “When the history of this period is written, the liberation of Afghanistan and the liberation of Iraq will be remembered as great turning points in the story of freedom.” On the contrary, when the history of these events is written, the US interventions will be cited as turning points in the resurgence of naked imperialist aggression on a scale not witnessed since the fall of Germany’s Third Reich.

The decisive issue posed by the eruption of American militarism is the need for the building of a political movement against war, independent of the Democrats and Republicans and based on the American working people. Such a movement must begin with the demand for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all American troops from Iraq. It must reject the entire fraud of the “war on terror,” and insist that all those who conspired to launch the war in Iraq be held responsible both politically and criminally.         Editorial Board Statement, 29 June


Arguing with Bush
By Juan Cole

Bush's speech.
"The terrorists who attacked us and the terrorists we face murder in the name of a totalitarian ideology that hates freedom, rejects tolerance and despises all dissent.
"Terrorists" are not a cohesive ideological category like "Communists" as Bush suggests. Lots of groups use terror as a tactic. The Irgun Zionists in 1946 and 1947 did, as well. Also ETA in Spain, about the terrorist acts of which Americans seldom hear in their newspapers (they are ongoing). The Baath regime in Iraq engaged in so little international terrorism in the late 1990s and early zeroes that it was not even on the US State Department list of sponsors of terrorism. Bush could take the above rationale and use it to invade most countries in the world.
"To achieve these aims, they have continued to kill: in Madrid, Istanbul, Jakarta, Casablanca, Riyadh, Bali and elsewhere.
Yes, and these were al-Qaeda operations, and you haven't caught Bin Laden or al-Zawahiri.
"The commander in charge of coalition operations in Iraq, who is also senior commander at this base, General John Vines, put it well the other day. He said, We either deal with terrorism and this extremism abroad, or we deal with it when it comes to us."
This is monstrous and ridiculous at once. The people in Fallujah and Ramadi were not sitting around plotting terrorism three years ago. They had no plans to hit the United States. Terrorism isn't a fixed quantity. By unilaterally invading Iraq and then bollixing it up, Bush and Vines have created enormous amounts of terrorism, which they are now having trouble putting back in the bottle.
"Our military reports that we have killed or captured hundreds of foreign fighters in Iraq who have come from Saudi Arabia and Syria, Iran, Egypt, Sudan, Yemen, Libya and others."
Maybe 8 percent of the fighters in Iraq are foreign jihadis. Of the some 25,000 guerrillas, almost all are Iraqi Sunni Arabs who dislike foreign military occupation of their country. You could imagine what people in Alabama or Kentucky would do if foreign troops came in and tried to set up checkpoints in their neighborhoods.

Moreover, many of those jihadis fighting in Iraq wouldn't even be jihadis if they weren't outraged by Bush's invasion and occupation of a Muslim country.

The fact is that the US went in and convinced the Sunni Arabs of Iraq that we were going to screw them over royally, driving them into violent opposition. They aren't inherently terrorists and could have been won over.

There are no Iraqi military units that can and will fight independently against the Sunni guerrillas, so all those statistics he quoted are meaningless.

Almost all the coalition allies of the US have a short timetable for getting out of the quagmire before it goes really bad. Bush's quotation of all that international support sounds more hollow each time he voices it.

An interesting Flash presentation on Coalition casualties can be found here, demonstrating their geographical extent throughout the country.

The political process in Iraq has not helped end the guerrilla war. It has excluded Sunnis or alienated them so that they excluded themselves. It offers no hope in and of itself.

There was nothing new in Bush's speech, and most of what he said was inaccurate. takes apart Bush's moral relativism or amoral relativism and is worth a read.

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analysis on the Middle East always comes from MER.   It is indispensable!"
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June 2005


Bush Speak - Deceitful, Dishonest, Distasteful
(June 30, 2005)
Following are two very interesting articles about the latest Bush Speech and what it's really all about - both published yesterday, the day after the speech. The first comes from Australia where the World Socialist organization has a very active and outspoken organization; the second from Professor Juan Cole who has his own blog/commentary that is often of considerable interest.

the Mideast's political vista is bleak and depressing - MER FlashBack 5 Years
(June 29, 2005)
"There is not a single Arab regime that has authentic political legitimacy. All are kept in power by soldiers and secret police... From Morocco to Iraq, the Mideast's political vista is bleak and depressing."

Bush, Condi, Rummie, and the Generals all Speaketh Safely and Carefully
(June 29, 2005)
"...the applause appeared to have een 'triggered by members of the president's advance team' and once they began clapping, the soldiers joined in."

TOTAL WAR Preached by Washington Extremists
(June 28, 2005)
"On no issue is the JINSA/CSP hard line more evident than in its relentless campaign for war--not just with Iraq, but "total war".... For this crew, "regime change" by any means necessary in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Authority is an urgent imperative. Anyone who committing heresy against articles of faith that effectively hold there is no difference between US and Israeli national security interests, and that the only way to assure continued safety and prosperity for both countries is through hegemony in the Middle East.

(June 27, 2005)
"The lack of public discussion about the role of Israel in the thinking of 'President Bush' is easier to understand, but weird nevertheless. It is the proverbial elephant in the room: Everybody sees it, no one mentions it." - Michael Kinsley - 24 Oct 2002(Today Editorial Page Editor, LATimes)

Hitler and Nazi Germany compared to Bush and Evangelical/Neocon America? By whom did you say?
(June 25, 2005)
"They (neo cons) are making such fatalistic mistakes and are about as insane as Hitler and the Nazi Party when they invaded Russia in the dead of the winter... It’s like the Nazis removing dissent without using the Gestapo." - former Senior Reagan Admin official with impressive credentials

(June 15, 2005)
MER has never before published this story, this 'conspiracy theory' if you will. Though under much pressure over the years to do so we always held back and never published anything about this 'possibility'...until today that is. But now the fact that a ranking former Bush Administration official, in fact the man who was the top government economist in the Labor Department on 11 September 2001, has now gone public saying 9/11 may have been a historic hoax and the World Trade Towers were 'most likely' destroyed by a 'controlled demolition', causes us to reconsider.

Avi Shlaim and 'Liberal' Jewish Israeli Apologetica
(June 24, 2005)
"For when it comes to pointing fingers in their own direction for so many awful mistakes for so long, for such Israeli apologetica that at the very least played into the crafty and bloody designs of those they claim to so oppose, there is such a deafening silence from the likes of Avi Shlaim, Henry Siegman, Joel Beinin, Aaron Miller and the chicanerous Peace Now-B'rit Tzedek 'peace' propagandists."

Letter to MER from Israel...and Reply
(June 23, 2005)
"Truly informing people of the often tragic and enraging realities in which we are all now interwoven in today's 'modern' world is indeed what MER is all about. It is a daunting difficult sometimes distasteful task. But it is oh-so-important whether we be discussing the realities in the U.S., the Arab countries, today's United Nations, the Palestinian Authority, or Israel. Indeed, we badly and urgently need a new kind of worldwide alliance among dedicated and knowledgeable and independent people of conscience and conviction, whether they be Israelis or Arabs or Americans, Jews or Muslims or Christians."

Fingers Pointing At Israeli Complicity
(June 22, 2005)
As for the crucial charge that Israel was at least partly behind it all coming from such a ranking former CIA official who use to brief non other than George Bush the Senior at the White House -- well...that is buried in the story and not presented in a very serious way as it surely deserves to be.

IRAN War Already Underway
(June 21, 2005)
The Secretary of State's crafty remarks in Cairo yesterday actually denouncing U.S. policies since World War II in the region were in reality part of the carefully conceived rhetorical facade, a thinly disguised veneer of 'freedom' and 'democracy' sound-bites, all actually designed to obfuscate and smoke-screen these larger realities.

Controlling the Middle East in the 21st Century
(June 20, 2005)
"...the Secretary of State attempted to articulate a simplistic sound-bite veneer to the crusading neocon/Evangelical/Zionist vision of the new Middle East the U.S... is using the Pentagon and the CIA to force into being against considerable resistance and at tremendous cost."

'Death Camp' and 'Gulag' Charges Finally Ring Out in Washington
(June 17, 2005)
The Senate's No. 2 Democrat has compared the U.S. military's treatment of a suspected al Qaeda terrorist at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay with the regimes of Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin and Pol Pot, three of history's most heinous dictators, whose regimes killed millions.

KILLING IRAQ - MER FlashBack 5 Long Years Ago
(June 8, 2005)

America's Little Gulag - MER FlashBack
(June 6, 2005)

MER Has Been Suspended
(June 2, 2005)

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