Notes of a Personal Nature, Directed to those in the Wilds of the Nebraska Wilderness

October 16, 2008

To all in the Land of the Runza Eaters, greetings and salutations!  We who are about to be socially dead and on professional life support salute you!

Summer 1993: I move to North Alabama, my step-father has cancer and I drive him to chemo every day for six months and deal with my mother’s resulting nervous breakdown.

Spring of 1995: I get Alabama residency and start college full-time at the University of North Alabama, living in an apartment one block from campus, majoring in History and minoring in Spanish. I work various “boy jobs” to make the cigarette money and tuition and rent.

Spring 1999: I graduate cum laude from UNA and am awarded a teaching fellowship at the Unviersity of Alabama Graduate History Department.  I am a PhD candidate there, learning historiography, reading everything, teaching 80 students a week every semester in  Western Civ 101.  I learn to read critically and to use primary sources, give a paper to the Annual Conference on Race at the University of Memphis which is entirely made up of primary archive sources and the EX-slave narratives by the WPA.  I write and publish a paper on the religious beliefs and social activism of Rabbi Morris Newfield and use his own sermons at the American Jewish Archives at Hebrew University in Cinn., Ohio. I publish three book reviews over the next few years.

2002: I begin to get tired and burnt out.  I start to argue with an advisor over my role as a white African-American historian.  She is all about gender per se, I am not.  I decide to take a break.  I go to library school and get my MLIS in the spring of 2003. I go to the ALA Midwinter Convention that year and forget that I have registered there as a job applicant.  I get a call to come for an interview that summer and accept it as a mere money-making venture and resume padder in Montgomery at Alabama State.

2003: All starts out well at ASU.  I renovate the interlibrary loan department, develop the turnkey Electronic Reserve system from being told “We bought it a few years ago, now you start it up, write the procedures and the policies, and they had better follow the federal copyright law.”   I master federal copyright law, database administration, draft all my procedures and policies and provide “best practice” examples for each of them.  It is well received.

2004: Go to Tuscaloosa and have a long sitdown with advisor.  She apologizes for having sat on my last work for so long.  I see she is now on a psychotropic and the results are pleasant: no more mood swings.  I agree to put in her changes and get my MA later that year.  I get really tired and short tempered.  Work sucks.  I am treated like a clerk and not a member of the faculty.  The city sucks.  I cannot stay awake at my desk at work. I cannot read or write at home.  I only want to sleep.  I begin to get paranoid after being robbed at pistol point a block from my house, across the street from the resident agent of the FBI.  I am scared to walk the steets at night, even a block to walk the dog.  This neighborhood is supposed to be “high class!”  What gives?  A girl is driving in a Jeep a block away and stop for a light.   She is carjacked at pistol point. I am really getting scared now.  I want to move!  I want to know why this crime wave is going on and why crap like that never happened in NY or Omaha or anywhere else I have lived. Paranoia rises to new heights, and I start to lose a lot of weight.  Rumors at work spread by management have it that I am a drug addict and/or a drunk. In fact, I have one bottle of beer in my fridge and it is going stale.  I have no drug stronger than OTC generic sinus medication in my system.

Late 2004: I lose it.  Begin to just not bathe, change clothes, mind races, body sleeps. I get yelled at by a clerk in front of 2 dozen students — my students when I hang up on her and say I am teaching and will get back to her after my class.  I get censured for being rude.  My reply: “You obviously do not know what rude is!”   I take exception on being asked to dust book stacks when there are a dozen student workers doing nothing around.  I say that I have a lesson plan to prepare before four hours in Special Collections rearranging the silly method of cataloging the microfilm which is impossible for users to find unless they go into the long record, which they are not able to do as they are users and not staff.  I get censured again, can’t stay awake.  Start to have vivid daydreams and they are scary.

January 2005: I am fullly fledged insane now.  I am seeing stalkers that aren’t there.   I am having grandiose thoughts alongside delusions of persecution.  I am very very sick, barely 135 lbs. when I ought to be 175. I go to Tuscaloosa and get lost.  I try to get into my friend Joe’s house where I had crashed two weeks in 2003 after graduation.  I, for some odd reason, do not have a key.  I break out the window, fearing the stalkers have followed me.  Joe awakens, thinks I am a burglar and throws me down the steps, breaking my arm.  I am recognized.   Soon I am in a hotel room with my family there, wearing a sling made out of a sweatshirt.  I am soon on my way to the hospital at home.

2005-6: They obviously think I am crazy.  I get my arm set and the doctor keeps me in the hospital until neurology gets there.  I get poked, prodded, a spinal tap, MRIs, CAT scans, etc. for a day.  I take them well. The MRI makes a funny “thump-thump-thump” sound and I can feel vibrations in my chest when it runs. The neurologist does exhaustive tests. Finally a diagonosis: I have an advanced case of HIV manifested with brain lesions.  I am not crazy.  I am going to get better — if I do not die first.  I do not. Die, that is.  I slowly get my mind back, and gain weight and my strength.  I am not happy though, feeling as if I have let down my students.  I apply for Social Security disability and exhaust all my money saved. My sister puts me up at a rental property she and her husband own.  I am stuck in the country now.

2007: My stepfather has died.  My mother  is no longer crazy nor am I.  I start to write again and lose the naps four or five times a day. I have no HIV viral load that can be detected and my immunity system starts to rise. My memory is back. I work for my sister and mom as they finish the new house, “THE COMPOUND” for us all to live. Then I have an adverse reaction to my meds and have a stroke which paralyzes my right hand for six months.  I rehab myself, the SS stuff drags on, I have a hearing where I am humiliated by a judge who asks why I not become a WalMart greeter.  I cry in front of the court and cannot reply. I have never felt so insulted in my life.

2008: I am much better, stonger, and my blood now runs with ice in it. I am a bona fide cynic now.  I am still at odds with the SS system, wanting the back pay which I deserve from the two years I spent in bed and weighting 135 lbs. I apply to jobs and get one phone inteview out of them all. I wonder if I am being blackballed from my old management?  I contemplate going back to Tuscaloosa and finishing my PhD or a new on in library and information sciences if they will have me.  I am owing over $50K in student loans, I cannot get a job and am stuck in the country. So what do I do?  I hike. I play with the dogs. I watch Democracy Now with Amy Goodman and fight ignorance and bigotry with my pen. It is OK, not what I had planned, of course, but tolerable, as I am not found dead a John Doe under a bridge somewhere.

Yesterday: I hear from Holly. It was so good. She does not know it, but I have kept her address under a paper weight on my desk for three or four years.  I haven’t had the courage to write until today. I fear failure more than anything, and I am embarassed at what I have become: a forgotten footnote in the book of life.  But, given enough time and no crimes grave enough, that is what we all become, ultimately, isn’t it? I get up and start work on an article on “echo chambers” and how talking points that are construed from a false pejorative worst case reading of matters of fact become a meme. I feel good.  The dog is asleep and Amy Goodman is about to come on the TV.

nealmhughes@gmail.com

256-229-6849


Heritage Blowback

December 29, 2007

Heritage Blowback: The Unintended Consequences of Carte Blanche Support for Anti-Soviet Holy Warriors in Afghanistan

by Neal M. Hughes, 28 December 2007

The word jihad is an Arabic word for “struggle, warfare,” and other words in English. From this root is derived mujahedeen, or one who does jihad. The term was popularized in the 1980s as the valiant equivalent of Abyssinian warriors meeting Italian machine gun fire and air strafes on horseback with swords and flintlocks. The stated purpose of all the Anti-Soviet fighters was to liberate the lands infested with the Plague of Marx. In the West, and the USA in particular, the various groups – Nicaraguan contras, Cuban Exile Militants, and the mujahedeen – were seen as not so much as a viable fighting force as a continuous burr under the Soviet Union’s saddle. The history of such black ops has not been pretty. Let us consider Victor Jara’s broken hands in the Santiago Stadium and the 30,000 missing youth of Argentina alongside the murdered Archbishop Romero and nuns in El Salvador for the heritage of US funding of such activities in Central and South America.

Heritage? A good word for a paragraph transition here, albeit, this author must admit, a bit forced. The Heritage Foundation is a conservative think tank which was very close to the Republican administrations of the twentieth and current centuries after its foundation by Scaife in the early 1970s. During the rise of the Communist government in Afghanistan, an indigenous movement — so far as any foreign movement can be in that tribal land – found its socialist revolution under attack by truly semi-indigenous agents, i.e., the Code of the Pashtun and conservative Sunni Islam of the Afghani’s preferred flavor. As a consequence, the Communist government “invited” the Soviet Union’s troops to “assist” in the pacification of the various Afghan rebel forces.

Urging the tribal and Islamic fighters ever onwards were a mixture of Cold Warriors, think tanks, and assorted arm chair strategists, the Heritage Foundation included. Indeed, by 1987, The National Review in a short article entitled “1987: Year Eight” cited Joe Phillips of the Heritage Foundation. Buckley, through Phillips, through Scaife, had this to say:

James Phillips of the Heritage Foundation suggests that the U.S. take several steps in addition to providing the current estimated $470 million per year to the resistance: more modern weaponry, radios, mine detectors, medicine, training. Aid to Pakistan, next item on the Soviet menu, should also be boosted.

Phillips urges that Afghanistan be given top priority in U.S. diplomatic and propaganda efforts. Despite some early optimistic predictions that Afghanistan would be “the Soviets’ Vietnam,” we have done almost nothing to make it so. We can’t count on the Soviet media, after all, to play the role our own media played in Vietnam-the central weakness of the analogy. Quiet aid to the resistance isn’t enough. Collateral costs to the Soviets need to be increased. (1)

Indeed, Joe Phillips of the Heritage Foundation – by then receiving additional funding by Joseph Coors, Sr. and the Koch family – had an entire laundry list of proposed steps to make Afghanistan into the USSR’s own Vietnam. Among these were:

Improving organizational abilities: The mujahedeen should be working to provide Afghan civilians with long-term alternatives to Communist rule. Resistance groups should be encouraged to organize and mobilize the people of the areas where they are strongest.

Aid for Pakistan: Islamabad has borne significant security risks on behalf of the Afghan resistance and continues to bear the brunt of the economic burden imposed by three million Afghan refugees. Washington should help reduce these risks and lighten the economic burden. The Administration has proposed a six-year $4 billion program of military and economic aid to Pakistan. The aid should be focused on the Pakistani provinces bordering Afghanistan, where it would help ease tensions between refugees and Pakistanis. (2)

“Aye, but there’s the rub,” Will Shakestaff had Hal to say upon the contemplation of suicide. There, verily and forsooth, was the rub. Due to the humanitarian crisis encountered in the refugee camps of the North West Frontier and Tribal areas of Pakistan, the slack was picked up by the Taliban and eventually the Arabian largesse of bin Ladin and his al-Qaeda. The “military and economic aid to Pakistan” largely having evidently gone into the mysterious place wherever “military and economic aid” goes, i.e., to the military and some well connected pockets; the obvious void was then filled through Arabian largesse.

There can be no denying that both the Taliban and bin Ladin’s al-Qaeda made a great deal of friends in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. Young Arabs of the fundamentalist bent came to Afghanistan to join the mujahedeen and the Taliban, where they were by-and-large rejected: somehow a lack of Pashtun or Farsi is a bit of a detriment to successful cooperation. However, those who did not flock to the ascetic image of the “perfected” Arab holy warrior, Osama bin Ladin initially, soon did when in Afghanistan.

The image of an Afghanistan, the first step of a worldwide quest for the restoration of the Caliphate under al-Qaeda’s tutelage and money, soon evidently led to open discord between the Taliban – then in power in Kabul with all the accoutrements of power (outlawing the shaving of men’s beards, recorded music, and destroying the relics of pre-Islamic Afghanistan such as the Giant Buddhas) – who were at least as interested in not advancing the revolution to the world, at least not just yet, reminiscent of “Communism in One Country,” with al-Qaeda playing the role of Trotsky, albeit not with ice ax to the back of the head, but “safe” from the fear of extradition within the literal Al-Qaeda, bin Ladin’s base camp. The Taliban were free in the meanwhile to battle tribal rivals and to whip women who dared to attend school or not cover their faces adequately in public.

Once upon a time the various factions were the Darlings of the Western World, making most partisans appear to be veritable Playboys in comparison. When a peace was brokered in 1988 the Cold Warriors and Armchair Generals of the various think tanks came to armed penmanship:

“The continued bloodshed in Afghanistan would be a blight on the Reagan administration and a lost opportunity for freedom and self-determination of the Afghan people,” the letter said. “How can you assure that the U.S. will continue to support the Mujahedeen {Afghan resistance fighters} when the U.N. accord prohibits`outside interference?’ “

Resistance leaders have vehemently denounced the accords and pledged to escalate their struggle against the Soviet forces and the Soviet-backed Kabul government.

The delegation included Paul Weyrich, president of the Free Congress Foundation; Cullom Davis, chairman of the Heritage Foundation board of trustees; retired Lieutenant Colonel Daniel O. Graham, chairman of High Frontier; and Peter Flahert . . . .

Also in the group were William W. Pascoe III, a Heritage Third World analyst, Constantine Menges, a former National Security Council expert on Central America, and Dan McMichael, a conservative activist. (3)

Looking back upon the entire debacle of Afghan aid, one analysis finds that the Taliban were, at least in the person of Mullah Omar, tied to the original mujahedeen:

Backfiring of U.S. Policy

“Then emerged the Taliban. They came together in Pakistan in late 1994 as a militia of Pashtun Islamic fundamentalist students. These students had received training in Pakistan’s religious schools attended by refugee men who had formerly fought as the CIA-backed mujahedeen. Indeed, a man who played a significant role in the advent and growth of the Taliban movement was Mullah Mohammed Omar, the current chief of the Taliban and former fighter under a CIA-trained commander. Garnering power and support during a peak of political fractiousness, the Taliban captured Kabul in 1996, declaring themselves the legitimate government of Afghanistan.” (4)

We know what happened after the Taliban came to power. We know what happened after bin Ladin and his al-Qaeda were given safe haven in Afghanistan. Indeed, it does even border upon hyperbole to say that the conservative think tanks were the lead cheerleaders for the mujahedeen, merely to thump the nose of the evil empire of the CCCP. Imagine their surprise when they actually won and then did what they seem to do best in Afghanistan, revert to a series of tribal wars, with the Taliban as the newest metatribe coming out on top for a spell, and enabling al-Qaeda. Is it a leap of the imagination to suggest that the Heritage Foundation and other think tanks bear some intellectual responsibility for al-Qaeda’s attacks, or should at least deal with their backwash instead of urging on a new war for such purposes? But such would be the world of honor, and not of pragmatic “deep thought” by soi disant experts as the “scholars” and “fellows” at the various Scaife/Koch/Coors institutes and foundations. With such thought coming from such institutes, one is ready for non-experts with a surplus of common sense than these experts.

Notes:

1. “1987: Year Eight.” National Review 23 (30 Jan. 1987).
2. ibid.
3. David B. Ottaway, Lou Cannon,” Conservatives Oppose Afghan Accords; Groups’ Delegation Says Reagan Has `Let Down’ Resistance Fighters’”. The Washington Post. 13 Apr. 1988, p. A-30.
4. Reyko Huang, “Lessons from History: U.S. Policy Toward Afghanistan, 1978-2001.” Oct. 5, 2001. URL: http://www.cdi.org/terrorism/afghanistan-history-pr.cfm. Accessed 28 December 2007.


New Feature: Critical analysis of Republic candidates’ websites

December 16, 2007

With my faithful Wunderhund Maybelle ever lounging on the futon as she likes to stay within reach of Daddy, we shall begin our new series with Mike Hugabe — je m’ajuste — Huckabee. We are sorry for that slight slip of the electronic pen there, but after the news hit the blogosphere and the wires of the former governor’s most unenlightened views on quarantine of we poor Latter Day Lepers, we thought of the soon-to-be-late Mugabe of Zimbabwe.

Celui-là is such a kidder! The fat are so jolly! Wait! He’s been lidoed and the skin surgically removed (enough we hear to have put an entire Haitian village to work gearing up for the upcoming baseball season). He is no longer fat. It stands to reason that he is no longer jolly . . . so his site must be serious.

Well, Maybelle has had a bit of fake Mozzarella. Skim milk, not sure from what animal, but we’ve a feeling it ain’t buffa. The price of dairy is outrageous these days! So she can begin her nightly foray into squirrel eradication by dream, and i can write. Where were we? Oh, yes, Hugabe.

His first bit is wisdom is to extol the virtue of the “Fair Tax,” which we liken unto “Safe Coal,” by telling us that “When the FairTax becomes law, it will be like waving a magic wand releasing us from pain and unfairness.”

I’m sorry Mike, but is that lifted from a funeral sermon? “Releasing us from pain and unfairness” — “magic wand” — we can’t help but to think that Susan Sontag died much too early, much, much too soon for those bits not to be in a postulated update of “Notes on Camp.” So Mike likens himself to what or whom? Tinkerbelle? Taxes are death? We always thought that they were the price of a civilized society.

The wand and funereal imagery are bad enough, but let’s see what the Bland Baptist hast wrought on foreign policy: “Iraq is a battle in our generational, ideological war on terror. The Democrats delusionally deny that the war in Iraq is part of the war on terror even as we fight Al Qaeda there. Al Qaeda is a major ally of the Sunni insurgents in their fight against the Shiite majority. One of the most significant events in the Iraq War was Al Qaeda’s bombing of the Shiites’ Golden Mosque in Samarra in February 2006. That bombing led to the dramatic rise in sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shiites we’ve seen ever since, furthering Al Qaeda’s goal of fomenting chaos and civil war. What’s in it for them? They need territory, a place to plot their evil and train their murderers for another September 11.”

Evidently he didn’t get news from September 2001: al Qaeda is an Arab Peninsular phenomenon, or was, until even the Arabs got tired of them and booted them first to Sudan and then Afghanistan. Then we invaded Iraq, a secular state whose goal was to be the New French Empire East, trumpeting Baathist unity with no room for silly Wahhabi nonsense, but lots of soldiers and oil revenue to march them. Now they may or may not be in Iraq. Who knows who has the legit franchise and who are 14th ST knockoffs? I think if you look closely, you will see the dye on the LV’s are a bit askew from the genuine article . . . oh, that is for handbags. Our Arabic here is pretty limited to foodstuffs (something I am sure M. Hugabe knows a bit about) like kofta, pita, babaganoush, kebab, etc., and a few odd religious phrases and words, so I can’t be sure if they are genuine or not in Irakistan. I am pretty sure they were in Afghanistan.

We shall give him a B+ for the attempt at alliteration with “Democrats delusionally deny” but that is pretty lame, not up with Buchanan’s “nattering nabobs of negativism.”

Well, we don’t need to say that loss of a progressive income tax for a VAT is not going to happen. Has one ever heard of a tax going away? When we were in economic exile in the wilds of Long Island, Land of Mystery and Largely Unexplored Suffolk County, we discovered while needing to clean some paint brushes, via Newsday that some little bitty draw bridge in Nassau had been paid for by a toll and a tax. They were levied in the early 1920s. They were used to support the relief of the toll takers. No maintenance had ever been needed for them, being built in the 1920s and not much ship traffic is inbound from the teeming Brooklyn wharfs these days needing a short safe harbor. In short they were a patronage job, a sinecure for and from the Republic Party of Nassau County for the benefit of its loyalists.

But I digress. Let us get back to Flat Tax/Clean Coal. This, The Huck assures us, would only be for new products, not used. Glory hallejulah! We not-working working lads can rejoice for we rarely buy anything new and retail. Can’t one see the container ships coming in from Genoa and Marsailles, filled to the brim with European used couture! Why I might have that 42 R Armani suit after all! Tax free! Imagine, we will all look like people from New Guinea, with odd tees with logos so oddly out of place that we once again wish Sontag were still with us, only in haute couture. I rather fancy the idea of Butch and Leroy ditching their Rustlers for some Matinique. I don’t know about you, but I am not above buying used Liberty of London shirts, frayed cuffs and odd Euroodors be damned, if I can get it tax free! Screw you VAT!

His Immenseness –I correct myself again! — what is a Baptist preacher’s title? Brother, I presume, like Francis, Brother Hugabe is on something there: a government based on thrift stores. The dollar is so weak it won’t be long until our betters who were relying upon our continued conspicuous consumption shall be reduced to offing their relics in consignment stores for pence on the pound and we shall be there to gobble them up, well, have we any money, we shall.

Lest anyone think I lie, look up the hilarity on http://www.mikehuckabee.com for yourselves.


Iran appears to be a no-go. Sorry Mr. Bush.

December 7, 2007

It would appear that the National Intelligence Estimate has verified that which many outside the corporate media and Foggy Bottom have known for some time: Iran has no nuclear weapons program, that they have not been in pursuit of nuclear weapons since at least 2003, and that all the “wait for the mushroom cloud” saber rattling was precisely that.

We note that this news was not received well at 1600 Pennsylvania, Dana Perino going so far as to declare that “The president wasn’t given the specific details” of the revised intelligence estimate, even though President Bush was told in August that Iran’s nuclear weapons program “may be suspended,” the White House said Wednesday, which seemingly contradicts the account of the meeting given by Bush Tuesday, according to CNN.

We must wonder just “what Mr. Bush knew and when he knew it” to paraphrase a line made famous in the 1970s during Mr. Nixon’s Watergate hearings. We must also wonder from what mental dysfunction he suffers: tertiary syphilis, perhaps? Or could it be that the boy is simply out of his league, and that a nice bump or two of the old Peruvian nose candy might tide his thought processes along a bit, albeit with grinding teeth and an inability to shut up.

Yes, our First Family is rapidly approaching Velazquez’s famous series now at the Prado. All we lack is a dwarf and court costumes to recreate the blank decadence of the Borbon y Borbon family then regnant here in Byzantium-on-Potomac.


A few lines on the 2008 GOP Presidential Candidates

September 14, 2007

Firstly, we see little difference between them — all a bunch of overfed, under exercised “911!” screechers, the lot of them. However, we can offer our qualified opinion on them for your consideration:

Mike Huckabee: no longer jolly since he is no longer fat. Queen Victoria said it best about Fat May Cambridge, Princess of Teck: “The crowd love fat people.”

Rudy Guiliani: “The Fireman’s Friend,” as he would like for us to believe. One is given to think that he singlehandedly leapt into the air and knocked the third Al Qaeda plane out of the air, setting it down safely somewhere in Nassau County. Can’t be too sure, somehow the mere fact that he was in NYC on the 11th September 2001 makes him more special than all the other millions of folks who were as well — we don’t see many fashionistas claiming their collections that were shown during Fashion Week 2001 makes for better design than those not. Synopsis: we miss Jimmy Walker.

John McCain: we aren’t saying he is old and out of touch, but one would not be surprised to find him outside Lambeth Palace seeking an audience with both Cosmo Lang and Lord Beaverbrook to discuss l’Affaire Simpson. . .

Duncan Hunter: evidently, he is a firm member of the Borah (but at least Borah knocked up Alice Longworth) school of foreign relations, and one step above outright Birch Society membership, would probably make Warren G. Harding look like a mental giant.

Tom Tancredo: anyone whose name ends with a vowel that isn’t “e” and isn’t Costello has no business discussing immigration at all, at any time, for any reason.

Ron Paul: Wants to stop fluoridation of water since the market will cure all dental problems after the flat tax is implemented.

Mitt Romney: a Good Hair Republican, independently wealthy — but not in the kewl Mike Bloomberg or Kennedy sort of way, wears magical underwear, sons are too busy serving America by campaigning for him to join the military.

Brownback: too suspiciously close to bareback, therefore homosensual context, guaranteed loser, even denying the age of the earth over 6000 years can’t save him.

Fred Thompson: One term back bencher.  Second new model wife after old one put him through college and law school.  Synopsis: it is a pity Jerry Orbach died. . .

There are probably some more who utterly skip my mind: since Paul is the only one with an ideology, it isn’t a difficult thing to do.


The Republic must be restored.

April 29, 2007

screechingrats!

Tom Paine wrote that “these are the times that try mens souls,” and the time is apt for those to be repeated often and loudly. The basic premise of government, as realized by Hobbes, Locke and other Enlightenment thinkers was that government was a contract: the people gave up certain rights (such as absolute control of all their wealth and profit and a the right to mete out justice) in return for the government being not merely derived from the consent of the governed, but as an agent for the mutual protection of the people under whom the government was established.

The Divine Right of Kings, of Might Makes Right, and that government is an oligarchy set up to maintain and increase the power and wealth of a few is long passed in theory. But these days, here at the dawn of the Twenty-first Century, a new rise of a tyranny masquerading as a Security State. Cloaked in a flag dripping blood from the innocent spewed out by the acts of a few religious fanatics, holding a Bible in one hand and the threat of peine fort et dure along with the threat of indefinite detention with no due process or even our ancient right of habeus corpus, a man with little wit and slim to nothing to recommend him alongside his cabal of toadies and henchmen has been allowed to ride roughshod over our entire Republic.

We find ourselves embroiled in another Asian Adventure, after having failed to learn our lesson from the Vietnamese Fiasco in Iraq. Iraq! A state which was our ally against the Iranians after their Islamic Revolution! Iraq! A state which had not threatened any of its neighbors save the decadent al Sabbah tyranny of Kuwait for over ten years. Yes, that Iraq.

Why? We still do not know the whole truth. Every reason offered has been proven to either be a lie or changed. After the 19 religious fanatics from ARABIA not Iraq flew airplanes into the World Trade Center and Pentagon and allegedly aimed for the Capitol itself, “everything changed” according to the official account of this Administration.

Indeed, it did, as we were set back further in our quest for a government by, for, and of the people in one fell swoop with a rubber stamp Congress and a tyrant in the White House and another at the Naval Observatory in the city of Washington.

Perhaps we are saddled with the nincompoop Bush and the evil Cheney and Chertoff until 2009, but they can be thwarted at every move by a strong Democratic Congress and a handful of Independents and Republicans who can keep additional spread of the cancer of cronyism, backslapping and lust for absolute power, the Constitution and our contract be damned!

Now is the time for the people to stand firm and speak out! Are you as tired of being in a civil war as am I? Are you sick of having dissent equated as treason? Do you want the Constitution restored? Then erect your verbal barricades and arm yourselves with the truth and then join the battle to save the Republic by restoring Constitutional Rule to our nation.


A Statesman’s Call for US-Iranian Dialog

February 15, 2007

Home
Here is the text from an email I received today from Gen. Wesley Clark re: Is War with Iran Inevitable?

 

Dear Neal,

Read my diary at DailyKos and the ensuing dialogue it generated!

Yesterday, I posted a diary on DailyKos detailing my thoughts on the situation concerning Iran. You can read the entire post below, and I invite you to visit the diary at DailyKos so that you can also read the dialogue I had with members of the site’s community discussing this critical issue.

Is War with Iran Inevitable?

As the President fights for public support of his troop surge in Iraq, he is also ratcheting up the pressure on Iran. A second aircraft carrier battle group (with Newsweek reporting a third group likely to follow), Patriot missiles to protect our allies, arresting Iranian personnel in Iraq, releasing additional information about Iranian involvement, appointing a Navy Admiral to command forces in the region, even seeking diplomatic support from Sunni Arab friends in the region — Yes, the Iranians are interfering inside Iraq and seeking nuclear capabilities. Yet the President’s recent actions give the US little additional leverage to engage and dissuade Iran, and, more than likely, simply accelerate a dangerous slide into war. The United States can do better than this.

Since 9/11 the Iranians have tried on several occasions to open a dialogue with the United States. They, of course, had their own interests at heart, not ours. Yet, from dialogue some common interests might have emerged. The Bush Administration would have none of it, and branded Iran a member of the Axis of Evil.

During that period, with most of the world on our side, we had enormous diplomatic, economic and military leverage over Iran. Now, deeply committed militarily in Iraq, more isolated diplomatically, increasingly indebted to some of Iran’s crude oil customers, only modestly successful in gaining UN sanctions against Iran, the Administration has refused to change our approach, and has instead chosen to augment the least effective element of US power in the region – air and naval.

We are already totally dominant in air and naval power over Iran. Even with Iran’s new Russian antiaircraft equipment, no one should doubt that US forces could penetrate these defenses and strike with precision with minimal losses. Iran’s naval countermeasures in the Gulf can be largely preempted. The Iranians no doubt recognize this.

But the Iranians perceive American weaknesses on the ground, with an American Army too small to invade and occupy Iran, and too engaged inside Iraq even to threaten it. They see our soldiers through sniper sights, and from behind the triggers of improvised explosive devices, while they see themselves as a nation that gained considerable strength from a war with Iraq that cost a million casualties, took eight years, and involved withstanding missile strikes on cities and the use of chemical weapons. They no doubt believe that, whatever the current alignments of Sunni states, a US strike against Iran would bring outpourings of sympathy, public support, and waves of impassioned volunteers from throughout the Islamic world. They would see themselves as the heroic martyrs uniting Islam. The Iranians may believe this reaction would enforce on the United States a rapid, humiliating withdrawal from the Persian Gulf, leaving them military savaged but strategically victorious.

In this they might very likely be proven wrong. US power is far more sustainable in the region than Iran would like to believe, and the military humiliation Iran would suffer at the outset could well deter any outside assistance. The US does have a military option. But this is a struggle that will be costly for all involved, will further isolate the region, and whose ultimate outcome is likely to be decided by future incumbencies. Leaders on both sides should recognize that war is the most unpredictable of human endeavors, and that unanticipated consequences almost always follow.

I believe some in the Administration have seen this confrontation as inevitable – or have sought it – since late 2001. At that time a Pentagon general held up to me a Defense memorandum which he described as a five year road map to the conflict. But surely we have learned by now that, particularly in this region, force and the threats of force should be the last, last, last resort.

Military power aside, the US has enormous economic leverage over the Iranians through our influence on world financial institutions, international commerce and capital flows. While the latest actions against Iran’s banking system show the sharp stick of US power, the potential carrots are enormous, too. Islamic pride cannot be purchased, but neither can a proud nation ignore a more hopeful vision of its future.

The American troop surge is not likely to impact Iran’s on-the-ground influence in Iraq. Their presence serves the interests of some in Iraq; and they are deeply embedded and widely active. Only their perception of new interests and opportunities is likely to do this. They would need to see their situation through a different lens. It is asking a lot. But, cannot the world’s most powerful nation deign speak to the resentful and scheming regional power that is Iran? Can we not speak of the interests of others, work to establish a sustained dialogue, and seek to benefit the people of Iran and the region? Could not such a dialogue, properly conducted, begin a process that could, over time, help realign hardened attitudes and polarizing views within the region? And isn’t it easier to undertake such a dialogue now, before more die, and more martyrs are created to feed extremist passions? And, finally, if every effort should fail, before we take military action, don’t we at least want the moral, legal and political “high ground” of knowing we did everything possible to avert it?

Whatever the pace of Iran’s nuclear efforts, in the give and take of the Administrations rhetoric and accusations and Iran’s under-the-table actions in Iraq, we are approaching the last moments to head off looming conflict. Surely, it is past time to ask our elected officials in the White House and Congress to exercise leadership: recognize the real strategic challenge we face, and start to work now to avoid an escalation and widening of conflict in the Mideast.

Thank you for reading my thoughts on Iran. Again, I invite you to read the important discussion that followed in the comments section of my DailyKos diary.

This is a critical issue for our nation, and it is essential we continue to speak out.

Sincerely,

Wes Clark

General Wesley Clark could not be more astute in my opinion,
as he represents the thoughts of both a scholar and a statesman.
The world need well heed his words lest we find ourselves in a Third World War over nothing but failure to talk.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.