The easiest campaign promise??

Both War Party candidates (Mr. Romney and Mr. Obama) have stumbled all over themselves — and each other — to promise the government of Israel  they won’t let Iran produce a nuclear bomb.

Unless they begin to believe their own propaganda as Kennedy did (which inadvertently fired-up the nuclear arms race between the U.S. and the Soviet Union), it’s the one campaign promise they’ll both be able to easily keep at almost no cost.

Here’s why:

U.S. Defense Sec. Leon Panetta: “Are they [Iranians] trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No.” –Panetta Admits Iran is Not Trying to Develop a Nuclear Weapon, CBS’s “Face The Nation” Jan. 8, 2012

The Buried Lead on Iran: All Nuclear Sites Routinely Inspected, No Violations Antiwar.com

'What intelligent person would fight 5,000 American bombs with one bomb?' Iranian President Ahmadinejad

Iran to Allow Nuclear Inspectors Into Secret Military Complex
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Iran has announced it will allow international nuclear inspectors to visit its secret Parchin military complex. Iran has long said its nuclear program is for civilian purposes only, but some international analysts have speculated Iran may be using the Parchin complex to do research relevant to nuclear weapons. It is not clear when inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency will visit the site. –Democracy NOW! HEADLINES, March 06, 2012

SEYMOUR HERSH: …let me say again, there is no evidence that our intelligence community or even the Israeli intelligence community has — and I know that firsthand — suggesting that there’s an ongoing bomb program. So we are now — the United States is now in the position of increasing sanctions and pressuring all sorts of economic pressure on the Iranians to stop — the whole purpose of the economic sanctions is to stop the Iranians from making a bomb that we know they’re not making. –Training Terrorists in Nevada: Seymour Hersh on U.S. Aid to Iranian Group Tied to Scientist Killings

So everyone, including U.S. and Israeli intelligence, knows that the Iranian government isn’t trying to make a bomb. Unless a seriously careless Iranian scientist slips on a banana peel and pushes the wrong 10,000 buttons in exactly the right sequence, there’s little chance Iran — which, unlike Israel with its estimated 100 secret nukes, has signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty  — will build even one bomb.

How hard can it be to stop someone from doing something they’re not doing? So, is the War Party candidates’ mutual promise to the government of Israel to prevent Iran from producing  a nuclear bomb the easiest campaign promise?

Or, as with Kennedy and the nuclear arms race, Iraq, and now Iran, is THIS the main danger – – –

Little girl's sign: They lied about Iraq

For further information: Common Sense: IRAN: A Medley Against the MIC (MilitaryIndustrialComplex)

Old man with long beard apparently murdered in Abbottabad, Pakistan

OK, this is the first anniversary of the U.S. apparently killing someone with a long beard in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The new spin is that Mr. Obama, making a "gutsy call," took the high-risk course of sending in "boots on the ground" rather than using a drone.

Aside from Mr. Obama being "gutsy" because he told folks to go do something dangerous, well, heck, go jump off a bridge. Now I’M gutsy. Right?

The new spin on why Mr. Obama decided on that high-risk (to someone else) course is that he wanted to be sure they actually got bin Laden. What’s that say about the men, women and children they murder with normal drone strikes?

But never mind, the reason given makes sense — they wanted to be able to prove the guy they murdered really was THE Osama bin Laden. Rather than, say, a body double or case of mistaken identity.

So, then, why did they bury the body at sea where no one could make sure it was THE bin Laden? And why shoot the highest-value information-laden target of all time in the head immediately, before he could talk, especially since he wasn’t armed and didn’t resist. And they still don’t want to release photos because, well – – – – ah – – –

Here for the full story: Barack Obama and the Incredible Flying Spaghetti Monster

D.C. really has to stop cutting back on it’s fiction budget – – –

Liberal Demands Assassination Orders Be Filed in Triplicate

On Monday, Attorney General Eric Holder finally explained why it’s legal for him to annihilate you on a hunch. The nation’s liberals arose as one to condemn this brazen attack on American principles of…

The banality of zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Hehe, just kidding. The nation’s liberals were all listening to Rush Limbaugh during Holder’s speech, but a few of them skimmed it later. And, boy, were they ever pretty much OK with it. Mother Jones‘s Kevin Drum, who has raised being “pretty much OK” with things to the status of serious analysis, sighed and shrugged a little more vigorously than usual:

I’m glad Holder gave this speech. I’m glad that he expanded (a bit) on the three circumstances that govern the Obama administration’s decisions to kill U.S. citizens abroad. I’m glad he agrees that these decisions are “extraordinarily weighty” and “among the gravest that government leaders can face.”

Nonetheless, even more than a thousand words of throat clearing can’t hide the fact that Holder simply provided no evidence that the rigor of the executive branch’s due process procedures matches his rhetoric; no evidence that these procedures are consistently followed; and negative evidence that there’s any reasonable oversight of the process. Merely informing Congress is the farthest thing imaginable from rigorous, independent oversight.

Holder’s job, of course, was an impossible one. The Obama administration, like the Bush administration before it, has made a deliberate decision that actions like this are authorized by a combination of the 2001 AUMF and the president’s inherent commander-in-chief powers.

Now you need to know that this Bush comparison isn’t meant to be as damning as it sounds; Drum was pretty much OK with Bush killing whomever he wanted (see the first link above). But process is somewhat kind of semi-significant to liberals, so Drum appended this postscript:

This post wasn’t about my own position on this topic, but here it is. I agree that we’re at war. [Drink! – Ed.] Like it or not, the AUMF is an extremely broad grant of authority. I agree that stateless terrorists pose unique challenges. I agree that targeting them for killing is sometimes necessary, even if they’re U.S. citizens. I agree that Holder’s three principles form a good starting point for deciding when a targeted killing is justified.

But it’s simply not tolerable to take the view that the entire world is now a battlefield, and therefore battlefield rules of engagement apply everywhere. If you want to kill a U.S. citizen outside of a traditional hot battlefield, there needs to be independent oversight. The FISA court performs this function for surveillance, and we know from experience that it rarely gets in the government’s way. But at least it’s technically independent and forces the executive branch to follow its own rules. It’s the absolute minimum that we should require for targeted killings too.

And here we have the American liberal’s ideal form of government oversight: the kind that generates a lot of paperwork (and civil service man-hours) but “rarely gets in the government’s way.” It’s the absolute minimum we should require — if by “absolute minimum” you mean “absolute maximum” and if by “require” you mean “quickly suggest then never mention again.” Only crackpots really give a damn about this stuff.

Deep Thoughts From The Guardian

Screen grab taken on Dec. 30, 2011

Will the Republicans ban sex in 2010 [sic]? Why did those “government-hating,” “market-worshipping” Republicans “sacrifice all the workers and retirees”? Why mustn’t we despise our corrupt, corporatist governments? Read The Guardian and find out!

Well, OK, just read one article from that august publication: Glenn Greenwald’s analysis of the Republicans’ greatest difficulty in campaigning against Obama. Much of it is off-topic for this site, but here’s a relevant snippet:

It is in the realm of foreign policy, terrorism and civil liberties where Republicans encounter an insurmountable roadblock. A staple of GOP politics has long been to accuse Democratic presidents of coddling America’s enemies (both real and imagined), being afraid to use violence, and subordinating US security to international bodies and leftwing conceptions of civil liberties.

But how can a GOP candidate invoke this time-tested caricature when Obama has embraced the vast bulk of George Bush’s terrorism policies; waged a war against government whistleblowers as part of a campaign of obsessive secrecy; led efforts to overturn a global ban on cluster bombs; extinguished the lives not only of accused terrorists but of huge numbers of innocent civilians with cluster bombs and drones in Muslim countries; engineered a covert war against Iran; tried to extend the Iraq war; ignored Congress and the constitution to prosecute an unauthorised war in Libya; adopted the defining Bush/Cheney policy of indefinite detention without trial for accused terrorists; and even claimed and exercised the power to assassinate US citizens far from any battlefield and without due process?

Reflecting this difficulty for the GOP field is the fact that former Bush officials, including Dick Cheney, have taken to lavishing Obama with public praise for continuing his predecessor’s once-controversial terrorism polices. In the last GOP foreign policy debate, the leading candidates found themselves issuing recommendations on the most contentious foreign policy question (Iran) that perfectly tracked what Obama is already doing, while issuing ringing endorsements of the president when asked about one of his most controversial civil liberties assaults (the due-process-free assassination of the American-Yemeni cleric Anwar Awlaki). Indeed, when it comes to the foreign policy and civil liberties values Democrats spent the Bush years claiming to defend, the only candidate in either party now touting them is the libertarian Ron Paul, who vehemently condemns Obama’s policies of drone killings without oversight, covert wars, whistleblower persecutions, and civil liberties assaults in the name of terrorism.

Less Hawkish in the Hawkeye State?

The Ames Straw Poll, which actually has some predictive value, gave noninterventionists some reasons to smile. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas placed second with 28 percent, just behind Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota (29 percent). After finishing third with 14 percent, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who may well have been the most neoconservative candidate in the race, quit. Sadly, he was immediately replaced by his “less boring clone,” Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who achieved 4 percent with write-in votes.

The two worst of the other candidates, former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and former Rep. Newt Gingrich of Georgia, finished with 10 percent and 2 percent, respectively. Among the moderately atrocious, businessman Herman Cain and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney also combined for 12 percent. Not-entirely-wretched former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman got 1 percent. Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson did not participate.

As I noted last week, Bachmann has infuriated some of the right people by being less than reflexively bellicose. Whether her deviation on Libya reflects mere opportunism or nascent realism is hard to say, though her reported coziness with Frank Gaffney makes me shudder. Still, if we place Bachmann in the center of this nonet, with Paul, Huntsman, Romney, and Cain to the less-Gaffneyesque side and Gingrich, Santorum, Pawlenty, and Perry to the other, we get 41 percent for the former set and 30 percent for the latter. In the 2007 straw poll, Paul was the only candidate who wasn’t running on a Bush-Cheney foreign policy, and he received only 9 percent of the vote. The winner that year, Mitt Romney 1.0, was much more belligerent than either Mitt Romney 2.0 or Michele Bachmann has been so far. Maybe even the Republican base is inching our way.