A surprise reconciliation between the leaders of Hizbullah and the Progressive Socialist Party was followed on Friday by Walid Jumblatt’s re-directing his rhetoric south, to Palestine, and warning of the “absolute extremism” of the Israeli government. “I call on all of our people in Palestine to reject sectarian and non-sectarian violence and cling to their Arabism and Palestinian national project, to confront Zionist projects that promise to be more dangerous and fiercer in the coming phase,” Jumblatt said in a statement.
The PSP leader said the Israeli government had no interest in a peace settlement and “insisted on absolute extremism” in its current policies.
I suspect we won’t be seeing any more sympathetic profiles of this “insightful interpreter of the fluctuations in Middle Eastern politics” any time soon.
Sure, sure, he also links to a Pat Buchanan piece advocating nonintervention, saying he agrees “for now,” but that’s typical of Sullivan’s fluttering, erratic style of punditry, which never pauses long enough to consider its own contradictions. But read his blog for a few hours, and you’ll get the general thrust, whether Sullivan is aware of it or not in his green delirium: something must be done!
Steve Clemons and TNR are both reporting a move inside the Obama White House to get rid of National Security Adviser Gen. James Jones.Â Clemons says the line being pushed is that the man is just plain lazy and a bad manager (which would explain his success in government), but that
what is clear is that Jones has enemies and that they are trying to undermine his place in the Obama orbit.
Their motives may not be earnest concern about the tempo or pace of Jones’ management style — but they very well could be his unwillingness to allow the liberal interventionists inside the Obama administration to have more than their fair share of power in the Obama decision-making process.
Jones has structured an all views on the table approach to decision making — quite evident when it comes to Middle East policy — and the hawkish/neocon-friendly/Likudist-hugging part of the Obama administration’s foreign policy operation may be engaged in a coup attempt against Jones.
I don’t know if he’ll survive this latest effort to oust him — but folks need to know that those “longer knives”, on the whole, do not have pure motives.
This is why America’s founders were so intent on maintaining a standing army, so that the generals would serve as a restraining influence on the warmongering civilian thinktanker-types, right?
Marc Garlasco helped target laser-guided bombs during the Iraq invasion, and he claims in an NPR interview entitled “Assessing the Human Cost of Air Strikes in Iraq,” that the military does a careful calculation of how many innocent civilians will be killed for each bomb dropped. According to Garlasco, they’re VERY careful. If more than 29 innocent civilians are calculated to become “collateral damage,” they have to get White House approval.
What would that be like . . . .
FC [Field Commander]: Mr. President – we’ve got the 3rd highest ranking al’Qaeda commander in Iraq lined up in our sights, but if we bomb, we might kill more than 29 civilians. What should we do?
W [Dubya]: 3rd highest? Didn’t we already get him?
FC: Sir – this is the new, new 3rd highest in command.
W: Oh, well that sounds serious. I hate to butcher so many innocent Iraqis everyday. On the other hand, maybe that madman will someday muster the capacity to kill more than 29 people, so … let’s bring Dick in on this … Dick?
DC [Dick Cheney]: Look George, I thought we agreed that we were used to collaterally damaging Iraqi civilians by now, and that it’s worth it in our epic battle of good vs evil. After all, your predecessor set the precedent.
DC: Where she said the death of 500,000 Iraqi children in pursuit of U.S. foreign policy was O.K.?
W: Ah, . . .
DC: Here, look at this video again – – –
W: Oh. Right. I guess if Clinton’s UN Ambassadors think 500,000 dead kids in pursuit of U.S. foreign policy is O.K. – – – – But don’t some of those Iraqis have families friends and loved ones who might turn into terrorists against us?
DC: No, they don’t. And anyway, remember, we agreed that all Iraqis are potential terrorists.
W: Oh yeah. Well go ahead FC. You have my authorization.
FC: Sir – we obliterated the terrorist-nest village, but the madman seems to have escaped. Don’t worry, we’ll get him tomorrow. That’s one village that will never again harbor terrorists.
W: Weeee! Heck-of-a-job, FC! How many potential al’Qaeda recruits did we bring to justice?
DC: I’ve asked you before to stop asking that. Remember we aren’t supposed to keep count.
FC: Oops! They’re saying we targeted the wrong new 3rd highest in command. Apparently the real new 3rd isn’t in this part of the country. He was having a secret meeting with Condy.
W: Rat feathers! How many times have we missed like that?
Well, OK, he didn’t say that explicitly. But he did say it implicitly.
A basic logic lesson and please forgive me if you think I’m talking down to you. I’m really not. It’s just that I’m shocked at how many people, including McCain, don’t seem to get logic. If I say, “All crows are black” and I also say, “That bird is a crow,” then I’m saying that that bird is black even if I don’t say so explicitly.
On ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” on Sunday, April 20, John McCain called William Ayers “an unrepentant terrorist.” What was McCain’s evidence? McCain said that Ayers “was engaged in bombings which could have or did kill innocent peopleâ€¦” So McCain is saying that someone who engages in bombings which could have killed or did kill innocent people is a terrorist.
Now consider what McCain did. McCain flew a bomber, an A-4E Skyhawk, over North Vietnam. I don’t know whether he actually dropped his bombs before being shot down. But certainly he was engaged in actions that, if he had succeeded, could have killed innocent people. Which makes McCain, in his own words, a terrorist.
Now McCain could argue that that’s different because, as he said elsewhere in the interview, “I had a reconciliation with the Vietnamese, when we normalized relations.” Did he apologize to them? He didn’t say. If he did, that would make him a “repentant terrorist.” Too bad Stephanopoulos didn’t challenge him.
I’m not a big fan of the New York Times, but today’s front-page investigative report on the Pentagon’s managing of the news is absolutely first-rate. One of the Pentagon officials, Torie Clarke, the Pentagon’s main propagandist, said her goal had been to achieve “information dominance.” In other words, she wanted the Pentagon’s message to get out and crowd out the independent information from others. To do this, the Pentagon recruited retired military officers and fed them select information that was often at odds with reality. Wow! I’m already sounding like a spin doctor. What I mean in the earlier sentence is that the Pentagon lied.
The payoff for many of these retired officers was that various “defense” contractors for whom they worked got a better shot at military contracts. [Why “defense” in quotation marks? Because most of what the Department of Defense does has nothing to do with defense: it’s offense, much of which makes us less safe.]
Interestingly, some of the retired military knew they were being lied to and passed the information on as truth nevertheless. In other words, they lied. One, General Paul E. Vallely, a FOX News analyst from 2001 to 2007, stated, “â€œI saw immediately in 2003 that things were going south [in Iraq.]” But on his return, Vallely told FOX’s Alan Colmes, â€œYou canâ€™t believe the progress,â€ and predicted that the number of insurgents would be “down to a few numbers” within months. Of course, it wasn’t. And it turned out that Vallely didn’t “believe the progress.”
How did they rationalize their lying? Take Timur J. Eads. Please. Eads is “a retired Army lieutenant colonel and Fox analyst who is vice president of government relations for Blackbird Technologies, a fast-growing military contractor.” Eads said he had withheld the truth on television for fear that a four-star general would call and say, “Kill that contract.” I’ve heard of people running from battle because they might be literally killed. And I’m sympathetic. But lying because the consequence of telling the truth is that your employer might lose business and you might get fired? Wowee. Pretty scary.
The whole article is well worth your time.