Category Archives: Israel-Palestine

Chris Hedges on the Madness

Chris Hedges has an article, A War of Self-Destruction, on the consequences of a war with Iran, and follows a line of thinking very like my own.  While it is clearly an insane proposition, the truth of the matter is that the people making these decisions profit in every way from these wars and they clearly believe their wealth will cushion them from the worst of its impacts—they just don’t fear the consequences of everything going tits up.  While they will surely regret their actions, they are right: their wealth will protect them.

Are they going to start this war?  It remains an abstraction for me.  Each time the lunies have another push at starting a war, they enable the adults to take away more of their toys, and more people stop paying much attention to them.  The more they cry wolf the more they seem to be ignored.

But still HR 362 remains in play and apparently keeps gaining sponsors.  This is of course the US political process doing its dance, but could it end in war?  The chances surely can’t be zero.  But what are they?

We live in interesting times.  Let us pray that they don’t get too interesting.

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And it Continues

Martin Rowsons take on Browns Iran abhorrence remarks

Sometimes a picture is really priceless.  The Iranians have repeatedly made clear that they have no intention of attacking Israel, that they anticipate Israel falling apart through its own internal contradictions.  there is not the slightest indication that the Iranians are preparing for any such military intervention or that they would ever be capable of it.  The real point of course is that it is a political attack, and the whole is part of the ‘cold war’ being fought between Iran and Israel, the USA and the industrial nations, a war that the Bush administration decided to fight, and the Israelis appear to be making sure that the Bush administration makes good its promises of taking out Iran after Iraq.

With such confusion and disingenuousness one can only presume that this is political manouevring to prepare for military should it come to that.  Should that come to pass the wealthy people that gave us this mess will not be the ones to pay the price: that will fall to the poor people.

I missed an article by Scott Ritter at TruthDig on the 14th on the consequences of such a war. Elsewhere Gershom Gorenberg picks apart Benny Morris’s Strangeglovian fantasies about Israel using its nuclear wepaons aresenal to settle up with Iran and Commander Huber surveys the inanity of the discorse on the Iraq war.

Jeff and Gershom on Obama

Two of my favourite bloggers—Commander Huber of The Pen and Sword and Gershom Gorenberg of South Jerusalem—have written similar and different articles on Obama’s foreign policy.  The commander analyses the ducking and diving in Obama’s Iran policy from the perspective of the Pentagon while Gorenberg takes the foggy bottom angle of his Israel policy.  They agree on the difficulties he faces (you have to work with the political context you have rather than the the one you would like) and that while some of his tactical manoeuvres may have caused some dismay, it is quite possible (so they argue) to pick out a coherent strategy.  Needless to say we will need more data, but that reading seems defensible to me, and is consistent with his record, such as it is.

I am most curious to know whether Gershom Gorenberg agrees with Comander Huber’s analysis.

Yglesias Responds (and Nails It)

Matt Yglesias has responded to my request for his take on the Goldberg/Walt disagreement over Ahmadinejad’s unpleasant rhetoric over Israel and produces a beautifully concise explanation of why it is a bad idea to exaggerate it (here is mine for comparison). While I can’t seem to stop being impressed by his articles, the way he has dispatched this has confirmed and amplified my sense of respect. This kind of thing is really not that easy to do.

I am disappointed by the absence of a link but I know I haven’t earned one either.

Goldberg is also Wrong about Ahmadinejad

[Part of a series of articles reviewing blogs and websites (here Jeffrey Goldberg) on my blog-roll; see the about page.]

[Update: Please read the companion article, The Love Buzz, explaining why it is important to seek out everyone’s point of view, especially those of people that you find offensive, and that this process in no way condones their actions.]

In an eerie coincidence, as soon as I completed my essay, Why Fisk is Wrong about Ahmadinejad, that finished with Jeffery Goldberg, I read Goldberg’s article, Mearsheimer and Walt: Apologists for Ahmadinejad, responding to Stephen Walt comments in a lecture in Jerusalem:

A professor criticized the authors for failing to condemn Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has called for Israel to be wiped off the map. “I don’t think he is inciting to genocide,” Walt responded.

Goldberg starts with the infamous mistranslation:

October, 2005: “Our dear Imam said that the occupying regime must be wiped off the map and this was a very wise statement. We cannot compromise over the issue of Palestine… I have no doubt that the new wave that has started in Palestine, and we witness it in the Islamic world too, will eliminate this disgraceful stain from the Islamic world. But we must be aware of tricks.”

despite it being well known that more accurate translations exist.

The Imam [Khomeini] said this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time. This statement is very wise.

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Why Fisk is Wrong about Ahmadinejad

[Part of a series of articles reviewing blogs and websites (here Robert Fisk) on my blog-roll; see the about page.]

[Update: See also The Love Buzz, an important companion article without which this article may seem a little puzzling, and Goldberg is also Wrong on Ahmadinejad.]

Latest reports suggest that there could be a resolution to the nuclear dispute between Iran and the USA on the horizon? If it is so then Ahmadinejad had better if the Iranians kept Ahmadinejad out of the way. But before I come to these reports I would like to look at how the President of Iran may have influenced the process. He is portrayed, even by great instigative journalists as insane, but others have detected method in his madness. To do that you have to avoid getting distracted by the hysterical projections of his detractors and treat him seriously.

The great instigative journalist is Robert Fisk, who has a new article in Saturday’s Indie, The Middle East never tires of threats. Until the end of the article it is vintage Fisk, looking at the absurd, boastful theatrics that makes up so much of conflict, and especially Middle Eastern politics. His best shot comes when the boasts stop.

The problem about threats, of course, is that once you’ve made them, you’ve either got to carry them out or pretend you were misunderstood. I never believed George Bush would invade Iraq; not, that is, until I turned up at UN headquarters in New York and actually heard him ranting on about the powerlessness of the UN. And then he actually did invade Iraq. And I still have my notes of an interview with a certain Osama bin Laden, and his last words to me were: “I pray that God permits us to turn America into a shadow of itself.” And I wrote in the margin the one word “rhetoric?”. September 11 cleared that one up.

For those that haven’t already read Commander Huber’s essay on how we all walked into the trap, I recommend it, for it America has become a shadow of herself, even if, despite extensive south-west-Asian commitments, her ability wreak death and destruction remains formidable . I mean the American brand is a shadow of itself, though its not irreparable (and already underway?).

Unfortunately Fisk gets carried away with his story and finishes with the most hackneyed of comparisons, and following a narrative lovingly constructed by the purveyors of the meaningless, lazy and empty rhetoric that Fisk despises so much.

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The Iran Fiasco

[Part of a series of articles reviewing blogs and websites (here Mosaic Intelligence Report) on my blog-roll; see the about page.]

These waves of diplomatic offensives against Iran and attendant meaningless references to abstract entities remaining on tables are starting to become comical, at least that is the analysis of the latest Mozaic Intelligence Report, and Commander Huber and Gordon Prather recap the dishonesty and hypocrisy of the whole shabby parade.

I do really hope nobody does anything really, really stupid.