Meh Culpa

Dear Madam Blogger: Meh Culpa’s reply to A Soldier’s Mother

“A Soldier’s Mother, a blogger who writes for Arutz Sheva (aka, Israel National News) has posted an article about her distaste for Zbignew Brzezinski, “Why I Never Liked Zbiggy,” which contains a number of errata. I posted a reply on the Arutz Sheva site which may or may not make it into print. I did not address what are in my opinion Israel’s recent war crimes against the Palestinians because there was only so much space and I deemed that opinion would make acceptance of my reply even more unlikely. In any case, here is my reply. I have revised a word or two, plus a little punctuation, but that’s about it.

Dear Madam Blogger

Brzezinski is 81 years old. He wasn’t given a position in the Obama administration because of his age. To say otherwise is an egregious error. Brzezinski also is a respected Democrat, yet Brzezinki’s opinion is only that, an opinion. He’s not speaking in an official capacity. There will be no US attack on Israel. End of story. Get over it.

It’s long been known in the International community that Israel would not obtain the privilege to fly over Iraq … because:

A) when the story first arose, the US still had some “custody” of Iraq and so would become embroiled in such a war begun by Israel, which would make three happening for the US at once. The US forces, depleted under Donald Rumsfeld cannot not tolerate another battlefront without collapsing;

B) allowing Israel to attack Iran could spark a war in the Middle East, making the region more unstable than it already is (a very bad idea);

C) any country that allowed Israel flyover privileges (e.g., Saudi Arabia) would earn the ire of Muslim states around the globe. Note well that the Saudis denied the report in July as did the Israelis. That’s how unpopular the notion actually is.

The US under George W. Bush provided the Israelis with defensive technology. That was a gesture of friendship. You may not like it or think it was enough because you want a war with Iran to be ineluctable, but it’s not in Israel’s best interests to have Arab and Muslim nations banded against them in a war. Nor is it in the world’s best interests, since we could have another global war on our hands. Wasn’t WW I and WW II enough? Must we again have more bloodshed on that scale? I would hope not.

I can remember listening to Old Testament readings in which the Israelis were described as stiff-necked and warlike. I’m sure it’s not always the case, but this constant hankering after war, when it might be possible to win peace, constitutes a prime example of those character traits. However, what I find most fascinating is the conservative* Israelis love-hate relationship with the US. Most Americans have absolutely no idea that their beloved friends despise them so much. But if the manner in which news is reported on this site is any indication, Arutz Sheva contributes to the ethos of drama and victimhood; this news organ evidently loves to whip up the mob against the enemies of Israel. Granted, many people around the world feel great anger towards Israel, but that state of affairs has to do with its behavior towards the Palestinians as well as its seemingly bellicose nature.

As for the the American Jewish community–it is split between old school types who would support whatever Israel wants, no matter what, and newer groups (i.e., J Street) who love Israel but are concerned that Israel’s current policies are not in that country’s best interests. I happen to concur with the latter view and would go further in saying that those policies could lead to Israel’s destruction, which I find appalling, but possible. I am also disappointed and troubled by Israel’s actions / wars against the Palestinians and Lebanon. I don’t think those policies are helpful; I also don’t think they have worked since there is no true peace. I don’t hold the Palestinians innocent by any means, but I don’t think Israel’s policies are doing its country any good.

I grew up loving Israel and now I don’t recognize it. Would the great Golda Meir have approved of using such things as pre-emptive strikes? I think not. She lived with danger herself, but recognized that pre-emptive strikes would lose Israel its friends and allies as well as its international aid. She may have said, “There are no Palestinians,” but If Israel were insecure she would have parleyed with the Palestinians and come to an agreement to keep her country safe.

There is just so much hatred any one nation can survive. At this point, I see Israel becoming less secure because of its own actions. Should there be an internationally unbacked, pre-emptive strike against Iran, which state will no doubt fight back, I see Israel losing even more status** and security, if not provoking an all-out war. A pity. I had such hopes for you.

* Used in American political terms.

** Look at what happened to George W. Bush.

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September 21, 2009 Posted by | Democrats, diplomacy, Foreign policy, Geneva Conventions, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Middle East, National Security, Palestinians, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

In His Own Defense, Cheney Requests Classified Torture Memos That Appalled Others

Not only that, a 2002 Pentagon memo declared that torture gained unreliable information. Rachel Maddow’s guest, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, agrees with me that the Bush administration was outrageously fearful, more so than was necessary given the level of terrorism aimed at the USA versus the terrorism other countries have lived with.

Lawrence Wilkerson was former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s chief of staff.  He has written “Some Truths about Guantanamo Bay,” in which he called Dick Cheney ‘evil’  and “‘They’ Have Stolen My Party And I Want It Back.” Wilkerson  has also appeared on Frontline‘s The  Dark Side” where he depicted  Cheney’s reaction to 9/11 as paranoid and claims, rightly I think, that Cheney has misunderstood the nature of our conflict with Al Qaeda.

Personally, I’d like to see a call for Nuremberg Rules.  We have the obligation to prosecute war crimes, whether or they are formulated and committed by our own people.  Unless we hold our leaders to the same standards we hold leaders of other countries, no one will ever trust us again. And they’ll have good reason not to.   They’ll also be able to turn around and say, “Hey, look:  Democracy doesn’t work.”

April 25, 2009 Posted by | Abu Ghraib, Afghan War, Afghanistan, Arab world, Bush administration, Cheney, Executive branch, Guantanamo, human rights, Iraq, Iraq War, Middle East, Pentagon, politics, torture, war crimes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Color Me Disgusted

Josh Gerstein and Craig Gordon’s article in Politico yesterday, “Should America Torture?,” begs the question by assuming it’s a reasonable question to ask based on the specious notion that maybe, just maybe, if torture works, it might be all right to use. Not only that, they insert a rationale for “outlawing torture”–as if it were never illegal in the first place–that neglects what Obama has said on the subject. Say Gerstein and Gordon:

Obama took water-boarding and other tactics out of use — not because experts said they never work, but because they offer a recruiting tool for al-Qaida that on balance made America less safe, not more, the White House said Thursday.

Uh, hellllllo?! During his inaugural speech, Obama said:


As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our founding fathers faced with perils that we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations.Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake.

….Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with the sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use. Our security emanates from the justness of our cause; the force of our example; the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

There is nothing in that speech about stopping torture because it doesn’t work.  In fact, Obama repudiated the “false choice” between allegedly defending our nation in ways that he considered expedient because we somehow thought it would make us safe. In essence, he was arguing that we should act with courage rather than from fear.

Fear brought the Bush administration to its moral knees and left it cowering. Obama has tasked us with the obligation to stand on our feet once more.  I am not certain what the President’s up to now.   I think his political machinations may be such that he can say,”Oh, I’d rather just move forward,” while at the same time delegating authority to his Attorney General, who will decide what to do with those in the last administration that formulated torture as a policy and saw to it that war crimes were carried out by CIA operatives, medical personnel and psychologists. Obama may not approve the idea that Congress should investigate,  partly because some members of Congress approved torture themselves, but he may say something else,  such as, “I think we need to concentrate on the economy, health care and other government business.” That might be the best way for him to proceed, actually. And it would be strategically brilliant because how then could anyone blame him for legal proceedings?

This morning I brushed by an article on HuffPo entitled “Never Again.” How many times have we heard that mantra, and yet how many times, equally mantra-like,  does the same sort of thing happen over and over and over again? The Turks perpetrated genocide upon the Armenians, and still won’t admit to the crimes. The Nazis tried to exterminate all Jews, gypsies,  disabled, mentally ill, and homosexuals.  Serbians conducted ethnic cleansing on ethnic Albanians, Croats and Muslims.  They raped the women as a  tactic of war. The Tutsis massacred Hutus. The National Islamic Government of Sudan has taken Southern Sudanese women and children into slavery; the government-sponsored Janajaweed have murdered “upwards of at [least] 250,000 black Africans” in Darfur. The Israelis and the Palestinians have both perpetrated war crimes against each other.

Never again: those are just words now, a worn out refrain.

April 24, 2009 Posted by | Afghanistan, Arab world, Bush administration, Cabinet, Cheney, Congress, Defense, Executive branch, Gaza, Geneva Conventions, Guantanamo, human rights, Iraq, Israel, Middle East, National Security, Obama, politics, torture, war crimes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment