Tuesday, October 31, 2006
There’s a good reason that the deadline for filing federal income tax returns is April and Election Day is in November — so that when federal incumbents use federal “free” money to purchase votes from the voters, the voters will not realize that this “free” money is the money that they sent the IRS back in April.
According to an article in the Washington Post, Education Secretary Margaret Spellings waited until this week — the week before Election Day — to begin handing out “free” grants for teacher bonuses in Ohio. Oh, the timing is just a coincidence, right? But what the heck, it’s “free” money anyway, right?
Hey, aren’t these the same people who look down their noses at political corruption in Latin America. What’s the difference? The only difference is the hypocrisy that characterizes U.S. officials for honestly thinking that they’re different from Latin American officials.
The sad part of this entire process is that the American people continue to buy into it. They continue to support a system in which they have to send a large portion of their income to Washington, and then when federal politicians send a portion of the loot back, people get down on their knees in gratitude for being serviced in this way.
The more that time goes on — and the more that evidence of moral and economic bankruptcy in both domestic and foreign affairs continues to grow — the more evident it becomes that our forefathers were right: No income taxes, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, drug war, immigration controls, foreign wars, Federal Reserve, and welfare. Too bad Americans of our time chose to reject their philosophy of freedom, especially given that our nation now consists of so many people who are dependent on the federal government, live their lives in constant fear, and bow down and kiss the feet of federal officials who bribe them for their votes with their own money.
Monday, October 30, 2006
The Iraq occupation raises interesting questions about treason and patriotism.
One of the principal reasons that the insurgents in Iraq are attacking Iraqi soldiers and policemen is because the latter are working for a regime that has been installed by an illegal invader and occupier.
After all, don’t forget that unlike the American people, the Iraqi people don’t buy all the sweet and quaint nonsense about why the U.S. invaded Iraq — i.e., to search for WMDs, to enforce UN resolutions, to spread democracy, and out of love and concern for the Iraqi people.
Thus, when the occupier says, “You must submit and obey us and the regime that our invasion has installed or we will kill you,” the insurgent replies, “You have no right to be here and no right to install a new regime in our country. Exit Iraq or we will force you out by killing you.”
In other words, the Iraqi insurgents view the U.S. and the Iraqi regime in the same way that the United States and Osama bin Laden viewed the Soviet Union and the regime it installed in Afghanistan, when the U.S. and bin Laden were working together to end the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan — as an aggressor nation — a nation that has attacked a country that never attacked the United States or even threatened to do so. And they view those Iraqis who cooperate with the aggressor as Quislings and traitors.
Think about it: If the United States were ever to be invaded by a foreign power, there would undoubtedly be those Americans, including U.S. soldiers, who would cooperate with the foreign occupier, under the rationale that what was good for the Iraqis is good for the Americans. Other Americans, however, would join the insurgency and would have no reservations about waging war against occupier and its Quislings and traitors.
There will undoubtedly be a sad closing chapter to the Iraq debacle when U.S. troops are finally forced to exit the country. Those who cooperated with the aggressor nation might well be made to pay a high price for being traitors to their country, especially without U.S. soldiers there to protect them.
Friday, October 27, 2006
In today’s FFF Email Update, we’re carrying an article on the drug war from the New York Times that is worth reading. It details the horrific violence in Mexico that the drug war has spawned, including murders, torture, and beheadings. Then, in our Immigration News section today, we have an article detailing the deaths of Mexican immigrants trying to enter the U.S. illegally.
It’s important that we always keep in mind that all this death is due to U.S. government policies. If there was no drug war, there would be no drug gangs or drug cartels, which would mean that there would be no drug-war related violence. After all, how many murders, torture, and beheadings do we see being committed by wino gangs?
It’s the same with the immigrant deaths. If immigrants were free to cross back and forth across international bridges the way normal human beings cross bridges within the United States, there would be no immigrants dying on parched Arizona deserts or in the back of hot tractor-trailers or freight trains.
In other words, unlike socialism and interventionism, the free market, which was the philosophy adhered to by our forefathers, who rejected both drug laws and immigration controls, is the only philosophy that produces natural harmonies between people.
Socialism and interventionism, on the other hand, which is the philosophy of current-day Americans, inevitably leads to disharmonies and death, which then tend to increase people’s frustrations, which then lead to calls for more interventions, which lead to bigger and bigger, more powerful, more oppressive government. North Korea, of course, which has sealed borders, a big government, and an unattractive society is a good example of this phenomenon.
Unfortunately, however, Americans, who continue to think that socialism is freedom, continue to look upon Washington as the solution to their woes rather than the root cause of them. Thus, blaming “free enterprise” for their problems, Americans continue calling on Washington for more and more interventions (and more and more big government) to fix the problems that the federal government has caused in the first place. The result is that America continues moving in the wrong direction — toward socialism and interventionism — rather than in the direction of economic liberty envisioned by our forefathers.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Uh, oh! More trouble in Iraq. No, not the five additional U.S. soldiers killed yesterday—that’s bad enough but I’m referring to the rift between President Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki as to how much authority Maliki will be permitted to have as Iraq’s prime minister.
President Bush, obviously growing exasperated that his “stay the course” campaign has converted Iraq into a hellhole of torture, murder, mayhem, bombs, bullets, kidnappings, and chaos, is now imposing time deadlines on Maliki that require the prime minister to “stabilize” Iraq, which of course entails brutalizing and killing more Iraqis.
But wait a minute! I thought that President Bush told us that democracy in Iraq meant that Iraq was now a sovereign and independent country. How can President Bush be telling Maliki what he needs to be doing?
And apparently Prime Minister Maliki is thinking the same thing. Here’s what the New York Times is reporting today:
“Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki lashed out at the United States on Wednesday, saying his popularly elected government would not bend to U.S.-imposed benchmarks and timelines and criticizing a U.S.-Iraqi military operation in a Shiite slum in Baghdad that left at least five people dead and 20 wounded. Maliki’s comments came a day after U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said the prime minister had agreed to timelines for accomplishing several critical goals, including developing plans to deal with militias, amend the constitution and equitably distribute Iraq’s oil revenue. ‘I affirm that this government represents the will of the people, and no one has the right to impose a timetable on it,’ Maliki said at a nationally televised news conference Wednesday. ‘The Americans have the right to review their policies, but we do not believe in a timetable.’”
I hope Miliki realizes what happens to foreign rulers who become too independent of the U.S. Empire. Just ask Saddam Hussein. Oh well, at least no new invasion will be necessary for the Empire to effect another regime change. But would someone please remind me: What did those 5 U.S. soldiers die for yesterday?
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Do you recall the scene in the movie “Braveheart” where William Wallace has been double-crossed by his allies and, thus, defeated in battle, whereupon he begins chasing the king on horseback? One of the king’s guards turns to Robert the Bruce and says, “Protect your king.”
The scene holds a valuable lesson for what is happening in Iraq.
As the situation in Iraq continues to degenerate, the question that most Americans have not wanted to confront will inevitably continue to force its way into their consciousness: What are American soldiers dying for — and, in fact, what are they killing Iraqis for?
After all, no one can say that they’re dying to protect America from Saddam Hussein’s WMDs. And they can’t say that they’re dying to spread “freedom and democracy” in Iraq because, as most everyone can readily see, the invasion and occupation have turned Iraq into a hellhole of murder, torture, prisons, and chaos.
And they can’t say that they’re dying to protect America from terrorism because as U.S. intelligence agencies are pointing out, the invasion and occupation continue to incite more terrorism.
So, what are U.S. troops actually dying for (and killing for) at this point? As this question continues to force its way into people’s consciousness, they are going to realize that the attitude of some people in Washington is: “Protect the political hide of your president at all costs.”
After all, what does Bush do if it begins dawning on everyone that keeping U.S. soldiers in Iraq is senseless, especially if they are the principal cause of the violence? And let’s not forget that most Iraqis, according to polls, want the soldiers out of Iraq and even support killing them.
What can President Bush do? After flying in on that aircraft carrier and announcing “Mission Accomplished” and after saying that he would never “cut and run,” and after implicitly accusing people who advocate withdrawal of being cowards and endangering America, he’s stuck. He knows that if he were to “cut and run” at this point, American families who have lost loved ones in Iraq would ask him, in no uncertain terms, to explain to them what their loved ones have died for.
Bush is no doubt hoping that he can make the occupation last for another couple of years, so that he can then “declare victory” and pass the problem onto his successor. But that will necessarily entail many more U.S. troops killed, producing an ever increasing number of anguished, grieving, and possibly angry families.
Thus, “protect your president’s political hide” sets up the prospect of an interesting political collision during the next two years between the president and his loyal servants, on the one hand, and the troops, who are providing such protection with their lives, and the American people, who are finally beginning to see through all the pro-war and pro-occupation propaganda.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
U.S. military officers are chagrined that Iraqi troops are deserting when it comes time to “establish order” in Baghdad. In other words, they’re upset that Iraqis don’t want to kill Iraqis in order to maintain a regime that was installed into power as a direct result of a foreign invasion — an illegal one — and one that has killed more than 650,000 Iraqis.
Suppose the U.S. got into a war with China, say, as a result of starting a war with North Korea. Let’s assume that as a result of an overextension of troops and bad strategic military decisions, the Chinese win some decisive military battles that result in an unconditional surrender by U.S. government officials. The Chinese send personnel to the U.S. to take temporary control of the government, call for new elections, dismantle the Military Commissions Act and the Patriot Act, and run the public schools.
Needless to say, there are plenty of U.S. military personnel who would cooperate with the Chinese occupiers, especially given that they see nothing wrong with Iraqis cooperating with their American occupiers.
But undoubtedly there would also be American men and women who would be insurgents resisting the occupation (myself included). When Chinese officials ordered U.S. military personnel to help them “establish order” by shooting American “terrorists,” undoubtedly there would be some soldiers who would dutifully and loyally follow orders and kill the “bad guys.”
But there would also be some troops who would say, “I ain’t gonna kill my fellow Americans, no matter what.”
And that’s precisely why Iraqi men aren’t following orders to kill their countrymen. Too bad American military officers can’t understand it.
Monday, October 23, 2006
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is back at work lecturing other countries on the importance of freedom. Her latest lecture is to Russian leaders, whom she criticized for infringing on press freedoms. Too bad the Russians didn’t respond, “Well, at least we’re not the country that just enacted legislation permitting the military to arrest newspaper editors as ‘unlawful enemy combatants,’ torture them, and imprison them indefinitely without trial until the war on terrorism is finally won.”
Friday, October 20, 2006
If you haven’t seen Keith Olbermann’s commentary on the Military Commissions Act, it’s truly worth taking a look at, especially the video, which captures Olbermann’s passion and commitment more so than the written transcript. Here’s the link to the MSNBC page (the link to the video is on the right side of the page):
This is the type of commentary one wishes were on the editorial pages and on the radio and news shows all across the spectrum. But alas, all too many news-media types are either indifferent to what is clearly the greatest assault on civil liberties in our lifetime or they’re holding out hope that they might still land a job with the White House, which of course means currying favor with the powers-that-be.
Hopefully, Olbermann’s piece will help wake up the American people to how sordid, disgraceful, and despicable the Military Commissions Act really is, especially with its cancellation of habeas corpus, whose principles stretch back to Magna Carta, but also with its torture, immunity from war crimes, “unlawful enemy-combatant” designation, and kangaroo military tribunals.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
According to the New York Times today, the prime minister of Iraq, which U.S. officials continue to steadfastly insist (with straight faces) is a sovereign and independent country, asked President Bush to reassure him that the U.S. government didn’t intend to oust him from office.
Meanwhile, the Washington Times reports today that Malaki is right to be concerned:
“Another scenario is being discussed — and taken seriously in Iraq — by many of Iraq’s leading political players, under which the U.S.-trained army would overthrow struggling Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and replace him with a strongman who would restore order while Washington looks the other way.”
Hey, there’s always Saddam Hussein, who was a very strong strongman! Of course, that might make it difficult for President Bush to tell American families who have lost loved ones in Iraq: “Your loved one died so that we could oust Saddam Hussein from power and then reinstall him into power.” It would be much more palatable to be able to instead say, “Your loved one died so that we could oust Saddam Hussein from power in order to replace him with a U.S.-approved strongman.”
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
I wonder how many Americans are finally feeling safe and secure from “the terrorists” — and, now, the communists — as a result of the president’s having signed the Military Commissions Act into law. The photo of the signing ceremony, which included the president, vice president, members of his cabinet, members of the Congress, and high military officers, reminded me of those old photos from the Soviet Union — when the Soviet premier would be surrounded by all those somber-faced, self-important Politburo members and Soviet generals.
The cancellation of habeas corpus, which the Act accomplishes for foreigners accused of terrorism, constitutes one of the most shameful and despicable acts in American history. As I have written elsewhere, habeas corpus is the lynchpin of a free society. Without it, people cannot be considered free. Its principles, for which countless Englishmen and Americans have fought and died, stretch back to Magna Carta — the Great Charter — in 1215.
As Congress hurriedly enacted the act before the November election, I was reminded of Padme’s line in Star Wars: “This is how democracy dies, with thunderous applause.”
The fact that the Congress and the president cancelled habeas corpus only for foreigners is equally shameful and despicable. Why should there be different treatment under law for foreigners and Americans? Americans have always prided themselves on equal application of the law, regardless of race, color, creed, or national origin. The cancellation of habeas corpus for foreigners flies in the face of that legal heritage.
Moreover, anyone who thinks that the feds are going to limit the cancellation of habeas corpus to foreigners, especially in the context of another “emergency” or “crisis,” are naïve to the extreme. This is what governments have always done in the removal of people’s rights and freedoms — they do it first to a group of people that the general populace doesn’t care about, setting the foundation and the precedent for doing it to more and more people in the general populace.
After all, think about it: With Jose Padilla, an American citizen, who just filed a motion detailing his torture, including involuntary federal injection some type of drugs, the Pentagon has already established how it intends to treat Americans in military custody — and has sent the message to the civilian sector that it has the right to do so. In fact, in objecting to an order issued by the federal judge in the Padilla case to deliver to Padilla his medical records during the time he’s been in military custody, the government lawyer had the audacity to tell the judge that the records belong to the government, not to the citizen who is in military custody.
Our Founding Fathers had it right. As Madison pointed out, war is the biggest enemy of freedom because it enables the government to exercise so much power over the citizenry. They were also right about the ominous dangers of overgrown military establishments (as President Eisenhower also warned us against), because of their propensity to cause problems overseas, which then produce “crises” and “emergencies” at home, which are then used as the excuse to suspend the rights and freedoms of the citizenry — temporarily, of course.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Possibly to avoid confronting the moral implications of an invasion that has killed more than 600,000 Iraqis, according to the Lancet medical journal, U.S. officials have recently been trying to justify their war on Iraq and subsequent occupation with a new rationalization — that Muslims in the Middle East, including Iraq, are Islamo-fascists who hate Christians and want to kill them and take over the world. The inference, of course, is that, therefore, Americans shouldn’t feel bad about 600,000 dead Iraqis.
However, that thesis might come as news to Christians in Iraq. A front-page story in the New York Times today reports:
“But under Saddam Hussein, Iraq’s million or so Christians for the most part coexisted peacefully with Muslims, both the dominant Sunnis and the majority Shiites. But since Mr. Hussein’s ouster, their status here has become increasingly uncertain, first because many Muslim Iraqis framed the American-led invasion as a modern crusade against Islam, and second because Christians traditionally run the country’s liquor stories, anathema to many religious Muslims. Over the past three and a half years, Christians have been subjected to a steady stream of church bombings, assassinations, kidnappings and threatening letters slipped under their doors.”
It might also come as news to U.S. officials in the early 1980s, when Osama bin Laden and the U.S. government were working closely together to oust the Soviet Union from Afghanistan. Do you recall any U.S. officials talking about the Islamo-fascist threat to Christians, the United States, and the world when they were partnering with bin Laden?
And while we’re on the subject, how is the U.S. invasion of Iraq different in principle from the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan?
The deeply discomforting fact is that the U.S. government went into Iraq under false pretenses. What U.S. officials thought would be a quick and relatively painless exercise to “get Saddam” and replace him with a U.S.-approved substitute didn’t go according to plan. More than 600,000 Iraqi people — people who never attacked the United States and whose government never attacked the United States — are now dead as result.
That’s a lot of dead people. And that doesn’t even include the maimed. Add to that the 300,000 or so Iraqi children killed by the pre-war sanctions, and we’re talking about almost one million Iraqi people killed at the hands of the U.S. government.
Again, it bears repeating: None of those dead Iraqis — not one single one — ever came to the United States and did us harm.
“Islamo-fascism” and the “global war on terror” are nothing more than smokescreens to prevent the minds of the American people from contemplating the glaring and horrible truth: In Iraq, the U.S . government is the aggressor, not the defender, and the aggressor has killed many, many innocent Iraqi people — that is, people who never attacked our country or even threatened to do so.
Monday, October 16, 2006
The U.S. government is proudly going forward with its plan to “squeeze” North Korea with more financial sanctions to punish North Korea for testing a nuclear bomb in opposition to dictates from the U.S. government. U.S. Ambassador to the UN John Bolton, who is serving in that capacity despite never having received Senate confirmation, brought up shades of the Cold War by comparing the North Korean ambassador’s walking out of a UN session to when Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev pounded his shoe in an angry speech at the UN. Yeah, like that really went over well with the Russians!
Meanwhile, the New York Times is reporting that “the South Korean government said it would still pursue economic projects with North Korea, including an industrial zone and tourist resort in the North.” That’s the right way to go. That’s what the United States should be doing — unleashing the private sector in America to travel and trade with people all over the world, including North Korea and Cuba, instead of isolating the American people from the rest of the world with embargoes, blockades, and sanctions.
What U.S. officials are accomplishing with their customary “squeeze” strategy (which has been a big failure against another communist regime, Cuba) is nothing more than heightened tensions and crises, the same thing that U.S. officials accomplished in the Middle East with their brutal sanctions against the Iraqi people, which led to both the 1993 and 2001 attacks on the WTC, followed by the war on terrorism, the Patriot Act, the NSA spying, the indefinite detentions, and torture.
Here at home, expect more attacks on civil liberties, especially if the Korean crisis continues to escalate. After all, what better way to justify taking away people’s rights and freedoms from them than by scaring them with the twin threats of communism and terrorism? And what better way to do so than by stirring up both communist crises and terrorist crises in different parts of the world?
How long will it continue to take the American people to realize that the root of their woes lies not with terrorism or communism but rather with an unleashed federal government overseas? How long will it take them to rein in their federal government and restore a limited-government republic to our land?
There is one — and only one — solution to both Korea and the Middle East: pull all U.S. troops out of those regions (and all other overseas countries), bring them home and discharge them into the private sector, and stop U.S. officials from ever again butting into the affairs of other countries with sanctions, embargoes, blockades, and foreign aid.
That’s the key to restoring peace, stability, normality, prosperity, and harmony to our lives. Just ask the Swiss, who have long refused to permit their government to serve as international policeman, meddler, intervener, interloper, and aggressor.
Friday, October 13, 2006
Advocating a British exit from Iraq, Britain’s top general in Iraq, Richard Dannatt, has publicly announced that British troops in Iraq are engendering anger and hatred that is producing increased threats of terrorism against the British — what would seem to be a fairly obvious point which we have been making here at FFF about U.S. foreign policy even long before 9/11.
As far as I know, so far neither President Bush nor any pro-war or pro-occupation members of Congress, including those who never served in the military, are accusing the general of being a coward who just wants to “cut and run” from a good fight.
Dannatt’s assessment mirrors that of the National Intelligence Estimate, which was recently prepared by several U.S. intelligence agencies. It stated that the invasion and occupation of Iraq have been a dream-come-true for anti-American terrorist recruiters.
Meanwhile, the respected British medical journal, the Lancet, has published the results of a survey that reflects that more than 600,000 people have been killed in Iraq. President Bush has denounced the report, claiming that his figure of only 30,000 deaths is more accurate. Don’t forget that the Pentagon, with the acquiescence of President Bush, announced early on that Iraqi deaths would not be counted in the invasion and occupation of the country.
Regardless, no one can deny that the invasion and occupation of Iraq have killed many more people than the terrorists killed on 9/11 — and that nobody in Iraq, including the dead and maimed, had anything to do with 9/11.
If the Lancet report is anywhere near true and Gen. Dannatt and the National Intelligence Estimate are true, it follows that the U.S. killings of 600,000 Iraqis produces a fairly large pool of angry and hateful people eager to join any terrorist cause against America.
But when the next terrorist crisis occurs, you can rest assured that President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and their neo-con supporters will steadfastly maintain (with straight faces) that all those Islamo-fascist terrorists hate us for our “freedom and values” and that killing 30,000 people or 600,000 people in Iraq have nothing to do with their anger and hatred.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
If you want a good example of how U.S. officials operate in the realm of foreign policy, read this short Newsweek article that describes what U.S. officials did to North Korea after signing an agreement last year in which North Korea agreed not to pursue nuclear weaponry in return for the United States’ agreeing to respect North Korea’s sovereignty, to exist peacefully, and to normalize relations.
A few days ago, the North Koreans tested a nuclear bomb, and the response of U.S. officials was effectively, “We’re innocent. We haven’t done anything bad. They’re the bad guys because they broke the agreement!”
The Newsweek article points out the types of dirty tricks that U.S. officials are famous for in international circles, even though the American people, unfortunately, remain innocently ignorant of them. Four days after U.S. officials agreed to respect North Korea’s sovereignty, exist peacefully, and normalize relations, “the U.S. Treasury Department imposed sweeping financial sanctions against North Korea designed to cut off the country’s access to the international banking system, branding it a ‘criminal state’ guilty of counterfeiting, money laundering and trafficking in weapons of mass destruction.”
The North Koreans told Newsweek that the nuclear tests were a direct response to those financial sanctions that U.S. officials had inflicted against the North Koreans four days after that agreement was entered into.
Here in a nutshell is the history of U.S. interventionism and meddling all over the world and the “blowback” consequences that result. U.S. officials love to play their meddling, interventionist games and then when things go sour, they love to cry, “Why, they just hate us for our freedom and values. It’s not like we did anything bad to them.”
After all, think of the brutal sanctions against Iraq, which contributed to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children. As Joy Gordon documents so well in her excellent article in Harpers, “Cool War,” U.S. officials loved playing bureaucratic games with the sanctions, even though they knew that their games were killing innocent children. Their attitude was that the deaths were “worth it.”
Then, when 9/11 hit, their attitude was, “We’re innocent. We didn’t do anything bad to people in the Middle East. They just hate us because Americans are free.” Of course, the latest metamorphosis of this ridiculousness is: “The Muslims have always hated us and have always wanted to kill us because of our religious differences.” Yeah, like the sanctions, embargoes, invasions, interventions, meddling, occupations, no-fly zones, foreign aid, support of dictatorships, and military outposts have nothing to do with it.
As long as Americans continue to permit their federal government to maintain its overseas military empire and to intervene, sanction, embargo, invade, and meddle, there is going to be blowback, which of course means perpetual crises and emergencies and perpetually increasing big government spending, taxes, inflation, and assaults on civil liberties.
There is one — and only one — solution for Americans who desire a normal, peaceful, harmonious, and free society — restoring a republic to our land by bringing all troops home, discharging them into the private sector, and limiting the power of the federal government to meddle overseas.
As the North Korean example once again shows (as if the Cuban example hasn’t been enough), using brutal political games to try to get brutal dictators to bend to the will of an Empire often accomplishes the opposite of what is supposedly intended.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Secretary of State Rice has announced that President Bush does not intend to use his army to attack North Korea. Well, I suppose that at least there’s one upside to the president having his army bogged down in Iraq.
The president, however, says he does want to impose sanctions against North Korea for daring to develop nuclear weapons to protect itself from a U.S. attack. North Korea, on its part, says that it will consider such action an act of war, which actually it is. Can you imagine what the U.S. response would be if a foreign regime imposed sanctions on the United States, prohibiting any ship from landing in U.S. ports without being inspected, on the grounds that the U.S. has nuclear weapons, tests them both below ground and above ground (just ask the people living in Nevada), and also exports WMDs to dangerous foreign dictators?
Oh, you didn’t know that the U.S. government exports WMDs to dangerous dictators? Well, where do you think Saddam Hussein got his WMDs — you know, the ones that President Bush was certain he would find? He got them from the U.S. and other Western countries! That’s right — the man who President Bush still says was an “Adolph Hitler” dire threat to the world was sent those infamous WMDs by the U.S., ironically when the president’s father, George H.W. Bush was either vice president or president.
Here’s the list of articles I compiled in April 2003 detailing the U.S. transfer of WMDs to Saddam:
Here’s a pertinent excerpt from an Associate Press release in the list of articles:
“Dozens of suppliers, most in Europe, the United States and Japan, provided the components and know-how Saddam Hussein needed to build an atomic bomb, according to Iraq’s 1996 accounting of its nuclear program.”
And for skeptics who might think that U.S. officials were innocently unaware of all this, think again:
“Most of the sales were legal and often made with the knowledge of governments. In 1985-90, the U.S. Commerce Department, for example, licensed $1.5 billion in sales to Iraq of American technology with potential military uses. Iraq was then getting Western support for its war against Iran, which at the time was regarded as the main threat to stability in the oil-rich Gulf region.”
Here’s another excerpt, from the Robert Novak column in the list:
“An eight-year-old Senate report confirms that disease-producing and poisonous materials were exported, under U.S. government license, to Iraq from 1985 to 1988 during the Iran-Iraq war.”
And check out this excerpt from the New York Times article by Patrick E. Tyler:
“A covert American program during the Reagan administration provided Iraq with critical battle planning assistance at a time when American intelligence agencies knew that Iraqi commanders would employ chemical weapons in waging the decisive battles of the Iran-Iraq war, according to senior military officers with direct knowledge of the program.”
Why would U.S. officials approve the exportation of WMDs to a brutal, dangerous dictator? Saddam was their buddy at that time because he was using the WMDs to kill Iranians, whose regime U.S. officials hated because the Iranians had ousted the Shah of Iran, whom U.S. officials had installed and supported after the CIA secretly ousted the democratically elected prime minister of Iran.
Unfortunately, most Americans have no idea of the history and reality of U.S. foreign policy. That’s why they’re unable to understand the depth of anger that foreigners all over the world have for the hypocrisy, arrogance, brutality, and aggressiveness that characterize U.S. foreign policy.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
In response to North Korea’s test explosion of a nuclear bomb, President Bush has announced that he will seek UN sanctions, as if that is going to discourage a regime that loves sealing its borders and isolating its own people from the world even more than the U.S. government does.
For its part, the Pentagon is planning for a blockade against North Korea, which ordinarily constitutes an act of war.
More crises and emergencies. More tensions and fear. More adrenaline for the military. More air of self-importance for Empire officials.
What a difference a decade makes. At the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Pentagon and the U.S. military-industrial complex were panicked over the prospect that the American people would call for the dismantling of the U.S. military empire overseas, given that the Cold War had suddenly and unexpectedly come to an end. We’ll even help you fight the drug war, pleaded Pentagon officials, desperately fearful that their budgets were going to be slashed.
Here at FFF, in the 1990s we argued fervently that the American people should seize the opportunity to dismantle the Empire and restore the Republic. But that’s not what happened. Instead, Empire officials began poking hornets’ nest in the Middle East and then acted shocked and surprised when hornets struck back on the World Trade Center in 1993 and 2001.
And then they threatened “regime change” against what they called the “axis of evil,” which consisted of Iraq, Iran, and North Korea.
Why in the world does it surprise anyone that North Korea would try to protect itself from U.S. aggression? What better way to deter such aggression than to develop a nuclear bomb? What better way to send a message than to do what the U.S. government has been doing for decades — testing its nuclear weapons by exploding them?
We said it in the 1990s, and we’ll continue saying it: The time has come for the American people to demand that federal officials dismantle their overseas Empire and bring all foreign troops home, including those who have been stationed in Korea for more than half-a-century, bringing to an end all overseas meddling, interventions, and threats of aggression against other countries. Otherwise, be prepared for perpetual “blowback” and perpetually rising spending, taxes, inflation, and suspensions of civil liberties.
President Bush unilaterally sent the entire nation into war against Iraq and without even the constitutionally required congressional declaration of war. We’ve seen the results of that war. But you ain’t seen nothing yet compared to what you’ll see if he succeeds in getting our nation involved in another land war in Asia, especially one that could, once again, involve Chinese troops.
Monday, October 9, 2006
There was an interesting op-ed in the Washington Post yesterday by a child psychiatrist that criticized the growing rush by parents to put their children on drugs, with the approval of over-eager school administrators. The article pointed out that the drugs often have serious side effects.
In fact, the Associated Press reported last February that such drugs as Ritalin, a favorite drug for children who resist public schooling, have been strongly linked to death and injury.
The author of the Post article, Elizabeth J. Roberts, states:
“Unfortunately, when a child is diagnosed with a mental illness, almost everyone benefits. The schools get more state funding for the education of a mentally handicapped student. Teachers have more subdued students in their already overcrowded classrooms. Finally, parents are not forced to examine their poor parenting practices, because they have the perfect excuse: Their child has a chemical imbalance. The only loser in this equation is the child. It is the child who must endure the side effects of these powerful drugs and be burdened unnecessarily with the label of a mental illness. Medicating a child, based on a misdiagnosis, is a tragic injustice for the child: His or her only advocate is the parent who lacked the courage to apply appropriate discipline.”
Unfortunately, Roberts’s diagnosis of the problem focuses primarily on the parents and not on the aberrant system of public schooling itself. Like so many people who have grown up with public schooling, Roberts has trouble breaking out of the box, choosing to focus on how the parents and the system are failing the child rather than on the effect that public schooling itself has on the child.
Think about it: The state effectively seizes a child, takes him away from his family, and forces him into an army-like “learning” environment at an artificially contrived age. The child is then forced to undergo a series of lectures for 12 long years involving state indoctrination from state officials following a state regimen based on state-approved textbooks. Any deviation, including failing to respond properly when the bell rings, is punished, just like in the army.
What better systems to suppress individuality and creativity than the army and public schooling? It never ceases to surprise me how people are still surprised that most children hate learning and education by the time they graduate from high school.
Yet, when a child resists this aberrant system, he’s diagnosed as mentally ill and is put on drugs. This is because all too many adults, including psychiatrists, are themselves victims of the system. That’s what prevents them from recognizing that children’s reaction to the aberrance of public schooling is a perfectly healthy one and that the coercive system of “education” called public schooling is what is sick.
Friday, October 6, 2006
Uh, oh! The Amish might be in trouble as a result of all the publicity they are receiving as a result of the tragic shooting of Amish students in Pennsylvania.
Trouble from whom?
From the anti-immigrant crowd in America! You know, those who oppose immigration on the grounds that immigrants don’t “assimilate.”
Don’t believe me? Then check out the Wikipedia entry on the Amish.
1. The Amish stick primarily to themselves, preferring not to associate with non-Amish people.
2. They speak a German dialect in their homes.
3. They refuse to use many of the modern technological conveniences of American life, even still driving horse-drawn carriages.
4. They primarily marry only among themselves.
5. They refuse to join the military or participate in America’s foreign wars, including the war of aggression against Iraq.
6. They are mostly descendants of 18th-century immigrants.
7. They refuse to draw Social Security, on the ground that it is an immoral government program.
8. They forgive those who do them harm.
Talk about not assimilating!
What would the anti-immigrant crowd say if they learn about the Amish? They would be screaming that they’re not genuine Americans because they refuse to assimilate. They’d undoubtedly also be calling for their deportation.
Actually, the Amish community though is a testament to what America was once all about and should still be all about. Our heritage is one of liberty, which meant that people could come to America and live their lives any way they chose, even if they refused to assimilate with others. That’s what freedom is all about — not some contrived government system where politicians, bureaucrats, and central planners impose and enforce a screening process entailing loyalty oaths and assimilation oaths.
So, let’s just hope the anti-immigrant crowd doesn’t hear about the Amish. For that matter, let’s hope they don’t hear about the thousands of Americans who are settling down in Mexico. They might accuse them of not being genuine Mexicans for their failure to assimilate in Mexico, learn Spanish, and swear allegiance to the Mexican government.
Thursday, October 5, 2006
It is truly amusing to see the brave and courageous and moral members of Congress, both Republicans and Democrats, stumbling over themselves to express outrage over their congressional buddy Mark Foley’s sexual overtures to teenage congressional pages.
Give me a break! As if they didn’t have enough evidence to raise a ruckus about Foley long ago.
The fact is that the moral degeneracy of these people has long been manifested. As they express their concern for American underage boys, let’s not forget that they didn’t give a hoot for the tens of thousands of Iraqi children who were dying every year for more than 10 years from infection and disease as a direct consequence of the brutal sanctions that they themselves — the new moral paragons of Congress — were supporting against Iraq.
And where were these new, born-again defenders of children’s rights when the official U.S. representative to the UN, Madeleine Albright, announced to the world that the deaths of those hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children were “worth it.”
And where were these congressional defenders of moral principles when two high officials in the UN resigned in protest against the deadly sanctions against Iraq?
Where’s the outrage over the killing and maiming of some 50,000 innocent people in Iraq, including children — a nation whose people and government never attacked the United States or even threatened to do so? What was their “crime” other than living under a dictator who refused to kowtow to U.S. officials, as other U.S.-favored dictators have, such as the Shah of Iran or Pervez Musharraf, the anti-democratic military general running Pakistan.
And let’s not forget the sex abuse at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib at the hands of U.S. forces. Where are all the much-vaunted congressional investigations into the torture and sex abuse that were supposed to take place after the Pentagon conducted its five or six whitewash investigations?
And let’s not forget those Abu Ghraib photographs that these moral and ethical members of Congress put under lock and key. They claimed that it was because Iraqi insurgents might get overly angry over the perverse acts reflected in the photos. Yeah, right! As if protecting the Pentagon and U.S. higher-ups who opened the door to torture and sex abuse had nothing to do with it. One thing is for sure: If the members of Congress really thought that those secret, locked-away photos were too perverse to release, they must have really been perverse!
And where are the investigations into the torture and sex abuse in the secret CIA torture centers? Where’s the outrage there? How many detainees have been summoned to testify? How many investigations have been conducted into the responsibility of higher-ups in the government in approving or condoning, either officially or unofficially, the sordid acts?
No, these people have looked away from dirty deeds at the hands of U.S. officials for years, just as they have with their congressional cohort Mark Foley. The current faux outrage today over Foley’s misconduct among members of Congress, both Democrat and Republican, is driven by the only principle that guides these people: Election Day.
Wednesday, October 4, 2006
A U.S. official recently said,
“A war has a definable beginning and end. This is not that. We are more like gardeners, pulling up the weeds. We are not going to raise a flag and say, we have won. We can’t declare an end, a victory.”
Which war was he talking about? If you answered “the won on terrorism,” you’d be perfectly justified in doing so. After 5 years, the war on terrorism is still going strong, federal budgets are soaring, and federal officials continue to become more powerful. And the best thing, from their perspective, is that there is no end — it can go on forever especially since the killing of one terrorist only gives rise to more terrorists to kill. The war on terrorism is a power-monger’s dream — perpetual war and, therefore, perpetually increasing budgets and power.
Actually though, the official was Anthony Placido, the DEA’s chief of intelligence, and he was referring to the drug war, which has gone on since President Richard Nixon declared war on drug some 30 years ago. Like the war on terrorism, there is never an end in sight. Like the Energizer bunny, the drug war just keeps on going and going and going.
I can just imagine federal politicians and bureaucrats 50 years from now saying, “We just made another record drug bust and had another big foreign drug lord extradited to the U.S. for trial. And we just killed 10 more terrorists in Afghanistan and the Middle East. Victory in the war on drugs and the war on terrorism are close. We must stay the course. Increase our budgets and give us a bit more power and we promise you that we’ll finally declare victory and end these two wars within just a few more years.”
Let’s hope it never gets to that. Let’s hope the American people figure out that the root of the problem isn’t drugs, it’s the U.S. government’s drug-war policies. And that the root of the problem isn’t terrorism, it’s the U.S. government’s foreign policy. Once people figure out what the root of the problem is, they’ll figure out what the solution is.
Tuesday, October 3, 2006
U.S. Army Gen. Bantz J. Craddock is befuddled over the actions of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. According to the New York Times, Craddock cannot figure out why Venezuela has been purchasing AK-47 assault rifles and military helicopters from Russia and patrol boats from Spain. Craddock also cannot understand the rationale behind Venezuela’s efforts to form a military coalition against the U.S. with other Latin American countries. And he says that Chavez’s claim that U.S. officials are threatening to assassinate him is “mindless.”
Does the good general really not understand Chavez’s motives or is he just playing dumb?
Both Chavez and Craddock are, of course, familiar with Iraq, a country that had never attacked the U.S. but nevertheless became a regime-change target for President Bush and his military forces. The reason? Saddam Hussein, who previously had been a good friend and ally of U.S. officials, had gone “independent,” which necessitated his removal from power and the installation of a puppet regime in Iraq. U.S. officials have even been willing to sacrifice hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children with brutal sanctions and some 50,000 people with the invasion and occupation to achieve that goal.
President Bush hates Chavez on a personal level even more than he hated Saddam. Like the Iraqi dictator, Chavez is proving not to be a team player in the U.S. Empire, as many other Latin American rulers do. Even worse, he mocks and ridicules President Bush, a real no-no for the U.S. Empire. Moreover, unlike other Latin American regimes Chavez has his own independent source of revenue — oil — and therefore does not have to depend on U.S. foreign aid.
In other words, Venezuela is as good a target for U.S. regime change as Iraq was — or for that matter, Guatemala, where the U.S. ousted the democratically elected president to install its stooge into power, which precipitated the long civil war in that country — or, for that matter, Chile, where the U.S. helped to oust the democratically elected president to install its stooge into power — or, for that matter, Panama, where the U.S. helped to oust its former friend and ally Antonio Noriega from power in Cuba to install its stooge into power.
For that matter, let’s not forget that assassination, embargoes, and sanctions have long been among the principle policy tools of U.S. officials. Just ask Fidel Castro, a good friend of Hugo Chavez.
Interestingly, Gen. Craddock points out that Nicaragua’s army of more than 73,000 men in 1973 meant that it was “an army that was created for war.” I wonder if he feels the same way about the 1.4 million-man army under President Bush’s command.
Finally, in understanding why Chavez and other Latin American leaders who don’t toe the U.S. line might be concerned about a U.S. regime-change attack, General Craddock might simply note the title of his command — “commander of U.S. military activities in Latin America.”
Monday, October 2, 2006
Isn’t it ironic that Washington, D.C., politicians and journalists have gone into an uproar over improper sexual advances by Republican Congressman Mark Foley toward congressional pages when, at about the same time, such outraged congressmen were enacting legislation that not only gave U.S. officials immunity for torture and sex abuse committed against people in the past but also, by canceling habeas corpus, effectively gave such officials carte blanch to continue torturing and sexually abusing people in the future?
But maybe there’s hope for neocons. At least they’re not (yet) pooh-poohing Congressman Foley’s sexual misconduct as akin to a fraternity prank, as they did in response to the weird sex acts committed by U.S. personnel at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib.
As you witness the Foley uproar, keep in mind that the reason that Republicans and Democrats say we need ballot-access restrictions (i.e., onerous petitioning requirements and campaign-contribution limits) is not to keep out competition from third parties and independent candidates but rather to ensure that only ethical and responsible congressmen are sent to Washington.