James Clay Fuller

Things We're Not Supposed to Say

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Act now to prevent another, greater disaster

The sense of deja vu is appalling.

We've been here before, and from this point about four years ago we were dragged into the disaster that is Iraq. There is every reason to believe the same thing may happen again, but if it does the results will be even worse, bringing enormous harm to the world and damage almost beyond comprehension to this country.

Yes, of course, I mean Iran.

Bush – the collective Bush who is made up in various parts of Rove, Cheney, Rumsfeld and other 1950s-style sci-fi film villains – is strutting the world stage proclaiming that another Mideastern country must do our bidding or suffer horrible military consequences.

On the other hand, of course, he (it) denies any current plans to use bombs. As the New York Times reported April 11, the visible Bush – the one whose mouth operates for the collective -- “ridiculed as 'wild speculation' reports that the United States was preparing a military attack on Iran.”

The statement could be a word-for-word quote from one of the preinvasion denials of plans for Iraq.

But Seymour Hersh, whose reporting before and since the invasion has been the only entirely reliable reporting we've seen on the war and the administration, said in and extensive piece in the New Yorker that, once again, the Bush collective thinks that bombing Iran could lead to a “regime change” that would benefit U.S.-based multi-national corporations – uh, excuse me, the United States. (That was my own identification of the beneficiaries.) Several others also have reported that the Bushies are considering use of “tactical” nuclear weapons.

Britain, of course, is padding along at Bush's heels like a well-trained cocker spaniel, which leads one to wonder, in spare moments, what the hell the Bushies have on Tony Blair and the rest of his limp crowd. Did Tony make it with Margaret Thatcher in the back of a limo in Soho and did the CIA get pictures? The British government's behavior is astonishing if you think about it.

From all that I have read, which is quite a bit, the same three factors that led the Bush into Iraq underlie the present move toward Iran:

First, the serious megalomaniacs in the administration, the true-believing neocons, remain certain that it is our (their) destiny to rule the Middle East and control its oil. Some also believe, actually believe, that gaining control of the region will hasten the return of Christ. (Sorry, but it is a factor here, people. You must realize that. Some people in the White House inner circle are driven by religious visions that make the delusions of Increase and Cotton Mather and the extreme imams of today seem almost rational by comparison.)

Second, the Bush administration was built on the fantasy of “a war-time president” and the belief that voters will submit to anything the administration chooses to do in the name of patriotism and the imperative to "be loyal to our leaders in time of war.” Need to win an election? Create a war. They did it once, they can do it again.

Third, there still is enormous profit to be wrung from the world during a major conflict. The Halliburtons, Parson's Corporations and Bechtels are insatiable and they'll make whatever legal or illegal political contributions are required to keep the armies moving and the bombs falling.

Probably the second factor takes precedence now, but there's no doubt that all are in play.

So here's the horrible fact: The Bush will make its decision on whether to bomb Iraq – with or without nuclear weapons – on the basis of what it thinks is likely to produce the best political outcome for Republicans. People may die by the thousands, lose arms, legs and eyes by the tens of thousands, and billions of dollars will be spent or not depending on whether the Bush crowd thinks such action will help or hurt them in the midterm elections.

The level of the administration's cynicism is so overweening that most people can't believe it despite the mountain of evidence that identifies it.

None of this should come as a surprise, however. The collective Bush is what it is and what it always has been. But what makes an intelligent person's jaw drop now and then is that there are people out there, including the babbling boobs of Fox and a goodly number of simple-minded right-wing columnists, who say that Bush's half-hearted denial of present plans to drop bombs is good enough.

He wouldn't lie to us again, would he?

Makes you want to shake people by the shoulders, or slap their faces to wake them from their stupors.

It is time, I think, to drop all attempts at politeness and let such people have it. When someone cites a Bush denial as good enough, let them know they have just shown themselves to be too naïve or plain stupid to be taken seriously. Sometimes, a little well-aimed contempt can wake people up. Treating their opinions as valuable only encourages continued foolishness.

My “moderate” friends will take offense at that, but it was just such contempt that kept the racists and religious snake handlers under cover and out of power for several decades, until the Bush opened doors for them.

Another thing I have sometimes – though admittedly not often – found useful is to ask Bush-believers how they came to the conclusion that the United States has the right to dictate to the rest of the world how it should live and how it should be governed. Ask seriously for answers, and prod a little:

Does the mere fact that this country is so huge and militarily strong give us the right to order others around? Isn't that more than a little like being a school-yard bully?

Do you think, then, that the rich and powerful should be able to benefit themselves by shoving everybody else around as they please?

Do you think we are a “Christian nation” and that gives us the right to give orders to the heathens? Isn't that contrary to our own Constitution? Are you aware that Christians are and always have been a minority in the world?

What do you know about the culture of, say, Iran or Syria that leads you to believe that country is ripe for American-style democracy? (Or, more accurately, the democracy we had for a couple of hundred years.)

Here's a goody: Given that the Bush has openly declared that it will not interfere with India's development of nuclear weapons, despite the fact that such action is against international agreements, and that America has openly if tacitly long supported Israel's illegitimate buildup of a nuclear arsenal, how does the Bush justify declaring that another country can't do the same?

How would you explain to Iran, which is virtually surrounded now by enemies that possess nuclear weapons, that it should not have the same weapons? How is that different from our building, madly over-building actually, a deterrent nuclear arsenal during the cold war?

If you believe nuclear development really is behind our aggressive behavior toward Iran, why do you think the Bush has slapped aside Iran's offers for bilateral talks on the question?

Here's another good one: Given that virtually every political and academic expert in the world agrees that an attack on Iran would enormously increase the number of terrorists and fuel unprecedented levels of hatred of this country throughout the world, how do you see “homeland security” improved through the action?

Analyst Fred Kaplan, who usually is on the money in calculating such things, said a couple of days ago that use of even one nuclear weapon against Iran, in addition to giving rise to terrorists and rage throughout the Middle East, would mean that any “resulting sequels to 9/11 would be seen, even by our friends, as just deserts.”

During the past few days, expert after expert has told reporters for many publications – the New York Times, Washington Post, even the Star Tribune in Minneapolis – that Iran is at least five years and probably 10 years from being able to put together a nuclear weapon.

People more knowledgeable than those reporters have written in online magazines and blogs that despite the Bush disinformation program, Iran is very far from posing any military or nuclear threat. (See Juan Cole's April 12 piece on http://www.juancole.com and Kaplan's more extensive analysis posted April 10 on http://www.slate.com among others.)

Seriously, here is the crux of it: If you can't do anything else, at least let your politicians know that you will not permit our government to bomb Iran.

Please, write your members of Congress, your senators, your governors and legislators and mayors. Get on line and identify the names of the party chairs in your state (both parties) and write to them. And do it often. Write at least a letter a week from today until the day we are assured that this country is not going to drop bombs on another independent nation. Gather your nerve and call Congressional offices. Contact them whether they stand to the right or the left. Make simple declarations of where you stand and what you want of your political servants; the staffers who take your calls will be polite. When you are finished, say thank you and hang up.

It is imperative that Bush and his collection of madmen see that an attack on Iran will deeply wound them politically. Or, barring that, that members of Congress see it, so that they prevent the Bush from taking actions that would bring real terror upon us.

Act now. We're running out of time.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

No time for making nice with the right

Thanks for the input, folks, but I'm still determined to push for candidates who take what I regard as genuinely liberal or progressive stances. Or maybe it's just courageously sane stances.

I believe we should reject those who test the air and smell the polls before coming down solidly on “maybe” on issues of life-and-death importance.

If you're not solidly for a pullout from Iraq within a reasonable amount of time, unshakably against bombing Iran, firmly for campaign finance reform and universal health care, immovably against our government spying on its citizens and equally firm on other issues that speak to the future of this country, you probably don't get my vote. I might let a pol slide on one issue, but it will be one of the lesser ones and she or he has to be reliable on the others. And I'll do what I can to persuade others to my viewpoint, to reject candidates and office holders whose only core value is to feed at the public trough.

We have to stop going along as the politicians set their directions according to the commands of the money elite.

The Clintons want Hillary to be president and, as Zbigniew Brzezinski said on NPR on April 5, they have determined that the best way to achieve that is to look “tough” on so-called national security issues – to favor war and bombs, in other words. People in Washington keep saying she's the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination.

There is no way in this world I will vote for Clinton, or for other Democrats who adopt her stance and follow her leadership. This country will be better off with another openly crazy right winger at the helm; at least then everyone can identify the villains.

One friend called my stance arrogant. So be it. Isn't anyone who expresses firm opinions in such a forum arrogant in some sense?

The lack of courage and, I think, political smarts among Democrats in failing to stand up to the neocon imperialists and religious snake handlers is the foremost reason the United States looks more and more like an oversized sheikdom, in my estimation.

There's been considerable comment in the Minnesota Peace and Justice newsletter about what “moderate” and “liberal” mean since Dick Bernard opened our discussion to others in that venue. I didn't count them, but a fair number of folks sent notes to Bernard, who runs the newsletter and who wrote responses (article below this one) to my earlier questions and complaints.

Despite all the serious thoughts offered, however, nothing much has changed for me. I did not get specific answers to some important questions, such as how the hopeful moderates intend to compromise with a right wing power elite that will give nothing, will not trade but only take.

I now think it's probably more relevant to talk about “corporatists” -- the apparent majority of members of all political parties who remain in thrall to the leaders of the giant corporations -- than to argue about moderates and centrists, liberals and progressives, but it's a relatively minor matter at this point.

What I believe is that the public can take some control back from the greed-maddened right only if we can elect politicians who stand up and tell the truth about the shape we're in and who's robbing us blind and tearing our country apart. I believe that a majority of Americans are ready to hear the truth and to act on it. I believe more will recognize the truth when (if) they – finally – hear it.

It's not immigrants and “welfare queens” and the almost absent “labor” who are responsible for the fact that a majority of Americans have lost ground economically over the past decade, or that we're now in what looks to become a perpetual state of war. Gays aren't to blame because fewer and fewer people have adequate health care, or that the corporations are stripping employees of their pensions and other benefits. It's not women who have abortions or use birth control who are destroying the planet at a terrifying rate.

We need politicians who will talk openly about the crimes and social disasters and lay the blame where it belongs and flatly refuse to be drawn into campaign-eating arguments about sexuality and official languages and similar distractions.

We need to point out that at this point a vote for any Republican for any office is a vote for continued corruption and war, because the cowed foot sloggers of the party give the leaders the numerical strength that allows them to push us further into the swamps of despair. Votes for Democrats of the Joe Lieberman and Hillary Clinton variety amount to the same thing.

Do you want to live in a democratic America or a semi-fascist -- or perhaps not "semi" -- plutocracy similar to those that squatted over most of Latin America with our help for many years?

Decide soon. Seriously, time is running out.