"If you want to try to wait until the very last minute, you'd better be very confident of your intelligence
because if you're not, you won't know when the last minute is," Perle told Reuters on the sidelines of an annual
security conference in Munich.
"And so, ironically, one of the lessons of the inadequate intelligence of Iraq is you'd better be careful how long
you choose to wait."
Shorter Perle: "trust us because we lied to you on Iraq".
"The Iranian regime is today the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism," Rumsfeld told an annual security
conference in Munich where talk of Iran's nuclear programme was at the top of the agenda.
"The world does not want, and must work together to prevent, a nuclear Iran," he said.
Rumsfeld said that the world needed to prepare itself for a long fight against Islamic terrorists who he said
wanted to set up a global Islamic empire.
"They have designed and distributed a map where national borders are erased and replaced by a global extremist
Islamic empire," he said. "As during the Cold War, the struggle ahead promises to be a long war."
Washington and its allies were doing everything possible to ensure that terrorists did not get hold of weapons
of mass destruction, which he described as a nightmare scenario.
"The world would change overnight if a handful of terrorists managed to obtain and launch a chemical, biological,
or radiological weapon," he said.
Unmentioned in the report is the question why anybody should take anything Rumsfeld says seriously. Note the
scaremongering about supposed terrorist goals, as well as the re-appearance of old Iraq war lies about terrorists
gaining access to WMD.
WASHINGTON, Feb 9 (IPS) - The escalating crisis over Iran's nuclear programme appears to have persuaded the U.S.
public that Tehran now poses a greater threat to the United States than any other country, or even al Qaeda,
according to recent surveys.
And even though the public remains worried and unhappy about the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq, a significant
percentage has already begun thinking of eventual military action against Iran.
"Americans are telling us that they would prefer we pack our bags and leave Iraq now, and yet they appear ready to
do some damage to Iran if it proceeds with its nuclear programme," said John Zogby, president of the polling firm,
Zogby International, which released a survey last week in which nearly half of the respondents (47 percent) said
they favoured military action, preferably along with European allies, to halt Iran's nuclear programme.
In that respect, the Pew poll results were perhaps the most striking. Over the last 15 years, an average of only
about six percent of respondents rated Iran as the "greatest danger" to the United States. In October, the same month
that Ahmadinejad threatened Israel for the first time, that grew to nine percent, still far below Iraq (18 percent),
China (16 percent), and North Korea (13 percent).
But the latest survey found that the percentage had tripled to 27 percent compared to China (20 percent), Iraq
(17 percent), North Korea (11 percent), and al Qaeda/terrorists (four percent).
Moreover, two-thirds of respondents listed Iran's nuclear programme, which U.S. intelligence agencies believe is
still a decade away from developing an actual weapon, as a "major threat" -- compared to 60 percent who described
North Korea's nuclear programme that way, despite the fact that Pyongyang is believed to have built as many as a dozen
bombs. Pew director Andrew Kohout, however, noted that 55 percent of respondents in the October poll said they
believed that Iran already possessed nuclear weapons.
It seems the Big Lie is still operative. In general, people do believe what they see on the news and read
in the papers. If a lie is repeated enough, treated serious by the newsreaders and opinion makers, it will be believed,
even by people who know that they were lied to about Iraq too. This is why it is so important to have a truly independent,
objective press and why the Republican movement has put so much energy in controlling the press.
What is to be done?
In my opinion the anti-war movement must keep hammering on two things: 1) Bush lied before and is lying again and 2)
Iran is not our enemy; America does not need to be the world's cop. We need to keep saying that there's no reason to
attack Iran and not be distracted by all sort of hypothetical scenarios. This is not a time to be "reasonable".
I think she seriously mistakes my mission. I'm not trying to engage, convince, or convert anybody.
I figure I'm talking to adults and if they're vacant enough to be swayed politically by a fucking
blogger, they're probably not bright enough to get my jokes.
Meanwhile Chris Clarke is making
fun of The Lileks, officially voted the Whitest Guy in America three years running. Problem is, it is
hard to due it and not look like you're making fun of special needs children:
I am no good with major appliance repair, which makes me a sorry specimen of a man compared to Dear
Old Dad. I have some skills. Show me an infinitive, and I can split it. But modern society has divorced
me from the tool belt that is my birthright.
Furnace works now, because the guys found and removed an old hunting jacket that for some reason had been
wadded up in the cold air return since we bought the place. It looks to be about 60 years old, and so
as soon as I get the scanning done you'll have the additions to the Gallery of Hilarious Vintage
Clothing Care Instruction Tags you've been clamoring for.
You can read the whole thing, but he overeggs the pudding a bit from there on...
Speaking of the Olympics (and congrats to Shaun White for winning the half pipe snowboarding (he deserved
it) and Holland's own Ireen Wust for winning the women 3000 metres speed skating --both 19 year old and winning
at their first Olympics; amazing), Left I on the News noticed, like me, that the opening ceremony was
a bit of a liberal love
Meanwhile, back at NBC, I got the impression that anchor Brian Williams had been parachuted into town to
make sure reasonably progressive host Bob Costas didn't say anything unacceptable. As delegations marched
in, Williams didn't miss a chance to remind viewers of which countries were providing troops in the "war
on terror," as if that had the slightest relevance to what was going on. When Sarandon appeared on screen,
he mentioned that she was an "activist," but curiously omitted her connection to the war as a
well-known opponent and someone who has spoken at many antiwar rallies.
Remember those American bloggers coming
over to Amsterdam on behalf of our lovely tourist board? Well, keep Saturday the 18th free, as we
may have something interesting planned that day, if everything works out. Fingers crossed...
The point about the protest that I would like most forcefully to impart to you was that it did
not chiefly concern itself simply with caricatures. That was the incident, the moment, which
pulled a whole range of issues into focus. Example upon example of anti-Muslim hysteria and racism
could be cited, and indeed was cited. Almost all the speakers understood that this was not an
isolated issue - rather, it was the straw that broke the camel's back, one too many provocations
in a background of increasing anti-Muslim violence across Europe, and aggressive foreign policies
against Muslim countries. The other thing is that it showed that the issues around this are not simply
being 'manipulated' by a tiny fringe of extremists
There is widespread anger at the Islamophobia that this incident instantiates: as several people
pointed out, a number of these cartoons mimic in their structure and references the antisemitic cartoons
that were used in Nazi Germany as a prelude to the judeocide. There is also anger at what is perceived
(rightly in my view) to be an attempt to manufacture a 'clash of civilisations', to provoke Muslims and
to generate a backlash.
In a surprise move, the General Synod voted to back a call from the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem
and the Middle East for "morally responsible investment in the Palestinian occupied territories".
In particular, the Synod backed the Jerusalem church's call for the Church Commissioners to
disinvest from "companies profiting from the illegal occupation", such as Caterpillar Inc. Caterpillar,
a US company, manufactures bulldozers used in clearance projects in the occupied territories, and
also used by Palestinians in their own rebuilding work.
The motion was passed overwhelmingly, in spite of strong lobbying from leading members of Britain's
Jewish community, concerned that Israel's right to protect itself from suicide bombers and other
Palestinian terror attacks should not be compromised. No time was made to debate an amending motion
put forward by Anglicans for Israel, the new and influential pro-Israel lobby group.
Typical of the press reaction to this news, nothing is actually said about the reasons for disinvestment,
but plenty of attention is paid to the bogus arguments of professional bigots and alarmists like
Anglicans for Israel.
This essay by one Dale Reich
(warning: annoying registration needed) is emblemic of a certain type of "Christian", those that have
a moral and emotional hole at the core of their being and filled it with God.
A few days ago, I took off my religious beliefs and locked them in a closet.
Then, in a further act of mental gymnastics, I put on the robes of disbelief. I wanted to see
how I looked and felt without my lifelong commitment to Christianity.
It was pretty chilling. I didn't like the emptiness, the disconnectedness, the lack of direction
and the prospect of it all ending when I die.
It wasn't long before I reached back in that closet. I had gotten religion, so to speak, and I was
glad to be back under the umbrella of my faith.
One of my friends told me the other night that he had stopped to help a stranded motorist.
"Why would you do that?" I asked.
"Because it was the right thing to do. She needed help."
"But," I protested, "that doesn't make any sense. You wasted your time and efforts on a complete
stranger, and for what? You got nothing out of it. You should have kept right on driving."
He gave me a puzzled look.
What I meant to say is that God is the basis for good and evil, and once you reject him and his rules,
you're left with nothing but self-serving and self-preservation. In short, you're left with being your
See what I mean? Without his faith, he has no direction, no sense of purpose to his life. Without his
faith, he has no sense of morality, no sense of right or wrong. He cannot think for himself, cannot handle
freedom but needs somebody to tell him what to do with his life. This is not a complete human being, this
is a simulacrum, a golem; take the word of God away and his spirit collapses.
But he's not just an incomplete human being, his essay also shows he is not a good Christian: his belief is
not a source of strength, but a crutch that kept him from growing, warped his spirit like bonsai growers
warp their subjects. I hope this essay was a sign of change, the start of long overdue project of personal
Between the Danish government and Islamist politicians, between Jyllands-Posten and the mobs in
Beirut, between Laban and Khader, the moderate Muslim has again been effectively silenced. She has
been forced to take this side or that; forced to stay home and let others crusade for a cause dear
to her - freedom - and a cultural heritage essential to her: Islam. On TV she sees the bearded mobs
rampage and the clean-shaven white men preach. In the clash of civilisations that is being rigorously
manufactured, she is in between. And she can feel it getting tighter. She can feel the squeeze. But,
of course, she cannot shout. She cannot scream. Come to think of it, can she really express herself at
The larger lesson is that this manufactured imbroglio is a male construct on both sides, and panders
to the male need to posture and strut, hence the need to shut up any woman who dares to point that out,
and it's not women's voices we're hearing.
She also asked why the police did not arrest those protestors in London who incited violence:
At the same time I'm firmly of the opinion that those protestors who are inciting violence, calling
for the beheading of newspaper editors or violent jihad against Denmark, should be arrested and charged
with public order offences - as certainly should have happened yesterday in London, but didn't. I've been
on enough protests to know that the police clamp down on any sign of incipient or threatened violence,
even if it's only in their own imaginations (remember May Day?). So why didn't they yesterday? That small
number, around 250, protestors were organised extremists who have built this campaign for months, rumoured
to be, accordingly to various sources, either Hizb ut Tahrir and/or al-Muhajiroun.
Either the police were scared to make arrests, which is ridiculous ; they were politically pressured not
to, which is shameful ( and likely) ; or they missed the tensions building, which is plain incompetent.
The signs were there for those with eyes to see : even on the tv reports yesterday you could see the placards
had been mass-produced. That demo was planned, as have been the embassy invasions in Damascus and Beirut.
In 1983 Jean-Paul Brodeur, a Canadian criminologist, published an essay called "High Policing and
Low Policing: Remarks About the Policing of Political Activities". Brodeur defined 'low policing' as
the unending and mundane job of maintaining social order and responding to breaches of the criminal
law. 'High policing', by contrast, is policing with an agenda and a long-term perspective: the use of
police methods and resources to achieve coherent political ends. Such as, for instance, clamping down
on political protest.
Low policing says: "I don't care who you are or what you're protesting about, stop that and move along."
High policing says: "You lot can have your fun, we'll reel you in when it suits us."
Certainly the demo in London provided Charles the Safety Elephant with a new excuse to
big up his beloved anti-terror
laws. Neat how that works. Also nice how we get all these horrible images of dangerous Muslims on our
screens again just as the US is gearing up for war against Iran.
So now embassies are burning and (while mainstream islamic leaders condemn the riots) there is lovely
juicy footage of islamic mob violence on every station and in every newspaper just as the effort to
escalate against Iran ramps up.
Yes, this makes for a nice distraction for all sorts of people. Fuinny how the worst protests against these
cartoons have been in countries like Syria, Iran and Somalia, all countries in which the governments could use
a nice distracting game of "kill the infidel".
Not to go on about the cartoons again, but I think it's just worth mentioning that - of course - the
reaction of leaders of Arab states to this event is totally cynical and hypocritical. They, and the more
pliable elements of the ulama that they employ (particularly at Al-Azhar) didn't make half as much noise
about the invasion of Iraq as it was happening. And it is ironic that this much pressure has been applied,
that the Saudi government went so far as to threaten a boycott on Danish dairy produce and yield a
threatening reaction from Peter Mandelson, just as the leading Gulf states are totally capitulating to
the US/European agenda on Iran.
Another aspect of why these cartoons were repulsive and actively dangerous is again provided by
They knew that this would be seen as an act of extreme provocation, one which could get
people killed. Is that right? Or fair? Of course not.
But the world isn't fair.
This is the kind of thing which legitamizes radical clerics and their sense of isolation from
wider European society. They can say Europeans not only don't want you in their country, they
disrespect the Prophet.
So instead of saying "yes, we knew we would offend muslims and we don't care". they hide behind
freedom of speech and act astonished that muslims were deeply offended. They act as if muslims
getting offended is their problem, as in "we insulted you, so what?".
Well, you can feel that way, but you better understand there are consequences for your actions.
We can start with Danish troops abroad, in the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan. Their lives just got a
whole lot riskier for some shitty cartoons. Then there are the NGO workers. SOL for them as well.
The Islamophobes and racists meanwhile are having a field day. As Gary Younge puts it in the
As a result they are vilified twice: once through the cartoon, and again for exercising their democratic
right to protest. The inflammatory response to their protest reminds me of the quote from Steve Biko,
the South African black nationalist: "Not only are whites kicking us; they are telling us how to react
to being kicked."
There is always, at the last scrape of the barrel, the suggestion available that Muslims are merely
being manipulated and stirred up by a would-be religious hierarchy, an oppressive caste of clerics and so
forth. This unimpressive and child-like perception of the situation, for from positing a postcolonial
hybridisation of Islam, involves reducing Muslims to no more than a passive substrate on which Evil Doers
can operate. It reminds me of a White Van Man lament on the BBC's late (and much lamented) Kilroy show,
in which a complacent lower-middle-class man wondered why in the wake of the Oldham riots, if it was just
a few Muslims spoiling it for the rest of them, did we not simply lock up and deport the ones that are
riling up all the others. And, of course, it totally neglects (or more accurately represses knowledge of)
the fact that we are dealing with 100% proof racism, and the response to it.
It's the microwave theory of political violence, the thought that "Muslim leaders" can turn these riots
on and off with the press of a button. In reality of course these things do not happen without genuine
feelings of anger and disgust being present. These images were deeply insulting to a lot of Muslims not
necessarily even because of the depiction of the Prophet (Islam has a long pictorial tradition
shows), but because these images showed him as a terrorist, an evil menacing figure representing Islam
in a manner evoking old anti-semitic stereotypes. They should never have been published.
Even if this reaction had not takken place, the fact that these cartoons were published in the first place
speaks volumes about the place of Muslioms in Denmark. Clearly the newspaper itself, which had earlier
rejected similar cartoons about
Jesus, did not see Muslims as part if its audience. In general, it looked to me as if Muslims in Denmark
are a subject of debate rather than participants, as they have been for the most part here in the
Netherlands. These were not cartoons aimed at Muslims themselves or they would've used other imagery; it was
aimed at "native" Danes over their heads. In other words, it did not matter that they caused offense amongst
Muslims as these were not a legitmate part of the discussion anyway; they could be ignored.
The boycott and subsequent riots, not to mention the attacks on Danish embassies and Norwegian bases proved how
wrong, how arrogant that assumption was.
UPDATE: couldn't stop myself from adding the following consideration, from
Is there another hatred that might be called 'the liberalism of fools'? The progressivism of fools?
The libertarianism of fools? If anti-semitism is, in an important aspect, a rage against the machine,
against progress, is there an opposite rage: a rage against reaction, a fury at the recalcitrance of
the concrete and the stubbornness of tradition? A rage against what is sacred and refuses to be profaned,
against what is solid and doesn't melt into air, against ways of life that resist commodification,
against use-value that refuses to become exchange- value? And might that rage too need a fantasy object?
There are two distinct accounts of how the LM6000s wound up at Quds. The power-generation
engineer no longer in Iraq says that they were purchased partly as a result of a misunderstanding.
The buyers had bought them thinking that their dual-fuel classification meant they could be
powered by crude oil and natural gas. (In fact, it meant they could be fired by highly pure
diesel fuel or natural gas.) When the bids were made, in September of 2003, "no one understood
that the LMs can't run off crude," the engineer says.
However, representatives of General Electric Co. and the PCO strongly deny this account. They
say that the PCO bought the turbines intending to fuel them with a "distillate" derived from
the crude oil pumped at the East Baghdad facility across the street. They were stymied, they
say, when it turned out that East Baghdad couldn't pump crude fast enough to give them distillate
in sufficient quantities to run the LM6000s.