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Iran, the weapons, and how America gets into wars

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So what’s up with these weapons they’re telling us about? Supposedly, they’re turning up in Iraq, and causing Americans casualties.

Before launching the B-1’s, let’s insist there are good answers to important questions. For, at the moment, the answers are much worse than the original news suggested:

1. How big an issue are these Iran-made weapons?

SIGNIFICANT: “Iran is a significant contributor to attacks on coalition forces.” – Sunday, 2-11-07, US briefing. Boston Globe, 2-14- 07

OR, NO MATERIAL EFFECT: “It seems to be a relatively small segment of anti-US activity. Even if this activity were to completely stop, that would not materially affect the threat to US troops.” Kenneth Katzman, Middle East analyst, Congressional Research Service (the research arm of Congress) – Boston Globe, 2-14-07

2. Are smugglers taking them to Iraq, or is this an Iranian government action against American troops? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

February 19, 2007 at 4:17 pm

Posted in Iran, Politics, Terrorism

To the Person Sitting in Darkness

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Mark Twain – To the Person Sitting in Darkness
Servant at Ressentiment tipped me off to this haunting modern rendering of words of Mark Twain from the time of the Spanish-American war by Italian poets/filmmakers at Nuovoviautori.
Servant has here a link to the text as originally written in the New York Times of 1901 (and the NYT’s response), with more explanatory details.

Related posts: Power corrupts: Here’s its antidote
A brief history of Iran-US relations, part 1: Constitution to Khatami
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Written by Monte

May 26, 2007 at 12:09 pm

Power corrupts – here’s its antidote (sermon of May 20)

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Seventh Sunday of Easter; May 20, 2007
Acts 16:16-34 Psalm 97 Rev. 22:12-14, 16-17, 20-21 John 17:20-26
Music: Lord, I Lift Your Name On High; Rejoice, the Lord Is King; Crown Him with Many Crowns; Above All

Paul and Silas are still in Philippi, when things get serious:

Acts 16:16-34
Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. 17This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” 18She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.

19When the owners of the slave girl realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities.

Why? Rich guys lost an income source. … Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

May 21, 2007 at 6:17 pm

Republican Ron Paul does his job

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Think how America begins its wars:

Click for larger viewIn the Spanish-American War, the battleship Maine blew up in Havana. We now know the explosion was an accident, but spectacular news coverage convinced Americans that the Spanish were to blame, and politicians found the excuse they sought to pursue economic dominance of Cuba and the Philippines. 200,000 Filipinos would perish.

Think of the outbreak of WWI: the sinking of the British liner Lusitania. Told it was a German atrocity committed against an innocent British passenger vessel, Americans would yield to Presidential war aspirations. We now know it was ladel with tons of munitions: both British and American governments lied.

USS Maddox - click for larger viewThink of Vietnam: Then-Secretary of State McNamara announced: “While on routine patrol in international waters, the U.S. destroyer Maddox underwent an unprovoked attack.” Now we know the Maddox was on an electronic spy mission in Vietnamese territorial waters (the Gulf of Tonkin) and the CIA was attacking coastal facilities. An outraged but deceived American congress granted President Johnson unlimited war powers.

Think of Iraq: Neocons argued for regime change through the ’90s, but lamented the absence of a “Pearl Harbor-type incident” justifying invasion. Then came 9/11. By January, the President had linked 9/11 to Iraq, and told us Iraq was buying nuclear material and manufacturing chemical and biological weapons. In fear and offended patriotism, Congress bowed, war began. Now we know – perhaps a million deaths later – the evidence was inexcusably weak.

What’s outrageous here is not that the evidence wasn’t really there. It’s that the evidence wasn’t there again, and Congress lacked the wisdom to recognize the old pattern and stop it.

Rep. Ron Paul (remarkably, a Republican from Texas) sees the old pattern developing again. Bravely, he speaks before Congress about the inexorable march toward war against Iran, part of which is captured in this 2 minute clip.

Ron Paul – Gulf of Tonkin

This is what Congress is supposed to do.
Let’s pray they do it.

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Written by Monte

January 23, 2007 at 12:36 pm

Posted in Iraq, Politics

A tale for every American

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Mark TwainKurt Vonnegut“I have seen that we do not intend to free, but to subjugate… We have gone there to conquer, not to redeem. It should, it seems to me, be our pleasure and duty to … let them deal with their own domestic questions in their own way; and so I am an anti-imperialist. I am opposed to having the eagle put its talons on any other land.”

Sound like today’s news? In fact, it is Mark Twain, writing in 1906.

DemocracyNow, in honor of the passing of author Kurt Vonnegut, recently played a recording of Vonnegut reading Twain’s response to President Theodore Roosevelt’s congratulations to the commanding general over the 1906 massacre in the Philippines. Twain is quoted in Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove’s Voices of a People’s History of the United States.

I wish every American knew the story. We consent with such naiveté when government begs to go to war. Vulnerable through ignorance, we are charmed into faith in a national goodness, then shocked when horror and folly result.

This incident burst upon the world last Friday… Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

April 13, 2007 at 1:07 pm