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Bush: “Shadow of a nuclear holocaust” unless action against Iran

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Yesterday I wrote this: Politicians who exaggerate to frighten us toward war—or who demonize enemies to make killing them seem unavoidable—should be relentlessly discredited for doing so. I didn’t expect to have to live up to it quite so soon; but today I came across these words in the Utne WebWatch from an article of Glen Greenwald in Salon:

Last Tuesday President Bush said that Americans would be caught “under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust,” if the United States hesitates on Iran. (Recall then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice’s September 2002 warning: “We don’t what the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.”).

To paraphrase: “Booga Booga.” Do what I tell you or the world gets it.

Problem is, we heard this talk in 2002. And it was dead wrong.

This time, as then, the IAEA sees no evidence suggesting development of a nuclear weapon. In fact, the IAEA is pleased with Iran’s cooperation. So we get the same argument we got last time: We must act before danger is imminent—before we find the smoking gun. In other words, when we have no evidence. They might want to do something to us someday; let’s whack ’em.

To frighten us into war, the President conjures mushroom clouds where none could rise (as did Secretary Rice in 2002). If he says it often enough, people will believe it (remember how many came to believe his oft-chanted mantra linking Iraq and 9/11?) and resistance to war will be shouted down, even though the threat is as contrived as the last one.

It is jingoism—war-mongering of the shabbiest sort.

Will Congress have the courage to stop him this time? Will AIPAC flex its muscles and keep them quiet? Or will Congress neglect its role again, letting him kill off a few thousand more Americans and another million foreign nationals, then whine about being misled? If I had known then what I know now … You should have known, Senator—it’s your job. Don’t fail us again.

If you’re reading this in the USA, I urge you to email your Senators and Representative, and ask them to take definite action to prohibit war on Iran. Links to the House and Senate are on my right sidebar. Go for it. Reject fear.

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Written by Monte

September 6, 2007 at 6:26 pm

What Merle Haggard understands about world affairs

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Remember Merle Haggard? If you’ve been around long enough to remember the Vietnam war—regardless where you came down on it—you remember Okie from Muskogee. I remember the chorus as “When you’re runnin’ down my country, boy, you’re walkin’ on the fightin’ side o’ me.”

Haggard, it turns out, is having second thoughts about the Right. Enjoyable writing by Joe Klein at Time documents the journey:

Merle Haggard“I supported George W. I’m not exactly a liberal. But I know how that Texas thing works, who those oil folks are and what they wanted in Iraq… I’m a born-again Christian too, but the longer I live, the more afraid I get of some of these religious groups that have so much influence on the Republicans and want to tell us how to live our lives.”

But Haggard’s greatest complaint is a matter of pride—and pride, in his hardscrabble past and his country, has always been his favorite song. “The thing that gets under my skin most about George W. is his intention to install fear in people,” Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

October 13, 2007 at 1:04 pm

Scandalous, barrier-scorning love (sermon of May 6, 07)

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Fifth Sunday of Easter: May 6, 2007
John 13:31-35, Revelation 21:1-6, Acts 11:1-18, Psalm 148

– hand out a sheet of 8.5 X 11 paper to each person (from the recycle bin);
– tape used flipchart sheets over windows (white-side facing us);
– set an empty chair on the platform and conceal it with a sheet of flipchart paper hanging in front of it

Music: Indescribable, Light the Fire, Bind Us Together, The Servant Song, I Am Loved

Prayer – Pastor Sharon Armstrong
Welcome – Evie Richardson

John 13:31-35: A New Command

31-32When he had left, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is seen for who he is, and God seen for who he is in him. The moment God is seen in him, God’s glory will be on display. In glorifying him, he himself is glorified—glory all around! 33″Children, I am with you for only a short time longer. You are going to look high and low for me. But just as I told the [other] Jews, I’m telling you: ‘Where I go, you are not able to come.’

34-35″Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.”

We’re on the eve before the cross. This last talk of Jesus to his disciples started back at the chapter’s beginning – and the topic was the same: “having loved his own … he loved them to the end.” And he strips off his clothing … Read the rest of this entry »

Still no evidence against Iran; US public resisting war

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Cole Juan with captionUniversity of Michigan Middle East expert Juan Cole revealed the elephant in the room during an important interview on DemocracyNow! yesterday. While President Bush has convinced a majority of Americans that Iran seeks a nuclear weapon and is killing US soldiers, the objective truth is:

JUAN COLE: Neither thing is actually in evidence. …

AMY GOODMAN: And the fact that there are more Saudi fighters in Iraq than Iranian, but that is almost never raised, either in the press or by the administration?

JUAN COLE: To my knowledge, the United States has never captured any Iranian with arms. There were 136 foreign detainees, the last we knew. There are 24,000 Iraqi ones. And the 136 contain no Iranians at all. 45% of them, earlier in the summer, were Saudis. I think that proportion has changed, but it’s such a small number. But, in any case, there is no proof of any actual Iranian military activity inside Iraq whatsoever. …

But isn’t Ahmadinejad an obvious threat?

AMY GOODMAN: What about Ahmadinejad’s power in Iran?

JUAN COLE: Well, Ahmadinejad is a ceremonial president. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

October 24, 2007 at 2:35 pm

Posted in Iran, Iraq, Islam, Politics, Terrorism

A brief history of Iran-US relations, part 2: Ahmedinejad, nukes, and weapons

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Cole Juan with captionOn February 27, my wife Lori and I were privileged to hear Juan Cole, the University of Michigan’s distinguished expert on Middle Eastern affairs, at a luncheon of the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council. It occured to me that notes from Prof. Cole’s brief lecture, with a few supporting resources, could provide a valuable structure for understanding the back-stories that make today’s crises add up.

Part 1 of this thread sketched Prof. Cole’s list of the foundational events of Iran-US relations during the 20th century. This post offers my notes from the remainder of the lecture, and Part 3 suggests an exit strategy from neighboring Iraq.

Quotation marks indicate quotes of Prof. Cole. Other comments contain links that serve as citations.

By all means, check out Prof. Cole’s Informed Comment: Thoughts on the Middle East, History, and Religion for scholarly reflection on news events as they happen.

* * *

2005: REFORMERS APPEAR IMPOTENT – HARDLINERS SURGE. As it became apparent that the reform movement was unable to make sweeping change (partly due to persistent resistance from the US), Iranians began to see it as impotent. [In a comment, (see below), a knowledgeable friend points out that the US President’s inclusion of Iran in his axis of evil comments – during a time of reform – unwittingly contributed to the downfall of the reform movement.] Hardliners closed it down, setting the stage for a resurgence of control by religious conservatives.

2005: AHMEDINEJAD ELECTED PRESIDENT. … A populist “dressed as a janitor,”… Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

March 12, 2007 at 11:58 pm

Posted in Iran, Islam, Politics, Terrorism