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Ben Gurion: We are the aggressors

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David Ben Gurion I posted the following quote (which I found at the excellent Ressentiment) on Clipmarks and today it became the #9 most popular clip of the day on the Clipmarks network. Meanwhile, the post A brief history of Iran-US relations, Part 1: Constitution to Khatami—mostly a summary of an Iowa City Foreign Relations Council speech by Middle East scholar Juan Cole—is the all-time most popular post on this blog.


I find it surprising and gratifying to discover that people really are hungry to understand the background of current conflict; the truth, after all, still sets us free.

Here’s the quote that started me thinking about this. It’s an astonishing but obvious admission rarely spoken aloud in American politics today (the charge of anti-Semitism being often misused to hush debate). Yet it comes from the pioneer Zionist and first Prime Minister of Israel, David Ben Gurion (scarcely an anti-Semite!):

clipped from

Let us not ignore the truth among ourselves … politically we are the aggressors and they defend themselves…. The country is theirs, because they inhabit it, whereas we want to come here and settle down, and in their view we want to take away from them their country. – David Ben Gurion

  blog it

Ah, if we would all so speak the truth.

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Written by Monte

October 10, 2007 at 8:08 pm

Posted in Iran, Israel, Politics, Terrorism

Will terrorists get us? Of course not.

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“If we don’t fight them there, we’ll fight them here.” You’ve heard it.

But just how dangerous is terrorism? Consider comparisons from the San Franciso Chronicle:

… the historical odds that an American will die this way [from a terrorist act] are 1 in 9.3 million. You’re slightly more likely to die in an avalanche, more than twice as likely to perish in a bus accident, 40 times as likely to drown.

Put it another way: For every American killed by a terrorist, 2,427 die of skin cancer, 4,893 expire in car accidents, 9,735 are shot to death by nonterrorists and — you might want to stub out your cigarette before reading this — 30,666 are claimed by heart disease and another 18,074 by cancer.

That’s for one person killed by a terrorist. In “bang for the buck” terms, the war on terror is a bust. Millions more American lives could be saved by declaring “war” on murder. Or improving highway safety. Or dropping subsidies on tobacco. Or finding a cure for cancer.

So much for the “clash of civilizations.” War, friends, is dumb.

Related posts: Most-decorated US Marine on war
A brief history of Iran-US relations, part 1: Constitution to Khatami
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Written by Monte

August 6, 2007 at 1:00 pm

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

CIA returns to Iran: Here we go again

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The CIA has returned to the scene of the crime. It was Tehran, 1953, where the CIA first toppled a democratically elected government (See Wikipedia’s Operation Ajax). Iran’s crime? Wanting 50% of its own oil profits. The revolution that brought religious conservatives into power was made possible by outrage in the Iranian public toward the subsequent corrupt, totalitarian, US-puppet regime.

America should apologize. Instead, according to the ABC News’ Blotter, the US government is back at it:

Bush Authorizes New Covert Action Against Iran

May 22, 2007 6:29 PM

Brian Ross and Richard Esposito Report:

Bush_authorizes_mnThe CIA has received secret presidential approval to mount a covert “black” operation to destabilize the Iranian government, current and former officials in the intelligence community tell the Blotter on

The sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the subject, say President Bush has signed a “nonlethal presidential finding” that puts into motion a CIA plan that reportedly includes a coordinated campaign of propaganda, disinformation and manipulation of Iran’s currency and international financial transactions. […]

Ah, Mr. Bush. Please, not again. Don’t take us lower still.

Iran is changing; religious radicals—always a minority—are losing power. When America gives the Iranian public reasons for mistrust, Iranian radicals surge in popularity. Must we ever repeat our blunders? When will we learn that our aggressiveness is extremism’s life-blood?

Please, Mr. President: recall the CIA.
Please, Congress: require ethical dealing with Iran.
Please, Presidential candidates: offer alternatives. Speak up.

Forced submission means peace delayed. “Black ops” is demonstrably bankrupt.
Lead us to a better way.

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Written by Monte

May 23, 2007 at 6:14 pm

And now, about that Iraqi oil …

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“How come?” one might wonder. “How come so much of the Middle East is poor when so much oil has been sold to the whole world?” Some go on to theorize that Arabs and Persians are simply inept or corrupt. Others lay the blame at the feet of Islam, and suggest that “Christian nations” more fairly distribute wealth.

But the truth is that western nations (read here USA and UK) have succeeded in diverting oil profits from those countries for a hundred years. And it’s about to happen again.

If you read A brief history of Iran-US relations, part 1: Constitution to Khatami, you’ll recall that eighty or ninety percent of Iranian oil profits during the first half of the 20th century ended up in Britain. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

May 22, 2007 at 1:57 pm