28 July, 2007

Jews Not-necessarily For Jesus (Or Endless Occupation, For That Matter)

I wanted to quickly quote this letter from the comments on a Glenn Greenwald post from earlier this week:

I am a Jew who has had the opportunity to live and work in Israel.

God, I hope that the people who read Lieberman's garbage do not think it represents the thinking of any but the most minute fringe in Israel.

I never met anybody in Israel who believed this sort of junk.

Lieberman is a sick, perverted man with no sense of honor or decency. When he says things like this, he speaks neither for the Israeli government nor for the Israeli people.

The letter is in response to a post by Greenwald in which Greenwald dissects the strange bedfellows of AIPAC activist and cheerleader Joe Leiberman (I-CT) and frothing-at-the-mouth Rapture lunatic Reverend Hagee.

I commented on this earlier this week in the LJ Atheist Community here: http://community.livejournal.com/atheist/1445891.html.

My point being, I know that not all Israelis are evil Zionists, rabid Likudniks and in fact most of them are reasonable, moderate people living in one of a very few Social Democracies in the Middle East (ironically, Iran is much more democratic than our allies Saudi Arabia or Egypt). But American politicians like Leiberman play to the worst extremes of pro-Zionist politics, and Israel gets a bad rep as a result (and reactionary pundits will go after politicians like Senator Obama, who are a voice for moderation when they address the very real plight of the Palestinian people; right-wing Israeli politics are endemic and ubiquitous among the Beltway elite).

What is it about our system of government, and our media, that give the biggest audiences the loudest and most extreme veiwpoints?

From Tehran With Love: Our Pre-Iraq Intel Foibles

Here is an edifying bit on Ahmed Chalabi, the Iraqi National Congress' now thoroughly shamed (but illogically non-imprisoned) neocon go-to guy for pre-war dirty work.
In 1996, the CIA was trying to organize a serious attempt to overthrow Saddam using the INA, headed by a former Saddam hit man, Iyad Allawi who had broken with Saddam and walked in to work for MI-6 in the late 1970s. The Brits eventually brought him to the CIA in 1992. Allawi had assets inside Saddam's military but Chalabi betrayed the coup out of jealousy. The INA was the preferred CIA instrument, its intelligence was being checked out by technical means, and its success would have meant the end of Chalabi's funding.
In any case, Chalabi got caught fabricating information and the CIA cut him off. He merely went to the Pentagon and the checks kept coming because his fabricated intelligence on Iraq's WMD was so essential to selling the war, this from a man who had already failed four CIA polygraphs so that the agency had issued a "burn" notice on him by the late 1990s.
In 2004, Chalabi betrayed to Iran the fact the NSA was listening to mail belonging to Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS). Milt Bearden called me in real distress the day the Iranian channel went off the air.
But Chalabi's real goal was to get rid of the Baathists in Iraq, and get rid of the army. In spite of promises we had made to senior Iraqi military, some of whom facilitated our entry into Iraq in 2003, Bremer, Wolfowitz and Chalabi broke all those promises and the Iraqis joined the insurgency.
In fact, so famous is the burning of Chalabi in US intel circles, the very term "burn notice" has entered our common cultural lexicon and is the name of a USA Network action-comedy. Wikipedia even has an entry for burn notice and Chalabi is prominent amoung the examples.

The main difference, as Richard Sale points out above, is that after being "burned", top administration officials continued to parade Chalabi out in front of Congress, the UN and on ther Sunday pundit circuit in their coordinated efforts to sell, continue to justify and obfuscate the realities of the Iraq war. Verily, it is possible that there are those in the United States who still consider him an asset, even if clearly Chalabi is at best a war profiteer and a scumbag and at worst a spy for Iran (likely, all of the above).

We (They) Are Fighting Them Over There

On this week's Bill Moyers Journal, a montage of young, college aged Republicans show each of them, in lockstep, answering the question of why we are fighting in Iraq with the Party Line of "We Are Fighting Them Over There So We Won't Be Fighting Them Over Here."

Nevermind "they" being al Qaeda represents a small minority of the armed insurgents "we" are fighting in Iraq, who is "we" anyway?

Well, "we" is not the hawkish youngsters polled by the reporter in the segment: each young adult who had said they favored our continued presence in Iraq, one by one, listed off excuse after excuse as to why they were not serving in Iraq. Only one claimed to have a medical issue, the rest were fit, coiffed, healthy men and women, ages from 19 to 25.

Perhaps they were afraid that their hair would get ruffled.