Monday, April 9, 2007

Dying for a Paradox

Ali Allawi, a former Iraqi finance minister who now advises the Iraqi prime minister, has a new book out called The Occupation of Iraq: Winning the War, Losing the Peace that rips the "incompetent" U.S. occupation. He slams the "monumental ignorance" of those Bush officials and pundits who pushed for the invasion of Iraq in 2002. "More perceptive people," he writes, "knew instinctively that the invasion of Iraq would open up the great fissures in Iraqi society." The book is a stinging indictment. George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Condoleezza Rice, and Colin Powell should read it and weep. But they won't.

Appearing on NPR's Diane Rehm Show today, Allawi, the cousin of Ayad Allawi, the Iraqi prime minister in 2004, made one of the smartest points I've heard about Bush's ongoing surge. First, he sort of justified the current presence of US troops in Iraq:

The current government and the military--the Iraqi security forces--are incapable of controlling the situation, so the presence of US forces is to some extent and essentially a requirement for survivability of the government in the near term, but in the medium term. And by that I mean over the next 12 to 18 months. Maybe over the next two years, some kind of mechanism has to be worked out where by Iraqi control over the security situation is established, otherwise we'll never have a sovereign or even a quasi-sovereign government. So America's military involvement right now is necessary, I believe, in the short term to secure and stabilize parts of the country, but it will not solve the problem of the inability or the incapability of the central government to (a) articulate the national vision and (b) have the necessary security forces to implement, as it were, the popular will.

Then Rehm asked if "the presence of the US forces enabling that government to find a solution or hindering it from doing so?" Allawi offered a sophisticated but troubling answer:

It's a paradox, frankly, because on the one side the presence of the United States and the current surge may allow the present government to extend its control and authority, but at the same time it does not change the fact that certain political forces are now in control of the government and therefore will strengthen these political forces, which may not necessarily work to the advantage of either articulating a national vision or having a kind of unified military and security strategy. So the American military presence and the surge has contradictory objectives--one of them is necessary, but it would lead to a result that is not necessarily welcome.

Talk about nuances. The surge might help the current regime gain control, but the current regime (which Allawi advises) is controlled by forces (I suppose he means fundamentalist Shiites) that are not interested in national reconciliation. So the surge may benefit those who are at odds with US aims in Iraq.

Last week, Bush, while speaking about the Iraq conflict, said. "It's not a civil war; it's pure evil." That's a comic-book depiction--in keeping with Bush's practice of discussing Iraq in the most simplistic of terms. Allawi paints a gray-imbued picture. If he's right, Bush is asking US soldiers to sacrifice lives and limbs not for liberty and security but for a paradox. Certainly, Bush is not sharing this point with the public, and one can wonder if he even understands it.

Posted by David Corn at April 9, 2007 02:34 PM


David B. Benson said...

David Corn --- I am sure he is incapable of understanding it...

capt said...

Donation Page of
Matthew Engeln

Matthew is a friend that is raising money for the AIDS walk in S.F..

A worthy place to spread a little love - if you can.


capt said...

Hail Mary

From page two of three:


"The first time i ever kissed a guy," a gentle, soft-spoken Ave Maria freshman named Mersadis said over her mozzarella sticks, "I thought it was disgusting. And now I don't want another guy to kiss me before marriage." She took a sip of her iced tea, then continued. "In high school, I found myself looking at every girl and asking, 'Has she given up her virginity? Is she still pure?' Here, I've stopped asking. I know everyone is."

Beside me sat a stern and erudite priest-in-training, a freshman named Aaron. "Here at Ave Maria, we follow the teachings of the magisterium," he intoned, meaning that students regard the pope's guidance as infallible. "We have not prostituted ourselves.... Other Catholic schools—and the rest of America—have embraced modernism and the culture of death. They have given wholehearted support to the death penalty, abortion, and euthanasia. The value of the human person is now entirely relative."

Aaron argued that the United States can only be saved from moral perdition if it, like Ave Maria, embraces the magisterium as supreme. "We don't believe in the separation of church and state," he said, "and this country should orient itself toward Christ. The foundation of Western civilization rests on Christendom, which means that America owes its existence to the Catholic Church."

But Catholicism, as Aaron sees it, has been straying ever since the early 1960s, when Pope John XXIII convened the Second Vatican Council of bishops to update and humanize the church. Revising cobwebby doctrine, the council acknowledged that other denominations and religions also offered "sanctification" and "truth." And Vatican II radically altered the standard Mass. Prayers became shorter and simpler—and, as conservatives see it, a lax, unholy relativism gnawed its way into the church's holiest rite. Where once the priest blessed the Eucharist in Latin, with his back to the congregation, he now faces his parishioners and speaks in the local tongue. "The offertory in the new Mass," griped Aaron's friend, an energetic and sandy-haired youth named Mike, "is essentially a Jewish table grace."


*****end of clip*****

You must read the whole piece, no clip could do justice.


capt said...

Patriotism is a religion, the egg from which wars are hatched.": Guy de Maupassant

"Seas of blood have been shed for the sake of patriotism. One would expect the harm and irrationality of patriotism to be self-evident to everyone. But the surprising fact is that cultured and learned [socially conditioned and indoctrinated] people not only do not notice the harm and stupidity of patriotism, they resist every unveiling of it with the greatest obstinacy and passion (with no rational grounds), and continue to praise it as beneficent and elevating." -Leo Tolstoy

"Blind patriotism has been kept intact by rewriting history to provide people with moral consolation and a psychological basis for denial." -William H. Boyer


"Politically speaking, tribal nationalism [patriotism] always insists that its own people are surrounded by 'a world of enemies' - 'one against all' - and that a fundamental ifference exists between this people and all others. It claims its people to be unique, individual, incompatible with all others, and denies theoretically the very possibility of a common mankind long before it is used to destroy the humanity of man." -Hannah Arendt, The Origins Of Totalitarianism p.227


Thanks ICH Newsletter!

David B. Benson said...

Tom Engelhardt writes particularly well today about the arc of instability destabilized by you-know-who...

capt said...


I along with a few others including Benjamin Heine were recently asked to crosspost on a site called Daily Kos. It seemed an honour at the time, a chance to be read by more people on a daily basis. My first post there was not accepted graciously by the readers there, my second post was literally attacked by the zionist elements there. It is not my intention here, on my own blog, nor there to engage in debate with these people. Fine to disagree with what I have to say, but at least read it.

Benjamin posted there yesterday for the first time. He was literally 'tarred and feathered' for what he posted. The images below were presented in his post, one reader had the gall to comment "How could you put a nazi face on a Jew?" To that I answer.... HOW CAN A JEW ACT LIKE A NAZI??


*****end of clip*****

The whole dust-up stinks.


capt said...

From WMR:

This web site has for some time sensed a certain synergism between so-called left-wing web sites (in reality, gatekeepers) like Daily Kos and Democratic Underground and those on the far right like Little Green Footballs and its grandmaster, FreeRepublic. Our attention has been drawn by our friends at to a concerted campaign by DailyKos and the LittleGreenFootball gremlins to censor writer and cartoonist Ben Heine for his cartoons and writings exposing the Nazi racialist ideology of Israeli politician Avigdor Lieberman. We are happy to provide a link to PI's screen captures of DailyKos that triggered the censorship by the "left" and right web sites.

We can sympathize with those who are banned by phony "progressive" web sites like DailyKos and DU. It appears that the same vested interests that call the shots at FreeRepublic and LittleGreenFootballs also do the same with DailyKos and DU. It can assuredly be said that WMR controls its own content and, although we have received demands that certain information be removed, we have often responded to such requests with a hearty "drop dead," whether the requests come from Saudi billionaire sheiks, U.S. defense contractors who torture prisoners, or Israeli right-wing expansionists.

Gerald said...

Let me start by saying that Don Imus should retire.

I would like to say that Vatican II made great strides to move the Catholic Church forward. There are two areas as examples - the Mass is celebrated in the native tongue of the country and annulments to marriages are permitted. There have been marriages that were never marriages for a variety of reasons.

I read the article, "Hail Mary" and it reminded me of my K-12 Catholic schooling. A religious person is acceptable to me because the salvation of our soul is paramount. I have a problem with people who try to convey the impression that they have the answer for everyone on how they should live. I AM A SINNER AND I BELIEVE THAT MOST PEOPLE ARE SINNERS. God is the ultimate judge of our eternal life. We sin through commission and omission. There are people who are religious and they avoid commission sins but they may not avoid omission sins.

Preaching is important but silence on a number of issues may be sinful, very sinful. Should people remain silent on the issue of torture? Should people remain silent on an unjust war? Should people accept Bush right or wrong on many issues?

I do not see that Bush has made our country and our world a better place. I believe that he has worked to create instability among nations and I also believe that he is a dangerous person with regard to our freedoms and rights.

Bush is someone who does not convey to me love and mercy for our brothers and sisters in God.

There are many Bush's disciples who emulate him on many issues, such as preemptive wars, deception with certain information, lying about the facts that led us to attack Iraq, and overt corruption.

capt said...

New Thread!