Tag Archives: Saddam Hussein

Are Evangelical Christians Warmongers?

Chuck Baldwin Asked That Question On His Blog Recently

I’ve been an evangelical Christian since I was a child. I’ve been in the Gospel ministry all of my adult life. I attended two evangelical Christian colleges, received honorary degrees from two others, and taught and preached in several others. I’ve attended many of the largest evangelical pastors’ gatherings and have been privileged to speak at Christian gatherings–large and small–all over America. I have been part of the inner workings of evangelical ministry for nearly 40 years. I think I learned a thing or two about evangelical/fundamentalist Christianity in America. And I’m here to tell you: I don’t like what I see happening these days!

Let’s get this straight right out of the gate: nothing touched by man can be perfect, because none of us is perfect. There is no perfect church, perfect school, perfect mission board, perfect Sunday School class, perfect pastor, perfect deacon, or perfect Christian. Until the afterlife, we are all yet encased in Adamic flesh, complete with human weaknesses and imperfections. And only the Pharisaical among us are too proud to admit it.

That said, I do think it is more than fair to say that, historically, Christians have always attempted to be–and have always publicly taught the importance of being–peacemakers. Historically, Christians have preached–and tried to practice–love and brotherhood. The early church was born in a baptism of love and unity. Oh sure, there were always individual misunderstandings and differences, but, on the whole, the church was a loving, caring, compassionate ecclesia.

Mind you, Christians historically were not afraid or ashamed to defend themselves, their families, and their country. The Lord Jesus, Himself (the Prince of Peace), allowed His disciples to carry personal defense weapons (see Luke 22:36,38). Yes, while some Christian sects were conscientious pacifists, these were the exception, not the rule. The vast majority of Christian believers understood the Biblical, Natural Law principle of self-defense. But believing in the right of lawful, God-ordained self-defense was never to be confused with warmongering.

So, what has happened to turn the most peace-loving institution the world has ever known (the New Testament church) into the biggest cheerleaders for war? I’m talking about un-provoked, illegal, unconstitutional, unbiblical–even secret–wars of aggression. The biggest cheerleaders for the unprovoked, unconstitutional, pre-emptive attack and invasion of Iraq were evangelical Christians. Ditto for the war in Afghanistan, the bombing of Libya, the attacks in Yemen, etc. Who is calling for the bombing of Iran? Evangelical Christians. Who cheers for sending more and more troops all over the world to maim and kill more and more people (including innocents)? Evangelical Christians. Shoot (pun intended)! Most evangelical Christians didn’t even bat an eye when the federal government sent military and police personnel to murder American citizens, including old men, women, and children–Christian old men, women, and children, no less–outside Waco, Texas.

And where are today’s evangelical Christians giving a second thought regarding their fellow Christian brothers and sisters in many of these Middle Eastern countries that are being persecuted, imprisoned, tortured, and killed by the puppet regimes being put in power by the US government–at US taxpayer (including Christian taxpayer) expense? I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but more Christians have been persecuted under the US-imposed regime in Iraq than were ever persecuted when Saddam Hussein was in power. Oh! And don’t forget that it was the US government that was responsible for putting Saddam Hussein in power to begin with. The US government set up Osama bin Laden, too. But I digress.

In addition to the “white” wars (the ones everyone knows about), the US government authorizes some 70 black ops commando raids in some 120 countries EVERY DAY. In fact, the secret, black ops military of the US is so large today it now totals more personnel than the ENTIRE MILITARY OF CANADA!

A recent report noted, “In 120 countries across the globe, troops from Special Operations Command carry out their secret war of high-profile assassinations, low-level targeted killings, capture/kidnap operations, kick-down-the-door night raids, joint operations with foreign forces, and training missions with indigenous partners as part of a shadowy conflict unknown to most Americans. Once ‘special’ for being small, lean, outsider outfits, today they are special for their power, access, influence, and aura.”

To see the complete report of America’s secret wars, go to:

http://tinyurl.com/3q7s335

Yet, how much of this knowledge would even faze the average evangelical Christian today? All we hear from today’s “churches” is “bomb,” “attack,” “wipe them out,” etc. Then, at the same time, they get all emotional about sending missionaries to the same countries that they had just cheered-on the US military in raining down missiles of death and destruction upon (to bring salvation to the lucky ones that weren’t killed, I suppose).

And who are the ones that belittle and impugn Ron Paul? Evangelical Christians. Why? Because he tells the truth about America’s foreign policy being responsible for much of the hatred and bitterness erupting in foreign countries against us. I guarantee you that many of the “conservative” Republicans who booed Dr. Paul’s comments to this regard at the GOP Presidential debate this week would identify themselves as evangelical Christians.

See the report at:

http://tinyurl.com/3otfnzr

The disciples of our Lord were called “Christians” first by the Gentiles of Antioch, because of the manner in which the disciples reminded them of Christ’s nature and teachings. I never thought I would hear myself say what I’m about to say, but the truth is, the term “Christian” today means anything but Christ-like. To many people today, “Christian” refers to some warmongering, mean-spirited, throw-anyone-to-the-wolves-who-crosses-them person, who then has the audacity to look down their nose in contempt against anyone who disagrees with them for even the smallest reason. And the word “church” has the stigma of being simply an enclave of warmongers to many people today. And that, my friends, is one reason so many people are so turned off with today’s Christianity. And I can’t say that I blame them. I’m turned off too!

Am I a pacifist? Absolutely not! Do I believe an individual, a family, a community, or a nation has the right to protect and defend itself? I absolutely do! And the fellow who breaks into my home or who attacks my loved ones will personally discover I believe that! But this blind support for illegal, immoral, unconstitutional war is anything but Christian. Not only is it turning people against our country among people abroad, it is turning our own countrymen against the Christ we Christians claim to love right here at home.

I dare say that the modern Warfare State would grind to a screeching halt tomorrow if evangelical Christians would simply stop supporting it! And the thing that most evangelical Christians fail to realize is that the Warfare State is one of the primary tools that the evil one is using to usher in his devilish New World Order that even babes in Christ know to be of Satan. Hence, Christians are helping to promote the very thing that Satan, himself, is using to enslave them.

Yes, I’ve been an evangelical Christian for most of my life and an evangelical pastor for all of my adult life. And if we Christians do not quickly repent of this bloodlust that seems to dominate evangelical Christianity today (spiritually and militarily), the word that was first used by un-churched Gentiles to describe Christ’s followers will be used as a curse-word to describe those who facilitated the ruination of our country.

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The Shame of Being an American

 

by Paul Craig Roberts

Recently by Paul Craig Roberts: Has There Been an Egyptian Revolution?

Source: http://www.lewrockwell.com/roberts/roberts293.html

The United States government has overestimated the amount of shame that it and American citizens can live down. On February 15 “the indispensable people” had to suffer the hypocrisy of the U.S. Secretary of State delivering a speech about America’s commitment to Internet freedom while the U.S.Department of Justice (sic) brought unconstitutional action against Twitter to reveal any connection between WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning, the American hero who, in keeping with the U.S. Military Code, exposed U.S. government war crimes and who is being held in punishing conditions not permitted by the U.S. Constitution. The corrupt U.S. government is trying to create a “conspiracy” case against Julian Assange in order to punish him for revealing U.S. government documents that prove beyond every doubt the mendacity of the U.S. government.

This is pretty bad, but it pales in comparison to the implications revealed on February 15 in the British newspaper, The Guardian.

The Guardian obtained an interview with “Curveball,” the source for Colin Powell’s speech of total lies to the United Nations about Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction. Colin Powell’s speech created the stage for the illegal American invasion of Iraq.The Guardian describes “Curveball” as “the man who pulled off one of the greatest confidence tricks in the history of modern intelligence.” As The Guardian puts it, “Curveball” “manufactured a tale of dread.”

U.S. “intelligence” never interviewed “Curveball.” The Americans started a war based on second-hand information given to them by incompetent German intelligence, which fell for “Curveball’s” lies that today German intelligence disbelieves.

As the world now knows, Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The Bush/Cheney Regime, of course, knew this, but “Curveball’s” lies were useful to their undeclared agenda. In his interview with The Guardian, “Curveball,” Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, admitted that he made the whole story up. He wanted to do in Saddam Hussein and told whatever fantasy lie he could make up that would serve his purpose.

If the Bush/Cheney Regime had really believed that Saddam Hussein had world-threatening weapons of mass destruction, it would have been a criminal act to concentrate America’s invading force in a small area of Kuwait where a few WMD could have wiped out the entire U.S. invasion force, thus ending the war before it began.

Some Americans are so thoughtless that they would say that Saddam Hussein would never have used the weapons, because we would have done this and that to Iraq, even nuking Baghdad. But why would Saddam Hussein care if he and his regime were already marked for death? Why would a doomed man desist from inflicting an extraordinary defeat on the American Superpower, thus encouraging Arabs everywhere? Moreover, if Saddam Hussein was unwilling to use his WMD against an invading force, when would he ever use them? It was completely obvious to the U.S. government that no such weapons existed. The weapons inspectors made that completely clear to the Bush/Cheney Regime. There were no Iraqi WMD, and everyone in the U.S. government was apprised of that fact.

Why was there no wonder or comment in the “free” media that the White House accused Iraq of possession of terrible weapons of mass destruction, but nevertheless concentrated its invasion force in such a small area that such weapons could easily have wiped out the invading force?

Does democracy really exist in a land where the media is incompetent and the government is unaccountable and lies through its teeth every time if opens its mouth?

“Curveball” represents a new level of immorality. Rafid al-Janabi shares responsibility for one million dead Iraqis, 4 million displaced Iraqis, a destroyed country, 4,754 dead American troops, 40,000 wounded and maimed American troops, $3 trillion of wasted US resources, every dollar of which is a debt burden to the American population and a threat to the dollar as reserve currency, ten years of propaganda and lies about terrorism and al Qaeda connections, an American “war on terror” that is destroying countless lives in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and which has targeted Iran, and which has destroyed the Bill of Rights, the US Constitution, and the civil liberties that they guarantee. And the piece of lying excrement, Rafid al-Janabi, is proud that he brought Saddam Hussein’s downfall at such enormous expense.

Now that Rafid al-Janabi is revealed in the Guardian interview, how safe is he? There are millions of Iraqis capable of exterminating him for their suffering, and tens of thousands of Americans whose lives have been ruined by Rafid al-Janabi’s lies.

Why does the U.S. government pursue Julian Assange and WikiLeaks for telling the truth when “Curveball,” whose lies wiped out huge numbers of people along with America’s reputation, thinks he can start a political party in Iraq? If the piece of excrement, Rafid al-Janabi, is not killed the minute he appears in Iraq, it will be a miracle.

So we are left to contemplate that a totally incompetent American government has bought enormous instability to its puppet states in the Middle East, because it desperately wanted to believe faulty “intelligence” from Germany that an immoralist provided evidence that Saddam Hussein had Weapons of Mass Destruction.

And America is a superpower, an indispensable nation.

What a total joke!

February 17, 2010

Paul Craig Roberts [send him mail], a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal, has been reporting shocking cases of prosecutorial abuse for two decades. A new edition of his book, The Tyranny of Good Intentions, co-authored with Lawrence Stratton, a documented account of how Americans lost the protection of law, has been released by Random House.

Copyright © 2010 Paul Craig Roberts

The Best of Paul Craig Roberts

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The Arms of King Abdullah

Original Article: http://mises.org/daily/4843

Mises Daily: Wednesday, November 17, 2010 by

Congress was recently notified by the US administration that it would be selling weapons to Saudi Arabia in one of the largest arms sales in history. The $60 billion deal includes advanced military aircraft, new helicopters, and other weapons such as missiles and bombs.

Aside from the fact that the costs of US weapons development are socialized while the profits are privatized, this seems like we’re just selling weapons to another country. It doesn’t really seem like a big deal, considering how much foreign aid we usually provide to everyone so they can fight against each other; but this arms deal has much more to do with foreign policy than meets the eye.

You see, the connections between Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the United States make up the Bermuda Triangle of foreign policy. This twisted three way is deeply confusing for most, and truly disturbing to think about for many others.

We have to look a bit back in history in order to understand the complexity of this relationship.

The Iran-Iraq War is a good place to start. When Iraq invaded Iran in 1980, the United States remained officially neutral while covertly assisting the Iraqi Army. As Iran started to succeed against the Iraqi invaders, the United States increased its support for Iraq, most likely because the United States was still a bit touchy about the events one year earlier, when Iran overthrew the dictator that the CIA had placed in power.

Iraq realized in 1988 that it couldn’t pay back its heavy debts to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Saddam Hussein didn’t believe Iraq had to pay back its debts to Saudi Arabia because the Saudis had only supported Iraq in the war due to fear that the new Iran would influence the Saudis’ Shi’a minority, who controlled the majority of oil fields. No agreement could be found, and Iraq proceeded to invade Kuwait two years later. This marks the beginning the Gulf War and the US government’s close relationship with Saudi Arabia.

Once the Iraqi Army was in Kuwait, its proximity was close enough to strike the Saudi oil fields, the fact of which was worsened by Hussein’s verbal — and extremely hypocritical — attacks on the US-supported Saudi state. Eventually the US military sent 543,000 troops into Saudi Arabia in order to protect it.

That is how much we have supported Saudi Arabia; and, due to that support, they’ve allowed us to keep around 5,000 troops in their country since 1992, a number that rose to nearly 10,000 during the recent conflict with Iraq. Saudi Arabia has become our puppet, and this leads directly to our relationship with Iran.

Iran has already experienced what it’s like to deal with a puppet. The Shah brutalized that country to an extent beyond imagination. It’s no wonder why Iranians just want to be left the hell alone.

I’ll be the first to admit that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says some crazy things from time to time, but, if the Iranian citizens don’t like him, it’s their own problem to deal with, not ours, and they surely are capable of dealing with it. They toppled a previous oppressive regime backed up by an even bigger foreign military. If you don’t see the reflection of our own country’s founders in that mix, you’re not paying attention.

Now, whether or not Iran’s nuclear program poses a threat to the United States doesn’t really matter, because, as we’ve seen throughout the past decade, preemptive wars do not end well; and the only reason Iran would ever attack us is if we were to intervene even further in its affairs.

I mean, the United States continually enforces sanctions against the country, installs military bases surrounding its borders, and supports much more oppressive regimes; and we continue to ask why the Iranians are scared? They have as much right to defend themselves from us as we do from them. Of course, when the US government doesn’t get its way, it has to call in the United Nations.

The most recent of the sanctions against Iran, passed earlier this year, have crippled Iran’s economy in the name of hurting Iran’s government. The United Nations is arrogant for thinking that sanctions hurt governments and not citizens. It is incredibly easier to be poor in the United States, where the economy is at least semifree, as opposed to in a country where imports are impeded by illegal blockades, and thus costs are raised.

So, in essence, the US government likes the Saudis because they allow us to be in their country, and it doesn’t like the Iranians because they don’t want us to be in their country.

But we have to make sure to understand the importance of the depths of these relationships, or else the debate ends up focusing on some kind of nonexistent difference in mentality between Saudis, Iranians, and Americans that we can somehow fix overnight.

We always need to see things from various perspectives. How would we feel if Iran were to set up multiple military bases in Mexico, Canada, and Cuba? The answer is that we’d feel threatened.

A big factor in the equation is that Mecca and Medina, the two holiest Islamic cities, are in Saudi Arabia, where our troops were stationed, which is one of the main reasons for the attacks on September 11th.

It is true that we took out most of our troops from the area in 2003 in order to ease tensions caused by our foreign interferences; but for the United States to supply Saudi Arabia with a massive arsenal near the holy Islamic cities is a disastrous idea. With Iran’s recent insistences on being a sovereign nation, our sale to Saudi Arabia is our government’s way of telling Iran, “We’re not there, but we are.”

This arms deal is aggressive and demeaning; and it in no way protects the interests of the United States. Until our military is completely out of the Arabian Peninsula, we cannot expect to make any peace with foreign nations.

Brian Anderson is a student at Arizona State University, studying genetics and entrepreneurship. Send him mail. See Brian Anderson’s article archives.
This article originally published in Arizona State University’s State Press.
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The Tariq Aziz Sentence: The Audacity, Bestiality and Venality of Victors

From: http://www.uruknet.info

Monish Chatterjee

30-09_tarik_aziz_800.jpg

Tariq Aziz

October 30, 2010 

Throughout my conscious years, I have witnessed with disbelief and increasing hopelessness the limitless human capacity for cruelty and barbarism- quite often comfortably cloaked in terms of righteousness and piety. A vast number of instances of this ongoing blot upon the soul of humanity are readily attributable to the audacity of power, and the ability of the human animal to compartmentalize, commit the most inhuman acts, and go on living unperturbed to see another day.

Long before arriving in the United States, I had followed with the greatest admiration the principle of ahimsa, non-violence, as the highest principle that elevated the human being above all other living species. Of course, in our own time, Gandhi showed the world how ahimsa could be effectively used as a mighty weapon that could transform the most beastly and merciless of adversaries. And Gandhi’s great Indian contemporary, Rabindranath Tagore, spoke tirelessly about the need for awakening the universal bonds of beauty and humanity that unites all human beings, while celebrating their various differences of skin tones, languages, arts, cuisines and cultures (including religious beliefs or disbeliefs) and places of origin.

Of course, illuminated souls such as Tagore and Gandhi were obviously well aware of the idealistic dimensions and hence the practical limitations of their thoughts. Tagore especially was much more pragmatic about the reality of human frailties and dark proclivities throughout history. He spoke eloquently about these relentless human demons in his poem Prithibi (Ode to the Earth).

The first glaring instance of witnessing the abject brutality and arrogance of power occurred for me in 1977, when, a hitherto-no-name army general, appointed to high rank by the eminent Pakistani political leader and long-time Prime Minister of that country, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (ZAB), imprisoned and then sentenced to death (via a kangaroo court) in a completely trumped-up case, his former benefactor. This is of course commonly the way of crude ideologues and heartless zealots, and Zia-ul Haq fit those characteristics admirably. Despite some of his faults, I had known Bhutto as a leader of our neighboring country, and compared with many of the ill-informed, non-intellectual, guts-driven ignoramuses of today (a great many of which we find in this country), ZAB came across as well-educated, statesman-like, erudite and highly personable. I was in my third year at India’s I.I.T., and had recently witnessed (1971) the creation of Bangladesh out of the erstwhile East Pakistan, and remembered ZAB’s having first imprisoned, and at the end of the tumultuous 1971 war with India, releasing Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to his newly-independent people. I remembered him from the Simla accord with Mrs. Indira Gandhi (with daughter Benazir by his side). As such, politics and our painful history of the imperially machinated partition aside, I held ZAB with some regard, and even more so as a civilian leader in a country perpetually in the grips of military dictators. Therefore, the news of a death sentence handed to this long-standing world leader on what amounted to nothing more than a calculated vendetta, shocked me greatly. In reality, perhaps out of naiveté, I truly thought that this was all a show- they could definitely never carry out this act of extreme barbarity. I was reminded, however, of the many acts of ghastly barbarity that history was full of in the annals of power struggle, including royal ascensions. Who would ever forget what Aurangzeb had done to his brothers, including Dara Shikoh, arguably the noblest Mughal heir of all? But in the late 20th Century? Surely the human race had evolved enough to be past such monstrous acts, of retribution, of the contemptible power grab?

Then, too, several leading voices (the Pope, Presidents, Prime Ministers, Nobel Laureates) around the world pleaded with the general in the “God Cloak” (note that there is a long tradition of putting on the holy cloak in these matters, from the infamous Spanish Inquisition down to the savage executioner from Texas in this country- holy men all, all Born Again spokespeople for a bloodthirsty ephemeral entity) – please spare ZAB’s life; he had served Pakistan well over many years. Ultimately, however, nothing worked, and the “God obsessed” general fulfilled his godly mission. ZAB’s voice was stilled by society’s ultimate barbarity, the savage death penalty. There are times I still feel benumbed by recollections of this ghastly act. Who will ever judge the acts of murderous crimes committed by the godly general? Who will ever judge the crimes of the victor in the ongoing history of mankind?

For many years, I have also been educated on the comfortable alliance the United States has historically forged with dictators and zealots, in nation after nation. Often times, it has done so by the unseating using any number of means (including assassinations) legitimately elected public officials in other countries, and supplanting them with ruthless bandits of their choice. The list of these is a veritable who’s who of contemporary history. Hence, it is really no surprise that the religious zealot/strongman, Zia-ul Haq, became a very close American ally for more than a decade, thereby enabling the breeding of more than a generation of fundamentalist assassins (the jihadis and mujahideens that American Right-Wingers now view with such contempt, and strange words they now spout with such relish) with American dollars. Sadly, this has been the American (read that as Wall Street) modus operandi all over the world, and not only in Pakistan. Keep the wheels of American Prosperity turning at any cost, by any means- killing, carpet bombing, annihilating as many of the third world darkies as needed to achieve the American dream.

In the late 1980s, I had recoiled at the spectacle of the mighty Goliath from the North swooping down upon the minuscule nation of Panama, and right before the eyes of the world, “arresting” the ruler of that country (Manuel Noriega), and bringing him for “trial” to the golden shores of the LandofthefreeHomeoftheBrave. Ironic, indeed! It is well known that Noriega was previously on the CIA’s payroll, and likely a useful pal of the elder Bush patriarch. I assume he had somehow outlived his usefulness for the Goliath, as did Saddam Hussein a few years later. The sheer audacity of the United States in invading sovereign nations, with impunity, decade after decade, looting or plundering their wealth, and handling their leaders worse than slavemasters (something the U.S. certainly has a centuries-long tradition and training in) treated their slaves- simply boggles the mind. These are, plain and simple, international crimes of the highest magnitude. But the Goliath has had his victories, and to the Victors go the spoils of war (or, the case of the U.S., war crimes).

The above, and several other spectacles of the audacity and tyranny of the mighty upon the weak, have pained me deeply for as long as I can remember. To the extent that I have watched with horror the lowliest and most barbaric act of his captors handing Iraq’s leader Saddam Hussein over to his worst enemies, knowing full well what fate would befall him as a consequence. This is as contrary to my concept of civilization as I can imagine. In this context, I always cite the example of Alexander the Great speaking with the utmost dignity to the Indian King Puru (more than 2300 years ago) after the latter was defeated in battle, and later releasing him back to his people with full honors. In instance after instance, the American example falls far short of the civilizational standard established by Alexander. The savage sadism of a society that can take pleasure in displaying the bullet-riddled bodies of their so-called enemies (Saddam Hussein’s two sons) all over the internet simply tells me such a society has not evolved much along Darwin’s ladder. America displays the characteristics of a soulless, corporate-driven society that gladly displays the humiliation of its victims (I will label any person captured via illegal war crimes a “victim” of the lawless invader) for the entertainment of its consumerist, and increasingly soulless public.

The unprovoked, unjustified, criminal invasion of Iraq (and other nations around the world over the past 100+ years), and the blood of millions of innocents are upon America’s conscience, and the conscience of its immoral leaders. The crimes of Henry Kissinger and George W. Bush (and a host of other individuals walking around free, giving speeches and enjoying the American way like nothing is the matter) are grievous by far than anything the arrogant victors append upon their victims. Yet, the ways of the mighty are strange, indeed! The very tyrants and war criminals behind some of the most ghastly mass killings committed by human beings, thereafter sit in judgment of their victims- in complete disregard for humanity and civilization. This is surreal, this is unreal, this is truly an upside-down world. This is, plain and simple, the way of imperialism and tyranny.

It is in this context that I must register here and now my horror and revulsion upon learning of the “sentence” handed down to Iraq’s ex-deputy Prime Minister, Tariq Aziz. It is benumbing in its arrogance and barbarity. Iraq is a country in tatters, millions of its people who were living their lives (as is the fundamental right of all creatures created upon this planet) prior to 2003 mercilessly murdered by the criminal American/British invasion, innumerable of its children dead on account of savage dictates by the mighty imposing sanctions that denied these innocents even basic medicines, violence of the worst kind a daily scene in that country that was once an oasis of secularism (even if by no means perfect) in a fundamentalist, tyrannical middle-east. Yet, the architects of such criminal offenses and their planted minions have the audacity to sit in judgment of, and proclaim moral verdicts upon their victims!

Throughout the late 1980s, until the criminal invasion by the U.S. and its chattels in 2003, most of us were rather familiar with Tariq Aziz- either as Iraq’s foreign minister, or later as deputy Prime Minister of that country. It is definitely not my place to decide the degree of flaws or virtues invested in leaders of other countries, certainly not with the kind of moral certitude that it is commonplace for U.S. leaders to identify good and evil around the world. Regardless, I usually found myself in agreement with some of Aziz’s statements (the few released to the public by the American media), often delivered at the United Nations (an institution, while generally toothless, nevertheless defiled, vilified and routinely manipulated by the U.S.). I felt sympathetic towards Mr. Aziz primarily because he would speak out against imperialism, and the typical Western bullying of the darker nations. Most awakened human beings are well aware of the long-standing exploitation and pauperization of darker nations by the U.S., its ubiquitous partner-in-crime, Great Britain, and world-domination outfits such as NATO, the World Bank and the IMF. Hence, I am reasonably certain that I am not alone in my sympathies for those that vocalize against racist and corporatist thuggery applied against people of former colonies.

Since Iraq, even under the well-trumpeted “evil guy” Saddam Hussein, was essentially secular- its government was a combination of Shias, Sunnis and Christians. This was already an improvement upon the many allies of the U.S. in the region- autocratic, fundamentalist regimes such as those in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt and so forth. In this context, I understand that Tariq Aziz was a Christian member of Hussein’s cabinet. Therefore, it is difficult for me to fathom what heinous crimes this Christian cabinet member would engage in with regards to the Shia-Sunni divide prevalent throughout the Middle-East. Like ZAB in Pakistan before him, to me Tariq Aziz came across as cerebral, dedicated and reasonably well-versed in international relations. His problem, I am sure, started when, like Salvador Allende, Mohammed Mossadegh, Manuel Noriega, and so many others earlier his government and nation became trained under the cross-hairs of Empire and its insatiable need for resources. Indeed, heaven help anyone upon whom befalls the wrath of Empire.

The kangaroo court (as most such courts tend to be) that renders such barbaric verdicts, as it is, has little credibility in my view. I generally regard those “rulers” of any sovereign nation that ascend to power by joining hands with their invaders, plunderers, and imperial rapists (the latter metaphor was aptly used in describing invading hordes and war criminals by Susan Block some years ago in the wake of the Iraq invasion in 2003) as among the very lowliest of the human species. The likes of Chalabi, Allawi and Maliki admirably fit into this mold- the slimy reptiles of human society (the degree of reptilian quality might vary somewhat). Sadly, most violated countries have such despicable characters- Karzai in Afghanistan, Mubarak in Egypt, and so forth. As such, when such abject traitors put their own countrymen up for trial in order to gain favors from the tyrants and invaders- to me it is just another murderous act by a cabal of ruthless criminals. The crimes of their victims usually pale by comparison.

I have not noticed thus far much international reaction or scorn with regards to this sentence handed to an honorable former prime minister. I did notice the Pope making a statement asking for clemency. But, as far as I am concerned, this event puts the basic humanity of Barack Obama and the Democrats up for an important morality test. I have my doubts that the non-Republicans will ever show enough courage to stand up to the killing machine of Empire, and stand up for morality and humanity. After all, when it comes to morality and conscience, the Democrats appear to fare only marginally better than the “what is in it for me,” and “kill those others” Republicans. I believe deeply that opposing the barbaric death penalty is one of the utmost moral choices a human being can make. Any society that practices this barbarity is obviously low on the evolutionary ladder. It is unthinkable to me that there are millions that spout “Christianity” (or other faiths that often blind the functioning human mind), and yet see no problem violating a plainly-worded dictum, “Thou shalt not kill.” If the millions understood this dictum, honestly, there would be wars and genocides no longer. My heart goes out to Tariq Aziz and his family, as it does to all victims of violence and barbarity in this world. My sympathies here have nothing to do with condoning brutal acts committed by the Iraqi regime that Mr. Aziz served. It is, foremost, a condemnation of tyrants and invaders whose barbarity in my view exceeds those of the accused/vanquished that they sit in judgment of. And even more, it is a complete and unequivocal condemnation and rejection of the socially-endorsed practice of killing a human being- an immoral and barbaric practice carried over from the dark ages.

Monish R. Chatterjee received the B.Tech. (Hons) degree in Electronics and Communications Engineering from I.I.T., Kharagpur, India, in 1979, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering, from the University of Iowa, Iowa

 


The War On Terror

by Paul Craig Roberts
by Paul Craig Roberts
Recently by Paul Craig Roberts: It Is Official: The US Is a Police State

Does anyone remember the “cakewalk war” that would last six weeks, cost $50–60 billion, and be paid for out of Iraqi oil revenues?

Does anyone remember that White House economist Lawrence Lindsey was fired by Dubya because Lindsey estimated that the Iraq war could cost as much as $200 billion?

Lindsey was fired for over-estimating the cost of a war that, according to Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes, has cost 15 times more than Lindsey estimated. And the US still has 50,000 troops in Iraq.

Does anyone remember that just prior to the US invasion of Iraq, the US government declared victory over the Taliban in Afghanistan?

Does anyone remember that the reason Dubya gave for invading Iraq was Saddam Hussein‘s weapons of mass destruction, weapons that the US government knew did not exist?

Are Americans aware that the same neoconservatives who made these fantastic mistakes, or told these fabulous lies, are still in control of the government in Washington?

The “war on terror” is now in its tenth year. What is it really all about?

The bottom line answer is that the “war on terror” is about creating real terrorists. The US government desperately needs real terrorists in order to justify its expansion of its wars against Muslim countries and to keep the American people sufficiently fearful that they continue to accept the police state that provides “security from terrorists,” but not from the government that has discarded civil liberties.

The US government creates terrorists by invading Muslim countries, wrecking infrastructure and killing vast numbers of civilians. The US also creates terrorists by installing puppet governments to rule over Muslims and by using the puppet governments to murder and persecute citizens as is occurring on a vast scale in Pakistan today.

Neoconservatives used 9/11 to launch their plan for US world hegemony. Their plan fit with the interests of America’s ruling oligarchies. Wars are good for the profits of the military/security complex, about which President Eisenhower warned us in vain a half century ago. American hegemony is good for the oil industry’s control over resources and resource flows. The transformation of the Middle East into a vast American puppet state serves well the Israel Lobby’s Zionist aspirations for Israeli territorial expansion.

Most Americans cannot see what is happening because of their conditioning. Most Americans believe that their government is the best on earth, that it is morally motivated to help others and to do good, that it rushes aid to countries where there is famine and natural catastrophes. Most believe that their presidents tell the truth, except about their sexual affairs.

The persistence of these delusions is extraordinary in the face of daily headlines that report US government bullying of, and interference with, virtually every country on earth. The US policy is to buy off, overthrow, or make war on leaders of other countries who represent their peoples’ interests instead of American interests. A recent victim was the president of Honduras who had the wild idea that the Honduran government should serve the Honduran people.

The American government was able to have the Honduran president discarded, because the Honduran military is trained and supplied by the US military. It is the same case in Pakistan, where the US government has the Pakistani government making war on its own people by invading tribal areas that the Americans consider to be friendly to the Taliban, al Qaeda, “militants” and “terrorists.”

Earlier this year a deputy US Treasury secretary ordered Pakistan to raise taxes so that the Pakistani government could more effectively make war on its own citizens for the Americans. On October 14 US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ordered Pakistan to again raise taxes or the US would withhold flood aid. Clinton pressured America’s European puppet states to do the same, expressing in the same breath that the US government was worried by British cuts in the military budget. God forbid that the hard-pressed British, still reeling from American financial fraud, don’t allocate enough money to fight America’s wars.

On Washington’s orders, the Pakistani government launched a military offensive against Pakistani citizens in the Swat Valley that killed large numbers of Pakistanis and drove millions of civilians from their homes. Last July the US instructed Pakistan to send its troops against the Pakistani residents of North Waziristan. On July 6 Jason Ditz reported on Antiwar.com that “at America’s behest, Pakistan has launched offensives against [the Pakistani provinces of] Swat Valley, Bajaur, South Waziristan, Orakzai, and Khyber.”

A week later Israel’s US Senator Carl Levin (D,MI) called for escalating the Obama Administration’s policies of US airstrikes against Pakistan’s tribal areas. On September 30, the Pakistani newspaper, The Frontier Post, wrote that the American air strikes “are, plain and simple, a naked aggression against Pakistan.”

The US claims that its forces in Afghanistan have the right to cross into Pakistan in pursuit of “militants.” Recently US helicopter gunships killed three Pakistani soldiers who they mistook for Taliban. Pakistan closed the main US supply route to Afghanistan until the Americans apologized.

Pakistan warned Washington against future attacks. However, US military officials, under pressure from Obama to show progress in the endless Afghan war, responded to Pakistan’s warning by calling for expanding the Afghan war into Pakistan. On October 5 the Canadian journalist Eric Margolis wrote that “the US edges closer to invading Pakistan.”

In his book, Obama’s Wars, Bob Woodward reports that America’s puppet president of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, believes that terrorist bombing attacks inside Pakistan for which the Taliban are blamed are in fact CIA operations designed to destabilize Pakistan and allow Washington to seize Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.

To keep Pakistan in line, the US government changed its position that the “Times Square Bombing” was the work of a “lone wolf.” Attorney General Eric Holder switched the blame to the “Pakistani Taliban,” and Secretary of State Clinton threatened Pakistan with “very serious consequences” for the unsuccessful Times Square bombing, which likely was a false flag operation aimed at Pakistan.

To further heighten tensions, on September 1 the eight members of a high-ranking Pakistani military delegation in route to a meeting in Tampa, Florida, with US Central Command, were rudely treated and detained as terrorist suspects at Washington DC’s Dulles Airport.

For decades the US government has enabled repeated Israeli military aggression against Lebanon and now appears to be getting into gear for another Israeli assault on the former American protectorate of Lebanon. On October 14 the US government expressed its “outrage” that the Lebanese government had permitted a visit by Iranian President Ahmadinejad, who is the focus of Washington’s intense demonization efforts. Israel’s representatives in the US Congress threatened to stop US military aid to Lebanon, forgetting that US Rep. Howard Berman (D,CA) has had aid to Lebanon blocked since last August to punish Lebanon for a border clash with Israel.

Perhaps the most telling headline of all is the October 14 report, “Somalia’s New American Primer Minister.” An American has been installed as the Prime Minister of Somalia, an American puppet government in Mogadishu backed up by thousands of Ugandan troops paid by Washington.

This barely scratches the surface of Washington’s benevolence toward other countries and respect for their rights, borders, and lives of their citizens.

Meanwhile, to silence the whistleblower website WikiLeaks and to prevent any more revelations of American war crimes, the “freedom and democracy” government in DC has closed down WikiLeaks’ donations by placing the company that collects its money on its “watch list” and by having the Australian puppet government blacklist WikiLeaks.

WikiLeaks is now akin to a terrorist organization. The American government’s practice of silencing critics will spread across the Internet.

Remember, they hate us because we have freedom and democracy, First Amendment rights, habeas corpus, respect for human rights, and show justice and mercy to all.

October 16, 2010

Paul Craig Roberts [send him mail], a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal, has been reporting shocking cases of prosecutorial abuse for two decades. A new edition of his book, The Tyranny of Good Intentions, co-authored with Lawrence Stratton, a documented account of how Americans lost the protection of law, has been released by Random House.

Copyright © 2010 Paul Craig Roberts

The Best of Paul Craig Roberts

 

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Now We Know the Cause of Islamic Terrorism

by Jim Cox

Recently by Jim Cox: Man-Made Global-Warming Quiz

President Obama in warning against the Florida pastor’s plan to burn the Koran stated,

“This is a recruitment bonanza for al Qaeda. You could have serious violence in places like Pakistan or Afghanistan. This could increase the recruitment of individuals who would be willing to blow themselves up in American cities or European cities.”

It’s funny how B.O. (or his predecessor) never cited past American government policies as being a recruitment bonanza for al Qaeda. Only a handful of misguided activists at the Florida church using their own property and their privately acquired copies of the Koran have such an effect in the President’s view.

Here is a partial list of the past as well as some on-going American foreign policy interventions that – by official standards – have had no influence in empowering al Qaeda:

1. The combined British/American overthrow of the democratically elected head of government in Iran in 1953, replacing him with the hated Shah and his secret police who the U.S. trained to murder thousands of Iranians.


2. In 1987 the U.S. militarily supported Saddam Hussein in the Iraqi war with Iran.

3. In 1988 the U.S. ship Vincennes, stationed in the Persian Gulf, shot down a commercial jetliner, killing 290 Iranian civilians.

4. After the Gulf War, the U.S. led an embargo against Iraq, allowing no humanitarian or medical aid. The results, according to UN estimates: 10,000 Iraqi deaths per month with the toll including more than 300,000 children. Then Secretary of State Madeleine Albright when asked said it was “worth it.” Albright never retracted her statement nor was it ever repudiated by an American president.

5. In 1998 President Clinton bombed an aspirin factory in Sudan. A number of totally innocent civilians were killed.

6. European armies, rather than native peoples, drew many of the borders in North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and southwest Asia.

7. The Saudi government, the Kuwaiti government, and the Afghani government are actively supported with foreign aid by the U.S. despite the fact that they routinely oppress their people.


8. The war in Iraq since 2003 that has resulted in a minimum of 97,000 civilian deaths as well as the displacement of more than a million civilians.

9. The war in Afghanistan since 2001 that has resulted in a minimum of 6,000 civilian deaths.

10. Predator strikes in Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan.

But, again according to the official bi-partisan view, none of these actions have caused blowback against Americans or Europeans.

Finally, we know what the CIA meant when it coined the term “blowback” – hostility over Koran burning. Also, we now know what Noam Chomsky, 9-11; Rick Maybury, The Thousand Year War; Robin Wright, Sacred Rage; and Chalmers Johnson, Blowback must have had in mind when the penned their works.

It’s refreshing to know that Koran burning is the provocation that incites the Islamic world and is the only thing we have to end to protect Americans from more terrorism – our imperialistic foreign policy, now under Barack Obama, can continue without any consequence whatsoever.

September 11, 2010

Jim Cox is a professor of economics and is the author of The Concise Guide to Economics and Minimum Wage, Maximum Damage.

Copyright © 2010 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.


Must We Do Something, Anything, about Global Warming?

Mises Daily: Friday, September 10, 2010 by

A friend of mine sent me a link to a video labeled “The Most Terrifying Video You’ll Ever See.” According to YouTube, this video has been viewed over 3.5 million times. Narrator Greg Craven, a high-school science teacher, presents an application of the precautionary principle to the debate over anthropogenic global warming (AGW). Craven claims to have found an argument that does not depend on the resolution of the scientific controversy — a “silver bullet argument,” an argument that leads to an “inescapable conclusion,” one “that even the most hardened skeptic and the most panicked activist can agree on.”

I beg to differ.

Craven starts out with the premise that we can reduce the problem to one of four possible outcomes, which he places on a grid (as shown below). The rows represent the proposition that the worst outcome of AGW (the end of human life on earth) is on its way or is not. The columns represent the choice to do something or do nothing.

Craven then proceeds to examine the implications of ending up in each one of his four quadrants. I have written an abbreviation of his conclusion in the cells of the table:

Do Something Do Nothing
AGW – true avert total disaster total disaster
AGW – false wasted resources avoid waste of resources

According to Craven, because we cannot be totally certain about the science, we need to find another way to choose our course of action. And Craven aims to show that this is possible. He states that “we begin by acknowledging that no one can know with absolute certainty what the future will bring.” This argument is a variant of Pascal’s Wager, which structures the issue of belief in God the same way, with punishment for nonbelievers as the worst case.

Pascal's wager

Craven’s reasoning is that the objective of our decision-making process should be to avoid the top right cell. He observes that we cannot control which row we are in because we don’t know for sure the outcome of the science; but we can avoid the top right cell (total disaster) because we can control which column we are in. We should choose to “do something” to ensure that we end up in the right column rather than the left column.

There are many problems with this approach.

The first problem is that this argument proves too much. The premise — that something really, really bad might happen — is undoubtedly true: there is a virtually unlimited supply of hypotheses about things that might go wrong. The less evidence required for any particular catastrophe, the longer the list of bad things we can make. Craven’s mode of argument could be used to prove that we should “do something” about any — or all — of them.

Go through the entire video and replace “global warming” with “Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction”:

Saddam Hussein might have WMDs, which he could be planning to use against the United States. No one can prove that he does not because, as members of the neocon war party enjoyed pointing out, you can’t prove a negative.

Even trying to use reason to figure out whether or not Saddam has WMDs is what Mr. Craven would call “row thinking,” while what we need in dark times such as these is “column thinking.”

As Craven would undoubtedly agree, we don’t know whether Saddam has WMDs or not. In the worst case, Saddam has WMDs and he will use them against the United States. If we “take action” by invading Iraq and deposing Saddam, then we can eliminate the worst case. If we “do nothing” through “inaction” then the worst case might happen anyway.

It is true that we will incur costs by invading Iraq: dollars, some American deaths. Maybe we disrupt the lives of Iraqis a bit. But the cost of the worst case is incalculable.

The conclusion is therefore inescapable to all rational and right-minded people: we must invade Iraq.

Glenn Greenwald, in a recent piece, points out that this exact argument is being used to defend the decision to go to war in Iraq.  And now the war party is using the same argument to lie the country into a war with Iran (“we cannot allow a nuclear Iran“) even though there is no credible evidence that Iran has a nuclear weapons program — it takes Scott Horton less than seven minutes to debunk the propaganda on this issue.

The second problem I will address is that Craven’s argument proves nothing at all. His objective is to show that we should do something to avoid the worst case. But to prove that we must “do something” is to prove nothing. He organizes the problem around a set of abstract choices. But in life, we face only concrete choices, not abstract ones. While deciding to “do something” about an issue in your life that you have been ignoring might be an important psychological step, it is still not an actionable decision. What to do is the real decision and cannot be separated from the decision to “do something.”

Another way of saying this is that the grid describing reality has more than two columns. It has infinitely many columns representing the infinite range of choices that exist in the real world. Craven’s mode of argument provides no guidance as to how many resources should be expended or in what direction to address the problem.

The aim of Craven’s argument is to show that we can avoid the worse case without resolving the science. But this is only true if we choose a concrete plan that has the desired result. We have an infinite range of choices that all involve doing something — and some other choices that involve watching and waiting. Because our resources are finite, we could not adopt all policy proposals. To avoid the worse case, we would have to evaluate whether each proposal might have any benefits at all and whether the benefits outweigh the costs. Should we choose one staggeringly expensive plan that might work? Or ten less expensive plans that each have a chance of working?

If we use up a vast amount of resources on one very small risk, then we will be in a worse position to deal with other problems that do materialize. Maybe the best course is to do nothing right now, relying on economic growth to increase our wealth and therefore our range of choices in the future?

The argument can be used to prove whatever conclusion you want, depending on what you posit as the worst case.  For example, try using the argument on the following worst case: we implement restrictive carbon-emission legislation and that causes even worse climate change.  Or this: destroy the world’s economy fighting a problem that doesn’t exist (AGW), and then a very real — and much bigger — crisis emerges (and, as Mr. Craven points out, science cannot prove whether this will or will not happen), but we have no more wealth left to address it. Craven’s contention proves that we should do nothing now so that we can address the real worst case that has not yet shown its face.

This brings us to another gross deficiency in Craven’s argument: the choice among the many concrete options that we have depends on our understanding the cause and effect of each choice. To “do something” is for us to create some causes that we believe have certain effects. We cannot evaluate the effect of any cause without relying on the science of the issue. The science applied to any concrete proposal is essentially the same controversial science that Craven claims we don’t need in order to reach a conclusion about what to do.

As the Social Issues Research Centre (SIRC) explains in their excellent commentary on the precautionary principle,

[t]he precautionary principle is, however, a very useful one for consumer activists precisely because it prevents scientific debate. The burden of evidence and proof is taken away from those who make unjustified and often whimsical claims and placed on the scientific community which, because it proceeds logically and rationally, is often powerless to respond. This is what makes the principle so dangerous. It generates a quasi-religious bigotry which history should have has [sic] taught us to fear. Its inherent irrationality renders it unsustainable.

The deficiency is illustrated this way. If the goal is to avoid the worst possible outcome, then “do something” is not enough. We must do something effective. Some of the actions we might take would not be very costly but would also (probably) not meet Mr. Craven’s criteria for effectiveness.

Suppose that we all wore Whip Global Warming Now buttons? Would that help us avoid the worst case? Some might say so, but the strongest objection to that plan would be that there is no scientific basis for the belief that wearing buttons has any impact on global climate change.

Suppose that I agreed with Craven’s conclusion and suggested as the solution that we lengthen our commutes to work so we can drive more, and that we increase the use of coal-fired power plants. Oh, but that won’t work, he might say, because it would increase carbon emissions. But this is only a constructive response if carbon emissions are really the cause of AGW. Without any science linking cause and effect, how do we know that reducing (not increasing) carbon emissions will help?

Though Craven doesn’t present a concrete proposal, clearly he has something in mind — probably Cap and Tax or a similar scheme — because he is able to fill in the lower left quadrant of his grid with various economic costs — depression, lost jobs, lower wages, and the like. Similar legislative proposals would incur the absolutely stupefying cost of reducing carbon emissions to preindustrial levels.

So far I have been focusing on the columns. But there are also a lot more rows than Craven shows. His two rows representing AGW true/false correspond to the cases that either nothing much happens or it’s the end of civilization. But there are a lot of points in between — something happens but it is benign, something bad happens but it is manageable, something really bad happens but it is not the end of human life altogether, etc.

Craven claims that the risk of inaction outweighs the risk of action. But as I have shown, an analysis entirely in terms of the abstract categories he uses does not reach any meaningful conclusion. Relative costs can only be understood in terms of the concrete choices and their actual or estimated costs. While it is true that it might be worth taking action to avoid a very small risk with a very high cost, rationality requires an estimation of the risk and the cost.

Think about how you face the risk of extinction in your own life. Your life could end suddenly for many reasons — a car accident, an airplane crash, a predator-drone strike (just kidding), or even a 16-ton weight falling on your head. What is a rational approach to managing these risks? Some of them are, for most of us, too remote to think about, while others justify modest costs to reduce them. You could avoid all risk of car accidents by staying at home all the time, but for most people that cost is too high.

Mr. Craven compares the problem to that of buying a lottery ticket, but a rational approach to even lottery-ticket purchases requires a calculation in terms of the cost of each ticket against the probability of winning and the expected winnings.

The point of Craven’s argument is to reach a conclusion that we should support carbon-trading permits or some other incredible central-planning scheme that would fundamentally alter human society and economics without having to win on the science.

AGW promoters have good reason for steering people away from the science. Once you start to tug on that ball of yarn, the entire politically motivated fraud starts to unravel.

Robert Blumen is an independent enterprise software consultant based in San Francisco. Send him mail. See Robert Blumen’s article archives.

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