Sunday, December 09, 2007

what we are paying for

sorry, no upper case now. i've a weight on my left hand--inflammation for reasons unknown of a long ago injury incurred when i thought i could play high school football. i read in the nyt and other papers, the reports of this week about a national intelligence estimate concluding that iran had put its nuclear weapons program in mothballs in 2003. so i obtained the thing itself by a link from the times --iran: nuclear intentions and capabilities--and it is about as clear as a government document can be--more so, since the cheney pushed hard, it has been reported by seymour hersh in the new yorker, among others, to have this conclusion changed. the bushies immediately struck back, proclaiming that iran remained a "threat.' that was to be exxpected.

unanticipated, until you sat back and reflected on it was the insistance of the mainstream press on finding 'doves'--described in this los angeles times article as people to the 'left' of george bush--who also claimed the nie was not possibly accurate, that it underestimated iranian intentions. of course, we're dealing here with vestiges of the cold war and the longstanding habit of the vast majority of american politicians to be rabidly anti-communist and pro-military. the goal now is to transfer that 'bipartisan consensus' to the war on terriors, and one way to do that is to declare anyone who believes that you use the police and courts to corral and contain terriorists a 'commie sympathizing, leftist liberal appeaser"--that's just for starters. It's an obfuscatory tactic to be ssure, but it usually works.

in this instance, of course, we have the bushies obsessing about iran possibly one day building a nuclear weapon while ignoring pakistan, which has nuclear weapons, is harboring the osama bin laden (by most accounts), and is at risk of imploding politically. but iran is shiite and shiites scare the shit out of the saudi sunnis especially, and the u.s. must do its financial minders bidding. of course, the bushies are so ham handed that if they don't continue to sit militarily on iraq until they force some kind of partition on the shiite majority, the reconfigured post-liberation iraq will be a wealthy oil producer in alliance with iran and not in our orbit, so that a war fought to maintain hegemony in the oil fields will have produced the opposite result.

at least the war on terriors has stripped away completely the cloak of morality in which the u.s. has long liked to wrap its foreign policy, since there is no way to justify torture. whether to divert attention from the iran nie fiasco, as i suspect, or for more convoluted reasons general michael hayden, director of the cia, let out last week that the cia had made in 2002 and then destroyed in 2005 hundreds of hours of videotapes documenting the interrogations of two al-qaeda suspects--abu zubayda and
aabdul-rahim hussein muhammad abdu, sometimes known as abd-al-rahim-al-nashiri, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the uss cole attacks. zubayda called torture on himself because of his 'defiant and evasive' answers during normal questioning, hayden said in announcing the tapes' existence and destruction. the tapes recorded it all, but hayden said, they had no current 'intelligence or judicial value.' they could, however, be used to identify cia operatives and leave them open to revenge attacks by al-qaeda operatives. that might be true, but more true is that identification of the operatives would leave them open to arrest should they travel aboard and a crusading prosecutor wish to pursue charges of crimes against humanity. more important, the videotapes provided a graphic record of sanctioned u.s. torture, evidence that could and should bring down bush, cheney, and their entire crew--not to mention most members of a spineless congress, some of whom, the washington post reports, were briefed in 2002 about cia torture and basically raised no objections. haul them all to the hague, if necessary.

nothing justifies torture.


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