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26 November 2006

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lester

why should the US care if Syria offs a christian politician in lebanon? where's our vital interst? our interst is in stablizing Iraq. we have no troops in lebanon.

zanzibar

The WaPo and WSJ editorial boards have been shilling for the neo-cons and the Decider for many years. In many ways this is par for the course in our contemporary corporate media.

Not much different to the NYT news section neo-con propaganda dished out by Judy Miller, et al during the lead up to the Iraqi invasion.

We need a new lens to look at the product of the corporate media since its info ops all the time. I am all for rolling back the media consolidation of the past few decades.

dano

The LA Times has Max Boot and Johah Goldberg as prominent writers on their opinion page. Both are well known neocons. The new publisher is at best a far right wing conservative (lawyer).

Not that the LAT is as influential as the WaPo, NYT or WSJ , but it is in the same league.

Not much chance of objective journalism with this crew.

Walrus

If you assume, as I do, that newspaper owners influence their journalists, and that the newspaper owners are themselves influenced by others, then the content and timing of what you read in the papers about certain topics is designed to be part of a wider, coordinated, agenda.

In other words, what you are reading from the usual sources can be analysed, over time, from a signals intelligence perspective.

Using Occams razor, I believe that the continuing demonisation of Islam and Iran in certain sectors of the media is a prelude to the bombing of Iran. There is simply no point for their blabberings otherwise.

Minnesotachuck

It seems to me that of all the players in the area Israel, given the uber-realism-cum-paranoia of its current (and recent past) leadership, would see themselves as having the most to gain by bumping off Gamayel, assuming they could do it subtley enough to make it look like a Syrian hit. Especially now, considering all the rumors flying about that Dubya & Co. are making overtures to Syria and Iran in a desparate attempt to pull their Iraqi chesnuts out of the fire.

arbogast

This editorial is written by individuals who know that the bombing campaign against Iran is about to begin. It is another piece in the puzzle.

You may ask, "Why bomb Iran now, when we cannot adequately maintain our military position in either Iraq or Afghanistan?"

Silly you. It is an effort to draw the world into a much larger military conflict of "civilizations" that will necessitate a draft and the taking of sides by the European powers. It is the Götterdämmerung strategy.

What contempt these creatures have for the citizens of their democracy!

James Pratt

The things left unsaid are so important that people outside the pro-war establishment need a glossary. The neocon concept of foreign democracy is a good example. Mostly it means being publically supportive and otherwise useful to US desires. Thus the President-by-military-coup of Pakistan, Pervez Musharref, is a 'friend of democracy'and the internationally monitored elections that were won by the US critics Hugo Chavez, Hamas, Hezbollah and Amal were not democratic, because to the neocons foreign elections are legitimized by them being won by US clients.
To the neocons the elections in Iraq were free
despite the debate being a great deal unfree, since US troops regularly smash up the offices of any organization that dares to criticize them and gives out an address.

arbogast

The Post editorial ends, "Iran and Syria are ruthlessly waging war against Western interests in the Middle East. Offering to talk is only a small part of what it will take to stop them."

Those sentences explicitly call for "ruthless" actions against Iran and Syria.

It won't be on the ground as Colonel Lang has repeatedly pointed out.

Bush must be impeached. He is asking to be impeached. His every action is a gesture of contempt to the American people. He must be recognized for what he is and dealt with under the Constitution.

The Constitution, that great and noble document, contemplated an individual like this achieving power. They provided a mechanism for removing him.

ckrantz

If wapo is supposed to be representative of the washington establishment is shows how people haven't learned anything from Iraq. But the simplistic view above on the Middle East is fairly common i suspect. In both democrats and republicans power circles. The israelis displayed the same sympthoms in the latest lebanese war.

Leigh

The most basic question of all is: who stands to gain from this asassination?
Syria? Not likely. It is already having to contend with the Hariri murder.
Iran? Not likely. It's ally is Syria. Weakening Syria does nothing for Iran.
Israel? Now, there's a thought. Having lost the war to Hezbollah, how better to take revenge than to get Lebanon fighting within it's self.

Is this so difficult to understand?

Got A Watch

Maybe Cheney has been watching Pro Poker on TV and decided to go ALL IN. Or maybe its a crap shoot - one last roll of the dice, double or nothing, for the whole Middle East. Judging by their past record, I would not be surprised by anything.

The time for action will have to be after next week, what with 43 in Jordan to visit his vassals, and before January brings Pelosi in, who would surely oppose bombing Iran. Syria, well maybe, it fits with only bombing weak countries.

As was commented, the WAPO demonstrates it's utter ignorance of Middle Eastern reality. It's more comforting to stick to standard neo-con hallucinatory terrain, where the lessons of history go un-remarked and unlearned:

"Beyond the Euphrates began for us the land of mirage and danger, the sands where one helplessly sank, and the roads which ended in nothing. The slightest reversal would have resulted in a jolt to our prestige giving rise to all kinds of catastrophe; the problem was not only to conquer but to conquer again and again, perpetually; our forces would be drained off in the attempt."

Emperor Hadrian AD 117-138
posted by Meirux on DailyKos

North Bay

Colonel Lang: Were the Executive Branch of our Republic to unilaterally opt to attack Iran, would you anticipate resignations- as a matter of conscience- from the highest echelons of our armed forces?

W. Patrick Lang

North Bay

No. pl

J

Colonel,

a true mark of a leader strives for peace and peaceful exercise of the rule of law. on the flip side, both the bush 43 admin. and israel's olmert admin. have nothing but contempt for their respective nation's laws and feel they are gods unto themselves. bush-cheney and olmert are afraid of peace, as peace underminds their dictatorship rule by fear. both want what iran is sitting on -- oil, sweet iranian crude. bombing iran has nothing to do with bringing about peace in the mideast, but everything to do with fascist acquisition of oil by all crooked means. the wapo neocon rag is but an extension of that crooked means.

North Bay

Come a showdown between the Executive and Legislative branches on a matter of nuclear launch warfare (against Iran or N. Korea), whose dictates would the U.S. military follow? Is the Constitutional dictate of a congressional declaration of war still existent? In your opinion, of course.

confusedponderer

North Bay,
is there a point when the political lunacy of the president would require to, at least, stepping down? Is it possible that you imply more?

To be honest, I can hardly imagine that happening. Bombing Iran' is 'over there', and the threat to the homeland in form of breakdown of democracy is not palpable, so why should an officer got to such a step, when it's all about (let's be generous) legal orders from the elected government.

America is, no matter that Bush, too, has committed war crimes (prominently: war of agression; ordering violations of the Geneva Conventions - that's where I'm generous. Congress has ratified those threaties, thus, they bind the president. So he would have IMO acted illegally even domestically. Using the principle of lex posterior in reference to ratified international law is ludicrous [#]), far far away from a country like Nazi Germany where officers eventually decided they needed to act.

IMO US officers and Germany's Weimar bred officers have in common their apolitical mindset. And officers are almost by nature conservative (literally). They live a secluded base world, and yes, while they get news and have political opinions, they have other priorities. They take/ took pride in standing above petty politics, _serving the nation_ (*). That is why it has to get much much worse before anything like resignations, much less much more, will happen.

(*) ... and that is also why I think the the right wing smear that USMC honour guards didn't give Clinton the honours he deserved as President, is a flat out lie, and an insult to the soldiers. It shows that those who cooked that up know nothing about the military.
[#] ... because it would allow for signing and ratifying a treaty banning A - making it part of the law of the land - to right then, make a domestic law allowing A. You cannot nullify international law using domestic law. You cannot nullify inter-state responsibilities by making a contradicting domestic law, like the Iraq war resolution, or a presidential secret executive order (sorry, but I can't help thinking 'Führerbefehl' whenever I read it).
Were this the case, Saddam would have gotten away from the armistice imposed on him legally, by simply ruling it doesn't apply. Huh, huh. That should show up the general qualms I have with unitary executives and their 'findings' on the application of laws. I say this from my armchair (which is in fact a stability ball - thus, no armrests!) and only sketchy knowledge of US law. Because as for int'l law, these are fundamental and unanimously agreed on (Gonzales' and Cheney's office don't count) principles.

PS: And as for neocons @ the editorial pages: That's one of their playgrounds for propagandising. The nice thing about it is that it is all 'just opinion', thus, no accoutability and no factual correctness needed. Yay!

jonst

Pl,

I disagree with your assertion that WAPO is a "neocon rag". A "rag" for sure! But all the "neocon propaganda lines" you highlight are the, idiotic, and often times, delusional ,assumptions tightly held by the chattering class (and most Americans, for that matter). Belief in this pernicious crap is the currency one pays to get on the cable news networks, the Sunday talk shows, or the mainstream media oped pages. Or Congress, and the Whitehouse, for that matter. Or, at minimum, Congressional leadership posts anyway. They are, as well, often, but not always, the price one pays, to secure top posts at various think tanks, non-profit organizations, and Professor's chairs.

That every once and a while someone uttering doubt about these a priori truths, is given access to the microphone, is allowed, for the same purpose as, occasionally, people who claim to have been kidnapped by Martians are allowed a bit of publicity. The discordant vantage point serves merely to confirm the soundness of the groupthink.

The neocon, or not noecon, issue only goes to how one should react to these'eternal truths' ("eternal" that is, until they aren't eternal". See Nixon trip to China, Arafat at the Whitehouse, fall of the Soviet Union and so forth).

The neocons would have us react this way. The non-neocons, the other way. And the massive, and impressive, groups of scholars, and advisors, who know better, can only chip away at the edges of said "eternal truths" until the time is right for the conventional opinion makers to change their views.

taters

We still don't know who killed Bashir. Hariri said yesterday that the current situation in Lebanon best serves Israel and Syria.

confusedponderer

Interesting comment on the Gemayel assassination:
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/editorial/outlook/4358918.html

The author points out that for a hand of both Syria and Israel behind the Gemayel (or Hariri) assassination(s) a credible case can be made. That, however, doesn't mean it's true. In Lebanon everything is possible.

Leaving the Syrians aside, Israel today is killing militants and their leaders on an almost daily basis, so I don't expect Olmert's crew to suddenly feel an urge for self restraint when the price is strategically as attractive as isolating Syria and giving Bush a reason to ignore Baker's recommendation to talk to Syria.

jang

How many who read the editorial have Col. Lang's expertise of the ME to confidently nuance the "assumptions" as he has done for us here? Many readers would be easy targets for this propaganda and the reaction is more fear: the enemy is everywhere. Why would you (or the Democrats) think of drawing down the troops?

W. Patrick Lang

North Bay

The military will obey the Commander in Chief in any situation in which a time sensitive response is involved.

If there were a prolonged constitutional crisis over war powers, I don't know what they would do. It is without precedent except that when Nixon was in his final misery before resignation, the JCS notified major commanders that any order from the WH was to be coordinated with them. pl

confusedponderer

Good read: Gemayel's death provides new ammunition for all sides.
http://www.realcities.com/mld/krwashington/16103592.htm

Abu Sinan

Typical nonsense. With media like this in the US, it is little wonder why Americans are so ill-informed about the Middle East.

This guy's family and their paramilitary killed and assasinated so many people the potential suspects probably number in the tens of thousands.

Matthew

Here's the great irony: W wanted to liberate the ME, i.e., establish a zone of pro-American, corporate-friendly oil-rich states that would love to offer their economies for maximum Western investment and market penetration. Unfortunately, he seems to have overlooked the fact that democracies--if they really are "democratic"--try to advance their own interests for their own people. There already are a bunch of docile Arabs consumers with no skills, they are called "Kuwaitis." A real Arab nation does not want to be an American satellite. As one blogger recently noted, if Bush really cared about the ME why did he surround himself with neo-cons who plainly loathe Muslims? Is the end result of his policies all that surprising?

Helena Cobban

Yeah, the WaPo has quite often in recent years lurched into the position of being a neocon rag. And Jim Hoagland is, I believe, the chief neocon raghead there. (W/ unsigned editorials as well as signed op-eds.)

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