[Note from Larry Johnson: A CIA buddy forwarded this article. It is a must read. It is consistent with what I saw on the ground in Iraq when I was there in June. I discovered that the our focus on counter terrorism--i.e. kicking in doors and killing suspected terrorists--was counterproductive and not diminishing the violence in Iraq. Sometimes we were right but sometimes we were wrong. When we were wrong we ended up creating new enemies. John McCain's mantra about more troops is off base. We don't just need more troops, we need more of the right kind of troops. We need more special forces troops like Bill Edmonds. Unfortunately, we call them "Special Forces" for a reason. Not everyone can do the job and it takes years to train these men and women. Without the right kind of forces we are just digging a deeper hole.]
by Faisal Kutty
Fifty-eight years after the universal declaration of human rights was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly, the debate continues as to whether the document is truly universal.
Upon its adoption on Dec. 10, 1948, former U.S. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, chair of the commission on human rights, expressed her hope it would become "the Magna Carta of all mankind." Ironically, as was the fate with the "great charter" of 1215, the declaration has not fully lived up to its name.
The declaration was challenged from its very inception. The commission's first draft attracted 168 amendments from various countries. However, the final document was almost unchanged from the initial draft tabled by the commission. Forty-eight countries voted in favour, while eight countries â€” Poland, Byelorussia, Czechoslovakia, the Ukraine, Yugoslavia, South Africa, Saudi Arabia and the Soviet Union â€” abstained and expressed reservations.
by Chris Floyd
The reaction from actual Iraqis on the just-released report by the "Iraq Study Group"? They don't like it; it won't work; it's largely a tissue of fantasies and shows no grasp of the true situation in Iraq; it has nothing to do with solving Iraq's problems but everything to do with the American Establishment's desperate attempt to save face, no matter how many people must be slaughtered in the process.
But why should we listen to these wretched malcontents in Iraq? How the hell could they know more about the reality of their lives than Jim "Bagman" Baker and Lee "Whitewash for Hire" Hamilton and Harriet "Here's the PB&J, George" Miers and Ed "Porn Man" Meese? I mean, come on: who on God's green earth knows more about the political, social, ethnic, historical, religious and military complexities of Iraq than Ed Meese? The Heritage Foundation's Ronald Reagan Distinguished Fellow in Public Policy? Man, he's the go-to guy for all things Iraqi! There's no freaking, frigging way that any Hakim or Abdul or Nouri or Motqada or Mahmoud is gonna have any greater insight on Iraq than Ed Meese. Are you kidding me?
by Paul Balles
Some of mankind's most terrible misdeeds have been committed under the spell of certain magic words or phrases.
--James Bryant Conant
The geese heard the barbarians scaling the gate-wall while the guard-dogs slept.
â€¦it offended his conscience to make a little money by sending to the slaughter-house an ox which had long been in his service.
-Plutarch, Life of Cato.
World War II had started more than two years earlier. But -- prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor -- America was having none of it. Remembering World War I, most Americans were anxious to avoid a repeat performance.
Having cracked the Japanese codes, American "leaders" knew the attack was coming, but they had no interest in preventing it.
Instead they moved all their carriers out to sea, left a few rusty old battleships in port, and manned those ships with thousands of sailors -- whose lives would be sacrificed for policy considerations. The aim was to produce a catalyzing event, after which it would be easy to lead the American people into another foreign war.
Below is a reprise from June 2003, which appeared on CounterPunch and in my Moscow Times column, a piece that was not included in the Empire Burlesque book. It is a general argument that tries, briefly, to get at some of the deeper issues underlying the bedevilments of the age, which, as noted below, are by no means exclusive to our modern times.