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Hea culpa: ‘New Yorker’ editor backed Iraq war because Saddam had WMD and wanted to liberate Jerusalem

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Two days ago I did a post citing all the mainstream reporters who went along with the Iraq war disaster– who were wrong on the biggest foreign-policy call of their careers. Some followup:

Speaking on WNYC, Brooke Gladstone of “On the Media” defended those reporters by saying they had no political cover to oppose war because Congress wasn’t questioning the war. She stood up for David Remnick and the New Yorker Magazine, which pushed the war, and implicitly for her husband Fred Kaplan of Slate, who reached the same grievously-wrong judgment. But as commenter Kathleen points out, many Congresspeople were doing just that: 23 Senators and 133 Representatives voted against the Iraq war resolution in 2002.

Only two senators voted against Lyndon Johnson’s Tonkin Gulf Resolution in 1964–which was more than enough for The New Yorker to oppose that war.

Many of those Vietnam New Yorker pieces were written by Jonathan Schell. And Schell has an astoundingly-good piece up at the Nation right now saying that the pretext for the Iraq war is a principle that the U.S. long rejected, but that Israel bestowed on us, the idea of using force to prevent a country from getting nuclear weapons:

 Israel has followed a policy never adopted by any other nuclear power: it seeks to maintain, by military means, sole possession of nuclear weapons in its region. (The policy is not officially articulated, owing to another remarkable Israeli innovation in nuclear policy: the government’s silence regarding all aspects of its large nuclear arsenal.) In all other regions, there are nuclear competitors who seek to maintain some sort of balance among themselves. 

It is true that the idea of maintaining a nuclear monopoly by pre-emptive attack was entertained by the United States during the brief period of its nuclear monopoly, from 1945 to 1949 (when the Soviet Union tested an atomic bomb), but it was always firmly rejected

Back at Schell’s former perch, The New Yorker has a tenth-year-anniversary roundup post called “The Iraq War in The New Yorker,” in which Joshua Rothman completely leaves out Jeffrey Goldberg’s famously-erroneous arguments for war in that magazine’s pages. But Rothman does mention Remnick’s stance:

Many people wrestled with the question of whether or not to go to war—including The New Yorkers editor, David Remnick, in a February 3, 2003, Comment called “Making a Case.”

File that under, How to please the boss. You’d think Remnick had penned a on-the-one-hand/on-the-other piece. No. Go back to Remnick’s piece. It is true that he wrestles with the arguments against war, for a paragraph or two. But having pinned those arguments to the mat, Remnick gets on to the urgent business of that February, lining up the tin soldiers and echoing that other establishment liberal hawk, Kenneth Pollack, who was pushing the war in the New York Times and in a big book.

Pollack wrote that Saddam supported terrorism so as “to play a role in the Arab-Israeli conflict.” Remnick echoes that argument, states that Saddam has weapons of mass destruction and that his “nuclear ambitions are clear,” and that he vows to liberate Jerusalem. Remnick:

More effectively than Dick Cheney or Paul Wolfowitz or any other of the hawkish big thinkers in the Administration, Kenneth Pollack, in his book “The Threatening Storm,” presents in almost rueful terms the myriad reasons that an aggressive policy toward Iraq now is the least bad of our alternatives. As Bush did at the U.N., Pollack carefully describes the Stalinist character of Saddam’s state: the pervasive use of torture to terrorize and subdue the citizenry and insure the loyalty of the Army and the security apparatus; the acts of genocide and ethnic cleansing; the use of chemical weapons on neighbors and his own citizens; the sponsorship of terrorist groups; the refusal to relinquish weapons of mass destruction despite the humanitarian and economic cost the Iraqis pay through international embargo. We are reminded, too, of Saddam’s vision of himself as the modern Saladin, the modern Nebuchadnezzar II, who (after massacring the Kurds, invading Kuwait, and attacking the marsh Arabs of the south) vows to “liberate” Jerusalem, vanquish the United States, and rule over a united Arab world. Saddam is not a man of empty promises. His territorial aggression is a matter of record, his nuclear ambitions are clear.

…The United States has been wrong, politically and morally, about Iraq more than once in the past; Washington has supported Saddam against Iran and overlooked some of his bloodiest adventures. The price of being wrong yet again could be incalculable. History will not easily excuse us if, by deciding not to decide, we defer a reckoning with an aggressive totalitarian leader who intends not only to develop weapons of mass destruction but also to use them.

Saddam’s abdication, or a military coup, would be a godsend; his sudden conversion to the wisdom of disarmament almost as good. It is a fine thing to dream. But, assuming such dreams are not realized, a return to a hollow pursuit of containment will be the most dangerous option of all.

At alternet, Michael Ratner mentions other mainstream reporters who were wrong on the most important call of their careers:

Even more alarmingly, in the months preceding the start of the war, the pages of the  New York Times would greet us with more banging of the drums: a demand by Thomas Friedman that France be kicked out of the Security Council for its refusal to join up, or a startling piece of war propaganda by then soon-to-be Executive Editor Bill Keller, fantasizing about the impact of a one-kiloton nuke detonated in Manhattan – 20,000 incinerated, many more dying a “gruesome death from radiation sickness.” But make no mistake: although the  New York Times has a shameless history of supporting war after war, other prominent mainstream journalists and intellectuals were eager to ride the bandwagon.  These names include George Packer of the  New Yorker…  Jeffrey Goldberg,  The Atlantic’s Peter Beinart, Fareed Zakaria, Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens, Anne-Marie Slaughter, and Paul Berman to name a few.

The late Tony Judt sized up this whole lot most aptly with the label “Bush’s Useful Idiots.”  The “useful idiots,” he said, were those from within the liberal establishment who, either through a misguided attempt to project strength, willfully played along with preposterous WMD claims, or simply allowed themselves to get carried away with the imperialistic fervor surrounding a new call to war, abdicating the responsibilities upon which liberal ideology is based. Instead, they aligned their positions with the neo-conservative architects of the Iraq War.

Judt’s piece on the useful idiots of the liberal establishment appeared in the London Review of Books– and also named Remnick.

Michael Ignatieff, Leon Wieseltier, David Remnick and other prominent figures in the North American liberal establishment – have focused their regrets not on the catastrophic invasion itself (which they all supported) but on its incompetent execution. They are irritated with Bush for giving ‘preventive war’ a bad name.

Of course notwithstanding Brooke Gladstone’s establishment focus, many other journalists distinguished themselves in those dark days. Writes a friend:

The other day, Christiane Amanpour interviewed Jonathan Landay and Warren Strobel. She pointed out how lonely their accurate reports in McClatchy had made them, in the run-up to the Iraq war. They said, (quietly, without a trace of self-pity), that they weren’t much more attended to now with all the retrospective comment on 2003. Hers was the only news program of any note they’d been interviewed for.

So there you have it: the only TV network reporter who got it right in 2003 interviews the only newspaper reporters who got it right, and she’s still the only one paying attention. (Give partial credit to Chris Matthews in 2003; I remember some angry outbursts by him; he said the war was a phony, that Bush didn’t care about evidence, he was going to do it because he wanted to; but in the course of the war itself, afterward, he frequently reined himself in.)

Calling reporters out on this is not just a matter of score-settling. The issue is Iran: will the United States undertake another brutal folly, in some measure because Israel and its supporters think it’s wise policy.  As Jonathan Schell writes:

Israel, the pioneer in the use of force to roll back weapons of mass destruction, pushed Obama at every turn during the election, with its politically powerful supporters in the United States, to commit himself to military action. And Obama did.

P.S. A friend says that David Remnick is atoning for his error by considering that the road to Baghdad and Cairo and Tehran leads through Jerusalem– by mounting resistance to neoconservative policy on Iran and by taking on the Israeli occupation in a series of spectacularly-good essays and reports on the new Israel, lately revealing Naftali Bennett to be a crazed zealot. Certainly Remnick deserves tremendous credit for these reports. But this discussion won’t end, and he knows it, till there is a conversation inside the Jewish community and beyond about Zionism, and the extent to which American Jewish adherence to an anachronistic belief system enabled the collapse of the liberal antiwar opposition inside the establishment. 

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59 Responses

  1. seafoid
    March 22, 2013, 9:54 am

    “another remarkable Israeli innovation in nuclear policy: the government’s silence regarding all aspects of its large nuclear arsenal ”

    I never understood this. Nuclear ambiguity it is called. But what difference does it make? The world knows that Israel has nukes. Imagine a man with a large turnip growing out of the back of his head. He never discusses it. He calls it turnip ambiguity.

    • Empiricon
      March 22, 2013, 10:51 am

      It’s a gentleman’s agreement, seafroid. If they acknowledged their nukes, US law dictates that we couldn’t subsidize them, and in fact could impose sanctions on them. But heaven forbid the US actually adhere to it’s ideals when it comes to foreign policy in the Middle East.

      • marc b.
        March 22, 2013, 2:38 pm

        it’s more than a ‘gentlemen’s’ agreement. the nixon administration was in a bind (at the time sale of f-4s was pending to israel), and israel mislead the administration over its program. the policy that was mutually decided was that israel had its nukes, but would not publicly acknowledge their existence, because of the potential repurcussions for the US/israel relationship at the time. avner cohen details the negotiations in ‘the worst kept secret’. in the negotiations, israel agreed that it would not ‘introduce’ nuclear weapons into the ME, the novel definition of ‘introduction’ being that israel may ‘possess’ such weapons but not publicly acknowledge its possession.

        i think that’s the real story behind vanunu. israel publicly disclosed the existence of its nuclear arsenal through the patsy vanunu, while nominally keeping its deal with the US.

    • irmep
      March 22, 2013, 11:02 am

      Nuclear ambiguity makes a *huge* difference. It is a corrupt stance in which the U.S. doesn’t deal with the ongoing illegal diversions of nuclear technology and material to Israel. It means U.S. presidents can pretend the Symington and Glenn amendments prohibiting foreign aid to nuclear states outside the NNPT are not applicable to Israel. It allows journalists and so-called “media critics” and ombudsmen from Brooke Glandstone to WAPO’s Patrick Pexton never to mention Israeli nukes as they prattle on in unbalanced discussions of the “Iran threat.”

      Nuclear ambiguity is to pretexts for attacking Iran, what mobile anthrax labs, aluminum tubes, Niger yellowcake and mushroom clouds were to the whole Iraq outrage.

      But it’s not really targeted at the world. It’s a policy administrations from Nixon to present and Israel have targeted at the American people. It’s an anti-accountability policy.

    • thetumta
      March 22, 2013, 7:57 pm

      Plausible denial for Democrats, but less so lately. An American President, Jimmy Carter has confirmed Israel’s illegal nuclear status and the Democrat Party is complicit in yet another dangerous lie.

      BDS should be directed at the Israeli state, it’s citizens and their American Bund supporters. Crushing sanctions for all involved.


  2. seafoid
    March 22, 2013, 10:09 am

    We are reminded, too, of Bush’s vision of himself as the modern Lincoln , the modern Winston churchill , who (after massacring so many Afghans , murdering Iraqis , and attacking civilians everywhere with his drones ) vows to “liberate” capitalism , vanquish big Government and rule over a United States anchored in perpetual prosperity.

    The 2 screaming failures of the last decade were Iraq and financial regulation. Paid now in suicides, debt, foreclosures and grunt testicles.

  3. HarryLaw
    March 22, 2013, 10:19 am

    General Anthony Zinni said “the invasion of Iraq may well turn out to be the greatest strategic disaster in American history” the same people who brought that about, are now advocating for the use of force against Iran, an even worse disaster in the making, which would make Iraq seem like a walk in the park. Will they ever learn?

    • seafoid
      March 22, 2013, 10:41 am

      You have to look at the numbers. $238 bn in spending is a great result no matter how many Americans died.

      It’s easy enough to sell patriotism to the ones who do the dying.

      • MRW
        March 22, 2013, 12:17 pm

        The all-in costs the damage done to the troops and payments for their wounds and widows’ lives, etc, etc, etc, is $6 trillion.

      • thetumta
        March 22, 2013, 8:00 pm

        Tell a fool his opinion matters, he’ll follow you. Tell a fool he’s a hero and he’ll kill for you! The song remains the same.

    • Reds
      March 22, 2013, 12:12 pm

      They don’t need to learn. Mainly because the media(MSM) will keep inviting them back on their shows or qouting them as experts. Also the media(MSM) failing to out these same people also helps against the learning curve.

  4. calm
    March 22, 2013, 10:38 am

    A conversation with Chris Matthews of MSNBC with Chris Matthews (Clip)
    Chris Matthews on Charlie Rose makes the astounding pronouncement that he knew full well that what he was saying on the air about our invasion of Iraq was wrong but he didn’t want to admit it since he felt it would have been bad for the country. He also takes a cheap shot at bloggers while he’s at it.
    May 25, 2009

    Why the Iraq War was a mistake
    Chris Matthews points out the ill-considered issues that have complicated the U.S. war in Iraq but should have been resolved before.
    Chris Matthews Revises History on His Opposition to the Iraq Invasion During his ‘Let Me Finish’ Segment
    MSNBC – Hardball
    Host Chris Matthews
    August 31, 2010

    DAVID GREGORY, HOST, “RACE FOR THE WHITE HOUSE”: “…. I think the questions were asked. I think we pushed. I think we prodded. I think we challenged the president. I think not only those of us the White House press corps did that, but others in the rest of the landscape of the media did that.
    If there wasn‘t a debate in this country, then maybe the American people should think about, why not? Where was Congress? Where was the House? Where was the Senate? Where was public opinion about the war? What did the former president believe about the pre-war intelligence? He agreed that—in fact, Bill Clinton agreed that Saddam had WMD.
    The right questions were asked. I think there‘s a lot of critics—and I guess we can count Scott McClellan as one—who thinks that, if we did not debate the president, debate the policy in our role as journalists, if we did not stand up and say, this is bogus, and you‘re a liar, and why are you doing this, that we didn‘t do our job. And I respectfully disagree. It‘s not our role.”
    –David Gregory, MSNBC – HardBall, The Press And Iraq, May 28, 2008–

    • munro
      March 22, 2013, 12:00 pm

      David Gregory challenging the president

    • MRW
      March 22, 2013, 12:25 pm

      I think the questions were asked. I think we pushed. I think we prodded.

      Gregory was on Imus all the time saying how wonderful Mr. Foreign Policy Freidman was for saying bomb the fuckers.

      The Neiman Foundation mopped up the floor with these sycophants describing what the Knight-Ridder (later McClatchy) reporters did the THE YEAR before the New Yorker piece. [Remnick’s piece–just read the clip above, not the whole thing, altho did at the time–is a lot to atone for. Does he have the balls to tell the bare truth going forward?]

      P.S. Don’t forget Landay and Strobel’s editor John Walcott. He got a Pulitzer too.

  5. American
    March 22, 2013, 10:47 am

    “Israel, the pioneer in the use of force to roll back weapons of mass destruction, pushed Obama at every turn during the election, with its politically powerful supporters in the United States, to commit himself to military action. And Obama did.”>>>>>

    Yes, they did.

    “But this discussion won’t end, and he knows it, till there is a conversation inside the Jewish community and beyond about Zionism, and the extent to which American Jewish adherence to an anachronistic belief system enabled the collapse of the liberal antiwar opposition inside the establishment. “>>>>>

    It calls for more than a conversation within the Jewish community about Zionism.
    The corruption of our politicians and government on Israel by the zionist and yes, supporters within the Jewish (and the christian zio community) must end….or we’re gonna have big, big, big trouble down the road.
    This Israeli cancer has infiltrated the US at every level, from our media, press, state goverments, the Federal government, every agency of government…and when it blows it’s gonna blow big.

  6. Donald
    March 22, 2013, 10:50 am

    On the lies of the “liberals” who supported the war–

    There was a risk that if they opposed the war and it didn’t turn out to be a disaster, their careers as commenters would be over. You are not forgiven if you go against the majority and the majority is right. But if they supported it with all the Important People, there would be no consequences for them personally even if it did go sour. If that’s how they reasoned, they were correct.

    • Reds
      March 22, 2013, 12:15 pm

      “their careers as commenters would be over”

      Oddly enough the ones who were soo wrong (Jeff Goldberg for one) have been not only elevated but are called on to express their “sniker” experts point of view while the ones who were right are often still questioned and dismissed using fear tactics as the basis. Like “But what if” “You can’t know that ____ country isn’t really going to do this to the U.S.” seems to never be the question towards the Neo-Cons.

  7. Dan Crowther
    March 22, 2013, 11:08 am

    Isn’t it kind of weird that Phil still bashes all these guys about Iraq when he himself supported O’s war in Libya, which was probably even more blatantly illegal etc?

    • Avi_G.
      March 22, 2013, 11:43 am


      To some extent you are right. Bear in mind that the Iraq war was not only marketed as a war of liberation but also as a war to rid the world of menacing weapons of mass destruction.

      Libya, like Syria these days, was marketed as a western humanitarian program to rid the people of their ruthless dictator. The fact that dictator was Britain’s and the United States’ best friend in the 10 years that preceded that was conveniently forgotten.

      Not that it makes one bit of difference for the victims who died as a result of these wars, but unlike Phil’s hopeless optimism, the rallying cry for the wars has usually come from fascists who cloaked their real interests with humanitarian concerns or concerns for world peace and security. So that’s another difference.

      Ultimately, Phil needs to shake off his hopeless optimism and realize that when it comes to states, at least, there is no such thing as helping or doing good. Instead, there are only interests and power, two fundamental guiding principles in international politics. You’re not going to find one single state on the face of the planet that will do something for another state or nation out of the goodness of its leadership’s collective heart. As such, both history and a dose of cynicism should be the guiding principles of the average world citizen.

      • Dan Crowther
        March 22, 2013, 1:50 pm

        OK Avi, but it’s just a swapping out of pretexts (weapons of mass destruction vs he’s on his way to benghazi to kill his own people)

        What’s the difference? To me, there really isn’t any, other than the fact that the Iraq war was a full on invasion, much larger,longer etc.

        The difference to Phil, and probably many others here, is that there is an israel angle to the iraq war, but not as clear of one in libya, or in yemen, somalia and until recently even in Syria. So you don’t hear about those here, at least until Israel got involved directly. They’re un-wars.

      • Annie Robbins
        March 22, 2013, 1:57 pm

        dan, there were a lot of main posts about libya here.

      • MRW
        March 22, 2013, 5:17 pm
      • Annie Robbins
        March 22, 2013, 11:32 pm

        i adore you mrw, thanks for the comic relief.

      • Blank State
        March 22, 2013, 10:43 pm

        “Ultimately, Phil needs to shake off his hopeless optimism….”

        Actually that seems to be a contagious affliction here, that is not only suffered by Phil, but by many of the commentors as well. Often, simplification is the straightest course to the truth and realistic evaluation….

        If it looks like an ass, heehaws like an ass, and spawns another ass, odds are its not a Clydesdale.

      • Annie Robbins
        March 22, 2013, 11:47 pm

        Actually that seems to be a contagious affliction here, that is not only suffered by Phil, but by many of the commentors as well.

        the wise blank speaks. and the evidence of this contagious affliction is all over this thread/not.

    • MRW
      March 22, 2013, 12:56 pm

      All the wars: Libya, Syria, and Iran, were planned.
      General Wesley Clark:
      “What happened on 9/11…A coup. A policy coup. Some hardnose people took over the direction of American policy and they didn’t bother to inform the rest of us.”

    • Chu
      March 22, 2013, 2:40 pm

      Libya seems to dovetail nicely with the entire neocon Clean Break strategy. The entire plan is working as proposed, and Iran is the last on the list.

    • American
      March 23, 2013, 9:08 am

      Dan Crowther says:
      March 22, 2013 at 11:08 am

      Isn’t it kind of weird that Phil still bashes all these guys about Iraq when he himself supported O’s war in Libya, which was probably even more blatantly illegal etc?>>>>>>

      False comparison…Libya was a horse of a different color. Libya was already engaged in civil war revolt.
      Iraq was a ginned up war based on deliberate lies to the US public where “we invaded” another country.
      Huge difference.

  8. Avi_G.
    March 22, 2013, 11:27 am

    Speaking on WNYC, Brooke Gladstone of “On the Media” defended those reporters by saying they had no political cover to oppose war because Congress wasn’t questioning the war.

    This goes back to the herd mentality, the pressure to conform, the fear to be different, and the lack of intellectual courage.

    This isn’t confined to the press, to the media or to politics. This phenomenon plagues current-day America. Everything is policed, litigated, everything is regimented, those who dare stray from approved norms are judged harshly, shunned, and marginalized.

    Freedom of Expression is today a hollow and meaningless term bandied about as self-congratulatory rhetoric.

    If society were different, then these would-be journalists would have grown up to become critical, thinking and questioning human beings. Instead, however, they grew up to become conformists, apologists and spineless hacks.

    • MRW
      March 22, 2013, 12:31 pm

      This goes back to the herd mentality, the pressure to conform, the fear to be different, and the lack of intellectual courage.

      i.e: Zionism.

      • Avi_G.
        March 22, 2013, 3:19 pm

        Zionism in particular. But in general, it has to do with a society that is asleep at the wheel, a society that has entrusted its fate and future to a small group of charismatic leaders whom it then follows like sheep without an ounce of self-reflection or thought.

        The dumbing down of America doesn’t only serve Zionism, it serves various groups and elites. Thus the average citizen thinks that his civic duty starts and ends with voting once every four years. And there are millions who do not even bother to fulfill that minimal obligation.

        Zionism conveniently hitched a proverbial ride on and took advantage of that phenomenon. It didn’t create it, in my view. In other words, American society enabled the existence of the Israel Lobby.

      • Annie Robbins
        March 22, 2013, 11:44 pm

        i totally agree avi.

      • American
        March 23, 2013, 8:57 am

        Annie Robbins says:

        i totally agree avi.>>>>

        Me too.

        BTW, did anyone see the program “Hubris” on MSNBC last night? It was a documentary presentation that went step by step in revealing all the lies and the people, Cheney, Feith Wolfowitz,etc..who set up and stove piped the Iraq war.
        Chris Hayes, Chris Matthews (who was stupid, as usual), David Corn and some others commenting.
        They also ripped the NYT and WP, showing how they buried reporters like Pincus who called out the lies, in the back section of the paper and front paged the reporters who were pushing the Bush adm lies.
        And they all asked why no one has been held to account for their lies.

        But the sad thing is those like Matthews will tomorrow go right back to promoting the Iran nuke scare and how it’s’ a threat’ to the world.

  9. dbroncos
    March 22, 2013, 11:38 am

    Thanks for revisiting the sad mess of the Iraq war, Phil. As you you said its most important relevence today is the looming war with Iran. Coming to terms with when and if that war will start is the only reason I can see that Obama travelled to Israel – apart from pleasing the Zionist big spenders who are the lifeblood of the DNC.

  10. pabelmont
    March 22, 2013, 12:08 pm

    I think there are a lot of arrogant SOBs in the USA who call themselves “opinion makers”. OK, perhaps they are opinion-makers, and therefore not arrogant in their self-assessment. BUT in whose interest are they making these opinions? Not the interest of the American people, surely.

    If they see themselves working in the interest of the American people, they should challenge everything — official pronouncements of fact (e.g., there ARE WMDs, whatever those may be), official prudential judgments (WMDs threaten USA’s national security: Hunh? Why? How?), “received wisdom”, “the consensus”, etc.

    Why challenge? Because all these things were far too thin, even vaporous, to serve as excuses for a project as morally questionable and costly as a war.

    No, these guys were forming opinion on behalf of a “party line” just like commisars in the old USSR or the new China (or the new Russia, I’d imagine), or in Hitler’s government, etc. They acted as one who believed his job, his livelihood, perhaps his very life, were on the line if he did not assert the new consensus-party-line.

    I think oligarchy (the rule in USA by all the several BIGs, led as to the Iraq war by BIG-ZION, BIG-OIL, and BIG-ARMS) was the reason for this grotesque cowardice, because the BIGs seem to own the newspapers and TV networks, control much advertising, and control the old-boy networks and other manifestations of “the establishment” in the USA where people “go along to get along” without regard for the cost to the country, the people, etc. NOTE: we still have not reversed the bad anti-regulation which led to the mortgage/banking crisis that brought down Europe and much of the USA in 2008 — so strong are the BIG-BANKs in USA’s governance.

    We do wrong to analyze one part of the problem of USA’s governance without fitting it into context: I/P, Climate Change, Banking, War, Economy, Globalization in many manifestations, Courts (especially Supreme Court on corporations generally). All this comes about because of the combination of corportate power and the power of super-rich individuals. See: draft constitutional amendment, which explains some of the problems and see:if-money-is-speech-is-more-money-better-speech-or-only-louder-speech?

  11. piotr
    March 22, 2013, 12:25 pm

    What does it mean “hea culpa”? I tried to check, and I got only one hit for hea: “happily ever after”. Is it a deep joke, “guilty and living happily ever after” or a misspelling?

    • Philip Weiss
      March 22, 2013, 12:46 pm

      Play on Mea culpa. Reporters should be issuing Mea culpas. But he aint, that I’m aware of

      • lysias
        March 22, 2013, 2:43 pm

        The Latin scholar in me screams “sua culpa”, if it’s somebody blaming himself. On the other hand, if it’s somebody blaming somebody else, then that’s something like “illius culpa” (“that guy’s fault”) or “alterius culpa” (“another’s fault”) (although “tua culpa”, i.e., “your fault”, would also get the point across).

      • Dan Crowther
        March 22, 2013, 3:34 pm

        sum es est, sumus estis sunt! i still find myself humming that from time to time…..

      • Stephen Shenfield
        March 22, 2013, 3:42 pm

        What’s wrong with “eius culpa”?

      • lysias
        March 23, 2013, 6:00 pm

        That’s OK too, but I wanted to emphasize the fact that it’s somebody else.

  12. MRW
    March 22, 2013, 12:48 pm

    I wish you guys could have seen the BBC Panorama show last Monday night on the lies of the Iraq War.

    Interviews with the CIA Paris station chief saying that no matter what they told the US admin from Europe, there were vested interests high up in the WH and DoD who made sure it was debunked, ‘certain people’ wanted that war for their private reasons. Tyler Drumheller (CIA station chief)–one of the good guys IMHO–saying how Tenet called Drumheller from the Waldorf the night before Powell appeared before the UN. Drumheller explained that he took the tubes and labs/trucks out because: Boss, don’t let Powell say that. It’s not true. The BBC reporter says that George Tenet and John McLaughlin deny it, they don’t ‘recall the conversation’. Drumheller says: Then one of us is lying and it’s not me.

    Panorama excoriates Tony Blair, who refused to be interviewed. MI6 says it was all lies. And Curveball, the sole source, smiles as he admits he made the whole thing up. “You lied?” asks the reporter. “Yes.” Germany told the US CIA and WH before 9/11 that Curveball couldn’t be trusted. Curveball was disgraced and off the German spy payroll. He was working at Burger King in Germany flipping burgers when 9/11 happened, and the WH machine resurrected him.

    The BBC has a global weekly audience of over 200 million, and Panorama leaves its shows up for a year, one of the most popular shows it runs. Ergo, the rest of the world knows. So if the Israel-Firsters and Israel push for a war with Iran. . . .

  13. HarryLaw
    March 22, 2013, 12:58 pm

    In the past 10 years the US has trashed what remains of a global world order, they now want to regime change any state that does not comply with its demands, to achieve these ends it will join forces with anyone, including Al Qaeda associates Al Nusra front in Syria whose aim is Sharia law and no democracy. The US treasury dept have now told American citizens and companies they are now free to send money to rebel fighters, yes Al Qaeda associates, you could not make this stuff up, see here. Obviously if you send money to AlQaeda associates the Treasury Dept don’t approve of they will send you to jail for the rest of your life.

    • Abierno
      March 22, 2013, 6:06 pm

      Harry you are absolutely correct. The Syrian conflict is far from a civil insurrection against Assad. With jihadi from all over the world, including the US, Europe and Great Britain pouring into Syria this is not a local conflict. The use of
      chemical weapons most likely by the jihadi, who captured a chlorine factory in
      Aleppo, as well as the Damascus mosque attack which murdered an elderly,
      beloved and powerful cleric are not the actions of the Syrian people. British police are already raising serious concerns, as should we, about what will happen when these rogues return to back to the UK, US and Europe well trained, heavily weaponized and strongly reinforced by the these powers in violent, disruptive &
      murderous behavior. Talk of arming, training, supporting these non state actors,
      enouraging anti lawful behavior (to put it mildly) is a mistake far beyond Iraq.
      The political actors who support these policies are in truth looking to bring the
      war in Syria, the unrest of the middle east – “home” to the US et. al. FSA does not
      in any real, coherent sense exist – it is simply a rag tag assemblage of ever
      reorganizing brigades who have no accountability of any kind. Note their inability to form a stable, governmental coalition. The Syrian people, approximately 70% approve of Assad, and who have some semblance of democracy, simply want an end to the fighting, stability of the Assad regime under which the country can move to a broadening of democratic opportunity. This will clearly under no circumstances occur under a psuedo FSA coalition. There is considerable police
      and public outcry against Cameron’s policies. Hopefully – some one will raise
      similar issues in the US, slowing down the insanity of our foreign policy toward

      • Annie Robbins
        March 22, 2013, 11:52 pm

        that’s exactly where i am at Abierno. it’s really pissing me off too. this latest cw false flag attack is way over the line. way over.

      • yonah fredman
        March 23, 2013, 1:48 am

        Tell me Abierno, this 70% approval rating of Assad by the Syrian people, where does this statistic come from? And tell me what veracity you attribute to polls taken in totalitarian countries.

        They have some semblance of democracy- How would you rate that semblance of democracy? How do international human rights bodies rate the semblance of democracy of Syria?

      • Sumud
        March 23, 2013, 12:04 pm

        The use of chemical weapons most likely by the jihadi, who captured a chlorine factory in Aleppo, as well as the Damascus mosque attack which murdered an elderly, beloved and powerful cleric are not the actions of the Syrian people.

        Mark my words, when the “rebels” use chemical weapons it will be reported instead that it was Assad’s forces that did it. Complete opposite.

        That is how this will happen.

        They can’t pull the “weapons of WMD” (Iraq) or the no-fly zone (Libya) stunts again; “Assad’s gas chambers” schtick is next up.

      • gamal
        March 25, 2013, 3:54 am

        not denying the existence of Assads mobile gas chambers obviously,
        i support the Islamists, the Aleppo marathon will be unisex,
        but its a sacrifice i am willing to countenance for the sake of the beloved people of the Islamic Emirate of Syria,
        i think America just elected Ghassan Hitto as the new dictator (carpetbag tendency), democracy in action, in Syria Islamic extremism is the solution, weird, shouldn’t we be droning them? at least some of them.

  14. doug
    March 22, 2013, 1:21 pm

    The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

    That many liberals joined with the neocons in supporting this classic and incredibly stupid war will continue to eat away at them.

    And it should.

    • JennieS
      March 22, 2013, 5:33 pm

      The road to hell is indeed paved with good intentions and as far as I can see many liberals all over the west are still hard at work building that road towards intervention in Syria right now. R2P has been, is now and ever mopre shall be the liberal excuse for intervention in Iraq, Libya, Mali, Syria and in future in Iran.

    • kalithea
      March 22, 2013, 6:06 pm

      “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” But what if even the good intentions aren’t that good; what if it’s about securing a tighter hold on the Middle East for the gain of the few and the expense of the many? Now if only the comment where I explain this further would show up…sigh.

  15. DICKERSON3870
    March 22, 2013, 1:25 pm

    RE: “Calling reporters out on this is not just a matter of score-settling. The issue is Iran: will the United States undertake another brutal folly, in some measure because Israel and its supporters think it’s wise policy.” ~ Weiss

    FROM: Tikkun/Network of Spiritual Progressives
    Sent: Monday, March 04, 2013 5:57 PM
    To: dickerson
    Subject: Don’t Let AIPAC Push the U.S. Into War with Iran!!!

    [EXCERPTS] Don’t let AIPAC push the U.S. into war with Iran!! Tikkun and NSP are teaming up with Peace Action West to stop this war before it starts!!!
    The run-up to war doesn’t happen overnight. It’s made up of small steps to slowly build acceptance for the idea of military action.
    A group of senators have introduced just such a bill that urges US military and other support if Israel attacks Iran. . .
    . . . It is very difficult for senators to say no to pressure to support this bill if they aren’t hearing from the other side. Your senators need to hear from you right now. And Peace Action West has set up the mechanism to get your message to them right away. . .
    ● Tell your senators to oppose this backdoor to war with Iran. –
    . . . In ‘Tikkun’ magazine we’ve explained in detail why an assault on Iran is destructive to Israel’s best interests, and destructive to the best interests of the U.S. and global peace. With your help, we bought a full page ad against a first strike on Iran, and we would like to do that again, this time in the ‘Washington Post’.
    If you wish to sign and donate to such an ad, please click here. – If you have trouble donating on line, send us a check made out to Tikkun and sent to Tikkun/No War on Iran, 2342 Shattuck Ave, #1200, Berkeley, Ca. 94704. . . .

    • DICKERSON3870
      March 22, 2013, 4:07 pm

      P.S. RE: “A group of senators have introduced just such a bill that urges US military and other support if Israel attacks Iran. . .” ~ Tikkun/NSP (from above)

      SEE: “Goading Gullible America Into War”, by Patrick J. Buchanan,, 3/22/13

      [EXCERPTS] . . . Now we come to the sinister role of the U.S. Senate in setting the table for war. Consider what Senate Joint Resolution 65, crafted at AIPAC, the Israeli Lobby, and now being shopped around for signing by Sen. Lindsey Graham and Sen. Robert Menendez, does.
      SR 65 radically alters U.S. policy by declaring it to be “the policy of the United States … to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability and to take such action as may be necessary to implement this policy.”
      Obama’s policy — no nuclear weapons in Iran — is tossed out. Substituted for it in SR 65 is Bibi Netanyahu’s policy — “no nuclear weapons capability” in Iran.
      Now, as Iran already has that “capability” — as does Germany, Japan, South Korea and other nations who have forsworn nuclear weapons — what SR 65 does is authorize the United States to attack Iran — to stop her from what she is doing now. Yet, according to all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, Iran does not have a nuclear bomb program.
      Critically, SR 65 goes further and “urges that if the Government of Israel is compelled to take military action in self-defense, the United States Government should … provide diplomatic, military and economic support to the Government of Israel in its defense of its territory, people and existence.”
      Translation: Should Bibi attack Iran, the Senate urges the U.S. military to join in that attack. SR 65 is a blank check to Bibi to go to war with Iran, with a U.S. Senate commitment to join him.

      Coupled with House Resolution 850, which calls for crushing new sanctions, SR 65 is designed to so enrage and humiliate Iran that her delegates walk out of negotiations — and war inevitably ensues. . .


  16. DICKERSON3870
    March 22, 2013, 1:43 pm

    RE: “And Schell has an astoundingly-good piece up at the Nation right now saying that the pretext for the Iraq war is a principle that the U.S. long rejected, but that Israel bestowed on us, the idea of using force to prevent a country from getting nuclear weapons . . . ~ Weiss

    MY COMMENT: Israel’s undermining of international law (The law is whatever we say it is!) is yet another reason I fear that Revisionist Zionism and Likudnik Israel (specifically by virtue of their inordinate sway over the U.S.) might very well be an “existential threat” to the values of The Enlightenment! ! !
    “Down, down, down we [the U.S.] go into the deep, dark abyss; hand in hand with Israel.”

    “How We Became Israel”, By Andrew J. Bacevich, The American Conservative, 9/10/12
    LINK –
    “America Adopts the Israel Paradigm”, by Philip Ghiraldi,, 7/05/12
    LINK –
    “Report: Israeli model underlies militarization of U.S. police”, By Muriel Kane, Raw Story, 12/04/11
    LINK –
    From Occupation to “Occupy”: The Israelification of American Domestic Security, By Max Blumenthal, Al-akhbar, 12/02/11
    LINK – OR
    “The Second Battle of Gaza: Israel’s Undermining Of International Law”, by Jeff Halper,, 02/26/10
    LINK –
    “The Trial of Israel’s Campus Critics”, by David Theo Goldberg & Saree Makdisi, Tikkun Magazine, September/October 2009
    LINK –
    “Brooklyn College’s academic freedom increasingly threatened over Israel event”, by Glenn Greenwald,, 2/02/13
    LINK –
    “Peter ‘Powder Keg’ Beinart is disinvited from gig at Atlanta Jewish book festival”, by Annie Robbins, Mondoweiss, 11/05/12
    LINK –
    ‘Israelis are helping write US laws, fund US campaigns, craft US war policy’, by Philip Weiss, Mondoweiss, 6/30/12
    LINK –
    “David Yerushalmi, Islam-Hating White Supremacist Inspires Anti-Sharia Bills Sweeping Tea Party Nation”, by Richard Silverstein, Tikun Olam, 3/02/11
    LINK –
    “Boston airport security program rife with racial profiling has Israeli links”, by Alex Kane, Mondoweiss, 8/14/12
    LINK –
    “Obama’s kill list policy compels US support for Israeli attacks on Gaza”, By Glenn Greenwald,, 11/15/12
    LINK –

    “US Religious Right Propelling Homophobia in African Countries”
    , by Common Dreams, 7/24/12
    LINK –

  17. lysias
    March 22, 2013, 2:39 pm

    If Chris Matthews reined in his opposition to the Iraq war, this was no doubt because of the same pressures from GE corporate that led MSNBC to fire their best-rated talent, Phil Donohue.

    I well remember how talk show host Charlie Warren on D.C.’s WMAL (also Limbaugh’s station) regularly featured speakers like Jim McGovern and Scott Ritter in the leadup to the Iraq war, and how he was fired shortly after the war started. Even though he was a local celebrity (who broke the news of the whereabouts of the D.C. snipers shortly before they were arrested).

    • lysias
      March 22, 2013, 4:36 pm

      Phil Donohue spoke about this on Democracy Now! yesterday morning.

  18. Chu
    March 22, 2013, 3:32 pm

    1963: The year the Israel Lobby Transcended US Law

  19. kalithea
    March 22, 2013, 3:36 pm

    When 9/11 happened everyone immediately pointed to OBL but OBL was in Afghanistan, and Afghanistan just happened to be low on the Zionist paranoia totem pole. So, Afghanistan was attacked to make it look good and then side-lined temporarily; but not permanently, because of its strategic border with Iran.

    Okay so Zionists were paranoid about Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. So one day Zarqawi a Sunni and AQ operative suddenly appears in Iraq for a very brief stint and AHA! instantly, he becomes the suspicious link between Saddam Hussein and 9/11 along with a few other fabricated facts the Zionist ops bureau at the Defense Department cooked up to solidify the casus belli.

    Let’s say you become aware that terrorists are looking for trouble and you figure; they’re going to find it anyway so why not point them in the “right” or convenient direction. Why not steer the trouble they want to create towards a direction that benefits the endgame and nudge their “creativity” towards a plan more sophisticated than they could ever conjure up so they eagerly put it in motion? If you know a rat likes cheese, you plant a big chunk of cheese precisely where you want him to look for it, and that’s how you lure and string AQ along to do the dirty work.

    This happened in Iraq albeit for a split second as the illusion created couldn’t have been sustained for long; and it’s happening in Syria; the recent false flag chemical attack, just one example. AND if you look at the picture more carefully you start to suspect that the plan could easily be way more sinister and probably not limited to these two operations.

    The only thing Zionists haven’t achieved is a link between AQ and Iran, because AQ and Iran are inconveniently, enemies, but there’s always false flag operations, like are executed in Syria, and besides the road to Iran leads through the collapse of Syria. The Syrian operation is also destabilizing Lebanon, is a threat to Maliki’s government and a thorn in his side because Maliki has become expendable on the road to Iran since he kicked out U.S. forces and has gravitated towards Iran. And the formerly side-lined Afghanistan went from being a smaller operation to becoming a giant Nato base commanded by the U.S. right on Iran’s border besides being a great base from which to launch drones to neutralize the unpredictable Waziristan region.

  20. ritzl
    March 22, 2013, 7:54 pm

    Going forward, McClatchy should be the benchmark. “McClatchy says …, what do you have to say about that?”

    Not that they’re always right, but they’re almost always right.

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