Saturday, February 24, 2007

Why US Shields Japan's WWII Denials

By Jerry Meldon
February 24, 2007

On Feb. 19, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso took exception to a U.S. congressional resolution introduced by Rep. Mike Honda, D-California, calling on Japan to “formally acknowledge, apologize and accept historical responsibility” for coercing 200,000 Asian women into slavery as “Comfort Women” (wartime prostitutes) for 3.5 million Japanese soldiers. Mr. Aso said he considers the accusation groundless and extremely regrettable.

Six decades after World War II, can it really be that Japanese officials are still distorting history and insulting the Chinese, Koreans, Philippinos and others across Asia whom Hirohito’ s forces savagely brutalized and robbed?

Read on.

'Amazing Grace': Roots of Freedom

By Jonathan J. Bean
February 24, 2007

William Wilberforce is one of the great forgotten men of history. But, all that is about to change as America marks Black History Month with "Amazing Grace," the remarkable new film that opened nationwide on Feb. 23.

"Amazing Grace" commemorates the bicentennial of the British ban on the slave trade (1807), an antislavery movement led by Wilberforce. Without him, there would have been no end to the slave trade, certainly not in his time.

Read on.

Friday, February 23, 2007

The Clintons' Real Trouble with Truth

By Robert Parry
February 24, 2007

Hollywood mogul David Geffen touched a raw nerve with Hillary Clinton when he told New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd that “everybody in politics lies, but they [the Clintons] do it with such ease, it’s troubling.”

The Clintons’ trouble with truth, however, is not just the petty political lying nor is it their quibbling over what “is is” or what “mistake” means. It’s that they have never shown any real reverence for the truth. Too often, they see it as something to be traded away for a transitory tactical advantage.

Read on.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Blaming the Iraqis for the Iraq Disaster

By Ivan Eland
February 22, 2007

As President Bush continues his Nixonesque policy of “exiting” Iraq by escalation and intimidation, both Republican and Democratic politicians are also imitating the Vietnam-era rhetoric of blaming the citizens of the chaotic country and their neighbors for the mess.

In fact, the politicians are blaming everyone but themselves for this monumental policy failure.

Read on.

GOP, Global Warming & Dinosaur Farts

By Richard Monastersky and Jeffrey Brainard
February 22, 2007

When Congress starts discussing the climatic effects of dinosaur farts, it treads on dangerous territory, given members' own reputations for producing hot air. But Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California bravely ventured into that sensitive subject on Feb. 8, during a heated hearing on global warming in the House Committee on Science and Technology.

In the three-hour session, members quizzed four scientists who had helped oversee a report issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, better known as the IPCC.

Read on.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Bush Is Losing the 'War on Terror'

By Robert Parry
February 20, 2007

Despite the sacrifices in lives, treasure and liberties, the painful reality is that the United States is losing the “war on terror” – in large part because too many people in the Middle East and across the globe view George W. Bush as a bully and a hypocrite.

Bush has become the ugly face of America, mouthing pretty words about freedom and democracy while threatening other nations and bludgeoning those who get in his way. Perhaps even worse, Bush has shown himself to be an incompetent commander, especially for a conflict as complicated and nuanced as this one.

Read on.

Rhetoric and Reality in the Global War on Terror

If Iraq, as Bush says, is the “central front” of the “global war on terror,” at the moment it appears that Baghdad is the central front of the central front of the global war on terror. And according to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki – despite an alarming increase in successful attacks on U.S. helicopters around Baghdad – the early signs of Bush’s “surge” in Baghdad indicate a “dazzling success,” which by extension could imply that the larger war on terror is also a dazzling success.

Unfortunately, two days after al-Maliki’s statement, his appraisal of the situation was called into question when two car bombs tore through a crowded Baghdad market, killing at least 60 people. The brazenness of the attack and the apparent futility of Bush’s surge policy was underscored by the fact that “the attack occurred only minutes after American soldiers passed through the area on patrol,” as reported by the New York Times.

Pointing out that the attack followed a well-established pattern in Iraq, the Times also noted,

The attackers were probably Sunni Arab militants, American and Iraqi officials said, seeking to fuel the sectarian tensions that have torn Baghdad apart. They have responded to past security pushes in similar ways: with bursts of bombings and other attacks seemingly calculated to undermine efforts by the Americans and the Iraqi government to provide a sense of security and confidence for families here.

In other words, American attempts to establish security in Iraq are generally counterproductive in that the actual effects are the opposite of the U.S.’s stated objectives. Yet, the Bush administration pushes ahead with the same policies and tactics, seemingly expecting different results.

Beyond Iraq, there are further signs of the war on terror’s failures in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Not only have attacks on U.S. forces in Afghanistan been on the rise, but so too has al-Qaeda been reestablishing itself as a major force in Pakistan. As the New York Times reported today,

Senior leaders of Al Qaeda operating from Pakistan have re-established significant control over their once-battered worldwide terror network and over the past year have set up a band of training camps in the tribal regions near the Afghan border, according to American intelligence and counterterrorism officials.

American officials said there was mounting evidence that Osama bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, had been steadily building an operations hub in the mountainous Pakistani tribal area of North Waziristan. Until recently, the Bush administration had described Mr. bin Laden and Mr. Zawahri as detached from their followers and cut off from operational control of Al Qaeda.

The United States has also identified several new Qaeda compounds in North Waziristan, including one that officials said might be training operatives for strikes against targets beyond Afghanistan.

This calls into question Bush’s insistence that since 9/11, al-Qaeda has been on the run and on the defensive. Instead, it looks like they’ve been regrouping, recruiting and reestablishing their influence. This assessment would fit in well with the official analysis of the most recent National Intelligence Estimate, which concluded that the Iraq invasion has worsened the global terrorist threat.

As the Times reported last September,

A stark assessment of terrorism trends by American intelligence agencies has found that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks.

The classified National Intelligence Estimate attributes a more direct role to the Iraq war in fueling radicalism than that presented either in recent White House documents or in a report released Wednesday by the House Intelligence Committee, according to several officials in Washington involved in preparing the assessment or who have read the final document.

Of course, this spike in the terrorist threat was precisely what many predicted would be the result of invading Iraq when Bush started floating the idea in 2002. Many now make similar arguments regarding the prospect of war with Iran, but it seems that idea is moving forward as well. Apparently, the Bush administration is still expecting different results from the same policies of bluster and preemption.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Shame on the Washington Post, Again

By Robert Parry
February 19, 2007

Just days before the perjury/obstruction trial of former White House aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby goes to the jury, the Washington Post’s Outlook section published a bizarre front-page article by right-wing legal expert Victoria Toensing suggesting that the prosecutor and one of the chief victims in the case should be put on trial.

Beyond the absurdity – and dishonesty – of Toensing’s arguments, the Post illustrated the article with fabricated “mug shots” of U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald and former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, an Iraq War critic whose undercover CIA wife, Valerie Plame, was outed by the Bush administration.

Read on.

Moon/Bush 'Ongoing Crime Enterprise'

By Robert Parry
February 17, 2007

From petty local scams to international money-laundering, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s political/media/business/religious empire has all the looks of a global “ongoing criminal enterprise,” albeit one with enough powerful friends in Washington to protect it from serious consequences.

Benefiting from relationships with the Bush family and other prominent Republicans, Moon’s Unification Church slips away from one illegal scheme after another – despite overwhelming evidence and first-person admissions about the systematic pattern of the criminality. Somehow U.S. authorities never put two and two together.

Read on.