The United States of Israel

There is no polite way to say this, but Benjamin Netanyahu is one of the most repellent and dangerous politicians in the world today.     He is a man who trades on fear and war, a cynical and amoral manipulator without a trace of honesty in his entire body,   who lies as easily as he breathes.   In 2012 he warned the United Nations that Iran was a year away from manufacturing a bomb, even though his own security services had told him something entirely different,

Last year he deliberately used the murders of three Israeli teenagers to manipulate Israeli public opinion into supporting the ferocious and strategically meaningless slaughter in Gaza.

He also manipulates his most powerful ally.   In public Netanyahu never ceases to express his love and gratitude to the United States, which props up Israel’s military machine.   Yet in private he’s not always so respectful.   Back in 2001 he told a group of settlers in the West Bank ‘I know what America is.   America is a thing you can move very easily, move it in the right direction.’

Netanyahu cannot be ignored entirely, not as long as Israelis are crazy enough to keep voting for him.   But no country with any respect for truth or even its own national interest would actually invite a man like this to speak to its own elected representatives if it didn’t have to, let alone invite him in order to undermine the policy of its elected president. But this exactly what happened yesterday when Netanyahu went to Washington, following an ‘invitation’ arranged between Republican speaker of the House John Boehner and the Israeli ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer.

This demarche was deliberately intended to torpedo the ongoing negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, and pave the way for a new bill imposing harsher sanctions on Iran. His audience knew what he was going to say,   because everyone always knows what Netanyahu is going to say when it comes to Iran.     Yesterday all the usual buttons were pushed; references to the Holocaust and condemnations of the ‘genocidal’ Iranian regime; Hezbollah and Iran’s ‘march of terror’; five-minutes-to-midnight warnings of nuclear war; and ominous references to ‘Munich’, because Israel’s enemies are always Hitler in Netanyahu’s eyes.

And not only to him.     To the moronic Republican party, whose collective brain is now so rotted by the paranoia, war and militarism and Zionist propaganda that it has been injecting into its veins for years that it no longer even knows how to think, Netanyahu’s was deep, deep stuff, a real clarion call.

Never mind that on Sunday 200 former Mossad veterans took the unprecedented step of staging a public press conference to condemn their own prime minister’s visit as a danger to Israel’s security and argue against imposing new sanctions. None of this had any impact on the glassy-eyed zombie-politicians who sat there in their silk ties and suits and their world-historical facial expressions, sucking up Netanyahu’s fearmongering, warmongering poison like alien seed pods in Invasion of the Bodysnatchers.

Because make no mistake about it, politicians who allow the leader of another country to insult and undercut their own elected government have had their minds well and truly snatched, or maybe they never had any to begin with.

When it was over the congressmen and senators got to their feet like one man, because they are in fact one man, and delivered no less than 26 standing ovations of the type that Stalin used to get when he announced a new five-year-plan.   Of course with Stalin it was Russians praising a Russian and the penalty might have been death if you didn’t stand up.

For the bozos who paid homage to the Great Liar yesterday, the worst that could happen was that their career trajectories might be altered.     But such is the hold that Israel now exercises over the Republican Party that even showing up wasn’t enough, you had to physically express your joy and rapture.   So Kentucky senator Rand Paul was criticized afterwards for looking ‘less than enthused’ and ‘clapping halfheartedly.’

Oh give me an absolute break already.     Whether they actually believed Netanyahu or were merely concerned about their careers and the cash that comes with them, these congressmen and senators effectively colluded with the leader of a foreign state in order to promote its foreign policy objectives and undermine those of their own.

It ought to be disturbing, and alarming, even from the point of view of America’s own national interest, that the leader of a nominal ally would be prepared to do this, and would receive support in doing so.   It ought to provide pause for thought as to why this has happened and what its potential ramifications are, and whether this relationship is entirely healthy.   But none of this is likely to come from those who participated in the weird spectacle that took place yesterday, who showed no evidence that they were capable of thinking anything at all, beyond what the Great Liar wanted them to think.

Hello America: The President Would Like Your Permission to Bomb

Americans may be reluctant to get involved in another Middle Eastern war, but the US political elite is not going to allow a foolish and fickle phenomenon like public opinion get in the way of another righteous intervention.     After all, we are talking about foreign policy, national security and reasons of state here, and these are serious matters that require serious leaders,   with wisdom, good judgment and insight, and a profound understanding of a dangerous and unstable world filled with threats everywhere and forever, and where the evil ones would engulf the earth were they not held in check by American military power.

Such leaders must know, as the rest of the world does,   that America is the one ‘indispensable nation’ in these troubled times and that this indispensability is dependent on its credibility, and that for this credibility to be truly credible,   it must be regularly demonstrated through periodic acts of exemplary violence.

As  Michael Ledeen, the creepy little neocon and Contragate spook, once vulgarly observed:  Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business.’

Fortunately, America is currently blessed with an abundance of politicians who understand the truth of this essential philosophy, men – and women – who know a crisis when they see one and have learned through deep and considered analysis and a knowledge of history that there is no crisis that a cruise missile strike can’t solve, and that there is no lie too big or too gross that can’t be told in order to bring one about.

Americans in search of answers to the Syrian crisis for example, can find them from men like John Boehner, Lindsey Graham, John McCain and John Kerry.   Or women like Hilary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Susan Rice and Samantha Power.   But most of all, they have the towering moral presence of President Barack Obama, the former community leader from Chicago who came to power on an anti-war platform offering Americans something called ‘hope’; the sonorous orator and Nobel Peace Prize winner turned war-junkie, who is now lying and stumbling towards with a breathtaking combination of manipulativeness, incoherence and deceit that almost begins to make his predecessor look as if he knew what he was doing.

Only last week Obama was about to bypass the UN and Congress and blast Syria on the basis of a cooked intelligence report on the chemical weapons attack in Ghouta, because the conscience of the world demanded action, according to his increasingly dazed and glassy-eyed looking Secretary of State.   Such action, we were told, were going to be merely punitive and ‘deterrent’, a surgical slap on the wrist that would merely ‘degrade’ Syria’s ability to use chemical weapons, whatever that means, rather than take sides.

Then Obama suddenly decided to postpone the strikes and go to Congress after all.   Does this mean that he remembered that quaint old-fashioned notion called the democratic process?   Not exactly.   Obama’s team keep insisting that the president doesn’t require   authorisation from Congress in order to carry out military strikes on Syria, but the president is clearly nervous about the Democrats taking exclusive responsibility for the course he’s embarked on.

This is why Nancy Pelosi is backing Obama, and why the administration is courting Republican troglodytes like Boehner and McCain, who always want to shoot first and ask questions later,   and seeking a rubber stamp from Congress about a decision that’s already been taken.   Because it’s lonely at the top, and having stupidly painted himself into a corner and locked himself into a military response to the Syrian civil war that has no clear policy goals and few prospects of success, Obama wants consensus – or at least the appearance of it.

This pseudo-consultation also explains the slippage in the message.   Courting the organized mob that the Republican Party has become means that you have to throw them some chunks of raw meat to chew on.     So last week it was ‘no boots on the ground.’ Now Kerry has suggested that American troops might end up in Syria after all.

And now, who would have thought it, it also turns out that the ‘deterrent’ strikes won’t just ‘degrade’ Syria’s ability to use chemical weapons, but will be intended to have a ‘downstream’ impact on its conventional military capability – an objective that sounds a lot more like regime change and a direct intervention in the Syrian civil war.

And questions of conscience, humanitarianism and ‘saving lives’ are now slipping into the back story of a propaganda offensive that now portrays Syria as a threat to America’s national security.     The freaking hell it is.     Does Obama seriously anticipate a chemical weapons attack on New York?

No, but it’s always useful to tell Americans that this might happen and try to scare the fuck out of them, just as Bush and Co. once did when they suggested that Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda might get together and saturate the eastern seaboard with anthrax and botulism.

The ‘national security’ narrative also allows the president to reserve the right to take unilateral action just in case Congressmen actually listen to their constituencies.     In 2007 Obama told the Boston Globe that he would only take unilateral military action in ‘instances of self-defense’, because ‘ The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.’

Presenting Syria as ‘an actual or imminent threat’ resolves that little conundrum, and adds one more lie to already febrile mix.     But then, if you’ve already told so many, then one more isn’t going to make much difference, not when America’s credibility is at stake.



Black Holes in Benghazi

Far be it from me to stand up and defend Barack Obama or Hilary Clinton.   But the Republican attempt to embroil his administration in a ‘cover-up’ over the killing of four Americans, including the US ambassador,   in Benghazi last September says a great deal about the intellectual and moral vortex into which American politics has descended.

Obama has just released 100 e-mails containing ‘talking points’ with the administration in the aftermath of last year’s attacks, in order to refute Republican accusations of a cover-up.     What does this ‘cover- up’ consist of?     According to the Republicans,   the administration presented last year’s attack as   an ad hoc protest against the Islamophobic ‘Innocence of Muslims’ video,   rather than the work of   a terrorist organization, in order to deflect criticisms that might have affected Obama’s election chances.

There may well be some truth in these allegations, a) because the idea that some bunch of guys simply happen to show up outside the US embassy on the tenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks and open fire with an RPG simply because they feel angry about a video is not entirely credible, and b) the administration may well have been reluctant to accept that the attack on the Benghazi embassy was a pre-planned ‘terrorist’ attack.

But such reluctance is not the same thing as a ‘cover-up’ – and even if it was it pales into insignificance in comparison with some of the mountain of sleaze that Republican governments have built up over decades.

Nevertheless the Republicans are clearly determined to use Benghazi, just as they once used Monica Lewinsky’s dress and the Starr Inquiry, to compensate for the fact they have currently made themselves unelectable.

Leading Republicans, including House Speaker John Boehner and Karl Rove are using the Benghazi ‘cover-up’ not just to attack Obama and US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice, but also to discredit Hilary Clinton, in what appears to be a pre-emptive move to disrupt her presidential chances, should she choose to run in the next election.

The result is a carnival of lies, stupidity and sheer bad faith.     Take Dick Cheney, that shining beacon of truth and probity, accusing the administration of   having ‘ ignored repeated warnings from the CIA about the threat. They ignored messages from their own people on the ground that they needed more security.’

Cheney even has the gall to suggest that Obama should have scrambled fighter jets or unleashed special forces in response to the Benghazi attack, just like the Bush administration, because, according to the former Veep ‘ In my past experience when we got into these situations — especially after 9/11 — we were always on the step, locked and loaded, ready to go on 9/11.’

The dishonesty of that statement is so gross that I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry, so I think I’ll just let out a strangled croak instead.     Or better still, move on to   Glenn Kessler at the Washington Post, shaking his semantic maracas,   accusing Obama of playing down the significance of the Benghazi attack, by describing it as ‘ act of terror’ rather than an ‘act of terrorism’.

Whooo, come on and feel the nuance.   Ok, maybe don’t bother, because this really won’t take you very far in any direction.     And hey, isn’t that John Bolton, the mustachioed troglodyte who has hardly even seen   an Arab country that he didn’t want to blast to smithereens, shuffling his tail out there at the back of the procession?     It is indeed he, telling Newsmax   – a webzine that makes Fox News look like The Guardian that

‘The failure of the administration eight months after the attack either to retaliate, to avenge the killing, to exact retribution, to make it clear to the terrorists you can’t do this and get away with it, is much more serious….It tells terrorists, you can attack Americans with impunity, and that’s very dangerous.’

Who would Bolton like to ‘retaliate’ against, given that the people who attacked the Benghazi embassy were in fact de facto allies of the United States and the EU during the overthrow of Gaddafi?     The Great Avenger doesn’t say.

There is clearly not much point in bombing Libya – already done that.     Or Mali –   the French have got it covered.     At least Israel is bombing Syria – something that will undoubtedly warm Bolton’s heart.     And in Bolton-land, it’s almost certain that Iran had something to do with Benghazi, and even if it didn’t, it’s still probably worth unleashing some shock n’ awe just to keep the Persians in place.

Nowhere in this scandal-in-a-teacup, is there the slightest acknowledgement either by the Democrats or the Republicans that what took place in Benghazi is a direct consequence of a fraudulent ‘humanitarian’ intervention to ‘ prevent a massacre’ (in Benghazi) and overthrow a dictator that has effectively ripped to pieces yet another Arab society – while simultaneously opening new spaces for al-Qaeda-like Salafist formations to spring up like poisonous mushrooms.

There is a debate to be had there, which could also address the question of why the same process is being repeated in Syria.     But these aren’t debates that either the Democrats or the Republicans are interested in having, because all the latter really want to do is ditch Obama and they don’t care what it takes.

And their efforts will always bear fruit in the land of McCain, Limbaugh and Beck.   Thus   a Public Polling Policy poll has found that 55 percent of ‘very conservative’ respondents and 41 percent of Republicans believe that Benghazi is the ‘biggest political scandal in American history’.

Which only proves that conservatives know nothing about American history, and that the Republican party has become a black hole in which   truth, rationality and honesty simply vanish – never to be seen again.