All You Need To Know about Republican Accusations

When you are deciding whether to listen to a Republican when they talk about Democrats as “appeasers,” consider this. Crooks and Liars has the story of Oliver North on Fox News backing up Republican accusations that Democrats are “appeasers.”
So who is Oliver North? Oliver North is the guy that Republican President Ronald Reagan sent to provide weapons and missiles to Iran.
Let me repeat that because many people today are either too young or don’t remember what happened in the 1980s. Not long after the Iranians stormed the American embassy in Tehran and took several American diplomats hostage for 444 days, Republicans gave them missiles and other weapons. Oliver North, hero of the American Right and Fox News pundit, gave advanced weaponry to Iran.
And now they call Democrats “appeasers.”
It’s called the Seeing the Forest Rule: When Republicans accuse others of something, it usually means it is something they are doing. (See also.)
Is there anything else you need to know about Republicans?

The First Problem in Iraq is BUSH

People say we should not impeach Bush because it will divert us from getting out of Iraq. I think that approach has things backwards. I think we can’t deal with the problems of Iraq until we deal with getting Bush out. With Bush in charge we can’t have a rational debate about the best options for Iraq.
1) I believe that it’s wrong to just pull our forces out of Iraq. We invaded, we destabilized and we destroyed the existing institutions of order. We created the mess there. We created the civil war. We created the threat of regional conflict. So I think it is America’s legal and moral responsibility to provide security for the people of Iraq. And that’s also what international law says. Of course, providing security for the people of Iraq is not going to happen with Bush in office.
(Someone told me this idea is like being raped and then getting a ride to the hospital from the rapist. I can understand the sentiment, but the U.S. is not a person and Iraq is not a person. We and they are a bunch of people all with their own differing needs and interests. Countries have to deal with where things are on a given day, before they deal with where things were on a previous day. In other words, Bush did what he did — but where do we go from here that is best for us and best for them NOW?)
2) It is wrong to blame the Iraqis for what we have done and it would be wrong to abandon them to the mess we made. But the way our forces are being used by Bush just makes things worse. This must change but it will not change with Bush in charge of policy decisions.
3) Suppose we do vote to withdraw with Bush in office? How do you think a Bush administration will execute that withdrawal? Will they do it in a way that makes things better — or much worse? And will they just refuse, necessitating the impeachment I say has to happen first? In other words, we can’t deal with Iraq until we deal with Bush.
4) There is also a national security component. The current situation in Iraq really is making us less safe here. Leaving might only make that worse. This needs to be debated rationally – impossible with Bush in office spouting his focus-group-tested bullshit, designed to put up a smokescreen and distract us from reality.
5) Bush’s propaganda is causing us to doubt terror warnings that may be real. What if our intelligence agencies discovered that al Queda really is getting ready to use a nuke on an American city, for example? We simply can not trust our government right now to tell us the truth. The threat of a terrorist attack is too serious to allow this incompetent, lying gang of criminals to remain in office even one day longer than it takes to get them out.
6) Similarly, Bush’s lies about Iraq have forced us to doubt the claims about threats presented by Iran. But Iran is not Iraq, and their theocratic rulers are not our friends. We need to be able to trust what is being said to us and we can’t with ush in office.
So I think that the right path lies in a different direction from working to get the troops out. Options beyond the simplistic choice of doing what we are doing now or just leaving need to be discussed. But we are not going to be able to do what is right until we change the national leadership here. We are not even going to be able to properly debate the issues.
Finding the answers to the problems of Iraq begins with solving the problem of Bush.

Iran Violates Geneva Conventions

Broadcasting pictures of the captured British sailors and marines is a violation of the Geneva Conventions. Unlike the United States, England has not withdrawn from that treaty.
We face here another example of the consequences of Bush’s violation of the compact between a democracy and its leaders. When the leader of your country says he has information that we face imminent attack, you must believe him. Bush did this to lead us into an attack on Iraq, and was lying. So now Bush tells us that Iran is a threat to peace – and it probably is, as this recent action demonstrates. But we can not believe Bush and we can not trust that there is no hidden agenda involved.
As I have said before, if Bush and the Right’s claims about Iran come out of true concern for the country, then Bush must step aside. We must have leadership that the people can trust to tell us this is so.

Digby Digby!

Iran has captured 15 British sailors and marines and says they are “interrogating” them. The fear is that the Iranians might follow the example set by the United States for “interrogation” procedures. Digby said what many of us have been thinking,

I can’t believe we are in the position of having to hope the Iranians show more restraint and good sense than Dick Cheney, but we are.

If Iran And Islamofascists Are A Threat: What Bush Must Do

News story: Bush: ‘Preposterous’ to suggest intelligence on Iran is wrong.
President Bush says that the United States faces a threat from Iran, and has repeatedly said that we are in a war for our very existence against what he calls “Islamofascists.”
Perhaps he is right. But there is a problem. President Bush previously said that Iraq was threatening us with weapons of mass destruction. He even said it was an “imminent” threat and therefore we had to invade that country.
That hasn’t turned out so well. So now President Bush has a credibility problem. He “cried wolf.” He used up his ability to come to us and say we need to believe him.
So if President Bush REALLY believes that the country faces this terrible threat that he says we face, he needs to recognize that his credibility problem is in the way of the country’s ability to believe him. If he means it there is only one way the country will respond.
He must step aside to allow a leader who the public can trust to tell us about this threat. Not him.
If there is a threat I need to hear it from someone I trust. I don’t trust Bush and neither does the country.

Bush’s Buddies Chant “Death To America”

Iraqis March, Chanting ‘Death To Israel, America’,

Tens of thousands of Shiites thronged a Baghdad slum Friday to show support for Hezbollah as Arab anger toward Israel mounted on the Muslim holy day. Such protests have even reached Saudi Arabia, where public discontent is rare.
…Demonstrators wearing white shrouds symbolizing willingness to die for Hezbollah waved the guerrillas’ banner and chanted slogans in support of their leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah.
“Allah, Allah, give victory to Hassan Nasrallah,” the crowd chanted before burning Israeli and American flags.

Will the Republicans pass a law against going to war to put into power people who burn American flags?
For those of you who, like President Bush, don’t know about Shiites and Sunnis, Iran is Shiite. Iraq has a Shiite majority that was controlled by Baathist Party Sunnis until we invaded. Now the Shite majority in Iraq has come to support Hizbullah against Israel. Iran is a major backer of Hizbullah, and is gaining influence with the Shiite Iraqis. Iraq’s Shiite Grand Ayatollah Sistani, even though he is independent from Iran and does not want Iraq run by Iran, has sided with Hizbullah over Israel and previously had publicly forbidden America from attacking Iran AND has said that he would consider an Israeli attack to be an attack by America. And of course the more militant pro-Iran Muqtada al Sadr’s position is even more hostile to us.

Continue reading

Lies About Badges and Incubators

I saw a story on the right-wing blogs and other news sources this morning, that the Iranians had passed a law requiring Jews and Christians to wear identifying “badges.” This follows a recent report, repeated everywhere and now conventional wisdom, that the President of Iran had called for “wiping Israel off the map.” That report was not correct – knocked down by Juan Cole, who wrote about the (intentional?) mistranslation in his now-famous post about Christopher Hitchens and those in Washington fishing for (or creating) a pretext for war.
And, of course, the “badges” story is also false, circulated to drum up popular support for war against Iran. Yet ANOTHER enemy for us to hate, who is “just like Hitler.” Like the “babies thrown from incubators” story that launched the first Gulf war, stories like this are circulated to lay down a smokescreen to confuse the public and create that pretext for war. See: Iran report of Holocaust-style badges questioned,

“It’s absolutely factually incorrect,” … “Nowhere in the law is there any talk of Jews and Christians having to wear different colours. I’ve checked it with sources both inside Iran and outside.”
“The Iranian people would never stand for it. The Iranian government wouldn’t be stupid enough to do it.”
Political commentator and 940 Montreal host Beryl Waysman says the report is true, that the law was passed two years ago.

I’m not defending Iran here – not at all. If the Iranian Ayatollahs have their way the world will be much worse off. I’m just pointing out that in the Propaganda Age, you have to learn to question what you hear – especially when it’s designed to hit you in the gut and make you want to kill.
Here are some of the right-wing blogs reflexively repeating today’s lie. To their credit, others have added updates to their own reflexive posts, letting readers know that the story may not be true.
UpdateJuan Cole talks about this today. (Through Atrios)

Iran

I don’t know if Iran is developing nuclear weapons. I don’t know how far they are from doing so if they ARE developing nukes. And I can’t trust the current government of the country to tell the truth on such matters – especialy with an election coming in November. Four years ago they used war fear to blatantly manipulate the election.
In my opinion, if Iran IS developing nuclear weapons, and is close to capability, it is a very serious threat to millions of lives directly and to overall world peace indirectly. But this was also the case if Iraq was developing nukes — and it turned out that they weren’t, that it was all just a lie.
If Iran Really Is A Threat … there is an way for Bush to do something about it that everyone will accept and respect. Go read what that is.

If Iran Really Is A Threat …

p5rn7vb


Now Bush is telling us that Iran is a threat. (That’s Iran with an ‘n’, not Iraq with a ‘q’.)
Iran may well be a threat. This may well be a serious crisis. But we have a problem: a President with no credibility. Mid-2003 I wrote,
Saying there was an imminent threat from Iraq when, at the very least, the intelligence did not support such a claim, opens the public up to doubt the next time a President needs to protect us from an ACTUAL threat. …. He has broken the bond of trust between the public and the Office of the President on the most critical issue, and politicized the process, and this has placed us all in danger should there be an ACTUAL threat to our nation and our lives in the future.

And here we are – maybe. A man who defends starting a needless war by saying it was an honest mistake is now telling us that Iran is a threat, and this time it’s for real. Naturally, the reaction of many in the world is that Bush saying Iran is a threat makes it more likely that not that Iran is not a threat.
There is a way for Bush to convince the world that there really is a terrible threat from Iran and that we must deal with it.

Continue reading