Sunday, August 09, 2015

My Conundrum -- A Letter to Glenn Greenwald

I responded to Glenn Greenwald's article in “The Intercept” entitled “To Defend Iran Deal, Obama Boasts that He's Bombed Seven Countries" both here and below.

My email to you sent yesterday said your article was brilliantly written and it was. Over decades, since the Vietnam War, I arrived at my left of center view on American foreign policy because of national events that influenced me to do so. While I consider your article brilliant and cannot stop thinking about it I always seem to put on the brakes as to whether I wholly accept what you say or not. 

When I first developed my political point of view I was attending and living at Boston University. I went there during those turbulent but wonderful-to-me days of the late 1960's. I was handicapped since age 5. Finally, something made me feel tall and strong perhaps stronger than most because my arc of conscience was turned to what I deemed a more important venue than getting pinned, engaged and married after college relegated to the kitchen, bassinets and babies. Left wing politics captured my soul.

I was given by one of my professors J. William Fulbright's book "The Arrogance of Power" to read. It changed my life. For the first time, I saw this nation with a different lens. The book propelled me to question everything I was taught about a white-hat nation which was supposed to be spreading freedom and liberty to all even, if necessary, through military force. I was struck by how much propaganda I swallowed as a youth. I questioned nothing my nation did or the truth of why it did it. I never thought before then that my nation was, in reality, often the aggressor and not the guy wearing a white hat riding in to save the day. This nation was actually aggressive moving in on nations, toying with their politics, perfecting regime change when regime change was not even a concept here about which one spoke. Sometimes the US changed good regimes like ones headed by a Mosadeq in Iran or an Allende in Chile into bad ones with fascist-like tyrannies. Sometimes our nation was intent on even invading small islands 25 miles from our Florida coast or in 1954 ones like Guatemala in Central America for primarily the United Fruit Company. Calling the US an imperialist nation was new to me. Often, upon further investigation I found it was true.

We were fed a line of propaganda we neither questioned nor opposed but we hook, line and sinker unquestioningly accepted it. The US was allegedly perfecting regime change for "democracy" and freeing the oppressed from the oppressor while in reality it steamrolled over nations, changing regimes along the way as long as those regimes were anti-Communist, pro-business even if many were often fascist totalitarian states like the Vietnam of Ky and Thieu. Worse the nation fed those who would die in those wars lies to reel into service the innocent.

The real metamorphosis of my political thought was an introduction to Howard Zinn, a professor of history at BU and a strident anti-war and civil rights activist. He said to always ask who does war benefit and why. I knew nothing until then about the Eisenhower-warned military industrial complex nor did I know that our young men were dying not for the principles of freedom and liberty but for corporate interests whose interests were not mine nor theirs.

 The struggle of persons of color in this nation to eat at desegregated lunch counters, against the racist laws of the Jim Crow south, against the denial of the right to vote, against literacy tests and poll taxes they could not afford or go to a theater and to sit where one wanted added to my outrage.

The two issues of foreign policy and black civil rights converged upon each other in that era and exploded onto the national scene with grass roots protest and violence. The indignities persons of color suffered for hundreds of years could never happen in this paradise of equality and fair play but it could and it did. MLK and Malcolm X really did tell the truth and were not Communist agents.

This nation cannot figure out why people hate us or why anyone would want to crash planes into buildings and kill us. They do so because we have killed hundreds of thousands all over the world especially in the Middle East and NOT for democracy but for oil, power and the money they engender. We kill because we can, plunder nations because we can, change regimes into more preferable tyrannies because we can and even use chemical weapons because we can. We are the only nation to have exploded a nuclear bomb that killed over 200,000 people in an instant and yet we demand other nations rid themselves of even the thought of obtaining one.

Those in this nation if they even realize what this nation has hostilely done to other nations accept it because our media is good at sending its national propaganda message. Even the media here is a wholly owned subsidiary of the corporations that stand to win the most through war. One will NOT hear debates on these issues during the 1/2 hour of evening news with Lester Holt nor on the Today Show with its stupid frivolity and giggly women in shoes that look like they should be worn on the streets soliciting business.

AND YET, the question for me has always been am I not seeing the world as it really is? Am I not seeing this life as nasty, brutish and short? Am I not seeing the necessity of brute force? Would our adversaries do to us what we do to them if they could because man is a corrupt, tribal and violent animal? Do we have to protect our power and balance that power in our favor at all costs?

I still do NOT know the answer to those questions. Western Europe not so long ago nearly fell to the barbarity of fascism. Even France , the bastion of culture and free thought , fell to Vichy fascism and anti-Semitism as did much of Europe. I always weigh everything because I know the world is filled with bad guys, robber barons, fascist and left wing tyrants or religious tyrannies who would subdue us if they could. If our soldiers were not there would their soldiers be here? Is the only thing standing between us and religious tyranny the US military?

What is the world really like, who wears the white hat and who is the most evil? It is still a conundrum for me. I simply still do not know.

Senate support grows for Iran deal By Burgess Everett


  • I damn well HOPE so, if the electorate wants to avoid another war twice the size of the quagmire Iraq. We would have NO allies on this one except Israel and it is wholly bad for them to reject this deal too. Don't forget too Pakistan has NUKES about which many of these Republicon jerks have no idea. So yeah let's ramp up a worse war than Iraq with Shites where the whole gd place will explode what is left of it anyway. Would Pakistanis lob a nuke? Who knows do you want to chance it? OR someone just may take out Israel's nukes or try with doses of complementary radiation everywhere. NOT accepting this deal is the STUPID of STUPID. It is in everyone's interest to SUPPORT it but the RepublCONS and their neoCON criminals that got us into Iraq are either delusional or suicidal except they bring us down with them! Another huge war will NEVER fly ever! 
  •  We will lose and the biggest loser will be the American taxpayer and Israel. 
  • This is about permanent forever war, helping no one but the corporatists that make a fortune off the blood of those who are ignorant of politics especially Middle East history. It is NUTS to reject this deal. If you want to get rid of money in politics then DO NOT VOTE THESE KNOW NOTHING REPUBLICON ratholes into office. It's that simple. GET THEM OUT OF THERE and then oh my god thousands of pounds would be off our backs! They will spin this into war. You can believe NOTHING they say. They are beholden to the corporations who do their bidding! Call or write members of Congress in the House and Senate, call or write those who do not support the deal especially Democrats who want your money. Tell them you will withhold contributions from them and help kick them out of office too! Write even those who are not your representatives. Tell them you will join others to get them sent home!

The article:

President Barack Obama’s Iran deal looks increasingly likely to survive a challenge from congressional Republicans after several swing Democrats said they would back the deal just as the Senate sped toward recess on Wednesday.

Minutes after Senate leaders locked in an agreement to begin debating the nuclear deal on Sept. 8, Independent Maine Sen. Angus King came to the floor to announce his support for the agreement. King’s decision will make it hard for GOP opponents to block the lifting of legislative sanctions when the Senate votes no later than Sept. 17.

“This is the most difficult decision I’ve ever had to make,” King said. “But in the end I decided the terms of this agreement are preferable to the alternatives.”

In addition to King, Democratic Sens. Bill Nelson of Florida and Tim Kaine of Virginia also voiced support for the deal this week. Their support is invaluable for the White House: The trio of Democratic Caucus members were early backers of the review law that allows Congress to hold an up or down vote on the deal. And their support transforms the whip-counting operation for Republicans hoping to block the deal.

While there are technically enough undecided Democrats for the GOP to marshal a veto-proof majority against the deal, many are reliable allies of the administration and are expected to back the agreement. More skeptical senators like Chuck Schumer of New York or Robert Menendez of New Jersey could still end up voting against the Iran deal and bring some colleagues with them, but the battle for votes appears to be a race to 60 instead of 67.


If Republicans can get at least six Democrats to support their cause in the Senate to break a filibuster, it would still be a significant achievement for the GOP. Sanctions on Iran would stay in place for 22 more days as Obama vetoed the disapproval resolution and Congress voted to override a veto, and a 60-vote bloc is always difficult to build. But it wouldn’t be enough to block the deal.

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) came to the Senate floor on Wednesday afternoon and sounded like he’d made a decision. But Flake, who Obama is aggressively courting to support the deal, still said he was undecided.

“I can only support an agreement that can endure,” he said as he left the floor with a long summer recess and a big decision ahead of him.

With senators antsy to begin their August recess after a mostly fruitless week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) reached an agreement to start consideration of the Iran deal as soon as lawmakers return from the break. They also agreed on a process to finish a cybersecurity bill, but it could be months before that gets a vote in the Senate. 

McConnell has said he hopes that all 100 senators participate in the Iran discussion while at their desks and has suggested that all committee hearings be canceled during the deliberations.

Reid, in a rare moment of comity between the two rival leaders, said: “The debate we’re going to have in a matter of weeks, I want it to be … dignified, befitting the gravity of the issue of the day. This is a step forward.”

Locking in the debate before breaking for the recess was a necessity with Rosh Hashanah disrupting the few days that the Senate will be in session in September. Under the agreement, the Senate will have no more than seven days to debate the Iran bill before proceeding to a vote.

On Wednesday alone there were four planned briefings and hearings on the Iran deal, with an evening classified briefing between senators and State Department official Wendy Sherman and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz expected to cap off the summer schedule until September.

After several startling defections from New York House Democrats, like Steve Israel, Obama got some good news from the other side of the Capitol as well on Wednesday. Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.), who has a constituent held in Iran, announced he’d back the deal as well.

“No one has presented a credible alternative,” Kildee said.

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