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Roger Cohen’s Appalling Endorsement of ‘Likudization’ of U.S. Foreign Policy

obama undermines constitutionThere was a time just after the last Iranian election when Roger Cohen reported his brave, searing, and moving reports on the swelling of what many of us thought might be revolution, or at least democratic reform, when I thought the NY Times columnist was a true hero.  I hung on every word he wrote from and about Iran.  His vision seemed so true, so relentless.

But as sometimes happens in the crucible of ferocious epochal events, people rise above their pedestrian limitations and meet the call of history.  It is their finest hour.  But once the crisis is over they revert to same-old, same-old cautious thinking.  This is true of Roger Cohen.  He’s just written a column endorsing the Obama administration’s “silent” counter-terror policy of assassination and blatant violation of human and constitutional rights.  To be fully accurate, he’s actually added a caveat to this endorsement.  The policy makes him “uneasy.”  This is supposed to somehow reassure us that Cohen still has retained some sense of conscience about the reign of terror pursued by Barack Obama in Iran and Iraq and the rest of the Middle East.

I find it appalling.  If it were Jeffrey Goldberg or Tom Friedman, it’s something you’d expect: liberals who’ve been mugged by 9/11.  The result has made them go soft in the head and endorse policies they would find odious if practiced inside U.S. borders.  But to have Cohen join the parade of liberals betraying every value they should hold sacred is beyond discouraging.

He begins the column well enough with an important observation: that Obama has quite cleverly and diabolically (my words, not Cohen’s) pursued a “silent” counter-terror policy by which the U.S. has gone to war with its enemies in the Middle East without declaring it:

The Obama administration has a doctrine. It’s called the doctrine of silence. A radical shift from President Bush’s war on terror, it has never been set out to the American people. There has seldom been so big a change in approach to U.S. strategic policy with so little explanation.

I approve of the shift even as it makes me uneasy. One day, I suspect, there may be payback for this policy and this silence. President Obama has gone undercover.

You have to figure that one day somebody sitting in Tehran or Islamabad or Sana is going to wake up and say: “Hey, this guy Obama, he went to war in our country but just forgot to mention the fact. Should we perhaps go to war in his?”

The idea that Cohen can endorse a policy that makes him uneasy, all the while conceding that this approach will come back to haunt us here on our own home ground is abysmally short-sided.  What we have here is a failure of liberal nerve.  A failure to recognize something that Malcolm X did understand, that the chickens of American violence will come home to roost.  The piper will be paid.

Though a number of journalists and analysts have speculated that the U.S. collaborated with Israel to produce the Stuxnet worm which attacked Iran’s centrifuge system and sabotaged it uranium enrichment program, Cohen is one of the first to state that the entire black ops program against Iran is a joint project of the U.S. and Israel.  It is something I knew in my bones but had not seen overt proof of.  I am virtually certain that Cohen would not have written so overtly and that his editors would not have allowed him to state this so clearly, unless he and they knew more than they are saying:

In Iran, a big explosion at a military base near Tehran recently killed Gen. Hassan Tehrani Moghaddam, a central figure in the country’s long-range missile program. Nuclear scientists have perished in the streets of Tehran. The Stuxnet computer worm has wreaked havoc with the Iranian nuclear facilities.

It would take tremendous naïveté to believe these events are not the result of a covert American-Israeli drive to sabotage Iran’s efforts to develop a military nuclear capacity. An intense, well-funded cyberwar against Tehran is ongoing.

One of the main themes of this blog over the past two years has been my attempt to point out that Israel, in its approach to Iran is the emperor with no clothes.  There simply is no viable policy.  Terror is not policy.   It’s bad enough when you’re a terror organization and present no agenda other than nihilistic violence.  But when you’re a state you simply have no excuse.  So now what Cohen is saying is that the U.S. too is marching in lockstep with terror.  It’s beyond heartbreaking.

In this passage, Cohen again articulates reality coldly and clearly, but at the end once again loses his nerve and lucidity at the crucial moment:

In general, it’s hard to resist the impression of a tilt toward the extrajudicial in U.S. foreign policy — a kind of “Likudization” of the approach to dealing with enemies. Israel has never hesitated to kill foes with blood on their hands wherever they are.

This is a development about which no American can feel entirely comfortable.

After everything we know about Israel’s horrendous human rights policy, its record of potential war crimes, its extrajudicial assassinations which have killed a huge percentage of civilians along with whoever the intended victims might’ve been, all Cohen can muster is this is something about which no one can feel “entirely comfortable?”  Really?  And hey, Cohen, Israel’s targeted killings don’t only kill “foes with blood on their hands.”  They kill civilians and lots of alleged militants who may or may not be guilty of something, since no evidence is ever presented of anything that they’ve done wrong.  Is this really the model we as Americans want to emulate?

Here is where the NY Times columnist’s argument truly founders.  He posits only two polar opposite options in fighting a war against America’s alleged enemies, when there are of course other options which go unmentioned:

So why do I approve of all this? Because the alternative — the immense cost in blood and treasure and reputation of the Bush administration’s war on terror — was so appalling. In just the same way, the results of a conventional bombing war against Iran would be appalling, whether undertaken by Israel, the United States or a combination of the two.

Political choices often have to be made between two unappealing options. Obama has done just that.

He talks about one alternative being covert war and the other overt.  Is this really the choice?  Or is this the articulation of a liberal Mideast Cold warrior (remember the precursors to the neocons–the anti-Soviet Cold warriors?), someone who talks himself into war as the only option, all the while refusing to see other ones staring him right in the face?

I’ve read Cohen’s writings on the Israeli Arab conflict as well and they’re similarly disappointing.  He’s drunk the Goldberg-Friedman-Gorenberg liberal Zionist KoolAid: yes, the Israelis are making a mess of things.  But the Palestinians are just as much to blame.  What we need to do is find a few good Palestinian moderates (“where is the Palestinian Gandhi?”) like Abbas and Fayyad and allow them to tame the Arab beast for Israel–then everything will turn out right.  Liberal Zionists are guilty of the same failure of nerve in their vision of Israel’s future as Cohen is guilty of in failing to follow his liberal philosophy to its proper conclusion in analyzing Obama’s foreign policy.

Obama’s counter-terror policy is just as immoral, just as violative of constitutional protections and international law as Israel’s.  If it is wrong for Israel, it is wrong for America.  It should be wrong for Roger Cohen too.  Roger, you’ve just essentially endorsed Bibi’s approach to dealing with the Arab world.  Is that the vision you and Pres. Obama have to offer us?  If Israel has become a pariah state (read Leon Panetta’s latest on this theme) do we wish to join her in international isolation?  Of course Obama will pursue this as a policy by stealth whereas Bibi doesn’t need to do this.  He can flaunt it before an ever appreciative Israeli audience.  But how long can Obama fool the world, lulling it into the false belief that he’s that Nobel Peace laureate, the guy for change and Hope?  Not too long.

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{ 37 comments… add one }
  • pabelmont December 3, 2011, 4:43 AM

    I don’t know if this creates “hope” that President Obama and his ilk (in USA and abroad) will re-think and back away from policies of torture, disappearance, assassination, etc., but there is a news report that AI (Amnesty Int’l) is seeking the arrest of George W. Bush for torture.

    We know that Obama has declined (nice word!) to seek investigation, arrest, trial, punishment, blah-blah of well-known Bush-era criminals (for torture, disappearance, assassination, etc.), which to some Americans seems a crime in itself.

    So, hooray and good luck to AI!

    • pabelmont December 3, 2011, 5:01 AM

      As to your question — is there another policy between American/Israeli terror as a weapon against Iran or an actual war (bombing, maybe boots on the ground) against Iran — the answer is, YES!, simply back away from the nonsensical and wholly unsupported idea that Iran is an enemy. Simply repeat 5 times before breakfast for 10 days in a row, “Iran is not my enemy.” You’ll feel much better.

      The logic of “I have decided, for no particular reason, that you are my enemy and now (having so persuaded myself) I have a right and a duty to kill you” would not make it even on the grammar school playground (even if kids actually behave that way, they’d never agree to that form of words!). Why is it so attractive to politicians (yes, yes, because they love the macho-destructive use of power and the enrichment of the military-industrial-complex) and to journalists (yes, yes, because they feel they must cozy-up to politicians or lose their “access”).

      But still. I ask you! Someone should ask a bunch of kids of various ages if this makes any sense at all. I wonder what President Obama’s kids would say.

      • David December 3, 2011, 6:04 PM

        I find it hard to believe that lust for war in the US, UK, Israel etc. is bad case of male hormones!

        The geopolitical question might be: Iran will grow in power and reach, maybe even develop a nuke, maybe not. But what is it about a stronger Iran that is so disturbing to the US? To Israel? To the UK? Is it the Persian Gulf, the lifeline of the West?

        IN my opinion it is all about Israel as I can’t find anything else that ties the “allies” together. But, yes, the policy of undeclared warfare and assasinations, in particular, make me something more than “uncomfortable.” It is terrifying because I have no trouble imagining the drones over California as well, “taking out” would-be criminals, perps on their way to their crime, or the people who influence these soon-to-be criminals, not excluding their third grade teachers and scout masters.

        And, of course, this breach of rights and decency is unacceptable to any thoughtful citizen, even to me.

        • dickerson3870 December 3, 2011, 9:08 PM

          RE: “Iran will grow in power and reach, maybe even develop a nuke, maybe not. But what is it about a stronger Iran that is so disturbing… To Israel?…” ~ David

          MY POSTULATE: If Iran were allowed to become capable of developing a nuclear weapon (not even actually having one), that would essentially constitute a breech of Israel’s “Iron Wall”*. Jabotinsky’s “Iron Wall” has been Israel’s modus operandi for decades, and is especially ingrained into the Likud mind-set. They simply cannot fathom Israeli security** using an alternative paradigm. Hence, any threat to Israel’s “Iron Wall” becomes an “existential threat” to Israel (especially for Likud-minded).

          * The Iron Wall, Vladimir (Ze’ev) Jabotinsky, 1923 – http://www.mideastweb.org/ironwall.htm

          ** including Israel’s prospects for consuming the West Bank and perhaps expanding further

          P.S. FROM WIKIPEDIA:

          (excerpt)…Jabotinsky argued that the Palestinians would not agree to a Jewish majority in Palestine, and that “Zionist colonisation must either stop, or else proceed regardless of the native population. Which means that it can proceed and develop only under the protection of a power that is independent of the native population – behind an iron wall, which the native population cannot breach.”[1] The only solution to achieve peace and a Jewish state in the Land of Israel, he [Ze'ev Jabotinsky] argued, would be for Jews to unilaterally decide its borders and defend them with the strongest security possible…

          SOURCE – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_Wall_(essay)

          • David December 4, 2011, 12:00 AM

            The “Iron Wall” requires Israel to be unassailable by her enemies. Given the demographics, the populations, past experience, Israel cannot maintain that position for long. The idea was wrong from the start: Now it is simply an anarchronism, wholly irrelevant in reality, but probably still psychologically compelling. In short, I agree, even though the Iron Wall is so out of sync with history. Israel, for example, has a problem retaining talented Israelis and so far they have not been successful in luring world Jewry to their “homeland”, except for some of the crazies I think. (Maybe that’s the problem — Israel has selected for a certain extreme type for several generations now.

            The Iron Wall was misguided in the first place because it could not envision the Iron Will of the displaced persons. Blinded by supremacist thinking, the Iron Wall Zionists could not imagine an equal and opposite force of resistance. Someday, it was thought, the Arabs would be forced to accept the displacement rather than the thought that someday the Jews will be forced to accept the Arabs. .

          • free man December 4, 2011, 7:17 AM

            QUOTE: “Israel, for example, has a problem retaining talented Israelis and so far they have not been successful in luring world Jewry to their “homeland”, except for some of the crazies I think.”

            Several nobel prizes + biggest generic medicine: Teva + Buffet aquisition: Iscar + the fact all intel major chips ae designed in Israel + …many more disproves your hypothesis.

          • David December 6, 2011, 11:27 AM

            free man — there’s a lot of talent, enough to go around. The state is aware that there are still limited opportunities for some talent in Israel. Your observation doesn’t “disprove” anything. Besides, I have nothing invested in the idea. I know for sure that the very greatest majority of pro-Israel American Zionists do not want to live in Israel and, in any case, do not. Many of them are fervent ideologues and hypocrites.

  • Castellio December 4, 2011, 1:51 AM

    David, I think you’re right. But I also think you minimize how secure many Israelis actually feel. It has always been the case, and remains the case, that the Israeli government believes more will be achieved through periodic violence than negotiation. Or to put the same fact somewhat differently, negotiation is what you do until you are ready to attack.

    Israel exists: it controls virtually all of the Palestinian territory, and now its largest supporter (The US) supports (in fact) its claim to the whole. It has incorporated the Golan heights. It has nuclear weapons and a sophisticated delivery system for them and now nuclear capable subs. Iraq, the most secular and advanced Arab state of the time – perceived as a major enemy – was bombed into near irrelevance. Iran isn’t just in the target hairs, its being blockaded economically as well as suffering assassinations and violent black ops. And renewed action against Lebanon is being planned. Syria is reeling, partially due to Mossad support of the ‘rebels’. The democracy movement in Egypt is a problem, but the idea of “limited” democracy, supported by the US, will probably hold for a few decades yet.

    Israel has never seriously negotiated with the Arabs because it has never had to seriously negotiate with the Arabs. It is actually rewarded internationally when it refuses to do so.

    For a specific example, when Hamas won the election in Gaza, Israel invaded, grabbed several of the new cabinet members and put them in prison. Then they announced a blockade. The international community didn’t do a thing. In fact, American government support for Israel grew, as did Canadian government support.

    It is widely accepted that all the UN resolutions against Israeli expansion and behaviour are irrelevant. Few even refer to them anymore.

    One shouldn’t underestimate the sense of confidence in Israeli society, and the trends that sustain that confidence.

  • weindeb December 4, 2011, 6:47 AM

    Unfortunately all you have so succinctly said, it seems to me, is the simple factual truth: facts on the ground both as ongoing strategy and as fait accompli. But what, if anything, can be done about it all? I hardly see how Richard Silverstein’s daily revelation ad infinitum of yet another outrage, another defiance of international law, another sub rosa operation, another exposure of a stealth Likudnik can achieve anything other than provide a modicum of the kind of momentary relief identifying and expressing something can bring. Whatever happened to BDS? Is it simply yet another false premise and dashed hope of bringing about some sort of non-insanity and justice? These are not rhetorical questions regarding Israel, not in light of the fact that the only single country, the US, that could begin to reverse the appalling tragedy of this tiny but dangerous country lacks both the will and courage to do so, serving as it does Israel’s colonial and other needs. I would very much like to see in addition to Richard’s daily revelations a serious discussion of what can and should be done about it all. If, indeed, there is nothing to be said and done in the name of correction, then what’s this talk and rant and discovery of yet another atrocity all about other than, as stated, to provide a little relief?

    • David December 4, 2011, 10:13 AM

      Weindeb and Castellio. Thanks for laying out the case and then Weindeb responded to it.

      Note: It is interesting to me that Zionism in all its dimensions froths with contradictions. In fact, the whole complicated story offered by Zionists suggests strongly that the story is intended to hide what is right before everyone’s eyes. Castellio says Israel is so confident and yet we hear about hasbara this and hasbara that. Contradiction? See my point? It happens whenever you start lying big time.

      I have no idea what to do. The idea that a handful of strutting millionaires can and will control the destinies of hundreds of millions of Muslims in the region is just so galling and unacceptable. Personally, I do everything I can to upset Zionist treachery in the US but I am still an idealist in my old age. Yesterday, I discovered — you will not believe my innocence here! — that the ADL is a Zionist political organization! I was shocked, truly shocked. I am just hoping that this is the last piece to fall into place…or is the ACLU next???

      I have initiated new inquires in the tax statuses of various Zionist organization, into the Liberty yet again, and other stuff. Politically, I don’t think Obama buys off on the viewpoint of military dominance so much as he is currying favor of the Lobby and I think this strategy will fail him (and us) dramatically. The Lobby will not support Obama no matter how many rear ends he smooches. And therein is the next election.

      • David December 4, 2011, 10:15 AM

        President Mitt

    • rfjk December 4, 2011, 12:36 PM

      weindeb

      Historical events will not unfold on your time scale. Foreign policy and global affairs can be daunting and depressing for the impatient.

      • David December 4, 2011, 3:08 PM

        Global affairs can be depressing for even the most patient, don’t you think? The world may have a long horizon but I don’t.

      • weindeb December 4, 2011, 4:39 PM

        Impatient? Forty-four years have passed since 1967, and sixty-three since 1948.

        • rfjk December 4, 2011, 9:06 PM

          Before they finally won their freedom in 1921, the Irish had waged rebellions many times over since the Norman conquest of their island in the 12th century.

          The Vietnamese fought 4 Indochina Wars from 1947 to 1977 to secure their sovereignty. First against the French, Americans, Cambodians and lastly the Chinese.

          Timescales are irrelevant. The decisive factor in resistance movements and wars of liberation is the will to preserve no matter the humiliation, pogroms, dispossession and wholesale murders endured.

          As you correctly observed, Zealous Zionists have had over 60 years to crush the spirit of Palestinian resistance and have failed magnificently at accomplishing it. What’s worse, Palestinians are also learning from their errors.

    • Castellio December 5, 2011, 12:24 AM

      Weindeb asks: “But what, if anything, can be done about it all?” I want to take that question seriously, knowing that I have no truly appropriate answer. What I say is oblique, but forgive me for that.

      This is what I often think: “Whosoever sees an evil action, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart.” (Hadith in al-Bukhari)

      The sequence is important. What can you do? Do it. What can you say? Say it. And if neither of those, then hold onto justice in your heart.

      And the heart, to be just, must be informed. So steady the heart by remaining informed. That is, in fact, what draws us here, and what drew Richard to his blog. It was not a self-glorifying motivation.

      The stubbornness of a heart rooted in just patience is what rfjk is referring to in terms of different time scales. He is right. A book which is an absolute education to read is Gabriel Kolko’s Anatomy of a War: Vietnam, the United States, and the modern historical experience.

      The Vietnamese won because they were fighting on a different time scale. (It is a phenomenon that the settlers from Brooklyn believe they have mastered, but I have my doubts.)

      But even more ironically, the strategies that the Americans wanted to implement at the end of the war to win the allegiance of the peasants were the same strategies that the Viet Cong had themselves fought for. In other words, the American policy makers finally realized they had predicated the whole war on supporting a minority who had never held the majority interest to heart, and had chosen that minority due to its superficial resemblance to their most cherished values (Diem was a Christian colonialist.)

      • Weindeb December 5, 2011, 1:26 AM

        And I still ask, “What, if anything, can be done about it all?” Other than simply list grievances before storing them away in a drawer possibly for some use or other a century or so hence?

        • Castellio December 6, 2011, 12:10 AM

          The heart is not a drawer. Both are metaphors, but they mean different things. Nor is it about grievances, its about the nature of reality which guides one.

  • Jonathan Thomassion December 4, 2011, 7:00 AM

    There is only one presidential candidate who will stand up to Israel and not cow-tow to the lobby and that is Dr. Ron Paul.

    President Obama and all of the Republican candidates not named Ron Paul are walking in lock-step when it comes to Israel and Iran.

    A major change in foreign policy requires doing something drastic about the status quo.

    If this issue is a priority that is as important to you as it seems to be from this blog, then I would encourage you (and your fans) to get on board the Ron Paul Express.

    • rfjk December 4, 2011, 10:14 PM

      Should Ron Paul secure the Republican nomination, I have no doubts the debates between Paul and Obama would be very stimulating and enlightening to the US electorate.

      More importantly, what Americans think of those debates would be even more interesting.

      Unfortunately, that will never happen. The Republican party has turned ever more rightward and will not nominate Paul as their standard bearer.

      This dominant faction has also misinterpreted the 2010 mid terms as if it were some endorsement of their maniacal politics & doctrines, when it was nothing more than a correction of the electoral map temporarily distorted by hatred of Bush.

      I do love attending the monthly meetings and watching the fearful realizations percolate over a clueless field of candidates, and an equally clueless rank and file bounding around like pin balls in choosing a nominee. I fully expect the primaries to be even more entertaining.

      Unless the big Kahuna interferes in nature and bestows a Republican dark horse candidate acceptable to the voting masses and maniacal rank & filers, a tall order to be sure, the whole story as it stands is Obama’s to lose.

  • Michael Shepard December 4, 2011, 9:31 AM

    As usual, this column hits the nail on the head. But let us be clear eyed: there is not going to be a mainstream American commentator who will denounced either Obama’s tactics or his philosophy about the challenges of the Middle East, or foreign policy in general. I expect nothing courageous or profound from Cohen or from any of them. Just as I have had to give up on Obama.

    Obama — who matters a lot more than Cohen — decided early on that the Zionists were right. And also that their strategy could win. What a shame.

    But consider this: if we are leaving Iraq, having lost it with a full military effort, if we are leaving Afghanistan, having lost it with a full military effort, how is it that assassinations and clever sabotage is going to do better?

    The Zionists and Washington, since 9/11, and really, throughout the Clinton administration, have not let go of the idea that the Muslims are a second class people who you can make deals with on your own terms, but you don’t have to make big concessions. You can beat them by force of arms, you can outsmart them, you can out kill them. And you can’t ever give in to them because power in Muslim hands is somehow a terrifying thing.

    So since at least the 1990s, Washington has been arming the gulf and playing games at the negotiating tables, and getting in a few wars.

    A lot of us were convinced that it was Bush: he was a small minded gunslinger, easily seduced by the crusaders around him. When Bush left, reason would prevail, and a Palestinian state would be negotiated swiftly, and the US would back off from pressuring the Muslim states.

    We found — to our amazement — that Bush was part of a policy that was much bigger, much more ingrained than we wanted to believe. Chomsky warned us. He said that foreign policy is not about personalities. It is about views of the world.

    I want to believe now that the good news is that the US is actually taking itself out of the game, although it does not realize it yet. Our budget is busted in large part because of ridiculous military spending for which we have little to show.

    Assassinations and sneaky stuff in Libya and Syria will probably bring short term gain (from a certain point of view), but the blow back can be faster these days.

    We flopped with efforts to start a little anti Hizbullah revolution in Lebanon. We have gotten the Palestinians to abandon the US as the mediator, and instead, build relationships with other states and groups. This was too long in coming.

    The Muslim Brotherhood is going to win in Egypt, and even if the treaty with Israel is not torn to shreds, there will be a new price tag to keep it. The US seems to have Saudi Arabia, and the gulf states for the moment, but the pressure in Jordan, in Syria, in Libya, in Pakistan, in Iran, in Turkey to oppose US objectives is intense.

    The Israelis have convinced the Americans that cleverness and murder can hold all the Muslim states down. It is not surprising, I suppose, that Israel believes this. Because they have been on a winning streak for some time. It is the Americans who have been taking the bloody nose going back to the bombing of a marine barracks, and the Cole, and on and on, right down to the catastrophe of Iraq.

    We keep not winning, and somehow Obama thinks he has hit on the winning strategy.

    Want to evaluate, as Koch used to say “How am I doing?”

    The Pakistani leadership, the Pakistani people, were passionate in their opposition to US policy a week ago. It could not get any lower, right? Well, a week has passed. And two dozen Pakistani soldiers have been stupidly killed. And Pakistan’s distaste for the US is even lower than before.

  • rfjk December 4, 2011, 1:57 PM

    David

    Obama has no delusions regarding the Zionists. He is fully aware of their visceral hatred and commitment consigning him to a one term presidency.

    According to polling Obama has staunched the loss of support from the Jewish/American community. This state of affairs only inflames Zionists to greater efforts and a handy tool in judging the effectiveness of their campaign against the prez will be in the tempo of their hysteria.

    Obama is an establishment politician and every first term president is immediately saddled with the specter of a 2nd term campaign. What’s surprising to me is how many people thought otherwise.

    Obama by his nature and political instincts tends to an activist presidency. I will say his youth and inexperience got himself seriously log jammed early in the first term, but by the same token he is a quick study and fast learner. I also have no doubts whatever after that UN speech September last, he spent the whole night spitting, coughing and choking from the bad taste in his mouth. Obama’s a real trooper, he pulled off an absurd demonstration in sycophancy and few noticed it.

    If he stays the course he’s plotted and the Republicans have nothing but the current field of nincompoops arrayed against him, whom remind the American voting public why they got rid of them in the first place every time they open their mouths, he’ll probably sail through to another term in the W/H in spite of the economy.

    I believe a second term Obama will have a lot of people looking foolish, and zealous Zionists have no delusions what that means to them. Even I have some concerns, but I’m voting for him anyway. And I’m a republican. Like Ronald Reagan said: “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party, the party left me.” If he were alive I’m sure he would say the same thing about Republicans today.

    • David December 4, 2011, 3:04 PM

      I don’t doubt that Obama choked on the UN speech, but why curry favor if there is no support from the Lobby? Why not stick it to them? ??.

      • Bob Mann December 4, 2011, 5:01 PM

        Who do you think Obama should stick it to?

        • David December 4, 2011, 5:59 PM

          AIPAC. The Lobby. Israel. The entities that impact policies in the ME.

      • rfjk December 4, 2011, 8:33 PM

        It’s way too late in this term to play that game. Obama’s a smart and wily politician for his age, and he demonstrates a surprising capacity at self control in biding his time.

  • PersianAdvocate December 4, 2011, 6:18 PM

    Richard, a good level of scrutiny should be applied to anyone who supported the “Green Movement” that came to be known in Western media.

    (1) The real Green Movement was led by Mir Hussein Moussavi, a figure of the establishment. It was the Leader that gave the confirm on showing the debates on TV before the election and allowing people to fill grandstands in accordance with their candidates’ colors or banners. This was an attempt by the Iranian government to reform from within.

    (2) This outpouring of democracy was immediately seized by foreign powers as a quick means to orchestrate a succinct, but poignant campaign, to conflate the nuclear issue with the human rights issue in Iran, while creating momentum to overthrow the Iranian government against the will of the people.

    (3) The people of Iran have been explicit along all sociopolitic strata: GTFO OF OUR BUSINESS.

    (4) Iranians sit on trillions and trillions worth of various reserves and a highly crucial geostrategical terrain the size of UK, Germany, Spain and France so foreign powers will never listen to #3.

    So, in furtherance of #2, the blitzkrieg was executed like a “shock and awe”. Green websites and rallies sprouted up internationally, all rooted to the same offices in Israel, Germany and the UK where the MEK has bases (perform HISTORICAL whois searches on a few and you will be able to get beyond their clumsy means of concealing themselves via common registrar anonymizers). “Dissenting Iranians” sprouted up everywhere on the internet that did not sound like Iranians to many people, including me. Lies were published and people believed them, but Iranians, even in the diaspora, did not. Eventually, this led to a self-invoked implosion of the Green Movement by Iranians at home and abroad.

    Roger Cohen’s article was heartwarming and sympathetic, but upon simple scrutiny one will always see Israel upon the horizon in his heart and truly in his eye instead of the apparent object of his written affection. HELL, Iranians, as a people, had the “admiration” of people like Alan Dershowitz. Netanyahu even let me borrow some of that F-35 technology Israel stole from America to fence on eBay so I could finance the printing of “I hate Ahmadinejad” t-shirts using his expensive, “but good” Israeli screen printer friend in Brooklyn. We were Israel’s favorite race. And all of Israel’s supporters’ too.

    But then, Purim came along… and it was time to dress up to mock the Iranians with a fake King and Queen that never existed. :)

    • Richard Silverstein December 5, 2011, 2:44 PM

      I find your characterization of the Green Movement to be objectionable, lacking in factuality, and propagandistic. I’m surprised to find you’re sounding so much like a mouthpiece for the regime. I’d suggest you tread very carefully in what you offer here & how you do so. I have very sensitive ears & eyes for propganda of any kind. And what you posted above is that in spades.

      Not to mention that your comment was off topic.

      • lidia December 6, 2011, 12:47 AM

        1) The comment of PA was ON topic, because you himself made the point – how “good” pro-Greens Cohen “suddenly” turned into “bad” pro-USAterrorism Cohen.
        2) PA is right, sorry. It is the SAME Cohen – a Zionist. Zionists support “Greens” because they hope “Greens” will turn Iran into a puppet of USA, and it seems Zionists have a reason to bet on it. And the puppet-of-the-USA Iran would be of NO threat to Zionism.
        3) No matter what Cohen writes about, his goal is the defense of Zionism, i.e. the colonial enterprise on Palestinians’ land. Both “Greens” which you like and the Obama terrorism you are against are but the means for this goals to Cohen.
        4) You have provided NO arguments against very detailed and factually sound post by PA. Your calling the arguments “propaganda” is not an argument, sorry.
        5) But at least you are not just shutting PA down from the start, like another big fan of “Greens”, the CIA “consultant” Cole. I appreciate it.
        6) Both “Greens” in Iran and the “new” terrorism politics of Obama serve the same goal – USA imperialism global domination. During the zenith of “Green” wave USA(Obama) were the same using terrorism against Iran. So, Cohen just sees more clearly, while you, I am afraid, prefer to shut your eyes on some unpleasant truth.

  • Bessam December 5, 2011, 4:11 AM

    “But then, Purim came along… and it was time to dress up to mock the Iranians with a fake King and Queen that never existed. :)”

    wonder what the American Purim will be called, when it will appear on the calendar, who the fake King and Queen will impersonate. Truman? Obama? Hillary?

  • lidia December 6, 2011, 2:27 AM

    Now, a stupid question – why call USA terrorism “Likudisation”?
    1) USA used terrorism long before the Likud was founded, as a matter of fact even before USA as a state was founded
    2) From the beginning of Zionism, terrorism against non-Jews was a definite trait of both “right” and “left” Zionists.

    I called the question “stupid” because we all know why. Because there are still well-meaning people who cannot call spade a spade and Zionism a colonial project. NOT “Likudnizm”, but Zionism itself, a real Zionism and not some never existed Zionism of nice Jews who only wanted to be safe from anti-Semitism. As if coming to grab others’ land without even saying “by your leave” does not mean pure and simple colonialism.

    • Richard Silverstein December 6, 2011, 2:32 AM

      From the beginning of Zionism, terrorism against non-Jews was a definite trait of both “right” and “left” Zionists.

      This is nonsense. I don’t know who you’re defining as “left” Zionists, but with the exception of one assassination in 1921 I know of no other assassinations by “left Zionists” against anyone whether Jewish or non-Jewish.

      • lidia December 6, 2011, 2:51 AM

        So, the Jews who terrorized Palestinian workers and fellahs before 1948 were ALL “rightists”? OK, so what was “leftist”‘s Jews reaction to it?

        “Therefore the Utopia of the ‘Jewish ideology’ adopted by the State of Israel is a land which is wholly ‘redeemed’ and none of it is owned or worked by non-Jews. The leaders of the Zionist labour movement expressed this utterly repellent idea with the greatest clarity. Walter Laquer a devoted Zionist, tells in his History of Zionism1 how one of these spiritual fathers, A.D. Gordon, who died in 1919, ‘objected to violence in principle and justified self defence only in extreme circumstances. But he and his friends wanted every tree and bush in the Jewish homeland to be planted by nobody else except Jewish pioneers’. This means that they wanted everybody else to just go away and leave the land to be ‘redeemed’ by Jews. Gordon’s successors added more violence than he intended but the principle of ‘redemption’ and its consequences have remained.” Shahak.

        And by terrorism I meant NOT only murders. There were other means to terrorize a native population.

        Not mentioning the role of “left” Zionists in Nakba – it was also BEFORE 1948.

        • Richard Silverstein December 6, 2011, 6:30 PM

          You said left Zionists assassinated non Jews. So once again, who did they assassinate?

          I’m not going to argue with you about general national policy or Nakba or whatever. Those are diff. issues & I’ve been critical of Israeli policy in those matters. But you made a specific claim about assassinations, not about Nakba. Israel Shahak is not exactly the most balanced, credible source to offer to prove yr point. And he’s only making a claim regarding one left Zionist & he’s not even supporting yr claim that left Zionists engaged in assassination of non Jews.

          • lidia December 6, 2011, 9:51 PM

            Please, reread my statement. There is NOT a word of ” assassinations”, but of “terrorism”. And I still cannot get why Nakba is different from “terrorism”, including murders. As far as I know, Obama terrorism (what you called ‘Likudisation”) is not confined to “assassinations”.

            Please, prove Shahak being a lair, because it would be the ONLY reason not to believe him. I understand that he was not “balanced”, i.e. he had not tried to explain away the racism of “left” Zionism. He called it “utterly repellent”. But it was a truth as long as he got his facts strait. Please refute his data.

            By the way, the idea of “balanced” is absurd, more precise, is but the propaganda tool of USA imperialism. There are facts and there is spin. When confronted with uncomfortable truth, propagandist cry “imbalance”! As if, writing about USA soldiers murdering and raping underage Iraqi girl, one must add – those soldiers were under strain of insurgent attacks and have lost their buddies and so on.

            Richard, I know that you do much more than a lot of USA Jews did. But, sorry, I cannot let you off hook here. Zionism is and was a colonialism. There is not such thing as left colonialism, left racism of lest settlerism. Or left, or racism. One needs to chose.

            Of course, I am not going to convert you. You are grown up, and you are intelligent enough. Words could not bring change in such case. But I could remind you about facts, as long as you are kind enough not to ban me :) One more time, Cole is far less tolerant. But I have nothing but contempt for him.

            Thank you for your patience

          • Richard Silverstein December 7, 2011, 12:48 AM

            MY post and Roger Cohen’s column dealt with targeted killings, which are assassinations. You then chimed in saying left Zionists supported terrorism, by which I assumed you were referring to assassinations. If you are claiming that left Zionists engaged in acts of terror you’d have to be more specific about what you’re referring to. There certainly were acts of violence, injustice, rape, etc. against Israeli Palestinians by the Palmach during 1948. There was a campaign against them leading up to the war that I suppose could be called terror. But there were some Zionists who rejected such actions & denounced them. They were in the minority then. But they existed.

            I don’t hold Israel Shahak to be a credible researcher or historian. Period. I’m not about to get into a debate about him or his claims.

            And I’m not interested in you trying to get me on the hook or let me off it. I’m simply uninterested in passing anyone’s litmus tests and being forced to make choices. If you have contempt for Juan Cole that must tell us how far “out there” your politics are.

  • lidia December 7, 2011, 10:35 AM

    1) So, there were SOME Zionists who were against Zionist terrorism against Palestinians. I never have said 100% of left Zionists were active terrorists, neither Shahak had. Shahak quoted a Zionist about the important left Zionist (non-violent one) and his views regarding Palestinian land and Jewish colonization of it. Had Shahak faked a quotation? If not, why call him names?
    2) Cole the CIA consultant has just helped the rape of Libya by NATO/Qatar, and is making his best to bring Syria to the same fate. I do not know your opinion regarding those imperialist crimes, but at least you have not been a cheerleader for them from the “left”
    3) Of course, you owe ME nothing and could just ignore me.

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