The chickens of western colonialism are coming home to roost.

Excerpt from “The Guns of August” – by Matthew Stevenson via Counterpunch

 

“Doubts about the sincerity of Americans in Iraq probably began when President Ronald Reagan dispatched his former national security advisor Robert C. “Bud” McFarlane to Tehran in 1986 with a cake and a Bible and proposed swapping arms for American hostages in Lebanon.

 

Until that moment, in the long war between Iran and Iraq, Saddam was our man, a bulwark against Shiite expansion in the Gulf, a non-fundamental (i.e., someone not adverse to girls or gin) Muslim willing to do the West’s bidding.

 

Bud’s cake and Bible alerted Saddam to the fickleness of Western support, and he repaid the favor in 1990 when he invaded Kuwait and let his troops drive all those looted Mercedes back to Baghdad.

 

The Iraqi occupation of Kuwait led to the first Gulf War and Saddam’s alleged death threat against President George H.W. Bush, cited in 2003 when his son, President George W. Bush, decided to overthrow Saddam’s regime.

 

Driving Saddam into a hole near Tikrit (where he was captured and later hanged) wasn’t the hard part of the blitzkrieg. The biggest challenge was deciding who should run Iraq once Saddam was swinging from the gallows.

 

Remembering the Mesopotamia, Churchill had faced the same conundrum in 1921, and at the Cairo Conference he went with an invented, cereal-box monarchy, an air campaign to subdue rebels, and a cadre of loyal Sunnis to keep the majority Shiite population on their knees.

 

In one form or another, that unholy coalition lasted until the 2003 American invasion, when the Bush administration decided to turn the country over to the Shiite majority.

 

Never mind that such a government would align Iraq more closely with Antichrists in Tehran.

 

*   *   *

 

By suppressing the Sunnis, the U.S. hoped to keep al-Qaida sympathizers in Iraq away from the oil fields. Under this partition, Shiites would get the government, the U.S. would get the oil, and Sunnis, especially those with Osama bin Laden posters on their kitchen walls, would get the shaft.

 

The problem with this division of Iraqi spoils is that it required the Bush administration to disband the Iraqi army and Saddam’s Baathist party infrastructure, two centers of power not solely identified with either Sunni or Shiite interests.

 

At the same time (mid-2000s) the U.S. army withdrew its forces into frontier stockades.  Iraq fell into anarchy until Gen. David Petraeus took time out from his amorous counter-insurgencies and paid Sunni warlords, especially in western Iraq, some $300 million to fight on the American side.

 

The rent-an-army surge worked until the Obama administration stopped payment on the Petraeus incentive compensation and left it to the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to explain to the opposition the fine print of the American victory, what in the Vietnam War President Nixon called “peace with honor.”

 

Speaking of peace with honour; the IS is bringing neither to the region as this Vice News clip illustrates.

 

gaza-strip-map-20131The following article reproduced in its entirety from Altnet.org.

 

Amid all the horrors unfolding in the latest Israeli offensive in Gaza, Israel’s goal is simple: quiet-for-quiet, a return to the norm.

For the West Bank, the norm is that Israel continues its illegal construction of settlements and infrastructure so that it can integrate into Israel whatever might be of value, meanwhile consigning Palestinians to unviable cantons and subjecting them to repression and violence.

For Gaza, the norm is a miserable existence under a cruel and destructive siege that Israel administers to permit bare survival but nothing more.

The latest Israeli rampage was set off by the brutal murder of three Israeli boys from a settler community in the occupied West Bank. A month before, two Palestinian boys were shot dead in the West Bank city of Ramallah. That elicited little attention, which is understandable, since it is routine.

“The institutionalized disregard for Palestinian life in the West helps explain not only why Palestinians resort to violence,” Middle East analyst Mouin Rabbani reports, “but also Israel’s latest assault on the Gaza Strip.”

In an interview, human rights lawyer Raji Sourani, who has remained in Gaza through years of Israeli brutality and terror, said, “The most common sentence I heard when people began to talk about cease-fire: Everybody says it’s better for all of us to die and not go back to the situation we used to have before this war. We don’t want that again. We have no dignity, no pride; we are just soft targets, and we are very cheap. Either this situation really improves or it is better to just die. I am talking about intellectuals, academics, ordinary people: Everybody is saying that.”

In January 2006, Palestinians committed a major crime: They voted the wrong way in a carefully monitored free election, handing control of Parliament to Hamas.

The media constantly intone that Hamas is dedicated to the destruction of Israel. In reality, Hamas leaders have repeatedly made it clear that Hamas would accept a two-state settlement in accord with the international consensus that has been blocked by the U.S. and Israel for 40 years.

In contrast, Israel is dedicated to the destruction of Palestine, apart from some occasional meaningless words, and is implementing that commitment.

The crime of the Palestinians in January 2006 was punished at once. The U.S. and Israel, with Europe shamefully trailing behind, imposed harsh sanctions on the errant population and Israel stepped up its violence.
Read the rest of this entry »

The desperate need to feel like a special snowflake with an afterlife easily sums up many Theistic arguments.  This video goes a little deeper and compares the common endpoints when discussing the problem of why is there something rather than nothing.

 

 photo 2014-07-3020174124_zpsldchhqko.jpg

A great cover of Kashmir, one of my most favourite modern pieces.

lawnmow    Some results of the latest Israeli raid :

 

* Destroyed tunnels, most often used to smuggle into Gaza household items that Israel, in violation of international law, prevents from being imported.

* Massacred nearly 2,000 people, including hundreds of children as young as newborns; injured thousands more.

* Destroyed hundreds of homes, leaving thousands of men, women and children homeless.

* Destroyed power plants, leaving hundreds of thousands of people without electricity or running water.

* Destroyed factories that produce such dangerous items as pretzels, cheese and biscuits.

* Targeted and murdered journalists.

Israeli officials have stated that, in Gaza, they periodically need to ‘mow the lawn’, meaning to destroy infrastructure, and bomb that beleaguered area back as close to the Dark Ages as possible. So one might add that to a list of Israel’s ‘accomplishments’.

Ah, the benefits of collective punishment continue to accrue for Israel.

“There are, however, some unintended results to this latest genocidal bombing of Palestinians.

* Unexpected international criticism of Israel. While this hasn’t been universal, Israel has seen ambassadors recalled, and even the U.S., which provides Israel with a blank check to do whatever it pleases on the world stage, has dared to timidly issue criticism of its puppet-master. It’s unfortunate that it took the repeated bombings of United Nations schools, which were being used to house thousands of Palestinians driven from their homes, for the U.S. to dare to speak up to Israel, but at least some mild criticism was expressed. The resignation of Sayeeda Warsi, a senior minister in Britain’s Foreign Office, who accused Prime Minister David Cameron’s government of taking a ‘morally indefensible’ approach to the conflict between Israel and Hamas, is also a striking statement against Israel.

* International demonstrations in support of Palestine. Even Israel has seen thousands of its own people protesting the carpet-bombing of the Gaza Strip. London has seen tens of thousands of demonstrators demanding that the British government stop supporting Israel.

* The social media storm that slammed into Israel. Apartheid Israel last ‘mowed the lawn’ in Gaza two years ago. At that time, Twitter had approximately 20 million users. Today, it has over 120 million, and Twitter users have spread around the globe graphic pictures and information that the news media didn’t dare report. This, at least in part, resulted in huge demonstrations in front of London’s BBC headquarters, causing that organization to announce it would review its policies to see if it was, in fact, reporting in a manner biased towards Israel.

* Greater motivation for the BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanction) movement. As people see graphic photos of young children playing on a beach being targeted and blown to bloody bits by IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) terrorists, someone basically apathetic becomes motivated.

* Further overall isolation of Israel from the international community. This may not actually be a separate category, since those listed above all contribute to it. The demonstrations, cancellations of Israel-sponsored events, the growing BDS movement and the increasing awareness, thanks in large part to social media, of Israel’s horrific crimes, cannot forever be ignored by the governments of the people who show their opposition to Israel by supporting these actions.

Perhaps some good has come out of this tragedy after all.

“Although the U.S. will oppose it every step of the way, the U.N. looks poised to investigate possible war crimes committed by Israel. Its findings will probably not be surprising, since the U.N. has issued more resolutions critical of Israel than it has of all other nations combined. But until the citizenry awakens from its public-relations induced sleep, and sees that the U.S. is financing genocide, nothing will change. There is evidence from the last few weeks that perhaps a large crack in the wall of U.S. and Israeli public relations has appeared. Those shocked by Israel’s crimes must widen it.”

Just doing what I can to make the crack a little wider.

[Source: Counterpunch]

 

 

From Sociological Images Micheal Lozano -

 

[...] Japanese fast-food has found a way to bypass the cultural stigmas that impede their profits. One food chain noticed many women would not buy their biggest-sized burgers.  The culprit was ochobo, a Japanese custom that prevents women from opening their mouth widely in public.  Small mouths are considered beautiful and opening them widely is considered “ugly” and “rude.”  The restaurant concluded that it would get into the business of “freeing women from the spell of ‘ochobo.’”

  Face Veil, so liberating!  much burger!  noms tasty!

Face Veil, so liberating! much burger! noms tasty!

 

 

Of course, the irony is that the burger chain’s “solution” isn’t actually liberating women.  By hiding the deviation behind a paper mask, it is actually reinforcing Ochobo. After all, the social reality remains — it is not acceptable for Japanese women to display an open mouth in public.

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