New York Times and the economy


Mr. Bernanke’s Warning
New York Times Editorial, 2011-08-27

[The key point is the total myopia shown towards manufacturing in this country.
The editorial focuses on housing, stimulating consumer demand, and infrastructure.
It ignores the on-going balance of trade deficit with East Asian nations,
with all that signifies for ever-growing indebtedness to those nations
and the increase in power that it gives them.
It also ignores the effects of the transfer of technology to them.
It just echoes the on-going lack of interest in Jewish-controlled organizations
(and even the ADL must admit that
the New York Times is owned and controlled by a Jewish family)
in maintaining a strong role for manufacturing in this country,
as opposed to their pie-in-the-sky, fairy-tale talk of a
“post-industrial, knowledge-based” economy.
Who is supposed to manufacture the manufactured goods that,
even in such an economy,
are still needed to serve as a base?
Who will manufacture all the products that are still needed?
And how would such an economy pay for those products?
Such questions never seemed to be asked in the Jewish-controlled media and “national conversation”, let alone addressed
(i.e., there is no good answer to those questions.
They represent more of the hoodwinking of our society by the “commentariat”).]

Labels: ,


New York Times and Israel

In the Middle East, Time to Move On
New York Times editorial, 2014-04-15

The pointless arguing over
who brought Israeli-Palestinian peace talks to the brink of collapse
is in full swing.
The United States is still working to salvage the negotiations,
but there is scant sign of serious purpose.
It is time for the administration to lay down
the principles it believes must undergird a two-state solution,
should Israelis and Palestinians ever decide to make peace.
Then President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry should move on
and devote their attention to other major international challenges like Ukraine.

Among those principles should be:
a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza with borders based on the 1967 lines;
mutually agreed upon land swaps that allow Israel to retain some settlements
while compensating the Palestinians with land that is comparable in quantity and quality;
and agreement that Jerusalem will be the capital of the two states.

[I agree entirely with those principles as a baseline for negotiations.
I am glad that the New York Times also supports those.
But the practical, operational question is:
What can the United States do to get Israel to accept that those principles
should form the basis of a settlement?
The lessons of the post-1967 period show, I believe,
that without (gasp) outside pressure on Israel,
Israel is quite content with the status quo of
ever-expanding encroachment on Palestinian-occupied lands.
If the U.S. continues to extend to Israel
a blank check in support of its current policies,
Israel will not accept those principles.]


Labels: ,


Washington Post's foreign policy

The current Washington Post editorial board.


Pakistan's Separate Peace
President Musharraf strikes a deal that may spare himself and his troops,
at the likely expense of Americans.

Washington Post Editorial, 2006-09-13

The cost of [Musharraf’s] decision
will be borne by American and NATO troops in Afghanistan,
whose commanders already say that
the ability of Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters to retreat to Pakistan
greatly complicates the challenge of defeating their escalating attacks.
So why did Vice President Cheney call Mr. Musharraf "a great ally"
just days after his separate peace?
Administration officials seem more willing to forgive their autocratic friend
than they are domestic critics of the war on terrorism.

[And just what can the American government do about this?
How much can, and should, America micromanage the affairs of Muslim states?
This patronizing, paternal, attitude
on the part of America’s feminist/Zionist elite
is a major cause of resentment by the targets of the interference.
How many Muslim enemies does America need?]

Change Course in Iraq
President Bush must revise the U.S. strategy for stabilizing the country.

Washington Post Editorial, 2006-10-22

[Its conclusion (emphasis is added):]

A change of course won't necessarily rescue the U.S mission in Iraq.
The government, political system and army
that Americans and Iraqis have sacrificed so much to create
could collapse without the prop of 140,000 U.S. troops or even with it.
But there remains a chance
the government could gain control over the country.
As long as that prospect exists,
the United States has
a moral obligation and a practical interest to remain in Iraq.

[Look, there will always be “a chance” that things will work out in Iraq.
But prudent people do not bet their country’s future on “a chance.”
The WP ’s prescription is a recipe for the U.S. to stay in Iraq forever,
causing permanent war between the U.S. and Islam.
Exactly what their controllers at AIPAC and the ADL want:
What’s good for Israel, not what’s good for the United States.]

Lebanon’s New Crisis
No shots have been fired,
but Hezbollah has launched another dangerous offensive.

Washington Post Editorial, 2006-11-15

[The first two sentences of the editorial:]

THE RECKLESS attack on Israel
by the Lebanese Hezbollah movement this summer
led to the devastation of the southern third of the country.
About 1,200 Lebanese died,
including many civilians
whom Hezbollah deliberately placed in the middle of the fighting,
and some 15,000 homes were destroyed.

[Compare the extract from an Amnesty International Press Release!]

Needed: A Big Stick
Iran and Syria are waging war in the Middle East.
Will the West fight back?

Washington Post Editorial, 2006-11-26

The assassination was a shockingly audacious attack
on Lebanon's democratic forces and their U.S. and European allies.

[No, no, no.
It was part of internal conflict within Lebanon.
We, properly understood, need not concern ourselves
with every thuggish action in remote lands.
We must try and decouple ourselves from
the savagery and ancient conflicts of other lands.
To do otherwise is madness,
leading to a bankrupt Unites States
with a horde of enemies created by its own mad actions.]

Iran and Syria are ruthlessly waging war
against Western interests in the Middle East.

[Same comments apply.
Western interests are nowhere near
what the Jerusalem Post thinks they are.]

And Now, Plan B
Washington is close to a consensus on a new strategy for Iraq.
But is it truly 'realistic'?

Washington Post Editorial, 2006-12-03

[This editorial is a response to leaks of the ideas of the ISG report.
Here is an excerpt from the editorial; emphasis is added.]

The best ... option for the United States lies in
a long-term effort to bolster Iraq's political administration and army
so that it defends the current constitution
and slowly gains the ability to take on
the enemies of the United States.
First among those are the Sunni extremists linked to the Baath Party and al-Qaeda, which continue to inflict more than 70 percent of American casualties.

[This indicates the unreality of the thinking of the Post’s editorial writers.
It is unrealistic to expect the government and people of Iraq
“to take on the enemies of the United States.
They will take on the enemies of the Iraqis.
If those happen to be the same as those of the United States,
well and good.
But to expect or require them to be the same
is both unrealistic and unfair to the Iraq people.]


A Problem of Passivity
Once again the United States stands by
while al-Qaeda operates in a safe haven.

Washington Post Editorial, 2007-02-21

[The last two paragraphs:]

President Bush accepted and endorsed
Mr. Musharraf’s truce with the militants [more]
when it was reached.
Now senior administration officials acknowledge that
it has created serious problems.
“A steady, direct attack
against the command and control in Pakistan in sanctuary areas
is essential,” Gen. Eikenberry said.
In separate congressional testimony, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said, “President Musharraf . . . has to do something.”
Mr. Musharraf has done nothing.
Instead, he has continued to defend his deal with the Taliban
and suggested that similar havens should be created in Afghanistan.
The provincial governor who brokered the deal
held a news conference last weekend at which he said
the truce was a success
and called the Taliban’s terrorism against U.S. and NATO forces
“a resistance movement, sort of a liberation war.”

The administration’s response to such statements --
and Pakistan’s failure to act --
has been to heap praise on Mr. Musharraf
and to express sympathy for the pressure he is said to be under.
[“Is said to be”?
What world does the editorial board of the Post live in?]

Such indulgence,
Pakistan is a soverign state, not a child or dependent of the United States.
But not to the Post.]

which has gone on for five years
while the general has tempered his action against Islamic extremists
and suppressed Pakistan’s pro-Western democratic parties,
will be hard to defend
if the consequences of allowing al-Qaeda a safe haven are unchanged.
“Direct intervention against the sanctuary in Afghanistan
apparently must have seemed . . . to be disproportionate to the threat,”
said the Sept. 11 commission report.
Is that how the administration thinks of Waziristan?

[This editorial continues the Post's attempt
to play “master of the world,”
exemplifying the imperial hubris discovered by Michael Scheuer.]

WPost's Editorial Fantasyland
By Robert Parry
Consortiumnews.com, 2007-03-08

Fred Hiatt’s Washington Post editorial page
and George W. Bush’s presidency have a lot in common –
most notably an arrogance of power so extreme
that they believe their very words can alter reality.


Ron Paul’s Appeal
Assessing a grass-roots phenomenon,
and the strange ideology behind it

Washington Post Editorial, 2008-01-11

[An excerpt; paragraph numbers and emphasis are added.]

NEW HAMPSHIRE did not produce a breakthrough
for Republican presidential aspirant Ron Paul.
The libertarian congressman from Texas
got only 8 percent of the vote in the Granite State,
despite its “live free or die” tradition.
This was slightly worse than his showing in the Iowa caucuses.
Still, the enthusiasm of Mr. Paul’s supporters --
one of the more remarkable phenomena of the campaign --
seemed undiminished.
There they were Tuesday night, cheering as
he promised to continue his long-shot bid and
his demand for immediate U.S. withdrawal from Iraq.
Having raised $28 million, mostly on the Internet,
Mr. Paul can afford to soldier on --
possibly on a third-party ticket in November.

[Paragraph 2 is omitted]

Though his campaign may owe its energy to 21st-century technology,
Ron Paul is no innovator.
To all the difficult questions of a complicated, interdependent world,
he offers pretty much the same prescription that
such right-wing American isolationists as Patrick J. Buchanan
have offered in the past:
The nation must disengage from international affairs
so as to concentrate on the real enemies at home.
To be sure, Mr. Paul, who would end the war on drugs,
does not seem to want a Buchanan-style culture war.
His demonology, inspired by idiosyncratic economic theories,
centers on the Federal Reserve Board, as well as “elites”
who might be plotting something he calls
“the NAFTA superhighway” across Texas.
Mr. Paul proposes a “golden rule” for foreign policy --
treat other countries as we would have them treat us.
But as Mr. Russert forced him to admit,
this bromide offers no help in such real-world scenarios as
a North Korean invasion of South Korea,
a democratic country with which we trade $72 billion worth of goods each year.
Mr. Paul implied that it would be none of our business.

Mr. Paul goes so far as to express understanding of
Osama bin Laden‘s antipathy toward U.S. military bases in Saudi Arabia,
which, Mr. Paul says,
created the “incentive” for the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
“It’s sort of like if you step in a snake pit and you get bit,”
he told Mr. Russert. “Who caused the trouble?”

During the Cold War,
the late Jeane Kirkpatrick chided Democrats for
“blaming America first” in foreign policy.
That may or may not have been apt.
But in 2008,
there is one candidate to whom her words definitely apply:
Republican Ron Paul.

[Certain words definitely apply
to this argument from the Graham/Hiatt editorial board:
A cheap, shoddy sophistry.

is not “blaming America”,
he is rather
some specific foreign policies
advocated and implemented by
the American ruling elite,

interventionistic policies that have been advocated by
none other than the Washington Post.
But rather than admitting that
Paul is criticizing policies advocated by the Post,
Graham/Hiatt wrap themselves in the flag
and assert that Paul is blaming America itself.
What shoddy demagogy,
from the hucksters of war and political correctness.

Here is a comparison that might be of interest:

The Graham/Hiatt regime has made no bones about
its opposition to the policy of the Bush administration
of supporting Pakistan’s President Musharraf.

Why is it “blaming America”
for Paul to criticize some aspects of American foreign policy,
but not blaming American
for Graham and Hiatt to criticize other aspects of American foreign policy?

The answer, of course, is that Graham and Hiatt are total hypocrites.

For the opinion of a distinguished expert on international affairs
which agrees entirely with Ron Paul’s statements,
see this statement by Stephen Walt.
But of course, according to the reporting that appears in the Post,
Walt is an “anti-Semite”,
because he dares to challenge America’s policies vis-à-vis Israel,
and because he links those polices to the Israel lobby.
Thus we see the implication:
Truth-telling American patriot implies “anti-Semite”.]

Breach in Gaza
... Hamas blockades the peace process
Washington Post Editorial, 2008-01-24

[An excerpt; paragraph number and emphasis are added.
This is double posted in “Anti-negationism” and “Washington Post’s Foreign Policy”.]

Mr. Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
committed themselves to reaching a peace accord in 2008 [?]
during President Bush’s visit this month.
Yet since then, political attention in the region has been focused on
the rocket attacks,
Israel’s retaliatory strikes against militants in Gaza and the subsequent blockade,
and yesterday’s dramatic breach of the border.

it is impossible for the peace negotiations to make progress
in these conditions.

So those who say their priority is an Israeli-Palestinian settlement
ought to be trying to stop Hamas’s disruptions.

[In the first place, the assertion in the box hardly seems true.
It is not like the rockets were landing
on the building in which negotiations were taking place.
Peace negotiations between belligerents throughout history
have taken place while hostilities continued.
The requirement that hostilities must stop
before Israel will deign to enter into negotiations
is yet another manifestation of its prima donna character.

Secondly, the conditions that the Post asserted made negotiations "impossible"
have, in later months (I write this in November 2008),
all been mitigated.
Yet limited progress toward an agreement has taken place.
The stumbling block has been revealed to be (as many of us knew all along)
Israel’s refusal to give up what it conquered in the 1967 war.
All the other excuse-mongering from the Post’s editorial page
only shows, yet again,
its desire to bamboozle and flim-flam the public
to serve the interests of Zionist hawks.

What amazes me is that so many of its readers accept this without outrage.]

War of the Rockets
By Jackson Diehl (Diehl is Deputy Editorial Page Editor for the Post)
Washington Post, 2008-05-05

[Paragraph numbers and emphasis are added.]

Last Tuesday, Israel faced the fallout from
a Palestinian family of five perishing in the Gaza Strip
during an Israeli strike against
militants firing rockets at an Israeli town.
On Wednesday, the Bush administration woke to a front-page picture in The Post of
a 2-year-old Iraqi boy killed in
a U.S. airstrike in Baghdad aimed at
Shiite militiamen launching rockets at the city’s Green Zone.
The similarity of these tragic and politically costly episodes
was anything but a coincidence.

For months now, Israel has been mired
in an unwinnable war against Hamas and allied militias in Gaza,
who fire missiles at civilians in Israel
and then hide among their own women and children,
ensuring that retaliatory fire
will produce innocent victims
for the Middle East’s innumerable satellite television networks.
A growing number of the militiamen have been to Iran for training,
and some of the missiles they launch are Iranian-made.
Their objective is obvious:
to exhaust Israelis with an endless war of attrition
while making it impossible for
Israel’s government to reach a political settlement with
the more moderate Palestinian administration in the West Bank.

[The contents of the “while” clause, in case you didn’t notice,
is nothing but a stupid and moronic lie.]

Now U.S. forces have been drawn into a similar morass in Sadr City,
the Shiite neighborhood of 2 million ruled by Moqtada al-Sadr‘s Mahdi Army.
As Iranian-made rockets rain down on the Green Zone and nearby neighborhoods,
U.S. forces attempt, so far in vain,
to stop the fire
by attacking Shiite militants from the ground and the air.
Hundreds of people have been killed,
filling the satellite airwaves
and handing a new argument to the “this war is lost” lobby in Washington.


It’s not hard to grasp
the common strategy at work here
or to intuit
what interest it serves.

The rockets fired from Gaza and from Sadr City
are two prongs of an offensive aimed at
forcing the United States out of Iraq,
putting Israel on the defensive --
and leaving Iran as the region’s preeminent power.
The third front, in Lebanon, is also the model.
There the Hezbollah militia
has armed itself with thousands of rockets and long-range missiles
in preparation for a repeat of its 2006 war with Israel,
while making Tehran a power in domestic Lebanese politics.
The fourth front is in Afghanistan,
where Taliban militiamen near the Iranian border
now come armed with Iranian-made weapons.

Countering the strategic Iranian challenge --
which also includes its unimpeded nuclear program --
is likely to preoccupy U.S. policy in the Middle East for years.
[Well, that’s certainly the goal of AIPAC, the ADL, and the Washington Post
(is there a difference?),
but not to patriotic Americans,
to whom advancing American interests, not merely “countering Iran,”
is the paramount goal.]

But the more immediate problem for both the United States and Israel is
how to end the wars of the rockets.
As Israel has demonstrated over the past 18 months,
selective strikes against rocket crews by aircraft or special forces
can inflict a lot of casualties -- but don’t stop the launchings.
As U.S. forces have shown in Baghdad,
sending substantial ground forces into Sadr City (or Gaza),
building walls and fighting for control of the streets
doesn’t bring quick relief, either.
Israel has so far avoided a similar offensive in Gaza
in part because of another problem, the lack of an exit strategy.
Even if the streets can be cleared of militants,
who will ensure that no rockets are fired after the invading forces depart?
Neither Iraqi nor Palestinian government forces seem up to the job.

Both Israelis and Americans are tantalized by
the prospect of a political solution.
With U.S. encouragement,
the Iraqi government is negotiating with both Sadr and Iran;
Israel is talking to Hamas through Egypt.
Both militias say they would be happy to observe a cease-fire
in exchange for political concessions.
(Sadr has already announced one, though the rocket launches continue.)
But neither will agree to disarm.
This is again the model of Hezbollah,
which participates in the Lebanese parliament
but refuses to give up its weapons,
giving it the ability to wage war at any time of its -- or Tehran’s -- choosing.
Hamas will not surrender its option to bleed Israel,
nor will the Mahdi Army its means to harry the American enemy.

Some think all this can be settled by
a direct approach to Tehran by the United States and
a grand bargain that would
stop the flow of weapons and trainers to Baghdad, Gaza, Lebanon and Afghanistan,
along with the nuclear weapons program.
In exchange for what?
Never mind: The next president, especially if a Democrat, will probably try it.
But let’s hope Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John McCain
also are thinking about a grimmer possibility:
that Iran believes that its offensive is succeeding
and that its goals are within reach,
and that it has no intention of stopping.
As long as neither Israeli nor U.S. commanders
can find a way to win the war of the rockets,
that’s likely to be the case.

The Iron Timetable
Washington Post Editorial, 2008-07-16

Whether the war in Iraq is being lost or won,
Barack Obama's strategy remains unchanged.

[The final paragraph; emphasis is added.]

“What’s missing in our debate,” Mr. Obama said yesterday,
“is a discussion of the strategic consequences of Iraq.”
The message that the Democrat sends is that
he is ultimately indifferent to the war’s outcome --
that Iraq “distracts us from every threat we face”
and thus must be speedily evacuated regardless of the consequences.
That’s an irrational and ahistorical way
to view a country

at the strategic center of the Middle East, with
some of the world’s largest oil reserves.

Whether or not the war was a mistake,
Iraq’s future is a vital U.S. security interest.
If he is elected president,
Mr. Obama sooner or later will have to tailor his Iraq strategy to that reality.

Mr. Obama in Iraq
Washington Post Editorial, 2008-07-23
Did he really find support for his withdrawal plan?

Mr. Obama’s account of his strategic vision remains eccentric.
He insists that Afghanistan is “the central front” for the United States,
along with the border areas of Pakistan.
But there are no known al-Qaeda bases in Afghanistan, and
any additional U.S. forces sent there
would not be able to operate in the Pakistani territories
where Osama bin Laden is headquartered.
While the United States has an interest
in preventing the resurgence of the Afghan Taliban,
the country’s strategic importance pales beside that of Iraq, which lies

at the geopolitical center of the Middle East and
contains some of the world’s largest oil reserves.

If Mr. Obama’s antiwar stance has blinded him to those realities,
that could prove far more debilitating to him as president
than any particular timetable.

[That was the final paragraph; emphasis was added.]

WPost and the Great Disconnect
By Robert Parry
Consortiumnews.com, 2008-08-13 (Wednesday)

On Tuesday, the sub-head for the Washington Post’s lead editorial read,
“The West confronts an unfamiliar sight: a nation bent on conquest.”

[Paragraph numbers and emphasis are added.]

The nation in question, of course, was Russia and the “conquest” was
its border clash with neighboring Georgia
over two breakaway provinces that want to join the Russian Federation.

But an objective person might note that
the sight of “a nation bent on conquest”
shouldn’t be “unfamiliar” to Western nations
unless they don’t look in the mirror.
For example, the United States – with its “coalition of the willing” –
invaded and conquered Iraq in 2003.

In that aggression,
President George W. Bush had the support of
Great Britain, Spain and a host of smaller states, including Georgia.
You’d think the Post’s editorial writers would have remembered that
since they were leading boosters of the Iraq conquest,
pushing the argument that
Iraq was threatening the United States with weapons of mass destruction.

As it turned out, Iraq had long since destroyed its stockpiles of WMD,
as U.S. intelligence already had been told by
senior Iraqi officials who were collaborating with Washington –
and as U.N. weapons inspectors were confirming inside Iraq
until Bush forced them to depart
to make way for his “shock and awe” bombing campaign.

Over the following years,
the Post’s editorial page has never formally apologized to the American people –
not to mention to the hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis –
for its readiness to serve as a propaganda organ for the U.S. government.

[Regarding the charge that the Post
“serve[d] as a propaganda organ for the U.S. government”:
In my opinion,
both the Post and the policy of the U.S. government towards the Mideast
are quite obviously under a common control.
Just why is it that the only nation
whose population is still happy about the U.S. invasion of Iraq
is Israel?
Are we supposed to believe that the conjunction of the facts that:
  1. The people of the U.S. wish the U.S would leave Iraq.
  2. The people of Iraq wish the U.S would leave Iraq.
  3. The people and government of Israel wish the U.S. would stay in Iraq.
  4. It seems remarkably difficult for
    the U.S. political system to make a decision to leave Iraq.
is a coincidence?

While it seems remarkably easy for the U.S. media/political system
to keep coming up with justifications (or rationalizations)
for the U.S. to first invade, then occupy indefinitely, Iraq.]

Beyond that lack of contrition, the Post has continued ugly attacks
on Americans who dared dissent against Bush’s false WMD claims.

For instance, the Post’s editorial page and Outlook section
have published repeated, scurrilous attacks on former Ambassador Joseph Wilson,
who blew the whistle on Bush’s use of false intelligence
about Iraq seeking yellowcake uranium from Niger.
[For details, see Consortiumnews.com’s “WPost’s Editorial Fantasyland.”]

However, it apparently remains impolite in Washington society
to suggest that editorial-page editor Fred Hiatt should be fired.

[But why place the real (and full) responsibility on Hiatt?
On a matters as portentous as these,
could Hiatt and his crew be doing anything other than
reflecting the preferred line of the Graham/Weymouth family?

Many on the left place full responsibility
for everything the Bush administration did to promote the Iraq War
on Bush and/or Cheney.
Why adopt a different standard towards
the actions of the Graham/Weymouth family media empire?

As the famous saying goes, “The buck stops at the top.”]

The Great Disconnect
Instead of any accountability, there’s been the Great Disconnect.
The Post’s editorial board
simply has decoupled from any memory of its Iraq guilt and instead
rolls toward a more comfortable place
where the newspaper still stands for what is right and good.

The Great Disconnect was on display
in three Post editorials over the past four days
as the newspaper fumed over Russia’s routing of U.S.-trained Georgian troops
who had launched a sudden offensive against separatist South Ossetia on Aug. 7.

The three editorials run the full gamut of double standards,
from evoking a renewed reverence for international law
to accusing Russia of deception
over the reasons for its counterattack against Georgia.

“The principles at stake, including sovereignty and territorial integrity,
apply well beyond the Caucasus,”
the Post’s Aug. 9 editorial (“Stopping Russia”) said,
although the reference was to other Russian border states,
not to countries that might be on President Bush’s hit list.

The Aug. 11 editorial (“Russia’s Dare”)
accused Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin of lying
to justify the attacks on Georgia.
“His brazen invocation of the Big Lie to justify Russia’s aggression –
accusing Georgia of ‘complete genocide’ [against South Ossetians] –
provided an answer” of how far Putin would go in his autocratic ways,
the Post said.

The editorial then turned to tough talk:
“The West will have to decide
whether to continue its efforts to soothe and placate Mr. Putin,
as if he were a petulant child
who could be bought off with candy and words of praise,
or whether to rise to the geopolitical challenge his regime poses.”

The harsh rhetoric again ignored the mirror image of another “petulant child,”
George W. Bush whose lashing out –
both in his attacks on other countries
and his multiple violations of international law –
was aided and abetted by the Post’s editorial board.

The Post also was throwing stones from a glass house
when it cited the “Big Lie” technique.
Nothing Russia has said in justifying its attacks on Georgia
has matched the lies the Bush administration – and the Washington Post
told about Iraq.

By the Aug. 12 editorial (“The Invasion Continues”),
the Post was experiencing convenient memory loss,
concluding that the image of a conquering nation
was “an unfamiliar sight” to the West.
Despite this amnesia,
the Post editors insisted that they were the ones with the clarity.

“The most urgent need is to see clearly what is taking place,”
the Post opined.

Yet, what truly is taking place is
a dangerous disconnect from reality in which

Washington’s media and political elites
see offenses that others commit

(often cast in the harshest light)
while averting their eyes
from their own equally bad or worse behavior.

Then, if anyone mentions the U.S. misdeeds,
the quick reaction from the neoconservatives [and the Washington Post!]
is to hurl the accusation of “blaming-America-first.”

That is often followed by another favorite neocon attack line,
accusing people of “moral equivalence”
if they try to hold the United States to the same rules as its adversaries.

In judging American actions,
evenhandedness is a sin; double standards are a virtue.

Up is down; objectivity is a crime.

So, as alarming as it may be
when a Bush administration official mocks “the reality-based community,”
as author Ron Suskind once reported,
it may be even more troubling
when Washington’s premier newspaper de-links from the real world
and drifts into a fog of propaganda.

Blaming Democracy
The fundamental principle at stake in Georgia
Washington Post Editorial, 2008-08-14

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

What is Georgia to us, after all, far away and without natural resources?
And yet, where would the logic carry us?
[Only to respecting Russia’s interests in
what it defines to be its “near abroad”:
countries that were once part of the USSR.
That does not include Poland, Hungary, or Finland,
a key fact that the Post disingenuously omits.]

Poland, too, used to be in Moscow’s “sphere” --
and Hungary, Estonia, Lithuania, and on and on.
Should they, too, bow to Vladimir Putin?
Why not Finland, while we’re at it?
You can quickly begin to see the reemergence of a world that would be
neither in America’s interest nor much to Americans’ liking.

The War in Pakistan
U.S. attacks on Taliban and al-Qaeda targets are risky -- and necessary.
Washington Post Editorial, 2008-09-14

[This provides a good explanation of the rationale, such as it is,
for how the Post justifies escalating our conflict with the Muslim world to include portions of Pakistan’s sovereign territory.

Paragraph numbers and emphasis are added.]

FOR MORE than six years,
the Bush administration has relied on Pakistan’s government and army
to combat Taliban and al-Qaeda networks
based in the country’s tribal territories along the border with Afghanistan.
The result has been
  1. the strengthening of both networks
    in the rugged and virtually lawless region;
  2. a steady increase in Taliban assaults
    on U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan;
  3. ominous reports that al-Qaeda is using its bases
    to prepare for new attacks on Western targets,
    including the United States.
By now it is clear that Pakistani army and security forces
lack the capacity to defeat the extremists --
and may even support some of the Taliban commanders.
Pakistan’s army has arranged truces with some of the extremists
that don’t preclude them from fighting in Afghanistan.
U.S officials say that the Pakistani intelligence service
was complicit in a July 7 suicide bomb attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul.

In these circumstances

President Bush’s reported decision in July
to step up attacks by U.S. forces in the tribal areas
was both necessary and long overdue.

According to a count by the Associated Press,
there have been seven missile strikes by remotely controlled Predator aircraft
in the past month,
as well as one ground assault by helicopter-borne American commandos.
At least two of the targets have been
Taliban commanders reportedly considered friendly by Pakistani intelligence --
including Jalaluddin Haqqani,
the alleged author of the Indian embassy bombing.
The results of the attacks are hard to gauge,
since U.S. officials refuse to discuss them;
reports from the remote areas, often by sources sympathetic to the Taliban, frequently allege that most or all of the casualties are civilians.

To its credit,
the Bush administration has tried to execute this shift in tactics
while preserving its alliance
with the Pakistani army and the new civilian government.
It’s a tricky balancing act:
The latest attacks have prompted outraged public statements
by the army commander in chief and the prime minister,
and there have even been threats to retaliate against American forces.
But army chief Gen. Ashfaq Kiyani was briefed by senior U.S. commanders
at a summit meeting on an aircraft carrier last month,
and his forces still are in line for billions of dollars in U.S. aid.
Pakistan’s newly elected president, Asif Ali Zardari, also
will desperately need U.S. support
to extract the country from a worsening economic crisis
and move forward with an ambitious program to counter extremism
in the tribal territories with economic development.

There’s a risk that the missile strikes
will prompt a breach between the U.S. and Pakistani armies,
or destabilize Mr. Zardari’s democratically elected administration,
which is the friendliest Washington could hope for
in a country with strong anti-American sentiment.
Some experts argue that U.S. attacks only increase support for the Taliban.
But the group already appears to have a stranglehold
on large parts of the tribal territories.
U.S. commanders say that victory in Afghanistan is impossible
unless Taliban bases in Pakistan are reduced.

no risk to Pakistan’s political system or its U.S. relations
is greater than
that of a second 9/11 staged from the tribal territories.

U.S. missile and commando attacks must be backed by the best intelligence
and must minimize civilian casualties.
But they must continue.

Mr. Olmert's Farewell
The departing Israeli prime minister endorses a withdrawal policy
his own government failed to uphold.

Washington Post Editorial, 2008-10-05

[Paragraph numbers and emphasis are added.]

AFTER ISRAELI Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir was voted out of office in 1992,
he gave an interview in which he revealed

he had never been serious about
peace negotiations with the Palestinians.

His real intention, he said, had been
to drag out the talks for a decade
while settling hundreds of thousands more Jews
in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Last week, Ehud Olmert, who served in Mr. Shamir’s cabinet
and believed in his dream of a “greater Israel,”
gave a similar truth-telling interview
at the end of his own stint as prime minister --
only the message was very different.

“We have to reach an agreement with the Palestinians,
the meaning of which is that in practice
we will withdraw from almost all the territories,”
Mr. Olmert told the newspaper Yedioth Aharonot.
Of his long record as a supporter of
keeping and settling those lands and Arab East Jerusalem,
Mr. Olmert said,
“For a large portion of these years,
I was unwilling to look at reality in all its depth.”

Mr. Olmert’s words are one measure of
how far Israel has changed politically in 16 years.
Before 1992, acceptance of a Palestinian state
or even direct negotiations with the Palestine Liberation Organization
were unacceptable to the parliamentary majority;
now a former leader of the right-wing Likud party can say that
Israel must withdraw from all but a small part
of the territories captured in the 1967 war.
Mr. Olmert’s position is pragmatic:
He says that the territorial concessions are necessary
to prevent Israel from becoming a “binational state,”
with an Arab majority.
Judging from polls, a majority of Israelis agree with him.

Yet in another sense Mr. Olmert has hardly altered Israel’s policy.
During his nearly two years as prime minister,
his government has pursued
the same settlement-expansion policy that Mr. Shamir favored.
According to the Israeli group Peace Now,
the pace of settlement construction nearly doubled
during Mr. Olmert’s time as prime minister,
and the number of Israelis living in the West Bank
increased by more than 10 percent, to 290,000.
The new homes are going up not just in settlements close to Israel,
which could be annexed as part of a peace accord,
but in areas deep in the West Bank --
including outposts that Mr. Olmert’s government had declared illegal
and promised to dismantle.

What’s changed in Israel is
the willingness of the political mainstream to accept, in theory,
a Palestinian state along territorial lines
that most of the world (including most Arab states) would accept.
What hasn’t changed is the steady pace of settlement construction
that is slowly but surely making that solution more difficult to carry out --
and the unwillingness or inability of Israeli leaders to stop it.
Mr. Olmert tried to make history with his parting words;
sadly, they were deeply at odds with his actions.

Mr. Assad's Medicine
After sponsoring terrorism against three of its neighbors,
Syria plays the victim when its own border is breached.

Washington Post Editorial, 2008-10-28

[This continues the Post’s unrelenting stream of editorials
advocating or supporting harsh actions against Muslim states
which dare to not capitulate to Israel’s aggressions
against Palestine, or, in the case of Syria, against them,
while editorials advocating negotiations and compromise
on the basis of mutual respect and shared interests
are conspicuous by their absence.

Look at the record:
The Post has advocated military action by the U.S. or Israel against:
  1. Afghanistan (2001)
  2. Iraq (2003)
  3. Lebanon (2006)
  4. Pakistan (2008)
  5. Syria (2007, 2008)
    and soon no doubt to come:
  6. Iran (20??).
That’s the entire stretch of Southwest Asia from the Himalayas to the Mediterranean!

While a case, sometimes strong, sometimes less so,
can be made for each individual military action,
when one adds it up one gets a totality that is most disconcerting,
not to mention costly.

Surely there is a better way to deal with the Islamic world.
Surely the time has come to break free from the tyranny of
the ADL and AIPAC’s
“isolate them, fight them, but never negotiate with them” approach.

How much more misery, war, strife and turmoil must we bear
for those lousy “settlers”?]

A Middle East Vote
Shortly after the next American president takes office,
Israeli elections will set the prospects for U.S. diplomacy.

Washington Post Editorial, 2008-11-01

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

AS TALKS over a two-state settlement have stalled,
Israelis and Palestinians lately have resumed old debates about
whether a peaceful division of historical Palestine is still possible....

In principle, most Israelis now accept the idea that
a Palestinian state occupying most of the West Bank and Gaza Strip
is far preferable either to
continued Israeli occupation of those areas or to
a single state in which Jews would eventually become a minority.
That makes them liable to support Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni,
who won a primary to succeed the scandal-besmirched Mr. Olmert
as leader of the Kadima party.
Ms. Livni appears genuinely committed to a peace deal,
though she has appeared less flexible on its specific terms than Mr. Olmert.
She offers Israelis a message of change;
her rejection last week of the unseemly demands of a small religious party
with which she sought to forge a parliamentary majority
forced the election.


Most Israelis, however, are skeptical that
it will be possible to settle anytime soon with
Palestinians who are divided into
two territories and two factions.

Mr. Abbas’s moderates in the West Bank and the militant Hamas in the Gaza Strip
are negotiating to end their rift,
but even if they succeed,
the qualms of Israelis over Hamas’s fundamentalist agenda will remain.
They may also not feel much urgency:
Thanks to the construction of a fence along the West Bank border
and a cease-fire deal with Hamas,
Israel has been more peaceful in recent months than it has been in years.
That favors right-wing leader Binyamin Netanyahu, a former prime minister.
It is likely that
he would seek to put off a settlement with Palestinians indefinitely.
Mr. Netanyahu is seen as inflexible and untrustworthy by many in Washington;
his election could spell a fractious period in Israeli-U.S. relations.

At the moment,
the parties of Ms. Livni and Mr. Netanyahu are tied in the polls.
A clear victory by Ms. Livni could energize the peace process,
and its pursuit by the new president
could strengthen the U.S. position around the region.
But more likely is a narrow victory by one side
or a coalition government that hamstrings Israel’s negotiating ability.
That would perpetuate what at present is the leading obstacle to a deal,
which is
the political weakness of both the Israelis and Palestinians who seek it.
As the Bush administration has discovered,
intervention by the United States, even if energetic,
cannot easily compensate for that deficit.


The Afghan Challenge
Democrats have long called it 'the central front.'
Will they retreat from it?

Washington Post Editorial, 2009-01-29

[Another editorial from the Graham dynasty urging perpetual war
to meet the demands of either feminism or Zionism.
An excerpt:]

So far as we know, the American objective in Afghanistan since 2002
has been pretty much what [Defense Secretary Robert] Gates says it should be:
“an Afghan people
who do not provide a safe haven for al-Qaeda,
who reject the rule of the Taliban
and support the legitimate government they have elected
and in which they have a stake.”

So, according to Gates and the Post editorial board,
the American objective is
“an Afghan people”
who meet certain criteria.
One is reminded of Bertolt Brecht’s famous advice
to the leaders of the old East German Communist regime:

Would it not be easier
In that case for the government
To dissolve the people
And elect another?

Let me be very, very clear here.
That is exactly what Gates, the Grahamarians, and those they represent
are calling for.
That wasn’t successful in East Germany, and it won’t be in Afghanistan.
But what do they care how many billions are wasted and lives are lost
in meeting the demand of America’s matriarchy,
perpetual war for feminist ideals?]

The problem, as Mr. Gates acknowledged, is that
meeting that aim necessitates such tasks as
stabilizing western Pakistan,
rooting out the opium trade,
vastly expanding the Afghan army and
constructing a workable legal system.
That, in turn, will require
more money, more troops, many more years of commitment --
and higher American casualties.

[Two questions arise:
Is that feasible, without compromising with the Taliban?
Even if it is, is it worth it?

As to what the American objective for Afghanistan should be,
let me suggest this one, seemingly more limited:
A state from which no attacks on the United States, or its vital interests abroad,
are launched.

Whether that state is a theocracy, democracy, or monarchy,
sexist, repressive, sectarian and “medieval” or
a politically correct paradise of the type currently favored in America,
is not our concern, but rather the concern of the people of Afghanistan.
Back in the last century,
the concept of self-determination for other peoples was esteemed.
Evidently to the Post editorial board, that is no longer the case.

The Post’s editorial concludes:]

Afghanistan doesn’t need to become the 51st state,
but it does need
a single, coherent, integrated plan
to become a state strong enough to resist the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

Creating one will require some aggressive diplomacy
and maybe a little political china-breaking.
That’s something for which the State Department’s new envoy to the region,
Richard C. Holbrooke, is known.
But low-balling the scale of the challenge, or the costs it may incur,
won’t help.

[There is absolutely no reason to believe that
“aggressive diplomacy and ... political china-breaking”
will achieve the goals the Post has set.
It is editorial malpractice to claim they will.

And what is the cost to America of this
“aggressive diplomacy and ... political china-breaking”?
American diplomacy can only achieve a limited number of objectives.
What must America give up to persuade other countries
to support a struggle they would not support otherwise,
serving quite literally as vassal states to America?
How does this improve America’s image in the world?

It would be far cheaper to make a deal with the Taliban.
But to the femocracy, no cost is too high.
And by the way, remember when Bush was accused of “cowboy diplomacy”?
By the same token, what we have here is “battle-ax diplomacy”.]

Bush "light" in the ME?
by Patrick Lang
Sic Semper Tyrannis, 2009-03-09

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

The Washington Post editorial page here declares
President Obama’s “outreach” to the Syrians and Iranians dead before arrival,
and clearly the newspaper rejoices in that self-fulfilling prophecy.


The Post editorial page has been a leading neocon propaganda organ for several years
so these “statements” are to be expected.

The Price of Realism
President Obama’s plan for Afghanistan and Pakistan is ambitious and expensive.
It is also hard-headed.

Washington Post Editorial, 2009-03-28

[Emphasis is added.]

THE STRATEGY for Afghanistan and Pakistan
announced by President Obama yesterday
is conservative as well as bold.
It is conservative because
Mr. Obama chose to embrace many of the recommendations
of U.S. military commanders and the Bush administration,
based on the hard lessons of seven years of war.
Yet it is bold -- and politically brave --
because, at a time of economic crisis and war-weariness at home,
Mr. Obama is ordering not just a major increase in U.S. troops,
but also
an ambitious effort at nation-building in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
He is right to do it.

Few Americans would dispute Mr. Obama’s description yesterday
of the continuing threat from Afghanistan and Pakistan’s tribal areas.
“Multiple intelligence estimates have warned that
al-Qaeda is actively planning attacks on the U.S. homeland
from its safe haven in Pakistan,” he said.
“And if the Afghan government falls to the Taliban --
or allows al-Qaeda to go unchallenged --
that country will again be a base for terrorists
who want to kill as many of our people as they possibly can.”
The goal he stated was similarly simple and clear:
“to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan,
and to prevent their return to either country in the future.”

What distinguishes the president’s plan --
and opens him to criticism from some liberals as well as conservatives --
is its recognition that
U.S. goals cannot be achieved without
a major effort to strengthen the economies and political institutions
of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The Bush [43] administration tried to combat the al-Qaeda threat with
limited numbers of U.S. and NATO troops,
targeted strikes against militants, and
broad, mostly ineffective, aid programs.
It provided large sums of money to the Pakistani army,
with few strings attached,
in the hope that
action would be taken against terrorist camps near the Afghan border.
The strategy failed:
The Taliban has only grown stronger,
and both the Afghan and Pakistani governments are dangerously weak.

The lesson is that
only a strategy that aims at
protecting and winning over the populations where the enemy operates,
and at
strengthening the armies, judiciaries, and police and political institutions
of Afghanistan,
can reverse the momentum of the war and, eventually,
allow a safe and honorable exit for U.S. and NATO troops.
This means more soldiers, more civilian experts
and much higher costs in the short term
[Note the qualifier “in the short term”.
The wise reader will observe that there is no guarantee whatsoever that
the strategy the Post recommends will do anything but
push the U.S. ever deeper into a war with conservative (not extremist) Islam.
See, e.g., 2009-04-06-NYT-Perlez.]
Mr. Obama has approved a total of
21,000 more U.S. troops and several hundred additional civilians
for Afghanistan,
and yesterday he endorsed two pieces of legislation that would
provide Pakistan with billions of dollars in nonmilitary aid
as well as trade incentives for investment in the border areas.
More is likely to be needed:
U.S. commanders in Afghanistan hope to obtain
another brigade of troops and a division headquarters in 2010,
and to double the Afghan army again
after the expansion now underway is completed in 2011.
Mr. Obama should support those plans.

Such initiatives are not the product of starry-eyed idealism
or an attempt to convert either country into “the 51st state”
but of a realistic appreciation of what has worked -- and failed --
during the past seven years.
As Mr. Obama put it,
“It’s far cheaper to train a policeman to secure his or her own village
or to help a farmer seed a crop
than it is to send our troops to fight tour after tour of duty
with no transition to Afghan responsibility.”
That effort will be expensive and will require years of steadiness.
But it offers the best chance for minimizing the threat of Islamic jihadism --
to this country and to the world.

[Here the Post promotes the liberal delusion
on the causes of Islamic jihadism.
Yes, I know some academics share those delusions.
But that doesn’t make them right—rather,
just another of the left’s rotten lies.
For an antidote, see the works of, e.g., Robert Pape and Michael Scheuer.]

Mr. Obama's War?
No. Like it or not, it’s America’s war.
Washington Post Editorial, 2009-05-17

PRESIDENT OBAMA’S clashes with the liberal base of his party
are the kind of sporting event that Washington loves.
But what Mr. Obama is confronting is less his party
and more a stubborn reality that many in his party are unwilling to accept:
There are forces in the world that continue to wage war against
the United States and its allies,
[Now to whom could the Post editorial board be referring?]
whether or not the United States wants to acknowledge that war.

Mr. Obama’s recent decisions on paying for Afghanistan, reviving military tribunals and withholding photos of detainee abuse, among others, all reflect this reality. Although we disagreed with his conclusion on the photos, we sympathize with his concern that it might harm Americans fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. His announcement Friday that he had reversed his opposition to trying some enemy detainees in military commissions reflects, again, the fact of a nation at war; the federal courts will not be the proper venue for every al-Qaeda member captured by U.S. forces. (In a separate editorial we offer some views on how to improve the commissions further.) His commitment to fighting al-Qaeda and its allies in Afghanistan and Pakistan recognizes that pretending a threat does not exist will only increase the danger to America.

That’s what is worrying about the modest but gathering opposition to Mr. Obama’s policies within his party. Rep. Donna F. Edwards (D-Md.), who represents parts of Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, was one of 51 Democrats to vote against funding for the Afghan war on Thursday. In a statement, Ms. Edwards hailed “the passion and commitment of our servicemen and women” that she witnessed on a recent trip to the embattled nation as well as “the commitment and courage of Afghan women to build a future for their country.” But Ms. Edwards said that she could not support funding, because Mr. Obama lacks “a strategy for leaving Afghanistan.” In a similar vein, Rep. David R. Obey (D-Wis.), chairman of the Appropriations Committee, told the New York Times that he would give Mr. Obama’s strategy one year to work before moving into opposition.

Mr. Obama understands that the only safe strategy for leaving Afghanistan is to beat back radical Islamist forces and build Afghan capacity to continue that fight. It’s an effort that will require soldiers and civilians, military battles and economic development. Of course it will take more than a year; Gen. David H. Petraeus, who oversees the military effort, has been entirely candid about that.

What’s discouraging is how quickly many Americans seem to forget the peril of half-finishing wars. Once before this country abandoned the battlefield in central Asia; Osama bin Laden moved into the vacuum.
Today, he and like-minded terrorists continue to conspire in
Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen and elsewhere.
Confronted by this unpleasant truth and the difficult challenge it poses, too many politicians lapse into the wishful-thinking school of making policy. We worry that there remains a touch of that in Mr. Obama’s Iraq timetables and lean defense budget. But for the most part, having accepted the responsibility of keeping America safe, he has recognized that America can’t always choose its enemies or its battlefields. His realism deserves support.

[I think it is very clear that what the Post really wants is
a war against
those who stand in the way of feminism and the occupation of the West Bank.

The hostility of those who the Post describes as our enemies
could and would be drained away if
a) Israel would get out of the West Bank and its occupied sector of Jerusalem
and let the Palestinians have a reasonable government in those areas, and
b) if America would be willing to respect, and even aid,
Muslim regimes irrespective of whether they conformed to feminist ideals.]

The Cairo Appeal
Arab leaders will seek to narrow President Obama's broad agenda to one issue.
Guess which.

Washington Post Editorial, 2009-06-05

PRESIDENT OBAMA was the first to say yesterday that one speech cannot erase the accumulated hostility and mistrust between many of the world’s Muslims and the United States. But his address in Cairo offered an eloquent case for American values and global objectives -- and it looked to be a skillful use of public diplomacy in a region where America’s efforts to explain itself have often been weak. Mr. Obama uttered verses from the Koran, spoke about the success of U.S. Muslims, debunked extremists’ claims and defended the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians. He returned repeatedly to the theme that most of the differences between Muslims and the West can be eased by “a sustained effort to listen to each other, to learn from each other, to respect one another and to seek common ground.”

That idealistic sentiment, which lies at the heart of the president’s political ideology, may or may not prove true with respect to challenges such as the Israeli-Arab conflict and Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.
But Mr. Obama’s address --
which was broadcast live on al-Jazeera and other popular satellite channels --
offered a stout defense of core U.S. interests
while managing to sound very different from the post-Sept. 11 Bush administration.
Mr. Obama said that “the first issue we have to confront is violent extremism,”
but he did not use the word “terrorism”
and exonerated Islam from responsibility.
He said that Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons had “reached a decisive point,”
but he did not describe the Middle East as divided between
“moderates” allied with the United States and “extremists” grouped around Iran --
as the Bush administration, Israel and the region’s Sunni autocrats
have been prone to do.

Much of the president’s speech
was aimed at undermining Iranian and other extremist propaganda.
Al-Qaeda’s responsibility for the Sept. 11 attacks
and its “determination to kill on a massive scale”
were “not opinions to be debated,” he said,
“but facts to be dealt with”;
denying the Holocaust “is baseless, it is ignorant and it is hateful.”
He challenged Iran to abandon its slogan of “resistance”
and to say what it stands for.
Mr. Obama’s defense of democracy was clear, if understated;
his argument for women’s rights was fervent.
He sent a subtle but important signal to moderate Islamists,
saying that the United States would respect all peacefully expressed views
and the winners of any fair election,
provided they abided by the rule of law.

Mr. Obama’s words on the Arab-Israeli conflict
will attract most of the attention in the region.
Promising to “say in public what we say in private,”
he defended the Palestinian right to statehood
as fervently as he did that of Israel.
He bluntly spelled out
the steps needed from Palestinians, Arab states and Israel,
including a “stop” to Israeli settlements.
Though he offered no detailed plan or timetable,
Mr. Obama -- like several presidents before him --
committed himself to pursuing a two-state solution.

Perhaps that pledge was needed to gain credibility with Muslim audiences.
But Mr. Obama’s challenge will be to prevent Arab leaders
from diverting the broad engagement he proposed
into the narrow alley of the Mideast “peace process.”
Though the president warned against using the issue
“to distract the people of Arab nations from other problems,”
some were already at it yesterday:
“Arabs are waiting for pressure to be exerted on Israel,”
said Iraq’s government spokesman.

Mr. Obama’s initiative will fail if
Israel’s compliance with U.S. demands
becomes the stick by which
Muslims measure
the “new beginning” he offered.

He can avoid that pitfall
by continuing to speak out about the other issues he raised --
and by publicly pressing Muslim governments for action on them.

[Wait a minute.
It is up to the Muslims to decide
what the stick will be by which they measure
the “new beginning” he offers.
There is nothing that Obama, the Post, nor the U.S. can do
to decide what are the vital issues to Muslims.
What the Post is calling for Obama to do,
to affect what criteria the Muslims use to judge the U.S., is impossible.
In not recognizing that fact,
in calling on Obama to “avoid that pitfall”,
the Post deliberately hides
the fatal flaw in
the policy that the Post has long called for
towards the Muslim world.

In calling on Obama to
“continu[e] to speak out about the other issues he raised --
and by publicly pressing Muslim governments for action on them”
the Post diverts attention
from what is important to the Muslims
to what is important to the Post.
It is just more of the old Zionist/feminist/PC shell game,
putting the issues of political correctness always at the center of
debate and the agenda
while hiding, minimizing, neglecting or denigrating
other people's points of view.]

The Settlement Rift
President Obama has delivered a necessary shock
to Israel’s right-wing government.
Will he now compromise?

Washington Post Editorial, 2009-06-05

[Before even reading the editorial,
note who the subhead is holding accountable: President Obama.
It is up to President Obama to compromise,
not up to the Israeli government.]

IN THE WEEKS before President Obama’s Cairo address to the Muslim world,
his administration opened a striking public breach with the Israeli government of Binyamin Netanyahu.
Even aside from any possible usefulness for courting Arab opinion,
this was probably necessary.
Mr. Netanyahu,
who has refused to publicly support Palestinian statehood
and insisted that Israeli settlement expansion will continue,
was in need of a wake-up call.
So the president has said repeatedly that
he expects Israel to start moving toward a two-state solution,
and he and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
have bluntly insisted that all Israeli settlement activity stop.
The medicine has had its effect:
Israeli media are full of talk of the “crisis” between Washington and Jerusalem
and of the fateful choice that Mr. Netanyahu must make
between good relations with Washington
and the hard-line ideology of his Likud party.

[That’s its effect?
Its effect on the Israeli media?
How about hoping for a tangible effect on Israeli policy?]

The question is
whether the administration will allow Mr. Netanyahu
the room to side with Mr. Obama,
should he choose to do so.

[What a quaint way of saying
“Cave in to the Israeli settlement movement,
on all except the most trivial,
but sure to be dramatized to the point of hysteria,
Trust me, one thing that I do know is
how much emphasis Jews place on dramatizing (and framing) issues.
It is no accident that Jews play such key roles in Hollywood,
and in culture at large.]

According to some officials in his government,
there is much the Israeli leader may be willing to do to mend the rift.
What he almost certainly will not do, however,
is abandon the position of previous Israeli governments --
accepted in practice by both the Bush and Clinton administrations --
that some “natural growth” must be allowed in existing settlements.

Mr. Obama’s Middle East envoy, George J. Mitchell,
first called for an end to “natural growth” in 2001,
when he headed a Middle East commission.
Ms. Clinton publicly committed the Obama administration to the demand
in a recent interview with al-Jazeera, saying
“we want to see a stop to settlement construction, additions, natural growth --
any kind of settlement activity.”
There are some good reasons for this position:
Previous Israeli governments
have violated their own rules about the limits of “natural growth”;
they have also failed to fulfill
repeated promises to dismantle those settlements
that Israel itself has deemed illegal.

The problem is that no Israeli government --
not Mr. Netanyahu’s, not even one led by the current opposition --
is likely to agree to a total construction ban.
By insisting on one,
the administration risks bogging itself down in a major dispute with its ally,
while giving Arab governments and Palestinians
a ready excuse not to make their own concessions.

[See what the Washington Post makes the critical issue:
avoiding “bogging itself down in a major dispute with its ally”.
When have you ever seen the Post worried about
getting bogged down in a dispute with conservative Muslim regimes?
The Post cannot offer any good reasons on the merits
for avoiding a dispute with Israel over this issue,
rather it resorts to the argument that
disputes with Israel are simply intrinsically a bad thing.
In other words,
we must never disagree with our Israeli lords and masters
(or at least the lords and masters of Mr. Graham, Ms. Weymouth,
and the Post editorialists.)]

Meanwhile, the practical need for a total settlement freeze is debatable.
Palestinian negotiators have already conceded
that many of the towns will be annexed to Israel in any final deal;
so did former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

And to what other issues will the Post give the policies of Bush-43
its unalloyed support?]

A good compromise is achievable.
Mr. Netanyahu should publicly acknowledge that
the peace process will lead to Palestinian statehood,
and should adopt a series of measures curtailing settlements.
He should quickly dismantle those deemed illegal,
end all government subsidies,
prohibit the territorial expansion of all settlements,
stop new construction in those outside Israel’s West Bank fence
and agree to a monitoring mechanism that will prevent cheating.
Mr. Obama can reasonably accept that as a freeze,
while not requiring that not a single brick be laid in
any of the more than 120 West Bank communities.
Then he can turn to the equally important task of
pressing Palestinian leaders and Arab states
for measures that match Israel’s actions.

[Let’s look at this from a slightly different viewpoint.
Consider how much the Arab regimes have already done to hold in check
terrorism directed against Israel,
even though Israel has moved 300,000 “settlers” into
a region that it conquered in a war of conquest and expansion
(most certainly not the “defensive war” that some Zionists claim it was).

But more importantly, let’s not set the bar too low
by merely expecting Israel to halt further growth of its settlements.
Let’s look at what the reasonable trade-off should and must be:
return to 1967 boundaries for a real peace with the Arab world.
If any adjustments are to be made to those boundaries,
let’s not have the much-ballyhooed “facts on the ground”
(read “the fruits of aggression”) prejudice the negotiations.]

End the Spat With Israel
By Jackson Diehl
Washington Post Op-Ed, 2009-06-29

[Diehl is the Deputy Editorial Page Editor
and, as such, appears on the newspaper’s masthead.
Here is an excerpt from his column; emphasis is added.]

Finally, the extraction of a freeze from Netanyahu
is, as a practical matter, unnecessary.
While further settlement expansion needs to be curbed,
both the Palestinian Authority and Arab governments
have gone along with previous U.S.-Israeli deals by which
construction was to be limited to
inside the periphery of settlements near Israel --

everyone knows
those areas
will be annexed to Israel
in a final settlement.

[Let’s stop and examine that assertion.
How could it possibly be asserted more positively?
Everyone knows?
Surely you jest, Mr. Diehl.

But know, Diehl is asserting what Israel hopes will be accepted
as the only possible reality.
As usual, the Post (in the form of its Deputy Editorial Page Editor) is telling Americans that the only possible reality is that which the Israelis desire.

If that isn't bias, what is?

Some points on the substance of what Diehl said:
  1. “those areas will be annexed to Israel” is what Diehl said,
    but the more moral question is
    whether those settlements should be annexed to Israel.
    Diehl here clearly shows the morality that “might makes right”.
  2. “will be annexed to Israel in a final settlement”
    is what Diehl claims can happen,
    but I think the vast majority of the concerned people in the world think that
    no settlement along the lines Diehl states
    can ever be a “final” one.
    It is simply too unjust.

The result of such posturing is that
the administration now faces a choice between
a protracted confrontation with Israel --
an odd adventure given the pressing challenges from Iran and in Iraq,
not to mention the disarray of the Palestinian camp -- or
a compromise,
which might make Obama look weak
and provide Arab states further cause to refuse cooperation.

[9 = end of column]
The best course nevertheless lies in
striking a quick deal with the left-leaning Barak this week
under cover of the tumult in Tehran.
The administration could then return to
doing what it intended to do all along:
press Palestinians as well as Israelis,
friendly Arab governments and not-so-friendly Iranian clients such as Syria
to take tangible steps toward a regional settlement.
Such movement would be the perfect complement to the cause of change in Iran;
how foolish it would be
to squander it over
a handful of Israeli apartment houses.

The Post:
U.S. must demand accountability for due process and torture abuses --
in Iran

by Glenn Greenwald
Salon.com, 2009-09-16

If We Lose Afghanistan
Yes, al-Qaeda would return.
But that's just the beginning.

Washington Post Editorial, 2009-10-06

[The first point to be made is that
the title reflects a false predicate.
Afghanistan was never “ours”, to either possess or lose.
It belongs to the Afghan people, them and only them.
Note that the WaPo editorialists are too imperialistic
to even grasp this most basic point.

Anyhow, here is an excerpt from the editorial itself.
Emphasis and comments are added.]


If the Taliban were to regain power in Afghanistan,
it would provide a new base for attacks on Pakistan.

It doesn’t mean the Taliban or al-Qaeda
would suddenly get hold of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons --
though that is the ultimate danger.
It does mean that the larger “Afpak” region
that the administration has defined as a focus
would be destabilized,
along with much of the rest of south and central Asia.
As long as the Taliban were a dominant force in Afghanistan,
Pakistan would be in danger of succumbing to radical forces.
In the likely event that
Afghanistan was plagued by
an endless civil war—

as it was during the Taliban’s last ascendancy
[That is a misstatement of fact.
For a more accurate picture of the situation,
see this assertion by Michael Scheuer, written in 2004,
and his preceding comments starting here.]

the country would again become a place of proxy conflict
among Pakistan, India, Iran and other nations.
Not those countries, but
the United States would be blamed for the horrendous humanitarian cost—
[Blamed by whom? Not by anybody with an iota of sense.
The United States cannot be the policeman for the entire world.
The region that is now called Afghanistan
has been the cockpit of conflict thoughout history.
Why is it now the United States’ responsibility?
Surely the real reasons the Post is so concerned about it,
although they will only hint at them, are
  1. many Jews have made it perfectly clear that
    they would like to immerse the United States in a perpetual war with Islam,
    Norman Podheretz’s “World War IV,”
    to take the pressure off Israel, and
  2. many feminists, who surely have a strong influence on the Washington Post,
    have made crystal clear
    their desire to “liberate” Afghan women from Talibani control,
    no matter how much it may bankrupt the United States.

including the brutalization of women
that would occur wherever the Taliban gained authority

How to Aggravate Pakistan
By David Ignatius
Washintong Post Op-Ed, 2009-10-11

[There is nothing here surprising;
the only reason I reference it here is to make the following point.]

It’s a classic example of the law of unintended consequences:
Congress triples its assistance to Pakistan
as part of a deepening strategic relationship.

members of Congress,
always eager to tell other countries what to do,

insert conditions that Pakistanis find insulting.

[Gee, Mr. Ignatius,
where on earth could Congress have gotten the idea it should do that?
Do you think maybe you should cite
your own newspaper's editorials on this issue,
that maybe they have something to do with
emboldening Congress to play Master of the World?
Of course, that does fall under “biting the hand that feeds you,”
and perhaps is not helpful to ones job security.]

The threat from Somalia
Washington Post Editorial, 2009-11-02

[Its conclusion:]

Somalia is not a country the United States and its allies
can ignore or treat merely with missile strikes.
As in Afghanistan before 2001,
the mounting threat of terrorist organizations,
and their potential to strike far beyond the horn of Africa,
are apparent.
The indelible lesson of Sept. 11, 2001, is that
they must be countered aggressively.

[Obviously, such people as
Donald Graham, his niece, and their editorial board
will see the United States become totally bankrupt
before they will acknowledge
the real reason why Islamists keep attacking us.
For to do so would mean acknowledging that
it is their [the WP people cited above]
worldwide support of feminism and Zionism
that is the cause of these attacks.
But they are either so mentally ill or such congenital liars that
they will not tell that truth to the American public.

If they want to do right by that public,
let me suggest that they begin by
inviting Messrs. Rory Stewart, Michael Scheuer, John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt
to write their views on
the causes and possible solutions of our difficulties with the Islamic world
in several extended essays
to be published on the op-ed page,
on days when they will receive the maximum visibility.

For some examples of Mr. Stewart’s views,
see the NYT op-ed articles indexed here,
or see the selected and edited (emphasis added) articles
collected here (page search on Rory Stewart to find just them).
Michael Scheuer recently wrote about Somalia
in his book published in early 2008, Marching to Hell;
that brief section is republished here.

The Post op-ed page regularly includes the writings of
Robert Kagan, William Kristol, and Charles Krauthammer,
who express quite similar views on the need for
perpetual war against “terrorism” or “jihadism.”
Further, on a more occasional basis,
it features Henry Kissinger on foreign policy.
These people are all Jews, and, I think it is fair to say,
devoted supporters of Israel
and its aggressive policies towards the Palestinians.

Do the readers of the Post not deserve to hear opposing views
presented by Americans as articulate and knowledgeable as
Messrs. Stewart (okay, he’s really a Brit), Scheuer, Walt, and Mearsheimer?]

Our man in Kabul
Can the Obama administration find a way to work with Hamid Karzai?
Washington Post Editorial, 2009-11-04

[What were they thinking?
Do they think only Americans read their editorial page?
Surely labeling Karzai as “Our Man in Kabul”, no matter how it was intended,
will be taken by many Muslims and Afghanis literally,
and only make him seem even more like an American puppet.
Do the editors of the Post think that will add to his indigenous support?]

War unchecked
The U.N.'s Goldstone commission missed a chance
to promote accountability on 21st-century battlefields.

Washington Post Editorial, 2009-11-15

IN ORDER to eliminate the Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud,
the United States launched at least 15 missile strikes in Pakistan this year
and killed, besides Mr. Mehsud, somewhere between 200 and 300 people,
according to a study by the New America Foundation.
At least a quarter of those who died were civilians.

Was that toll “disproportionate” to the threat posed by a single terrorist
and therefore a war crime?
How about the recent NATO bombing
of hijacked fuel tankers in northern Afghanistan,
in which a mix of 80 to 120 Taliban militants and civilians died?
Justified strike, accident or war crime?

This is the sort of fraught question
that the United Nations and its Human Rights Council, in theory,
ought to be focused on.
Asymmetrical wars,
in which terrorists and insurgents deliberately mix among civilians,
are the story of the 21st century so far --
and there are no clear norms for managing the moral dilemmas they pose.
Can a drone’s targeter knowingly expose civilians to injury
if a terrorist leader is in range?
How should a civilized army respond when its soldiers are mortared,
or its own civilians exposed to rocket fire,
from a position inside a schoolyard?


Israel refused to cooperate --
and the Goldstone commission proceeded to
make a mockery of impartiality
with its judgment of facts.
It concluded, on scant evidence,
that “disproportionate destruction and violence against civilians
were part of a deliberate policy” by Israel.
At the same time it pronounced itself unable to confirm that Hamas
hid its fighters among civilians, used human shields,
fired mortars and rockets from outside schools,
stored weapons in mosques, and used a hospital for its headquarters,
despite abundant available evidence.

By pretending it did not know whether Hamas employed such tactics
and by claiming that Israel’s actions were driven by
a motivation to kill civilians on purpose, rather than to defeat Hamas,
the panel dodged the hard issues it should have tackled.

[That editorial was answered by the following Letter to the Editor.]

The editorial declared that
conclusions about Israel’s military operations in Gaza last summer
by the esteemed jurist Richard Goldstone
were based on “scant evidence.”
But the editorial also parroted Israeli propaganda,
for which neither The Post nor Israel has given any proof.
How can The Post ignore
numerous reports with mountains of corroborating evidence
from widely respected humanitarian organizations such as
Amnesty International, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency,
the Red Cross/Red Crescent and Human Rights Watch?

I was in the Gaza Strip in the summer, and I can tell you that
the Goldstone report was kind to Israel in its conclusions.
The utterly incomprehensible extent of the destruction in Gaza
would lead any rational observer to conclude
“that disproportionate destruction and violence against civilians
were part of a deliberate policy”
by Israel.

Furthermore, the editorial failed to consider
the sources of the present conflict: namely,
  • the continued Israeli occupation of Palestine in the West Bank,
  • the brutal apartheid system the Palestinians are subjected to daily
  • the illegal siege of Gaza being waged by Israel and Egypt.

Matthew Thomas Miller, St. Louis

The Afghan decision
Washington Post Editorial, 2009-11-29

[Two brief excerpts:]

[A]bandoning Afghanistan to civil war or rule by the Taliban
would be immoral --
and would endanger key American interests.

[Interests? Plural?
The only "key American interest" possibly there
is to prevent another terrorist attack,
and there are ways other than defeating the Taliban to minimize that risk.]

Experts concur that
a large majority of Afghans
do not wish to see a resurgence of the Taliban...

[Definitely not so.
Michael Scheuer has repeatedly argued otherwise (Rory Stewart is another example).
Of course, his views are never put on the Post's op-ed page,
or, on this matter, cited by its reporters and columnists.

You can stack any argument by only citing the "experts" who support your side.
The Post is an expert at that:
For a notorious example,
see the "experts" they found to poo-poo the economic rebound
that started under the first President Bush;
a clearcut example of how the Post stacks the deck
to support its desired outcomes.]


An Afghan deal?
Washington Post Editorial, 2010-02-14

[The last two paragraphs:]

Even were the Taliban factions to split with al-Qaeda
they cannot change their own nature.
[Gulbuddin] Hekmatyar is one of Afghanistan’s most vicious warlords:
In the early 1990s he was responsible for thousands of civilian deaths
when his forces indiscriminately shelled and destroyed much of Kabul.
[Sirajuddin] Haqqani aspires to control a strategic swath of eastern Afghanistan
along the Pakistani border.
The return of either one would be a disaster for
the cause of human rights or a responsible Afghan government.

To his credit, Mr. Karzai has said that Taliban leaders must
break with al-Qaeda, give up violence
and accept the current Afghan constitution
as part of any settlement.
Saudi Arabia, a potential broker of a deal,
has outlined similar conditions.
At best the offer may create confusion or suspicion
among the various Taliban factions,
without leading to any result.
Yet it could also raise false hopes,
among Afghans and among those Western governments
eager to find an Afghan exit strategy.
For them the Obama administration should offer a clear message:
Handing power or legitimacy to the Haqqani and Hekmatyar factions,
or to Mullah Omar,
is not an acceptable outcome.

My response:

Hekmatyar “was responsible for thousands of civilian deaths”.
And how many civilian deaths is the U.S. responsible for
in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan?
How many is Israel responsible for in Palestine, Lebanon, and Gaza?
How many were Hekmatyar’s opponents responsible for in Afghanistan?
This is clearly a highly selective outrage.

“The return of either one would be a disaster for
the cause of human rights or a responsible Afghan government.”

How many disasters of human rights are there around the world?
Care to ponder the human rights situation in much of Africa?
How about Burma (oops, Myanmar)? China?
Or take the issue of a “responsible government.”
Again, how much of the world is ruled by “responsible governments”?
Since when did it become the responsibility of the United States
to ensure responsible government in foreign countries?
And by the way, just how responsible are those U.S. federal deficits?

Finally, what do the issues that the Post brings up
have to do with core U.S. interests?

Don't expect progress from talking to Syria
Washington Post Editorial, 2010-02-19

[When it comes to negotiations with Arab states that might lead to concessions
that Israel does not want to make, or for the U.S. to make,
the Washington Post editorial page is indeed the abominable no man.]

The U.S. quarrel with Israel
Washington Post Editorial, 2010-03-16

[Emphasis is added.]

PRESIDENT OBAMA’S Middle East diplomacy failed in his first year in part
because he chose to engage in
an unnecessary and unwinnable public confrontation with Israel
over Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem.
Over the past six months
Mr. Obama’s envoys gingerly retreated from that fight
and worked to build better relations
with the government of Binyamin Netanyahu.
[What a joke!
When it comes to dealing with Israel,
for the Washington Post it’s always: Blame America first. (Cf.)]

Last week the administration finally managed to strike a deal
for the launching of indirect Israeli-Palestinian talks.
So it has been startling -- and a little puzzling --
to see Mr. Obama deliberately plunge into
another public brawl with the Jewish state.

True, this U.S.-Israel crisis began with a provocation from Jerusalem:
the announcement by the Interior Ministry of plans for
1,600 more Jewish homes beyond Israel’s 1967 border.
Vice President Biden, who was visiting when the news broke, was embarrassed;
he quickly responded with a statement of condemnation.
He then appeared to accept the public apology of Mr. Netanyahu,
who said he, too, had been surprised by the announcement.

The dispute’s dramatic escalation since then
seems to have come at the direct impetus of Mr. Obama.
Officials said
he outlined points for Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to make
in a searing, 45-minute phone call to Mr. Netanyahu on Friday.
On Sunday senior Obama adviser David Axelrod heaped on more vitriol [!!],
saying in a television appearance that
the settlement announcement had been an “affront” and an “insult”
that had “undermined this very fragile effort to bring peace to that region.”

Mr. Obama and his advisers appear determined to prove
that they will not be pushed around by Israel.
The public scoldings also send a message to Palestinian and Arab leaders
who have been demanding assurances that
the United States will use its leverage in the new peace negotiations.
And the administration hopes to extract
immediate concessions from Mr. Netanyahu:
It has demanded that he
reverse the Jerusalem settlement decision,
release Palestinian prisoners,
agree to cover sensitive “final status” issues in the indirect talks and
investigate the errant settlement announcement.

Mr. Netanyahu already has conceded the last point and may give way on others;
he is facing harsh domestic criticism.
But Mr. Obama risks repeating his previous error.
American chastising of Israel invariably prompts still harsher rhetoric,
and elevated demands, from Palestinian and other Arab leaders.
Rather than join peace talks,
Palestinians will now wait to see
what unilateral Israeli steps Washington forces.
Mr. Netanyahu already has made a couple of concessions in the past year,
including declaring a partial moratorium on settlements.
But on the question of Jerusalem,
he is likely to dig in his heels -- as would any other Israeli government.
[Liar, liar, pants on fire.
Olmert was seriously negotiating over precisely this issue,
before accusations of corruption brought him down.
(Like other Israeli PMs, such as Netanyahu and Sharon of the Likud,
were innocent of the same offense.)]

If the White House insists on a reversal of the settlement decision,
or allows Palestinians to do so,
it might land in the same corner from which it just extricated itself.

A larger question concerns Mr. Obama’s quickness
to bludgeon the Israeli government.
[From declaring that “the house is on fire
to pressure Congress into passing the $700 billion dollar Wall Street bailout,
to accusing the Obama administration of “bludgeoning” Israel,
the Washington Post never shrinks from near-hysteria
when it comes to serving the interests of their Jewish backers.]

He is not the first president to do so; in fact,
he is not even the first to be hard on Mr. Netanyahu.
But tough tactics don’t always work:
Last year Israelis rallied behind Mr. Netanyahu,
while Mr. Obama’s poll ratings in Israel plunged to the single digits.
The president is perceived by many Israelis as making
unprecedented demands on their government
[Who is the Washington Post trying to kid?
Remember Bush-41, Jim Baker, and the loan guarantees?]

while overlooking the intransigence of Palestinian and Arab leaders.
If this episode reinforces that image,
Mr. Obama will accomplish the opposite of what he intends.

Palestinian President Abbas has the most to lose
Washington Post Editorial, 2010-09-25

[The title of this editorial is certainly currently true.
But its truth only exemplifies, verifies and is a result of that truth
which the media in general, and the Washington Post in particular,
spends so much time denying:
That the United States tilts overwhelmingly towards Israel
in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

But now for an excerpt from the editorial, namely, its final paragraph
(emphasis is added):]

Mr. Obama and Mr. Abbas all along have sought
to put the Israeli leader on the spot.
But they must do so on the right issue --
not settlements, but the terms for Palestinian statehood.

[This begs the question:
Just who is the Washington Post to decide for the Palestinians
what is “the right issue”?

This wraps together several unpleasantries:
Western imperialism and arrogance, and
the power of Jews to dictate what the issues should be.]

Rising power
Washington Post Editorial, 2010-09-27

China's recent conduct looks more like 19th-century mercantilism.

[Actually, more astute or honest observers than those at the Post have noticed this at least since the 1990s.
See Clyde Prestowitz’s book The Betrayal of American Prosperity, for example, or for a 1990s book, see the 1998 The Great Betrayal by Patrick Buchanan.]

Alliance in flames
Can the Obama administration avoid a split with Pakistan?
Washington Post Editorial, 2010-10-05

[“Alliance in flames” is the headline to this editorial in the print edition.
The italicized subhead above was the subhead in the print edition,
but is shown as the main head in the Post's internet archive.]

RELATIONS BETWEEN the United States and Pakistan, never stable,
are once again close to crisis.
The immediate cause is the closing by Pakistan of
a transport route to Afghanistan for non-lethal U.S. and NATO supplies --
an action taken in response to a border incident last week in which
NATO aircraft exchanged fire with Pakistani soldiers,
reportedly killing three.
The shutdown of the supply route has caused
a backup of thousands of trucks carrying fuel and other supplies,
which in turn has enabled a series of attacks by Pakistan-based Taliban forces.
The latest, on Monday morning,
destroyed 20 trucks and killed three people outside of Islamabad.

Though damaging, this dispute can be sorted out.
NATO's secretary-general has apologized for the border incident,
and Pakistan's ambassador to the United States said Sunday
that the supply route would be reopened soon.
There are, however, deeper issues.
The exchange of fire reflects
a more aggressive effort by the U.S. command in Afghanistan
to disrupt terrorist sanctuaries in Pakistan's tribal areas,
using both CIA-operated drones and piloted aircraft.

Part of this offensive may be aimed at heading off
reported plans by al-Qaeda for terrorist attacks in Europe in the near future.
However, many of the drone attacks
have been aimed at the Taliban's Haqqani faction,
which is believed to be deeply entwined with al-Qaeda --
and with Pakistan's intelligence agency.

Pakistan's punishment of NATO for the border incident
is arguably an inevitable response to domestic political opinion.
But its resistance to a more muscular U.S. campaign in North Waziristan,
where the Haqqani faction is based,
is unacceptable.

The Obama administration has repeatedly pressed the Pakistani military
to act against the Haqqani and al-Qaeda sanctuaries --
and the military has just as often refused,
arguing that its forces are stretched too thin by other campaigns
and by the need to respond to massive flooding.
These explanations have some substance.
But if Pakistan is really unable to tackle the sanctuaries,
it cannot be allowed to prevent the United States and its allies from doing so.

The events of recent days have demonstrated Islamabad's leverage over Washington.
But the Obama administration has powerful cards, too --
the more than $1 billion annually in military and economic aidit is giving Pakistan
and the benefits of the Afghanistan supply trade for the Pakistani economy.
The State Department's special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan,
Richard C. Holbrooke,
rightly said last week that
"success in Afghanistan is not achievable unless Pakistan is part of the solution."
The administration must avoid a rupture in relations;
it should make amends for mistakes like the border incident.
But it must insist on a robust military campaign in North Waziristan --
if not by Pakistani forces, then by the United States.

[Just what is the Post arguing for here?
What would constitute that
"robust military campaign in North Waziristan ... by the United States"?
Surely they are not arguing for a ground invasion of Pakistan,
considering that would amount to a hardly justified declaration of war
with a nuclear-armed nation.

What they are arguing for seems clear enough:
A continuation of, and if necessary, an expansion of
the U.S. military actions mentioned in paragraph 2:
Strikes in Pakistan by "both CIA-operated drones and piloted aircraft."]


The mirage of an Afghanistan exit
By Jackson Diehl
Washington Post Op-Ed, 2011-04-25


The military drawdown appears likely to be accompanied by a new attempt
to promote a political settlement between the Afghan government and the Taliban.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton promised a “diplomatic surge”
in a February speech
in which she seemed to soften previous conditions
for talks with the Taliban....

The idea of a quick political fix is seductive.
There’s just one problem: It’s an illusion.
Not only is there
no chance of striking a workable deal with the Taliban,
but the pursuit of one is only likely to make
an already difficult political situation in Afghanistan worse.

I was reminded of this last week by Abdullah Abdullah,
the former Afghan freedom fighter, foreign minister and presidential candidate —
and one of the country’s stronger advocates of political democracy.
Abdullah was in Washington to make the case that
the United States should keep investing its resources
in building a democratic Afghan state.

[With no likely prospect for eventual success,
a recipe for endless war.]



Pulling the U.S. drone war out of the shadows
Washington Post Editorial Board, 2012-11-02

IT’S BEEN 10 years since the first strike by an armed U.S. drone
killed an al-Qaeda leader and five associates in Yemen.
Since then, according to unofficial counts,
there have been more than 400 “targeted killing” drone attacks
in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia —
countries where the United States is not fighting a conventional war.
About 3,000 people have been killed,
including scores — maybe hundreds — of civilians.
And though the United States is winding down its military mission in Afghanistan,
the Obama administration, as The Post’s Greg Miller reported last week,
“expects to continue adding names to kill or capture lists for years.”

All of this causes increasing unease among Americans of both political parties —
not to mention many U.S. allies.
They are disturbed by the antiseptic nature of U.S. personnel
launching strikes that they watch on screens hundreds or thousands of miles
from the action.
They question whether drone attacks are legal.
They ask why the process of choosing names for the kill list
as well as the strikes themselves
are secret
and whether such clandestine warfare
does more harm than good to long-term U.S. interests.

Some of these anxieties seem to us misplaced.
But the means and objectives of drone attacks — and the Obama administration’s steps toward institutionalizing the system — deserve much more debate than they have attracted during the presidential campaign.

Start with the misconceptions:
Many critics second Kurt Volker,
a former U.S. ambassador to NATO under President George W. Bush,
who wrote on the opposite page Sunday that drone strikes
allow U.S. adversaries to portray the United States as
“a distant, high-tech, amoral purveyor of death.”
While drones may indeed prompt such propaganda,
they are really a more effective and — yes — humane way to conduct
one of the age-old tactics for combating an irregular enemy:
identifying and eliminating its leaders.
That drones do not put the lives of U.S. soldiers at risk
and cause fewer collateral deaths
are virtues, not evils.

Similarly, Mr. Volker asks
“what we would say if others used drones to take out their opponents” —
such as Russia in Chechnya or China in Tibet.
The answer is twofold:
Other nations will inevitably acquire and use armed drones,
just as they have adopted all previous advances in military technology,
from the bayonet to the cruise missile.
[The bayonet?
A more significant development would seem to be that of gunpowder.]

But the legal and moral standards of warfare will not change.
It’s hard to imagine that Russian drones would cause more devastation in Grozny
than did Russian tanks and artillery,
but if used there they would surely attract international censure.

That brings us to the question of whether the United States deserves such censure
for the way it is using drones in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia —
the three places they have been employed outside a conventional war zone.
As we have written previously,
the strikes meet tests for domestic and international legality.
[Many question that.]
War against al-Qaeda and those who harbor it was authorized in 2001 by Congress,
and the United States has the right under international law to defend against attacks on its homeland,
which al-Qaeda forces in Pakistan and Yemen have launched.
[Even if one, for the sake of argument, accepts that,
the Post editorial board has specifically argued for
drone stripes against the Haqqani network in North Waziristan and elsewhere,
even though that network has been only a threat
to the U.S. expeditionary forces in Afghanistan,
not to the U.S. homeland.
I.e., the Post does not seem to want to admit what it has previously argued.]

Moreover, the governments of Yemen, Somalia and, up to a point, Pakistan
have consented to the strikes.

The Obama administration’s heavy and increasing dependence on drones is nevertheless troubling.
As Mitt Romney said in endorsing the drone strikes during the last presidential debate,
“we can’t kill our way out of this.”
Terrorism can be defeated only by
a comprehensive effort to encourage stable and representative governments
and economic development in countries such as Pakistan and Afghanistan —
a mission the administration,
with its harping about “nation-building here at home,”
appears increasingly disinclined to take on.
Moreover, drone strikes do stoke popular hostility
and therefore make U.S. political and diplomatic goals more difficult to achieve.

Perhaps most troubling, the relative ease of using drones,
combined with the Obama administration’s reluctance to detain foreign militants,
which would be politically difficult at home,
has produced a stark record:
Thousands of al-Qaeda suspects killed by drones
have been balanced by only one significant capture —
a Somali who was held on a U.S. warship for two months
before being turned over to the U.S. civilian justice system.

In recent months drone strikes in Pakistan have decreased,
partly in response to these negative effects.
But The Post’s reporting suggests that
the administration is working to institutionalize
the system of creating “kill or capture” lists
and is contemplating the use of drones
in more countries where jihadist forces are active, including Libya and Mali.
This raises new legal and political quandaries.
The further — in geography, time and organizational connection —
that the drone war advances from the original al-Qaeda target in Afghanistan,
the less validity it has under the 2001 congressional authorization.
While the United States has legal cause to retaliate against
the terrorists who attacked the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya,
most of the world is unlikely to accept an argument that the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks
justify drone strikes more than a decade later in Northern Africa.

In our view,
the continuing fight against
al-Qaeda and other Islamic jihadists targeting the United States
must be considered a war and conducted as such.
Nevertheless, when that war ranges far from conventional battlefields,
U.S. interests will be better served by
greater disclosure, more political accountability,
more checks and balances and more collaboration with allies.
Drone strikes should be carried out by military forces rather than by the CIA;
as with other military activities,
they should be publicly disclosed and subject to congressional review.
The process and criteria for adding names to kill lists in non-battlefield zones
should be disclosed and authorized by Congress —
just like the rules for military detention and interrogation.
Before operations begin in a country, the administration should, as with other military operations,
consult with Congress and, if possible, seek a vote of authorization.
It should seek open agreements with host countries and other allies.

There may be cases where the president must act immediately
against an imminent threat to the country,
perhaps from an unexpected place.
But to institutionalize a secret process of
conducting covert drone strikes against militants across the world
is contrary to U.S. interests and ultimately unsustainable.

Labels: ,