Thursday, May 29, 2008

What More Can You Say?

The constant chatter about Iran and a potential war there has not abated much over the past month or so. I stumbled across this today while browsing Juan Cole's site. It leaves me speechless. Here's a takeaway:
( Thanks to Jason Lepold for great work on this)

During a trip to the Middle East in March 1996, Vice President Dick Cheney told a group of mostly U.S. businessmen that Congress should ease sanctions in Iran and Libya to foster better relationships, a statement that, in hindsight, is completely hypocritical considering the Bush administration’s foreign policy.
“Let me make a generalized statement about a trend I see in the U.S. Congress that I find disturbing, that applies not only with respect to the Iranian situation but a number of others as well,” Cheney said. “I think we Americans sometimes make mistakes . . . There seems to be an assumption that somehow we know what’s best for everybody else and that we are going to use our economic clout to get everybody else to live the way we would like.”
Cheney was the chief executive of Halliburton Corporation at the time he uttered those words. It was Cheney who directed Halliburton toward aggressive business dealings with Iran—in violation of U.S. law—in the mid-1990s, which continued through 2005 and is the reason Iran has the capability to enrich weapons-grade uranium.
It was Halliburton’s secret sale of centrifuges to Iran that helped get the uranium enrichment program off the ground, according to a three-year investigation that includes interviews conducted with more than a dozen current and former Halliburton employees.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Peak Oil-- Are We There Yet?

I have to give props to the inimitable James Howard Kunstler who pretty much hit it out of the ball park in his weekly column this week. Classic Kunstler:

What makes matters truly eerie is that the "bubble" in suburban houses has occurred at exactly the moment in history when the chief enabling resource for suburban life -- oil -- has entered its scarcity stage. The logical conclusion of all this is not what the American public wants to hear: we have become a much poorer society and are now faced with the unavoidable task of making major changes in how we live. All the three-card-monte moves at the highest level of finance lately amount to an effort to avoid the unavoidable, acknowledging our losses. Certainly the political fallout of all this will be awesome. But it's not about politics, really. It's about the entire society's inability to form a workable new consensus of reality.

Fellow Colgate alum Kevin Phillips has a new book "Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics & the Crisis of American Capitalism , detailing the various scams the "Powers that Be" have laid on us --oh going back at least to the Kennedy years. It's a sad tale. The Government Numbers racket is the term I believe is used to describe the "Powers That Be" that lead us in America.

On top of all that T. Boone Pickens was on CNBC this am. He pretty much simplifies it all-- the world produces 85 million barrels of oil a day and currently needs 87. Prices are going higher. Worth watching

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Appeasement, Diplomacy and 4G Warfare

It's happening again. With W's speech to the Israeli Knesset this week, the mouthpieces on the right are loudly attacking Obama as naive and willing to surrender to our mortal enemies and give up on the war on terrorism (whatever that is). John McCain is predicting victory in Iraq by 2013 if he is elected President. I just wish that someone could explain what victory in Iraq is exactly. What is our objective in Iraq--- and I'm not looking for the answer to be a one word response: Victory.

William Lind pens an interesting article about the delusions held by those in power when it comes to Iraq and "progress in our objectives". As Lind points out, this conflict is a Fourth Generation War:

"One of the most common signs that America's leadership is clueless about Fourth Generation war is the language they use. Fourth Generation war has few if any defining moments. Nor does it have "turning points," another common Bushism. In his testimony to Congress, U.S. Gen. David Petraeus revealed the limits on his own grasp of 4GW when he said, "We've got to continue. We have our teeth into the jugular, and we need to keep it (sic) there."Opponents in 4GW have no jugular. 4GW is war of the capillaries. What U.S. forces have their teeth into in Iraq is a jellyfish."

The hackneyed response by those who support the war in condemning war opponents as surrendering to our mortal enemies is just another political expedient smokescreen that avoids any serious discussion of the issue at hand. I believe the effectiveness of this approach is over. This will become more and more evident as we move into the fall campaign. The American people signed up for "Stay the Course" a couple years ago-- and I think they are finally beginning to look at what is really behind the curtain. One clue, it's certainly no wizard.