EXTRACT: It's notable that the latest leaks came out the same week President Obama went to Afghanistan for his surprise visit to the troops — and made a speech about how we are “succeeding” and “making important progress” and bound to “prevail.”
The WikiLeaks cables present quite a different picture. What emerges is one reality (the real one) colliding with another (the official one). We see smart, good-faith diplomats and foreign service personnel trying to make the truth on the ground match up to the one the administration has proclaimed to the public. The cables show the widening disconnect. It's like a foreign policy Ponzi scheme — this one fueled not by the public's money, but the public's acquiescence.
The cables show that the administration has been cooking the books.
EXTRACT: For the Obama administration, it appears that accountability is a one-way street. When he had the chance to bring the principle of accountability to our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and investigate how we got into them, the president passed. As John Perry Barlow tweeted, “We have reached a point in our history where lies are protected speech and the truth is criminal.”
Any process of real accountability, would, of course, also include the key role the press played in bringing us the war in Iraq. Jay Rosen, one of the participants in the symposium, wrote a brilliant essay entitled “From Judith Miller to Julian Assange.” He writes:
For the portion of the American press that still looks to Watergate and the Pentagon Papers for inspiration, and that considers itself a check on state power, the hour of its greatest humiliation can, I think, be located with some precision: it happened on Sunday, September 8, 2002.
That was when the New York Times published Judith Miller and Michael Gordon's breathless, spoon-fed — and ultimately inaccurate — account of Iraqi attempts to buy aluminum tubes to produce fuel for a nuclear bomb.
*Starred Review* Could the U.S. be on the brink of becoming a Third World nation? Syndicated columnist Huffington argues that overspending on war at the expense of domestic issues and the alarming decline of the middle class are troubling signals that the U.S. is losing its economic, political, and social stability—a stability that has always been maintained by the middle class. She pinpoints the beginning of the decline to the Reagan era, with its denigration of a government safety net. But she is nonpartisan in assigning responsibility to George W. Bush and Bill Clinton for supporting monied interests over those of the middle class; she then takes aim at Obama for expending more money to bail out Wall Street than Main Street. She also points to loss of manufacturing jobs, outsourcing, and globalization, all with emphasis on corporate profits at the expense of workers. Although the U.S. has faced similarly fearful times during the late 1800s and the Great Depression, the middle class was not threatened, as it is today. She offers possible solutions for the decline, including creating jobs to rebuild national infrastructure, reforms in home and credit lending, and tighter restrictions on Wall Street. An engaging analysis of troubling economic and political trends. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The Huffington Post founder is sure to get some media traction with her assertion that the American Dream is an outdated concept. — Vanessa Bush
The US economy has disintegrated, and with it into the abyss plummet the blueprints of neoliberal economists, whose theories about “the free market” have now gone the way of medieval alchemy. No voice has been stronger, no prose more forceful, than that of Paul Craig Roberts in predicting collapse. His weekly columns in CounterPunch have won an audience of millions around the world, grateful for a trained economist who can explain lucidly how the well-being of the planet has been held hostage by the gangster elite. Now Dr. Roberts has written the shortest, sharpest outline of economics for the twenty-first century ever put between book covers. He traces the path to ruin and lays out the choices that must be made. There is the “empty world” of corporate exploitation, abetted by the vast majority of economists; or the “full world” of responsible management and distribution of our resources. Amid crisis, this is the guide you've been waiting for.
The authors of The New Color Line return with another libertarian polemic, this time taking aim at a justice system that has lost sight of its most important goals. Paul Craig Roberts and Lawrence M. Stratton warn of a “police state that is creeping up on us from many directions.” There's the war on drugs, which makes it possible for federal agents to investigate people simply for carrying large amounts of cash. There's the crusade against white-collar crime, which has turned the plea bargain into an enemy of the truth. And there's outright misconduct, abetted by prosecutors more interested in compiling long lists of indictments than ensuring the fair treatment of all suspects. The Tyranny of Good Intentions is replete with examples of how government treads on freedom through ill-willed prosecution and faceless bureaucracy. The book's overpowering sense of disaffection sometimes leads to alarmist prose: “We the People have vanished. Our place has been taken by wise men and anointed elites.” The authors are swift to suggest that America, barring “an intellectual rebirth,” may yet go the way of “German Nazis and Soviet communists.” Yet The Tyranny of Good Intentions is nothing if not well intended; it is full of passion and always on the attack, whether the writers are taking on racial quotas, wetland regulations, or any number of policies they find objectionable. In a jacket blurb, libertarian icon Milton Friedman calls it “a devastating indictment of our current system of justice.” Roberts and Stratton, although right-leaning in many of their political sympathies, will probably find plenty of fans on ACLU-left–and anybody who cringes at the thought of unbridled state power. If the road to hell is indeed paved with good intentions, consider this book an atlas
ClimateGate: The 6 Most Dubious Claims About The Supposed “Global Warming Hoax”
Phi Beta Iota: For those who do not read, the six “myths” discussed in Arianna Huffington's blog will be just as credible as the documented lies and fraudulent misrepresentations of the International Committee on Climate Change (IPCC), which in our view should be abolished. The UN System needs a brain that serves all elements of the UN System, not a carbon ponzi scheme scam that only serves a few hucksters and their lobbyists pals. Intellectually, the six myth dismissals below are beneath contempt. We challenge Arianna to a debate–anywhere, anytime, just send us an e-ticket and we will engage in “a conversation that matters.” Respectfully. It's time we all got smart again.
Robert Baer, a former CIA field operative says, “The notion that we're in Afghanistan to make our country safer is just complete bullshit… what it's doing is causing us greater danger, no question about it. Because the more we fight in Afghanistan, the more the conflict is pushed across the border into Pakistan, the more we destabilize Pakistan, the more likely it is that a fundamentalist government will take over the army — and we'll have Al-Qaeda like groups with nuclear weapons.”
Senators diverted $2.6 billion in funds in a defense spending bill to pet projects largely at the expense of accounts that pay for fuel, ammunition and training for U.S. troops. . . . . . .
Why Joe Biden Should Resign
Citing a Newsweek story: “Can I just clarify a factual point? How much will we spend this year on Afghanistan?” Someone provided the figure: $65 billion. “And how much will we spend on Pakistan?” Another figure was supplied: $2.25 billion. “Well, by my calculations that's a 30-to-1 ratio in favor of Afghanistan. So I have a question. Al Qaeda is almost all in Pakistan, and Pakistan has nuclear weapons. And yet for every dollar we're spending in Pakistan, we're spending $30 in Afghanistan. Does that make strategic sense?” The White House Situation Room fell silent.