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Empire's Age-Old Aim: Wealth and Power


In his very excellent book, King Leopold's Ghost, Adam Hochschild registers a chapter-long lament near the book's end that even though in the preceding pages he has chronicled in an unprecedented manner the crimes against humanity of Leopold's Congo enterprise, so what? Such crimes were almost a concomitant of colonial empire. Britain, France, Germany, the United States -- all the so-called civilized colonial powers -- were guilty of such crimes.

Whether murder and plunder in India, slaughter in Algeria, devastation in Cameroon, or torture and massacre in the Philippines, few western powers can rightfully claim innocence. And, perhaps most worrisome, their national myths mask or even convert most of the crimes, and what the myths don't eliminate or alter poor education and memory lapses do.

Surely, however, at this opening to the 21st Century, we have made some progress. Our constant rhetoric -- particularly from Washington -- asserts that we have. International criminal justice and human rights are pursued with relish, are they not?

Not according to the example of Richard Bruce Cheney. As has been the case since humankind began to organize itself, Dick Cheney believes that wealth and power -- his and his cronies wealth and power foremost -- are still the relevant strategic objectives of empire. King Leopold of Belgium is not dead, simply reincarnated in a more modern form. Torturing people is dependent on a nation's supposed needs, killing people on the expediency of policy, waging war on monetary and commercial gain, and lying to the people is a  highly reputable tactic in pursuit of each. Leopold would love Dick Cheney.
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Iraq: The Things Warmongers Said


Iraq is in turmoil — with ISIS controlling large areas of the country — but the truth is that it's been in turmoil since the illegal 2003 invasion.

2013 was Iraq's bloodiest year since 2008, but as I wrote here members of the elite political class and warmongers in the West weren't interested.

Iraq post-invasion had become the greatest non-news story of the modern era. The people who could not stop talking about Iraq in 2002/3 and telling how much they cared about ordinary Iraqis were strangely silent. Instead they were devoting their energies into propagandizing for another Middle Eastern military 'intervention', this time against Syria.

Now that Iraq is back in the western news headlines again, with calls for “intervention” to counter ISIS, it's worth bearing in mind what the architects of the Iraq war and the cheerleaders for it said in the lead up and during the invasion about the “threat” from Saddam's WMDs and how toppling a secular dictator would help the so-called 'war on terror' and bring peace and security to the region.
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Iraq: Will the Neocons Get Away With It Again?

The "BS" in CBS is well-earned by this CBS News story speculating on the alleged near certainty of a terrorist attack launched by ISIS – the Islamist group now rampaging across Iraq – against the continental US. Headlined "Will ISIS Plan a 9/11-style Terror Plot Against the US?", it is filled with the opinions of various "experts" and habitual warmongers whose exhalation of hot air is no doubt contributing to global warming.

The usual suspects are cited: Sen. Lindsey Graham, the War Party’s answer to Richard Simmons, shrieks "the seeds of 9/11s are being planted all over Iraq and Syria," while Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Oceania), who is giving up his seat in Congress for the right-wing radio talk show circuit, is honing his demagogy by declaring "I guarantee you: this is a problem that we will have to face, and we’re either going to have to face it in New York City or we’re going to face it here."
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The Danger of False Narrative


The American people got a nasty taste of the danger that can come with false narrative when they were suckered into the Iraq War based on bogus claims that Saddam Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction that he planned to share with al-Qaeda.

Nearly 4,500 U.S. soldiers died in the conflict along with hundreds thousands of Iraqis. The war’s total financial cost probably exceeded $1 trillion, a vast sum that siphoned off America’s economic vitality and forced cutbacks in everything from education to road repair. Plus, the war ended up creating an Iraqi base for al-Qaeda terrorists that had not existed before.

But perhaps an even more dangerous problem coming out of the Iraq War was that almost no one in Official Washington who pushed the false narrative – whether in politics or in the press – was held accountable in any meaningful way. Many of the same pols and pundits remain in place today, pushing similar false narratives on new crises, from Ukraine to Syria to Iran.

Those false narratives – and their cumulative effect on policymaking – now represent a clear and present danger to the Republic and, indeed, to the world. The United States, after all, is the preeminent superpower with unprecedented means for delivering death and destruction. But almost nothing is being done to address this enduring American crisis of deception.
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Progress Toward Peace in 2013, But Dark Clouds Remain

It is the time of year we feel a sense of joy and optimism. We are preparing for the holidays and looking to spend time with our families and friends. This year as we look back we see several developments that leave us feeling optimistic.

A US attack on Syria was averted to a large degree because the American people did not want another Middle Eastern war. Public pressure was so strong that President Obama was forced to back down from his threats to launch missiles at Syria over an alleged Syrian government chemical attack.
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An Opening to Iran?

Last week, for the first time since the 1979 Iranian revolution, the US president spoke with his Iranian counterpart. Their 15 minute telephone call was reported to open the door to further high-level discussions. This is a very important event.

I have been saying for years that we should just talk to the Iranians. After all, we talked to the Soviets when they actually had thousands of nuclear missiles pointed at us! The Iranians have none, according to our own intelligence services. I even suggested a few years ago that we should “offer friendship” to them. Unfortunately, so many so-called experts have a stake in keeping tensions high and pushing us to war. They did not want to hear what I was saying. It seems, though, this is beginning to change now with these recent events.
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