Friday, June 06, 2008
Thursday, June 05, 2008
Bush: Seleucus VII Petro-Euergetes
My fellow citizens, at this hour, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger...
George W Bush, March 19, 2003: Address to the American People
Those words, uttered over five years ago, form the basis of the Bush Doctrine or orthodoxy with respect to Iraq. Note we were going to disarm a tyrant and free Iraq's people. Not to stay and occupy into the foreseeable future, rather to provide a future for Iraqis they were not going to have otherwise. It was not about oil, it was not about geopolitical considerations it was about weapons of mass destruction and freedom for the Iraqis. Indeed the operation was monikered "Operation Iraqi Freedom", one of those nonsensical names that governments and their Military arms are so fond of.
We come to Iraq with respect for its citizens, for their great civilization and for the religious faiths they practice. We have no ambition in Iraq, except to remove a threat and restore control of that country to its own people.
George W Bush, March 19, 2003: Address to the American People.
That is a line that has been run many times since in one guise or another. This is the religious ritual of the occupation: it is all in the name of Iraqi freedom; the spreading of democracy; the right of "ordinary" Iraqis' rights to live as they choose and without fear of persecution; that "ordinary" Iraqis might choose their own destiny and enjoy the freedoms that we in the west take for granted. We know, we know - we've heard many times and in many forms.
God forbid that it was ever motivated by the current world hegemon to secure its access to that resource which drives its industrial economy. Nor that it was ever motivated by that hegemon's geopolitical concern for a "landed" or "rooted" presence in a vitally strategic area of the world. Never let it be stated that the world hegemon might have driven this policy for resource and political security concerns. that might be too frank by far.
Today's Independent (Patrick Cockburn - a journo who has done a hell of a job these five over years) is reporting the leaking of the terms of the Bush White House's "Strategic Alliance" that it is currently forcing upon the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. A government hobbled within and without Iraq due to its zimmer-frame reliance upon US backing and increasingly viewed as "puppet" in nature. Should this deal be signed that view will be confirmed as if raised upon a new ziggurat in Babylon.
Essentially this is requiring the signing off for the continuation of the US presence in Iraq, operating from over fifty bases, for the foreseeable future. Too, it will require the Iraqi government to cede its control of Iraqi airspace (below 29,000 feet) to the US as well as to allow it to carry on its war on terror from the bases already mentioned. There is more, to quote Cockburn:
American negotiators are also demanding immunity from Iraqi law for US troops and contractors, and a free hand to carry out arrests and conduct military activities in Iraq without consulting the Baghdad government.
This is, for all intents and purposes, what currently obtains in Iraq. Interesting that US forces should require such "immunity". The demands that the current mercenary - and lets be real here: "contractor" is simply a tasteless euphemism for those used to fight for pay in Angola and elsewhere - forces in the country want similar are absolutely unsurprising and raises serious ethical issues.
Should the Iraqi government sign this - and the pressure before the Us election will be immense - it will consign itself to the vassal status that this province has enjoyed under so many hegemonic and imperial boots in its past. The Persians set the table and the Macedonians wrote the cookbook: the locals are there to serve their implanted betters and their governments, whilst tolerated, are merely vassal or client in status.
We can then welcome, for a short time (nothing new there) the latest Seleucid Emperor: Seleucus VII Bush Petro-Euergetes ("Euergetes" in the Greek being "preserver")
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Hillary has spent the entire year to date telling anyone who'd listen - especially the superdelegates - that the only way that the Dems would get across the line in November was if she was the the party's candidate. Further, she has insisted that Obama, if elected as the party's candidate, cannot win. Whilst stridently proclaiming her near God-given status as a Democratic certainty she has insisted that there will be no surrender and that the fight will go down to the line.
In recent days she has insisted that she reserves the right to challenge the Rules Committee compromise on the Florida/Michigan traducing of the primary rules. More than once has she declared that she may pursue what she sees as her nomination to the floor of the convention. Ruinous though this may be for the Dems, it is tantalising theatre for a political junkie such as myself. A pity it won't happen. The bottom line has always been that Hillary - and only Hillary - can win the November contest for the Dems; no surrender, no compromise.
All the while nominating primary after primary and caucus after caucus highlighted what the wider community knew - and the Hillary campaign refused to see - to be an ever increasing certainty: that Obama would net the majority of delegates to the convention and thus, the nomination. Hillary, underwhelming on "super Tuesday" and with limp "victories" in Texas and Pennsylvania, was not ever possessed of a knockout punch. In this heavyweight contest she was reduced to scoring a victory on points. In such a contest the judges favour the title holder. This she was not and her campaign's continual leaning on the favours owed a former champion, Bubba, gained her no material benefit.
So here we are facing what, in the vernacular, is called the "vinegar stroke". Obama has superdelegates declaring on his behalf left, right and centre. The numbers for the final primaries will end up being of little consequence. And Hillary - fight to the death Hillary; take it to the convention floor Hillary; I'm the only possible winner just as sure as Obama can't win Hillary - what is Hillary to do? The NYT tells you:
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has told supporters that she would agree to be Senator Barack Obama’s running mate if he offered her the vice presidential spot.
Mrs. Clinton made the remarks in an afternoon conference call with members of the New York Congressional delegation, according to two lawmakers who participated in the call.
Mrs. Clinton prefaced the remarks by noting that she would do “anything to make sure a Democrat would win'’ the presidential election in November, said Representative Carolyn McCarthy, a Democrat from Long Island.
“If Senator Obama asked her to be the V.P., she certainly would accept that,'’ she said. “She has obviously given some thought to this.'’
Representative Nydia Velasquez of New York City recalled the call with Mrs. Clinton similarly, saying: “She said that if it’s offered, she would take it.'’
Of course, it was what she was always going to do: join a ticket led by the loser with limited appeal and who can't win. The graceless bint. It has been apparent since late March that her campaign could not and would not muster the required numbers. Just as apparent after Pennsylvania. Even more apparent was the need - if she had the style or grace - to throw it in and "do anything to make sure a Democrat would win". That Democrat being, of course, the race leader in Obama.
She was not ever that graceful.
It is, of course, what has to be done. Her arrogant presumption and intransigent obstinacy have driven divisions into the Democratic vote that will only be mended by her - and, a fortiori - her supporters' inclusion. A pity she couldn't see it when the rest of the world well knew it
Update: And so Obama claims the contest in St Paul:
“You chose to listen not to your doubts or your fears, but to your greatest hopes and highest aspirations,” Mr. Obama said at a rally in St. Paul. “Tonight, we mark the end of one historic journey with the beginning of another — a journey that will bring a new and better day to America. Because of you, tonight, I can stand before you and say that I will be the Democratic nominee for president of the United States
Mrs. Clinton acknowledged that her path to the nomination had closed, but she did not leave the race. “This has been a long campaign and I will be making no decisions tonight,"...
...In a combative speech, she again presented her case that she was the stronger candidate and argued that she had won the popular vote, a notion disputed by the Obama campaign.
“I want the 18 million Americans who voted for me to be respected,”
I guess, by that last, she means that SHE should be respected either by being allowed go to the convention floor or, more likely, "where's the offer of the VP?? Offer and be bloody quick about it!!"