A Just Cause? Why Lie?

W.J. Astore

Readers, my memory here is a bit fuzzy, so please bear with me.

When I was at the Air Force Academy in the late 1990s, a British diplomat came to speak on Anglo-American policies and activities in the Middle East. A controversial subject was the “No-Fly” zone enforced by the U.S. Air Force as well as sanctions against Iraq, with the stated goal of encouraging the Iraqi people to overthrow Saddam Hussein. That overthrow never happened; instead, the U.S. military had to invade in 2003 with “shock and awe,” leading to war, insurgency, and torture that truly was shocking and awful.

I recall asking a question of the diplomat, a younger guy, slick and polished, probably a product of Oxbridge (and I had recently earned my D.Phil. from Oxford, so I knew the type). The gist of my question was this: Why are we continuing with sanctions when they appear not to be hurting Saddam but only ordinary people in Iraq?

The diplomat smoothly ignored the tenor of my question and instead praised Anglo-American resolve and cooperation in the struggle against Saddam and similar bad actors in the Middle East. I was nonplussed but I didn’t push the matter. I was in a classroom with a couple of dozen other AF officers and we were all supposed to be on the same team.

This all came back to me today as I listened to Army Colonel Douglas Macgregor at The Gray Zone. He recalled a British major asking similar questions of similar diplomats, but the British major went much further than I had in challenging the BS he was being fed. COL Macgregor quotes this major as saying the following in response:

If our cause is just, why do we have to lie about it?

Those words should be seared in the minds of all Americans at this perilous moment. I wish I’d had the clarity of mind and the confidence to say something similar, but I recall thinking that maybe I just didn’t know enough about what was going on in Iraq.

Of course, Madeleine Albright, asked on “60 Minutes” if the premature deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children due to sanctions was a price worth paying for Saddam’s eventual downfall, readily replied that yes, she believed this price was worth paying.

Her sociopathic calculation didn’t even work; only a massive U.S. invasion finally toppled Saddam, leading to yet more chaos and mass death in Iraq.

We need to stop lying to ourselves that America’s policies are generally noble and just or even morally defensible or forced upon us by a harsh and cruel world. In fact, perhaps that harsh and cruel world is exactly the one we’ve created for ourselves — and for so many others as well.

57 thoughts on “A Just Cause? Why Lie?

  1. Considering the conflation [US government & America are not the same], inferences [if Putin invades Ukraine, it’s because he’s evil and deserves our wrath], excuses [the US government did nothing to provoke the situation], abstractions [we must do whatever necessary to help the Ukrainians be “free”], allowing any possibility other than that which is constructed, manipulated, incentivized/rewarded I don’t believe there’s a majority or even significant minority to discourage or disallow bad policy.

    Out here in flyover country [upper Midwest], it seems English is a foreign language for most of the natives; reason & logic don’t have much value without concrete definitions.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Outstanding piece, Colonel. Let me point out the following:

    They lied to us about the Maine.
    They lied to us about the Lusitania.
    They lied to us about Pearl Harbor.
    They lied to us about the Tonkin Gulf.
    They lied to us about the Incubator Babies of Kuwait.
    They lied to us about Saddam’s WMDs.

    Seventy years later, they still haven’t told us everything they know about the JFK Assassination.
    Twenty years later, they still haven’t told us everything they know about The Terror Event of September 11, 2001.

    Is there any reason to believe that they have not lied to us about other things, as well? Like the 2008 financial “¢risi$”? Like the Pandemic?

    And now like the GoatRope in Ukraine?

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    1. I agree with all the above. It took a long time and many pages of reading history to find that all the above were lies to get the citizens of the U.S. outraged so war could be declared.

      I grieve for the truth which has been trampled so by those we were taught to trust. Now the average citizen either believes nothing or everything. The danger here is that people can become so cynical about what they hear and see that they turn away and become passive and apathetic. The Greeks had it right when they said ‘Everything in moderation’. Too little skepticism and one is gullible, too much and one is intellectually paralyzed.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Excellent comment here, WJ. One can’t simply reject everything. Also, if one believes that X is a lie, then the question becomes, what exactly is untrue, and why was it presented as truth? To take the pandemic as an example, from JG’s post, what parts of what we were told by the government, if any, were lies? Why were we lied to? The answers are often multifaceted.

        I tend to be extremely skeptical overall, while doing what research I can, instead of just throwing the baby out with the bathwater on a wholesale basis.

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    2. In December 1998, Former US Defence Secretary Ash Carter, US Undersecretary of Defence John Deutch and Philip Zelikow, Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission, colluded to write this in Foreign Affairs Journal,

      A successful attack with weapons of mass destruction could certainly take thousands, or tens of thousands, of lives. If the device that exploded in 1993 under the World Trade Center had been nuclear, or had effectively dispersed a deadly pathogen, the resulting horror and chaos would have exceeded our ability to describe it.

      Such an act of catastrophic terrorism would be a watershed event in American history. It could involve loss of life and property unprecedented in peacetime and undermine America’s fundamental sense of security, as did the Soviet atomic bomb test in 1949.

      Like Pearl Harbor, this event would divide our past and future into a before and after. The United States might respond with draconian measures, scaling back civil liberties, allowing wider surveillance of citizens, detention of suspects, and use of deadly force. More violence could follow, either further terrorist attacks or U.S. counterattacks.

      I find it curious it happened just like that 3 years later, and one of the Authors was able to control what information the 9/11 Commission was able to see?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Is that any curiouser than the Project for the New American Century’s publication in 2000 ~ called ” Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategies, Forces, and Resources For a New Century” ~ that stated unequivocally: “Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_for_the_New_American_Century

        And on 9/11, they got it. And the rest, as they say, is history.

        But be careful. Questioning the “Official Conspiracy Theory” about The Terror Event of September 11, 2001 can cause problems.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Honestly, I didn’t listen. I heard he called for a no-fly zone, which is a great way to start World War III. What a statesman he is!

      The NYT is comparing him to Churchill and Abe Lincoln. Hmm …

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Let me share with You something i just sent to a recent acquaintance who asked “But where is Winston Churchill when we need him?” :

        Let me preface this, Doug, with a bit of background. i am a retired US Army Master Sergeant with 22 years active service, including two in Vietnam in the 60s, two in the pre-Operation Desert Storm Middle East in the 80s, and close to six years assigned to the Office of the Inspector General of the United States Army, in the late 80s-to-mid 90s.

        It is my personal opinion ~ based on what i experienced in the Army ~ that we do not need any more Churchills. As i said when i linked what is happening in Ukraine to Orwell’s 1984, we have a whole bunch of American politicians ~ on the Left and the Right ~ who would love the chance to be Oceania’s Big Brother.

        We also already have plenty of Churchill and FDR wannabes on the stage, along with Hitler, Stalin, and Mao wannabes, as well. That is why we are in Cold War II, and on the precipice of a hot World War V. [Cold War I being, in actual, blunt fact, World War III; and America’s “Forever War” being the just winding down ~ for the moment, at least ~ World War IV.]

        Having said all that then, my alternative question is: Where is Mohandas Gandhi when we need him?

        Gandhi had his faults; but he liberated India from the British Empire without a war with that Empire. The wars with Pakistan started after liberation, and were very effectively promoted and precipitated by the British.

        Churchill and his cohort compeers FDR and Stalin, on the other hand, victoriously concluded World War II by ensuring that World War III ~ Cold War I ~ happened. And, of course, when that ended in 1991, the seeds for America’s “Forever War” ~ World War IV ~ had already been planted by the “liberation” of Kuwait, and the establishment of a full-time, combat-ready American military presence in the Middle East. Something the US had been trying to figure out how to have since the end of WW II, if not WW I.

        And thus:

        America’s twenty year “Forever War” after 9/11 was, is, and ever will be a half-time show designed to keep the troops occupied, the defense contractors profitable, and the American people comfortably numb to protracted conflicts in places many of them cannot find on a map of the world.

        For now, Russia has recovered from the disintegration of European Communism and the USSR ~ and China has recovered from the madness of Mao ~ sufficiently for either [or especially both] to present viable, credible “threats” to America’s 30-year reign of global, unipolar hegemony since the end of Cold War I in December, 1991.

        For now looms Cold War II, with Ukraine kicking it off in fine fashion.

        Churchill was present at the creation of Cold War I; and we’ve already got a Cold War II without the likes of him, but a whole bunch of wannabes. We do not need any more.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. JG, these two commentators always have it right.
      Zelensky is a Nato puppet. His speech was terrible by any criteria.

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  3. Waal, let’s face it. We are a society and people who live by the lie. Need to sit down and write about how useful and convenient lies are for everyone, both the people who tell them and their intended recepients, and that’s why we like using them so much. Have to give our supposed enemy and nemesis Putin a nod for his tagging us so correctly–“empire of lies”.

    But we live in a society whose main social organization is one based on one of the seven deadly sins–greed–through our system of capitalist economic organization and policy. Can’t expect much better from folks raised in it, spending their entire lives in it. Franklin, the canniest of all the founding fathers, nailed it when he said that fundamentally all commerce is theft. Supposedly the average American is exposed to something like 10,000 commercial messages a day through the nonstop advertising we are bombarded with by commercial interests (And some from our governmental leaders, as well). Most all advertising is lies to some lesser or greater extent. (Jesus. All those ads about how you are fundamentally dumb and lesser and unattractive to the opposite sex* unless you buy and use our product. What a vile message to be putting out so continually. It has to over time repeated so often affect people badly and deeply.) What’s one more lie in that sea of lies we have to swim in?

    Myself I’ve always thought we’d be better off with a system of social organization based on one of the other seven deadly sins. Lust is my choice, although I’d put some consideration into gluttony and sloth as well.

    I ever run across that Limey major I’ll have to buy him a beer. I think we’d probably get along just fine.

    Best– Dan

    *I tell people that I don’t watch TV any because if I wanted to hear that message I’d just go get married to the wrong woman, and I’d hear it plenty from her instead. ________________________________

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Greetings, readers!

    Just got back from the local liquor store. Sign at the cashier station said: Stoli vodka is from Latvia, not Russia.

    Well, thank the good Lord for that! Now I can drink my Stoli without guilt of aiding Putin.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey, since a close relative works for Tito’s vodka, let me put in a plug for it. I don’t think it’s Russian. It claims to be “handmade” (see LBJ’s comment above about lies we hear)

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  5. I agree with you entirely, as always.
    Liars must have good memories, but the American public has no collective memory at all.
    Who was it who called the country “the United States of Amnesia”?
    Keep prodding people, to wake them out of their sloth and irresponsible silence.
    Madeleine Albright’s evaluation of the costs is exactly as you say: sociopathic.

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    1. “Who was it who called the country “the United States of Amnesia”?”

      I think Gore Vidal said that. He also accurately observed that (1) “Americans are among the most easily frightened people on earth,” and (2) “The United States has only one political party, The Property Party, and it has two right wings.”

      And people seem perplexed to watch the national buzzard endlessly flying around in circles, scanning the desert below, looking for something dead to eat . . .

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Bill its not only Americans who think that their policies are generally noble, just or always morally defensible. As you point our the Brits are very much tarred with the same brush. And following our New Zealand mainstream media here every day, we Kiwi’s fall for the same BS. It’s very depressing.

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    1. Heh. Well it’s not just the folks of Oceania who think their policies are generally noble. Folks in Eurasia and Eastasia are inclinined to think that way, as well.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Eastasia 1984’s national animal is the Black Rat, which is also the nation’s favorite main course, and its national religion is Self-Denialism. LOL

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  7. When exposing a crime is treated as committing a crime, you are being ruled by criminals.
    “The problem with speaking truth to power is that it still just leaves you with the truth and them with the power.” – Richard Wolf

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    1. “The problem with speaking truth to power is that it still just leaves you with the truth and them with the power.” – Richard Wolf

      An excellent observation. On the other hand, I have heard it said — I think by Nietsche — that “In fighting your enemy, take care that you do not become the enemy. Or, “If you stare too long into the abyss, the abyss stares right back into you.” Something like that. But, yes: moral — even legal — truth often-if-not-usually comes up short when those in power “take what they will” while those they rob “endure what they must.” I think that the Athenian Greeks of antiquity said something to that effect.

      Anyway, a more up-to-the-moment elaboration on this ancient conundrum comes courtesy of RT.com (February 28, 2022). I did a transcript of the whole program here: CrossTalk, HOME EDITION: ‘Demilitarize’ and ‘denazify’. Quoted excerpt follows:

      [12:19] George Szamuely: “Well, this is the thing. Ever since the Cold War ended, the Russians have had the better arguments: You invaded Iraq. That was illegal. You violated the UN charter. You violated UN Security Council resolutions. You bombed Yugoslavia, a violation of the UN Charter. You even violated the NATO charter. Julian Assange: you’re imprisoning someone who believes in freedom of speech and who is providing information about government war crimes. Very good arguments. Excellent arguments. And NATO simply says: OK, well, who cares? We have the guns. We have the power. Fine, you can make your good arguments.”

      “And I think that what suddenly has happened, is that Russia has taken a leaf out of the United States and NATO’s playbook. Fine. We’re not going to argue anymore. You can make all your legal arguments about international law and the UN Charter. And we’re just going to do what’s in our national interest.”

      [14:04] “Russia really had to get out of the prison that it was getting itself locked into with, essentially, NATO’s expansion into eastern Europe, and then into the Caucasus, into the Far East. And this was an ongoing thing. It was never going to stop. And again, Russia would make all these points: ‘You promised Mr Gorbachov not one inch. You talk about the rules-based order. You’re violating international law.’ Fine. Excellent arguments. Nobody cares. Because you don’t have the power.”

      “For Russia to re-emerge as a great power, to bring to an end the imprisonment that NATO planned for it, it had to do something drastic. There’s pain involved. But Russia has just made its mark on the world. Russia has now pushed NATO out of its corner. And the NATO powers they can go to the United Nations and make all these speeches about how ‘You violated the UN Charter. This is international law. You are threatening small countries’ Great speeches. All the speeches the Russians have been making over the years. But there is nothing you can do about it. And that’s why the Western powers are so aggrieved that they are now suddenly in the position that the Russians have been in for the past thirty years.”

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      1. I have to say it again, THE hypocrisy is in where we stand regarding the Russian invasion vs an invasion for 74 years and counting with ethnic cleansing by apartheid Israel, a country for one group only, the antithesis of liberty and justice for all, but the recipient of every benefit Uncle Sam can bestow even as we can’t afford national healthcare. The Ukrainians, white, deservedly have our sympathy while the Palestinians, Arabs, undeservedly get ignored in their suffering with the ultimate humiliation of seeing their oppressor protected and promoted in every way by the one superpower.

        No discussion of this will occur on the talk shows, no mention will be made in MSM. I can only think of what Jefferson said about trembling for his country when he considered the existence of slavery, but at least Americans were well aware of slavery and many denounced it. Israel cannot be denounced, even when it kills thousands in Gaza with our weaponry, immediately restocked.

        We can make gains for women, for blacks, for gays, for all Americans, but the invisible Palestinians remain unmentioned, evicted, arrested, detained at checkpoints, beaten by Israeli settlers (the Israeli PM Bennett is a settler) and nothing changes. American eyes are always to be directed to the holocaust of so many decades ago, about which nothing can be done, not the drawn out holocaust for 3/4 of a century that continues only because of our blessing. Some of the victims of history in Europe are now the victimizers in Israel with a “birthright” to be, as Jefferson said, booted and spurred, courtesy of the United States, to ride another people, but woe to the American who says so. And we claim we have freedom of speech!

        Dear Americans: You speak to me of the horror of the Indian Wars, and regret it. You speak of Vietnam and regret it. You speak of Iraq and regret it. You speak of what Albright said in horror and regret. At this instant we have so much regret that we can’t do more for the Ukrainians. But no action on the suffering without any change in sight in the ever-shrinking remains of Palestine, where in 1948 villages and towns were dynamited and the ruins are now covered with “national forests”. Injustice rides boldly, proudly practiced with impunity by 8 million people backed by an America of 350 million.

        But with the same denial of the SWIFT banking transfer system that we are imposing on Russia, a single sanction, Israel could not function for a week. Settlements would be stopped, even withdrawn. I call BS on the expressions of regret. We are a nation of the intimidated afraid to stand for the very principles we claim to honor.

        I cannot bear to watch a moment of news about the Russian invasion and our hand wringing helplessness to be the white knight. As we bathe in self-righteousness, the hypocrisy regarding Israel is stunning and the fear of saying a word about it a mockery of our concern for the rights of others. I am ashamed to be an American. We are not a country to emulate but a worthless and empty thing when we directly use our power contradicting our ideals.

        Professor Astore, will you write a blog post about this? Say with a title like “The Problem of Israel”. Where do you stand? Is one invader exempt from the Geneva Conventions that forbid invasion, occupation, movement of the invader’s people onto the land of the occupied? These prohibitions were created in response to what Hitler did. Can those who suffered from his malice get a free pass forever more to do what nobody else is allowed? Can a country that denies everything to the natives not be denied? Does a great wrong mean the wronged party can go elsewhere and wrong another party that had nothing to do with the initial wrong?

        If you do not respond, or respond only to say “the issue is complex” as is the norm, you will not be alone. I can find nobody with an audience who will speak out. It is untouchable. Jews alone will speak freely, the false charge of anti-Semitism silences everyone else. Thus is a free pass obtained. Thus do the Palestinians rot without civil rights in their own land, subject to continual bombardments in Gaza. Never will a Palestinian be encouraged to address the US Congress, virtually or in person, as that body attends to every word from Zelensky.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. you nailed it clif9710, i’ve been singing the same sad orisons on behalf of the palestinians for over 35 years, ever since we moved to the hashemite kingdom of jordan in 1988. my ululations disintegrated into the zephyrs of israeli-controlled airwaves, disappearing along w/ my once-perdurable commitment to advocating for and writing about the anguished plight and genocidal depredations against the palestinian prisoners in gaza and the israeli-occupied west bank.

          how ironic, the use of that word ‘bank’; the israeli and jewish zionists control most international banks, which means their heinous crimes against the palestinians and consociate, impoverished arab brethren will persist. the israelis have been masterful at teaching western govts how to lie, and their prevarications about 9/11 have reached every corner of the globe. myth-making and myth-devouring seem to be the most popular refections on the platter.

          i sincerely doubt that even wja’s handlers will manumit him to print what you have requested he write about in order to highlight the crimes and inhumanity of the israelis. more is the shame.

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          1. Thanks for your comment, Jeanie. Isn’t it interesting that the sanctioning of Russia is precisely what the UN was intended to provide but cannot can’t because of the veto arrangement in the Security Council. The UN is and will always be unable to do anything to enforce the worthy rules for nations that are its foundation. The US is happy to step into the role, but that makes the rules meaningless as the US is free to interpret things as it chooses. That is why Israel is effectively living outside the moral universe, doing with impunity what brings brings a heavy price for Russia. Israeli PM Bennett, the settler, is trying to be a peacemaker regarding the Russian invasion. Talk about chutzpah!

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            1. please help me understand, clif9710, how the israelis and the zionists gained so much power over the US and its electorate. it must be more complicated than their managing to gain seigneury over the MSMC, the international banking systems, and the relentless, tiresome holocaust narrative.

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              1. The answer to that Jeanie is every Senator, House Member, and rising Political stars are provided with all expenses paid trips to Israel where they’re wined and dined, meet with the Prime Minister and other government Officials, hearing only the Israeli side of the conflict. That is in addition to election campaign donations.

                As for the American Zionist Christians, they treat the re-creation of nuclear armed Israel from the Bible as an Idol.
                They have no problem with the Zionists wanting to rebuild the 3rd Jewish Temple with plans to re-instate regular and repetitive animal blood sacrifice as the Atonement of Sin.
                They are blind and oblivious and in denial of the Christian fundamental that Jesus, by willingly offering up his body to the torture of crucifixion, is the One and Only Atonement for Sin for all People, from the fall of Adam & Eve in the Garden, to Russians, Americans, Chinese et al Today.

                When he overturned the bankers and merchants working the shopping mall out of the last Jewish Temple, he knew he crossed the line in his struggle with the Jewish Religious Establishment and they would no longer tolerate him, especially when the Priests asked him by what Authority he did that violent Act?
                He answered, the House of my Father is a House of Prayer for ALL Nations, and you have made it a Den of Thieves. He was essentially saying Jews and the Jewish State no longer had Exclusivity with the God of Abraham. They had to Silence him.

                The record is clear. His Disciples slept while he was going through the Passion ALONE. He prayed to God to be spared the torture and pain of crucifixion in his physical body. He was smart and could have got out of Jerusalem and started over again in some other place, but he didn’t. It had to be in Jerusalem in light of the very situation you allude to in your query and the current situation in the World.

                In the Culture of those Times, Women were to be seen and not heard, but he didn’t think that way. That is affirmed by the record that in his Resurrection, he revealed himself to a Woman before he revealed himself to his Male disciples.

                Samaritans were looked down upon as inferior Jews in those Days, and the Samaritan Woman he talked with at the well would have been especially avoided as being a loose Woman essentially living Common Law with her 6th Man.

                There came a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus said to her, Give me to drink.
                Then the woman of Samaria said to him, How is it that you, being a Jew, asks drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.
                She said to him, ‘Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and you say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.
                Jesus said to her, Woman, believe me, the hour come, when you shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.
                You worship you know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.
                But the hour comes, and NOW is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him.
                God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in Spirit and in Truth.

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              2. elegant elenchus, rjc. thank you for your passionate cynosureship; your guide posts incorporate myths that aim us toward more honourable and compassionate lives. i appreciate your contributions in that direction.

                Liked by 1 person

          1. supernal, wja. clif9710 would be a numinous candidate for scripting the proposed article w/out its devolving into inflammatory polemics.

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          2. Good to see those essays. They are consistent with the outlook you present generally which is why I am happy to be here. I will take up your offer and send you something for consideration. Do you have a email I can use to send it to you? If so, you can email me with that at clif9710@att.net

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        2. ‘Social media giants allow hate speech against Russia but silence Israel’s critics’

          Silicon Valley’s rank hypocrisy in allowing hate speech against Russia and Russians is particularly evident when compared with the special protections put in place by tech firms to block criticism of Israel and Israelis.

          If Meta’s new policy for Ukraine were to be applied impartially, would Palestinians then be allowed to promote violence against Israel and against Israeli soldiers that have been occupying and besieging them for decades?

          Unlike Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which is three weeks old, Israel has been violently occupying and besieging Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem for more than half a century. Israel has also been committing war crimes by transferring hundreds of thousands of its Jewish citizens into territory belonging to Palestinians, in an effort to colonise their land and ethnically cleanse them.

          Israel’s blockade of Gaza for the past 15 years has entailed putting its two million inhabitants on a “starvation diet” and repeatedly bombing the tiny enclave “back to the Stone Age“, including attacks on schools and hospitals.

          Palestinians and their supporters have every reason to condemn Israel and its leaders as passionately and vehemently as Ukrainians and their supporters are denouncing Putin and Russia for the current invasion. So why does one group have the right to incite violence and hatred, while the other doesn’t?

          In practice, Israel has long been shielded by an array of restrictions for social media users. Posts risk being deleted if they fall foul of rules against fake news, disinformation, offensive content, bullying, support for terrorism, hate speech and incitement. But supposed violations often appear unrelated to matters of truth or falsehood, or right or wrong – and instead accord with Israel’s status as a valued client state of the US.

          https://www.jonathan-cook.net/2022-03-18/russia-facebook-hate-speech-israel/

          Liked by 1 person

          1. numinous elenchus, RJC. now w/ wja’s advocacy, you and clif9710 should collaborate, i.e. meld your knowledge and writing skills for a bracing view’s article on the US-supported, decades-long israeli genocide against and land expropriations of the palestinians in gaza and the west bank. my hortatives would be so emotionally overwrought no one would read it, or would conclude that these were the ravings of a kook.

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  8. Patrick Lawrence:

    “. . .There is a kind of cinematic quality about the way this [U.S. war on all things Russian] is being presented to Americans. . . . but I’ve been extremely concerned at the extent, power, and prevalence of . . . a propaganda operation that I and numerous others of my age, if I may say so, think is unprecedented. This is really quite shocking. And the other side of that moon is that it is grotesquely successful. The extent to which people are rolling over and accepting this, these perverse accounts of what’s going on. This cannot be good for America to be this blind.”

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    1. From Sheldon Wolin’s masterful treatise, Democracy, Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism (2008):

      “… what attracted decision-makers to choosing ‘war’ [as their all-encompassing, operative paradigm] is that Americans of the twentieth century had no direct experience of it and hence were receptive to having warfare imagined for them – and Hollywood happily obliged with ‘war movies.’ Save for actual combatants sent overseas and economic shortages at home, World War II was unexperienced. After 1945 ‘war’ was a tabula rasa on which opinion-makers and government decision-makers were free to constitute its meaning in terms that pretty much suited their purposes, allowing them to set the character of public debate and to acquire a vastly enlarged range of governmental powers – powers that, when they did not violate the Constitution, deformed it. … The meaning of war was given a plasticity that allowed the new image-makers to set its parameters as they pleased.

      Americans at home don’t do “war.” They have done for them what Professor Wolin called the “Wartime Imaginary.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “American Sniper” is more than just a war movie; it’s the embodiment of core American values: heroism, justice, bravery and patriotism. However, there is one significant fact the film forgot to clarify that, ultimately, transforms it into a problematic propaganda film: the war in Iraq had nothing to do with terrorist attacks or Al-Qaeda.

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        1. Yes. Pure propaganda film-making (i.e., “war porn”). As my fellow Vietnam veteran Daniel Ellsberg explained: “The United States invaded Iraq for three reasons: Oil, Israel, and Domestic Political Advantage.” The American citizenry, for their part, naturally got the usual pack of duplicitous rationales (the word “reason” does not apply here) from their corrupt-beyond-saving “government.” How much longer can this shameless charade go on?

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  9. Excellent comment by Drew Hunkins in response to President Putin’s address to the Russian People.

    The frenzied Russophobic groupthink that’s currently reverberating throughout virtually the entire Western militarist-corporate media and citizenry is staggering to witness. One can do nothing but stand back in awe at the indoctrination that’s suffocating us all.

    The Russiagate nonsense and Covid Cult hysteria were the worst mob mentalities one had ever witnessed, however neither of those reaches the level of this non-stop animus against Putin and Russia.

    Moreover, the cavalier way so many liberals and neo-cons are now dismissing the long-held Mutually Assured Destruction doctrine as it comes to nuclear war is astonishingly dismaying. Glibly advocating for a no-fly zone ultimately means nuclear war.

    Chillingly, there no longer appear to be any sane heads left in Washington – personally sanctioning Putin and Lavrov obviously severs diplomatic relations, severed diplomatic relations historically has often been a prelude to war. The U.S. even has national politicians and apoplectic talking heads calling for the assassination of Putin. Brazen criminal violations of international law are now rationally discussed under the aegis of learned gentility on mainstream media. That this taunting could quickly devolve the world into a nuclear war does not seem to bother anyone.

    Across the spectrum in the U.S. – from the humanitarian [sic] interventionist liberals to the crazy neo-con warmongers – it’s all Russophobic diatribes all day, all night. Any rational knowledgeable analysts who attempt to present the reasonable Russian position are immediately scorned and ridiculed and dismissed as Kremlin propagandists.

    That Shoigu is desperately trying to minimize human casualties in Ukraine despite the far-right militias bedding down in hospitals and theaters is ignored.

    This extremely dangerous mass psychosis that’s washing over nearly the entire Western hemisphere (except for Latin America) must somehow be transcended before the likelihood that two nuclear armed superpowers clash increases to the point of no return.

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  10. I’ve tried to avoid using “we” as a substitute for Americans or humans or any other large demographic after it was pointed out to me how sloppy is the usage. With that in mind, I take exception to the “we are lying to ourselves and need to stop” construction. Lots of Americans are antiwar and anti-aggression. I’m most definitely not lying to myself about the U.S. empire’s flagrant iniquities. That doesn’t describe everyone, however, least of all military-industrial war profiteers happy to have others pay any price.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. The trouble anti-war and anti-aggression Americans have BRUTUS is that they do not have a political party to vote for. Both parties in the US are warmongers.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “Both parties in the US…”

      Suggested alternative phrasing: “Both right-wing factions of the Uniparty.”

      As Ron Placone says on the Jimmy Dore Show: “The United States doesn’t need a third party. It needs a second one.”

      Liked by 4 people

  12. Stuart Varney interview of Colonel Douglas Macgregor on Fox News, March 4
    Varney: ..To retired Colonel Douglas MacGregor, who joins us now. Sir, what.. what’s the strategy? Putin attacks a nuclear power plant. What’s the strategy behind that? Is it just to intimidate civilians?
    Macgregor: The strategy was not to attack any power plants or the power grid. Russians have very carefully avoided any power, no damage to communications, no damage to any of the things that are essential – like the water supply. What you’re seeing is that the Russians have now driven what is left of the Ukrainian forces, who are taking refuge in population centers – cities – because they have no mobility, no air defense, no air cover, no logistical infrastructure. They are now mingling with the population, much as we’ve seen in the Middle East. Whenever we drove the Islamists out of business, they ran into cities, used people as shields, the civilian population, and tried to avoid being annihilated. And I think that’s essentially what’s happening today with the.. the population being used by the Ukrainian forces to avoid destruction.
    Varney: Do you think Putin will pull what I would call a “Grozny?” Grozny was the capitol of the.. this breakaway republic. He flattened it when the civilians resisted..
    Macgregor: Yes
    Varney: ..You’re going to see this? I mean, is he going to..
    Macgregor: Yeah, he…
    Varney: ..flatten Ukraine?
    Macgregor: (pause) No, absolutely not. In fact, he’s worked hard to capture most of it intact, surprisingly little damage, frankly, Stuart, much less damage than we inflicted on Iraq when we went into it either in ’91 and again in 2003. No, I think they’re just surrounding the Ukrainian forces, and they are annihilating them.. and this is inevitable, and Mr Zelenskyy is postponing the inevitable in the hopes that we are going to rescue him, and we are not coming. President Biden has made that very clear.
    Varney: Do you think the end is in sight?
    Macgregor: (clears throat) Well, the end.. (clears throat) ..the end of this phase is still a (clears throat) .. few days away (clears throat). The first five days, Russian forces, I think, frankly, WERE TOO GENTLE ((emphasis mine)). They’ve now corrected that. So I would say another ten days, this should be completely over, but the question is: What is it that Zelenskyy is going to do? The Russians have made it very clear: what they want is a neutral Ukraine. This could have ended days ago if he accepted that. And then they can adjust the borders. But the eastern part of Ukraine is firmly in Russian hands. But again, the Russians are not seizing territory. They’re destroying Ukrainian forces. That’s their focus.
    Varney: Colonel, it sounds like you don’t approve of Zelenskyy’s stand
    Macgregor: Well, I think Zelenskyy is a puppet. And he’s putting huge numbers of his own population at unnecessary risk. And, quite frankly, most of what comes out of Ukraine is debunked as lies within twenty-four to forty-eight hours. The notions..
    Varney: Well…
    Macgregor: .. of taking and retaking airfields, all of this is nonsense. It hasn’t happened.
    Varney: .. he’s not a.. a hero? I mean, standing up for himself …
    Macgregor: (guffaws)
    Varney: ..and his own people? You don’t think he’s a hero?
    Macgregor: No, I .. I do not. I don’t see anything heroic about the man. And I think the most heroic thing that he can do right now is to come to terms with reality: neutralize Ukraine. (clears throat) This is not a bad thing. A neutral Ukraine would be good for us as well as for Russia. It would create the buffer that frankly both sides want. But he’s, I think, being told to hang on and.. and try to drag this out, which is tragic for the people that have to live through this.
    Varney: I’m inclined to disagree with you, Colonel, but, you know, we.. see how this works out. Colonel Douglas Macgregor. Tough guy. Thanks for being with us, sir. We’ll see you again soon. Thank you.
    Macgregor: Thank you, Stuart.
    Varney: Lots of different opinions on this show.
    https://video.foxbusiness.com/v/6299630074001#sp=show-clips
    * * * * * * * * * * * *
    Transcript of Stuart Varney segment on Fox News March 17:

    “Voznesensk is a small town in southern Ukraine. What happened there two weeks ago is very important. Russian troops were routed by a band of local, largely untrained fighters. This is one small example of Putin’s very big problems.
    “A battalion of Russian troops arrived in Voznesensk soon after the invasion began. They stole food, threatened civilians, moved their tanks right up to their houses, and then… then the locals fought back, with rocket-propelled grenades, javelin missiles. They took out thirty of the invaders’ forty-three mechanized vehicles.
    “The survivors fled in any vehicle with gas, or they took off into the woods where they were killed or captured. The Russians retreated, leaving an estimated one hundred dead. The local Ukrainian commander captured ill-trained teenaged conscripts.. and a senior lieutenant in Russia’s military intelligence. He was caught trying to change into a private’s uniform.
    “This is not propaganda. This story is well-sourced by Yaroslav Trofimov writing in today’s Wall Street Journal. Now we know why the Russians are bogged down: badly-trained troops, poor equipment, poor planning, long supply lines that are open to attack, very low morale. They are not ten feet tall. They were routed, and the world should know it.”
    https://video.foxbusiness.com/v/6300979690001#sp=show-clips

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    1. This Stuart Varney person reminds me of the self-styled “war correspondents” in Saigon who used to congregate at the Continental Hotel to receive their daily briefings — widely mocked as “The Five O’Clock Follies” — from U.S. military spokesmen. Knowledgeable reporters like David Halberstam and Francois Sulley, et al, went out into the countryside with the troops to report on the actual situation there. Ugly reality eventually broke through and won out over the official U.S. bullshit. Now I understand that the self-styled US/UK/NATO-EU “reporters” avoid traveling east to observe the surrounded and disintegrating VSU “army” and instead hang out in Kiev lapping up official coup-regime nonsense as smokin’ red-hot Gospel. One thing remains a constant with the US corporate-military oligarchy and its proxy vassals: If they had a choice between lying and telling the truth, with no adverse consequences for telling the truth, they would lie anyway. Just to keep in practice. Just so they wouldn’t forget how.

      Like

      1. Michael, your comments in this forum are the best. I enjoy them. Always relevant and to the point. Thank you for your efforts.

        Like

  13. From Wikipedia:

    On May 7, 1999, during the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia (Operation Allied Force), five U.S. Joint Direct Attack Munition guided bombs hit the People’s Republic of China embassy in the Belgrade district of New Belgrade, killing three Chinese journalists and outraging the Chinese public. According to the U.S. government, the intention had been to bomb the nearby Yugoslav Federal Directorate for Supply and Procurement (FDSP). President Bill Clinton apologized for the bombing, stating it was an accident. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director George Tenet testified before a congressional committee that the bombing was the only one in the campaign organized and directed by his agency, and that the CIA had identified the wrong coordinates for a Yugoslav military target on the same street. The Chinese government issued a statement on the day of the bombing, stating that it was a “barbarian act.”

    So, naturally, in a feat of cosmic shamelessness, US national security advisor Jake Sullivan goes to meet his Chinese counterpart in Rome, seeking to trap the far more competent Asian into bad-mouthing Russia over its special military operation to expel NATO military infrastructure from Russia’s borderlands. From what I understand, the Chinese official reminded Mr Sullivan of May 7, 1999 and China’s very own experiences with US-directed NATO, which the Chinese had neither forgotten nor forgiven. And now I read that U.S. President Joe Biden plans on calling Chinese leader Xi Jin-ping with the same lunatic idea in mind. Something tells me he will get what Jake Sullivan got: the Chinese equivalent of “Go Pound Sand.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I even wrote a poem (sixteen years ago) about this blundering U.S. imperial nastiness:

      Boobie Humanitarian Intervention
      (from Fernando Po, U.S.A., America’s post-literate retreat to Plato’s Cave)

      In Boobie Red-state USA
      The patriots don’t roam.
      They egg on someone else to fight
      While they stay safe at home
      Attending tail-gate parties at
      The local Astrodome

      “My country right or wrong!” they chant
      Within an eyelash blink.
      “My mother drunk or sober,” say
      The ones who’ve stopped to think.
      “We don’t give Mom the car keys when
      She’s had too much to drink!”

      Yet power acts just like a drug
      Like whiskey at its worst
      Anesthetizing brain cells while
      Exacerbating thirst
      Till little drunken boys and girls
      Resort to warfare first

      When adolescents cannot get
      Whatever they want now
      They pout and stomp and throw a fit
      And wrinkle up the brow
      Which signals to their parents that
      They want it anyhow

      Like Secretary Albright fumed
      When Clinton told her “No,
      We cannot level Belgrade just
      To show your machismo.”
      “Why even have an Air Force, then?”
      The madam wished to know.

      So Bill relented, finally;
      He wished so much to please
      And sent a flight of bombers
      To enforce his stern decrees.
      He got the address wrong, of course,
      And blew up some Chinese

      And Boobie Bubba couldn’t get
      The Chinese point of view
      They had so many people and
      He’d only killed a few
      (So why, since he felt others’ pain,
      Could he not cause some, too?)

      Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright © 2006

      Liked by 2 people

  14. a personal narrative wja readers: my god-fearing, god-besotted, god-obsessed neighbour here in the philippines is from scotland. she has her TV on 24/7, tuned only to US-media-controlled stations. i can no longer pretend to be her ‘friendly next-door neighbour’. she is now so incapable of listening to reason, or employing logic, or mentating on anything deeper than her dogs’ fleas [she has 3, i.e. dogs, not fleas], her flower garden’s next watering session, her next meal, the ‘horrors of putin”, the ‘evil russians’, and the salvatory grace, honour, integrity, compassion, and ‘godliness’ of the US military and its NATO myrmidons. how does one communicate w/ such people and remain sane? the US, UK, canada, australia, new zealand and other white-dominated countries are maculated w/ such misguided people and their callow tropes.

    so, what can we do? launch a tax-revolt? slither out from under people’s duped psycho-ambits and hope they will experience a watershed-style epiphany? take up arms? none of that will ever happen; it’s naught but a saturnine chimera. the vulgate is too drugged w/ lies and lassitude. even if everyone dumped her/his tv and other hideous electronic drugs into the nearest trash-tip, the corporate-owned, mendacity-spewing sound waves would find the poor sod and re-infect her w/ whatever prevarications are the flavours-of-the-month.

    Like

  15. Jeanie, your extensive vocabulary always blows my mind. I had to Google dictionary “maculated” and “saturnine” today”. LOL. Your use of words that are not in common usage is a constant source of amusement to me! Thanks for your contributions to WJA’s forums.
    Have you ever watched Blackadder and Dr. Johnsons Dictionary? LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. another curious anomaly, dennis: your above comment has just dumped itself into my ‘junk’ folder, entirely of its own or some devious gremlin’s volition… certainly not mine. it would appear that, given all the incarcerate blockages our internet has been suffering recently, it is not supervenient; my previously reliable apps have been metaleptically perverted…. likely, to the same degree as my presbiophrenic cortex, aka, ‘brain rot’. i’m monumentally gratified that at least wja’s BRACING VIEWS has not yet gone the way of the dodo bird. it is the only outlet remaining by which i can tap into those who write about, comment on, and appreciate some semblance of parrhesia.

      Liked by 2 people

  16. Associated Press writer Yuras Karmanau in Lviv, Ukraine writes……

    “Putin appeared at a huge flag-waving rally at a packed Moscow stadium Friday.
    Several Telegram channels critical of the Kremlin reported that students and employees of state institutions in a number of regions were ordered by their superiors to attend rallies and concerts marking the anniversary. Those reports could not be independently verified”

    Of course they could not be verified!

    Like

    1. again, parlous appreciation for alerting me to these 2 videos, dennis. the blackadder spoof is a delightfully subauditum metalepsis for ms. sesquipedalian motor-mouth [moi].

      Liked by 1 person

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