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Friday, September 29th, 2006

Time Event
Daniel Ellsberg on the U.S. plans for Iran.
I'd be interested in hearing the group's thoughts on the likelihood and advisability of a U.S. attack on Iran; given the amount of media attention this is getting, it seems likely that it's not just moonbeams and leprechaun gold. I'm cross-posting an entry that I did for my LJ; I've taken out my opinions and added a brief update. Does being a pro-war liberal include advocating first use of nuclear weapons, even tactical nukes, even to temporarily prevent another nation from acquiring them? If so, does it also mean that the U.S. should go after nations with only a handful of nukes to pre-empt their use against us or their falling into the hands of terrorists or another unfriendly nation? Let's see some discussion, please. Thanks!

Daniel Ellsberg, a former military analyst for the RAND Corporation and the gent who shook up this nation and its capitol from the White House to the Pentagon when he leaked the documents in his safe to the New York Times (which were eventually collected in book form under the title by which they had become known: The Pentagon Papers) that proved that the Johnson administration lied to Congress in order to escalate U.S. involvement in Vietnam and continued to lie about the U.S.'s prospects for victory in the war, has an editorial in the October 2006 issue (Vol. 1850, No. 1877) of Harper's Magazine that is given the same pride of place as formerly enjoyed by the recently departed editor Lewis Lapham (the "Notebook" column).

In it, Ellsberg regrets not having the wisdom or the courage to have leaked the documents in his safe before so many U.S. troops had been killed in Vietnam; Senator Wayne Morse (R-Oregon), "one of only two U.S. senators to vote against the Tonkin Gulf resolution on August 7, 1964" and "a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1964," told him three months after the NYT began printing excerpts from the "Pentagon Papers" that, had Ellsberg given those documents to him in 1964, he would've made sure that the Tonkin Gulf resolution would have died an unlamented death.

Just as Ellsberg's revelations in 1971 served to deepen the partisanship of an already deeply polarized country, so too has much of the reporting about our current debacle in Iraq and the apparently up-and-coming debacle in Iran (special mention should go to Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Seymour ["Sy"] M. Hersh and his reports in The New Yorker, particularly "The Iran Plans: Would President Bush Go to War to Stop Tehran From Getting the Bomb?" in the 17 April 2006 issue, and "The Coming Wars: What the Pentagon Can Now Do in Secret" in the 24 - 31 January 2006 issue; but last week's [issue dated 25 September 2006] Time magazine ran the ominous cover story "What War With Iran Would Look Like (And How to Avoid It)") served to polarize anyone outside the chattering classes who bothers to pay attention to it. Focusing on the war as yet unborn, Ellsberg pleads with the current faceless analysts to drag the White House's agenda as regards Iran into the light where the public will have to pay attention.

Picking up a theme first explored by Hersh, Ellsberg writes:

"...Philip Giraldi, a former CIA official, reported in The American Conservative a year ago that Vice President Cheney's office had directed contingency planning for 'a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons' and that 'several senior Air Force officers' involved in the planning were 'appalled at the implications of what they are doing -- that Iran is being set up for an unprovoked nuclear attack -- but no one is prepared to damage his career by posing any objection."

-- p. 9

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Bush up to his old shit.

Ok. In practical terms what does this Torture Bill mean for us. And our enemies. And our allies. And the poor bastards that are going to get accused of terrorism.

Does this mean we don't have to outsource to Syria?
If we could only blast this at the White House from giant speakers shaped like a monkey for the rest of Bush's term. We could even hang a "Mission Accomplished" banner above it.

"President Bush's election-year attacks are the product of a desperate White House with no credibility left with the American people," said Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

"It was yet another example of how he is in denial over what is happening in the war on terror," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California

(quotes from: http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/09/29/bush.ap/index.html )

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