Friday, October 09, 2009
The usual definition of a chickenhawk is someone who supports war but actively avoids fighting. Whenever I think of one, what comes to my mind are Young Republicans, but also leftists, who are just as bad if not worse.
A writer, whose name unfortunately completely escapes me, said the aforementioned definition is not totally accurate. A better one is that a chickenhawk is someone who believes supporting war is a sign of his personal bravery and patriotism, and is convinced that those who oppose war, for whatever principled and thoughtful reasons, are always cowards and traitors.
Still, chickenhawks are cowards. Why, then, can they not see what they are?
There is only one reason: They deceive themselves as to what they truly are. They idealize themselves as proud, brave and patriotic, while others, more clear-sighted, see them for what they are: cowards who will do nothing except stand on the sidelines and yell, "Okay, throw the ball here! Now throw it over there!"
When people refuse to see their bad qualities (what Jung called their Shadows), there is only one thing they can do to protect their self-delusion: project those qualities on other people. Here is an example: when leftists talk about "hate" (which they do all the time), they are projecting their own unacknowledged hate onto other people.
Chickenhawks are the same: They cannot acknowledge their own cowardice, so they must project it onto others. Those Others, to the chickenhawk, are the cowards and traitors, not the chickenhawk.
Yet, the chickenhawk must know, somewhere deep inside, that he is a coward, and so has to be ashamed of himself. How does he cover up his shame? With pride. Pride on top, hiding shame underneath.
The first time I ran across that formulation of pride covering shame was in John le Carre's novel, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, when he wrote of Leamas' "protective arrogance concealing shame."
Plato once wrote, "The cause of all sins in every case lies in the person's excessive love of self." I wouldn't call what he's writing about "self love." Excessive pride, arrogance, grandiosity, yes, but not self-love.
The social researcher James Gilligan, who spent 35 years dealing with prisoners, wrote, "Shame . . . motivates not confession but concealment of whatever one feels ashamed of." Guilt, he writes, can on the other hand lead to confession and penance.
He also writes, “…people who feel ashamed typically attempt to diminish that painful feeling both by assuming attitudes of arrogance, self-importance, and boastfulness.”
We'll never see confession and penance from chickenhawks, because they have no guilt. And it's a lot easier to admit guilt than shame. And chickenhawks' shame and cowardice is something they will not, cannot, admit. So they project it onto others: “You should be ashamed of yourself for being a coward who’s not supporting our country and its wars.”
I believe the average chickenhawk must be exceptionally narcissistic, which is correctly defined as splitting things into all-good and all-bad – idealization and devaluation. The chickenhawk has to see himself as all good (brave and patriotic), so his own unacknowledged badness (his cowardice) has to be projected onto others.
The late M. Scott Peck, a psychiatrist, called this kind of projection “the genesis of human evil.” If he’s correct, and I believe he is, then what chickenhawks are doing, in their self-deception, their unacknowledged cowardice, their arrogance and grandiosity, and their scapegoating of the innocent, is evil.
I sometimes wonder if chickenhawks ever think about how they would handle combat. I think they'd do what a soldier friend of mine saw another soldier do: brag to everyone how tough and brave he was (pride), but when the first shot was fired, he turned and ran (shaming himself).
It's probably a good thing chickenhawks aren't in the military: their cowardice and incompetence would probably get innocent soldiers killed. No, not probably. Would.
There's an old saying -- and I have no idea where it's from -- that the best warriors are the least war-like. I will nod and agree with it.
Why in the world anyone listens to chickenhawks is beyond me. Would anyone in his right mind listen to any coward about anything? All of them should be laughed at and ridiculed into silence -- because the one thing no coward can stand is to be laughed at.
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
Recent reports that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad hails from a Persian Jewish family with the surname Sabourjian, which translates from the "weaver of the sabour," sabour being the Persian Jewish prayer shawl, has intelligence agents all over the Middle East wondering if Ahmadinejad, with his bluster about there being no Holocaust and his reviling of Zionism, is just not too good to be true for those who want to attack Iran and overthrow the Islamic Republic. Ahmadinejad's father, Ahmad, did change the family's name from Sabourjian to Ahmadinejad, some say to hide the family's Jewish roots by adopting a Muslim name.
Of course, having Jewish roots in no way makes Ahmadinejad some sort of secret agent for the Mossad. However, the reports could undermine Ahmadinejad's standing among the more radical members of the Iranian Islamic leadership.
Ahmadinejad is linked politically to the Supreme Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Hoseyni Khamenei. However, according to an undated CIA document titled "Recent Developments in Iran," that appears to be from the time of the Iraq-Iran war of the 1980s, Khamenei is linked to the group of mullahs that included Mir Hossein Mousavi, Ahmadinejad's losing challenger in the recent Iranian presidential election. Mousavi served as Prime Minister under then-President Khamenei in the 1980s. More significantly, Mousavi, who received a great deal of financial support from groups associated with George Soros and his CIA-linked "foundations" during the recent presidential election campaign, was part and parcel of the Iranian end of the Iran-contra affair. Mousavi played a key role in freeing the American hostages in Lebanon in return for secret U.S. military aid in Iran's war against the forces of Saddam Hussein, who was also secretly backed by the Americans.
Another member of the Khamenei bloc, according to the CIA document, was Ayatollah Mohammad Reza Mahdavi Kani, now the Secretary General of the Combatant Clergy Association. Kani's colleague in the bloc, according to the CIA document, was Ayatollah Abdul-Karim Mousavi Ardabili, the head of the Iranian judiciary under Ayatollah Khomeini, who was, along with Khamenei, Rafsanjani, and Ayatollah Seyyed Mohammad Hosseini Beheshti, believed by many in Iran and abroad of having pre- and post-revolution links to the CIA. Beheshti was killed, along with over 70 other members of his Islamic Republican Party on June 28, 1981 in a terrorist bombing carried out by the neocon-supported Mohajedin-e-Khalq (MEK), the favorrite Iranian terrorist group of Richard Perle and Michael Ledeen. Beheshti was close to Mohamad Khatami, who would later become a moderate president of Iran, and Khomeini.
One of Ledeen's associates, Manucher Ghorbanifar, an Iranian Jew who lived mostly in Rome, was a key middleman in the supply of U.S. weapons to Iran in the Iran-contra scandal. Ghorbanifar also became a key interlocutor in the lead-up to the U.S. attack and occupation of Iraq and his involvement is suspected in the forged Niger "yellowcake" uranium documents that were partially used to justify the attack on Iraq.
According to the CIA document, the Khamenei-Mousavi bloc was oposed by the bloc of Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a former president and, ironically, a backer of Mousavi in the recent election. Rafsanjani was also a key player in the Iran-contra affair and is suspected of receiving gifts from top Reagan administration officials in cementing the Iranian end of the Iran-contra operational pipeline. Also associated with the Rafsanjani bloc was Grand Ayatollah Hosein-Ali Montazeri, a once-powerful and quite liberal mullah who was exiled to Qom and house arrest by Khamenei. Earlier, Montazeri's chief aide, Mehdi Hashemi, was accused of leaking information on Rafsanjani's connections to the Iran-contra scandal and he was executed as a counter-revolutionary in 1987.
It is noteworthy that the CIA document states that the second, Rafsanjani-Montazeri group had the "backing of fanatic terrorist organizations." In fact, the more radical policies came out of the first group that included Khamenei and the now-"moderate" Mousavi. Nevertheless, from the Iran-contra scandal to the secret U.S. arming of Iran, the CIA had its links to both blocs. The relationships built between the CIA and the Khamenei-Mousavi and Rafsanjani blocs in the 1980s may continue with the Khamenei-Ahmadinejad bloc today.
Although the Mossad and CIA were heavily involved in the secret Iran-contra arms shipments to Iran during the 1980s, the CIA document also reveals that an Italian middleman named "Seratore" was involved in secret negotiations to provide Iran with weapons, including tanks from Argentina and armored personnel carriers from Italy.
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
As if on cue, the Anti-Defamation League of Israeli excesses apologist Abe Foxman is charging that verified reports of Israeli security assistance to the Honduras coup plotters led by Roberto Micheletti into power in Tegucigalpa smacks of "anti-Semitism." Foxman and his coterie are also charging that statements of ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya that Israeli security advisers and mercenaries were involved in supporting the coup are stoking anti-Semitism in Honduras. Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez has also come in for criticism from the ADL zealots who charge that his statement that only Israel recognized the Honduran regime are untrue. In fact, Israel represents the Honduran junta diplomatically in Argentina, which severed relations with the junta.
The diplomatic quid pro quo on Argentine representation between the junta and Israel represents de facto recognition by the Jerusalem authorities of the junta in Tegucigalpa. Since the Republic of China on Taiwan has not extended diplomatic recognition to the junta, that means that Israel is the only nation in the world that has extended recognition to the Micheletti junta. However, for the ADL and its supporters, the truth never matters when it comes to Israel and its flagrant violations of international norms and law.
Documents from the CIA archives illustrate how many times in the past Israel backed regimes that had little, if any, international diplomatic support. Although Israel's nuclear and intelligence relations with the apartheid regime of South Africa are well known, the CIA files have yielded some other interesting facts about Israeli "rogue diplomacy."
A CIA Joint Publication Research Service, Foreign Broadcast Information Service document dated June 15, 1979, contains a briefing that states "an important person from the Israeli Secret Service Mossad recently went to Njamena [sic] [Chad], where he met with Goukouni Oueddei."
Oueddei became dictator of Chad in 1979 after his slow ascendancy to power following the 1975 assassination of Chadian President Francois Tombalbaye. Oueddei quickly became an ally of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi. However, the CIA document indicates that Israel and Qaddafi were backing the same horse in Chad, Oueddei. Eventually, Oueddei was ousted by his pro-Western Defense Minister Hissene Habre. Oueddei fled to Tripoli, Libya and exile. The CIA document states that the Mossad official "promised that an important contingent of Israeli commandos would soon be sent to support the Goukouni-Hissene Habre clique in Chad." Habre, who was ousted in 1990 and fled into exile to Senegal, is currently on trial in Dakar for the murder of thousands of Chadians while he was dictator. Habre is known as the "African Pinochet," a reference to the murderous Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet who was installed with the help of Henry Kissinger and who was also supported by Israeli intelligence.
Another CIA Joint Publication Research Service, Foreign Broadcast Information Service document dated August 21, 1979, reveals the close links between Israel and Rhodesia, run by a white minority government, recognized by no other state other than apartheid South Africa. The document states "Israel has just established a veritable intelligence network in Salisbury under the direction of a former infantry colonel. This branch of Mossad was set up with the approval of Bishop Muzorewa who asked the Israeli agents to help him track down and eliminate his PF enemies. According to Rhodesian sources, it is possible that Salisbury could become Mossad's main station for the Indian Ocean and southern Africa."
Bishop Abel Muzorewa, who was very pro-Israel, was briefly the Prime Minister of the interim "Zimbabwe-Rhodesia," the nation that followed the "internal settlement" of 1978. The PF, or Patriotic Front, was led by Robert Mugabe, with whom the Zimbabwe-Rhodesia was still battling in a guerrilla war. In 1980, Zimbabwe-Rhodesia became Zimbabwe under the presidency of Mugabe.
Israel's support for the Micheletti regime in Honduras follows decades of Israeli support for some of the world's worst dictators and rogue regimes. Israel and its apologists abhor the facts, however, in the case of Honduras, Chad, and Rhodesia, they speak for themselves.
Monday, October 05, 2009
The concept of the 'self-hating Jew' has been dignified with a pseudo-psychopathology by those keen to suppress dissent
He certainly wasn't alone. The charge is so popular these days that people who use it must have felt as though they had won the lottery when they were presented with such a high-profile target like Goldstone. They were probably still savouring Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's outburst in August when he railed against the two senior and Jewish aides of President Obama, Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod, calling them "self-hating Jews".
If anything finally shows up the concept as bogus and bankrupt, it should be the use of it against Goldstone. Jewish self-hatred means rejecting everything about yourself that is Jewish because it is so hateful to you. As a description of Goldstone, nothing could be further from the truth. A life-long Zionist and a Governor of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Goldstone believes bringing war criminals to justice stems from the lessons of the Holocaust and that the creation of Israel symbolised what the postwar human rights movement was all about. But to those who level the accusation, the real degree of Jewish affiliation of the accused is irrelevant.
Now it's quite obvious that calling someone a self-hating Jew in the context of the Israel-Palestine conflict is intended as a demeaning political insult, a way of delegitimising the views of Jews with whom you violently disagree. But one of the reasons why the charge is so ubiquitous and is impervious to evidence and argument that proves it to be bogus is that it's not just used as an epithet. To some scholars and serious commentators, Jewish self-hatred is a proven psychopathological condition, an academically respectable category, and exponents of it can be found throughout history. Their testimony helps to underpin the accusation.
Professor Robert Wistrich, who heads an antisemitism research centre at the Hebrew University, accepts the concept without question and taught a course on it. Lord Sacks, Britain's mainstream Orthodox Chief Rabbi, endorsing the concept in his last two books, says it was born in 15th-century Spain. A recent convert to this way of thinking is David Aaronovitch, the Times and Jewish Chronicle columnist, who "discovered" that there was such a thing as a genuine self-hating Jew after encountering the virulently anti-Jewish writings of Otto Weininger, the brilliant young Viennese Jew who converted to Christianity in 1902 and killed himself a year later. And Robin Shepherd, of the Henry Jackson Society, in a thoroughly wrong-headed book out this month subtitled Europe's Problem With Israel, uses the concept to explain why leftwing Jews "publicly turn against Israel".
This is sheer intellectual laziness, or an ideological or political predisposition dressed up in academic language, or both. In fact, the way all of the key historical figures from the late 19th and early 20th centuries who are used to prove the existence of Jewish self-hatred – Weininger, Sigmund Freud, Karl Kraus, Heinrich Heine – related to their Jewishness has been shown to be far too complex to allow the self-hating Jew label to be anything other than a crude mis-characterisation. Moreover, the perceived antisemitism in their writings was mirrored in the writings of Zionists, especially the founder of political Zionism Theodor Herzl. He painted the weak ghetto Jew, in his 1897 essay "Mauschel", as "a distortion of the human character, unspeakably mean and repellent", interested only in "mean profit". Far from being the antithesis of Jewish self-hatred, it is arguable that Zionism was actually a display of it.
The Jewish self-hatred accusation assumes that there is a correct manner and degree to which people should express their Jewish identities in public; and that there is a particular set of core values and institutions which one should favour. Neither of these assumptions is justifiable on the basis of Jewish teachings or Jewish history. The accusation also assumes that Jewishness "is or should be a primary identity", and therefore to reject it or criticise it is somehow unnatural and wrong.
Yet, criticising an aspect of one's identity does not automatically imply criticism of that identity per se. Implied in the concept of Jewish self-hatred is the notion of a Jewish essence. But the long history of the Jews – integral to which is conversion, assimilation, a wide variety of sometimes clashing Jewish identities, the understanding that Jewishness can be any one of or any combination of religion, ethnicity or culture – makes nonsense of such an idea.
Those who use the accusation sit in judgment on the Jewishness of others. This might be understandable (though insulting) if you are, say, an Orthodox Zionist Jew. But it's clear that many prominent accusers are not of that persuasion. They are, rather, people who would object very strongly to Orthodox rabbis sitting in judgment when they claim the right to determine who is a Jew.
When the self-hating Jew allegation is levelled at someone with the degree of integrity of Judge Goldstone, who takes such pride in his Jewishness, and is orchestrated by the Israeli government and prominent Jewish leaders and commentators, the ugly desperation of the accusers is laid bare. Regrettably, given the appalling state of public debate about antisemitism and Israel-Palestine among Jews, no matter how clearly and how often the charge of Jewish self-hatred is shown to be nothing more than a political and personal insult that demeans the accuser and demonises the accused, it won't be going away any time soon.
By Robert Fisk
In the most profound financial change in recent Middle East history, Gulf Arabs are planning – along with China, Russia, Japan and France – to end dollar dealings for oil, moving instead to a basket of currencies including the Japanese yen and Chinese yuan, the euro, gold and a new, unified currency planned for nations in the Gulf Co-operation Council, including Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Qatar.
Secret meetings have already been held by finance ministers and central bank governors in Russia, China, Japan and Brazil to work on the scheme, which will mean that oil will no longer be priced in dollars.
The plans, confirmed to The Independent by both Gulf Arab and Chinese banking sources in Hong Kong, may help to explain the sudden rise in gold prices, but it also augurs an extraordinary transition from dollar markets within nine years.
The Americans, who are aware the meetings have taken place – although they have not discovered the details – are sure to fight this international cabal which will include hitherto loyal allies Japan and the Gulf Arabs. Against the background to these currency meetings, Sun Bigan, China's former special envoy to the Middle East, has warned there is a risk of deepening divisions between China and the US over influence and oil in the Middle East. "Bilateral quarrels and clashes are unavoidable," he told the Asia and Africa Review. "We cannot lower vigilance against hostility in the Middle East over energy interests and security."
This sounds like a dangerous prediction of a future economic war between the US and China over Middle East oil – yet again turning the region's conflicts into a battle for great power supremacy. China uses more oil incrementally than the US because its growth is less energy efficient. The transitional currency in the move away from dollars, according to Chinese banking sources, may well be gold. An indication of the huge amounts involved can be gained from the wealth of Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar who together hold an estimated $2.1 trillion in dollar reserves.
The decline of American economic power linked to the current global recession was implicitly acknowledged by the World Bank president Robert Zoellick. "One of the legacies of this crisis may be a recognition of changed economic power relations," he said in Istanbul ahead of meetings this week of the IMF and World Bank. But it is China's extraordinary new financial power – along with past anger among oil-producing and oil-consuming nations at America's power to interfere in the international financial system – which has prompted the latest discussions involving the Gulf states.
Brazil has shown interest in collaborating in non-dollar oil payments, along with India. Indeed, China appears to be the most enthusiastic of all the financial powers involved, not least because of its enormous trade with the Middle East.
China imports 60 per cent of its oil, much of it from the Middle East and Russia. The Chinese have oil production concessions in Iraq – blocked by the US until this year – and since 2008 have held an $8bn agreement with Iran to develop refining capacity and gas resources. China has oil deals in Sudan (where it has substituted for US interests) and has been negotiating for oil concessions with Libya, where all such contracts are joint ventures.
Furthermore, Chinese exports to the region now account for no fewer than 10 per cent of the imports of every country in the Middle East, including a huge range of products from cars to weapon systems, food, clothes, even dolls. In a clear sign of China's growing financial muscle, the president of the European Central Bank, Jean-Claude Trichet, yesterday pleaded with Beijing to let the yuan appreciate against a sliding dollar and, by extension, loosen China's reliance on US monetary policy, to help rebalance the world economy and ease upward pressure on the euro.
Ever since the Bretton Woods agreements – the accords after the Second World War which bequeathed the architecture for the modern international financial system – America's trading partners have been left to cope with the impact of Washington's control and, in more recent years, the hegemony of the dollar as the dominant global reserve currency.
The Chinese believe, for example, that the Americans persuaded Britain to stay out of the euro in order to prevent an earlier move away from the dollar. But Chinese banking sources say their discussions have gone too far to be blocked now. "The Russians will eventually bring in the rouble to the basket of currencies," a prominent Hong Kong broker told The Independent. "The Brits are stuck in the middle and will come into the euro. They have no choice because they won't be able to use the US dollar."
Chinese financial sources believe President Barack Obama is too busy fixing the US economy to concentrate on the extraordinary implications of the transition from the dollar in nine years' time. The current deadline for the currency transition is 2018.
The US discussed the trend briefly at the G20 summit in Pittsburgh; the Chinese Central Bank governor and other officials have been worrying aloud about the dollar for years. Their problem is that much of their national wealth is tied up in dollar assets.
"These plans will change the face of international financial transactions," one Chinese banker said. "America and Britain must be very worried. You will know how worried by the thunder of denials this news will generate."
Iran announced late last month that its foreign currency reserves would henceforth be held in euros rather than dollars. Bankers remember, of course, what happened to the last Middle East oil producer to sell its oil in euros rather than dollars. A few months after Saddam Hussein trumpeted his decision, the Americans and British invaded Iraq.