New Clear Vision

constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted
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Waking Up in Tehran

January 28, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, David Swanson, Politics

War Is Not an Option…

by David Swanson

According to one theory, U.S.-Iranian relations began around November 1979 when a crowd of irrational religious nutcases violently seized the U.S. embassy in Iran, took the employees hostage, tortured them, and held them until scared into freeing them by the arrival of a new sheriff in Washington, a man named Ronald Reagan.  From that day to this, according to this popular theory, Iran has been run by a bunch of subhuman lunatics with whom rational people couldn’t really talk if they wanted to.  These monsters only understand force.  And they have been moments away from developing and using nuclear weapons against us for decades now.  Moments away, I tell you!

According to another theory — a quaint little notion that I like to refer to as “verifiable history” — the CIA, operating out of that U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1953, maliciously and illegally overthrew a relatively democratic and liberal parliamentary government, and with it the 1951 Time magazine man of the year Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh, because Mossadegh insisted that Iran’s oil wealth enrich Iranians rather than foreign corporations.  The CIA installed a dictatorship run by the Shah of Iran who quickly became a major source of profits for U.S. weapons makers, and his nation a testing ground for surveillance techniques and human rights abuses.  The U.S. government encouraged the Shah’s development of a nuclear energy program. (more…)

Give Peace a Chance

November 12, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Patrick T. Hiller, Politics

‘Big Stick’ Ideology Becoming Irrelevant in Light of Peace Science

by Patrick T. Hiller

“Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far” was a trademark description of Theodore Roosevelt’s foreign policy. To no surprise the recent electoral season turned politicians into stick-carrying hunters, only now it doesn’t seem necessary to speak softly.

In political and even in broader public discourse we are discussing strategies of war when talking about peace. Strength can only be conveyed through military might. Presidential candidate Romney’s ideas for a “peaceful planet” require us to be strong, to have a strong military, second to none in the world with its terrific soldiers and extraordinary technology and intelligence and to have growing influence in the world. Similarly, President Obama states that America remains the one indispensable nation, that the world needs a strong America, that military spending has gone up every single year he’s been in office, and that the United States spends more on its military than the next 10 countries combined. In fact, the research of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute proves that our spending is more than the next 15 countries combined — not that it matters. Without overemphasizing the presidential debates, my point should be clear. (more…)

Classified Woman

May 17, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: David Swanson, Politics

Sibel Edmonds Finally Wins…

by David Swanson

Sibel Edmonds’ new book, Classified Woman, is like an FBI file on the FBI, only without the incompetence.

The experiences she recounts resemble K.’s trip to the castle, as told by Franz Kafka, only without the pleasantness and humanity.

I’ve read a million reviews of nonfiction books about our government that referred to them as “page-turners” and “gripping dramas,” but I had never read a book that actually fit that description until now.

The F.B.I., the Justice Department, the White House, the Congress, the courts, the media, and the nonprofit industrial complex put Sibel Edmonds through hell.  This book is her triumph over it all, and part of her contribution toward fixing the problems she uncovered and lived through. (more…)

Cheney Gets Heart

March 27, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Pat LaMarche, Politics

But Too Late for Those Suffering in Iraq, and the U.S.?

by Pat LaMarche

Dick Cheney has once again beaten the odds. He’s one of very few heart transplant recipients over the age of seventy. And he’ll need his luck to continue because older patients don’t do as well post-surgery as younger folks do. It’d be a real shame if he got to use this heart even less than he used his last one.

Timing is everything. And the irony of Cheney’s heart transplant — missing the ninth anniversary of the Iraq War by only a few days — should remind us of the hearts stopped by his “shock and awe” policy in that country. An undisputed architect of the War in Iraq, he and the other hawks of the George W. Bush administration presided over the senseless killing of tens of thousands of innocents who did the U.S. no harm.

The New York Times reports that the Cheney family is grateful to the donor as well as the doctors and staff at George Washington University Hospital. Cheney and his family are no doubt appreciative that his life was saved regardless of his limited odds and advanced years. How fortunate for them that the decision was made to give him that donor’s heart. (more…)

Compassionate Identification

January 12, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Politics, Winslow Myers

Overcoming Our Fears of, and Averting War with, Iran

by Winslow Myers

U.S. behavior long ago provided one causal context for our unease about the presumed nuclear aspirations of the Islamic Republic of Iran: the U.S. and Britain messed with Iran’s last authentically democratic election in 1953, fearing communist influence and the nationalization of oil.

Fast forward past the hostage crisis of 1979-81 to the present. The dynamic remains pretty much as it was sixty years ago: strategic jockeying for oil and natural gas, raw exercise of military competitiveness, and now the understandable impulse to acquire nuclear weapons on the part of nations fearing superpower dominance. Iranian leaders were quick to note that Saddam and Khaddafy were vulnerable because the U.S. and friends didn’t have to be concerned about nuclear retaliation (though Messrs. Bush and Blair were all too happy to use Saddam’s presumed nukes as a convenient casus belli). (more…)

Iraq Syndrome

November 03, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Politics, Robert C. Koehler

Finding Hope in the Failure of War

by Robert C. Koehler

This won’t be Vietnam, exactly. No helicopter whisking the last remaining Americans off the roof of the embassy. A contingent of 16,000 State Department contract employees — over 5,000 of them armed mercenaries — will be staying on, running what’s left of the American operation in Iraq.

But there’s little doubt we lost this war — by every rational measure. Everyone lost, except those who profited from (and continue to profit from) the trillions we bled into the invasion and occupation; and those who planned it, most of whom remain in positions to plan or at least promote the wars we’re still fighting and the wars to come. (more…)

Beyond the Nation-State

September 30, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Politics, Robert C. Koehler

From an ‘Obsolete Fiction’ to a ‘Spirit of Openness’

by Robert C. Koehler

Is there such a thing as a relaxed nation — one that isn’t, you know, obsessed with its borders and sense of identity?

We can easily see how absurd it all is when we read about the hikers recently released from prison in Iran, where they were held in cruelly restricted confinement for more than two years because they had inadvertently strayed across the border, out of U.S.-occupied Iraq. The inhuman nature of Iran’s response — the trumped up charges of espionage against the two young men, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, and their companion, Sarah Shourd, who was imprisoned for over a year — were gleefully obvious to the American media … because they were Americans, and Iran is part of the Axis of Evil.

However, the hikers, upon their release last week, strayed across another border as well, and in so doing belied the concept of good nations and bad ones. (more…)