The Neocon Plan for Iraq is Working Perfectly

–A Review of Errol Morris’ film The Unknown Known
By Michael Troncale

“We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out.”
–Ron Suskind, quoting from a conversation he had with a ‘senior advisor’ to President Bush

“War was a sure safeguard of sanity, and so far as the ruling classes were concerned it was probably the most important of all safeguards. While wars could be won or lost, no ruling class could be completely irresponsible. But when war becomes literally continuous, it also ceases to be dangerous. When war is continuous there is no such thing as military necessity. Technical progress can cease and the most palpable facts can be denied or disregarded.”
–1984, George Orwell

Errol Morris’ latest documentary, The Unknown Known, is basically a two hour monologue from Donald Rumsfeld, often in narration played over Morris’ usual visual pyrotechnics. The film is broken occasionally with a question from the unseen Morris, but this is Rumsfeld’s show, and he relishes the chance to explain himself and engage in the linguistic obfuscation and near madness that were the hallmark of his time as Secretary of Defense.

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Reps. Fattah and Cartwright: Support the “Come Clean on Drones Killing” Bill!

By Joe Scarry, from No Drones Pennsylvania

People in Pennysylvania who oppose the U.S. program of drone killings in countries around the world have been vocal on calling on Congress — especially Pennsylvania progressive members of Congress Chaka Fattah and Matt Cartwright — to bring the Administration to heel.

Now a bill is pending in Congress — the The Targeted Lethal Force Transparency Act (HR 4372) — also known as the “Come Clean on Drone Killing” Act. At this writing, quite a few of Rep. Fattah and Cartwrights’ fellow progressive caucus members have become co-sponsors for the bill. So where are Reps. Fattah and Cartwright?

Rep. Fattah’s constituents need to contact him and urge him to co-sponsor the bill today.

Rep. Cartwright’s constituents need to contact him and urge him to co-sponsor the bill today.

Additional resources to help:

Identify your member of Congress

Example letter to a member of Congress in support of HR 4372: the Targeted Lethal Force Transparency Act (the “come clean on drone killings” act)

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Rep. David Loebsack: Support the “Come Clean on Drones Killing” Bill!

 By Joe Scarry, from Scarry Thoughts

Rep. Loebsack at a Rock Island Arsenal Joint
Manufacturing and Technology Center (RIA-JMTC)
event.

Rep. David Loebsack, representing Iowa’s second congressional district, has strong progressive credentials.

He is reputed to have called for more scrutiny over military drones. (See “Congress examining non-military use of drones,” in The Gazette, March 20, 2013)

A bill is pending in Congress — the The Targeted Lethal Force Transparency Act (HR 4372) — also known as the “Come Clean on Drone Killing” Act. At this writing, quite a few of Rep. Loebsack’s fellow progressive caucus members have become co-sponsors for the bill. So where is Rep. Loebsack?

Rep. Loebsack’s constituents need to contact him and urge him to co-sponsor the bill today.

Additional resources to help:

Identify your member of Congress

Example letter to a member of Congress in support of HR 4372: the Targeted Lethal Force Transparency Act (the “come clean on drone killings” act)

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American Fire: Still Spreading, Still Inextinguishable

By Joe Scarry, from Scarry Thoughts

The New York Times ran an obituary of Harun Farocki the other day.

Was it a coincidence that I had just been talking about his provocative film, Inextinguishable Fire, which is about napalm? Perhaps not; I find myself talking about that film a lot.

As we work day after day to try to get Americans to recognize some responsibility for the injury done to others in their name — by drones, for instance, or by various warplanes made by Chicago’s star corporate citizen, Boeing — I frequently think about Farocki’s film.

First, there is the famous recognition that being made to look at the injury one is doing is something that one will almost certainly feel a desire to resist.

 

How can we show you the injuries caused by napalm?

 

If we show you pictures of napalm burns, you’ll close your eyes.
 
First you’ll close your eyes to the pictures.
 
Then you’ll close your eyes to the memory.
 
Then you’ll close your eyes to the facts.
 
Then you’ll close your eyes to the entire context.
 
If we show you someone with napalm burns, we will hurt your feelings.
 
If we hurt your feelings, you will feel like we’d tried napalm on you.
 
We can give you only a hint of how napalm works . . . .

(Translation from the German, reproduced from “Harun Farocki’s Inextinguishable Fire” by Ben Davis on ArtNetNews)

This feels so familiar to me from the work we do throughout the country, trying to get people to  confront such phenomena as drone assassinations.

The other part of Inextinguishable Fire that feels so familiar to me is the “interviews” with “employees” of Dow Chemical.

“Because of the intensified division of labor,” the narrator explains, “many technicians and scientists can no longer recognize the contribution they have made to weapons of destruction.”

“Our department extracts lareic, oleic, and naptha acids . . . . ” “I’m a chemist. What should I do? If I develop a substance, it can be good for humanity . . . .”

“Besides napalm, Dow Chemical produces 800 other products . . . .”

Does this sound familiar to you?

I invite you to watch Inextinguishable Fire for yourself. I hope that I won’t hurt your feelings.

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Brave Taliban Vietcong N.Koreans Fought Entire White Folk Military’s Nazi-like Occupations

By Jay Janson

White folks media tells the world that bad guys fighting the invasions, bombings and occupations of their beloved countries often appear to look brave for fighting against such overwhelming odds, when actually they are cowards harming their own undeveloped countries (former occupied colonies) chances of being helped by corporations. Economic power shift away from neocolonial empires will bring prosecution even of this media.

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“It’s Gonna Be Hell for You, But Heaven for Me!” —A Review of the Film The Act of Killing

By Michael Troncale

If Nazi Germany had won World War II, then German society would probably resemble contemporary Indonesia. It’s country whose new order was founded in a bloody nightmare, and even though most of the older generation knows it, they also know to keep their mouth shut. The young grow up ignorant of how their country was formed.

However, Nazi Germany was defeated, and the Germans have somewhat attempted to atone for their horrible crimes. Holocaust denial is illegal in Germany, and the German government provided financial support to Israel after its founding. It’s an incredibly weak gesture when one considers what the Germans did to Europe and beyond during WWII, but there is at least some admission of guilt.

The massacre that occurred in Indonesia for the most part from 1965-1966 is a topic that is taboo in Indonesia (as I imagine the Holocaust would be in Germany if Hitler had succeeded.) Those responsible for what happened live comfortably in Indonesia, never having to worry about imprisonment or atonement for the brutal violence that killed an estimated 500,000 to 1 million people (some estimates put the death toll even higher). Why were they killed? Because they were Communists, or just “to the left” of the political spectrum.

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One Man’s “Terror Tunnel” is Another Man’s “Great Escape”

By Joe Scarry, from Scarry Thoughts

Something keeps jarring me as Israel focuses on the tunnels in and out of Gaza.

At first I disregarded it, but when I noticed again and again that Benjamin Netanyahu keeps bringing the discussion back around to the tunnels, I started to think, “I don’t think that means what he thinks it means.”

Netanyahu is staking Israel’s relationship with the U.S. and others on the proposition that Israel can keep killing Palestinians, with the tunnels as a pretext. (See “Netanyahu vows Israel will destroy Hamas tunnels ‘with or without a cease-fire'” on CBSNews.com.)

It occurs to me now that when Netanyahu talks about tunnelstunnelstunnels, he is playing to some connotation that the word “tunnel” carries for his home audience. Perhaps some kind of allusion to sub-human existence beneath the ground? (Unclean subterranean animals? Mice? Rabbits?)

Or is it somehow associated with the Israeli expression “mowing the lawn”?

Ironically, however, every time he says “tunnel,” I think “great escape.”

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