Left Out Program Notes for September 20, 2005

Welcome to Left Out, reality-based independent radio on WRCT 88.3FM, and on the worldwide web at leftout.info. Left Out is co-hosted by Bob Harper and Danny Sleator. Today's program is produced by Tina Milo. Listeners are invited to call us during the show at (412) 268-9728.


Announcements

Listen to Democracy Now every weekday morning at 8am on WRCT.

A TREMENDOUS demonstration against the war, and against the Bush administration in general is going to take place next Saturday, September 24th in Washington DC. The Thomas Merton Center is organizing free busses for Pittsburgers. For more information see the Thomas Merton Center's www.pittsburghendthewar.org about this, also www.septemberaction.org and www.unitedforpeace.org. Here's Cindy Sheehan's compelling plea for people to go to Washington.

Bob Harper is out of the country, so Bernard Chazelle has joined me as a "guest host" on the line from Princeton New Jersey.

Listen

Listen to the broadcast (requires MP3 player). (Streaming, Download, Podcast)

Corrections and Additions:

During the show, when making the point about the limited range of opinion in the American mainstream news, I stated that the NYTimes would never publish Noam Chomsky. Actually, this was incorrect. Chomsky has written precisely one column in the Times since 1981. (1981 is as far back as I searched.)

Regarding Tom Friedman, here are a couple of articles relating to the discussion we had on the air:

Tom Friedman: Fabricating the Roots of Terror by Mike Whitney
Thomas Friedman, Liberal Sadist? by Norman Solomon

Guest Host: Bernard Chazelle

Bernard Chazelle is a computer science professor at Princeton University who specializes in computational geometry and the design and analysis of algorithms. He's also written extensively about politics. Chazelle's essays have appeared in CounterPunch, Eschaton, History News Network and hundreds of websites where his they have been viewed by millions. Here are three of them:

Bush's Desolate Imperium (December 2003)
Anti-Americanism: A Clinical Study (September 2004)
Why the Children in Iraq Make No Sound When They Fall (January 2005)

Guest: Norman Solomon

From www.normansolomon.com:

Norman Solomon is a syndicated columnist on media and politics. His weekly column "Media Beat" has been in national syndication since 1992.

Solomon's new book "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death" was published in early summer 2005 by John Wiley & Sons, which describes the book this way: "Many people were appalled by the Bush administration.s blatant propagandizing in the run-up to the Iraq war. But what they don't realize, according to media critic Norman Solomon, is that pro-war propaganda has a long history and almost formulaic quality in the United States. From Vietnam to Iraq, American combat-ready spin has almost invariably compared our foe to Hitler, identified our enemy as the aggressor, and said that we were doing everything possible diplomatically to avoid conflict. With this illuminating book, readers will find it easier to see through propaganda -- and foresee the next war."

(read the entire bio)

Recent columns by Norman Solomon:

Dodging the Costs of the Warfare State
9/11 and Manipulation of the USA
Ending the Impunity of the Bush White House
The National Guard Belongs in New Orleans and Biloxi. Not Baghdad.

The book War Made Easy is organized around 17 commonly held American myths. Solomon methodically destroys them all using undisputed historical facts about US wars from Vietnam to Iraq. Here is the table of contents:

Prologue: Building Agendas for War.
1) America Is a Fair and Noble Superpower.
2) Our Leaders Will Do Everything They Can to Avoid War.
3) Our Leaders Would Never Tell Us Outright Lies.
4) This Guy Is a Modern-Day Hitler.
5) This Is about Human Rights.
6) This Is Not at All about Oil or Corporate Profits.
7) They Are the Aggressors, Not Us.
8) If This War Is Wrong, Congress Will Stop It.
9) If This War Is Wrong, the Media Will Tell Us.
10) Media Coverage Brings War into Our Living Rooms.
11) Opposing the War Means Siding with the Enemy.
12) This Is a Necessary Battle in the War on Terrorism.
13) What the U.S. Government Needs Most Is Better PR.
14) The Pentagon Fights Wars as Humanely as Possible.
15) Our Soldiers Are Heroes, Theirs Are Inhuman.
16) America Needs the Resolve to Kick the "Vietnam Syndrome".
17) Withdrawal Would Cripple U.S. Credibility.

Getting out of Iraq: Where are the Democrats?

There has been little serious talk among democrats (and even among the "liberal" think tanks) about getting out of Iraq. Robert Dreyfuss has pointed this out very clearly in two recent essays: Iraq: No Exit? and Hearing A Faint Iraq Strategy.

Others, such as retired general William Odom are talking about this, as in his recent article (which appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Sunday): What's wrong with cutting and running?.

Everything that opponents of a pullout say would happen if the U.S. left Iraq is happening already, says retired Gen. William E. Odom, the head of the National Security Agency during the Reagan administration. So why stay?

Odom lists these 9 "arguments" against US withdrawl, and shoots them down.

1) We would leave behind a civil war.
2) We would lose credibility on the world stage.
3) It would embolden the insurgency and cripple the move toward democracy.
4) Iraq would become a haven for terrorists.
5) Iranian influence in Iraq would increase.
6) Unrest might spread in the region and/or draw in Iraq's neighbors.
7) Shiite-Sunni clashes would worsen.
8) We haven't fully trained the Iraqi military and police forces yet.
9) Talk of deadlines would undercut the morale of our troops.

We should explore issues like what are the realistic/good plans for withdrawl, where are the Democrats, and what are the likely outcomes of an actual US withdrawl from Iraq?

The Bush Administration is a Fraud

The true mission of this administration is to advance their constituents (rich folks and multinational corporations). Any benefit to the ordinary people of this country (or the world) that results from their policies or actions are either accidental, or are part of a superficial PR stunt. And the long-term damage they are doing is stupendous.

What's astonishing is that the American people could be fooled for so long by these charlatans. One of the major reasons that this could happen (as we've often discussed on Left Out) is that the mainstream media has been totally complicit.

Apparently the disasters of Iraq and Katrian have started to really sink in. Polls are showing steep declines in confidence in Bush's leadership. The media seems to have come alive. Many recent op-ed pieces have commented on this (Blumenthal, Krugman, Dowd, Herbert). Is this a permanent change? Or will the media go back to coddling Bush?

Developments in Iraq

A friend writes:

Today we see the spectacle of the British Army fighting against the very people it is supposedly cooperating with to turn over sovereignty in Iraq. See Juan Cole for details. The upshot is that the British broke into a jail in Basra to free two British undercover operatives who had been taken prisoner after firing on Iraqi police who were firing on British soldiers. They did not succeed in the rescue, but managed to free 150 other prisoners in the process. The Iraqi authorities refused the British request to free the prisoners, so they stormed the jail. Recently a British tank was attacked by Iraqi citizens with fire bombs. A couple of weeks ago six US Marine snipers were killed. How, you might ask, were snipers killed? By the Iraqi forces that they were working with on the operation: they turned on them and shot them dead. The US press has not reported on this story, it's rather inconvenient for the delusional wingnuts in Washington.

Link to the Basra story
Link to the six sniper story

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Speech

Kennedy gave a superb and impassioned speech as he accepted the Sierra Club's William O. Douglas award. From the press release:

When running for president, George W. Bush accepted money from criminals and then, as payback, dropped the federal lawsuits against these criminals and changed the law that they were breaking.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., did not mince words in his blistering and passionate attack on the Bush administration Saturday afternoon to standing ovations from 2,500 rapt Sierra Summit participants.

"One hundred and ten U.S. coal-burning power plants had been polluting illegally for the 17 years," he said, "and one of the first things Bush did was drop the Clinton administration cases against the 75 worst plants."

. . .

"You can't talk about the environment honestly without criticizing this president," he said, specifically lambasting the administration's putting polluters in charge of the federal agencies entrusted to protect Americans from pollution.

Read the full transcript.

Sources

Truth Out
Common Dreams
Information Clearinghouse
Cursor
Tom Paine
The Independent
The Guardian
Consortium News


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Last modified: Mon Sep 26 9:57:09 2005