Nikosretsos’s Blog

Just another weblog


By Nikos Retsos

Yes. It started with George Bush’s egotistical and warmongering naivete that dragged the West into a war that was supposed to be a short clean up of Muslim anti-U.S. elements in Afghanistan. But after 8 years of warfare, the going has gotten tough, and Taliban still control 70% of Afghanistan (Frontline, PBS, October 12, 2009).  The U.S. has been begging its Nato allies to send in more troops to Afghanistan, but  they were balking. But the U.S. close ally, Norway, who hasn’t sent any troops to Afghanistan, has decided to help the U.S. in a sinister way:  Award the U.S. president Baraq Obama a Nobel Peace Prize on the novel notion of having “peaceful intentions!” 

At least, Norway’s politicians  thought, if their government was not willing to help the U.S. with troops,  they could  help the U.S. in the propaganda war by drafting the Nobel Peace Prize into Obama’s wars as an ongoing peace process.  And, according to the news reports, Obama was hastily nominated just two weeks before the award, wiped out all other contenders without firing any achievement shot, and he bagged the Peace prize on a newly invented  novelty of “having good intentions” for peace!  And now that the whole world is laughing,  the Norwegian committee feel the itching of the global scorn and ridicule, and held a press conferences to defend the indefensible. But throwing a Nobel Peace Prize to Obama was an ingenious way for Norway to help the U.S. war – rather than dispatching a Norwegian brigade to Afghanistan, as other close U.S. allies have done.  But they won’t fool anyone. The world already knows that the award was politically motivated, period!

The Nobel Peace Prize is controlled by Norway, a NATO member, and Norwegian politicians are staunchly pro-American. NATO is now called in the global political parlance “The West” or the “Western Powers.”  And since in the Western pack alliance the U.S. is the “Alpha” dog, the Norwegians, as  a submissive dog in the pack, decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize to their leader as a whitewashing assistance to its global warmongering image. Norway, as a Nato member, is an appendage of the U.S. political military objectives that are contrary to Russia’s with which Norway has a past history of hostility. And polishing its alliance image while it carries wars against the Muslims is certainly a servitude that is appreciated in the American administration.

The Nobel Peace Prize to Baraq Obama, therefore, reflects the typical attitude in capitalism where the elite class has the power to award themselves prizes that do not deserve, as the executives of the collapsed Wall Street firms awarded themselves millions of bonuses for collapsing the American economy. And, in a similar fashion, Norway’s politicians just try to bestow some virtue to its ally with a Nobel prize that may soothe the seething anti-U.S. hostility around the world – rather than rush to fight in the front line with them. And to project themselves a peacemakers, they blamed the government of Sri Lanka for ending a 25-year warfare with the Tamils for brutality, but they have never said anything about the U.S. bombing in Afghanistan that has decimated thousands of civilians. It is the new style of geopolitical politics: Blame your foes for brutality, sweep the brutality of your allies under the rug, and then top it with a Nobel Prize!

Does a Nobel prize carry any value when it is awarded to an ally in lieu of military assistance?  Is the award of a prize on “notions for peace” ONLY legitimate? Is such a cheapened prize a source of pride, or is it a source of shame?  Baraq Obama answered similar questions before, when he scolded the executives of the Wall Street for loading themselves with millions of dollars of undeserved bonuses after they failed their banks and institutions, and drove the U.S. and the global economy into the ground. But now the whole world is scolding him for taking a Prize that he does not deserve, but he doesn’t hear anything!  Say hello to a Nobel Peace Prize laureate hypocrite – your president!  Nikos Retsos, retired professor

This entry was posted on October 14, 2009 at 4:05 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Avigdor Lieberman. The Real Israeli Prime Minister!

By Nikos Retsos

  It was reported in the Washington Post today,  April  26, 2010,  that the Israeli Likud party’s Central Committee will

hold elections pushed by right-wingers within the party  to challenge Mr.  Netanuahu’s leadership.   And Mr. Netanyahu,  who depends on Mr. Lieberman’s 15 parliamentary votes for survival  may be squeezed out!   And, if he survives the challenge,  he still is a “hostage prime minister” to Mr. Lieberman whose votes keep Netanyahu on the job.  Mr. Lieberman, who is also Deputy Prime Minister,  is the real king-maker in the current Israeli government.

Israel’s political history seems to function like a turntable in which those parties who can assemble a majority of various fractious smaller parties move in, and those who cannot spin out! And depending on the public mood at each elections time, Israel had some nice parliamentary coalitions and a few outright one party governments, along with some dysfunctional coalitions headed by misfits. As a retired person, and old enough to have lived past moments of Israeli politics, I consider former prime ministers Levi Eshkol, Golda Meir, and Yitzak Rabin as top leaders. And along with them, the memorable foreign minister Abba Eban , and the legendary one-eyed general Moshe Dayan.

 The last election in Israel in February 2009 produced a dysfunctional government of misfits.  Benjamin Netanyahu, the current Islaeli prime minister, is an accidental political figure and a nobody who won the lotto of political recognition [literally speaking], when his brother Jonathan “Yoni” Netanyahu commanded the Israeli raid in Uganda’s Entebbe Airport in 1976 and freed Israeli hostages, but died in the shootout. Yoni attained a hero status in Israel, and the Netanyahu name rose to prominence catapulting Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu into an accidental prominence, and into the prime ministers office! Nowadays name recognition is everything in politics, and qualifications mean nothing!

George W. Bush, for example, rode on his father name and became president. But when his term ended in January 2009, 68% of Americans considered his presidency “a failure,” and Bush’s departure from politics “a good riddance.” ( CNN/Opinion Research Poll, January 18, 2009)  Similarly, Bibi’s rise to prominence on his brother deadly hostage taking mission at Entebbe has the irony of making him a “hostage prime minister” himself on this current term.

 He has had some other luckluster stints as prime minister,  but this coalition with Mr. Lieberman – a hard core and hard nosed right wing swaggering politician- has forced him to submit to Mr. Lieberman’s ironclad Zionist views to get the job.  If Mr. Lieberman withdraw his support from Mr. Netanyahu, Netanyahu will lose his parliamentary majority, and his government will be out of office. Netanyahu, therefore, governs with Mr. Lieberman’s consent, and he will stay in office only as long as Mr. Lieberman allows him to. He, therefore,  is hanging by the thread of Mr. Lieberman’s support, and Mr. Lieberman is known to be a person that doesn’t take “NO” for an answer!   Mr. Lieberman can follow Donald Trump’s TV show scipt if he choses,  and tell Bibi at any time:  “You are fired!”  He has the cards [the votes in the parliament that keep Bibi in office] in his pocket! 

 Bibi knows, then,  that unless he bows to Mr. Lieberman, he cannot hold on to his premiership! And Mr. Lieberman has shown a tough swagger in all issues – including the recent Israeli announcement to built 1600 homes in East Jerusalem while the U.S. VP Joe Biden was visiting, and behind the insult of sitting the Turkish ambassador in a low position to scold him for supposed Turkish offenses to Israel. And, by now, it has become quite obvious to most Israelis and to international observers that he is the actual decision maker in charge, while Bibi’s stature has relapsed into that of a follower trying to navigate safely Mr. Lieberman’s hard-core Zionist minefield to stay on the job.

 The late Israeli prime minister Monachem Begin once refused to receive the Egyptian prime minister for a visit. When the reporters asked him why, he responded sarcastically: “Because we are not at the same level.” Egyptian, Korean, and some other prime ministers are called in political parlance “disposable prime ministers” because they have no authority -none whatsoever. They just fetch water for their presidents.

 Therefore, no matter what the U.S. tries to do in Middle East, talking to Mr. Netanyahu about it is quite naive and foolish. The only thing Bibi can do is fetch water for Mr. Lieberman – or become  instantly a disposable prime minister himself!

Tags: , , , , , ,

This entry was posted on April 26, 2010 at 1:07 pm and is filed under Uncategorized

Does civilian killing with airstrikes win wars?

By Nikos Retsos

The travesty of the continuous slaughter of Afghan civilians with reckless U.S. air strikes in Afghanistan has reached the point where any excuse is inexcusable. And, to add insult to injury, after the killing comes the incessant misinformation propaganda that turns the stomachs of the world upside-down. And the worst of all -and the most insidious- is that the NATO forces do the killing, but they use their world press and media power to unload the blame on the Taliban.

Back in 1979, when the Taliban were fighting the Soviet Union and its puppet Afghan president, Babrak Karmal, they were called “the Mujaheddin Resistance Fighters” by the U.S., and they were loaded with CIA cash, Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, anti-tank missiles, mines, and all kind of weaponry needed to oust the Soviet Union. Even Osama Bin Laden was a recipient of the money because he was fighting the Soviet Union – the primary U.S. global enemy at that time. But after Obama turned against the U.S., the Taliban’s “Mujaheddin Resistance Fighters” glorifying title was re-labeled by the U.S. to “terrorists” – even though they have never carried any terrorist attack against the U.S.

The U.S. invaded Afghanistan after the 9/11 attack on the excuse that  Taliban allowed Bin Laden to use Afghanistan as a base to plot the attack. But that was a cheap excuse for the warmongering Bush administration to attack Moslems because they are U.S. haters – clear and simple!   A group of Pakistani guerrillas carried a similar to 9/11 attack against civilians in India in November 30, 2008, but India neither invaded Pakistan for allowing those attackers to use Pakistan as a base, not bombed  Pakistani civilians and blamed the Mumbai attackers as being responsible for – as the U.S. always does in Afghanistan with the Taliban. And this analogy clearly indicates how the world defines a “warmongering” country, and how it defines a “civilized” country.

Killing civilians is integral part of the U.S. military doctrine. The POV magazine on a documentary titled
“Conscientious Objectors” and broadcasted on PBS on October 16, 2008, a U.S. soldier trainee described the training as “the act of turning you into a sub-human which leads to atrocities.” Trainees were shown in  the video chanting “Kill, Kill, Kill, Kill….” to absorb the act of “kill” and turn it into a spontaneous instinct act in the battlefield. And that instinct kicked in in the Kanduz air strike that killed 150 civilians. Someone called the German garrison and reported people gathering around two disable fuel trucks, and some people had black turbans – as Taliban do. A bomber flew over, saw some black dots from the sky – an indication of supposed turbans in the crowd, and the decision was made to kill them all -rather than let the  few Taliban escape with fuel.   The fuel, Germany claims,  could  have  been  turned  into  fire-bombs  by  the  Taliban  against  the  Nato  forces.  And the caller who made that phone call has probably collected a handsome reward – which is a standard offering to anybody who provide information to the U.S. forces about the Taliban.

Killing innocent Afghan  civilians with air strikes has been constant, and that is what has fueled the Taliban insurgency. On August 11, 2008, Afghan president Hamid Karzai said: “The only result of… air strikes is the  killing of civilians. This is not a way to wage the fight against terrorism.” (Chicago Tribune). But that is the safest way to fight the Taliban – from the sky. However, indiscriminate bombing is a war crime, and the United Nations accused Israel of committing war crimes in Gaza. Now, Germany is taking responsibility for  the bombing, and German Defense Minister Franz Jung declared that the German force “had  clear information” [that the crowd around the bombed fuels tanks were Taliban](Reuters, September 6, 2009).   But the facts on the bombing site leaves no doubt that the claim is false. Germany just tries to help the U.S. to reconcile the babbling of General McChrystal who claims “his priority is to protect Afghan civilians”, and what is actually happening to Afghan civilians under his command and orders.

Worse yet, the killing of civilians will continue. Afghan civilians have been accused by U.S. commanders in
Afghanistan for fostering the Taliban, and, therefore, their deaths are the result of their behavior. And with the recent fraudulent elections to supposedly “secure democracy” in Afghanistan, the motto: “Give me democracy, or give me death,” is certainly twisted. The Afghans will surely not get democracy, but they will surely get death! Nikos Retsos, retired professor