Saturday, March 08, 2008

John Nichols employs 'girl power' for Sammy Power

Samantha Power, the able foreign policy advisor to Barack Obama who referred to Hillary Clinton as a "monster," has quit her role with the Obama campaign.
That's too bad, because Power has always been more open and honest than most key players you will find in or around presidential campaigns.
Of course, the off-hand remark by Power in a discussion recorded by a Scottish journalist was politically incorrect -- both because it was hurtful to Clinton, someone the Anna Lindh Professor of Practice of Global Leadership and Public Policy at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government has known for a number of years, and because they suggested an ineptness on the part of the Obama campaign at precisely the time when it did the most harm.

That's more lies from the never ending drivel of John Nichols. The piece is called "Samantha Power and the Danger of Gotcha Politics." Link goes to Yahoo, not The Nation, and provided solely for your laughing pleasure. We could fact check the entire thing but The Nation has people paid to do that -- they just can't do their job. Let's start with Nichols' lie that War Hawk Sammy Power has "known" Hillary Clinton "for a number of years". Really, Johnny? What's your source or do you think merely pulling it out of your ass qualifies for sourcing?

October 16, 2007, Samantha Power declared to Charlie Rose, "I have only met her once, and I find her very, very affable and actually very intellectually curious and not ideological.''

According to Power herself, as of October 2007, she had met Hillary only one time but John's so busy lying for his ManCrush's campaign that he (wrongly) asserts that Power has "known" Hillary "for a number of years." That's incorrect. Will The Nation correct that lie? Probably not, when they smeared John Kerry in the summer of 2006, they never corrected that LIE even though the magazine's editorial staff and the writer of the piece all knew it was a lie after the complaints came in. [Coffee fetchers at the magazine, don't try to argue with me, I have the e-mails admitting to the never corrected problem.]

Is she "an able foreign policy advisor"? Coming from Johnny Five Cents that's a rather astounding claim. This is the man who smeared Barbra Streisand, trashed her, for the 2002 Iraq Congressional vote. For those who have forgotten, she has never served in Congress. For those who don't know, she was against the illegal war before it started. But that didn't prevent the bug-eyed freak show from going after her, ripping into her, for a vote she wasn't part of and for an authorization she was opposed to from the beginning.

But if inept, dysfunctional boys couldn't attack women, who would they go after? They're too chicken s**t to go after their own gender, realizing (rightly), they'd get clobbered. (They shouldn't be so sure that they can do their drive-bys on women without getting cut down to size.)

Let's turn to people who don't have to beg for money, who have a little respect, for the truth about Our Modern Day Carrie Nations, our Problem From Hell, Sammy Power. From John R. MacArthur's "Pro-War Liberals Frozen in the Headlights" (Common Dreams):

In journalism, the current handwringer-in-chief is the New Yorker writer George Packer, whose book The Assassins' Gate has met with high praise from handwringers, hawks, and a subset of pundits I call trimmers. Handwringers "anguish" over their past or current support for the war; hawks don't apologize for anything; and trimmers criticize Bush the foolish president, but avoid unequivocal denunciations of this foolish war.
Christopher Hitchens, a ferocious hawk, has embraced The Assassins' Gate, calling Packer "both tough-minded enough, and sufficiently sensitive, to register all [the] complexities [of the Iraq conflict]." The handwringer Samantha Power went even gushier in her blurb on the back cover: "Packer . . . cuts past the simplistic recriminations and takes us on an unforgettable journey that begins on a trail of good intentions and winds up on a devastating trail of tears."
Trimmer Frank Rich, of The New York Times, settled for calling Packer's book "essential," and quoting it favorably in a column.
I think a better description of George Packer is "useful idiot," as invoked by some Western anti-communists when they ridiculed liberals sympathetic to the ruthless Soviet state. Too harsh, you say? After all, "humanists" such as Packer, Power, and Michael Ignatieff signed on with the neo-conservative crowd for a "democracy-building" project in Iraq, not a proletarian overthrow of capitalism.

Macarthur is correct, Samantha Powers was on board with the illegal war. She likes to rewrite history today and claim she was a fierce opponent of it. Maybe in the same way that Mikey of the Brookings Institute is a 'critic' of the illegal war.

Here's Howard Zinn on what we'll kindly term Power's "myopia":

She believes that "there is a moral difference between setting out to destroy as many civilians as possible and killing civilians unintentionally and reluctantly in pursuit of a military objective." Of
course, there's a difference, but is there a "moral" difference? That is, can you say one action is more reprehensible than the other?
In countless news briefings, Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, responding to reporters' questions about civilian deaths in bombing, would say those deaths were "unintentional" or "inadvertent" or "accidental," as if that disposed of the problem. In the Vietnam War,
the massive deaths of civilians by bombing were justified in the same way by Lyndon Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, Richard Nixon and various generals.
These words are misleading because they assume an action is either "deliberate" or "unintentional." There is something in between, for which the word is "inevitable." If you engage in an action, like aerial bombing, in which you cannot possibly distinguish between combatants
and civilians (as a former Air Force bombardier, I will attest to that), the deaths of civilians are inevitable, even if not "intentional." Does that difference exonerate you morally?
The terrorism of the suicide bomber and the terrorism of aerial bombardment are indeed morally equivalent. To say otherwise (as either side might) is to give one moral superiority over the other, and thus serve to perpetuate the horrors of our time.

From Edward Herman responding to Zinn's letter (to the New York Times -- and both can be found here):

Samantha Power's conclusion is that the U.S. policy toward genocide has been very imperfect and needs reorientation, less opportunism, and greater vigor. For Power, the United States is the solution, not the problem. These conclusions and policy recommendations rest *heavily on
her spectacular bias in case selection: She simply bypasses those that are ideologically inconvenient, where the United States has arguably committed genocide (Vietnam, Cambodia 1969-75, Iraq 1991-2003), or has given genocidal processes positive support (Indonesia, West Papua, East Timor, Guatemala, Israel, and South Africa). Incorporating them into an analysis would lead to sharply different conclusions and policy agendas, such as calling upon the
United States to simply stop doing it, or urging stronger global opposition to U.S. aggression and support of genocide, and proposing a much needed revolutionary change within the United States to remove the roots of its imperialistic and genocidal thrust. But the actual huge
bias, nicely leavened by admissions of imperfections and need for improvement in U.S. policy, readily explains why Samantha Power is loved by the New York Times and won a Pulitzer prize for her masterpiece of evasion and apologetics for "our" genocides and call for a more aggressive pursuit of "theirs."

Here's more Herman from ZNet:

It is of course revealing that Richard Holbrooke is a favorite at the Carr Center (see the photo below, with Samantha Power, a former Carr official, and Sarah Sewell, its current Executive Director, casting admiring glances at this notable genocidist) as well as with Human Right Watch. After all, there is the record just noted, and Holbrooke being a former official with continuing political aspirations, may not tell the truth, so that he is someone a human rights group should keep at arms length in order to maintain its independence and integrity. But in the United States, self-righeousness is so great that such principles are unrecognized in the mainstream. Back in the 1980s when the alleged (but false) Bulgarian-KGB link to the shooting of Pope John Paul II was a big issue, Paul Henze, a 30-year CIA veteran and former CIA station chief in Turkey was a major "expert" tapped by the media, who never once suggested any doubts about Henze’s possible bias and compromised credentials as a source. We are so good and right that our high officials and spooks can be trusted to speak unbiased truth, at least for the mainstream media and the Carr Center and HRW.
But in reality, what the warm and collegial Holbrooke link suggests is that the Carr Center and HRW are members of the establishment and will surely speak only partial truths at best. As its name suggests the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy is policy oriented. But it is certainly not oriented to policy assistance for groups and countries under U.S. attack. A dead giveaway is the fact that its current Executive Director, Sarah Sewall, has been a consultant to the Pentagon and is a specialist in counter-insurgency warfare (see her "
Modernizing U.S. Counterinsurgency Practice," Military Review, Sept./Oct., 2006). As a Pentagon consultant, and with other Carr linkages to the government and military establishment, there is no way that Sewall and her associates are going to look objectively at U.S. human rights violations and criticize them in no uncertain terms. They premise the U.S. right to intervene across the globe, their function being to bring it into line with humanitarian principles! (As regards one of its major program areas a Carr description states that: "Ultimately, the project aims to affect the way nations intervene militarily, making the use of military power more consistent with humanitarian principles.") By the nature of their linkages and rule Carr is going to gloss over U.S. violations of the UN Charter and human rights abuses. It cannot bring in Richard Holbrooke as an honored guest, Samantha Power cannot hold a joint seminar with him at Carr, and Carr cannot attract guest speakers like Central Command General Abizaid, while maintaining any kind of less-than-collegial relationship with government.
In fact, the Carr Center has a relationship with the government very similar to that of various institutes that have dealt with "terrorism." In a study of the "terrorism industry" in which I engaged some years back, some of the clearest findings were the extent to which that industry's definitions of terrorism and policy focus coincided with those of the government, and the regularity with which its members served the state and private parties in need of "security" protection from retail terrorists--who were often under siege by state (wholesale) terrorists. [7] It was very clear that Guatemalan peasants being murdered by the genocidal Guatemalan state or members of the African National Congress (ANC) or Angolans under attack by the South African apartheid government were never going to be advised by members of the industry. But the governments attacking them were advised, and those governments were also being serviced at the same time by the U.S. government. The peasants under attack were the "terrorists" and the governments engaging in very serious state terror were, in the Western establishment lexicon, engaging in "counter-terror." [8] The South African "Terrorism Research Centre" had collegial relations with U.S. and British terrorism research groups and with the CIA, Mossad, and M-16, and the latter three were also closely aligned. The Pentagon defined the ANC as one of "the more notorious terrorism groups," and terrorism analysts such as Clair Sterling, Paul Wilkinson, Robert Kupperman, Brian Crozier, and Walter Laqueur all worked with the same system of definitions and toward the same ends. Sewall, Power, Holbrooke and General Abizaid are also using similar definitions and working toward the same ends.

Sarah Sewer (aka Sarah Sewall) is also an advisor to Obama and also a Bloody War Hawk. As Ava and I noted in December, she went nutso on The Charlie Rose Show insisting that the Iraq War could not be termed a failure or it might prevent other 'humanitarian' wars -- 'humanitarian wars? We're back to the point MacArthur was making about Power earlier.

Need more? Here's Noam Chomsky at ZNet:

But in general US participation in horrendous crimes is simply ignored in Problem from Hell. Few seem to able to perceive that a similar book, excoriating Stalin for not paying enough attention to US crimes, would very likely have been very highly praised in the old Soviet Union. What better service could one provide to the cause of massacre, torture, and destruction -- by the Holy State and its clients, of course, whose only fault is that they do not attend sufficiently to the crimes of others. I don't think, incidentally, that it would be fair to criticize Power for her extraordinary services to state violence and terror. I am sure she is a decent and honorable person, and sincerely believes that she really is condemning the US leadership and political culture. From a desk at the Carr Center for Human Rights at the Kennedy School at Harvard, that's doubtless how it looks. Insufficient attention has been paid to Orwell's observations on how in free England, unpopular ideas can be suppressed without the use of force. One factor, he proposed, is a good education. When you have been through the best schools, finally Oxford and Cambridge, you simply have instilled into you the understanding that there are certain things "it wouldn't do to say" -- and we may add, even to think. His insight is quite real, and important. These cases are a good illustration, hardly unique.

We could include Tom Hayden's article The Nation posted last summer, but I think the point's been made to everyone but Johnny Fool who writes in his column, "Power was so frank and remorseful that I was left feeling that this is not the sort of person we should want to see pushed away from the political process." It's really amazing how Sammy Power insults Hillary Clinton and Johnny Fool is weeping tears for the wounded . . . Sammy Power.

Were it last week, we'd offer a song for Johnny called "ManCrush In Vermont" (to the tune of "Moonlight In Vermont") but with that primary having passed, we'll instead grab the shiny, knee-high boots, mini-skirts and teased out wigs to sing a song to Johnny, "Heaven Ain't Gonna Help Ya': "

You're just a fool
And maybe a tool
You got no shame
Destroying your name
It's no surprise
You tell little lies
When day is done
You're cleaning your gun
You're just a thug
Stabbing while you hug
You can
Call for the angels
Call for the saints
Still heaven ain't gonna help ya'
And I might just yet hurt ya'

You're just a fool
And maybe a tool
You got no shame
Destroying your name
You ain't no man
The girls understand
You're lost in lust
Obama or bust
You can
Call for the angels
Call for the saints
Still heaven ain't gonna help ya'
And I might just yet hurt ya'

You're just a fool
And maybe a tool
Sing it
You're just a fool
And maybe a tool
Telling it like it is
You're just a fool
And maybe a tool
You're just a fool . . .

Meanwhile IVAW has a DC action this month:

In 1971, over one hundred members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War gathered in Detroit to share their stories with America. Atrocities like the My Lai massacre had ignited popular opposition to the war, but political and military leaders insisted that such crimes were isolated exceptions. The members of VVAW knew differently.Over three days in January, these soldiers testified on the systematic brutality they had seen visited upon the people of Vietnam. They called it the Winter Soldier investigation, after Thomas Paine's famous admonishing of the "summer soldier" who shirks his duty during difficult times. In a time of war and lies, the veterans who gathered in Detroit knew it was their duty to tell the truth. Over thirty years later, we find ourselves faced with a new war. But the lies are the same. Once again, American troops are sinking into increasingly bloody occupations. Once again, war crimes in places like Haditha, Fallujah, and Abu Ghraib have turned the public against the war. Once again, politicians and generals are blaming "a few bad apples" instead of examining the military policies that have destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan.Once again, our country needs Winter Soldiers. In March of 2008, Iraq Veterans Against the War will gather in our nation's capital to break the silence and hold our leaders accountable for these wars. We hope you'll join us, because yours is a story that every American needs to hear.
Click here to sign a statement of support for Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan

March 13th through 16th are the dates for the Winter Soldier Iraq & Afghanistan Investigation. Dee Knight (Workers World) notes, "IVAW wants as many people as possible to attend the event. It is planning to provide live broadcasting of the sessions for those who cannot hear the testimony firsthand. 'We have been inspired by the tremendous support the movement has shown us,' IVAW says. 'We believe the success of Winter Soldier will ultimately depend on the support of our allies and the hard work of our members'." IVAW's co-chair Adam Kokesh will, of course, be participating and he explains why at his site, "But out of a strong sense of duty, some of us are trying to put our experiences to use for a good cause. Some of us couldn't live with ourselves if weren't doing everything we could to bring our brothers and sisters home as soon as possible. The environment may be unking, but that is why I will be testifying to shooting at civilians as a result of changing Rules of Engagement, abuse of detainees, and desecration of Iraqi bodies. It won't be easy but it must be done. Some of the stories are things that are difficult to admit that I was a part of, but if one more veteran realizes that they are not alone because of my testimony it will be worth it." The hearings will be broadcast throughout at the Iraq Veterans Against the War home page an on KPFA March 14th and 16th with Aimee Allison (co-host of the station's The Morning Show and co-author with David Solnit of Army Of None) and Aaron Glantz hosting and the KPFA live stream will also be available at Glantz' War Comes Home.

The e-mail address for this site is

aaron glantz