Saturday, May 31, 2008



David Brooks (the NYT's ultra-conservative mouth piece) has written an open letter to the presidential candidates (Dear Senators Obama, Clinton and McCain) which appeared 5-30-2008 ["The Reality Situation"].

Brooks means by "reality'' ''right wing reality'' not anything that relates to the real world. Brooks tells the trio of aspirants that their debate over talking or not to Iran will be irrelevant once one of them is the White House. But Iran will be the number one issue anyway. Whoever wins will be be given a history lesson. "You'll be reminded that the 1979 Iranian revolution is one of the signature events of modern history, akin to the 1917 Russian Revolution [he must mean the October not the February revolution], and the U.S. has never figured out how to deal with it."

This is total nonsense. Here is why. In the first place, the new president should be reminded about the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Iran in 1953 by the CIA and the reimposition of the Shah at the behest of the big oil companies. Without understanding that, and all the policies of intervention and overthrow of elected and popular governments engaged by the US, the new president won't have a clue about the 1979 Iranian revolution.

Secondly, to compare the October Revolution to the Iranian revolution is to show an almost total lack of historical perspective and a fatal ignorance of the history of modern times (but Brooks may have an ulterior motive, as we shall see).

The October Revolution overthrew the whole economic system of capitalism and the class that controlled it in Russia; it inspired revolutionary movements of workers and peasants throughout the world regardless of their religions and their political systems; it defeated nazism and fascism in Europe, and while it collapsed in Europe because it was a premature revolution and was unable to properly develop because of its initial backwardness, it still inspires secular revolutionary movements of the oppressed and suffering around the world.

The Iranian revolution is religiously based on one Muslim sect, has no world wide appeal even in the Islamic world, and is not a threat in any way to the capitalist economic foundations or the contemporary world domination by the agents of this system.

There is only one reason to pump up this "revolution" to the level of the October Revolution. That is to create the illusion that the US and Europe are facing a world wide threat comparable to the cold war. That threat is "Terrorism"-- it is every where like communists under the bed. Iran is the source and supporter of this movement that is spreading like wildfire and only the US and NATO can stop it. This fantasy is used to justify the war in Iraq, the continuance of failed US foreign policy, and further increases in military spending to feed the war profiteers and protect the oil investments of major corporations while neglecting the working people at home.

The vast majority of nations oppose the US and disagree with its policies-- its war in Iraq, its blockade of Cuba, its indifference to the Palestinians, etc., etc. Yet in reference to Iran, Brooks has the cheek to write "A rich rogue nation can flaunt the will of a disparate majority." That describes the United States government perfectly. The fact that the Times can hire Brooks to pass this off on the American people is no doubt due to the almost total ignorance of reality by those dependent on the American mass media, the Times included, to get their information about the world.

One of the problems of the new president will be trying to figure out what Syria wants. Can it be turned in a more Western Direction? "Nobody can make an educated guess about that because no outsider understands Assad's mind." What rot. I spent a month in Syria in 2006 and after talking to Syrians and reading the Syrian press, and following the response to Chavez (he made a state visit while I was there), it wasn't too hard to figure out what Syria "wants". It wants back the Golan Heights, it wants to end the Israeli-Palestinian stalemate which poisons every thing in the region, it wants a peaceful Iraq, it would like the US not meddle in everyone's business, and it wants a better life for its people. What better reason for the new president to sit down and talk with Assad than that we "don't understand Assad's mind." Sit down and ask him, hey, "What's on your mind." He will gladly tell you, I'm sure.

Another job for the new president is to "work ceaselessly, as the Bush administration has, to make sure the Lebanese government doesn't dissolve." Why shouldn't it dissolve. It surely would with a more democratic electoral system in Lebanon. Its not the business of the US to prop up the government anyway. If Brooks thinks the US giving Israel the green light to attack Lebanon was a way to help the Lebanese government he is sorely mistaken. I was in Beirut right after the bombing, the civilian damages were hugh and deliberate war crimes. There were big signs everywhere showing dead children with "Made in the USA" on them. How does it help the government to say we back it? We are seen as a front for Zionism.

Brooks tells the new president to hold on. The tide is turning against extremism! The best proof of that will be President Obama in the White House.

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