THE ABSURD TIMESElectile Dysfunction
Hello. I am the uncle of Czar Donic and asked to contribute.
Many people who have been so brain washed by High school civics classes actually believe that if they don't vote, they are responsible for the sort of government we get. Well, in this case, to use a line for an old Tom Lehrer song, most people like that must feel like a Christian Scientist with appendicitis.
The only advantage of voting for Cinton is to deny Trump the ability to appoint Supreme Court Judges.
Here is an interview of one possible alternative from a Bernie Sanders supporter:
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: You are endorsing Dr. Jill Stein. You were a surrogate for Bernie Sanders. You spoke all over the country for him.
CORNEL WEST: Yes, yes, yes.
AMY GOODMAN: What made you decide to support the Green Party presidential candidate as opposed to Hillary Clinton?
CORNEL WEST: Well, I've never been tied to one party or one candidate or even one institution. And that's true even with one church as a Christian. I'm committed to truth and justice. And Brother Bernie, no doubt, was the standard-bearer for truth and justice during the primary at a national level, at a highly visible level. Once he endorsed Hillary Clinton, who, for me, is a neoliberal disaster, it was clear—
AMY GOODMAN: What do mean by that?
CORNEL WEST: A neoliberal disaster is one who generates a mass incarceration regime, who deregulates banks and markets, who promotes chaos of regime change in Libya, supports military coups in Honduras, undermines some of the magnificent efforts in Haiti of working people, and so forth. That's the record of Hillary Clinton. So there was no way—when my dear brother, who I love very deeply, Bernie Sanders said she will make an outstanding president, I said, "Oh, I disagree with my brother. I think she'll—I don't think she'll make an outstanding president at all." She's a militarist. She's a hawk. She could take us into war with Russia. She could take us into war with Iran. So, I mean, I think she's—she's dangerous in terms of her neoliberal ideology—not as a woman, because I'm supporting, of course, my dear sister Jill Stein.
I think after a magnificent campaign of Bernie Sanders, the next step is a green step. The next step is a progressive step. And when you're calling for reparations, you're calling for the release of prisoners who have been historically unfairly treated, especially tied to nonviolent crimes, and then saying they should vote and that vote should never be taken away, when you're calling—putting people and planet and peace before profits, Sister Jill Stein, for me, is somebody that's worth fighting for. And she's not a spoiler. You know, a lot of people use that term "spoiler." If Hillary Clinton can't make the case to progressives, she doesn't deserve our vote.
Now, Trump is a neofascist in the making. There's no doubt about that.
AMY GOODMAN: Donald Trump.
CORNEL WEST: Yeah. Oh, there's no doubt about that. But the thing is, is that you can't just be a non-Trump and deserve one's vote. If Hillary Clinton wants the vote of progressives, she better be real about it. But I don't think she has the capacity to be real about it. She's so tied to Wall Street. She's so tied to the corporate elite.
AMY GOODMAN: Why do you say he's a neofascist, Donald Trump, the—
CORNEL WEST: Because neofascism in the United States takes the form of big money, big banks, big corporations, tied to xenophobic scapegoating of the vulnerable, like Mexicans and Muslims and women and black folk, and militaristic policies abroad, with strongman, charismatic, autocratic personality, and that's what Donald Trump is.
And we should know. This is why I salute you, my dear sister. Corporate media has played a fundamental role in the making of Donald Trump—$2 billion free time. They made big profits. They put their profits ahead of the public interest. They covered every speech, every word in Twitter for the last 14 months, just to make big money. Even this convention, even this—they can't wait. They're salivating for the profits. And what do they do? They throw out this mediocre, dumbed-down xenophobic-speaking brother, who—I mean, he's a human being like anybody else, so, I mean, you know, he's made in the image of God, in terms of my own Christian faith and so forth, but he's a neofascist in the making. And corporate media is going to have to acknowledge the tremendous responsibility they have of making sure Donald Trump was center stage. If Bernie Sanders had received one-half of that kind of attention, we'd be in a very different place. If they would put more stress on what Jill Stein is saying, the unbelievable fairness, subtlety of analysis, moral passion of Sister Jill—corporate media won't touch her with a 10-foot pole, for the most part. But it's changing. It's going to change.
AMY GOODMAN: What does Dr. Jill Stein represent? What—why are you drawn to the Green Party platform, now that Bernie Sanders has conceded?
CORNEL WEST: Well, one, in the language of Coltrane, she's a major force for good, accenting the role of poor and working people being center stage. She's green in terms of trying to save the planet in the face of corporate greed. She's fundamentally concerned with issues of racial justice, legacies of white supremacy as well as male supremacy. She's concerned about empowering working people. She opposes TPP, trying to make sure we don't have the corporate reshaping of the world economy—the kind of policies, of course, Democratic Party has supported, President Obama has supported. It's hard to find somebody at the national level who provides a certain kind of hope, given the unbelievable spiritual decline and moral decay. And by spiritual decline and moral decay, I mean greed and indifference and contempt in the driver seat among our elites vis-à-vis all working people and poor people. It's just sad to see so many fellow working people and fellow citizens supporting a pseudo-populist and neofascist like Donald Trump. They're in pain. The pain is very real, but they're moving in a right-wing direction.
AMY GOODMAN: What happened with the Democratic platform? You were one of the people on the committee. A lot of people don't know how this stuff is made, how the sausage is made. Explain what happened. What did you win? What did you lose?
CORNEL WEST: Well, I was blessed to be put on the committee by Brother Bernie Sanders. We had wonderful deliberations. Brother Elijah Cummings was very fair. He was the chairperson. But we lost TPP. We lost Medicare for all. We lost, of course, Israeli occupation and Israeli settlements included within the platform, keeping track while precious Palestinian brothers and sisters—
AMY GOODMAN: What about them? You lost—what do you mean, you lost them?
CORNEL WEST: We lost them, in that we made the case, and we lost the vote.
AMY GOODMAN: What were you looking for?
CORNEL WEST: We were looking to include them within the platform, so at least it was on paper. Now, of course, putting it on paper is different than putting it in practice. A declaration is different from the execution. But we lost over and over again, because the Clinton people lined up and voted against it. That's why I, of course, abstained, initially, at the move from writing the draft, and then we took it to the platform committee in Orlando. I was also a member of the platform committee. And I had to abstain again, because—even though they didn't allow for abstention; it was just no or yes. But there's no way, based on moral grounds, those based on my own moral conscience, that I could support that platform.
And once my dear brother moved into his endorsement, his strong endorsement of the neoliberal disaster that Sister Hillary represents, there was no way that I could stay with Bernie Sanders any longer, had to break with the two-party system. The duopoly has to come to an end. I was hoping we could bring the neoliberal era to a close, because a year ago, populist, Bernie Sanders; neofascist with Trump, or neoliberalism limps on with Hillary Clinton. Right now the Democratic Party still run by big corporations, big lobbyists and so forth, from AIPAC to a host of other lobbyists of big money, and it looks like they want to hold on for dear life. And it's a sad thing to see, because the country is having a nervous breakdown. And you just hope that there can be enough people with compassion and courage to hold onto justice, keep the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and Edward Said and Dorothy Day alive.
AMY GOODMAN: Finally, when you look at what Donald Trump is calling for—the wall on the border with Mexico, banning Muslims from coming in—barring Muslims from coming into the country, hesitating to disavow the support of the white supremacist David Duke and other issues—for those who say it's only Hillary Clinton who could defeat that, what is your response?
CORNEL WEST: My response is, and when you actually look at the mass incarceration policies, when you actually look at the reinforcement of the new Jim Crow and the segregation of our educational systems and so forth, that occurred under Democrats. It would persist under Hillary Clinton. What Donald Trump talks about in the abstract has actually been concretely enacted under neoliberal regimes of the Democratic Party.
Same would be true in terms of foreign policy. Foreign policy, for me, is very, very important in terms of the no-fly zones in Syria that can lead toward war, the kind of encirclement of Russia. I mean, can you imagine Russian troops in Mexico and Canada? What would the U.S. response be? Oh, my god. Well, that's very much whatNATO troops are vis-à-vis Russia. Now, we know Russia is run by autocratic Putin, but that kind of provocation for Russia, who has nuclear arms, is the kind of thing that Hillary Clinton, of course, supported. And her connection to the Robert Kagans and Henry Kissingers, of course, are just frightening in regard to militaristic orientations.
And so, this idea that somehow we've got to opt for a neoliberal disaster as the only option vis-à-vis the neofascist catastrophe, as a blues man, I appreciate you playing that blues, said I can deal with catastrophe, not by panicking and being driven by fear, but I can look the catastrophe in the face and still tell the truth and still go down swinging with a smile and, most importantly, love, Coltrane's love—and for me, Jesus's love—at the center of how we proceed.
AMY GOODMAN: We're going to leave it there, but we'll be talking to you through the week, Dr. Cornel West, professor at Union Theological Seminary. He endorsed Bernie Sanders for president last summer and was appointed by Sanders to serve on the Democratic platform committee, author of a number of books, most recently Black Prophetic Fire, now is endorsing Dr. Jill Stein, Green Party presidential candidate.
This is Democracy Now! When we come back, we go to Istanbul and stay right here to talk about the attempted coup over the weekend. Stay with us.
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Saturday, July 16, 2016
THE ABSURD TIMESNB.: Latuff is banned in Turkey. (So you know he's right)
TURKEY, NICE, &
Too much going on for just a succinct title.
Erdogan is demanding the mastermind of the recent "coup" to be sent to him. This mastermind is ensconced in the hotbed of Islamic Thinking, Pennsylvania, the Pocono's, on a farm. Oh yes, he planned the coup and ordered it. "I send people to the U.S. all the time," he said.
Kerry, Secretary of State, explained that there are procedures to go though first. What a wimp.
So, to save the country for himself, er Democracy (sorry), Erdogan jailed about 2,800 soldiers and about as many judges. Pity our democracy does not allow Obama to just throw Clarence Thomas in jail, but we have so much red tape, don't you know?
But at least Turkey is still a good place for the U.S. to launch jet bombers and drones over Syria.
A guy got into a truck and drove it down the road in Nice, France, killing about 200 and wounding many others. He was killed.
Now, it turns out he had a wife who divorced him and threw him out of the house and got a restraining order against him. Of course, France locked her up. She shouldn't have pissed him off, I guess. She was NOT arrested, just "detained". She is still "detained".
ISIS snapped into action and claimed he was a "Soldier in their cause," although from what little has come across about his life, he was a two-bit thug that no self-respecting mobster in the U.S. would hire. But then, perhaps standards are different in Nice.
As of yet, no judges have been arrested in France.
BLACK LIVES MATTER
Not until self-proclaimed hero of 9/11, Rudy Gulliani, said that "Black Lives Matter is racist" did it seem worth investigating and explaining what that phrase means. It can be confusing, even to some well-meaning people of privilege, as an immediate response seems to be "Of course, all lives matter." Such a reaction, however, shows a lack of reflection.
It should be clear, even to such literalists as our staff, that the motto is an affirmation that police kill blacks as if they do not consider them human. The phrase is a way of calling attention to the fact that they are.
So place this recent rise of racist sentiment with the election of Obama, but such thinking does not take into consideration the proliferation of hand-held devices that can record and even transmit live sense of killing and beating of blacks by white officers. The reverse incident in Dallas is much more rare, but still the hand-held cameras are what made it so prominent.
We have had enough for now, thank you.
Friday, July 08, 2016
THE ABSURD TIMES
Illustration: how to solve Michigan's water problem.
The Chicot Report
Some time ago, Thoreau said that we always see the same pattern. We do not need newspapers or media to provide additional examples. In fact, we are growing quite weary of repeating the same events.
We have no count of how many times we talked about Iraq, for example. From the earliest cozy meeting between Saddam and Rumsfield to the most recent attacks in the Capital, nothing is learned. Everything mentioned here we have mentioned many times. In fact, one "I told you so," is not enough. We might as well place it in an infinite loop.
However, here is a summary of a "study" that took over seven years to complete. The major criticism of the study recently has been that it did not say that the actions were criminal and that they should be prosecuted. The complaint is absurd as the "study" was only allowed under the condition that is do not such thing.
At any rate, here is a discussion with several knowledgeable authors and authorities. The first was offered a position here at Notre Dame, but denied admission for reasons of "National Security". The second is Tarik Ali who is not really interested in visiting anyway.
In Iraq, the death toll from Saturday's car bombing in Baghdad has topped 250, making it the deadliest car bombing in Iraq since the 2003 U.S. invasion. While Iraq is in a state of mourning, a long-awaited British inquiry into the Iraq War has just been released. It blames former British Prime Minister Tony Blair for deliberately exaggerating the threat posed by Saddam Hussein in the lead-up to the Iraq War. We speak with Iraqi exile Sami Ramadani, who campaigned against U.S.-led sanctions and the invasion and occupation of Iraq.
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: In Iraq, the death toll from Saturday's car bombing in Baghdad has topped 250, making it the deadliest car bombing in that country since the 2003 U.S. invasion. The massive blast targeted shoppers preparing for the Eid, marking the end of Ramadan. A fire then spread to nearby buildings. On Sunday, a local resident decried the bombing.
ALI MOHAMMED: [translated] Is this Eid? Every Eid, we celebrate. Is this our Eid? Is this our Eid? Is this our Eid that everybody celebrates? Is this the Eid we should celebrate? People came to buy clothes to celebrate Eid. Now they are buying coffins. They're buying coffins. May God punish those who are responsible.
AMY GOODMAN: While Iraq is marking a third day of mourning, a long-awaited British inquiry into the Iraq War has just been released. The chair of the official inquiry, Sir John Chilcot, announced the key findings earlier today.
JOHN CHILCOT: We have concluded that the U.K. chose to join the invasion of Iraq before the peaceful options for disarmament had been exhausted. Military action at that time was not a last resort. We have also concluded that the judgments about the severity of the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, WMD, were presented with a certainty that was not justified. Despite explicit warnings, the consequences of the invasion were underestimated. The planning and preparations for Iraq after Saddam Hussein were wholly inadequate. The government failed to achieve its stated objectives.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: The Chilcot report goes on to blame former Prime Minister Tony Blair of deliberately exaggerating the threat posed by Saddam Hussein. Part of the report includes private correspondence between Blair and President George W. Bush. Eight months before the invasion, Blair wrote to Bush, quote, "I will be with you, whatever." In June 2003, less than three months after the invasion began, Blair privately wrote to Bush that the task in Iraq is, quote, "absolutely awesome and I'm not at all sure we're geared for it." Blair added, quote, "And if it falls apart, everything falls apart in the region." Earlier today, members of the Stop the War Coalition gathered in London to read off the names of Iraqis killed since the U.S.-U.K. invasion.
STOP THE WAR COALITION MEMBER 1: Fateha Ghazzi, aged eight. Nada Abdallah, 16.
STOP THE WAR COALITION MEMBER 2: Lance Corporal James McCue, Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers. Fusilier Kelan Turrington, Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.
STOP THE WAR COALITION MEMBER 3: Ammar Muhammad Hamoodi, aged one. Noor Elhuda Saad Hamoodi..
AMY GOODMAN: To talk more about the state of Iraq today and the newly released Chilcot inquiry, we're joined by two guests in London. Tariq Ali is a political commentator, historian, activist, filmmaker, author, editor of the New Left Review. His most recent book, The Extreme Centre: A Warning. Sami Ramadani is an Iraqi-born lecturer in sociology. He was a political exile from Saddam's regime and serves on the steering committee of Stop the War Coalition.
Tariq Ali and Sami Ramadani, welcome to Democracy Now! Sami Ramadani, let's begin with you. You're an Iraqi exile. You live in London. The Chilcot report has just come out. Prime Minister Cameron has addressed it on the floor of the Parliament. Sir Chilcot has given this report. Talk about his findings. This has been, what, seven years in the making.
SAMI RAMADANI: Basically, I think the Chilcot report, from what I have just read briefly about it, it seems it has confirmed what many of us thought. Overwhelmingly, Iraqis and Middle Easterners and people across the world felt, long before the war started, actually, that this buildup to the war was being based on false evidence, on exaggerated evidence, on lies. And the Chilcot report, I think, confirms this. It brings into the open more evidence to prove that point. So, to that extent, it has not brought something radically new, but it has confirmed—and that is important—it has confirmed what we all knew, that the Iraq War was based on a lie and that it was predetermined.
AMY GOODMAN: Yes.
SAMI RAMADANI: —that the Pentagon decided, within days of 9/11, to have regime change, interventions and wars in seven countries, in addition to Afghanistan, and he named Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran. So, you're looking at a scenario where, since the mid-1990s, the so-called neocons plotted a strategy, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, to go on the offensive and topple regimes and expand and secure important oil resources and raw materials, cut down any rival competitions.
But in the meantime, Iraq, as a society, as a state, was destroyed in the cruelest of fashions—shock and awe, mass crimes on an untold scale since World War II and the Vietnam War, of course. So you have a situation where a society—though we had a dictator ruling, it wasn't removing the dictator that was the real objective, but really controlling Iraq. And failing to control it, they eventually destroyed it, just like they are doing—they did in Libya, they are doing in Syria and so on. And so, it fits in within that scale. But the biggest tragedy of all is the loss of life. Over a million people lost their lives in Iraq. The infrastructure destroyed, the health services destroyed, educational system, employment—at every turn—electricity, clean water. Iraq was a fairly advanced country by Third World standards. All this was destroyed. The ordinary lives of the people were ruined. Sectarianism was encouraged. Divide and rule was encouraged. Terrorism was brought into the country. The terrorism we see today was, in fact, consciously encouraged to encourage divide and rule, so that the U.S.-led occupation—and Britain, of course—could dominate the country and shape its future.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And I'd like to ask—
SAMI RAMADANI: But the whole thing is quite tragic, and I find it difficult sometimes even to emotionally control myself, talking about the tragedies that befell the Iraqi people.
While Iraq is marking a third day of mourning, a long-awaited British inquiry into the Iraq War has just been released. The Chilcot report is 2.6 million words long—about three times the length of the Bible. Using excerpts from private correspondence between former Prime Minister Tony Blair and U.S. President George W. Bush, the report details how Blair pushed Britain into the war despite a lack of concrete intelligence. For example, eight months before the invasion, Blair wrote to Bush: "I will be with you, whatever." Then, in June 2003, less than three months after the invasion began, Blair privately wrote to Bush that the task in Iraq is "absolutely awesome and I'm not at all sure we're geared for it." Blair added, "And if it falls apart, everything falls apart in the region." For more, we speak with British-Pakistani writer, commentator and author Tariq Ali.
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, I'd like to ask Tariq Ali your response to the report, especially the sections that talk about Blair's almost obsession with regime change, with getting rid of Saddam Hussein. And also, why did it take seven years to produce this report?
TARIQ ALI: It took seven—it took seven years because it—it took seven years because every single person interviewed had to have a chance to see the report, and Blair and his lawyers were looking at the fine print very closely, as were the generals and other people.
The findings of the report, quite honestly, are not very remarkable or original, as Sami has already said. These were things that were being said by all of us before this war started. It was what virtually every speaker said at the million-strong Stop the War demonstration in London. Tony Benn and Jeremy Corbyn, in particular, have been saying all this. So, to have official confirmation that what we were all saying was right is nice, but it's too little and too late.
And because the report had no desire or was not permitted to discuss the legality of this exercise, it means that while there is evidence in the report for independent lawyers to proceed and file a citizen suit, the report itself doesn't allow the state to actually prosecute Blair for war crimes. He is a war criminal. He pushed the country into this illegal war. His supporters in Parliament are trying to get rid of Jeremy Corbyn, who was 100 percent right on this war, backed by the bulk of the media. So we're in a strange situation now. The report, I think, will anger lots of people who, unlike us, were not convinced by the movement that what was taking place was a lie, based on a lie, and it was illegal. What is going to happen now remains to be seen, but I would very much hope that independent groups of lawyers and jurists demand now that Blair is charged and tried. It's very clear he pushed the war. He forced the intelligence services to prepare dodgy dossiers. He pushed his attorney general to changing his opinions before he was allowed to address the Cabinet. All that, we have in the report. The question is: Is anyone going to answer for it, or is this just designed to be therapeutic?
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Tariq, about this whole issue of the Labour leadership in Parliament trying to remove Jeremy Corbyn, even though he was one of the most vocal antiwar advocates, and even though the base, the majority base, of the Labour Party still supports him?
TARIQ ALI: Well, I mean, it's bizarre. You know, some people said to me that the reason they tried this coup against Jeremy in Parliament was so he wasn't leader of the Labour Party when the Chilcot report came out. We'll see what he says today at his press conference in three or four hours' time. But I think he will be very harsh. The irony is that the woman who is the main candidate against him is a supporter of the Iraq War. Now that we have a judicial inquiry which says what it says about the war, I think surely it's time that constituency Labour parties started the process of removing some of the chief warmongers from Parliament. They don't represent anyone now, except a Cabinet in the past, a government which went to war. And if you look at some of the footage being shown on Channel 4 today—what Corbyn said, what Benn said, with what Blair said, I mean, the utter complacency and brutality with which Blair told Parliament, "There are some people here who think that regime change is wrong," and Gordon Brown nodding vigorously and Margaret Beckett on the other side—these are all the people involved in trying to get rid of Jeremy Corbyn. And something—you know, I hope Labour members will now fight back, because it's precisely against this sort of thing that Corbyn has been fighting the right inside the Labour Party.
AMY GOODMAN: Sami Ramadani, you're on the steering committee of Stop the War Coalition, a friend of Labour opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn. This backlash against him for—around the Brexit vote, which he was opposed to when he was the opposition leader and spoke out against—on Democracy Now!, against Britain leaving the European Union just two weeks ago, what you think is behind it?
SAMI RAMADANI: Really, my own feeling is—and probably Tariq would share that view with me—is that they are genuinely worried that Jeremy Corbyn might lead the next—to victory, the Labour movement to victory in the next general election. And they are terrified of that prospect. They looked at the four by-elections that happened since he was elected, and they were all won with comfortable majorities. In fact, the last one doubled Labour's majority. And then they looked at the local election results, and again he did very well. And they are genuinely worried that if he wins, what's going to happen to them? What's going to happen—
AMY GOODMAN: They're concerned he'll be prime minister?
SAMI RAMADANI: —to their political record of supporting the Iraq War or voting with the Tories or abstaining on important welfare—welfare policies or the Tories applying neocon policies? They seem to prevaricate or concede to Tory demands and so on and so forth. And their abandonment of working-class communities over 20, 25—they continued on a Thatcherite policy for—Margaret Thatcher's premiership destroyed so many working-class communities, and the new Labour leadership under Tony Blair simply continued that policy of abandoning working-class communities, and some of whom became so disillusioned, even voted for—withUKIP, which is an extreme right-wing party—
AMY GOODMAN: Sami Ramadani, we have to break.
SAMI RAMADANI: —party here. And Jeremy Corbyn is providing a new vision and a new strategy, and they want to undermine him.
AMY GOODMAN: Sami Ramadani, we have to break, and Tariq Ali, but we're going to come back to ask you about what happened in Iraq this weekend, the largest car bomb attack since the Gulf War began. We'll be back in a minute.
AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I'm Amy Goodman, with Juan González.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: In Iraq, the death toll from Saturday's car bombing in Baghdad has topped 250, making it the deadliest car bombing in that country since the 2003 U.S. invasion. While Iraq is marking a third day of mourning, a long-awaited British inquiry into the Iraq War has just been released, blaming Tony Blair for his role in choosing to invade Iraq. I wanted to turn to former Prime Minister Blair. In November, he told CNN's Fareed Zakaria that there were, quote, "elements of truth" to the claim that removing Saddam Hussein played a part in the creation of ISIS.
FAREED ZAKARIA: When people look at the rise of ISIS, many people point to the invasion of Iraq as the principal cause. What do you say to that?
TONY BLAIR: I think there are elements of truth in that. But I think we've, again, got to be extremely careful; otherwise we'll misunderstand what's going on in Iraq and in Syria today. Of course, you can't say that those of us who removed Saddam in 2003 bear no responsibility for the situation in 2015.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Sami Ramadani, your response to that—to that clip and to the recent bombing in Baghdad and the general situation in Iraq now, 13 years after the war started?
SAMI RAMADANI: I think I just have to contain my anger, really, because listening to Tony Blair there pontificating about his role in this genocidal war makes any—any human being, really, with a bit of humanity in them quite angry. After all this death and destruction, he would be sitting there trying to justify the fact that terrorism was brought into Iraq after 2003, all of these so-called leaders of ISIS. By the way, ISISwas al-Qaeda in Iraq. That was its official name. And we know al-Qaeda was founded in Afghanistan with the help of the CIA and the support of Britain and so on. But as usual, some of these terrorist organizations that they encourage and arm bite the hand that feeds them occasionally.
But that doesn't change the strategic picture, that nearly all Iraqis, even supporters—some of the supporters of the invasion and occupation testify to the fact that terrorism was encouraged by the occupation forces, whether of the British or American variety. And the multiplicity of these terrorist organizations was also encouraged by the regional powers—Saudis, Qataris, Turkey. They're all close U.S. allies. They funded these organizations. They supplied them with arms. Turkey gradually became the logistical base of these terrorist organizations. Some 30,000 fighters, according to the United Nations, came from over 80 countries across the world—trained fighters, most of them—from as far as Chechnya and Libya and Tunisia and Saudi Arabia, of course, and so on. And they were all—as The New York Times, as Seymour Hersh, as many other reliable sources have revealed, that the CIAcoordinated a lot of this from Turkey.
So, to sit down and listen to Tony Blair trying to dissociate himself and George Bush and the policymakers then of the proliferation of terrorist groups, the murders in Iraq—really, Iraqis, if you ask ordinary people, they will tell you we are still at war. The 2003 invasion and occupation of the country has not ended. This terrorism is a continuation of that war. They see these terrorist organizations as an arm of the same invasion and occupation of the country. They're still dividing and ruling. They are still trying to dominate Iraq, because the Iraqi people have a great history of fighting for independence, for progress, for socialism even—
AMY GOODMAN: Sami Ramadani—
SAMI RAMADANI: —and they cannot control the country that easily, and terrorism is serving them.
AMY GOODMAN: Sami and Tariq Ali, I want to play for you a clip of Donald Trump yesterday in Raleigh, North Carolina, talking about Saddam Hussein.
DONALD TRUMP: Saddam Hussein was a bad guy. Right? He was a bad guy, really bad guy. But you know what he did well? He killed terrorists. He did that so good. They didn't read him the rights. They didn't talk. They were terrorists. It was over. Today, Iraq is Harvard for terrorism. You want to be a terrorist, you go to Iraq. It's like Harvard.
AMY GOODMAN: That was Donald Trump yesterday. Tariq Ali, your response?
TARIQ ALI: Well, I mean, you know, how can one deny the truth of what he's saying? I mean, yesterday, the BBC here showed a photograph—a filmed interview with a guy who had helped to bring Saddam Hussein's statue down, which was a staged event, Amy, as you know, immediately after Baghdad was occupied. That guy appeared on the BBC yesterday and said he's ashamed he did that. He wants to apologize for it. He said, "Saddam killed members of my family, but life, everyday life, in Iraq under him was much better than it is today." Most Iraqis, even if they hated Saddam and suffered, say life was much better under him than it was under the occupation and what's going on today.
So Trump is not wrong, and precisely because he is capable of saying things like that and Clinton isn't, because her consort as president was involved in the sanctions against Iraq. Madeleine Albright defended the deaths of half a million kids because of the sanctions. So, what can one say? And the other thing which is worth remembering, they are now all saying they made mistakes in Iraq. They've made the same and even worse mistakes in Libya. They're carrying on with Syria. They're doing nothing to stop the Saudi invasion of Yemen or the Saudi occupation of Bahrain. And then they pretend to be a bit more humble: "We won't make the same mistakes again." Well, you are making them even as the West is watching.