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Israel is going forward with 1200 new settlements on the West Bank.

Expect the truce to end tomorrow afternoon as rockets arch the skies.

Once again, Israel takes advantage of what it believes is the US’s inability to think for itself.

Our proper response, is to demand they stand down. When Israel says no, tell them our support for their country depends on no new settlements. If they go ahead, they do it alone; tell them as of now we begin our withdrawal in one week…. We stop when we hear they have voted to stop all new settlements.

This is not about friendship; we will always have a love for Israel. It is about business. Every insurance company has the right to decide whether to insure an at-risk beach property, or not. The United States of America is Israel’s insurer of their right to exist. Israel’s actions have simply made it too costly to continue our relationship….

It is not our choice if Israel goes forward with settlements. They get to choose their future. Our only duty is to precisely define the options so they completely understand all consequences….. That precisely worded statement, is that if they do so, they do it without any of our help or aid.

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Chain of events:

1) Someone told Cheney “no” over the Thanksgiving weekend.

When Dick Cheney, the vice-president and leading Iran hawk, was briefed on the about-turn a couple of weeks ago, there was a “pretty vivid exchange” with intelligence officials in the White House, one participant told The New York Times.

According to an intelligence source, Cheney sought to block the NIE’s release, but was overruled.

2) Cheney develops irregular heartbeat.

Cheney, who has a history of heart problems, was discovered to have an irregular heartbeat around 7 a.m. when he was seen by doctors at the White House for a lingering cough from a cold. He remained at work throughout the day, joining President Bush in meetings with Mideast leaders.

3) Cheney in Hospital for day

Vice President Dick Cheney was recovering at home Monday night after being treated for an irregular heart beat, found Monday morning during a checkup for lingering cold symptoms, Cheney’s office said

4) NIE comes out with Iran free of Nuclear weapons.

David Wurmser, Cheney’s former Middle East adviser, charged: “One has to look at the authors of this report to judge how much it can really be banked on.”

The “guilty men” were named as Thomas Fingar, Kenneth Brill and Vann Van Diepen, all now in top US intelligence posts, who had seethed at Bush policies for years and were said to have executed a triumphant revenge.

Yet there was an infusion of new information about Iran that persuaded all 16 American intelligence agencies to back the NIE.

Israeli sources told The Sunday Times that a key part of the jigsaw was supplied by General Ali Reza Asghari, 63, a former Iranian deputy defence minister who is believed to have defected after disappearing from his hotel room in Istanbul in February.

The Iranian regime accused Washington of kidnapping him, but western intelligence sources say he is in America of his own accord. His debriefing was so secretive that information went directly to the director of the CIA, rather than to senior officials. “People who would normally know, and should know, are completely out of the loop,” said one informed source.

American intelligence agencies also received a trove of information last summer, including intercepts of Iranian phone calls by GCHQ, the British listening station, which suggested that Iranian military officials were angered by a decision in late 2003 to halt a project to design nuclear weapons. The suspicion that the revelations might be a complex hoax were discounted.

Yet some American intelligence experts remain baffled by the black and white picture presented by the NIE. Former CIA official Paul Pillar, who helped to compile the 2005 NIE on Iran, believes the difference with the 2007 report has been greatly exaggerated.

“It’s described as a dramatic 180-degree reversal but it’s not. The key ‘pacing element’ about when Iran is going to get a nuclear weapon is the uranium enrichment issue and that hasn’t changed,” he said.

As before, the NIE suggests “with moderate confidence” that the Iranians could be capable of producing enough highly enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon by 2010-2015.

5) There is no credibility behind invading Iran. it is off.

Bottom line, it appears the facts did not change….Just our interpretation of facts based on the evidence….In other words back in 2005 we estimated that Iran could have a crude weapon between 2010-2015. Today we estimate that Iran could have a crude weapon between 2010-2015. The difference is that the evidence that Iran had stopped in 2003, was not deleted by Mr. Cheney….

In other words, we were lied to…..and now we are not.

So who is that hero? Hmmmm……

Some of you were raised upon the same myth as was I. From our elders, or their elders, many of which fought in the Second World War, we grew up in the comfort that American ingenuity could and would be able to solve the world’s problems. We grew up safe, we grew up right, knowing that whatever form evil might take, as “one nation indivisible”, we were more than a match for it……After all, we were spawned from the world’s greatest generation.

Ominous parallels lie deep in the files of history. Parallels to the “Fall of Rome”, are often premature. However,….I ask your indulgence instead, in comparing ourselves to another scenario, which seems to closely compare with our current plight.

Without question the last century, closed down with much fanfare seven years ago, was indeed the American Century. Today, bets currently upon this century’s title, the one we have recently entered, are leaning towards it becoming known as the Chinese Century. But,… if one backs up to the 1800’s, from the defeat of Napoleon early on, to the glory of an Empire on which “the sun never set”, that century overwhelmingly dominated by the British.

Currently any stature and world voice that the Brits have now, is directly due to their close alliance to the US. So how did the world’s greatest empire, which once ruled the seas, become just “another member of the EU”, in less than 100 years? Can studying their demise, teach us anything which we can utilize to keep our own nation from following suit?

The answer is: yes, …perhaps it can.

It was through the two world wars that the United States became elevated to its prominence. It was also those wars that brought the rest of the world to their knees. With the US home-front safe from attack, our massive economic might simply outproduced the economies every other nation, whose home front infrastructures had become heavily damaged by the wastes of war. It was this lucky break that shot us into prominence……and changed our destiny.

Today we live in fear of a surprise attack, another Pearl Harbor along the lines of WWII. But it appears that we have greater chance, and should perhaps have greater fear, that we inch into our next war, as did those countries guilty of instigating the First World War. There, little steps piled up on both sides; “I’ll see you one and raise you one.” Finally at some point, with guns drawn, a trigger was pulled, and against all reason the battle engaged, …lines became drawn, and stalemate ensued……..in the end, the amount of lives squandered for nothing but a general’s vanity and inches of ground, severely affected European psyche for a long time……

Now, in a similar situation as today’s most powerful nation, we are likewise poised to engage in a military adventure, which we will argue is against terrorism, but history no doubt, will drown us out and interpret it as a religious war against all Muslims, and today the brinkmanship is currently being played vis a vis Iran. Meanwhile while we rattle our sabers and bang on our shields, on the sidelines lies China, peacefully continuing to grow and prosper. As was Britain in the early 20th Century, so will we become in the 21st, forever placed at a disadvantage because we could not leave “war” alone.

If our current trend continues, we soon will become today’s Great Britain (economically) and China will assume the number one position of the United States.

So what is the pivot point on which all this change hinges?

In a book about the Lackawanna Six, The Jihad Next Door, the author, Dina Temple-Raston, investigated Guantanamo. Some of you may have seen the clip showing one of the detainees being beaten to a pulp. It makes Rodney King look like he was beaten by Dora the Explorer. The author said the clip really disturbed the FBI, and became instrumental in forcing the detentions to move forward into courts of law.

These victims were American citizens. As I grew incensed after seeing this atrocity directly sanctioned by the White House, I finally understood how a loose cannon, could strap on a suicide vest and walk into Christiana Mall convinced he was firmly on the side of “right”. Forget the big dramatic attacks. It is these little nuisances, one person explosions, against which we have no defense, that kill people. And those little nuisances, all of which are home grown, get their impetuses from our values as a nation.

Europe has much more problems with imported populations. The threat of bombings is a higher there. The only reason we have yet to succumb to this type of carnage, is because our reputation. Currently, among home grown Muslims, Americans, still considered as generous people, are still too nice to kill.

But that tone has changed under this administration.

It is important not to think of this solely in terms of a stand-alone threat. Instead, it too must be calculated into the equation of what happens when this nation attacks Iran. We have attacked one country unprovoked. History shows that once a second one is subsequently attacked, it brings all the hornets out of the woodwork. Quite possibly, had Hitler stopped at Poland, a world still weary of war, may have agreed still to a stalemate, and the course of history may have run quite differently. Today Poland might still be split down the middle……..But Hitler couldn’t, and didn’t stop. And today it looks, more and more, like Cheney won’t either……

We have heard the Pentagon has targeted 2000 sites within Iran. Contributing to this apprehension was the fact that nine out of ten republican candidates in the New Hampshire debate sponsored by Fox, overwhelmingly supported the use of nuclear weapons in Iran!…….These callous statements seem detached from the logic and realization that over 62 years have transpired, since mankind has last decided to use these weapons on people. These callous statements, all made by wanna be politicians, not only seem to be washed over, but even cheered on by the media, who too fail to recognize without any comment that it will take over 24,100 years until we even reach half life of the ensuing contamination. Instead, like rowdy football fans they cheer our nation’s toughness, “you bet we will drop the bomb”, without pausing to remember the hideous effect that our last actions had on those citizens and children of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki……….

This is a serious disconnect; it needs pointed out to all. As recently as 1964, Goldwater was politically ruined by a girl picking petals off a daisy. Now, ….one needs to support nuking Iran, in order to be considered a “serious candidate”? If one pauses, steps back and thinks for but a brief second, it is obvious that there is something seriously wrong, not only with the candidates themselves, but with both the silent media and with the American people, who though they listen, do not seem to hear, or think.

Today as a society are doing exactly what the British did leading up to WWI! After consistently succeeding for so long, the British public had become bored with success. Numbed to perfection, they wanted action; “for the sport of it, chap”. War provided it………..at first……..until the reality of a million dead boys, set it back in. All it takes is a little event, one over which we have no control, and the mammoths collide.

So where upon this trend, do we stand today. In the name of security, we have been asked to give up our rights to privacy within our homes,…. and Congress complied. We have been asked to allow torture,… and Congress complied. We have been asked to attack another country, solely because it had something Cheney wanted, …oil, …..and Congress complied. We have been asked to pay for this extravaganza out of our children’s future incomes, and despite the vociferous opposition from a plurality of the American people,….to which Congress complied. We have been asked to squander our most precious resource, “the highest standards ever held by a nation put forth upon this planet”…….and Congress complied!

Whenever brutality is rendered by the power in charge, it is never something to be revered. Historically and unfortunately, America has always had a violent contingent within its psyche (we have all heard stories), but as a nation of values and law, it was never sanctioned as our official policy. Evidenced by the fact that as law caught up to the frontier, frequency of brutality faded or ceased altogether. After all,…. as we were taught from an early age, Americans fought brutality…not supported it, for as “one nation under God”, we stood firmly on higher principles. …

Now, …with this cabal embedded within the White House…. I am not so sure this still stands……I would argue that for the first time ever in our great nation’s history, our frail human tendencies, instead of being controlled by our rule of law, are directly exploited and sanctioned by our system of law instead.

Will this, once great nation respected around the world, continue to navigate without its moral compass and steer itself down that insane course, previously plotted again by the former “Great” Britain over a century ago?

To be brutally honest, ….right now ….it certainly looks likely.

Here are a few thoughts from our seafaring sailors and Marines, on one of the task forces floating off Iran……….

“I know this will sound crazy coming from a Naval officer”, she “said. “But we’re all just waiting for this administration to end.  Today, orders just come down from the mountaintop and there’s no questioning. In fact, there is no discussing it. I have seen more than one senior commander disappear and then three weeks later we find out that he has been replaced. That’s really weird. It’s also really weird because everyone who has disappeared has questioned whether or not we should be staging a massive attack on Iran.”

“Yes. We’re gong to hit Iran, bigtime. Whatever political discussions that are going on is window dressing and perhaps even a red herring. I see what’s going on below deck here in the hangars and weapons bays. And I have a sick feeling about how it’s all going to turn out.”

“We’re not stupid. Most of the members of the fleet read well enough to know what is going on world-wise. We also realize that anyone who has any doubts is in danger of having a long military career yanked out from under them.”

“But when you liaison with administration officials who don’t know that Iranians don’t speak Arabic and have no idea what Iranians live like, then you start having second thoughts about whether these Administration officials are even competent.”

I asked her about the attack, how limited and so forth.

“I don’t think it’s limited at all. We are shipping in and assigning every damn Tomahawk we have in inventory. I think this is going to be massive and sudden, like thousands of targets. I believe that no American will know when it happens until after it happens. And the consequences…whatever the consequences…they will have to be lived with.”

That’s what’s missing. A real sense of purpose. What’s missing is the answer to what the hell are we doing out here threatening this country with all this power?