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PARIS, THE NEW NORMAL? — Diana Johnstone files an in-depth report from Paris on the political reaction to the Charlie Hebdo shootings; The Treachery of the Black Political Class: Margaret Kimberley charts the rise and fall of the Congressional Black Caucus; The New Great Game: Pepe Escobar assays the game-changing new alliance between Russia and Turkey; Will the Frackers Go Bust? Joshua Frank reports on how the collapse of global oil prices might spell the end of the fracking frenzy in the Bakken Shale; The Future of the Giraffe: Ecologist Monica Bond reports from Tanzania on the frantic efforts to save one of the world’s most iconic species. Plus: Jeffrey St. Clair on Satire in the Service of Power; Chris Floyd on the Age of Terrorism and Absurdity; Mike Whitney on the Drop Dead Fed; John Wight on the rampant racism of Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper;” John Walsh on Hillary Clinton and Lee Ballinger on the Gift of Anger.
Filler on the Road to Armgeddon Huffing and Puffing to Failure

Huffing and Puffing to Failure

by MISSY COMLEY BEATTIE

This week: CNN’s obsession with the reflection in Dick Cheney’s sunglasses. This is not reportage. It’s inanity, filler. Bill Clinton. He needs to stay at home, bake cookies and stuff them in his mouth when he gets the urge to bring up an issue that, finally, has died down, and let his wife wear the pantsuit. Obama. Well, he should say "good for Jimmy Carter for wanting to meet with Hamas." And John McBush should never again use the word ‘trollop’ when attacking his wife Cindy. The word is archaic and marks him as the moldy, passé, cruel, old creep-from-another era that he is.

Also, and most relevant:

General David Petraeus will know the conditions for troop withdrawals when he sees them. He and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker stayed their course when they gave us nothing but stay the course.

Because they and the top war wolves, George Bush and Dick Cheney, would have us believe that there is the prospect of success in Iraq. Never mind the immorality of an illegal war. Let us just focus on the road to the prospect of victory-a road that’s hard to find or follow, even harder to define, and more difficult, still, to explain to the Senate and to the American public. The entire Petraeus and Crocker production was contrived to be murky. Watching it could have been funny if war were a comedy, people weren’t being slaughtered daily, and if a civilization hadn’t been obliterated. What exactly is war to those who manipulate the joystick? Is it exhilarating like an arcade game is to adolescents who are racking up high scores?

The questions (?) asked during the Patraeus/Crocker hearings by senators complicit in the Iraq War Crime provide evidence of the charade inflicted on us. Ever since Congressmen and women handed control of their minds to the president, they have been meaningless objects. The Bush Administration has erased them and their power to balance the balance of power. Some posture in opposition to continuing the occupation of Iraq because their constituents have spoken. But they huff and puff, accomplishing nothing except embarrassment, frustration, and a wide invitation to criticism. Others repeat the stupid position that if we leave Iraq before achieving success, the terrorists will follow us home.

So, who should question Petraeus and Crocker? Our troops and the Iraqi people. Polls show that a majority of our military serving in Iraq think that the occupation should end. They no longer believe in what they were sent to accomplish. And a majority of Iraqis want us out of their country.

But this will never happen. The big, bad wolves of war have silenced true debate and substantive questioning with their use of fear and nationalism.

Bush has stated that he will give Gen. Petraeus all the time he needs to determine conditions-conditions which will decide the fate of our troops and the destiny of Iraqis who have survived the devastation of their country. Since Congress has neutered itself, we, the citizenry, should act to restore a constitutional government. We must take to the streets, shouting down not just Bush and Cheney but members of Congress who have ceded their oaths. We can’t be complacent while our elected officials continue to huff and puff and blow up the world.

Missy Beattie lives in New York City. She’s written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. An outspoken critic of the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq, she’s a member of Gold Star Families for Peace. She completed a novel last year, but since the death of her nephew, Marine Lance Cpl. Chase J. Comley, in Iraq on August 6,’05, she has been writing political articles. She can be reached at: Missybeat@aol.com