Sunday, November 21, 2004

Cafferty, Fisk, Falluja, CA

NB: For those of you who send me clippings, please try

to send them in such a way that they're easy to cut
and paste when they get to me...unlike the last
posting at the bottom here...


1) Washington DC, November 18, 2004—The American-Arab
Anti-Discrimination committee (ADC) is troubled by the
ongoing racist comments expressed by Jack Cafferty on
CNN’s “American Morning” program. Cafferty’s frequent
remarks regarding the Arab and Muslim world during
“The Cafferty Files,” his
segment of the show, are overtly racist, hostile and
dehumanize the Arab and Muslim peoples.

Jack Cafferty continues to express a simplistic view
of the Arab and Muslim worlds, oftentimes conflating
them. His comments malign the Arab and Muslim
peoples and infer that they are somehow inherently
prone to violence (see comments below). US media
commentators have expressed deep concern at the
negative effects of hateful rhetoric directed against
the US by some elements of the Arab press. Cafferty’s
hateful rhetoric has similar negative effects and
undermines the spirit of objective journalism.

It should be noted that Cafferty has a history of
insensitive remarks towards many minority groups, not
just Arabs and Muslims. In November of last year, he
allegedly went as far as to crudely mock the Japanese
language through a series of “ching” and “chong”
noises. ADC urges you to contact CNN and American
Morning about these effects of these comments (see
contact information below).


On November 17, while discussing video footage of the
killing of an unarmed Iraqi insurgent by a US soldier,
Mr. Cafferty stated “The Arab World is where
innocent people are kidnapped, blindfolded, tied up,
tortured and beheaded, and then videotape of all of
this is released to the world as though they’re
somehow proud of their barbarism. Somehow, I wouldn’t
be too concerned about the sensitivity of the Arab
world. They don’t seem to have very much.” He added,
“It’s going to come down to them or us.”

Such outwardly one-sided comments were also prevalent
during Mr. Cafferty’s coverage of Yasser Arafat’s
funeral. “Plans call currently for Yasser Arafat to
be buried in his compound in Ramallah, which will
eventually be turned into some kind of shrine. Maybe
they'll put a sign out front for the Palestinian
people, that read "here lies the body of the thief who
robbed you blind,” he editorialized during the
November 12th show.

On September 23, while discussing terrorist demands
to release two female scientists from Iraqi prison,
Mr. Cafferty emphatically stated “Given the way
these mutants treat women in their societies, the
women are probably better off in U.S. custody.” He
later added, “They treat women like furniture in those
countries. If I was a woman, I think I’d rather be in
an American jail cell than I would be living with one
of those-whatever they are over there.”


ADC strongly urges you to contact Jack Cafferty and
CNN to voice your concern on this matter. You may
contact “American Morning” and Mr. Cafferty directly

Alternately, you may contact Jack Cafferty at
Tel: (212) 275 7820
Fax: (212) 275 9521

2) Death, Delusion and Democracy

by Robert Fisk

11/16/04 "The Independent" -- So the death of Yasser
Arafat is a great new opportunity for the
Palestinians, is it? The man who personified the
Palestinian struggle - "Mr Palestine" - is dead. So
things can only get better for the Palestinians. Death
means democracy. Death means statehood. That the final
demise of the corrupt old guerrilla leader should be a
sign of optimism demonstrates just how catastrophic
the conflict in the Middle East has now become. It's a
bit like Fallujah. The more we destroy it, the crueler
we are, the brighter the chances of Iraqi democracy.
The more successful we are, the worse things are going
to get. That's what George Bush said on Friday: that
violence will increase as Iraqi elections grow closer
- a total mind warp since the more violent Iraq
becomes, the less the chances of any election ever
being held.

Note how Bush could not even bring himself to mention
Arafat's name. It's the same old agenda. The
Palestinians have to have a democracy. They have to
prove themselves; they - not the Israelis - have to
show that they are a worthy "negotiating partner". And
any new leader - the colorless Ahmad Qureia or the
equally colorless and undemocratic Abu Mazen - must
"control his own people". That was what Arafat failed
to do even though he thought his job was to represent
his own people, which is what democracy is supposed to
be all about.

It's worth noting how this narrative has been written.
The Israelis, with their continued occupation, their
continued illegal construction of colonies for Jews
and Jews only on Arab land, their air strikes and
helicopter executions and live-fire shooting at
stone-throwing children, are not part of this
equation. They are just innocently waiting to find a
new "negotiating partner" now that Arafat is in his
grave. Ariel Sharon, held "personally responsible" for
the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacre by the Kahan
commission report, remains, in George Bush's words, "a
man of peace". No one asks whether he can control his
own army. Or whether he can control his own settlers.
He wants to close down the colonies in Gaza - even
though his spokesman has told us that this will put
Palestinian statehood into "formaldehyde".

So let's just take a look back at those tragic years
of the Oslo accord. In 1993, we are supposed to
believe, the Palestinians were offered statehood and a
capital in Jerusalem if they accepted the right of
Israel to exist. Oslo said nothing of the kind. It did
set down a complex system of Israeli withdrawals from
occupied Palestinian land and a timetable that the
Israelis were supposed to meet. We all knew that any
failure to do so would humiliate Arafat - and make him
less able to "control" his own people.

And what happened? It's important, at this supposedly
"optimistic" moment, to reflect on the facts of the
previous "peace process" in which Europe as well as
the United States spent so much time, energy and - in
the EU's case - money. Under the Oslo agreement, the
occupied West Bank would be divided into three zones.
Zone A would come under exclusive Palestinian control,
Zone B under Israeli military occupation in
participation with the Palestinian Authority, and Zone
C under total Israeli occupation. In the West Bank,
Zone A comprised only 1.1 per cent of the land whereas
in Gaza - overpopulated, rebellious, insurrectionary -
almost all the territory was to come under Arafat's
control. He, after all, was to be the policeman of
Gaza. Zone C in the West Bank comprised 60 per cent of
the land, which allowed Israel to continue the rapid
expansion of settlements on Arab land.

But a detailed investigation shows that not a single
one of these withdrawal agreements was honored by the
Israelis. And in the meantime, the number of settlers
illegally living on Palestinians' land rose after Oslo
from 80,000 to 150,000 - even though the Israelis, as
well as the Palestinians, were forbidden from taking
"unilateral steps" under the terms of the agreement.
The Palestinians saw this, not without reason, as
proof of bad faith.

Since facts are sometimes elusive in the Middle East,
let's remind ourselves of what happened after Oslo.
The Oslo II (Taba) agreement, concluded by Yitzhak
Rabin in September 1995 - the month before he was
assassinated - promised three Israeli withdrawals:
from Zone A (under Palestinian control), Zone B (under
Israeli military occupation in co-operation with the
Palestinians) and Zone C (exclusive Israeli
occupation). These were to be completed by October
1997. Final-status agreement covering Jerusalem,
refugees, water and settlements were to have been
completed by October 1999, by which time the
occupation was supposed to have ended. In January
1997, however, a handful of Jewish settlers were
granted 20 per cent of Hebron, despite Israel's
obligation under Oslo to leave all West Bank towns. By
October 1998, a year late, Israel had not carried out
the Taba accords.

The Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu,
negotiated a new agreement at Wye River, dividing the
second redeployment promised at Taba into two phases -
but he only honored the first of them. Netanyahu had
promised to reduce the percentage of West Bank land
under exclusively Israeli occupation from 72 per cent
to 59 per cent, transferring 41 per cent of the West
Bank to Zones A and B. But at Sharm el-Sheikh in 1999,
the Israeli prime minister, Ehud Barak, reneged on the
agreement Netanyahu had made at Wye River, fragmenting
the latter's two phases into three, the first of which
would transfer 7 per cent from Zone C to Zone B. All
implementation of the agreements stopped there.

When Arafat finally went to Camp David to meet Barak,
he was allegedly offered 95 per cent of the West Bank
and Gaza but turned it down and went to war with the
second intifada. A study of the maps, however, shows
that - with the exclusion of Jerusalem and its
extended boundaries, with the exclusion of existing
major Jewish colonies and with the inclusion of an
Israeli cordon sanitaire, Arafat was offered nearer to
64 per cent of the 22 per cent of mandate Palestine
that was left to him. Then a new explosion of
Palestinian suicide bombings, usually aimed at Israeli
civilians, destroyed Israel's patience with Arafat.
Sharon, who had provoked the second intifada by
strolling on to the Temple Mount with a thousand
policeman, decided that Arafat was a Bin Laden-style
"terrorist" and all further contact ended.

This is not to excuse the PLO or Arafat himself. His
arrogance and corruption, and his little dictatorship
- initially encouraged by the Israelis and Americans
who lent Arafat their CIA boys to "train" the
Palestinian security services - ensured that no
democracy could thrive in "Palestine". And I suspect
that while he personally disapproved of suicide
bombings, Arafat cynically realized that they had
their uses; they proved that Sharon could not provide
Israel with the security he promised at his election,
at least until he built the new wall - which is
stealing further Palestinian land. But that was only
one side of the story - and last week Bush and Blair
went back to the old game of seeing only the other
side. The Palestinians - the victims of 39 years of
occupation - must prove themselves worthy of peace
with their occupiers. The death of their leader is
therefore billed as a glorious occasion that provides
hope. All this is part of the self-delusion of Bush
and Blair. The reality is that the outlook in the
Middle East is bleaker than ever.

Oh yes, and - since we'd be asking this question today
if Sharon had gone to meet his maker in an equally
mysterious way - just what did Arafat die of?

3) Notice the spike in pipeline attacks in the past
week. Those dead enders are clearly on the run now:

4) Falluja I:

Fallujans pay the price of liberation
by Dr Muhamad Ayash al-Kubaisi
Thursday 18 November 2004 7:26 AM GMT

When a nation's identity, existence and dignity is put
at risk, the sacrifice required is far more than the
lives of a group of fighters, and that is why Falluja
has chosen to carry the flag of resistance in Iraq, in
the clear knowledge it may be wiped out.

Fallujans and Iraqis have witnessed the boots of US
marines stepping on the heads of Iraqi prisoners, not
to frighten them but to tell Iraqis and the rest of
the world that they owe the superpower obedience and

The fighters in Falluja are fully conscious of the
balance of power, they know only too well that one
bomb from their enemy's arsenal is enough to render
their beautiful city a ruin.

But the inhabitants of this great city wanted to send
a message to decision makers in the US that coexisting
with the occupiers is not possible.

They wanted to tell US officials that it is easier for
Fallujans to sacrifice their lives than to shake hands
with occupiers; it is easier for them to see their
houses razed to the ground than see an occupying
soldier enjoy them.

This clear message has been delivered by the people
and fighters of Falluja. The occupiers must understand
it or the ghost of Falluja will chase them everywhere
in Iraq, and they will end up with two options:

Stubbornly remain in Iraq, losing their credibility
and wasting more resources which could result in a
worldwide alliance against them to bring such a
prodigal power - the US - to heel, or leave Iraq.

If they leave, Falluja would have paid the price of
liberating the nation and saving the world from a
potential danger.

Crucially, the US should not get the impression that
it has performed a successful pre-emptive strike.

The Iraqi resistance is fully cognizant of the nature
of the fight, and appears to be acting according to a
carefully crafted plan.

The indications coming from Falluja point to the fact
the resistance is continuing, which will prevent the
US from enjoying the taste of success in Falluja.

The Iraqi resistance realises that it is very
dangerous if the US administration thinks its
excessive use of power is achieving its goals.

This can be seen throughout the mounting resistance
operations across the country from Talafar in the
north to al-Qaem in the west and Buhruz in the east.

Last week, Iraq's third largest city, Mosul, the
capital of al-Anbar governorate (Iraq's largest
governorate), Ramadi, and vital positions in Baghdad
fell to the Iraqi resistance. What does that tell us?

It shows that resistance in Iraq is Iraqi, and not
dominated by "foreign fighters" or the Abu Musab
al-Zarqawi group as the US had claimed before the
strike on Falluja.

A group of non-Iraqi fighters crossing the borders to
fight the US in Iraq for whatever reason cannot
achieve that, and the US is fully aware of that from a
military point of view.

The widespread resistance operations in Iraq prove the
issue can no longer be consigned to a "restive city"
or "rebellious region" - it is obviously a popular
uprising by people refusing military occupation of
their homeland.

This gives us confidence that the blood of our
brothers in Falluja has not been shed in vain. Rather,
it is the price paid for a noble aim: The liberation
of Iraq.

Dr al-Kubaisi represents Iraq's Association of Muslim
Scholars outside the country. He is a university
professor in Islamic Sharia. He was born and lived in
Falluja until before the invasion of Iraq. This
article, written exclusively for, was
translated from Arabic

5) Falluja II:

Nov. 18, 2004
Turning ugly image on its head

"There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of
killing innocent people for a purpose which is

— U.S. historian Howard Zinn, 1993.

The apparently wounded, unarmed insurgent who was
dispatched by a U.S. marine's bullet in a Falluja
mosque last weekend was probably no innocent.

But he, like the unnamed American soldier who took him
out, was caught in a nightmare that we, sitting far
away in our living rooms, could never imagine, no
matter how many times we watched that NBC embed video
over and over and over again.

That soldier is also a victim — of the lie that
invading Iraq would avenge the dead of 9/11, root out
dangerous WMDs, wipe out terrorism and make the world
a safer place.

Who among us — tired, terrified, hungry, homesick and
heartily sick of the carnage — can honestly claim they
wouldn't pull the trigger under the same

Yet, ask the right-whingers, and they'll also shoot
the messenger: award-winning NBC war correspondent,
Kevin Sites.

"A quick Google lookup on Kevin Sites reveals quite a
bit of admiration at lefty sites for his past work,
which causes my antennae to tingle," wrote Charles
Johnson, on his Little Green Footballs weblog where,
he added, he was "extremely skeptical of this report."

Yes, well, there are none so blind ...

The question is, why this video? Why, of all the
gruesome footage that leaked out of Iraq over the past
20 months, did this little horror show merit so much
airtime and attention?

Consider all the pictures you never saw on CNN of
Iraqi people being blown to bits by U.S. bombs. Think
of the dead and wounded coalition troops, most of them
American, whose pain and suffering were captured, but
never shown, by embedded news crews.

What about the civilian lives in Falluja, where
uncounted men, women and children have met grisly
fates, and received no medical attention, because U.S.
forces first took the main hospital where they
handcuffed the doctors and evicted the patients.

The reason?

As the New York Times reported, quoting an anonymous
senior government official, the hospital was judged "a
centre of propaganda" on civilian casualties: "This
time around, the American military intends to fight
its own information war, countering or squelching what
has been one of the insurgents' most potent weapons."

But, in the information age, information has this
nasty habit of seeping out from under the heaviest of

Go to and see the
limbless Iraqi babies and empty American combat boots
that account for a fraction of the toll in Falluja.
These are the true images from "Operation Phantom
Fury," not video of some scared and jumpy American kid
who obviously thought he was doing the right thing or
otherwise he wouldn't have done it with a camera on
his tail.

Go elsewhere on the Internet —, to name one
site — and see other video, from other battles, shot
by other embeds or from cockpit cameras, of other
wounded Iraqis being shot by U.S. troops ("That was
awesome! Let's do it again!") and even unarmed
civilians being blasted from the air ("Dude!")

But, aside from rare airings on non-U.S. broadcasters,
none of these got the play given to Sites' tape which,
ironically, rolled out of the Pentagon's well-oiled
embed machine, engineered to manipulate the war

Interestingly, as suggested by the estimable Greg
Mitchell of Editor & Publisher, there are no in-beds
at the military's Landstuhl Regional Medical Centre in
Germany where who knows how many wounded Americans are
being treated for "burns, blasts and gunshots, with
spinal and brain injuries and `traumatic amputations'
among them."

If there were, perhaps we'd have an accurate count of,
if not the Iraqi civilian or insurgent casualties, at
least of the American numbers. But no. As journalist
Greg Palast suggests, with reports varying so widely,
you have to wonder if healthy soldiers aren't getting
shot on the plane to Germany.

So why that Sites video?

Because it was equivocal, because it was open to
interpretation, because the commentariat could excuse
what happened, as Eugene Fidell, president of the
National Institute of Military Justice, did on more
than one network on Tuesday when he said, "all bets
are off in this environment" and the insurgents are
"not playing by any of the rules.''

In other words, the video allowed the media to set up
the crime and then to shoot it down, as if it were no
crime at all.

Meanwhile, they ignore how the insurgents have
scuttled off like cockroaches and how the military is
stretched too tautly to contain them.

Instead, they plant the flag in the rubble of a city
that won't stay under that flag for long.

6) Media Summaries:

UC Berkeley Research Team Sounds 'Smoke Alarm' for
Florida E-Vote Count

Survey: World Fears for Future

Recount New Hampshire: Just How Accurate are Optical

Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman | Hearings on Ohio
Voting Put 2004 Election in Doubt

Thom Hartmann | 'Stinking Evidence' of Possible
Election Fraud Found in Florida

Molly Ivins | CIA 'Purge'? What is This, the USSR?

Norman Solomon | A Voluntary Tic in Media Coverage of

7) Maureen Dowd on America's slide to a one-party
state under Bush:

Op-Ed Columnist: A Plague of Toadies

November 18, 2004

Those promoted to be in charge of our security,
diplomacy and civil liberties were rewarded for being
more loyal to President Bush and Dick Cheney than to
the truth.

8) California Secession Letter:

Dear President Bush:

Congratulations on your victory over all us
non-evangelicals. Actually, we're a bit ticked off
here in California, so we're leaving you. California
will now be its own country. And we're taking all the
Blue States with us. In case you are not aware, that
includes Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Minnesota,
Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, all of the North East
States, and the urban half of Ohio.

We spoke to God, and she agrees that this split will
be beneficial to almost everybody, and especially to
us in the new country of California. In fact, God is
so excited about it, she's going to shift the whole
country at 4:30 pm EST this Friday. Therefore, please
let everyone know they need to be back in their states
by then. God is going to give us the Pacific Ocean and
Hollywood. In addition, we're getting San Diego.

(Sorry, that's just how it goes.) But God is letting
you have the KKK and country music (except the Dixie

Just so we're clear, the country of California will
be pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, and anti-war.
Speaking of war, we're going to need all Blue States
citizens back from Iraq. If you need people to fight
in Falujah, just ask your evangelical voters. They
have tons of kids they're willing to send to their
deaths for absolutely no purpose. And they don't care
if you don't show pictures of their kids' caskets
coming home.

So, you get Texas and all the former slave states,
and we get the Governator and stem cell research. (We
would love you to take Britney Spears off our hands,
though. She IS from the south, right?)

Since we get New York, you'll have to come up with
your own late night TV shows because we get MTV,
Letterman, the Daily Show, and Conan O'Brien. You
get... well, why don't you ask your people at Fox
News to come up with something entertaining? (Maybe
you should just watch Crossfire. That's a really funny

We wish you all the best in the next four years
and we hope, really hope, you find those missing
weapons of mass destruction.
Seriously. Soon.


9) If the US can't fix it, it's the wrong kind of

Without Arafat, a Middle East peace settlement is in
fact far less likely

Seumas Milne
Thursday November 18 2004
The Guardian

The more George Bush and Tony Blair evangelise about
the need to spread democracy, the clearer it becomes
that they mean something quite different by the word
from the rest of the world. Bush and Blair's response
to the death of Yasser Arafat - the Palestinian leader
who unified and championed a dispersed and occupied
people for 35 years - has been a particularly
instructive case in point...

10) Assault by heavy metal:

By Ludovic Hunter-Tilney
Published: November 17 2004 02:00 | Last updated:
November 17 2004 02:00

Eminem's new album Encore, with its repetitive hip-hop
and puerile skits about vomiting and farting, is an
uninspired affair. But one track stands out like an
angry pimple on a teenager: "Mosh", a protest song in
which the rapper, to a thudding martial beat, works up
a rage against George W. Bush and the Iraq war.

It's by far the most provocative antiwar statement
from a mainstream American pop star. Yet it's also
just the sort of angry, aggressive music that the US
military has learnt to use to its advantage. For, as
the conflict in Iraq has shown, pop is becoming more
common as an instrument of war than as an _expression
of protest against it - unlike during the Vietnam war.

Vietnam was labelled "the first rock'n'roll war", with
pop providing an unofficial, counter-cultural
soundtrack for both the American soldiers fighting it
and the peacenik protesters opposing it. Hollywood
films about Vietnam have made the soundtrack literal:
thanks to them, it's hard to listen to songs such as
The Rolling Stones' "Paint It Black" or The Doors'
"The End" without imagining battlefields in south-east

But the US military didn't cotton on to using rock
music as a tool of warfare until the invasion of
Panama in 1989, when attempts were made to flush
Manuel Noriega out from his hiding place in the
Vatican embassy by ringing the building with
loudspeakers and blaring David Bowie and Twisted
Sister at him.

The tactic was controversial: George Bush Snr, then
president, said it was "irritating and petty" and
General Colin Powell ordered it to end. But since then
it has become an accepted facet of modern soldiering.
A newspaper report from Falluja last week described US
forces approaching the city to the sound of AC/DC,
while chanting rang out from minarets: a cacophonous
Kulturkampf in which hard rock announced the arrival
of US power much as fifes and drums heralded the
British army in the 18th century.

Pop has also been incorporated as an interrogation
method. Last year a member of the US Psychological
Operations Company explained to Newsweek magazine why
Iraqi prisoners were repeatedly made to listen to
Metallica: "These people haven't heard heavy metal.
They can't take it. If you play it for 24 hours, your
brain and body functions start to slide, your train of
thought slows down and your will is broken. That's
when we come in and talk to them."

Other songs used to induce psychological torment
include irritating theme tunes from children's
television shows such as Barney & Friends. And in his
new book about contemporary psy-ops practices, The Men
Who Stare at Goats, the British journalist Jon Ronson
interviews a British former detainee at Guantánamo Bay
who says interrogators played an all-girl Fleetwood
Mac covers band at him in a bizarre attempt to make
him break.

Pop stars have done little to counter this
appropriation of their music by the military. Although
a notable number rallied to mobilise the anti-Bush
vote, they have generally been guarded about
criticising the war in the same unambiguous musical
fashion as Eminem. Listening to the apocalyptic
military beat of his protest song, you hear not only a
great piece of agitpop but also a response to the fact
that modern war and pop music share an unsettling

11) 'My God was bigger than his'
> Colin Kidd

> The Right Nation: Why America Is Different by John
Micklethwait and

> Allen Lane, 450 pp, £14.99

> Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush's War
Cabinet by James Mann

> Penguin US, 448 pp, US $16.00

> Nixon's Shadow: The History of an Image by David

> Norton, 496 pp, £9.99

> America Right or Wrong: An Anatomy of American
Nationalism by Anatol

> HarperCollins, 274 pp, £18.99

> Since the 'stolen' election of 2000 the Republican
Party has set out

values with a starkness not revealed even during the
despised regimes
Nixon and Reagan. This has yielded a rich seam of
material for
film-makers, caricaturists and polemicists, though at
some cost for
dispassionate analysis of the political scene.
Cartoonish simplicities
abound. The electoral geography of the United States,
so vividly
realised in
the 2000 presidential election results, appears to
possess its own
straightforwardness, with Republicans dominant in the
but enjoying less appeal on the urban coastline.

> On closer inspection, the Republicans lose none of
their menace, but

also provoke a degree of puzzlement, as much on the
right as on the
left. In
The Right Nation, John Micklethwait and Adrian
Wooldridge, two
journalists who work on the Economist, ask why only 54
per cent of
earning over $100,000 a year voted for Bush in 2000.
Why does the party
big business, deregulation and tax-cutting engender
less confidence
the most prosperous beneficiaries of its policies in
New York and
than it manifestly does in the poorer 'fly-over'
states? The answer
lies, of
course, in the recent history of the culture wars and
in George W.
clear identification with the militancy of the
Christian Right. Bush
plausibly and successfully campaigns as the Christian
plain man voicing
grievances of the common people against the pampered
liberalism of an
typified by John Kerry, though both Bush and Kerry
were educated at
and both - creepily - belonged to the Skull and Bones.
It is not
fanciful to view Bush as the accepted voice of
America. On the other hand, the traditional Republican
elite - the
stereotypical Episcopalian financiers of the
North-East - has no
with Darwinism or abortion, and is made uneasy by the
party's deference
trailer-park religiosity. And the flat-earthers know
when they are
patronised. Old-style Republicans who fail to
appreciate the
importance of the right to life - whose superior
breeding, perhaps,
them reluctant to sport a lapel pin in the shape of a
feet - are now known as RINOs: Republicans In Name

> The plight of the RINO plays a crucial part in the
hidden history of

modern Republican Party. The First Family contains its
RINO: George H.W. Bush. Conviction politics played
little part in the
of the senior Bush, who had a reputation for being
'somewhat to the
of centre'. Nevertheless, it would be a mistake to see
him as a man
principles. An upright Yankee, his career in Texas
notwithstanding, he
inherited and upheld the progressive principles of
Republicanism associated with the Bush dynasty. In
particular, the
were known for the solid patrician support they lent
to the cause of
control. In 1950 this association undermined the first
Senate race of
H.W. Bush's father, Prescott, who later served two
terms as senator for
Connecticut. This wasn't a small matter. Connecticut
was then one of
states which prohibited the sale of condoms. The vexed
issue of birth
control was resolved only when the Supreme Court's
adjudication in the
of Griswold v. Connecticut (1965) uncovered a latent
right of sexual
within the constitution, a discovery which anticipated
a parallel
legitimation of abortion in Roe v. Wade (1973). At
this stage in the
dynasty's history, the Bushes were happy to confer
respectability on
the worthier aspects of the permissive revolution.
Prescott was a
member of
Planned Parenthood, and George H.W. Bush was so
enthusiastic in the
cause during his early years in Congress that he
earned the nickname

> The gulf between this gentler strain of patrician
Republicanism and

W. Bush's redneck populism makes a mockery of party
labels. However,
American historians and political scientists have long
since abandoned
notion that party identity provides a reliable
indicator of political
beliefs. Instead they subscribe - broadly speaking -
to an
interpretation of
American political history as a succession of 'party
punctuated by
transformative events, most obviously 'critical
elections', which have
brought about 'realignments' in parties (or in the
meanings of party).
Although today's Republican Party can trace a
continuous existence back
the 1850s, the term 'Republican' was first applied to
an American
group in the 1790s, during the first party system,
when the Founding
differed over the policy prescriptions of Republicans
and Federalists.
Curiously, it is today's Democrats who can more
plausibly invoke an
ideological lineage going back to the Republican Party
of the 1790s, a
radical organisation led by Thomas Jefferson. The
first party system
way around 1830 to the battles of the Whigs and the
The emergence of today's Republican Party during the
1850s as an open
adversary of Southern 'Slave Power' and the advent of
the Civil War in
shattered this second party system, and ushered in the
conflict of Democrats and Republicans. In the 1890s,
tensions between
agrarian and industrial interests enshrined a new set
of meanings in
two broad political coalitions. Traditionally, the
Republicans had
identified themselves as the party of 'free labor'.
Roosevelt's New
Deal in
the 1930s brought workers firmly into the Democrat
fold, however,
inaugurating the fifth party system, whose divisions
were further
exacerbated by Lyndon Johnson's social reforms in the
1960s and by the
Reaganite counter-revolution which followed in the

> Americans now find themselves in the middle of a
further realignment

has put paid not only to the post-New Deal system, but
also to an
electoral geography which dates back to the Civil War
era. While the
emergence of the fourth and fifth party systems from
the 1890s onwards
the economic concerns which divided Republicans and
Democrats a sharper
definition, neither system totally erased the legacy
of the Civil War.
well over a century white Southerners identified the
Republicans as the
party of Abraham Lincoln and rejected these Northern
meddlers at the
In 1950 the Republicans had no senators from the South
and only a
couple of
congressmen. Conversely, some blacks continued to
acknowledge that the
Republican friends of big business had once been the
allies of the
slave. In
1932 almost three-quarters of blacks voted Republican.
At a swoop the
Deal drew most black voters away from this historic
allegiance. Yet as
as 1960 Nixon still enjoyed support from a respectable
minority of
Typical of such black Republicans was the Reverend
John Rice of
Alabama, whose daughter Condoleezza would become
George W. Bush's
security adviser after a flirtation with the
Democrats. Today, in spite
the emergence of a prosperous black middle class with
Republican role
in Rice and Colin Powell, the historic connection
between blacks and
Republicans has been severed: in 2000 barely one in
ten of the black
electorate backed Bush.

> The Democrat passage of Civil Rights legislation in
the 1960s

white Southern Democrat voters from their Northern
counterparts and
an opening for Republicans in the South. This Southern
contributed to the rightward drift of the Republicans.
In the North,
blue-collar ethnic Catholics, such as the Rizzocrats
in Philadelphia
(followers of the Democrat mayor and boss of the party
machine, who
to the Republicans), felt estranged by the Democratic
flirtation with
unpatriotic pointyheads of the new left, and began to
dilute the speech
dress codes of the progressive upper-class Rockefeller
Indeed, it is one of the neglected ironies of modern
American politics
the provenance of conservative Republicanism is as
much Democrat as
Republican, though it's in the interest of neither
party to acknowledge
this. Earlier generations of Republicans disdained
Micklethwait and Wooldridge remind us that Herbert
Hoover claimed to be
'true liberal'. Indeed, nobody in the political
mainstream - Republican
Democrat - invoked the cause of conservatism until the
insurgencies of
Goldwater and Reagan (a former Democrat) within the
Republican Party
the 1960s. The forerunners of today's conservatism
started out as a
miscellany of dissident intellectual groupings:
Southern agrarian, Roman Catholic, libertarian, Ayn
Rand atheist - 'a
contrapuntal campus movement', in the words of James
Mann in Rise of
Vulcans, whose members were as defiantly
countercultural as hippies and
peaceniks. Together, white Southern Democrats and
conservatives shaped the social agenda of conservative

> The aggressive certainties of Republican foreign
policy originate in

further defection from the Democrats. In the 1970s it
was followers of
Democrat senator Henry 'Scoop' Jackson who were
loudest in their
denunciation of the defeatist betrayal they perceived
in the
commitment to détente. But the contrast between the
virile Reagan and
doveish Carter in the election of 1980 pushed these
Democrat hawks -
so-called neoconservatives - into the Republican camp,
though not all
them formally switched their party registrations.
Richard Perle, a
figure in the Republican defence establishment known
as the 'Prince of
Darkness', remains a registered Democrat. Among the
Democrats who moved over to join the Reagan
administration was Paul
Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld's deputy at the Pentagon.
According to
collective biography of the 'Vulcans', the key
decision-makers in the
Republican defence establishment, Wolfowitz 'got out
just in time',
resigning from the Carter administration only at the
start of 1980. Yet
an undergraduate at Cornell Wolfowitz had come under
the influence of
Bloom (later to attain notoriety as the author of The
Closing of the
American Mind), and, as a postgraduate at Chicago, of
Bloom's own
the conservative philosopher Leo Strauss. Although
Strauss, a German
refugee who tended towards quietism, devoted his life
to the study of
ancient philosophy, his disciples extracted from his
work a set of
into the workings of the modern world. Strauss's
regret that
moderns had forgotten the ancients' concern for virtue
at several removes for Reagan's depiction of the
Soviet Union as an
empire'; today Straussian ideas underpin the US
project to remake the
East in the image of the democratic West. Yet
Wolfowitz's career does
quite fit the caricature of a Straussian Dr
Strangelove. His doctoral
dealt with the apparently arcane topic of
nuclear-powered desalination
plants, arguing that they opened up a path to nuclear
proliferation in
Middle East. Curiously, given his current stance, the
young Wolfowitz
just as concerned about the emergence of a nuclear
Israel as he was
Arab states with WMD.

> Other Vulcans have similarly tortuous career paths.
The Nixon tapes

that an earlier Republican administration was troubled
during the
spring of
1971 by what Nixon himself called 'the Rumsfeld
problem': what should
and his chief of staff, Bob Haldeman, do with an
ambitious, articulate,
progressive, anti-war Republican who had a tendency to
go off-message?
suggestion that Rumsfeld might be coaxed into becoming
ambassador to
elicited some typical Nixonian expletives: 'Jesus
Christ, Bob, what the
hell - I don't think Rumsfeld can do Japan, you know,
because I don't
he'd be tough enough [for] our side, the side of
business, you know
what I
mean?' Rumsfeld had already proved a success as head
of the Office of
Economic Opportunity, running anti-poverty programmes
bequeathed to
Nixon by
Johnson. Although the centrist Nixon declined to roll
back the welfare
state, Rumsfeld began to worry that the
administration's failure to end
Vietnam War was going to damage its standing with
progressive America.
tapes preserve for posterity Rumsfeld's private
warning to Nixon: 'We
to be able to communicate with the young and the black
and the people
are out, even though we don't get their vote.'

> Not only was Nixon out of touch with American youth,
he was actively

courting Southern realignment and blue-collar
disaffection from trendy,
'unpatriotic' middle-class liberalism. Nixon paved the
way for the mass
defections of Reagan Democrats during the 1980s.
Indeed, Nixon had
campaigned for re-election in 1972 as 'the president',
not as a
and he brought into his administration as his anointed
successor John
Connally, the former Democrat governor of Texas. In
Nixon's Shadow,
Greenberg explores Nixon's place in modern American
culture. While
politicians struggled for name recognition, manifold
images of Nixon
infiltrated every level of American life from the
early 1950s and
long after the Watergate scandal ended his presidency
in 1974. In the
age of
the Watergate Plumbers, politics shaded into popular
culture by way of
tricks and political cabaret. Nixon had his aides
investigate a
satirist who went by the name of Richard M. Dixon.
Country Joe McDonald
in 1971 of

> a new mechanical man,
> Looked just like a human being . . .
> Good God it was makin' me sick . . .
> It was no one but Tricky Dick.
> In death Nixon retained notoriety and name
recognition. Greenberg

the obituary cartoon from the Los Angeles Times, which
depicts a simple
gravestone: 'Here lies Richard M. Nixon.' Contemporary
reimaginings of
1970s continue to invoke Nixon, to sinister effect. In
Ang Lee's film
Ice Storm (1997) a couple of teenagers grope their way
towards a
first adolescent snog. Our moment of identification
with this tender
convergence is utterly subverted when the girl decides
to conceal her
embarrassment behind a Nixon mask.

> As Greenberg shows, Nixon was demonised by his
opponents for

and Machiavellian chicanery - even occasionally for a
low demagoguery
exploited right-wing anxieties, including racist
fears, for his own
electoral ends - but never for being a conservative
true believer. He
always reckoned too subtle for that. Greenberg
includes a whole chapter
revisionist historians' reinterpretations of Nixon as
a liberal. He did
nothing to reverse Johnson's Great Society or the
Civil Rights
He had a progressive record on the environment,
establishing the
Environmental Protection Agency, and he spent
generously on social
and welfare. Nor did he simply pander to the public
for crass electoral
reasons. His unrealised plans for social security and
universal health
insurance went some way beyond conventional opinion.
Indeed, he was
enough to come out as a Keynesian, at least in the bad
times. A
he was prepared to abandon laissez-faire economics
when wage and price
controls seemed a more promising means of confronting
inflation. On the
facts of policy Nixon appears to have more in common
with Ralph Nader
with today's Republican leaders. Yet the electorate
knew - and some of
liked it - that the authentic voice of Nixonian
politics was the snarl

> Anatol Lieven's fascinating and incisive analysis of

in America Right or Wrong sets the topic of right-wing
in a much wider context, comparing the recent
transformation of
Republicanism with the politics of nationalist
resentment in France
1870 and Germany after 1918. Here he ignores one of
the principal
shibboleths in political science, the assumption that
exceptionalism - the absence of feudalism, established
and ethnic nationalism - renders meaningless any
attempt to compare
America's political history with that of European
nations. Yet,
by carrying out just such a comparison, Lieven
provides a compelling
argument for an alternative interpretation of
exceptionalism: that the
American right has fallen prey to the nationalist
politics which
European politicians rejected after 1945.

> American nationalism, Lieven argues, has taken two

forms: a
benign and optimistic civic nationalism, which is
normally dominant and
whose champions uphold the American Dream, the
universally applicable
found in the Declaration of Independence; and a darker
defeatist and suspicious of the world, whose most
vociferous proponents
drawn from the 'embittered heartland'. The former
strain of nationalism
common to everyone in the US: Americans from all sorts
of racial and
religious backgrounds can celebrate freedom and
democracy, the
constitutional separation of church and state, the
guarantee of equal
rights for all citizens, and the bountiful prosperity
of the American
Way of
Life. This is the 'American Creed', as Lieven calls
it, and the US as a
whole subscribes to it, yet many Americans,
particularly in the South,
supplement its standard pieties with a self-pitying,
defensive white
Christian nationalism, oblivious to the contradictions
between these
ways of identifying with the US.

> The preferred vehicle for this ideology of white
resentment is the

Republican Party, which, Lieven argues, has become
'the American
Party'. Yet this ethnic nationalism has its roots on
the Democratic
side of
American political culture. Lieven traces the
phenomenon back to the
era of
Andrew Jackson and describes the formation during the
1830s of a
tradition of 'Jacksonian nationalism'. Although he
recognises that
occasional eruptions of nativism on the other side of
American politics
the anti-Catholic 'Know-Nothing' movement of the mid
19th century is
example - served as a bridge between the declining
Whig and emergent
Republican parties, Lieven believes that the
unattractive face of
Republicanism exhibits genes inherited, largely, from

> Before defeating the British at the Battle of New
Orleans in 1815

had already made his name as an Indian-fighter, and
the compound of
sentiments bound up in the Jacksonian nationalism
identified by Lieven
included 'violent hostility to other races' and a
virile antipathy to
refined, frock-coated North-Easterners, intellectuals
and other elitist
parasites. Jackson pitched his appeal to the common
white man, the poor
American who did the hard graft on a farm or in the
city, while the
went to support the comfortable life of Boston and New
York financiers
their suspiciously foreign tastes and contacts. But
sophisticates were not the only target of hatred. The
which drew together whites in the South and West and
the downtrodden
Catholic Irish in the North-East, was also based on a
deep fear and
of blacks, the next group down in the social hierarchy
and competitors
the market to supply cheap labour. On the frontier the
was understood as the masculine, can-do common sense
of poor whites, in
stark contrast to the scrupulous equivocations of East
Coast lawyers
judges which led them, absurdly it seemed, to prefer
the interests of
uncivilised Indians to the economic needs of white
settlers. Despite
judgment of the Supreme Court in favour of the
Cherokee nation, which
been threatened with dispossession of its lands in
parts of the South,
Jackson's government made clear that it would not
execute the law on
of the despised Indians, who were expelled, regardless
of what the law
in mind.

> The Jacksonian disregard for legal niceties has
resurfaced in

policy, Lieven argues, but now in conjunction with a
whinnying far
removed from the self-reliant optimism of the
Jacksonian era. Why, he
wonders, have so many inhabitants of the world's
richest and most
nation fallen prey to a culture of resentment? The
answer lies in the
comprehensive defeat of Southern Confederate
nationalism in the Civil
For almost a century afterwards, Lieven suggests, the
states of the
Confederacy were reduced to 'a position of almost
colonial dependence
on the
North and the East Coast'. Until the Southern
realignment, however, the
grievances of the South amounted to little more than
an embattled
regionalism, and had scant ideological purchase in the
rest of the
States, which tended to regard the South as an archaic

> The presidential election of 1968 marked a
watershed. The independent

campaign of the Southern Democrat governor of Alabama,
George Wallace,
challenged the official Democrat candidate, Hubert
Humphrey, and
provided a
staging post for dissident Southerners between the
Democratic Party and
hitherto alien Republicanism. Wallace sang the old
song of Southern
resentment: 'Both national parties have been calling
us peckerwoods and
rednecks for a long time now . . . and we gonna show
them we resent
used as a doormat.' Wallace's message had resonance
not only with
Southerners, but also with the other component of the
old Jacksonian
alliance, the blue-collar ethnics of the North,
alienated by the
anti-Vietnam protests of pampered upper-class
students. The victors
both in
the short and in the long term were the Republicans,
guided by Nixon's
Southern strategy.

> Since 1968 the Republicans have appropriated the
South; but, in the

process, Southern concerns have reshaped the
personnel, agenda and tone
the party. There has been an ironic and total
inversion of party
The Republican Party now incorporates a Jacksonian
alliance of Southern
whites and Northern ethnics. As the Republicans have
Lieven argues, so too has much of the popular culture
outside the
South. The
South is now the template for 21st-century America.
Stock-car racing,
country and western music, an obsession with 'personal
weaponry' and an
uninhibited style of Protestant religiosity have been
exported from it
the rest of the US. Blue-collar whites outside the
South have adopted
Confederate flag as a badge of working-class
alienation from political
correctness. As Lieven notes, it sends out 'a message
of generalised
defiance directed at authority, and to some extent at
high school principals a more prominent target of
than either blacks or Yankees.

> Here Lieven's argument draws him into a persuasive
explanation of one

the most significant features of American
exceptionalism, the absence
of a
socialist tradition. Why does America defy the laws of
Why do workers not recognise themselves as a working
class? Lieven
that while egalitarian versions of political economy
have never
appealed to
a critical mass of American workers, American
political culture has
nevertheless spawned a series of aggressive
anti-elitisms, from the
Jacksonian era onwards. Popular evangelical religion,
in particular,
acted both as a prophylactic against Marxism and as a
surrogate for
hatred. Lieven regards today's Christian militancy as
a 'religion of
disinherited, a form of spiritual socialism for people
who are not able
whatever reason to be socialist'.

> Yet, as Thomas Frank shows in What's the Matter with

in the United States as What's the Matter with
Kansas?), the Great
Plains of
the US heartland were a century ago the scene of
socialism proper, of
socialist newspapers and radical agrarian
organisations.* Kansans,
reports, still retain a sense of victimhood, but now,
bizarrely, vote
Republican in order - as they believe - to get even
with Wall Street.
are ordinary Kansans so confused about their true
interests? Class has
become detached from economics, and the cultural
reaction of honest,
God-fearing folk to an un-American secular elite takes
the form of
for the party of big business. Working-class
Republicans, Frank
vote in the hope of abolishing abortion but in doing
so bring about
reductions in capital gains taxes, deregulation, and -
ultimately - a
delayering of the workforce. Religious issues have
dragged populism to

> White nationalist religiosity manifests some of the
most unattractive

features of Jacksonian nationalism, including a
nonchalance about the
of other peoples. Lieven notes a recent poll in which
36 per cent of
respondents argued for a literal reading of the Book
of Revelation as
prophecy. The 'Left Behind' series, co-authored by Tim
LaHaye, one of
leaders of the Christian Right, and promoting a
interpretation of the 'end times', has sold 62 million
Dispensationalists are untroubled by the anticipated
consequences of
Rapture: at the beginning of the end times God's elect
will be snatched
to heaven while, back on earth, cars left without
raptured drivers will
out of control, planes without raptured pilots will
fall out of the
sky, and
there'll be an enormous number of casualties. On the
bright side,
has ordained that this horrific experience of mass
destruction will be
inflicted only on the damned.

> A similar indifference surfaces in Dominion or

theology -
an influence on the Reverend Pat Robertson, another
leading figure on
Christian Right - which won't let anyone forget that
God gave Adam
over all the earth and its plants and animals. What
standing does the
Treaty enjoy when ranked against this biblical grant
of dominion?
Dominion theologians argue that God gave this right
specifically to
Christians. The rights of indigenous pagans to protect
their native
environments are overridden by the divine right of
Christians to
exploit the
earth to the full.

> Lieven wonders how the Jewish intellectuals of the

movement can stomach Republican dependence on
Christian irrationalism.
true the conservative evangelicals of the South and
heartland also
espouse the cause of Israel. At the same time their
is, on closer examination, underpinned by an
evangelicals do not value Jews as Jews, but champion
Israel because the
ingathering of the Jews to Israel is believed to mark
the imminence of
millennium. What enables the neoconservatives to
resolve the
contradictions of Republican conservatism is the
legacy of Leo Strauss.
Strauss invoked the legitimacy of the Platonic noble
lie: educated
sometimes need to promote beliefs in which they
themselves do not
The propagation of such falsehoods can serve the
general good.

> This presupposes a two-tiered culture, in which the
Vulcans know the

esoteric truths while the populace are cynically fed
convenient stories
order to win their votes at election time. But can the
outsider rest
that the key decision-makers in the security apparatus
are inoculated
against these Platonic myths? Apparently not. Lieven
cites the case of
Lieutenant General William G. Boykin, who was
appointed deputy
under-secretary of defense for intelligence in 2003.
Boykin is a
Pentecostalist with a fervent belief in the real
existence of the
Militant Christianity has not stalled his military
career; rather it
him with the confidence when serving in Somalia to
engage in debate
with a
local warlord: 'I knew that my God was bigger than
his,' he later
'I knew that my God was a real God and his was an

> In the face of such evidence it is hard to argue
with Lieven's

fantastic claim that today's Republicanism in the
heartland shares as
with the pre-Enlightenment Republicanism of
Cromwellian Britain as it
with its own domestic party traditions, if not more.
Indeed the
of Southernised Republicans appears to shadow not only
the resentments
post-1870 France and post-1918 Germany, but also the
compelling example
Old Testament Israel, in which Amalekites and other
unrighteous peoples
smitten hip and thigh. Aggressively Southernised
Republicanism is,
only one component - a very vivid one - in the broad
coalition which
comprises the modern Republican movement. Within a
two-party system
contested by coalitions, political office will tend to
Republicans and Democrats, but alternation between
parties at general
elections matters less, in certain respects, than
which social groups
to dominate the inner lives of the Republican and
Democratic movements.
future of the planet - its environment and its
international relations
might well be decided in local contests for long-term
control of the
Republican Party. The left has little in common with
the North-Eastern
RINOs, or with moderate Republicans whose beliefs
still resemble those
the young Donald Rumsfeld, or with Goldwater-style
libertarians, or
Arnold Schwarzenegger; but it might yet learn to cheer
their cause.

> Footnotes
> * Secker, 306 pp., £12, September, 0 436 20539 4.
> Colin Kidd teaches modern history at the University
of Glasgow and is

author of British Identities before Nationalism.

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