Howard Dean to the Box

Saturday, December 3, 2005 11:23 AM

Here (see below) is a revealing--or should I say confirming?--article on the American liberal website about Dr. Howard Dean, M.D., former governor of Vermont, former front-running Democratic candidate for the U.S. Presidency in 2004, and current chairman of the Democratic National Committee in Washington.

Dean is the spokesperson for the Democratic Party, and his job is to get as many Democrats elected as possible. Every word he speaks is in furtherance of that goal. He has to be careful not to say anything which would detract from that goal. Every dollar and every vote counts. It is, after all, a business. At the end of the day, you count up your gains and losses. In this case, a net gain of Senate or House seats might result in a take-over of Capitol Hill from those nasty Republicans, thereby creating a sharp thorn in the side of G.W. Bush and his mentor, Dick Cheney.

The real question is, how many hypocrites in Washington do we have to contend with? If the current scoundrels in the White House are thrown overboard, you get Dean and his gang in their place. What, if anything, would be the difference?

If you listen to Dean with respect to America's obsessive foreign policy in the Middle East, the difference would be next to nil. To understand Dean's outlook, one must take a cursory look back at the unprecedented spectacle which happened last May 22nd-24th in the capital of the "lone surviving Superpower". A visiting foreign dignitary came to town--Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel--but he did not meet with the President at the White House. Instead, Sharon held court across town at a convention of 4000 well-wishers from all over America, and was paid homage to by virtually every important leader of both political parties.

I am referring to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee "Policy Conference" of 2005, whose speakers included the following luminaries, who fell all over themselves in praise and support of Ariel Sharon: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman, Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean.

Get the picture? A bipartisan love-fest. Remember, all this was transpiring while AIPAC remained under active investigation by the FBI for espionage. This was in May, 2005.

Exactly a year earlier, the senior Democratic Senator from South Carolina, Ernest Hollings, had created a brief but violent earthquake within the Washington beltway by asserting that Israel was behind Bush's invasion of Iraq. The brouhaha was widely reported. Here in part is an article in about it:



Thursday, May 20, 2004

A U.S. senator's charge that Israel is behind the Bush administration's decision to invade Iraq has rattled American Jewish leaders. Sen. Ernest Hollings, a South Carolina Democrat, wrote a column that appeared in several newspapers. The column asserted that the U.S. war against Iraq represented a decision by President George Bush to protect Israel and ensure American Jewish support for his reelection. The column reflects a growing sentiment in the corridors of power in Washington according to congressional sources.

The view attributes the U.S. war in Iraq to the so-called neo-conservatives in the administration, particularly Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and former Pentagon adviser Richard Perle, Middle East Newsline reported. Both men are Jewish. "There is a strong fear among American Jewish leadership that the whispering campaign that 'the Jews started it,' will become public," a senior congressional staffer said. "We could be seeing others get on Hollings' bandwagon."

"Bush felt tax cuts would hold his crowd together and spreading democracy in the Mideast to secure Israel would take the Jewish vote from the Democrats," Hollings said in a column first published on May 6 in the Charleston Post and Courier. "You don't come to town and announce your Israel policy is to invade Iraq." Congressional sources said Hollings was expressing a view that has become increasingly prevalent in Congress and parts of the administration. The column was reprinted on Hollings's website.

The senator, who later refused to retract his statements, said Wolfowitz's advocacy of a plan to promote democracy among Arab states comprised an Israeli initiative. "With Iraq no threat, why invade a sovereign country?" Hollings asked. "The answer: President Bush's policy to secure Israel. Led by Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and Charles Krauthammer, for years there has been a domino school of thought that the way to guarantee Israel's security is to spread democracy in the area."

Hollings said Bush realized that he would be unable to bring about an Arab-Israeli peace to help his reelection efforts. Instead, Bush started laying the groundwork to invade Iraq days after his inauguration in 2001. The senator said Wolfowitz persuaded Bush that the war against Iraq would take a week. Hollings said Vice President Richard Cheney was convinced U.S. troops would be greeted as liberators.

"In the Mideast, terrorism is a separate problem to be defeated by diplomacy and negotiation, not militarily," Hollings said. "Here, might does not make right--right makes might. Acting militarily, we have created more terrorism than we have eliminated."

Yes, indeed. You don't come to town and announce your "Israel policy" is to invade Iraq. That would be too obvious, too honest. Instead, you make up or exaggerate a preposterous story about weapons of mass destruction and an imminent threat to America due to a reconstituted nuclear weapons program, and imply that Saddam Hussein had something to do with the 9/11 terrorist attacks against New York and Washington--then you invade Iraq. Afterwards, when the adventure had blown up in your face, you wave the flag some more, and continue with the same deception. Patriotism, the last refuge.

Howard Dean's Blunt Message

Forgetting Palestine


December 1st, 2005

Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean has a fickle stance on virtually every foreign policy issue thrown his way. None, however, are more telling of his party's incompetence than his posture on the Israeli/Palestinian issue, which is virtually identical to that of the neocons.

Recently Dean returned from a week-long jaunt to Israel sponsored by the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC). Shortly after his return Dean spoke to an elite crowd of American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) friends and lobbyists in Philadelphia about his trip to Israel. And the audience was pleased with what they heard.

"Literally, from Israel's birth, as that great Democrat Harry Truman took the courageous step to immediately extend America's hand to recognize the State of Israel," Dean espoused. "Democrats have done all we can to foster the special, enduring relationship between the two countries. Maintaining Israel's security is a key U.S. national security interest..."

But Dean's vision of Israel's security is not without consequences for Palestinians or Arab Israelis. The October 2003 issue of The Jewish Week quoted Gov. Howard Dean as saying that he had been very clear in his support for "targeted assassinations" of alleged Palestinian terror suspects. He believed these men were "enemy combatants in a war," adding, "Israel has every right to shoot them before they can shoot Israelis."

This position bears a striking resemblance to that of both Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. And why is Dean's position, like that of Bush and Clinton, so dead wrong? From the 1948 war to the proposal to settle the whole of the Occupied Territories, Israel has always been associated with the policy of expelling Palestinians from the land--an act that is frighteningly similar to the Nazi objective during the Second World War to round up and clear all the Jews from Europe to provide "Lebensraum" for the citizens of Germany.

Dean's former campaign fundraiser during his bid for the presidency, Steven Grossman, was the ex-director of AIPAC. The most influential pro-Israel lobby in the United States, AIPAC is committed to, amongst other things, defending Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his former Likud Party's every mishap.

What does the AIPAC ideology entail? How about support for the current wall being erected by Israel to keep Palestinians at bay, as well as Israeli settlements in the West Bank, support for a nuclear program in the country, as well as billions in US aid. All this despite the numerous UN resolutions Israel has broken with their dealings of occupied territories of Palestine, including UN Resolution 1402, which demands that Israel withdraw its military from all Palestinian cities at once.

Nevertheless, Dean's defense of AIPAC and Ariel Sharon, whom Bush has called a "man of peace," mirrored the sentiments of many of Washington's most influential Zionist strategists.

A prime example: Richard Perle, the ex-Chairman of the Defense Policy Board who was influential in advising the Bush administration on invading Iraq, certainly would have corroborated Dean's comments in the December 5, 2003 issue of The Jerusalem Post. An article in that issue quoted Dean as saying, "Israel is a democracy, [and] the only democracy aside from Turkey in the region. Israel has incurred severe economic damage as a result of being forced to fight this war. I believe that by providing Israel with the loan guarantees and thereby enabling Israel's economy to grow, the US will be advancing its own interest."

He continued, "As a fellow democracy that shares our values, that is fighting a war against terrorism, Israel is a friend, a strategic asset, and an ally for the US. A strong Israel is essential for advancing the US interest of building a stable world." Given this impassioned rhetoric, it is nearly impossible to imagine that Dean would have ceased to support the US's billion-dollar loan guarantees to Israel if he had been elected.

"The human rights situation in Israel and the Occupied Territories continues to deteriorate. Some 2,500 Palestinians, most of them unarmed and including some 450 children, have been killed by the Israeli army and more than 900 Israelis, most of them civilians and including more than 100 children, have been killed by Palestinian armed groups since the start of the current uprising, or intifada, in September 2000," contends Amnesty International.

"Tens of thousand of Palestinians and thousands of Israelis have been injured, many maimed for life. Palestinians do not feel safe, in either the street or in their homes, as Israeli army aircrafts, helicopter gunships and tanks frequently shell Palestinian refugee camps and densely populated residential areas. Israelis also do not feel safe when they leave their homes, as Palestinian armed groups deliberately target Israeli civilians in suicide bombings and other attacks on buses, restaurants and other public places."

When he was interviewed in The Forward in the fall 2002, Dean admitted that his position on Israel was "closer to AIPAC's" than that of Palestinian advocates, such as the Jewish-led Peace Now, and declared his support for building the wall that will separate Palestinians from the occupied territories. Debunking the ignorance of the Israeli wall, Bernard Avishai, author of The Tragedy of Zionism, wrote in Harper's January 2005 issue:

"This is where the demographic argument gets you. You put West Bank Palestinians behind a wall where economic life is virtually impossible, and you hive off another hundred thousand Arab Israelis and put them behind the wall, too. Meanwhile, you expand your border to include non-Jewish settlements and maintain existing political economic barriers for Arab Israelis, a barrier of institutional practice and law, a barrier of land and common ideology. You say Jews and Arabs must be separated because even if Israel's Arab citizens will make the most of what liberties Israel gives them, they could not possibly want to be absorbed into Israel. And after all of this, you suppose yourself a democracy because you represent the general will of the ‘Jewish majority’. But is the choice really Apartheid or binationalism?"

In the aforementioned Forward issue Dean also championed Israel for taking its battles across the border into Syria. "If Israel has to defend itself by striking terrorists elsewhere, it's going to have to do that," Dean told Judy Woodruff in a CNN interview. He followed this statement by claiming: "[T]errorism has no place in bringing peace in the Middle East ... nations have the right to defend themselves just as we defended ourselves by going into Afghanistan to get rid of Al Qaeda."

Later, when Joseph Lieberman and Kerry questioned Dean's half-baked call for "peace" in Palestine, the former governor responded, "I was a little surprised because people who know me know very well I am a strong defender of Israel ... But after I thought about it for a while, I wasn't surprised. I think that the connection of the Jewish community to Israel is so strong, and the feeling in Israel that someday they may be abandoned is enormous."

Howard Dean's own campaign website even went as far as to boast that the United States should "maintain its historic special relationship with the state of Israel, providing a guarantee of its long-term defense and security."

So here's Howard Dean's blunt message on behalf of the Democratic Party: "Forget Palestine".