Al Gore has returned to the political spotlight in exalted fashion, propping himself up for a potential presidential bid in 2008. Front and center in Gore's new rhetorical entourage is the state of nature and, in particular, global warming.
And while Gore may be delivering an important message about the fate of our fragile ecosystems, one must be weary of the messenger's past. For Gore's own environmental record leaves much to be desired.
Al Gore's reputation as the Democratic standard bearer of environmentalism dates back to the early 1990's when his book Earth in Balance outlined the perilous threats to the natural world. Gore also showboated his green credentials at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, which garnered the newly minted Senator great respect among Beltway greens who praised him for his willingness to take sides on controversial issues. While serving as vice president under Bill Clinton, Gore was put in charge of the administration's environmental portfolio, but had little to show for it.
Jeffrey St. Clair is the co-editor of CounterPunch (online at ...) and the author of numerous books, most recently Grand Theft Pentagon: Tales of Corruption and Profiteering in the War on Terror (Common Courage Press 2006). He recently spoke with Joshua Frank about his latest book.
JF: Jeff, it's been three long years since the U.S. invaded Iraq and there has been a mountain of speculation as to the real motives for the war and occupation: Was it for oil, Israel? No WMDs have turned up, and there weren't any connections between Saddam and Bin Laden. After reading Grand Theft Pentagon, however, it's hard not to think that perhaps a larger reason the U.S. invaded was to benefit economically. Can you talk about this a bit? Why the heck are we in Iraq anyway?
It is questionable whether responding to the neocons' assault on sanity is worth the energy. They don't take well to reason, and they certainly aren't capable of dealing with truth. In fact, the reality in which they dwell is a manifestation of propaganda and isolated conspiracy theories.
Yeah, they think we are out to get them and that we'll destroy their comfortable way of life. And what seems to be driving their delusional tendencies is the teaming up of traditional conservatives, libertarians and lefties — all of whom oppose the neocon wars.
For a fleeting moment it looked as though Cindy Sheehan was going to toss her antiwar weight into the election ring and confront Senator Dianne Feinstein of California in the Democratic primary. But instead Sheehan has subtly withdrawn herself from the race.
Sheehan's decision, which was announced on Feb. 9, came after substantial pressure from elite Democrats who thought her bid could damage Sen. Feinstein. Certainly that was the point of Sheehan's threat to take on the senator -- and the elites of the pro-war Democratic Party, including Sen. Barbara Boxer, knew it.
Since her decision was made public Sheehan has been taking heat from antiwar activists who believe she has given into the Democrat's coercion. They believe she has succumbed to lesser-evil politics. But I wouldn't be so quick to jump to such a conclusion.
Cindy Sheehan may be elevating her activism to the next level. The mother of the antiwar movement, while attending the World Social Forum in Venezuela, told reporters that she is considering running against Senator Dianne Feinstein in California's Democratic primary next June.
Shining a spotlight on Feinstein's malignant war blemishes would be the focal point of her campaign. Undoubtedly, Sheehan would receive generous support for her quest from California's ever-increasing war resistance.
Sean Penn would likely race to her side for photo-ops. The New York Times would write their slimy op-eds. Fox News would deploy their smear brigades -- this could potentially be the biggest thing the antiwar movement has seen since Sheehan propped up her tent outside Dubya's Crawford ranch. In the least it would get the American public talking.
The government drops bombs on kids in the Middle East, while a hand full of activists torch some yuppie ski resort in Colorado: Bush gets re-elected and the radical environmentalists are issued warrants.
Where the hell is the justice?"The indictment tells a story of four-and-a-half years of arson, vandalism, violence and destruction claimed to have been executed on behalf of the Animal Liberation Front and the Earth Liberation Front -- extremist movements known to support acts of domestic terrorism," Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said in a news conference.
It's a good thing for MoveOn.org that George W. Bush was re-elected. If he hadn't been, the liberal troupe would have nothing to contest.
Even if the bloody occupation had continued under a John Kerry presidency (it most certainly would have), the cowering office-chair activists would have ducked behind their computer screens awaiting the return of another brutal Republican administration.
Activism should never be partisan, but Moveon.org isn't about to hold the Democrats' accountable for supporting Bush's war agenda.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a $685 million loan for Iraq on December 24. Now the country's war-torn economy will be fully integrated into the global economy -- indefinitely. The reconstruction of Iraq will soon be open to even more industrialized nations and interests.
Iraq will not be sovereign or independent in the near future, even if President Bush says so. The country's financial future will instead be dictated by a new colossal economic occupation, complete with ground forces, tanks, foreign military bases and the like -- all thanks to the United States, Britain and the IMF.
The new loans will soon be the focus of Iraq's future "economic stability." Of course, the desire to capitalize on war's misfortunes is at the heart of this occupation, as well as the IMF's gracious assistance. This is undoubtedly what the Bush administration and their allies have wished for all along.
It is far too early to tell what kind of impact it will ultimately have on the Republican establishment, but the Jack Abramoff scandal could well be the most perilous of all the storms developing in Washington. And the cloud forming on the horizon is a dark one indeed.
The most fascinating aspect of this whole controversy is the number of people it potentially involves. From elected officials in Congress to top conservative activists, the Abramoff lobbyist sham could ravage the neocons far worse than the CIA-leak affair. It could also take a top Democrat or two down as well.
Cindy Sheehan is the mother of Spc. Casey Austin Sheehan, KIA 04/04/04. She is co-founder of Gold Star Families for Peace.
Joshua Frank: Cindy, why did you decide to hook up with the "antiwar" movement? Do you think that it would have been more powerful to continue building a family-in-mourning movement of mothers, fathers, wives and husbands of the maimed and the slain in Iraq?
Cindy Sheehan: I think those go together, actually. I founded an organization called Gold Star Families for Peace; people can visit us at .... We are an antiwar group allied with Military Families Speak Out, Veterans for Peace, and Iraq Veteran Against the War. We are antiwar and for the immediate withdrawal of all troops from Iraq. Any group that supports our position is welcome to join with us.