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Ask the Candidates Real Questions -- Like These

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That's what I'm going to try to do in the coming weeks and months. Here are three lines of questioning I think we might try to pursue with the candidates themselves. You may wish to try them out yourselves and/or devise your own. I include below the three questions, supplemented by background and potential lead-ins:

Question 1

Background : The aims of U.S. foreign policy in the post-World War II period were essentially to enforce a global system in which the Western powers under American leadership would maintain global dominance. This essentially meant being in control of the world's resources at the expense of non-Western nations.

This fundamental objective of U.S. foreign policy in the post-war period shines through with bare-knuckled candor in a TOP SECRET policy document written by George Kennan in February 1948. He was head of the State Department's Policy Planning Staff, and this was its first memorandum.
 

Cold War architect George Kennan

Here is an excerpt:
"We have about 50 per cent of the world's wealth, but only 6.3 per cent of its population. ... Our real task in the coming period is to maintain this position of disparity. ... To do so we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and day-dreaming. ... We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford the luxury of altruism. ... We should cease to talk about vague, unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we will have to deal in straight power concepts."

Lead-in to question: Five years after approval of the basic policy aim of controlling more than our share of "the world's wealth," the policy was implemented by throwing millions of dollars at the CIA to overthrow the democratically elected leader of Iran. You see, Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh had the revolutionary, unacceptable notion that more of the profits from Iranian oil should stay in Iran for the Iranian people and not simply go to oil giants like the predecessor of British Petroleum (BP).

The Question: Do you think we had a right to overthrow the leader of Iran in 1953? And would you again give millions of dollars to the CIA to overthrow the Iranian government under your presidency?

*****
Question 2

Background: Further on Iran: During the Dec. 5, 2006, Senate hearing on the nomination of Robert Gates to be Secretary of Defense, he was questioned by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., about the possibility of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons and the threat to Israel if it did. Gates said that he believed Iran was trying to acquire nuclear weapons and was lying when it said it wasn't. However, amazingly, Gates added that Iran's motivation was largely self-defense.

Sen. Graham asked: "Do you believe the Iranians would consider using that nuclear weapons capability against the nation of Israel?"

Gates replied:

"I don't know that they would do that, Senator. ... And I think that, while they are certainly pressing, in my opinion, for nuclear capability, I think that they would see it in the first instance as a deterrent. They are surrounded by powers with nuclear weapons: Pakistan to their east, the Russians to the north, the Israelis to the west and us in the Persian Gulf."

This remarkably candid reply explains Iran's possible motive in seeking nuclear weapons as deterrence against aggression by nuclear powers in the region, including Israel and the United States. In other words, according to Gates, Iran is seeking nuclear weapons in the first instance ... to prevent others from attacking it, rather than to attack other states -- like Israel.

This comes close to saying that the U.S. should be able to live with a nuclear-armed Iran (and Israel should be able to as well). And, remember, all this talk is properly put in the subjunctive mood. It remains a very big IF; namely, on whether or not the Iranian leaders opt to go for a nuclear weapon.

We were formally reminded last March that the jury is still out on this key question. James R. Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, testified to Congress that the intelligence community judges that Iran has not yet made that decision. So, despite all the current media hype regarding Iran's nuclear program, there remains some reason to hope against hype, so to speak.

In the above reply, Gates also acknowledged what U.S. officials officially seek to obfuscate: that Israel has nuclear weapons. Remember, at the time of his confirmation hearing, Gates had already served as CIA director and held other senior national security position in several administrations.

He had been around long enough both to know the details of Israel's undeclared nuclear arsenal and the longstanding U.S. policy NOT to acknowledge that Israel has nukes. That policy was designed to have the double benefit of not undermining Israel's policy of studied ambiguity on the issue and of not requiring the U.S. to take a position for or against Israel's possession of nuclear weapons and its refusal to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which Iran has signed.

America's supposedly "objective" FCM also readily puts on the blinders when focusing on Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program and simultaneously ignoring Israel's real one. The truth is that there are no U.N. weapons inspectors crawling into crevices in Israel, as they regularly do in Iran.

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Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He was an Army infantry/intelligence officer and then a CIA analyst for 27 years, and is now on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). His (more...)
 

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 Mr. McGovern,  I read your article... by Ad Du on Friday, Nov 25, 2011 at 3:22:43 PM
Brilliant questions, delivered by a superior intel... by Paul Sedkowski on Friday, Nov 25, 2011 at 3:37:39 PM
It is not difficult to think that if such pertin... by Marika on Saturday, Nov 26, 2011 at 2:53:03 AM
It should be common knowledge that the next presid... by aberamsay on Saturday, Nov 26, 2011 at 4:31:18 AM
May he get elected and stay alive long enough for ... by Bruce on Saturday, Nov 26, 2011 at 6:57:11 AM
You can ask all the correct questions in your arse... by Nicholas Galindo on Saturday, Nov 26, 2011 at 1:01:03 PM
The GOP reminds me of someone who, to get his job ... by Donnie McLeod on Saturday, Nov 26, 2011 at 4:19:33 PM
The Dems are just as good at lying as the GOP. The... by Nick van Nes on Saturday, Nov 26, 2011 at 7:16:05 PM
It's all about control. Controlling the agenda, co... by Nick van Nes on Saturday, Nov 26, 2011 at 7:03:22 PM
Of course the Federal Reserve... by Lance Ciepiela on Saturday, Nov 26, 2011 at 9:10:31 PM
The so-called Federal Reserve, a private bank set ... by aberamsay on Sunday, Nov 27, 2011 at 5:28:20 AM
David Gregory on "Meet the Press" should have intr... by Alan MacDonald on Sunday, Nov 27, 2011 at 4:03:19 PM
The very most important question that the American... by Alan MacDonald on Sunday, Nov 27, 2011 at 4:24:45 PM
Found Guilty - Genocide, Crimes Against Peace,Crim... by Lance Ciepiela on Monday, Nov 28, 2011 at 6:38:40 AM
The emperor of the USofA is His Majesty The Federa... by aberamsay on Monday, Nov 28, 2011 at 11:50:03 AM