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Juan Cole, How Washington’s Anti-Iranian Campaign Failed, Big Time

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You know we’re in an increasingly extreme world when a young American airman burns himself to death outside the Israeli embassy in Washington to protest Israel’s nightmarish war in Gaza. (“Today, I am planning to engage in an extreme act of protest against the genocide of the Palestinian people,” he wrote in an email to the media before setting himself aflame.) And given that President Biden and his administration have backed just about every last murderous action taken by the Israeli government and ensured that the American-supplied weaponry Israel is using keeps on flowing, it’s small wonder that he’s finding himself in political trouble.

Honestly, when you consider how Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and crew have dealt with their utter devastation of Gaza without, like so many countries that have committed striking crimes, in any way denying what they’re doing or trying to cover it up, it’s as if Hamas were running their propaganda campaign. And sadly enough, nothing seems to be improving in that largely destroyed 25-mile strip of land, whose population has been almost totally displaced. The casualties in Gaza only continue to grow as ever more of its inhabitants find themselves lacking the basics of life and in danger of dying, while the 1.4 million or so refugees now sheltering in the southern city of Rafah are to be “allowed” to flee yet again (but not return to their homes) before Israel launches full-scale operations there.

And Washington, with barely a whimper of protest, has backed this nightmare to the hilt. No wonder, then, that, as TomDispatch regular Juan Cole, who also runs the must-read Informed Comment website, explains today, longtime American foe Iran has been making hay while the sun shines (but only on Iran) in the Middle East. Tom

Is Tehran Winning the Middle East?

How the Gaza Conflict Made Democracy’s Name Mud for Millions

In the midst of Israel's ongoing devastation of Gaza, one major piece of Middle Eastern news has yet to hit the headlines. In a face-off that, in a sense, has lasted since the pro-American Shah of Iran was overthrown by theocratic clerics in 1979, Iran finally seems to be besting the United States in a significant fashion across the region. It's a story that needs to be told.

“Hit Iran now. Hit them hard” was typical advice offered by Republican Senator Lindsey Graham after a drone flown by an Iran-aligned Iraqi Shiite militia killed three American servicemen in northern Jordan on January 28th. The well-heeled Iran War Lobby in Washington has, in fact, been stridently calling for nothing short of a U.S. invasion of that country, accusing Tehran of complicity in Hamas's October 7th terrorist attack on Israel.

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Karen Greenberg, On Trial (Never?)

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He’s always there!  Right? And you know exactly who I mean. I just Googled him and the latest news at this very second, though undoubtedly not 30 seconds from now, is that he’s asked the New York judge in the civil fraud trial he recently lost — a mere $355 million judgment for inflating the value of his properties (full cost $454 million), a sum rising by $87,502 a day until he pays — to delay the enforcement of that judgment for a month. Oh, and while he was at it, he started comparing himself to the dead Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny. “It is a form of Navalny,” he insisted, speaking about his situation. And then, focusing on himself, of course, not the Russian dissident, he added: “And it’s a horrible thing. But it’s happening in our country too. We are turning into a communist country in many ways. And if you look at it, I’m the leading candidate, I got indicted… I got indicted four times, I have eight or nine trials… all because of the facts that I’m in politics.”

You undoubtedly didn’t know that Joe Biden and crew were commies (and they probably didn’t either), but now you do (even if they don’t).  And perhaps you know, too, that a group of 154 American historians and presidential experts recently ranked The Donald as the worst president in American history, a singular honor when you think about it.  No middle of the pack like Biden (#14) for him!  And imagine this: the worst president in our history, the man who, on December 19, 2020, tweeted “Statistically impossible to have lost the 2020 Election,” and then announced a “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th” and invited his fans to Washington (“Be there! Will be wild!), is today leading in numerous polls for the 2024 presidential election.

Honestly, you couldn’t make this stuff up.  It would be too absurd.  And yet perhaps all of this would be different if, unlike his civil cases in New York, the American criminal justice system, state and national, worked just a tad better. As TomDispatch regular Karen Greenberg points out today, when it comes to criminal justice, delay is the name of the game and not just in regard to our former president. All too sadly, it could add a distinct “in” to justice, American-style. Tom

Trump’s Justice

Justice Delayed Is Democracy Denied

In 1868, British Prime Minister William Gladstone famously said, “Justice delayed is justice denied.” The phrase has often been repeated here in the United States, most famously by the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., who echoed it in his 1963 "Letter from a Birmingham Jail”: “Justice too long delayed is justice denied.”

Sadly enough, justice delayed (and possibly denied) is once again front and center in America as we face the specter of Donald Trump and his insistence on eternally evading the reach of the law. What's at stake isn't just the fate of the former president, but an essential aspect of democracy.

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Andrea Mazzarino, War’s Cost Is Unfathomable

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Consider it strange that the cost in lives, in wounds, in illness — the actual numbers or at least estimates when it comes to Israel’s nightmarish campaign in Gaza in response to Hamas’s horrifying October 7th assault — are so much a part of the news these days. I mention this only because while you can now sit at home and read or hear about the estimated 29,000-plus dead Gazans, including more than 12,000 dead children, and the more than half a million Gazans facing “catastrophic hunger,” when it came to our own country’s devastating wars in response to al-Qaeda’s nightmarish 9/11 attacks, you could read no such thing in our mainstream media. The numbers from what came to be known as the war on terror were largely unavailable, which meant that there was no way to truly take in the horror of what our country was doing in distant lands like Afghanistan, Iraq, and Yemen.

Or at least that was true until, in 2010, today’s author, Andrea Mazzarino, co-founded the Costs of War Project at Brown University’s Watson Institute. Since then, that remarkable project has put some numbers on this country’s war on terror campaigns, ranging from their cost to us (at least $8 trillion) to the deaths they’ve caused (almost a million direct deaths, including more than 430,000 civilians, and as many as 3.8 million indirect ones), and the number of refugees they’ve created (at least 38 million).

Still, I’m struck that, while we already have that estimated (and, all too sadly, ever-increasing) number of children slaughtered in Gaza, there’s no known equivalent number for the American wars of this century. Were such figures available, they would undoubtedly be shocking. In that context, let TomDispatch regular Mazzarino compare American reactions to the present nightmare in Israel and Gaza to those about our own never-ending global wars. Tom

The October 7th America Has Forgotten

And the War Deaths We No Longer Protest (or Even Think About)

We Americans have been at war now since October 7th, 2001. That was when our military first launched air strikes against the Taliban in Afghanistan in response to al-Qaeda's September 11th terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C. That's 22 years and counting. The "war on terror" that began then would forever change what it meant to be an Arab-American here at home, while ending the lives of more than 400,000 civilians -- and still counting! -- in South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. In the days after those September 11th attacks, the U.S. would enjoy the goodwill and support of countries around the world. Only in March 2003, with our invasion of Saddam Hussein's Iraq, would much of the world begin to regard us as aggressors.

Does that sound like any other armed conflict you’ve heard about recently? What it brings to my mind is, of course, Israel’s response to the October 7th terror assault by the Islamic militant group Hamas on its border areas, which my country and much of the rest of the world roundly condemned.

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