Monday, June 30, 2008

Tommy Tiernan on Israel

As we all know Israel has an image problem. People associate the country with war and violence and to many there appears to be an inexplicable Israeli defiance where they refuse to accept any form of criticism claiming that it is almost always unfair and often motivate by bigotry. Watch below as Irish comedian Tommy Tiernan makes fun of the Israelis in a rather crass but hilarious way.

I often put it to conservative Israelis over the blogosphere that Israel's image problem is their own fault. Not necessarily for their actions but for their refusal to come out openly and debate their cause. Israelis have become so bitter and introverted in recent times that the often don't even bother to respond to criticism. This leads to ignorance, division and hatred.

If you look at the Israeli Palestinian conflict from someone like Tommy Tiernan's point of view there are a few undeniable truths that Israel must face up to.
1. Palestinian fatalities in the conflict outnumber Israeli by about 20 to 1.
2. The Israeli Defence Force is emphatically more powerful that all the Palestinian forces combined.
3. Israel is a wealthy first world country. Palestine is extremely poor.
4. Palestine is occupied by Israel.

All the above are facts and are not open to interpretation. The vast majority of neutral observers of the conflict are naturally going to side with the Palestinians given the above realities. Israel has to realise this and attempt to educate the world that Israel is in an extremely difficult situation and that it does have a legitimate cause. They will not convert neutrals to the Zionist cause but they may convince people of the need to actually support both sides when appropriate. Demonizing one side while ignoring the failures of the other, which seems common in this country will achieve nothing.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The world's most evil man

LRA Leader Joseph Kony

No its not Iran's Ahmadinejad, nor is it North korea's Kim Il Jong. In my opinion non of the following collection of tyrants such as Bashar Al Assad (Syria), Omar Al Bashir (Sudan), Colonel Ghadaffi (Lybia) and Robert Mugabe (Zimbabwe) can hold a candle to this man. I am referring to Joseph Kony, the leader of the Ugandan rebel group the Lords Resistance Army (LRA). Joseph Kony is in my opinion the most evil person on the planet. How do you determine most evil. It is difficult. I do not believe it boils down to most killed. You have to look at objective, ideology, power and most of all capacity for cruelty. Joseph Kony Gets ten out of ten for capacity for cruelty and for evil ideology. He does not score so high on power and numbers killed but that is only because of where he operates. I have no doubt that if he were a player on the global stage he could give Hitler or Stalin a run for their money. So who is Joseph Kony and what are the LRA and why does kony merit the title I have given him.

Joseph Kony has been leading an insurgency in northern Uganda by the Alcholi tribes people against the the government of Yoweri Museveni in Kampala for two decades now. His stated objective is to install a strict christian state based on the rules of the ten commandments. In order to achieve this objective he has gone on a horrific campaign of mass child kidnappings all across northern and central Uganda to create a child army that will be fanatically loyal to him. It is estimated that he has 20,000 child fighters under his command. In many cases these children, some as young as eight are trained to become ruthless murderers often beginning with their parents who they are forced to kill. The female children are usually taken as sex slaves for the older soldiers. The child soldiers are indoctrinated with dogma from Kony about how they are doing the lords work. They are told that once blessed by Kony they will be invulnerable to bullets. Once indoctrinated these children commit horrific atrocities often against their home villages. As we know, war is about as awful as it gets. But the deliberate use of children on such a large scale is outrageous beyond belief and goes against everything that humananity stands for.

After many years of indifference the world appears to be taking notice of Kony. In 2005 he was indicted by the International Criminal Court on crimes against humanity. The LRA have been placed on the infamous list of terrorist organisations at the US state department and major international pressure is being put on the Ugandan government to finally deal with Kony. In addition the UN is putting pressure on neighboring countries in the notorious great lakes region to prevent them from interfering in the conflict and possibly supporting Kony out of some dislike for the Ugandan government.

For many years Joseph Kony was almost a mythical figure. Many question if he even existed. In recent times however he has made a few public appearance in bizarre attempts at engaging in pr and improving the LRA's image. Watch below as he gives a press conference for some western journalists.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Drama at Ben Gurion

Last Tuesday a truly GUBU incident occurred at Ben Gurion airport Tel Aviv just as French President Nicolas Sarkozy was departing Israel after his three day visit to the holy land. Sarkozy and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert who was seeing the French premier off had just completed an inspection of a military guard on the runway and were standing at the foot of the steps of the plane when a shot rang out. A band playing nearby drowned out the noise of the shot to most but the French and Israeli security sprang into action immediately naturally fearing an assassination attempt. It has since become clear what happened. A policeman who was taking part in the guard raised his gun and shot himself dead about a minute after the two heads of state walked past him. Truly bizare, watch below.

Without looking too much into this incident one cannot help note the tension on the runway and wonder whether its part of a pattern. There is renewed speculation that the air strike on Iran in on. John Bolton claimed recently that the Israelis are waiting to see the outcome of the November election and if a democrat wins they will strike before the January inauguration. The truce with Hamas as well as the peace talks with Syria has led many to claim that this is an attemt by Israel to deal with other fronts while they confront the main Persian threat. Gubu World will keep a very close eye on this.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Israeli Settler Thugs

Check out this amazing video of a bunch of young Israeli settlers that threaten a British documentary team that were making a film about Palestinians living under Israeli occupation and in particular under the shadow of Israeli settlers.

What we see here is a bunch of drunken and abusive Israeli settlers living up to the ugly image that the settlers have. God gave this land to us he roars. We killed Jesus and we're proud of it he shouts. The Israeli Palestinian conflict is a war. And there are unpleasant people (to put it mildly) on all sides in war. Israelis should see this video not as an assault on them but as a reality check because for me this video reaffirms a conviction I have always had. This being that despite my Israeli sympathies it is clear to me that there are a minority of Israelis, led by the settler movement, that utterly hate Palestinians and whose only agenda is to make life unbearable for them in the hope that they will eventually leave and head off to Jordan. Or if I were to be cynical, I would say that this extremist minority want the Palestinians to resist violently at a level the IDF can contain because this is the environment in which they can continue to seize more Palestinian land. Either way nobody who is in any way objective should be under any illusion about the level of fanaticism that exists within the Jewish settler movement.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Pints with an American Conservative

An anti American flag on display in France

Last weekend I had the pleasure of of going on an all out session with an Irish American in Dublin. Oran, on holidays from New York is a cousin of a friend of mine and on Friday last we had a few beers in in our friends house while Watching Turkey Vs Croatia in the European Championship quarter final before heading off to our local pub after which we finish it off in a city center bar. Oran it turned out is a conservative. He is supporting John McCain in November and is against withdrawing US troops from Iraq . It was an unusual experience for me to have a conversation with a person who hold such view. I have done it countless times in the blogoshere but rarely face to face. I had studied with many Americans and know several living here but they are nearly entirely liberal and often more anti American themselves.

Oran, a very intelligent man and clever debater was capable of arguing his point on anything from the virtues of baseball over soccer to the evils of Jeramiah Wright compared to John Hagee. However anti Americanism was the subject we discussed most. I complained that America and Americans had become too introverted and excessively nationalist in recent times where as nationalism in Europe is on the way out and offered this as an explanation for the divide. He agreed more introverted yes, but "can you blame us" was his response. He listed a litany of incidents where he himself and family and friends have had to put up with all sorts of anti American rants while travelling throughout Europe. I felt sorry for him and was irritated by the stories. I don't like badly informed anti Americanism. I like and admire Americans that travel and I think its a shame that they have to put up with idiots in bars and trains when they journey around Europe.
Anti American graffiti in Paris

There is not much you can do about meeting an idiot but it has to be said, there is anti Europeanism in America too particularly in the right wing media. Most of it is perpetrated by these crazy TV and radio talk show hosts that I have blogged about before. The image they encourage is that Europeans are down right cowardly, anti Semitic and deceitful. I'm sure as a result there are plenty of stories of French and German travellers to the US being at the receiving end of unfair comments.

John Kerry apparently spoke French, looked French and acted French. It cost him in the 2004 presidential election.

I think I know how Americans view this thing. They liberated western Europe in 1944/45 losing hundreds of thousands of men in the process. They liberated Eastern Europe in 1989/90 after a forty year campaign to wrestle the Soviets to the ground in which they spent countless billions. So I think it is natural they would want to ask, why are Europeans so ungrateful? I think some are ungrateful and don't want to admit what America has done for them. But the truth is Americans and Europeans view the world very differently. Europeans are angered at the direction the world has taken since the turn of the millennium. The USSR is no more and we are living through a communications revolution yet all there appears to be is more war and misery. This should be a great era for humanity but its turning out to be an awful one. So who do you blame? Many chose to blame the greatest political, economic and military entity that has ever existed. Most Europeans don't buy the war on terror and those that do don't perceive terrorism as such a threat that merits putting off all the major world problems until every last terrorist is hunted down.

Jaque Chirac in bed with Saddam and Satan

I am regularly critical of US foreign Policy but I respect America. I feel I am a fair critic. I praise America when I believe it does something right, I condemn it when I believe it does something wrong. I therefor reserve the right to be critical of the US and not get labelled as a typical liberal, week European who hold a subtle hatred of America and sympathises with terrorists and tyrants. It may sound absurd, but this is a claim often hurled at Europeans in the conservative American media.

The answer to this dilemma is clear, dialogue dialogue dialogue. This divide is caused by ignorance and lack of debate. Europeans and Americans do have different values but they also have a lot in common. I learned a lot from my chat with Oran even if at the end of the night we were barely speaking English. I hope he learned a few things too. I feel I understand how Americans are generally hurt at some forms of anti Americanism after all no one can deny that France, Italy, Belgium, Holland and Germany are littered with the bodies of American dead, killed in a campaign against tyranny.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Well Said Dick !

Check out this video from 1994 of Vice President Dick Cheney explaining why as secretary of defence in 1991 during the first Gulf War he was against a US invasion of Iraq after Kuwait had been liberated. This video made it huge in the US when it came out last year. However its lesser known on this side of the Atlantic. All things considered, this is truly amazing. Enjoy !

Friday, June 20, 2008

9/11 truthers gotta shut up

Did you know that 9/11 was an inside job. Did you know that the World Trade Center was brought down by controlled demolition. You must be aware that World Trade Center building seven, which collapsed several hours after the attacks was actually the command center for the government operation which they deliberately destroyed to get rid of the evidence. And of course you know that the pentagon was hit by a missile and not a plane. Oh and of course there is my favourite one, there were no Jews killed on 9/11. All of the above are preposterous claims made by many radicals in the US the last of which is positively racist. Although this anti Semitic claim is most prominent in the Muslim world it is staggering how many Americans believe the other conspiracies. In one way the US government has only itself to blame for the level of mistrust its own people have in it. The US government has a culture of secrecy particularly in regards to its conduct overseas. As a result many Americans, perhaps understandably, simply don't believe anything their government tells them.

I have never come across any 9/11 conspiracy that merits being taken seriously. If someone were to provide actual evidence that the US government found out about the attacks before hand and allowed them to happen in order to justify their agenda of a more aggressive militaristic US foreign policy then I would listen. I'm not saying I believe this is what happened, I don't, but then again stranger things have happened in this Gubu World of ours. But to say that the US government itself, working with the CIA and the military are actually the ones that carried out the attacks is totally absurd. Just for the record, 9/11 was carried out by Al Qaeda, a Sunni Wahhabi extremist group of the most fanatical kind. There ideology is more right wing than that of the Nazis.

The fruit cakes that believe the planes were remote controlled or whatever, get far too much air time in the US. I sometimes think this is a deliberate attempt by the conservative media to discredit the anti war element by painting them all with the one brush. If this is a tactic it works. The intelligent well meaning articulate anti war voice in the states often gets overshadowed by the eccentric radical 9/11 truthers that just don't know their stuff. This is to the detriment of the anti war movement. Watch below as my favourite American comedian and political commentator Bill Maher has his show, HBO's Real Time, interrupted by 9/11 truthers. Bill Maher, who is himself passionately anti war, handles it brilliantly.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Irish troops come under fire, from all directions

Above, Irish troops digging in outside Goz Beida, Eastern Chad.

On Saturday last Irish troops came under fire from an unclear source. It occurred during a clash between the Chadian Army and approximately 800 rebels. The incident happened about three miles form Goz Beida, the Chadian town on the border with Sudan where the 400 Irish troops of the 97th Infantry Battalion are based. The EUFOR mission is mandated by the UN to set up refugees camps and protect civilians but is forbidden to interfere in the Chadian civil war. The Irish soldiers fired warning shots and then took up a defensive position around the refugee camps. There were no Irish casualties.

Lt General Dermot Early, Defence Minister willie O'Dea and Commander Col Derry Fitzgerald inspecting Camp Ciara yesterday.

However Irish troops have come under fire in more ways than one. After the military clash between government and rebel forces the rebels began to advance on Goz Beida. Fighting broke out in the town. Rebel forces then raided the UNHCR offices, the organisation tasked with setting up and running the refugee camps that the Irish are to protect. No UNCHR staff were harmed but they were naturally traumatized as many were held at gun point. EUFOR's mandate is to protect refugees but also UN staff. The Irish army has defended itself claiming that it simply was not there when the incident happened. When they did arrive they found the UN staff in a very distressed state and transferred them to Camp Ciara, the Irish base on the outskirts of Goz Beida. The incident has led to criticism that the Irish troops did not do enough to protect UN staff. The front page of The Irish Times today carries a headline Irish troops criticised by UN body for failing to protect staff. Apparently this accusation came from a staff member of UNCHR and not the organisation itself as a UN apology has since been offered to the Irish government. However one has to admit it is a bad reflection on the Irish mission that this has happened to UN staff that were under the protection of Irish troops. Defence Minister Willie O'Dea who is in Chad this week will have to clarify further what Ireland's role actually is the event that if there is a repeat of such an incident, Irish soldiers are in a position to act decisively.

In addittion to this criticism EUFOR has also been at the receiving end of harsh words from Chadian President Idriss Deby (pictured) who has claimed that the 3700 troops are turning a blind eye to rebel atrocities against Chadian civilians. I certainly hope Defence minister O'Dea and the Irish troops serving know to ignore the rantings of the Chadian dictator who clearly wants EUFOR to interfere on the side of the government forces.

It is evident that this mission is qiuckly becoming more complicated for Irish troops. Violence in the imediate area is clearly increasing and a make or break moment is inevitable where Irish troops will have to either act firmly or roll over. Lt General Pat Nash who is in overall command of EUFOR as well as Minister O'Dea will have to be tough and not allow themselves to be bullied by either the rebels or the Chadian government. The Irish Mandate is clear and it should be adhered to aggressively. Gubu World wishes the 400 Irish troops the best of luck and will post regularly on their progress.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Lisbon Treaty Rejected

The primary question being asked in Ireland today and in Brussels and indeed all over Europe is simply, what happens next ? When the French and the Dutch rejected the European constitution last year the Lisbon Treaty was seen as Plan B. Now as Brian Lenihan just admitted on RTE news. "There is no Plan C". Will the EU try and carry on without Ireland bringing back fears of the old two tier Europe claims or is the Lisbon Treaty categorically dead. I do not know the answer to this. It appears to me to be a legal and constitutional nightmare for all concerned. One thing is certain, this is a massive embarrassment for the Irish government.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Do it live !

Any observor of the American media knows who Bill O'Reilly is. In Ireland he is less known despite the fact that as his name indicates his ancestors hail from these shores, from Co. Cavan to be exact. Bill O'Reilly is the biggest name in the US media. He hosts his own show on fox news called "The O'Reilly Factor" as well as a daily radio stint. He is extremely controversial. He is a right winger associated very much with promoting the war on terror. He appears to have an intense dislike or even a hatred for the "far left" or "secular progressives" as he calls them. However he is undoubtedly an interesting figure. I intend to blog about him on a regular basis. Below is a clip of him on the Late Late show with Pat Kenny.

On a lighter note my favourite you tube clip at the moment is one of O'Reilly in his younger days. This has been seen my millions of Americans recently and its easy to see why. Watch as O'Reilly, who is often criticised for being short tempered goes completely mad. Great stuff.

I love it, what a physco ! Now watch as political comedy geniuses "barely political" make a few additions to the above clip. This is pure classic.

Much more to come on Bill O'Reilly in the future.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Lisbon Treaty , Jaysus !

Taoiseach Brian Cowen campaigning for a yes vote

I have been avoiding discussing this for as long as I can but I feel given its significance I better do a post on the Lisbon Treaty. For Gubu World's readers outside Ireland and particularly Europe let me explain the basics as I'm sure you have no idea what I'm raving about. In December 2007 a treaty was signed in Lisbon Portugal by all 27 members of the European Union. The primary objective of this treaty is apparently to make the EU's institutions (the European Council, commission and parliament) operate more efficiently in the wake of the Unions recent increase in membership. Since 2004 12 new countries have joined the Union mainly from central and Eastern Europe. This treaty has to be ratified by all 27 members. However Ireland is the only country whose constitution dictates that the treaty can only be ratified by a national referendum. All 26 other members only need to see the treaty ratified at a parliamentary level. To date 17 countries have done just that. The referendum is taking place in Ireland tomorrow. If the referendum is not passed then the treaty will fail.

Leader of the opposition Enda Kenny,Taoiseach Brian Cowen and Labour party leader Eamon Gilmore put their differences aside to campaign in favor of Lisbon.

All of mainstream political Ireland is in favor of the Lisbon Treaty. The countries' biggest party Fianna Fail as well as its two coalition partners in government have been campaigning for months now. As have the opposition parties of Fine Gael and labour. All business groups and most trade unions have backed it as has Ireland's largest farmers union. In the Dail (parliament) only the controversial party Sinn Fein and its six members are campaigning for a no vote. They are joined by an unusual collection of socialists, lobbyists and republicans. Bizarrely despite the overwhelming support of the political establishment there appears to be a real possibility that the voters may say no.

Sinn Fein party leaders campaigning for a no vote.

So whats it all about ? The truth is I don't care anymore. The debate on Lisbon has been absolutely infuriating. There has been endless, and I mean endless heated radio and TV debates surrounding the Treaty and what it means for Ireland. The problem appears to me that the treaty is open to interpretation. The yes crowd say one thing, the no camp say the opposite. The no campaign claim the treaty threatens Ireland's neutrality, reduces our power in the commission and compromises our ability to determine the rate of our own corporation tax. The yes say that all the above is incorrect. I am one voter angry that the text of the treaty is not concrete in these matter. It clearly is not as it means different things to different people.

This is how I see it. All reasonable people know that the European Union is the best thing that has ever happened the European continent. Many people, myself included describe the EU not as an economic union but as a peace process. Throughout the 20th century Europe tore itself apart as a result of divisions between left and right wing ideologies. The European Union healed these divisions achieving a compromise between these conflicting right and left values. The result is the stable, capitalist, welfare, liberal democracy where the rule of law prevails. All 27 members of the union fall into this category. However there will always be people on the fringes that object to the EU's direction. It is inevitable that people on the left will feel that the EU sells out workers and others on the right that believe it gives in to the unions. This is just the nature of politics. Then you have the nationalists (like Sinn Fein) who object to anything that they perceive as compromising on national sovereignty. This is the primary motive behind the no campaign. The government on the other hand are fearful of a worsening economic situation and they feel that uncertainty in Europe will further it. That and the embarrassment of having to explain to 26 Prime Ministers that they have to start all over again and draft a new treaty.

"Vote yes or I'll kill ya", I agree with defence minister Willie O'Dea.

I am voting yes and Gubu World recommends its readers do the same. The reason I am doing so is because I am passionately pro Europe and I don't believe the conspiracy theories being touted by the no crowd. However I think it may fail. Ireland has always been pro Europe but there is a strong fear in the country that the EU is going too far. After all, was it not just supposed to be about free trade ? We have to deal with enough bureaucracy at home, do we want more to come from Brussels. That is the mood I am detecting. Gubu world will post about the result on Friday.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Conflicting signs on Iran

President Bush, Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa and President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barrosso at the EU US Summit in Slovenia earlier today.

Unless we are all the victim of an elaborate ruse it is becoming less and less likely that George Bush will strike Iran's alleged nuclear facilities. In Ljubljana today Bush stated "I leave behind a multilateral framework to work on this issue". This sounds like an admission that the issue will not be dealt with conclusively by January 2009 when his second term comes to an end.

This is in sharp contrast to one year ago when the drum beat was speeding up and many feared that a tactical strike was only a matter of time. A crucial turning point came in November 2007 when the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) went against the drum beat and claimed that Iran had halted its nuclear programme back in mid 2003. Ever since then the war chants have gradually slowed. Perhaps the administration realised that if it continued to encourage half truths and innuendos about Tehran and its intentions they may have found themselves unable to control that particular wild horse once released. Or perhaps common sense just prevailed. I would imagine the more pragmatic individuals in the state department probably got the best of the hawks in the Pentagon and other Neoconservatives by winning the argument that the fall out from a missile strike on Iran might be so disastrous that it could in fact define much of 21st century.

However as the drum beat to war with Iran slows in the US it grows louder in Israel. On Friday in an interview with an Israeli newspaper Iranian Transport Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz (pictured) claimed that at attack on Iran appeared "unavoidable" given the apparent failure of United Nations sanctions to deny Tehran technology with bomb-making potential (Reuters). Mofaz, Ironically an Iranian Jew himself, was quickly reminded by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of the dangers discussing such sensitive matters in public. The question remains, might they go it alone, launch a unilateral strike and then batten down the hatches. Its possible, this would allow the international community including the US to condemn the strike and avoid retaliation. Then again the Iranian's have stated that they would respond exactly the same way to an Israeli attack as they would a US claiming that both countries are acting as one on this matter.

The IAF patrolling the skies above Jerusalem

I therefor suspect that the Israelis will give it a year. After all the NIE report claims that even if Iran has resumed its nuclear efforts it will be at least 2010 before they will be capable of uranium enrichment. Israel successfully bombed Iraq's nuclear sites in 1981. They bombed Syria last September, we know not yet how successful this effort was. The principal problem here appears to be that Iran's suspected nuclear sites are too numerous and too spread out. Success is far from certain. Consequently they will have to be patient. They will have to give the renewed EU diplomatic offensive their blessing and hope that it may in combination with a fresh face in the oval office produce results. This is Gubu World's call, then again in these crazy times nothing is certain.

Monday, June 9, 2008

New First Minister

Northern Ireland has a new First Minister. On Thursday last Peter Robinson (pictured) was nominated by outgoing FM Ian Paisley and sworn in thereafter. It is an end of an era as Paisley bows out after a career spanning nearly fifty years. His legacy is and will remain one of the most talked about and debated in Irish history. A devil to some, a saint to others he will perhaps be remembered most for one of the most dramatic political u-turns ever. However I fully expect Peter Robinson MLA MP to be fairly controversial himself. As I illustrated in an earlier post entitled New Taoiseach I explained how both sides have different interpretations of the Good Friday Agreement and what it means for the future status of Northern Ireland. Peter Robinson has already hinted at this.
Marin McGuinness, Gordan Brown and Peter Robinson at Downing Street last week

Last Friday Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness (Deputy First Minister) travelled to Downing Street to discuss some of the remaining thorny issues relating to the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement. Robinson then surprised everybody by making an issue of the attendance of Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheal Martin claiming that this was an internal issue for Northern Ireland. An internal issue it clearly was not if the meeting was taking place at number 10. The Good Friday Agreement recognises the Dublin government's right to be involved in the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement. Any meeting where the British Government is represented, the Irish government is entitled to the same. This is a very simple example of how unionists and republicans view the Good Friday Agreement differently and what it means for Northern Ireland future. This difference will eventually have to come to a head.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Robert Kennedy anniversary

On this day forty years ago Robert Fitzgerald Kennedy was gunned down in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angelas. Moments earlier he had just completed his victory speech in the California primary. He was leaving the hotel via the kitchen when he was shot in the head by Sirhan Sirhan, a Palestinian that was angry at Kennedy's stance in the 1967 six day war.

Above, a mortally wounded Kennedy is cradled by a member of the kitchen staff.

Apparently RFK's last words were "is everybody else ok". If accurate this is truly amazing. Think how power hungry and determined you have to be to become president of the US and there is litte doubt that RFK would have won the 1968 election. As he lay there about to die he could have been thinking, my enemies have got me, I'm not going to be president, I'll never find out who murdered by brother, I'm not going to be able to end the war in Vietnam. As all these thoughts must of been running through his head the only words he could muster were "is everybody else ok". I do not know if RFK was a one off but I do know that they are truly unique last words for a man of his stature and they do not fit the profile of the self obsessed vain personalities that we often associate with politicians of that level.

Gubu World wonders what Robert Kennedy would think of America and the world today. Forty years after his death thousands of Americans are dying in a war without end in sight. In America the gap between the rich and poor has never been wider. And around the world over one billion people are suffering from food shortages. These are all issues that were close to RFK's heart. So forty years after Robert Kennedy's death a charismatic politician that holds many of the same values has just won the democratic nomination. Will he achieve what an assassins bullet prevented RFK from achieving four decades ago. We will see, exciting times.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Quick Question

When was the last US Presidential election where there was neither a Bush or a Clinton running on the final ticket for either President or Vice President? The answer later today.

Bill Clinton in all his glory

Bush's famous one fingered victory salute

Bush Senior and Junior enjoy a bit of deep sea fishing in New Orleans

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Why I support Obama

There is a very specific reason I support Barack Obama. The reason is simple, his stance on Iran. He is the only mainstream candidate that appears to me to have a genuine understanding of just how complicated the Iranian situation is. He also appears to have a grasp of the horrific consequences of mishandling it.

Option one with Iran is to do nothing and take them at their word that they do not intend to develop nuclear weapons. This is unacceptable as it is simply a security risk that Israel is rightly unwilling to tolerate. The possibility that six or eight or ten guys in the Iranian regime could do a deal (possibly without the approval of the leadership)with the same number of guys in Hezbollah is intolerable. If that were to happen the Jewish people would face the realistic prospect of a second holocaust within living memory.

Option two is to attack Iran's nuclear sites. This again is extremely imperfect not most of all because it probably won't work. If either the US or Israel had the capability of accurately and successfully attacking Iran's numerous suspected nuclear sites then it would have happened by now. In any case the consequences of such reckless action are almost unthinkable. Iran's ability to retaliate is greater than most appreciate. They have a wide reaching spy network that could retaliate against American troops in dramatic fashion. We could see truck bombs like the one that killed 242 US marines in Beirut in 1983 happen all over the world. This could happen in Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE, all over Iraq and Afghanistan, maybe even South Korea, Germany the United States itself and God knows where else. The US might not after so many attacks be able to withstand the pressure to invade. And in that case let me just say that Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan all under US occupation would be completely unsustainable and would inflict such a disastrous defeat on America that it might never recover.

Option three, talk to Iran. The US has not had diplomatic relations with Iran since 1979. I have stated many times on Gubu Word that I believe Iran is one of the most misunderstood nations in the world. They are ultimately rational actors in International affairs and they like all of us conduct their foreign policy based on national interest. I personally believe that their national interest of respect and independence is what drives their conduct, not revolutionary or religious ideals. If a compromise can be achieved by reaching out to them is it not worth it given the improbability of success with options one and two. It hasn't even been tried yet. But Barack Obama is willing to give it a go and that is why Gubu World supports him.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Is Obama tough enough

As it now appears to be a near certainty that Barack Obama will be the democratic nominee for president the question of Obama's toughness and ability to withstand the attacks will come under scrutiny. We can all expect the level and intensity of these attacks to increase now that Hillary Clinton is out of the picture. When the right wing attack machine led by elements in the media is truly set in motion it will attempt to utterly destroy Barack Obama. Is he tough enough to withstand this. Time will tell. John Kerry was not. Remember swift boat veterans for truth. Watch this 2004 clip below where Michelle Malkin actually tries to claim that John Kerry's Vietnam war wounds were self inflicted.