Man President Kisses Up at AIPAC

Fractured Reflections on Kissability

By Greg Moses

first published at Counterpunch

Tuesday morning, 8:53 a.m., MAN PRESIDENT kisses Woman President and begins: “Thank you all very much. Finally, AIPAC elected a President I can kiss. (Laughter and applause.)” Mornings all should be like this–thanking crowds for electing kissable presidents. MAN PRESIDENT does not explain why he was previously unable to kiss AIPAC presidents. Nor does his audience require an explanation. MAN PRESIDENT only kisses women.

Study Question: what does MAN PRESIDENT mean when he says he “can” kiss this president? How does his threshold of kissability illuminate the freedom-loving central nervous system of the Judeo-Christian West? What fears and taboos are intuitively connected to their laughter and applause? How does MAN PRESIDENT propose to federalize these barriers into Constitutional Law? ….

Notes on United Iraqi Scholars Group

The following clips suggest that the United Iraqi Scholars Group, headed by Shaikh Jawad al-Khalisi, represents a unified movement with roots in previous independence struggles. The group has been organizing since late 2003.

The group not only rejects US occupation, but also questions plans being formulated by UN special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi.

  • Aljazeera (2004/5/9) Anti-occupation political Iraqi group forms in Baghdad

    The United Iraqi Scholars Group was formed after eight months of planning, and the meeting in Baghdad included representatives of 35 parties.

    Shaikh Jawad al-Khalisi, a senior Shia cleric who will head the group, said it wanted the handover of power to Iraqis on 30 June “done under the umbrella of the United Nations and not the CPA”, the U.S.-led occupying authority since last March’s invasion.

    Dr Muthana Harith al-Dhari, spokesman of the Association of Muslim Scholars, said: “We will inform Mr Brahimi about our total rejection of the Governing Council which we consider as being designed by the occupation.”

    The Governing Council’s Shia members in particular object to the UN’s direct involvement in planning the country’s next government, and disagree with al-Ibrahimi’s belief that a post-30 June interim government should be comprised of technocrats.

    In particular, the administration is said to be wedded to a large role for Adnan Pachachi, the former foreign minister who has guided the process of writing Iraq’s transitional constitution, and to figures tied to political groups loyal to Grand Ayat Allah Ali al-Sistani, the paper said.

  • Dr. Howard: Iraqi Americans Yahoo Group (2003/10/11)

    Shaikh Jawad Al Khalisi’s Grand Father ( Shaikh Medi Al-Khalisi) was the pioneer reformist in Iraq. Even the British Politicians admit that he was one of the few scolars and Human-rights Activists in his clean history in Al-jihad and in liberating the Moslem community from the bad traditions which were committed in the name of Islam by some Extremists.

  • City of Kazimiyah (undated, accessed 2004/5/13)

    Library named after Shaikh Mahdi Al-Khalisi (died 1343 AH / 1922 CE?), perhaps the grandfather referenced above?

  • Occupation Watch (2004/3/12) The National Conference for an Independent and Unified Iraq By Hana Ibrahim

    But at the Al-Khalisia religious school in Iraq where the first Iraqi revolution emerged in 1920 and where the Iraqi army was established, a group of people have created an Iraqi project that goes beyond the duality of dictatorship or occupation. The project calls for a national conference for an independent and unified Iraq. This group representing many political tendencies, national and Islamic (Sunni and Shiite) groups and parties, is united in its rejection of the occupation and calls for an end to the occupation as the first condition for creating a legal context in which to write an Iraqi constitution, conceptualize a democratic Iraq, and build a society governed by justice, freedom, equality and peace.

    Building institutionalized political structures should involve a national agreement to liberate Iraq by all legitimate means. First and foremost among these means is organized political work. To accomplish this, many large meetings have been held after months of preparation, dialogue, and research along two axes.

    The first axis involves supporting a coordinating committee to work on a national conference. The second axis is connected to an initiative of Sheikh Jawad Al-Khalisi, Dr. Harith Al-Dhari, general secretary of Islamic Scientists, and Mr. Abdul Sittar Samarai, undersecretary of the Democratic Reform Party. This initiative seeks to unite Shia and Sunnis in one unified Islamic body.

    It is worth mentioning that the Islamic Scientists are both Kurds and Arabs, and that the people working on the founding conference are from different Islamic, nationalist, patriotic, leftist, Christian, Turkoman and Kurdish groups and individuals. There are about fifty political groups represented, a regrouping of a broad number of political tendencies that emerged after the fall of the dictatorship.

    The first consultative meeting was held in Al-Khalisia on Friday, December 19th 2003, and was called the Friday of Unity.

    The second meeting was held in Um Alqura mosque on Friday, January 2nd 2004, and again called the Friday of Unity. It emphasized the idea of unity between Sunni and Shiites and an atmosphere of wholesome dialogue in order to build the founding National Conference under the slogan “Unity and justice are the basis of the state to which we aspire.”

  • Pulp (2004/4/8) By Geoff Kelly The Ends of Occupation

    Two days before the March 19 rally, one of its organizers, Sheikh Jawad al-Khalisi, the imam of a religious school in Khadamiya, nodded to one of his security guards, who stood just outside the door to the school’s library. In a minute, the guard returned with the fragments of a shell that al-Khalisi said had struck the mosque on March 4, two days after suicide bombers killed dozens of people outside his mosque and hundreds more in the southern city of Karbala during Ashura, the most important festival in the Shia religious calendar.

    Experts told al-Khalisi that the shell fragments came from a rocket, and that the angle of entry into the mosque suggested that it had been fired from a great height — as from an airplane or helicopter. And who in Iraq, he said, pointedly but with a smile, has airplanes and helicopters?

    Al-Khalisi is among the architects of an alternative body to the IGC, which so many Iraqis see as hopelessly compromised. This national conference of Iraqi leaders — Sunni and Shia, al-Khalisi said, as well as Christians and Jews — would form a congress that would steer the country toward democracy. Although at first its members would be no more freely elected than the exiles who constitute the IGC, this alternative assembly’s first commitment would be to hold open elections as soon as possible.

    Al-Khalisi’s school was the heart of the 1920 rebellion against British occupation of Iraq, a fact that imbues this movement to replace the IGC with some historical weight. Al-Khalisi’s grandfather was one of the leaders of that rebellion. The alternative national conference has the support of Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq’s most respected Shiite religious leader. Sistani is often described as a religious moderate but perhaps more aptly is described as thoughtful and slow to act, especially as he is aware that his words could unleash a civil war.

    The alternative national conference also has the support of the controversial al-Sadr. The Sunni cleric al-Dhari is on board, according to al-Khalisi, along with many others. The March 19 rally, he said, was to be “peaceful but not passive,” an example and a test of the strategy by which he hoped his national conference would succeed in displacing the IGC and shrugging off American influence.

  • AP (2004/3/5) By Matt Moore posted at Iraq Interim Constitution Signing Delayed

    The charter also came under fire from Shiite clergy at Baghdad’s Kazimiya shrine, one of the targets hit by suicide bombers in Tuesday’s attacks.

    The shrine’s top imam, Sheik Jawad al-Khalisi, dismissed the charter, saying it was created by an unelected body under U.S. domination. “It lacks legitimacy,” he told the Al-Arabiya television station.

  • Free Republic (2004/2/22) posting attributed to

    The Muslim Ulemma held a meeting at Imam Al-Khalisi’s Madinat Al-Ilm university in Kadhimiyah, Baghdad on the 15th of Thi Al-Qi’da, year 1424 of the Hijri calendar. And after looking into the overall condition of Muslims in the country and the developing problems they have been through, and in the light of Allah’s holy book and the Sunna of his prophet (pbuh), we have issued this obligatory fatwa for all muslims who believe in the two Shahadas to follow: (see next entry)

  • Occupation Watch (2004/3/12) Unity Decree signed by Jawad Al-Khalisi and others.

    It is a religious duty of Muslim scientists and heralds, preachers and teachers to stress love and unity in their speeches, to warn against division and separation and any attitude or speeches that do not protect and safeguard the welfare and interests of people.

  • Iraqi Press Monitor (2004/3/4) Muslim clerics group combats sectarianism

    (Azzaman) – The Muslim Clerics Board is undertaking intensive efforts to steer the country away from the threat posed by sectarianism. Sheik Hussein al-Nuamy, a member of the Consultancy Council, told Azzaman that Jawad al-Khalisi and a member of the Assembly recently met twice — in Kadhimiya and in Um al-Kura mosque — to confront the current situation and to unify the positions of Sunni and Shia. Governing Counsellor Muhsin Abdul Hameed yesterday met Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani. The two men agreed upon the need to oppose those who aim to promote sectarian conflict by creating splits between Muslims. In a meeting with Minister of Interior Noori al-Badran, Ayatollah Hussein al-Sader emphasised the need to have qualified policemen armed with modern equipment to enable them to better serve the people. The office of Ayatollah Mohammad Taki al-Muderresi referred to plans aimed at hindering formation of the Supreme Shia Council, which rejects the interim constitution. Meanwhile, Sheikh Naser al-Saedi, manager of the al-Sader office in Baghdad, said a symbolic mourning procession would be held for the slain Hamas leader, Sheikh Ahmed Yaseen, after Friday prayers and would be attended by clerics from different sects.
    (London-based Azzaman is issued daily by Saad al-Bazaz.)

  • TIDES: Iraq Reconstruction Report No. 64 (2004/1/5) Al-Jazirah report of Jan. 3: Iraqi Shia, Sunni Clregymen Stress Iraqi Unity, ‘Liberation’

    A preparatory meeting was held in the Umm al-Qura Mosque in Baghdad including Sunni, Shia, and other Iraqi groups with the aim of establishing a unified national congress that would include all the Iraqi people’s group, as the organizers say.

    [Begin a report by Baghdad correspondent Abd-al-Azim Muhammad] The conference was held this time under the slogan: For a stable Iraq and a legitimate state. This is within efforts by Iraqi Sunni and Shia clergymen to crystallize a unified stand in the face of calls for disunity and sectarianism, as the conferees say, and to face the challenges of the next phase, which includes the transfer of power to the Iraqis.

    [Begin recording of Jawad Khalisi, a Shiite Islamic scholar] A constituent conference representing all the Iraqi people will be an extremely momentous need for this country, so that this conference might decide what should be done. [End recording]

    The conferees, both Shia and Sunnis, stressed the important role they should play in resisting seditions that might undermine their country’s stability. They stressed the importance of resolutions by the conference that would not be mere words but would be translated into action.

    [Begin recording of Harith al-Dari, secretary general of the Islamic Ulema Council] if this meeting is intended to liberate Iraq and extricate it from this whirlpool, then we greatly welcome it and tell you that we are with you to the end of the road, with all our possessions, foremost of which are our lives. [End recording]

    [Begin recording of Jawad al-Khalisi] The aim of these meetings is not to please anyone but to build for the liberation for Iraq. This can be achieved only through an independent meeting by the sons of Iraq. [End recording]

    The first meeting between Ulema from the Sunnis and Shia stressed that the Iraqis’ stand must be united vis-a-vis the occupation, which controls their country and which the conferees say is promoting the divide-and-rule policy in order to prolong the occupation of Iraq.

    The continuous similarity of views and visions between the Sunnis and Shiites might abort the aims of those who want to divide up Iraq and play up sectarianism, as the conferees, both Sunnis and Shiites say. [End report] [Video shows the meeting, with both Sunnis and Shiite clergymen on the dais, and clergymen addressing the conference]

  • Radio Netherlands (undated, accessed 2004/5/13) attributed to Iraq Opposition Radio

    Radio of Jihad

    This station is operated by the Islamic Movement in Iraq, which is headed by Jawad Al-Khalisi and is part of the Shii Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution of Iraq (SCIRI). It probably broadcasts from Iran or Iraqi Kurdistan. Not frequently reported, the last known frequency was mediumwave 1539 kHz.

Reader Responds to "Denuded Pockebook of Ideals"

I find most offensive the suggestion that bringing to “justice” 6 ill educated and rather stupid people does anything more than make the unthinking feel slightly less guilty- wow that was close thank God the world knows it was not my fault- that americans are not like that- convincing arguments for the arab and Iraqi peoples.

For Rumsfeld to say the president knew nothing is to my mind the very reason why he should be instantly dismissed by Bush- a lack of knowledge is no legal defence but in the world of Bush good old Rummy deserves his full support. What one might ask does the president also know nothing about? Actually perhaps better that question remains unanswered!

Bush and his clowns as faithful followers of Dr. Goebbels- know how to influence people – know that fear is a wonderful thing especially in the hands of gifted pr professionals. Scare the population and they will happily give up their civil liberties, their right to check the power of governement etc etc. The same is true with the prison system- scare the people remind them that they must control crime, that criminals must be locked up, they must suffer after all they are guilty and God demands they pay! Of course the real tragedy is that by de humanising these inmates-both prisoner and wardens- means that they become de humanised and so crime and punishment become a vicious circle. Great if you build and run prisons but not for the rest of us. Why does society deal with every issue in a confrontational way- why not try and reach agreement, why not aim for consensus- it might even work and sure as eggs is eggs the policies that George and the other morons peddle do not- worst of all they put us all and the world at risk.

Charles Craske

Rotate the Demons, Serve the System:

Please, not another Lynch Mob

By Greg Moses

Published at Counterpunch

As it takes courage to insist upon the humanity of terrorists, so it takes courage to insist that torturers, too, were born crying like the rest of us. Now is not the time to replace one set of demons and witch hunts with another.

The opportunity is tempting enough for the world’s majority. We have been offended long enough by the demonizing rhetorics of the Bush-led war on terror. And we will not accept the apology, that beneficence is the ultimate value of his so-called anti-terror machine.

In opposing the Bush world order, we have to root out this logic of demonology, where evil actions are to be explained solely in terms of an isolated, evil few.

The logic of demonology, for instance, dominates the world view of CACI International Chair and CEO, Dr. J.P. (Jack) London, who says flat out, regarding “our enemies” in the war on terror that, “These people must be eliminated.”

The danger today is that a world, which has too long suffered the effects of such demonology, will attempt to grab the essential logic of this war as its weapon, leaving only the question of conquest in place.

Dr. London’s logic is instructive for understanding how the Bush machine deploys itself as a system of power. “For centuries, the maxim was, ‘divide and conquer,” says Dr. London. “In the new, networked world, however, the watchwords are, ‘communicate and conquer.”

If the majority of the world is going to get out of this game alive, it important that we not re-deploy these logics of conquest or elimination. Otherwise, as we seek justice against the multiple atrocities that fill our lives, we will have nothing but more wars and more prisons before us.

The prison guards at Abu Ghraib bring us a warning that exceeds the meaning of their individuality. What they give us are images of a future speeded up, a future that we will certainly achieve worldwide if we do not reorganize ourselves thoroughly. And we have to begin that transformation today.

President Bush is saying that US prison workers in Iraq do not represent us as a nation. He wishes to disown them. But in his State of the Union Address this year, the President talked about 600,000 prisoners in America who will be released to the streets in 2004. US prisons, like Iraqi prisons, are terrible witnesses to freedom and justice. Nothing about them serves as evidence that we are a freedom-loving people.

In the US we have been party to a prison boom at home. Not only are we building and filling more prisons, but we are also intensifying the pain of prison life by withdrawing education, programs, and basic human comforts. Slavery in the USA is still Constitutional, according to the 13th Amendment, so far as convicts are involved.

When Bush’s logic of demonology is grafted to Dr. London’s theory of communication, it disables our ability to think our way into a democratic future. Privatized media, privatized corrections, and now privatized squads of torture, practice the cynical assumption that public democracy is irretrievable.

The peace movement argued against all these odds that Bush’s logic of war would aggravate the violence, not cure the world. Terrorists, argued the peace movement, have histories, and their histories are connected to our own histories in ways that—if we examine ourselves and our choices diligently—implicate us in a common world of pain.

Likewise now with the young American torturers. Their histories are bound up with our national logics of demonology, elimination, and conquest. They have exported into Iraq a garrison mentality and a theory of communication that promotes progress through iron will. The kind of justice we seek has to break these cycles of inhumanity, or we will have no peace in the end, even if the torturers are disowned and put away for life.

Two hundred billion dollars we can summon to pay contractors and wage war half a world away. Yet we have no money to fund a first-class initiative for public health or education. In Texas, school children will be lucky to get two percent more next year, just to name one example of bad faith. God protect our income from taxes. And please Lord, keep the contractors free to devour our public services at the going market rate.

The sickness of the terrorist is like the sickness of the torturer, and it is a sickness that begins in our own pocketbook of denuded ideals. We cannot afford to feed our frenzies any more. We have to reflect, forgive, and change paths. Now.

[After posting this, I read Stan Goff’s open letter to the soldiers of Iraq at Counterpunch, which counsels troops to analyze themselves for the role they play in deploying repression. I sent Stan the above article and he replied, “Dead On, Brother.” QED]