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11751  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: July 21, 2008, 04:18:55 PM
Where do you get the idea that the Iraqis clearly and unequivocally want us out?
11752  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China vs. Islam on: July 21, 2008, 09:32:15 AM

Terror groups still pose a 'threat' to Games

China Daily
Updated: 2008-07-21 06:44


Police arrest "terrorists" during the "Taishan Mountain 2008" drills in Jinan, East China's Shandong province in this June 30, 2008 file photo. [Xinhua]

The Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) poses a real threat to the Beijing Olympics because investigations show it has been plotting terror attacks on venues, a senior security official has said.

"It's not imaginary. We have been focusing on the ETIM and it has been labeled a terrorist group not only by our country, but also the international community," Ma Zhenchuan, director of the security command of the Beijing Games, said.

Ma Zhenchuan
"Intelligence reports show the group has been planning to carry out terrorist attacks during the Games," Ma told China Central Television (CCTV) over the weekend, stressing that his command had already worked out detailed counter-terrorism plans.

Police in Kashgar in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region said last week that they had busted 12 wings of transnational terrorist groups, including the ETIM and the Hizb-e-Tahrir, this year.

Earlier this month, the public security bureau in Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang, held a press conference to announce that five "terrorist groups" that were hatching plots to attack Games venues had been smashed and 82 people detained.

Police have destroyed 41 bases where Islamic militants used to get training, too, the bureau said.

Related readings:
 Beijing airport to adopt special security checks
 Olympic co-host city implements special airport security checks
 Olympic co-host city implements special airport security checks
 Three 'defence lines' set up to tighten Olympic security

Ma, however, warned that thwarting the ETIM does not mean safety because it is just a part of the terrorist threat to the Olympics.

"We have been cooperating with the security authorities of all participating countries" to thwart any plot to disrupt the Games.

Security and information officials of more than 80 countries have been collaborating with their Chinese counterparts to counter possible terrorist threats, the Beijing Daily has quoted an Olympic security official Kou Bo as saying.

Beijing has beefed up its security measures, including forming 40 anti-terrorism units with 188 members in the city alone.

The major tasks of the units will be to prevent terrorists from launching biological, chemical, nuclear or other radioactive attacks and bombings, Xinhua has reported. The units are on 24-hour duty from July 1.

The city has mobilized about 110,000 security guards plus more than 1 million residents and installed 300,000 cameras to help detect security threats, Ma said.

Armed policemen will patrol downtown and suburban Beijing to deter terrorists from launching any attack.

Security checks have also been tightened in all provinces, regions and other cities, as well as airports, train stations, bus depots and all entry and exit points.
11753  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Emergency Tips and Emergency Medicine on: July 20, 2008, 11:06:37 PM

Army Video Game Helps Save a Life in Raleigh
By John Gaudiosi, Special to WRAL LTW
Posted: Jan. 21, 2008

Editor’s note: John Gaudiosi is a national journalist who has been covering the video game business for more than a decade. In addition to blogging for at Gaming Guru and covering the video games industry for WRAL Local Tech Wire, he also writes about gaming for Wired Magazine, The Washington Post, and Yahoo! Games.

CARY - For the most part, mainstream media only reports negative video game stories--usually lamely blaming some real-world tragedy on some dated game like Doom. But here's a positive story involving the free online game, America's Army developed by RTP-based Virtual Heroes, and how a player was able to use his virtual medic knowledge to rescue a car accident victim.

Twenty-eight year old Paxton Galvanek credited the combat medic training he completed in the popular America's Army with teaching him the critical skills he needed to evaluate and treat the victims at the scene. This is the second time an America's Army player has reported successfully using medical skills learned through playing the game to respond in a life-threatening situation.

In order to assume the role of combat medic in the America's Army game, players must go through virtual medical training classes based on the actual training that real soldiers receive. The creators of America's Army developed the training scenarios with young adults in mind, recognizing their need to be able to respond in emergency situations. Through the game, players learn to evaluate and prioritize casualties, control bleeding, recognize and treat shock, and administer aid when victims are not breathing.

On Nov. 23, 2007, Galvanek was driving West-bound on I-40 in North Carolina with his family. About 25 miles south of Raleigh he witnessed an SUV on the east-bound lanes lose control of the vehicle and flip about five times. While his wife called 911, he stopped his vehicle and ran across the highway to the scene of the accident.

Assuming the role of first responder, he quickly assessed the situation and found two victims in the smoking vehicle. Needing to extract them quickly, he helped the passenger out of the truck and noticed he had minor cuts and injuries. He told the man to stay clear of the smoking car and quickly went to the driver's side where he located a wounded man. He pulled the driver to safety on the side of the road.

Galvanek immediately noticed the man had lost two fingers in the accident and was bleeding profusely. The victim had also suffered head trauma. Galvanek located a towel, put pressure on the man’s hand, and instructed him to sit down and elevate his hand above his head while pressing the towel against his lost fingers. Galvanek then attended to his head cut and determined that injury was not as serious as his hand.

Roughly five minutes later, an Army soldier in plain clothing arrived on the scene of the accident and informed Galvanek that he was medically trained and could take over until the paramedics arrived. He looked over the injured men and told Galvanek that he had done a great job. Once the soldier assured Galvanek that the two men were in stable condition and there was nothing more he could do to assist until the paramedics arrived, Galvanek left the scene and continued on his journey.

Since America's Army launched on July 4, 2002, users have invested over 211 million hours virtually exploring the Army from Basic Training to operations in the War on Terrorism. America's Army ranks among the Top 10 online PC action games played worldwide. The game provides a unique, interactive experience allowing players to gain a perspective into Army occupations and values by assuming virtual roles as U.S. Army Soldiers. Players navigate through challenges real Soldiers confront. As they dominate these challenges, they expand opportunities for advancement and development in roles from Special Forces to combat medic.
11754  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: July 20, 2008, 10:46:13 PM

Progressive! Glad to see Obama's webmasters are so dilligent.  rolleyes
11755  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: July 20, 2008, 03:26:20 PM

Snubbed by Obama
By Christoph von Marschall
Sunday, July 20, 2008; B07

Barack Obama is on his way to Europe, where an adoring public awaits. But I wonder if the reception would be quite so enthusiastic if Obama's fans across the Atlantic knew a dirty little secret of his remarkable presidential campaign: Although Obama portrays himself as the best candidate to engage the rest of the world and restore America's image abroad, and many Americans support him for that reason, so far he has almost completely refused to answer questions from foreign journalists. When the press plane leaves tonight for his trip, there will be, as far as I know, no foreign media aboard. The Obama campaign has refused multiple requests from international reporters to travel with the candidate.

As a German correspondent in Washington, I am accustomed to the fact that American politicians spare little of their limited time for reporters from abroad. This is understandable: Our readers, viewers and listeners cannot vote in U.S. elections. Even so, Obama's opponents have managed to make at least a small amount of time for international journalists. John McCain has given many interviews. Hillary Clinton gave a few. President Bush regularly holds round-table interviews with media from the countries to which he travels. Only Obama dismisses us so consistently.

This spring Obama allowed at least one foreign reporter on trips to Ohio and Texas. But as the campaign has progressed, access has become more difficult for foreign correspondents. E-mail inquiries get no reply, phone calls are not returned. My colleagues and I know: We are last in line. We don't matter.

In September 2007, I gave a lecture in Iowa titled "The U.S. in the World: How They See Us." People in the audience asked me about the working conditions of foreign journalists and were surprised to learn how little access Obama had given us. Several Iowans wrote to his campaign to protest. In contrast to me, they did hear back: In a letter dated Nov. 24, the campaign assured one of these people that Obama cares about the foreign media and wants to increase openness. The letter even said that my contact information had been forwarded to the campaign's communications department.

There was no follow-up.

Since I followed the Obama campaign in its early stages and published a sympathetic (and widely read) book in German about the Illinois senator, I probably have more access than most. I know the Obama "policy advisers" in Washington think tanks and the like; sometimes I manage a fleeting encounter with the senator's press staff at campaign events. Yet I can only dream of an interview with the candidate. To my knowledge, no foreign journalist has had one. A reported interview in France's Politique Internationale last summer turned out to be a fake. In February, Obama gave Israel's Yediot Ahronot written answers to written questions about his views on Israel and the Middle East.

Perhaps Obama considers members of the foreign media a risk rather than an opportunity. His campaign learned the hard way how comments to foreigners can resonate at home -- recall adviser Austan Goolsbee's hints to a Canadian diplomat that Obama's critique of NAFTA was just campaign rhetoric, or former aide Samantha Power's "monster" remark about Hillary Clinton to the Scotsman. Or perhaps we're witnessing the arrogance that comes from being so close to power. One of his campaign advisers told me recently: "Why should we take the time for foreign media, since there is Obamania around the world?"

Obama is indeed popular in my country and elsewhere in Europe. But Europeans have the same questions about his experience and character that Americans do. Unlike U.S. citizens, we can't vote in the election; its results, though, will affect our lives, much as it will affect theirs. Surely a man who has said he would talk with U.S. adversaries such as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad can spend a few moments with journalists from friendlier countries.

The writer is Washington bureau chief of Der Tagesspiegel, a Berlin-based daily newspaper.
11756  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: July 20, 2008, 03:13:26 PM
Higher Folly
Diplomas won’t make jihadis go away.

By Michelle Malkin

In all the brouhaha over the New Yorker’s satirical cover cartoon of Barack and Michelle Obama, a truly “tasteless and offensive” passage in the magazine’s feature article got lost. The magazine piece quotes Obama’s recommendations for how to stop jihad, which he had previously published in a local Chicago newspaper eight days after 9/11. It’s a self-parody of blind, deaf, and dumb Kumbaya liberalism:

We must also engage, however, in the more difficult task of understanding the sources of such madness. The essence of this tragedy, it seems to me, derives from a fundamental absence of empathy on the part of the attackers: an inability to imagine, or connect with, the humanity and suffering of others. Such a failure of empathy, such numbness to the pain of a child or the desperation of a parent, is not innate; nor, history tells us, is it unique to a particular culture, religion, or ethnicity. It may find expression in a particular brand of violence, and may be channeled by particular demagogues or fanatics. Most often, though, it grows out of a climate of poverty and ignorance, helplessness and despair.

Is this man for real? Osama bin Laden’s murderous legions are plenty able to “imagine” the “suffering of others.” Go watch an al-Qaeda beheading snuff video. Just Google it or surf YouTube. Imagining the suffering of infidels is covered amply in basic Jihadi Training 101.

You’ll note, too, that Obama’s fresh instinct in the week after the 9/11 attack was to diagnose it as a “tragedy” stemming from lack of “empathy” and “understanding” — instead of as the deliberate, carefully planned evil act of the long-waged Islamic war on the West that it was.

As for Obama’s continued delusion about the “climate of poverty and ignorance” that supposedly breeds Muslim terrorists, can American politicians ever rid themselves of this unreality-based trope? This belief is part and parcel of the same idiocy that led the State Department to embrace “spa days” for Muslims to “build bridges” with the Arab world and President Bush to open up our aviation schools to more Saudi students to “improve understanding.”

John McCain also alluded to education-as-cure for Islamic terrorism at the L.A. World Affairs Council in March, when he declared, “In this struggle, scholarships will be far more important than smart bombs.” Just what we need: more student visas for the jihadi-infested nation that sent us the bulk of the 9/11 hijackers.

Author and National Review Online blogger Mark Steyn’s sharp rejoinder to McCain then applies to Obama now: “There’s plenty of evidence out there that the most extreme ‘extremists’ are those who’ve been most exposed to the west — and western education: from Osama bin Laden (summer school at Oxford, punting on the Thames) and Mohammed Atta (Hamburg University urban planning student) to the London School of Economics graduate responsible for the beheading of Daniel Pearl. The idea that handing out college scholarships to young Saudi males and getting them hooked on Starbucks and car-chase movies will make this stuff go away is ridiculous — and unworthy of a serious presidential candidate.”

Ayman al-Zawahiri didn’t need more education or wealth to steer him away from Islamic imperialism and working toward a worldwide caliphate. He has a medical degree. So does former Hamas biggie Abdel al-Rantissi. Seven upper-middle-class jihadi doctors were implicated in the 2007 London/Glasgow bombings. Suspected al-Qaeda scientist Aafia Siddiqui, still wanted by the FBI for questioning, is a Pakistani who studied microbiology at MIT and did graduate work in neurology at Brandeis.

And as I’ve reported before and must reiterate for the hard of hearing in Washington, lowering academic standards at American colleges helped al-Qaeda mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed further the jihadi cause. In the early 1980s, he enrolled at tiny Chowan College in Murfreesboro, N.C., which had dropped its English requirements to attract — ahem — wealthy Middle Easterners.

At Chowan, Mohammed bonded with other Arab Muslim foreign students known as the “Mullahs” for their religious zeal. Mohammed then transferred to North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, where he earned his degree in mechanical engineering along with 30 other Muslims.

Mohammed applied his Western learning to oversee the 1993 World Trade Center bombing plot (six Americans dead), the U.S.S. Cole attack (17 American soldiers dead) and the 9/11 attacks (3,000 dead). He has also been linked to the 1998 African-embassy bombings (212 dead, including 12 Americans), the plot to kill the pope, the murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl and the Bali nightclub blast that killed nearly 200 tourists, including two more Americans.

Perhaps bleeding-heart Obama thinks a master’s degree in social work would have convinced poverty-stricken, helpless, ignorant, despairing Mohammed to change his mind?


National Review Online -
11757  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: July 20, 2008, 01:08:45 PM
Ahhh GM, this is getting fun.

Taking in order:

1.  Don't get your first point regarding treatment of GI's (it was bad) in relationship to my point about targeting a military target.  My point was that the Japanese didn't target civilians like the USA did.

**Really? WWII started with Pearl Harbor? That's a very ethnocentric position to take. Let me help you out. Most scholars point out the start of the 2nd Sino-Japanese war on 7/7/1937, which would eventually expand throughout asia and the pacific. America entered the war after Pearl Harbor. You might want to read up on Japan's targeting and treatment of the peoples it conquered long before the US fired a single shot in the war. It won't exactly fit your "It's all America's fault" paradigm, but it would serve you to learn more than the typical leftist talking points if you wish to make your case.**

2. "Masses of brown people" (I haven't heard that in a while) "in mass graves don't bother the left..."  actually it does, but at that point, the war was over - we had our butts kicked.  As for "mass graves" what do you think Napalm does?  Or fire bombing?  Or nuclear war?  It leaves mass graves of civilians.

**Again, more missing history. Where were the anti-war protesters when the communists murdered roughly 2.5 million innocents after the democrats in congress cut off funding to the South Vietnamese and Cambodia's Lon Nol governments? Ever hear Jane Fonda or any other leftist luminary weep for the innocents they helped murder and oppress? Where was the concerned then? Why don't you know about the Japanese atrocities in asia? The racism you wish to project on others?

The US won every military engagement in Vietnam. The left in America was all the NVA had going for them. At the worst, we could have had a partitioned Vietnam like we have a partitioned Korea, with at least half of the nation free. Not good enough for the "peace movement". Where is the remorse? Where is the regret?**

3. Yep, war is brutal; no disagreement there.  A better option?  Find someone smarter than me.  But I think it was/is wrong to focus on killing civilians like America did through fire bombing and nuclear.  Why not stick to the military targets?  It's a little more humane.

**The US fights it's wars with the resources and technology it has. No other nation in history has gone to the lengths the US has in modern times to try to spare, feed and treat innocents while engaging in war. Don't agree? Who, when and where?**

4. "choose between dead enemy civilians and dead US Troops, I'd choose for dead enemy civilians.   I make no apologies if that's the only choice."  I guess this is the main difference between you and I.  I mean why not kill the woman and children in Iraq on sight if it saved a few American soldiers?  Heck, by your definition if it helps the war effort, maybe we should target woman and children if it saves a American lives.  Do anything to win, huh?  If we lost WWII who do you think would have been on trial as war criminals.  We are lucky, we either win and act noble, or we lose (Vietnam) and run fast.

**Exactly my point. It would have been easier to subdue Iraqi villages by using Saddam's playbook of cutting off food, water, electricity and then mass killings until resistance ended. No Iraqis need be alive to pump oil. Yet instead we build schools, infastructure and treat the sick and wounded and created a semi-decent government instead of tyranny. Why go to such trouble if America is just a machivellian brute?

The US military didn't lose Vietnam. The left undercut the war and the Vietnamese paid dearly. Not that it seems to bother you.**

5. We rebuilt German and Japan and western Europe...  Hmmm, and you think we did that only out of love and kindness???  Please... We, the USA needed the deterrence against Russia. 

**In 1945, the US was in full wartime economy mode. US forces spanned the world. Only America had the bomb. Patton had wanted to move to finish off the shattered soviets, yet instead we de-militarized to such a degree that by 1950 we were barely able to deal with the Korean war. Not exactly what an empire would do, right?**

Also, we needed trading partners; who was left?  And we needed military bases to protect the US.  We never gave a hoot about Japan's defense; it was mostly for our benefit to stop Communism.  I mean look at Japan; if it wasn't for our demanding (spoils of war?) huge property worth billions of dollars in Japan for our military bases right after WWII we would have been kicked out a long time ago.  Would you believe it; Japan even pays us billions of dollars to keep our troops there - we are sort of like mercenaries.  And this was all done from agreements enforced upon them after the war 50+ years ago.  And our troops still can't keep their pants on off base.  If the Japanese people voted today, we would be sent packing. 

**The Japanese DO vote today. Do you know anything about asia at all? You seem very comfortable smearing our troops. Let's examine the facts:

High crime rate a 'misperception': U.S. commander


Staff writer
The rate of off-base crimes committed by members of the United States military in Japan is much lower than the rate for Japanese in general, but a "misperception" that the opposite is true still persists, the commander of U.S. Forces Japan said Tuesday.

Meet the general: Lt. Gen. Edward Rice, commander of U.S. Forces Japan, gives a group interview in Tokyo on Tuesday. REIJI YOSHIDA PHOTO
"We are able to keep the off-base serious crime rate for U.S. service members to approximately half that of the overall Japanese population," Lt. Gen. Edward Rice told reporters in a group interview in Tokyo.

Rice emphasized that "a balanced view" is needed to discuss crimes involving U.S. service members in Japan.

The U.S. Air Force later released a statement saying the crime rate among U.S. forces personnel in Japan is in fact less than one-third of the overall rate in the country. The figures for the U.S. military personnel cover crimes committed outside the bases.

During the interview, Rice also stressed that U.S. forces have been implementing a number of programs to ensure correct behavior by U.S. military personnel since the alleged rape of a 14-year-old girl in Okinawa by a marine in February.

U.S. forces have been coming under particularly strong criticism from the opposition parties in the Diet, which now control the House of Councilors. In April, the upper chamber made a decision to reject a budget bill for host-nation support, the first time it had ever done so. The budget eventually went into effect in May because it had already been approved by the more powerful Lower House, whose decisions on foreign treaties prevail under the Constitution.

Rice declined to make any direct comments on the political situation in Japan but said he believes spending for the U.S. military here is "a good investment" for Japan's security and that of the region.

"It would cost many times more . . . to be able to provide the equivalent level of security for Japan and Japanese people," Rice said. "I think it becomes clear that at the end of the day this is really a bargain for the Japanese people."

According to a 2004 report compiled by the U.S. Department of Defense, Japan contributed direct financial support worth $3.23 billion and indirect support worth $1.18 billion to the U.S. military in fiscal 2002.

The Japan Times: Wednesday, July 16, 2008

   As for my "noble" comment, what would America do?  Would WE allow a foreign power to station troops on our property?  Ha, we don't even allow them in our hemisphere. 

**Really? Which hemisphere would you find Cuba in?**

We like two sets of rules, one for us and one for everyone else.  Russia is recently upset we are planning a missile system in their backyard, but we say, "don't worry...." but if they tried to do that in Mexico we would send troops to stop them if necessary.  Again, two sets of "convenient" rules.  Again, a benefit of being the biggest kid in the sandbox, but that doesn't make it right.

6. Japanese American Citizens in Prison camps.  Actually, a lot of Democrats and Republicans supported putting the Japanese in prison camps. 

**Yes, but FDR authorized and signed Executive Order 9066.**

 But the German's were safe in America despite all their atrocities during the war.  Now that's true racism. 

** You must have missed this part of WWII history as well.**

 And yes, other countries have racism too, they just don't deny it or ignore it like we do and act noble about it. 

**Really? Please give some examples of countries you admire and would cite as examples of your point.**

 It's the hypocrisy I hate.

**You mean hypocrisy, like someone who enjoys the wealth and freedoms of America while bashing the military and the nation?**

7.  "Too old" That sounds like blatant ageism to me".  I love old people, but Yep, I think he is too old to be our President.  And yep, it is blatant ageism.  IBM wouldn't hire him to be their president; he's too old.   Microsoft wouldn't hire him to be their president, he's told old....... Heck, no major USA or International Company or Consulting firm would hire him to be their president because he is too old.  Simply put, he's past his prime for the job.  And I can't think of a job that is more important.  We need someone at their best.  So why would America hire him to be our President?

Funny, my wife's asian culture, and my Native American culture teach respecting our elders. You wish to use the modern corporate culture as your yardstick. Interesting.
11758  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: July 20, 2008, 10:06:40 AM

Obama uber alles.
11759  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: July 20, 2008, 09:53:15 AM

Before you defend Imperial Japan, you might want to read up on the "Rape of Nanjing/Nanking".

You are right.

But, if you want to bring the subject up, Pearl Harbor was an attack on a Naval Base...a military
operation against military personnel.

**So what? Ask the people of any place occupied by the Japanese during WWII how they were treated. See how the Japanese treated western POWs.**

But what was My Lai...etc..............And from what I heard from my slightly older friends,
who did serve in Vietnam, we didn't follow the Geneva Convention....And do you really
think Naplam discriminated between troops and woman and children???

**It's funny how the left gets so excited about innocents killed by the US in combat, yet is so deliberately ignorant of masses of people murdered by communists. Once the democrats forced the abandonment of the S. Vietnamese and the communists took over, the "peace movement" gave a collective shrug. Masses of brown people in mass graves don't bother the left, unless it can be used as a propaganda weapon against America.**

And the fire bombing of Tokyo??? 250,000 mostly women and children dead???
Were pretty good at killling woman and children.  But maybe that's just war?

**Maybe it is. War is brutal and horrible. Do you have a better option?**

And the atomic bombs, again 500,000 dead, again mostly woman and children???
There were few if any troops in Hiroshima or Nagasaki.  There was no industrial complex there.........
Just families.

**If I have to choose between dead enemy civilians and dead US troops, i'd choose for dead enemies. I make no apologies if that's the only choice.**

Please don't act so noble.  We do what it takes to win, but we are no better than anyone

**Doing what it takes to win doesn't mean we are like everyone else. We rebuilt Germany and Japan and western europe and protected them from the soviets as well.**

Not to mention putting in prison American Citizens by the thousands whose only "crime"
was that they were of Japanese ancestry.  Odd, my Grandfather (a doctor) was a German
living in Wisconsin but he never go arrested.  Nor did my Mother.  A little bit of racism again???
America likes to blame the "other guy" especially if they are Black or Asian or Islamic or Mexican.

**You'll note that this was done by that liberal icon FDR, over the objections of J. Edgar Hoover. Are you asserting that only America has racism?**

America likes to to take the high road, but usually (WWII Europe was different) we have
a monetary self interest, not idealism at heart.  We just like to "justify" our wars, paint the
other guy as the "bad guy" rather than calling a spade a spade.  It's more politically correct.
And it sure sells better.

**WWII, pacific theater wasn't justified? What other wars do you not find justified?**

As for Obama, I am not saying he is a panacea.  But McCain?  Too old, that is a big deal to me,
and frankly, if his daddy wasn't an high ranking admiral, McCain would be a nobody. 

**McCain could have done anything, including a safe career in the navy without flying dangerous missions over N. Vietnam. He could have been released early from NVA captivity, but chose to stay with his men. His son chose to enlist with the Marines and has seen combat in Iraq, yet McCain has never discussed this in public. Too old? That sounds like blatant ageism to me.**

 He is
an opportunist.  He dumps his wife for a younger and more important, richer (and smart) woman. 
All his life he has succeeded through using people.  Yes, he has experience, and frankly,
he is not a bad guy, but.....couldn't the Republicans do better???

**Yeah, let's not examine Obama's opportunism. The grandmother that raised him after his father abandoned him was "just a typical white person", right? His pastor and spiritual mentor "God damn America" Wright fit neatly under his bus when he found too much political liability. Does Tony Rezko's creative financing of Obama's home bother you at all?**

But back to America.  Nothing wrong, we simply do what we need to do that being what's good for
America.  But please don't cloak it behind righteousness, goodness, and democracy.  We do it
because it benefits America.  Period.  As does everyone else; we just happen to be the biggest
and baddest kid on the block.  That doesn't always make us right.

**We have done, and do many things for the cause of freedom. Many people across the world have a better life because of America. No nation in human history has had more power and has used it more justly than this nation. If there is a better country, why aren't you living there?**

As for CCP I take full credit; don't blame OR give credit to Obama   smiley

Again, as for CCP I agree, I don't know what in the world Obama is doing giving a major speech in Germany.
I agree, maybe he should win the election first???  By no means a given - I think it will be close.

Again, as for CCP, you got to love it; Obama as President, Hilary as the Vice President, and
Bill (Mr. President) as the VP's wife.  Would you want to be President???   rolleyes

11760  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: July 19, 2008, 10:54:05 PM
I'm glad to see that NPR is all over the wave of hunger in America.

I blame Bush!
11761  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: July 19, 2008, 10:19:40 PM

Don't believe tha' hype:

In addition, Barry-O has had so many different positions on Iraq, sooner or later he might be correct having covered the entire spectrum of options.

Edited by Marc to add the content:

Maliki: Obama’s 16-month timetable sounds good; Update: Spiegel changes quoteposted at 12:15 pm on July 19, 2008 by Allahpundit
Send to a Friend | printer-friendly Here’s the exchange from Spiegel’s English translation, duly hyped by Reuters as tacit evidence of Liberal Jesus’s foreign-policy sagacity.
SPIEGEL: Would you hazard a prediction as to when most of the US troops will finally leave Iraq?
Maliki: As soon as possible, as far as we’re concerned. US presidential candidate Barack Obama is right when he talks about 16 months. Assuming that positive developments continue, this is about the same time period that corresponds to our wishes.
The unasked follow-up question: How about the 14-month timetable that Obama wanted to set in January 2007 to start pulling troops out before those positive developments could occur? How keen does that look in hindsight? To repeat a point made yesterday, the only reason a timetable or “time horizon” is arguably a responsible strategy now is because it was properly rejected as being irresponsible then. Maliki hints at that in another part of the interview:
So far the Americans have had trouble agreeing to a concrete timetable for withdrawal, because they feel it would appear tantamount to an admission of defeat. But that isn’t the case at all. If we come to an agreement, it is not evidence of a defeat, but of a victory, of a severe blow we have inflicted on al-Qaida and the militias.
Exactly, which at least partly explains why Bush is more willing to compromise now on some sort of informal schedule. Compare Maliki’s justification for the timetable to Obama’s justification in his big Iraq speech. The pacification of the country is almost incidental, something to congratulate Petraeus on and then quickly move past. To the extent conditions in Iraq seem to affect his rationale at all, he offers this: “In the 18 months since the surge began, as I warned at the outset – Iraq’s leaders have not made the political progress that was the purpose of the surge. They have not invested tens of billions of dollars in oil revenues to rebuild their country. They have not resolved their differences or shaped a new political compact.” I.e. it didn’t work, so let’s get out. Back to Maliki for a rebuttal:
SPIEGEL: In your opinion, which factor has contributed most to bringing calm to the situation in the country?
Maliki: There are many factors, but I see them in the following order. First, there is the political rapprochement we have managed to achieve in central Iraq. This has enabled us, above all, to pull the plug on al-Qaida. Second, there is the progress being made by our security forces. Third, there is the deep sense of abhorrence with which the population has reacted to the atrocities of al-Qaida and the militias. Finally, of course, there is the economic recovery.
He’s exaggerating the extent of the reconciliation, but not entirely.
One more quote from the interview which I dare say won’t be making it into the inevitable Team Barry press release. The fact that Maliki thinks the war was good for Iraqis doesn’t mean it was good for America, needless to say, but Obama fans eager to exploit the timetable bit may want to mull this before baptizing his judgments with Absolute Moral Authority:
SPIEGEL: Mr. Prime Minister, the war and its consequences have cost more than 100,000 lives and caused great suffering in your country. Saddam Hussein and his regime are now part of the past. Was all of this worth the price?
Maliki: The casualties have been and continue to be enormous. But anyone who was familiar with the dictator’s nature and his intentions knows what could have been in store for us instead of this war. Saddam waged wars against Iran and Kuwait, and against Iraqis in the north and south of his own country, wars in which hundreds of thousands died. And he was capable of instigating even more wars. Yes, the casualties are great, but I see our struggle as an enormous effort to avoid other such wars in the future.
For context, here’s Petraeus on MSNBC yesterday afternoon (before the Spiegel interview was published) responding to reports that Maliki wants a timetable. He fudges a bit with the “time horizon” terminology, but note well the point about domestic politics and assertions of sovereignty. Another “positive development.” Exit question: What do we do now with that NYT piece from the other day about Iraqis who love Obama for bringing Hope but pray that the U.S. security presence doesn’t Change?

Update: Spend some time with this AP story about U.S. troops — who would have been reduced to a small Baker/Hamilton token force by now if Obama had had his way last year — helping Iraqi villagers rebuild after purging Al Qaeda. Quote: “It reveals how drastically American troops have shifted their focus from combat to helping Iraqis build on a newfound, if fragile, peace. And it reflects a continuing concern among U.S. commanders that the security gains could slip.” Not just among U.S. commanders, per the NYT piece.
Update: A commenter notes that Spiegel has rewritten the translation of the exchange about withdrawal to read as follows. There’s nothing in the article calling attention to the change; they’re trying to put one over on their readers, it seems.
SPIEGEL: Would you hazard a prediction as to when most of the US troops will finally leave Iraq?
Maliki: As soon as possible, as far as we’re concerned. U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama talks about 16 months. That, we think, would be the right timeframe for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes.
They’ve dropped the contingency about positive developments continuing, although it’s still implied by the part about potentially changing the plan. Did Maliki contact Spiegel and ask them to drop that part so that the quote would sound more assertive back home? Hard to believe the original translation would have been so off as to include a bit about “positive developments” that he never said.
11762  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: July 19, 2008, 03:52:49 PM

Before you defend Imperial Japan, you might want to read up on the "Rape of Nanjing/Nanking".
11763  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: July 19, 2008, 03:16:30 PM

Maybe that is because Sen. McCain is soooooo boring???  I mean listen to him speak; even his supporters
fall asleep.  The networks are a business.  They go where the ratings will be.  Who/What does
America want to watch???  What will drive ratings?  And it isn't McCain.

**Is Obama more interesting than McCain? Sure. Should we as a people select a president using the same criteria we'd use to select a talk show host? Especially in a time of war and loose nukes? Should the MSM have at least try for a superficial attempt at impartiality?**

And good grief, McCain is over 70 years old!  Most people retire at 65; most top investment firms
and nearly all top accounting firms have mandatory retirement at 60 - they want fresh new ideas
and energy from people at their prime.  I mean we all should love and respect our Grandfather, but ...

**Obama's ideas aren't new. Some of them date back to the Carter administration. His pursuit of an American defeat in Iraq is very 60's. Perhaps having seen the impact of those ideas firsthand, McCain is in a better position to avoid the repeat of those mistakes.**

ps  Didn't Sen. McCain earlier criticize Obama for not going overseas and on at least two occassions didn't he taunt
Obama to do so?  I guess Obama just listened and followed his advice.  And now McCain complains that Obama
gets all the attention???  hmmm 

**I'm glad Obama is traveling overseas. Sadly, the trip is probably now one of the more important accomplishments in his wafer thin resume, not that the anchors will be pointing this out in the midst of their fawn-fest.**
11764  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: July 18, 2008, 09:02:58 PM

11765  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: July 18, 2008, 03:49:22 PM

11766  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: July 18, 2008, 03:43:28 PM

Anchors Away!

By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Thursday, July 17, 2008 4:20 PM PT
Journalism: Barack Obama is headed overseas, with the three network anchors trailing behind him like groupies ga-ga over a rock star. And they say that media bias is just a myth.

Obama will begin his travels Friday with a visit to Europe and continue on to the Middle East. These are not normal campaign stops for a man running for president. But Obama is no common man — at least as the media see him.
They have uncritically anointed him a savior and are eager to be in his presence as he makes his "historic" trip. NBC News anchor Brian Williams, ABC anchor Charles Gibson and CBS anchor Katie Couric will be on hand, and they'll scratch and claw each other to get that exclusive interview.
Obama's arrogance — playing president and planning to speak in front of Berlin's symbolic Brandenburg Gate — is unseemly enough. But the media fawning is a disgrace. Other than those reporters assigned to John McCain, do they even know that Obama's opponent in the fall has made not one, but three trips overseas since March?
Not only did the anchors pass on those tours, their respective networks "provided little if any coverage of any of them," according to an analysis by the Media Research Center. When McCain was in Europe and the Middle East for a week in March, the networks that will immortalize Obama's triumphant tour carried only four full stories on the trip.
"CBS did not even send a correspondent along" and offered "only one report consisting of only 31 words" over 10 seconds for "the entire week Sen. McCain was abroad," the MRC reports.
The media, which seem endlessly interested when Obama downs a hot dog or picks up a basketball, and which feel a collective tingle in their legs whenever he speaks, couldn't even limit their description of the junior senator's haircut to 31 words.
Network chiefs say they need to be with Obama on this trip to record how he performs on the world stage. That's plausible. We'll believe it, though, only if Obama commits a gaffe and the press actually does more than gloss over it.
The liberal national media are free to put all their resources into Obama coverage, encourage Americans to vote for him and ignore McCain entirely. Our Constitution gives them the liberty to do just that. What rankles us is the facade of objectivity they put up. All we're asking for is some honesty.
11767  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: July 18, 2008, 03:40:42 PM

I think that's like saying there is some anti-semitism found at a "nation of islam" gathering....
11768  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Empty suit alert! on: July 18, 2008, 09:34:37 AM

Gaffemaster Alert: The Pearl Harbor Bomb

Barack Obama must have gone off script again in West Lafayette, Indiana on Wednesday.  When addressing the crowd on national security, Obama mangled the attack on Pearl Harbor.  For a Hawaii native, this tops the Young Gaffer list of historical fumbles (via Dean Barnett):

But it is wonderful to be back in Indiana. In a few moments, we’ll open up the discussion. But I want to offer a few comments about some of the emerging threats that we face in the 21st century and offer some ideas about how we can face those threats.

Throughout our history, America’s confronted constantly evolving danger, from the oppression of an empire, to the lawlessness of the frontier, from the bomb that fell on Pearl Harbor, to the threat of nuclear annihilation. Americans have adapted to the threats posed by an ever-changing world.

Just to clarify: a whole lot of bombs fell on Pearl Harbor.  And the threat wasn’t the bomb, it was the empire that send massive waves of planes to drop them on our Pacific Fleet.  Those bombs fell because we didn’t adapt to the threat, and in fact we kept telling ourselves that we could talk the Japanese out of their policy of aggression and empire.  We came within a few aircraft carriers of losing the Pacific out of our willful blindness to the nature of the Japanese.

The same can be said for the “nuclear annihilation” Obama also mentions.  The threat wasn’t nuclear annihilation as such; that was part of the threat, not the entire threat itself.  The real threat came from another kind of empire, one that wanted to conquer from within as well as without — and the American Left after 1969 spent most of its time arguing that they threat didn’t really exist, that Soviet Communism wanted peaceful coexistence, and that socialism and Communism was the achievement of Utopia.  After Jimmy Carter’s disastrous cheek-kissing with Leonid Brezhnev and the invasion of Afghanistan that followed, America woke up and put adults in charge - and within a decade, the Soviet Union collapsed of its own contradictions and rot.

This gaffe goes beyond placing Auschwitz and Treblinka in western Germany or putting American troops in Poland during World War II.  It speaks to a fundamental superficiality of Obama, a man who seizes tropes and themes with little understanding of their significance or their details.   Obama reveals himself as a man who doesn’t understand threats at all, and whose instinctive responses would make them far worse.
11769  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: July 18, 2008, 09:29:12 AM
I don't mind, as long as they wear "Obama 2008" t-shirts while broadcasting.
11770  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: July 18, 2008, 09:24:02 AM
Yeah, I'm already sick hearing all the defenders justifying the Rev-uh-rund, with the "It's ok for black people...." double standard.  rolleyes
11771  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: July 18, 2008, 09:10:50 AM

Chertoff: European terrorists trying to enter US
By EILEEN SULLIVAN – 13 hours ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — European terrorists are trying to enter the United States with European Union passports, and there is no guarantee officials will catch them every time, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said Thursday.
Chertoff's comments on Capitol Hill comes as the country is entering a potentially vulnerable period with the presidential nominating conventions coming up next month; the presidential election in November; and the transition to a new administration in January — all of which may be attractive targets for terrorists.
In his last scheduled appearance before the House Homeland Security Committee, Chertoff said that the more time and space al-Qaida and its allies have to recruit, train, experiment and plan, the more problems the U.S. and Europe will face down the road.
"The terrorists are deliberately focusing on people who have legitimate Western European passports, who don't appear to have records as terrorists," Chertoff told lawmakers. "I have a good degree of confidence we can catch people coming in. But I have to tell you ... there's no guarantee. And they are working very hard to slip by us."
Chertoff and other intelligence officials have delivered similar warnings before, and he offered no new information about specific threats or an imminent attack.
Chertoff reiterated his concern that terrorists could sneak radiological material into the country on small boats or private aircraft. This material could be used to create an explosive device known as a "dirty bomb."
The Homeland Security Department has a strategy to protect against this small boat vulnerability and is testing radiation detection equipment in Seattle and San Diego ports.
Chertoff said that getting out a regulation to prescreen and enhance security of general aviation aircraft coming to the U.S. from overseas is one of his top priorities.
He also said he expects to approve new radiation detection technology this fall.
Responding to a question from Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, Chertoff dismissed any rumor that he is on a list of potential running mates for Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. Chertoff quipped that the only list he has for next year is a list of vacations.
Chertoff's term as the country's second Homeland Security Secretary ends when a new administration takes over the White House in January.
11772  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: July 18, 2008, 09:05:41 AM
The only thing the savages understand is violence. The weakness the idiot author lionizes is the way of those that passively shuffled into the death camps without protest, it's the making of the next shoah.
11773  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: July 17, 2008, 07:33:47 PM

Obama’s Nuclear Mission

On the same day that the Washington Post berated Barack Obama for his arbitrary deadline for getting out of Iraq, the Democratic presidential nominee again demonstrated why he’s unqualified to serve as commander-in-chief.

Participating in a round table discussion at Purdue University, Mr. Obama warned about the dangers of “fighting the last war,” and pledged to focus on emerging nuclear, biological and cyber threats, if he’s elected in November.

From Brietbart and the Associated Press:

Two goals of his administration would be to secure all loose nuclear material during his first term and to rid the world of nuclear weapons, Obama told an audience before the round table discussion at Purdue.

Obama said adhering to nonproliferation treaties would put pressure on nations such as North Korea and Iran. North Korea has tested a nuclear weapon and Iran has an energy program the Bush administration warns could be a precursor to nuclear weapon development.

"As long as nuclear weapons exist, we'll retain a strong deterrent. But we will make the goal of eliminating all nuclear weapons a central element in our nuclear policy," Obama said.

He added, "The danger ... is that we are constantly fighting the last war, responding to the threats that have come to fruition, instead of staying one step ahead of the threats of the 21st century."

Like many of Obama’s ideas, this one certainly sounds reasonable. After all, how could any right-minded individual oppose the elimination of nuclear weapons, and efforts to secure material that could be used in an atomic bomb?

Unfortunately, Mr. Obama’s nuclear proposal is little more than pie-in-the-sky fantasy, for several reasons. First, there’s his reliance on nonproliferation treaties to “pressure” nations like North Korea and Iran into compliance on their nuclear programs. Perhaps Senator Obama hasn’t noticed, but that sort of “pressure tactic” hasn’t worked very well with Pyongyang and Tehran.

In fact, decades of compliance and direct diplomacy have resulted in…a nuclear-capable North Korea (emphasis mine), and an Iranian regime that is on track to get the bomb in as little as two years. Quite a victory for non-proliferation, wouldn’t you say?

Fact is, irrational players like the DPRK and Iran will follow non-proliferation agreements only its suits their needs. Consider the case of North Korea; in 1994, Pyongyang entered into the infamous “Agreed To” framework with the United States and South Korea, a move that was hailed as a triumph for non-proliferation and direct diplomacy. In exchange for fuel oil and other forms of economic aid, Kim Jong-il was supposed to give up his nuclear weapons program.

What happened? Food and fuel shipments began flowing to North Korea; cameras and U.N. inspectors were installed at the DPRK’s “declared” nuclear facility (Yongbyon), and the lack of activity was duly recorded. Meanwhile, work on Pyongyang’s nuclear program continued in secret, producing the technical breakthroughs that resulted in the detonation of a crude nuclear device in 2006.

Undeterred, the Bush Administration stuck with the diplomacy option, sponsoring “Six-Party” regional talks that yielded a new agreement last year. Never mind that North Korea’s record in such matters is abysmal; or that Pyongyang dragged its feet on issuing required declarations of its nuclear activities. Or, that Kim Jong-il provided nuclear technology to Syria while he was finalizing the Six Party accord. Or that the DPRK may yet retain a covert program, still capable of producing nuclear weapons.

Unfortunately, Iran’s compliance record is no better than North Korea’s. Years of effort by the European Union and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have failed to produce a full accounting of Tehran’s nuclear program, or an agreement aimed at curbing those efforts.

But Mr. Obama believes that adhering to non-proliferation protocols will bring the Iranians and North Koreans in line; you can almost hear the laughter from Pyongyang and Tehran. So, why does the presumptive Democratic nominee believe that the failed policies of the past would be more successful under his administration? Obama has never explained, and (apparently) no one bothered to broach that subject during the Purdue forum.

There are other problems with Senator Obama’s proposal. He vows to retain a “strong” U.S. nuclear deterrent, while pursuing the elimination of those weapons. But what type of deterrent is Mr. Obama proposing? A flexible, robust arsenal, combining adequate numbers of strategic and tactical warheads, or a token nuclear force, along the lines of Great Britain and France?

Additionally, Mr. Obama has dodged another essential question related to the nuclear issue. Would he be willing to pursue unilateral cuts in our nuclear stockpile, as other Democrats have suggested in the past? If you follow that line of thinking, reductions in our inventory would (supposedly) prompt other nuclear powers to do the same. It’s a fool’s errand.

The Obama policy also ignores another, salient fact. Any reduction (or elimination) of nuclear weapons must be accompanied by significant increases in conventional forces, to provide the same deterrent value. One reason the U.S. invested so heavily in nuclear weapons during the 1950s was to offset the Soviet Union’s overwhelming advantage in conventional forces. As he reduces the size of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, how would Mr. Obama compensate for the decrease in our defensive posture?

Oh, that’s right. Since everyone would be part of that expanded non-proliferation regimen, there would be no need for an increase in our military forces, beyond those already outlined by the candidate. The naiveté of that “logic” is simply astounding.

That’s why we can’t resist taking a shot at Senator Obama’s thoughts on “fighting the last war.” Given the overwhelming success of the troop surge in Iraq, it would appear that our military has made the necessary adjustments for fighting a new type of enemy.

Beyond that, Pentagon planners have been working on future threats for generations—that’s why new weapons systems are developed, and strategy and tactics are continuously refined. Mr. Obama might be interested to know that the Air Force already has a cyber command, and its first, dedicated information warfare unit (which had an extensive cyber warfare mission) was established in 1992. Despite the military's legendary resistance to change, there are a few visionaries left in uniform and they were thinking about the "next war" long before Barack Obama.

To his credit, Senator Obama has worked on the nuclear non-proliferation issue in the past. Shortly after arriving in Washington, he signed on with the Senate expert in those matters—Indiana’s Richard Lugar—in sponsoring new legislation, aimed at dismantling a wider range of “leftover” weapons. The measure was based on the successful Nunn-Lugar bill of 1991, which provided money and expertise to help former Soviet republics dismantle their nuclear arsenals.

Along with role in authoring the bill, Obama also traveled with Mr. Lugar to Russia in 2005, inspecting “junkyards” of weapons that could be easily stolen or sold to terrorists. Mr. Lugar has been making these visits for more than a decade, but we can’t find any evidence that Senator Obama has been back to Russia since 2005. As with other Obama efforts, the initial flurry of activity suggests that the senator’s interest was aimed at filling a “foreign policy” square on his resume; once the bill became law (with his name prominently attached), Mr. Obama was ready to move on.
11774  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: July 17, 2008, 10:39:47 AM

Iraqis torn on troop withdrawal

The New York Times has a balanced and interesting article on how Iraqis view proposals to get American troops out of Iraq.  Most of them would like to see American combat troops out of the country, but many of those fear a too-rapid withdrawal and the chaos that would follow.  And while Iraqis see Barack Obama as a breath of fresh air, they don’t appear to like his military strategy anywhere near as much:

A tough Iraqi general, a former special operations officer with a baritone voice and a barrel chest, melted into smiles when asked about Senator Barack Obama.

“Everyone in Iraq likes him,” said the general, Nassir al-Hiti. “I like him. He’s young. Very active. We would be very happy if he was elected president.”

But mention Mr. Obama’s plan for withdrawing American soldiers, and the general stiffens.

“Very difficult,” he said, shaking his head. “Any army would love to work without any help, but let me be honest: for now, we don’t have that ability.”

Thus in a few brisk sentences, the general summed up the conflicting emotions about Mr. Obama in Iraq, the place outside America with perhaps the most riding on its relationship with him.

Withdrawal itself is not unpopular among Iraqis; a lot of them would like Americans to leave.  Most of them recognize, though, that the Iraqi Army won’t be ready to replace US troops for quite some time.  In some Sunni neighborhoods, the mainly Shi’ite IA can’t or won’t patrol to avoid provocations.  And while the numbers of IA troops have grown significantly, most of them need a lot of training and seasoning before they can operate completely independently of American leadership and logistics — and the Iraqis have no air power at all.

What they do not want to do is to provide an opening for al-Qaeda or militias to start another round of violence.  Another Golden Mosque bombing could touch off more sectarian and tribal feuding, and without the American troops nearby, the IA would still be unlikely to contain it.  As General Hiti understands, the nation needs stability for the next several years while all of the elements of security get developed to independent status, including air and naval power, both of which the Iraqis have had to postpone in order to get its army and police reconstituted.  Otherwise, all of the gains made in the last year will evaporate, and the Iraqis will have to go back to a bunker existence.

The article doesn’t break new ground as much as it gives background for the question which will remain primary in the upcoming American and Iraqi elections.  When can the Americans end its combat stance in Iraq, and what comes afterwards?    Even the Iraqis have no clear conception of the answers, but as one said, the Americans have a moral obligation to finish what we started and make sure the job gets done right.
11775  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: July 17, 2008, 10:23:14 AM
**Even the "Associated with terrorists Press" has to agree**

Iraq's al-Qaeda fighters now ‘furtive terrorists’

Article posted July 17, 2008 - 04:10 PM

COMBAT OUTPOST COPPER, Iraq - It's quiet around here in farm country, south of Baghdad where al-Qaeda once held sway. Just months ago US foot patrols through the wheat fields nearby would regularly draw fire — if the soldiers managed first to elude al-Qaeda-planted roadside bombs.

"The difference is night and day," says Capt. George Morris, 26. He and his soldiers in Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division walked the area this week to visit a handful of farm families five miles east of the town of Latifiyah, not far from the Tigris River.

And it's not just here. Throughout the country, al-Qaeda in Iraq, an insurgent organization thought to be affiliated with the global terrorist network but comprised mainly of Iraqis, has lost so much clout it is close to becoming irrelevant to the outcome of the war. The group has not been eliminated, however, leaving open the possibility of resurgence if the Iraqi government fails to follow up the military gains with civilian services like the irrigation that's badly needed here.

When President Bush announced in January 2007 that he was sending more than 21,000 extra US combat troops to Iraq — mostly to the Baghdad area — as part of a new approach to fighting the insurgency, commanders said their No. 1 focus was degrading al-Qaeda's ability to foment sectarian violence.

In the Latifiyah area, it's not hard to see that goal appears to have been achieved — an accomplishment that adds to the expectation that Bush will be able to further reduce US troop levels this fall.

Iraqi Army Capt. Jassim Hussein al-Shamari, whose men were part of Morris' foot patrol, has one explanation for al-Qaeda's fall.

"The people themselves will turn over the terrorists" if they show themselves, says al-Shamari. He's speaking through an interpreter to Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, a deputy commander of U.S. forces in the swath of once-violent territory stretching south of Baghdad from the Iranian border to Anbar province.

Buchanan sees it much the same way.

"The people are fed up with what they experienced under (al-Qaeda's) presence," Buchanan said, adding that the key to keeping the terrorist group down is having the government in Baghdad step in and provide more essential services, like the irrigation that farmers in the Latifiyah area find in short supply.

And there is a troubling disconnect between the central government and local leaders.

"The link to the government of Iraq is almost nonexistent here," Morris said.

So it remains an open question: Once US combat forces depart, whenever that may be, will al-Qaeda find an avenue for resurgence? It is generally accepted among US officers and intelligence specialists that despite its decline, al-Qaeda will remain in Iraq at some level long after the Americans are gone. The group had no meaningful foothold in the country before US forces invaded in March 2003.

There is no available official estimate of the number of al-Qaeda fighters in Iraq. A US intelligence estimate early this year put it at a maximum of 6,000, although it probably has fallen far lower recently. Perhaps more importantly, US officers said in a series of Associated Press interviews over the past 10 days that so many al-Qaeda leaders have been captured or killed that its remnants are ineffective.

Col. Al Batschelet, chief of staff for the US command overseeing military operations in the Baghdad area, said that once the leadership began disappearing, lower-level technicians were pressed into duty.

That had the effect of accelerating the group's decline: the technical experts were not as good at organizing and executing attacks, and by taking the lead they exposed themselves to being captured or killed. That, in turn, has left even less-technically skilled fighters to perform the specialized work of assembling bombs like al-Qaeda's signature weapon, the vehicle-borne improvised explosive device, officers said.

The triggering mechanisms of al-Qaeda's bombs have become less sophisticated and less effective, Batschelet said. Also, vehicle-borne IEDs used to contain hundreds of pounds of explosives, but they now typically are only 25 pounds.

"They just can't get the material any more to do what they want to do," Batschelet said. "But they still try. So we are unable to say that we've defeated their will" to continue their acts of violence.

Col. Bill Hickman, commander of 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, sees much the same thing in the neighborhoods of northwest Baghdad where his soldiers have witnessed a dramatic decline in violence this year.

"There are still disrupted cells of al-Qaeda in our area," he said in an interview. "So they're active, but they're not as effective as they used to be. And their IEDs are small IEDs now."

As for eliminating al-Qaeda entirely in Iraq, "That's probably not achievable," said Batschelet.

Although US and Iraqi forces have put enormous pressure on al-Qaeda by pursuing its leaders with relentless raids informed by improved intelligence this year, an even more important factor, arguably, was the decision by Sunni Arabs who had opposed the US occupation to ally with the Americans against al-Qaeda.

Whether those newfound allies — dubbed Sons of Iraq by their Americans benefactors — remain in opposition to the Sunni extremists, or decide to switch sides again, will tell much about al-Qaeda's future in Iraq.

Either way, however, the moment seems to have passed when al-Qaeda could prevail in this conflict. It has been forced out of its original strongholds in Anbar province, and more recently it has lost Baghdad and the northern city of Mosul, although it still can pull off a deadly attack there and elsewhere.

Stephen Biddle, an Iraq watcher in Washington at the Council on Foreign Relations, said in an interview that without an urban hideout, al-Qaeda is reduced to the role of being "furtive terrorists."

"If they don't have an urban area with a friendly population that can enable them to operate" — and from which to recruit fighters — "then they're going to be isolated terrorist actors," Biddle said. Thus, eliminating them entirely need not be the goal of US commanders and the Iraqi government.

"That's not central to the outcome of the war," Biddle said. - AP
11776  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: July 16, 2008, 11:04:06 PM

11777  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: July 16, 2008, 08:35:12 PM

Funny, I feel worse about Israel's security situation. A nuclear Iran is a mortal threat that has a chance to be stopped, but the window gets smaller daily.
11778  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mexico-US matters on: July 16, 2008, 09:39:38 AM
Mexico: The Early Signs of a Failed State?   
By Congressman Tom Tancredo | Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Mexican law enforcement officials are walking into U.S. ports of entry in increasing numbers to seek political asylum, and the flow may soon become a flood as Mexico's battle with the drug cartels intensifies. Our first instinct is to welcome them, but there is more at stake than humanitarian sentiments.
The problem is that if our immigration laws are stretched to grant asylum to law enforcement personnel on the grounds that their own government cannot protect them, any Mexican threatened by these violent criminal gangs can claim the same right of asylum.
U.S. immigration law does not easily accommodate these law enforcement cases because they are fleeing threats from organized crime – the Mexican drug cartels – not political persecution by their government. If our laws are stretched to accept thousands of refugees from drug cartel violence, it will only exacerbate Mexico's problems.
We can sympathize with the Mexican police chief or prosecutor who lands on a cartel hit list because he will not play ball with them. The Mexican federal government seemingly cannot protect him and his family, so he flees to El Paso or Nogales and seeks asylum. The number of such asylum applications more than doubled in the first six months of 2008 compared to the same period in 2007, but very few have been approved. What will happen if we do not accept these asylum applications as a humanitarian gesture? What will happen if we do?
The rising number of asylum seekers from Mexican law enforcement and the professional classes is a new phenomenon, not merely another facet of our open borders fiasco. These people are not swimming the Rio Grande or sneaking across the Sonora desert. They are walking into our border ports of entry from Texas to California and asking for protection. We must respect them for following our laws and doing it the right way. But we must also ask some hard questions before throwing open our gates. Humanitarian concerns must be balanced against other considerations – because the fate of Mexico hangs in that balance.
What happens to Mexico if all the good cops flee to the U.S. or Europe and the only ones left are working hand-in-glove with the criminals? What are the consequences if all the honest judges and prosecutors flee and only dishonest ones are left in charge of the courts? What happens if honest businessmen find it easy to flee to San Diego, Houston or Phoenix and only those who will do the cartels' money laundering are running the nation's trucking companies, farms, and banks?
The unpleasant truth is that this new refugee problem is the sign of a deep crisis not in the Mexican economy but in the Mexican political system itself. Mexico exhibits mounting signs of a "failed state," a political system that cannot satisfy the most basic conditions of civic order such as safety in one’s streets, home, school, and workplace. Failing states begin to hemorrhage people and their assets. The middle class begins to flee – doctors, lawyers, accountants, business owners, teachers, and of course, law enforcement officials, who are the first targets of criminal organizations.
These new "civic disorder refugees" are not like the millions of unemployed or underemployed who leave Mexico to a find a job and a better life. These middle class citizens have jobs – often good jobs by Mexican standards – but they do not have security for themselves or their families. They would much prefer to stay in Mexico but they cannot do so safely, so they flee.
If police chiefs and judges cannot be protected from the cartels, then how can ordinary citizens feel safe? If we open the gates to everyone who has a "credible fear" of the cartels, the Border Patrol will no longer have to worry only about people jumping the fence. Thousands will be waiting in line at one of over 300 ports of entry.
This new "emigration from fear" poses an urgent challenge for Mexico. If Mexico wants to win its battle against the drug cartels, it must begin by reforming its police and criminal justice systems so that honest cops, judges and mayors – and journalists – can do their jobs without undue fear of retaliation. To his credit, President Calderon has begun to tackle this problem.
Military operations against the cartel strongholds are probably necessary, but they can never be a substitute for a functioning criminal justice system. Mexican citizens must be able to trust the local police, and local police must be able to trust their government to protect them from gangster-terrorists.
The United States must not become an automatic escape valve for honest officials threatened by cartel violence. If that happens, Mexico will lose its most valued civil servants and become increasingly a militarized (and polarized) society.
Mexico is not yet a failed state, but if humanitarian sentiment and special interest pleadings in the U.S. block sound immigration policy – as happens all too often in American law and politics – we will hasten that tragic development.
11779  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: July 16, 2008, 09:31:15 AM

Why peace isn't possible.
11780  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: July 16, 2008, 09:22:20 AM

(Friends, Protectors, Helpers, Supporters)

According to Quran and Sunnah


Christians and Jews

The Noble Qur'an: Al-Ma'idah 5:51
O you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians as 'Auliya' (friends, protectors, helpers etc.), they are but 'Auliya' to one another.  And if any amongst you takes them as 'Auliya' then surely he is one of them.  Verily, Allah guides not those people who are the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers and unjust)."

The Noble Qur'an: Al-Mumtahinah 60:1-9, 13
1. O you who believe! Take not My enemies and your enemies (i.e. disbelievers and polytheists, etc.) as friends, showing affection towards them, while they have disbelieved in what has come to you of the truth (i.e. Islâmic Monotheism, this Qur'ân, and Muhammad  ), and have driven out the Messenger (Muhammad  ) and yourselves (from your homeland) because you believe in Allâh your Lord! If you have come forth to strive in My Cause and to seek My Good Pleasure, (then take not these disbelievers and polytheists, etc., as your friends). You show friendship to them in secret, while I am All-Aware of what you conceal and what you reveal. And whosoever of you (Muslims) does that, then indeed he has gone (far) astray, (away) from the Straight Path.

2. Should they gain the upper hand over you, they would behave to you as enemies, and stretch forth their hands and their tongues against you with evil, and they desire that you should disbelieve.

3. Neither your relatives nor your children will benefit you on the Day of Resurrection (against Allâh). He will judge between you. And Allâh is the All-Seer of what you do.

4. Indeed there has been an excellent example for you in Ibrâhim (Abraham) and those with him, when they said to their people: "Verily, we are free from you and whatever you worship besides Allâh, we have rejected you, and there has started between us and you, hostility and hatred for ever, until you believe in Allâh Alone," except the saying of Ibrâhim (Abraham) to his father: "Verily, I will ask for forgiveness (from Allâh) for you, but I have no power to do anything for you before Allâh ." Our Lord! In You (Alone) we put our trust, and to You (Alone) we turn in repentance, and to You (Alone) is (our) final Return,

5. "Our Lord! Make us not a trial for the disbelievers, and forgive us, Our Lord! Verily, You, only You are the All-Mighty, the All-Wise."

6. Certainly, there has been in them an excellent example for you to follow, for those who look forward to (the Meeting with) Allâh (for the reward from Him) and the Last Day. And whosoever turn away, then verily, Allâh is Rich (Free of all wants), Worthy of all Praise.

7. Perhaps Allâh will make friendship between you and those whom you hold as enemies. And Allâh has power (over all things), and Allâh is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

8. Allâh does not forbid you to deal justly and kindly with those who fought not against you on account of religion and did not drive you out of your homes. Verily, Allâh loves those who deal with equity.

9. It is only as regards those who fought against you on account of religion, and have driven you out of your homes, and helped to drive you out, that Allâh forbids you to befriend them. And whosoever will befriend them, then such are the Zâliműn (wrong-doers those who disobey Allâh).

13. O you who believe! Take not as friends the people who incurred the Wrath of Allâh (i.e. the Jews). Surely, they have been in despair to receive any good in the Hereafter, just as the disbelievers have been in despair about those (buried) in graves (that they will not be resurrected on the Day of Resurrection).

Disbelieving Relatives

The Noble Qur'an: At-Tauba 9:23
O you who believe! Take not for 'Auliya' (supporters and helpers) your fathers and your brothers if they prefer disbelief to Belief. And whoever of you does so, then he is one of the Zalimun (wrong-doers, etc).


The Noble Qur'an: An-Nisa 4:88-89
Then what is the matter with you that you are divided into two parties about the hypocrites? Allah has cast them back (to disbelief) because of what they have earned. Do you want to guide him whom Allah has made to go astray? And he whom Allah has made to go astray, you will never find for him any way (of guidance). They wish that you reject Faith, as they have rejected (Faith), and thus that you all become equal (like one another). So take not 'Auliya' (protectors or friends) from them, till they emigrate in the Way of Allah (to Muhammad  ). But if they turn back (from Islam), take (hold) of them and kill them wherever you find them, and take neither 'Auliya' (protectors or friends) nor helpers from them.

The Noble Qur'an: An-Nisa 4:139
Those who take disbelievers for 'Auliya' (protectors or helpers or friends) instead of believers, do they seek honour, power and glory with them? Verily, then to Allah belongs all honour, power and glory.

The Noble Qur'an: An-Nisa 4:144
O you who believe! Take not for 'Auliya' (protectors or helpers or friends) disbelievers instead of believers. Do you wish to offer Allah a manifest proof against yourselves?


The Noble Qur'an: Al-Ma'idah 5:55
Verily, your Walî (Protector or Helper) is Allâh, His Messenger, and the believers, - those who perform As-Salât (Iqâmat-as-Salât), and give Zakât, and they bow down (submit themselves with obedience to Allâh in prayer).

The Noble Qur'an: At-Taubah 9:71
The believers, men and women, are Auliyâ' (helpers, supporters, friends, protectors) of one another, they enjoin (on the people) Al-Ma'rűf (i.e. Islâmic Monotheism and all that Islâm orders one to do), and forbid (people) from Al-Munkar (i.e. polytheism and disbelief of all kinds, and all that Islâm has forbidden); they perform As-Salât (Iqâmat-as-Salât) and give the Zakât, and obey Allâh and His Messenger. Allâh will have His Mercy on them. Surely Allâh is All-Mighty, All-Wise.

The Noble Qur'an: Al-Anfal 8:73
And those who disbelieve are allies to one another, (and) if you (Muslims of the whole world collectively) do not do so (i.e. become allies, as one united block with one Khalifah - chief Muslim ruler for the whole Muslim world to make victorious Allâh's Religion of Islâmic Monotheism), there will be Fitnah (wars, battles, polytheism, etc.) and oppression on earth, and a great mischief and corruption (appearance of polytheism).

No Muslims in Town to be Friends With?

The Noble Qur'an: Ash-Shura 42:9
Or have they taken (for worship) Auliyâ' (guardians, supporters, helpers, protectors, etc.) besides Him? But Allâh, He Alone is the Walî (Protector, etc.). And it is He Who gives life to the dead, and He is Able to do all things.

The Noble Qur'an: An-Nisa 4:119
...And whoever takes Shaitân (Satan) as a Walî (protector or helper) instead of Allâh, has surely suffered a manifest loss.

Action Items for the  uttaqun:

It is one thing to be friendly towards a non-believer, but you are commanded not to establish alliances or friendships with a non-Muslim.

Do not reach to non-Muslim family for help and support in times of crisis or otherwise.  If they seek the knowledge of Islam, share it.  But your loyalty is to Islam above all else; your priority is to the Islamic brotherhood/sisterhood.

You should not refer to or think of a non-Muslim as your friend.

When you need guidance, go to Qur'an, make Dua, seek Islamic council.  Do not rely on therapeutic counselors, guidance counselors, self-help books, non-Muslim family members, horoscopes, etc.

Deal justly and kindly with those who do not fight you on account of your religion.  However, do not rely on them for friendship/support if they are non-Muslim. 

The Arabic word "Auliya" is not interchangeable with "friend" in all uses of the word.  Note that it translates as "friends, protectors, supporters, helpers," i.e. it is referring to a certain type of friend - the type you count on for help, support, or protection.

You may count yourself as a friendly (kind) person to some disbelievers, but don't ever make the mistake of counting them as your friend.

If a Muslim friend clearly abandons his or her salah, s/he has engaged in an act of disbelief and you must not treat this person as an Auliya.

If a person puts on a cowboy hat, that does not make him a cowboy or farmboy, etc.  However, if that same person wears that same hat *every day* for several years in a row... eventually he's going to become more like a cowboy; he's certainly going to be treated like one, and he's eventually going to think like one.  If muslims abandon their Islamic clothes (or other fundamental behaviors of Islam) and dress like a kaffir - eventually they're going to be treated like one, become allies with the kaffir, and even begin to THINK like the kaffir.  Kaffir thinking and Muslim thinking are extreme opposites.  The kaffir way of thinking lends itself to believing that Jesus died on a cross to forgive all sins... why? Because it "feels" right.  The muslim way of thinking examines the evidence before coming to a belief.

If there are no Muslims where you live, remember that Allah, swt, is your closest Auliya and Wali.  To have anyone else but Allah, swt, his Messenger  or the believers as Auliya, is haram. 

Remember... Allah, subhana watala, sees everything we do!
11781  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: July 16, 2008, 09:05:20 AM

TITLE 1 > CHAPTER 1 > § 7
§ 7. Definition of “marriage” and “spouse”

In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word “marriage” means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word “spouse” refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.


Rachel, there is a biological definition of male and female. There is no clear biological definition of race. Marriage has always been defined as being a legal union between a single man and a single woman, who aren't close relatives.
11782  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: July 15, 2008, 11:32:32 PM;jsessionid=A34GLEEZ5FJ2LQFIQMGSFFWAVCBQWIV0?xml=/opinion/2006/02/12/do1205.xml&site=15&page=0

We were brought up to hate - and we do
By Nonie Darwish
Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 12/02/2006

The controversy regarding the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed completely misses the point. Of course, the cartoons are offensive to Muslims, but newspaper cartoons do not warrant the burning of buildings and the killing of innocent people. The cartoons did not cause the disease of hate that we are seeing in the Muslim world on our television screens at night - they are only a symptom of a far greater disease.

I was born and raised as a Muslim in Cairo, Egypt and in the Gaza Strip. In the 1950s, my father was sent by Egypt's President, Gamal Abdel Nasser, to head the Egyptian military intelligence in Gaza and the Sinai where he founded the Palestinian Fedayeen, or "armed resistance". They made cross-border attacks into Israel, killing 400 Israelis and wounding more than 900 others.

My father was killed as a result of the Fedayeen operations when I was eight years old. He was hailed by Nasser as a national hero and was considered a shaheed, or martyr. In his speech announcing the nationalisation of the Suez Canal, Nasser vowed that all of Egypt would take revenge for my father's death. My siblings and I were asked by Nasser: "Which one of you will avenge your father's death by killing Jews?" We looked at each other speechless, unable to answer.

In school in Gaza, I learned hate, vengeance and retaliation. Peace was never an option, as it was considered a sign of defeat and weakness. At school we sang songs with verses calling Jews "dogs" (in Arab culture, dogs are considered unclean).

Criticism and questioning were forbidden. When I did either of these, I was told: "Muslims cannot love the enemies of God, and those who do will get no mercy in hell." As a young woman, I visited a Christian friend in Cairo during Friday prayers, and we both heard the verbal attacks on Christians and Jews from the loudspeakers outside the mosque. They said: "May God destroy the infidels and the Jews, the enemies of God. We are not to befriend them or make treaties with them." We heard worshippers respond "Amen".

My friend looked scared; I was ashamed. That was when I first realised that something was very wrong in the way my religion was taught and practised. Sadly, the way I was raised was not unique. Hundreds of millions of other Muslims also have been raised with the same hatred of the West and Israel as a way to distract from the failings of their leaders. Things have not changed since I was a little girl in the 1950s.

Palestinian television extols terrorists, and textbooks still deny the existence of Israel. More than 300 Palestinians schools are named after shaheeds, including my father. Roads in both Egypt and Gaza still bear his name - as they do of other "martyrs". What sort of message does that send about the role of terrorists? That they are heroes. Leaders who signed peace treaties, such as President Anwar Sadat, have been assassinated. Today, the Islamo-fascist president of Iran uses nuclear dreams, Holocaust denials and threats to "wipe Israel off the map" as a way to maintain control of his divided country.

Indeed, with Denmark set to assume the rotating presidency of the UN Security Council, the flames of the cartoon controversy have been fanned by Iran and Syria. This is critical since the International Atomic Energy Agency is expected to refer Iran to the Security Council and demand sanctions. At the same time, Syria is under scrutiny for its actions in Lebanon. Both Iran and Syria cynically want to embarrass the Danes to achieve their dangerous goals.

But the rallies and riots come from a public ripe with rage. From my childhood in Gaza until today, blaming Israel and the West has been an industry in the Muslim world. Whenever peace seemed attainable, Palestinian leaders found groups who would do everything to sabotage it. They allowed their people to be used as the front line of Arab jihad. Dictators in countries surrounding the Palestinians were only too happy to exploit the Palestinians as a diversion from problems in their own backyards. The only voice outside of government control in these areas has been the mosques, and these places of worship have been filled with talk of jihad.

Is it any surprise that after decades of indoctrination in a culture of hate, that people actually do hate? Arab society has created a system of relying on fear of a common enemy. It's a system that has brought them much-needed unity, cohesion and compliance in a region ravaged by tribal feuds, instability, violence, and selfish corruption. So Arab leaders blame Jews and Christians rather than provide good schools, roads, hospitals, housing, jobs, or hope to their people.

For 30 years I lived inside this war zone of oppressive dictatorships and police states. Citizens competed to appease and glorify their dictators, but they looked the other way when Muslims tortured and terrorised other Muslims. I witnessed honour killings of girls, oppression of women, female genital mutilation, polygamy and its devastating effect on family relations. All of this is destroying the Muslim faith from within.

It's time for Arabs and Muslims to stand up for their families. We must stop allowing our leaders to use the West and Israel as an excuse to distract from their own failed leadership and their citizens' lack of freedoms. It's time to stop allowing Arab leaders to complain about cartoons while turning a blind eye to people who defame Islam by holding Korans in one hand while murdering innocent people with the other.

Muslims need jobs - not jihad. Apologies about cartoons will not solve the problems. What is needed is hope and not hate. Unless we recognise that the culture of hate is the true root of the riots surrounding this cartoon controversy, this violent overreaction will only be the start of a clash of civilis-ations that the world cannot bear.

• Nonie Darwish is a freelance writer and public speaker.
11783  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: July 15, 2008, 04:32:47 PM
Then they should move to the "palestinian" territories and enjoy the paradise the "palestinians" have made for themselves.
11784  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: July 15, 2008, 02:20:46 PM
No, it's important that immigrants and citizens be loyal to their nation. No hyphenated identity.
11785  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: July 15, 2008, 06:18:26 AM
That is consistent with islamic theology. Loyalty to the "umma" over all others. The bitter fruit of multiculturalism.
11786  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: July 15, 2008, 06:14:09 AM
Thanks for your well wishes on my vacation it was wonderful. I will respond to your questions  in a couple of days.


  My religious views ( Conservative Judaism) have everything to do with my view on Gay rights.  In my opinion Judaism and Christianity have very different view points on sex and sexuality.  For example  Judaism has laws related to family purity that Christianity does not.  I often feel that when people say Judeo/Christian they really mean Christian. 

**I would take a slightly different position than Dennis Prager, but I like his point of view on most topics.**

Jewish World Review March 30, 2004 / 8 Nissan, 5764

What does 'Judeo-Christian' mean?

By Dennis prager

The uniqueness of America | The United States of America is the only country in history to have defined itself as Judeo-Christian. While the Western world has consisted of many Christian countries and consists today of many secular countries, only America has called itself Judeo-Christian. America is also unique in that it has always combined secular government with a society based on religious values.

But what does "Judeo-Christian" mean? We need to know. Along with the belief in liberty — as opposed to, for example, the European belief in equality, the Muslim belief in theocracy, and the Eastern belief in social conformity — Judeo-Christian values are what distinguish America from all other countries. That is why American coins feature these two messages: "In G-d we trust" and "Liberty."

Yet, for all its importance and its repeated mention, the term is not widely understood. It urgently needs to be because it is under ferocious assault, and if we do not understand it, we will be unable to defend it. And if we cannot defend it, America will become as amoral as France, Germany, Russia, et al.

First, Judeo-Christian America has differed from Christian countries in Europe in at least two important ways. One is that the Christians who founded America saw themselves as heirs to the Hebrew Bible, as much as to theirs. And even more importantly, they strongly identified with the Jews.

For example, Thomas Jefferson wanted the design of the seal of the United States to depict the Jews leaving Egypt. Just as the Hebrews left Egypt and its values, Americans left Europe and its values (if only those who admire Jefferson would continue to take his advice).

Founders and other early Americans probably studied Hebrew, the language of the Jewish Bible at least as much as Greek, the language of the New. Yale, founded in 1701, adopted a Hebrew insignia, and Hebrew was compulsory at Harvard until 1787. The words on the Liberty Bell, "Proclaim Liberty throughout all the land . . . ," are from the Torah. Vast numbers of Americans took Hebrew names — like Benjamin Franklin and Cotton Mather (kattan in Hebrew means "little one" or "younger").

The consequences included a strong Hebrew Bible view of the world — meaning, in part, a strong sense of fighting for earthly justice, an emphasis on laws, a belief in a judging, as well as a loving and forgiving, G-d, and a belief in the chosenness of the Jews which America identified with.

The significance of this belief in American chosenness cannot be overstated. It accounts for the mission that Americans have uniquely felt called to — to spread liberty in the world.

This sense of mission is why more Americans have died for the liberty of others than any other nation's soldiers.

It is why those who today most identify with the Judeo-Christian essence of America are more likely to believe in the moral worthiness of dying to liberate countries — not only Europe, but Korea, Vietnam and Iraq. That is why America stands alone in protecting two little countries threatened with extinction, Israel and Taiwan. That is why conservative Americans are more likely to believe in American exceptionalism — in not seeking, as President Bush put it, a "permission slip" from the United Nations, let alone from Europe.

The second meaning of Judeo-Christian is a belief in the biblical G-d of Israel, in His Ten Commandments and His biblical moral laws. It is a belief in universal, not relative, morality. It is a belief that America must answer morally to this G-d, not to the mortal, usually venal, governments of the world.

That is why those who most affirm Judeo-Christian values lead the fight against redefining marriage. We believe that a pillar of Judeo-Christian values is to encourage the man-woman sexual and marital ideal, and to provide children with the opportunity to benefit from the unique gifts that a man and a woman give a child, gifts that are never replicable by two men alone or two women.

That is why those who most affirm Judeo-Christian values are unmoved by the idea that the war in Iraq is moral if Germany, France, China and Russia say so, but immoral if they oppose it. We ask first what G-d and the Bible would say about liberating Iraq, not what Syria and other members of the U.N. Security Council say.

That is why those who most affirm Judeo-Christian values believe that war, while always tragic, is on more than a few occasions a moral duty. Nothing "Judeo" ever sanctioned pacifism. Of course, the Hebrew Prophet Isaiah yearned for the day that nations will beat their swords into plowshares. But another Hebrew Prophet, Joel, who is never cited by those who wish to read the secular value of pacifism into the Bible, said precisely the opposite: "Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears. Let the weakling say, 'I am strong!'"

And that is why those who want Judeo-Christian values to disappear from American public life affirm multiculturalism, seek to remove mention of G-d from all public life, and make Christmas a private, not a national, holiday.

The battle over whether America remains Judeo-Christian or becomes secular like Europe is what this, the Second American Civil War, is about.

In Judaism breaking sabbath and not keeping kosher are worse than homosexuality . Do you think  it should be illegal for me  to eat cheeseburgers or go to a movie on a Friday night ?   

**Nope, just as you are free to keep kosher, you are free not to keep kosher in this country.**

 Also,  In my admittedly limited knowledge of Christianity Jesus himself had nothing to say about homosexuality.     Both  Judaism and Christianity specifically mention sodomy and not homosexuality  woman are not explicitly included.   So if it was just religiously based shouldn't you just exclude male gay marriage. Do you think adultery should be illegal?   Are you interested in some sort of  Jewish or Christian Sharia?

**In my state, adultery is illegal, but not enforceable in the criminal justice system, a position I agree with. I like my government secular and constitutional, given that our collective moral paradigm is based on judeo-christian morality.**
My point is gay people are human beings( including family members and friends of mine)   therefore they should be treated well.

**I've not seen anyone here deny the humanity of homosexuals, or advocating their mistreatment. My basic stance is I don't care what CONSENTING ADULTS do PRIVATELY. I do object to activist judges legislating from the bench.**
11787  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: July 14, 2008, 08:44:30 AM

Somehow, Obama makes McCain look good on illegal immigration. Amazing!
11788  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: July 13, 2008, 06:57:19 PM
Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.- Golda Meir

I'm not holding my breath.....
11789  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: July 13, 2008, 10:42:25 AM

Friday, May 16th 2008, 4:00 AM
Middle name Hussein is only one reason terror thugs like Barack Obama

Barack Hussein Obama wants it both ways.

Any American who uses his full name is trying to scare voters, his wife charges. But Obama says he understands why Islamic terror group Hamas looks at his middle name and trusts him.

Ditto for his plan to meet with Iran's madman president and other rogue leaders. Obama sees his open-door policy as evidence he will end President Bush's "cowboy diplomacy." When Bush slammed that plan Thursday as "appeasement," Obama accused him of a "false political attack."

It's a legitimate attack, because Obama's kumbaya foreign policy is dangerous. And his name, including the Hussein part, is fair game because Obama has declared it an international advantage.

He can want it both ways, but he can't have it.

The trouble started when Hamas adviser Ahmed Yousef said, "We like Mr. Obama" and added, "we hope he wins the election."

That's an endorsement, plain and simple. When John McCain jumped in, promising to be Hamas' "worst enemy," Obama got huffy and accused McCain of "divisive fear-mongering."

That's par for the Obama course. Michelle Obama once said anyone using her husband's full name is throwing the "ultimate fear bomb. When all else fails, be afraid of his name."

Maybe we should be afraid. Consider what Obama says in an interview in the current Atlantic magazine.

Asked by writer Jeffrey Goldberg if he was "flummoxed" by the Hamas support, Obama responds no and says: "It's conceivable that there are those in the Arab world who say to themselves, 'This is a guy who spent some time in the Muslim world, has a middle name of Hussein and appears more worldly and has called for talks with people, and so he's not going to be engaging in the same sort of cowboy diplomacy as George Bush,' and that's something they're hopeful about."

He adds: "That's a perfectly legitimate perception as long as they're not confused about my unyielding support for Israel's security."

In fact, there is confusion. Some of it goes to his long relationship with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, whose church magazine printed anti-Israel views. There is no evidence Obama objected.

The Atlantic interview adds to the confusion. While Obama stresses the importance of Israel to Jews, he also seems to parrot liberal nonsense that blames the entire Mideast conflict on Israeli settlements.

He even links Israeli parents' concern for their children's safety to settlements, posing the question: "Is settlement policy conducive to relieving that over the long term, or is it just making the situation worse?"

WRONG QUESTION. The right one is why should Israel or anyone else meet with Hamas, which won't recognize Israel's right to exist and fires rockets into civilian areas? Hamas' vow to destroy Israel has nothing to do with settlements or borders.

One question has been answered, though. Now we know why Hamas prefers Barack Hussein Obama. He's told us himself.
11790  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Aerial Wolf Shooting. on: July 11, 2008, 10:01:46 AM

Why don't they just drive to "Whole Foods"?  huh
11791  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Aerial Wolf Shooting. on: July 11, 2008, 09:50:29 AM
     In Alaska, subsistence generally refers to the practice of taking fish, wildlife or other wild resources for one's sustenance - for food, shelter or other personal or family needs.

     Subsistence has been elemental to Alaska Natives and their cultures for thousands of years. It also has become a way of life for many non-Natives in Alaska. Subsistence is recognized by the United States and by the State of Alaska as the highest-priority consumptive use of resources in the state.

     Subsistence hunting and fishing provide a large share of the food supply in rural Alaska. According to the state Division of Subsistence, about 44 million pounds of wild foods are taken annually by residents of rural Alaska, or about 375 pounds per person per year. This compares to 22 pounds per year harvested by Alaska's urban residents. Fish comprise 60 percent of subsistence foods taken annually. Ninety-five percent of rural households consume subsistence-caught fish, according to the state.

     Subsistence is a controversial political topic because managing subsistence involves making decisions about who has access to Alaska's valuable fish and wildlife resources. Disagreements about subsistence arise between and within different groups, including urban and rural Alaska residents, Natives and non-Natives, subsistence users and non-subsistence users, state lawmakers and other groups. Disagreements include who should get rights to subsistence, how resources are allocated under subsistence provisions, and how such decisions are made.

     Subsistence wasn’t a controversial legal issue until the late 1970s, when demands of a growing state population started putting the squeeze on Alaska’s available fish and game, and resource managers increasingly were forced to choose between users. But the underpinnings of the management controversy can be traced to Alaska statehood in 1959.

     On becoming a state, Alaska took over responsibility for managing subsistence from the federal government when it gained authority for managing fish and wildlife. State control of fish and wildlife was a leading argument for statehood, as Alaskans criticized federal fishery management as favoring outside interests and unresponsive to resident needs. The new Alaska Constitution established that fish and wildlife “are reserved to the people for common use” and that “no exclusive right or special privilege of fishery shall be created or authorized.” [Alaska Constitution, Article VIII ]

     For the United States federal government, the question of subsistence surfaced in 1971 when Congress was drafting the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA). The act addressed Native land claims that clouded construction of the Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline. It extinguished aboriginal hunting and fishing rights in Alaska in exchange for almost $1 billion in cash and 44 million acres of land.

     ANCSA didn’t explicitly protect subsistence, but a Congressional conference report issued with the new law stated that Native subsistence practices and subsistence lands would be protected by the State of Alaska and U.S. Department of Interior.

     Congress made good on that promise in 1980, when it passed the landmark Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act [ANILCA]. Besides creating new national wildlife refuges and public recreation lands, ANILCA mandated that the state maintain a subsistence hunting and fishing preference for rural residents on federal public lands or forfeit its management of subsistence uses there.

    The State of Alaska, which had established its own subsistence law in 1978, took note of the discrepancy between the laws and amended state law in 1986 to match ANILCA by limiting subsistence uses to rural residents. The fix, however, didn’t last long. In 1989, the state Supreme Court ruled that the rural preference violated Alaska Constitution, including its “common use” provisions regarding use of fish and wildlife.

     As the state no longer guaranteed a rural preference for subsistence as required by ANILCA, the federal government moved to take over management of subsistence on federal public lands. Several attempts by the state to reconcile the two laws by amending the Alaska Constitution failed when supporters couldn’t muster enough votes in the Alaska Legislature to send a constitutional amendment to the state’s voters. Federal managers took over authority for subsistence on federal lands on July 1, 1990.

     In 1995, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in adjudicating Katie John vs. United States, ruled that ANILCA’s subsistence priority extends to freshwater bodies within and alongside federal public lands. The decision pushed the federal government into management of subsistence fisheries.

     Realizing that federal subsistence fisheries management would impact fishing statewide, the State of Alaska again attempted to regain management. Between 1997 and 1999, a subsistence task force was convened, two special sessions of the Legislature were held, and U.S. Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska twice delayed a federal takeover of subsistence on federal waters through a moratorium. But in the end, the Alaska Senate failed to pass onto voters a constitutional amendment to that would bring state law into compliance with ANILCA. On October 1, 1999, the rural subsistence priority was extended to inland waters within 34 federal parks, forests, wildlife refuges, preserves and recreation lands. Federal subsistence fishery management had arrived. [Map of Federal Waters in Alaska]

     The federal management program is administered by the Anchorage-based Office of Subsistence Management and regulated by the six-member Federal Subsistence Board. The Board is comprised of a voting chairman appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Interior, and the regional directors of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs and U.S.D.A. Forest Service.

     While there are similarities between the federal and state management systems, they differ on several key points. [See State-Federal Comparison Page]

     The federal regulatory process begins with an annual call for proposals from the public. Proposals are reviewed by 10 Regional Advisory Councils around the state that consider and make recommendations on proposed changes. A recommendation from a Regional Council carries considerable weight. It can be rejected by the Federal Subsistence Board only if it is not supported by substantial evidence, violates recognized principles of wildlife conservation, or would be detrimental to the satisfaction of subsistence needs.

       Regional councils meet twice annually: Once in the fall to make recommendations on subsistence fish proposals and again in the winter to weigh wildlife proposals. Proposals are forwarded to the Federal Subsistence Board, which convenes at least twice annually. Meetings of the Councils and of the Board are open to the public. There are opportunities to give written comments and oral testimony throughout the federal process
11792  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / China vs. Haji: WMD Edition on: July 11, 2008, 08:54:40 AM,prtpage-1.cms

Terror threat to Games: China shuts mosques
11 Jul 2008, 0101 hrs IST, Saibal Dasgupta,TNN

BEIJING: Chinese authorities have replaced top police and security officials in the Muslim dominated Xinjiang province, which is the hotbed of separatism and political violence. They have also closed down 41 "illegal" places of worship.

These places of worship were used as training ground for conducting a "holy war", Chen Zhuangwei Chen, the police chief of Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang province, said. Xinjiang, which borders central Asia and Pakistan, has been the scene of a pro-independence movement by a section of the eight million Uighurs living there for a long time.

The authorities also announced they have detained 82 "suspected terrorists" in the past six months in view of fears that they might disrupt the Olympic Games. They belong to five groups that "allegedly plotted sabotage against the Beijing Olympics", the official Xinhua news agency quoted the police chief in Urumqi, Xinjiang's capital, as saying.

The government has annouced the replacement of army and security officials in the ranks of three deputy core commanders, political commissars and the head of the Communist Party organisation department in the army. The replacement suggests that the central government has been unhappy about the inability of local officials to put down the surging separatist movement in the province.

The new head of the organisation department is Liu Xiang Song, the government announced. One of the three new core commanders is Hanabati Sabukhaya, an officer from the Kazak race. Xinjiang borders Kazakisthan and several other countries including Pakistan and Russia. "From now, all police officers must act urgently, get involved once more in Olympic security, to make sure large and small incidents alike do not happen," Chen was quoted by official media as saying.
11793  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Aerial Wolf Shooting. on: July 10, 2008, 07:45:07 PM

Warning: Math!  shocked
11794  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Aerial Wolf Shooting. on: July 10, 2008, 07:32:35 PM
Um..actually no, surprisingly enough. I'm pretty lucky. Not many "pests" in my area. The few times I do run into them, I either get them out of the house or use a repellent. I've never been really big on killing something just because it inconveniences me. I try to do the little things too to avoid any unnecessary energy use (unplugging things, turning off lights, not using a car, that sort of thing). But I can probably guarantee that, in one way or another, I've contributed to the current state of affairs. I mean, seriously, i could probably power a third world country with my computer, so I can't really complain about other people's issues, eh?

Well, that's basically my point. We directly or indirectly impact the environment by our very existence. Manhattan island was once lush and green and filled with wildlife, the east river filled with fish. It's very common for urbanites to condemn those who actually live in wild areas from an imagined position of moral superiority, seeming oblivious to the environmental impact their own life imposes on the planet.

It's easy to get upset at hunting wolves, who we generally find to be aesthetically pleasing, or imbue with mystical symbolism as we drive to the supermarket to buy sanitary, pristine foodstuffs in shiny packages, obvious to the destruction of wild habitat and deaths of many animals to ensure our own comfort and nutrition.

11795  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Aerial Wolf Shooting. on: July 10, 2008, 04:46:01 PM

Yeah, just like any other human I am responsible for some of the damage to the planet and things of that sort. What I meant by "Lord Man" was my reference to how we have a tendency to see animals that are useful to us as those that should live, and those that are not, should not live.

Ever used traps/sprays to rid your home of mice or insects?
11796  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: July 10, 2008, 10:41:47 AM
If the mullahs’ true intention is to provide electricity through nuclear energy for the Iranians (which they claim) — the same Iranians whose women, students, teachers, writers and union workers are being flogged, beaten, tortured and stoned to death, the same Iranians who are denied a free election or freedom of speech — then why wouldn’t they accept the comprehensive incentive package offered by the world leaders in full, scrap the enrichment process, and bring peace and prosperity to their nation?

The reason is that their belief in Islam’s conquest of the world through the coming of the 12th Imam mandates their actions, and — just as a suicide bomber — they are not even interested in their own survival and cannot be diverted from their chosen path. The question is: Can the world afford to sit idly by and wait for Armageddon?

Next Page: transcript of “Reza Khalili’s” interview with Roger L. Simon

MR. SIMON: This is Roger Simon for Pajamas Media and I am here with Reza Khalili. Khalili is not the gentleman’s real name, he is a former CIA agent who infiltrated the

Revolutionary Guard of Iran. This may be a first on the radio or on the internet to reveal a former CIA agent to infiltrate that organization. Welcome to Pajamas Media, Mr. Khalili.

MR. KHALILI: Thank you.

MR. SIMON: How long did you work for the CIA?

MR. KHALILI: Well one thing is, Roger, I can’t be specific on the time, location, so forth and so on, to protect my identify but I’ll give you an estimate which was from the ’80s through the ’90s.

MR. SIMON: And you worked as a member of the Revolutionary Guard?

MR. KHALILI: I was, and I was working as a member of the Revolutionary Guard, yes.

MR. SIMON: And how did you come to work with the CIA?

MR. KHALILI: I went to Iran after the revolution since I had my education here in the United States, and I went with the hope that things are going to move along on — on a freedom for all political parties and so forth and so on. But what I witnessed was killings of the opposition, torture of the opposition, radical idea taking place in Iran forcing Iranian people, ordinary citizens to give into very restricted laws of Islam.

As the time went along, I became totally disgusted and I lost some good friends to the revolution, I had people dear to me die in the revolution and I basically took it upon myself to take action and make a difference. So I flew back to the US. Actually, I got the hope of the Revolutionary Guard to facilitate my trip. I made up some story which was partly true and flew to US, contacted the FBI, got in touch with the CIA and went through training and then back to Iran to the Revolutionary Guard, starting my new job as a CIA agent.

MR. SIMON: Had you joined the Revolutionary Guard before you came back to the US?

MR. KHALIL: Yes. I was in the Revolutionary Guard before I came in the US, yes.

MR. SIMON: Are there other members of the Revolutionary Guard who are US agents.

MR. KHALIL: Well, really I can’t comment on that. I can’t comment on that.

MR. SIMON: Reza Khalili is going to be doing a series of interviews, many on video — disguised video of course — for Pajamas Media, in which we will get into a great deal of detail on the workings of the Revolutionary Guard and so forth.

But let us turn now to an article, the first article that Mr. Khalili has done for Pajamas Media, which is appearing now and has a very sensational charge right at the top, a very controversial charge, that Iran was behind the Lockerbie disaster.

Now, this has usually been ascribed to Gaddafi and the Libyans. How are you sure that this is an Iranian caused event?

MR. KHALILI: Well, right after the disaster in the Persian Gulf, the US war ship shot down an Iranian civilian jet which caused, you know, more than 290 people were killed in that incident. That coincided with an ultimatum from President Reagan to the leadership of Iran to accept peace with Iraq. That ultimatum was very powerful, very — it was in the lines that if you do not accept peace, we’re going to come all out on you.

So the Libyans got together with Khomeini — Rafsanjani, Khomeini and the rest and they decided it was time to accept piece. And both Rafsanjani at that time, and the others in the leadership, promised the

Revolutionary Guard that they’re going to take revenge for the shooting down of the Iranian airliner. That was — I heard that from my sources within the Revolutionary Guard — that they were going to take revenge and hit a blow to the U.S. interest.

Now, shortly after that — shortly after the Pan Am incident I was in Europe on a mission and I had met with Iranian agents somewhere in Europe. I knew specifically who they were tied to and how high up they were connected. And it was right after the Pan Am bombing. We talked about the incident, they verified that Rafsanjani had ordered the Pan Am bombing and the retaliation for the Iranian airliner incident and they talked about a Palestinian suspect and the transistor — that the bomb was in the transistor radio. And then went on and talked about some of the investigation of one of the European governments that was in the process and which was not publicly available to people.

In my conversation with them I was convinced that this was an Iranian act. It was delivered, as promised, through their proxies. I reported my findings to the CIA, gave the names of the agents. They were traced — their travels were traced; where they were before, what countries they had visited. I told them of their connection to the Iranian hierarchy and so that’s where we left it off.

I expected a follow-up; nothing happened because six, seven months after Rafsanjani became the president Khomeini had died. Khamenei became the new supreme leader and CIA and US — the new US administration, President Bush Senior, made an assessment that

Hashimi Rafsanjani, the new president, is ready for a change in diplomatic relations as Rafsanjani had sent signals to the new US administration, as they always do they’re the master of deception.

So they changed their policies. They had traded my vision and opinion under Iranian government that they can never be trusted. Each one of them are a terrorist, and I’m not exaggerating. Everyone one of them have blood on their hand, either an American, Israeli or Persian.

So I was a foot soldier. I was somebody at the front lines reporting the facts and my opinion. Obviously they have their own analysts and organization that comes up with these opinions that they thought Rafsanjani was going to be a new leader and they told me, specifically, that Rafsanjani — consider Rafsanjani as the new king of Iran.

Well, about a year later they came to the conclusion that they were duped into such relations and they asked me to look for an Iranian who would testify that Iran was making a nuclear bomb at that time. Now I’m talking about early ’90s. That goes to show that the CIA And the US government knew that Iran was working on a nuclear bomb. I had reported in the mid ’80s that they were going to do that. They had come to a conclusion to do that because Saddam was looking for a nuclear bomb and technology during the war and as always, their policies of negotiation and trusting the Iranian leadership was false and hence the result and where we are right now.

MR. SIMON: Now, let me ask you a question about this. Does this mean that you think that the Iranian were working with Gaddafi on some level?

MR. KHALILI: Well, if — there was an article published June 2007, it was by Judd Scotland on Sunday and the evidence that the investigation was steered away from pointing to Iran and some of the evidence was actually interfered with to point to the defendant. Now, I don’t know who did it, as far as the specific person, but I know that Iran controls, and has under its command, several proxies throughout the world and they’ve shown that over and over again with the Beirut bombing, with the Khobar bombing, with the Pan Am bombing. In the ’90s they did a suicide bombing in Argentina on the Jewish community.

Some of the leaders, the current people in the Iranian government, are on Interpol’s most wanted. The Argentinean judge has an arrest warrant on Rafsanjani and several others; Rezai, Ahmad Vahidi, Velayati, Fallahian the minister of intelligence at that time.

The German prosecutor has arrest warrants for several of them. They are under arrest warrants by the three — they have done many, many assassinations and terrorist activities that are all streamed through the Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Intelligence and the leadership in charge. And that’s the case right now. They’re still there. They’re still working the government with one goal in mind.

MR. SIMON: Reza Khalili, I am going to ask you a question that relates to the current presidential campaign in the United States because John McCain came under a certain amount of fire, supposedly for confusing Shiah’s and Shiites and Iran. In this fire they said that Iranian Shiahs would not work with Sunnis, do you think this is true?

MR. KHALILI: Well, it’s important to state that the Iranian government has been working with the Iraqi courts. That happened all along the Iran/Iraq war. Even though they did not share same ideology, the Iraqi courts and the Iranians were hand in hand to topple Saddam. They’ve been working with the Ba’athist regime of Syria since the revolution.

MR. SIMON: Who are Sunnis, of course, yes.

MR. KHALILI: Right. So they’ve been helping the Syrians and they’ve been expanding their power in the Middle East through the joint cooperation with the Syrians. Also the Taliban, their sworn enemy, they’ve been helping them in the uprising, after the invasion of Afghanistan, to counter attack the neutral forces and keep the pressure on the Americans.

They’ve got a long history with working with the leftist, with every terrorist group that they can to promote their agenda.

MR. SIMON: What about working with the biggest Sunni of all, Al Qaeda, do you think they’ve worked with Al Qaeda?

MR. KHALILI: Well, Ahmad Vahidi, the current deputy of the Defense Department. And he used to be the head of the Qods forces. He had — he’s had new things with Al Qaeda. He’s had contacts with Al Qaeda and they — of course they do share common goals but the enemy of my enemy is my best friend. Then, you know, that applies. They’ve had contact, they’ve helped and they have facilitated every different group as long as it promotes their agenda.

MR. SIMON: Well, thank you very much, Reza Khalili, for talking with Pajamas Media. We look forward to talking with you soon on podcast and in video form. Thank you very much.

MR. KHALILI: Thanks so much, bye bye.

MR. SIMON: All right. Bye.

Transcribed by Pnina Eilberg, [2] eScribers

Article printed from Pajamas Media:

URL to article:

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11797  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: July 10, 2008, 10:40:48 AM
- Pajamas Media - -

Former CIA Agent in Iran Comes In from the Heat
July 8, 2008 - by 'Reza Khalili'

[Editor’s note: Pajamas Media has spoken with “Reza Khalili’s” attorney in Washington, D.C. who confirmed Khalili “had a working relationship with a US intelligence agency.” We have also seen a copy of the June 5, 2008 email sent by the agency’s “Manuscript Review” department authorizing the publication of this article.]

In an interview with Roger L. Simon, “Khalili” further amplifies his accusation of Iranian involvement in Lockerbie and addresses the controversial question of whether the Shiite mullahs would form alliances with Sunnis. A transcript of the interview is [1] here. More interviews with “Khalili” in disguised video form will be coming in the future from PJM. ]

The men who ordered the destruction of the Pan Am flight over Lockerbie and the bombings of the Marine Corps barracks in Lebanon, the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, and the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia are pursuing the nuclear program in Iran and with one goal in mind: to obtain The Bomb.

And they want to destroy you.

After the Iranian Revolution, I was an officer in the Revolutionary Guards. I was also a spy working for the CIA, code name Wally. My position in the Guards gave me access to the Khomeini regime’s deep secrets and a firsthand look at the unfolding horror: torture, rapes, executions, assassinations, suicide bombers, training of terrorists, and the transfer of arms and explosives to other countries to support terrorist attacks. I risked my life and my family’s trying to expose this regime because I believed it should be stopped. Once again I incur such risks to bring awareness that lack of action endangers the world.

In the mid-80s, I reported to the CIA that the Revolutionary Guards’ intelligence unit had information that Saddam Hussein had made a strategic decision to acquire nuclear arms. I heard this from several sources within the Guards and also in a conversation with a member of the intelligence unit, who told me that the Guards were informed through arms dealers in the black market that Saddam was desperately looking for an atomic bomb. It was then that the Guards’ commanders and Iranian leadership decided to go nuclear and actively shop for components in the black market because they made a determination that the Iran-Iraq war could not have been won without a nuclear bomb. Mohsen Rezaei, then-commander of the Revolutionary Guards, requested permission from Ayatollah Khomeini to make Iran a nuclear power. Khomeini agreed.

Some years later, while I was stationed in Europe working for the CIA, I met with three Iranian agents who were shopping for nuclear parts. The agents confirmed what I had heard through the Guards: that Hashemi Rafsanjani had promised retaliation for the downing of an Iranian civilian jet by a U.S. warship over the Persian Gulf on July 3, 1988, toward the end of the Iran-Iraq war. According to the U.S government, an inexperienced crew mistakenly identified the Iranian Airbus as an attacking F-14 fighter; 290 people were killed. The agents said it was Rafsanjani who ordered the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland on Dec. 21, 1988, which killed 270 people. They also talked about involvement of a Palestinian man and the radio transmitter that carried the bomb, information that I passed on to the CIA. I made an assessment at that time that Iran had ordered, through surrogates, the bombing of the Pan Am flight.

There was not much of a follow-up on Iran’s involvement in that incident because Rafsanjani had become the president of Iran, and my CIA contact told me to consider Rafsanjani the new king of Iran. It was apparent to me that President George H.W. Bush was going to support and trust Rafsanjani as the new ruler of Iran. He was promised cooperation and good relations by the mullahs, and the U.S. administration and the CIA in turn were convinced that the mullahs were open to a new chapter in Iran-U.S relations.

I believed then, as I do now, that the mullahs would never abandon their ambitions, and that after 29 years of negotiations by Europe and world powers, the world has yet to understand that the mullahs will not change direction or behavior. In the early ’90s, the senior Bush administration and the CIA finally realized they were being duped — the mullahs’ promises never materialized. The CIA asked me to look for an Iranian who could testify that Iran was in the process of making a nuclear bomb. That request was later withdrawn.

Iran remains the main sponsor of terrorism around the world. Iranian consulates, embassies, airlines, and shipping line offices are the main hub for terrorist activities. Money, arms, and explosives are transferred through these centers to fund terrorist groups and jihadists. Quds Force units of the Revolutionary Guards use the Iranian consulates as their command and control centers to plan and carry out assassinations, kidnappings, and terrorist activities. The mullahs even transferred money and arms in state visits using their high-ranking officials, knowing full well that because of diplomatic immunity they would not be subject to search during such visits. As I reported to the CIA, these activities were closely coordinated through Iran’s foreign ministry, the ministry of intelligence, and the Revolutionary Guards.

And then there is the Syrian connection, which facilitates the Revolutionary Guards in training and arming Hezbollah, based in Lebanon, and Hamas, based in the Palestinian Territory. Syrian facilities and political channels are at the Revolutionary Guards’ disposal, expanding their terror network. The mullahs not only support Syria with massive financial aid in hundreds of millions of dollars but also share missile-delivery technology and other military armaments. The Quds Force leadership is in close contact with Syrian military leaders, coordinating terrorist activities throughout the Middle East.

As Iran pursued its nuclear ambitions over the past few years, it needed to keep U.S. forces on the defensive in Iraq so Washington would not think of invading Iran. Tehran’s strategy was to use the mullahs’ connection to the Shiite clergies and population in Iraq that had been built up years before the U.S invasion. The Guards had established Badr brigades that had been expanded into a division with Iraqi recruits during the Iran-Iraq war and had helped Ayatollah Hakim in establishing the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, currently one of Iraq’s most powerful political parties. Its goal is to put as much pressure on U.S. forces through terror attacks as it can so the U.S. administration won’t think of expanding the Iraq war, giving Iran time to accelerate its nuclear research and development. Tehran knows full well it is in a race, and if it is able to perfect the technology, the West will have no choice but to live with a nuclear Iran. It also believes that after the current President Bush, the next U.S. administration (if led by a Democrat) will most likely reduce forces and slowly move out, leaving it for the Iraqis to sort things out, which ultimately will result in Iran’s domination of the region, with catastrophic consequences for the Free World. This has already happened with Hezbollah. Iran armed and trained Hezbollah into a political force in Lebanon which controls events on the ground, limiting the power of the Lebanese government and even confronting Israel as we saw in the 2006 Lebanon war.

Iran’s current defense minister, Mostafa Najjar, was in charge of the Revolutionary Guards forces in Lebanon that facilitated the attack on the Marine Corps barracks in Beirut on Oct. 23, 1983, killing 241 U.S. servicemen with the largest non-nuclear bomb in history. The current deputy defense minister, Ahmad Vahidi, was the commander of the Quds Forces and the chief intelligence officer of the Guards, in charge of the terrorist activities outside of Iran. He had received authorization for taking the fight to the U.S forces and Israel’s interests around the world directly from Imam Khomeini, the supreme leader at the time. The operations in Lebanon were coordinated by these two men.

Four years after that bombing, Iran’s then-minister of the Revolutionary Guards, Mohsen Rafiqdoost, boasted that, “Both the TNT and the ideology, which in one blast sent 400 U.S. officers to hell, were provided by Iran.” Vahidi is currently on Interpol’s Most Wanted List for the attack on the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires on July 18, 1994. That attack killed 87 and injured more than 100.

There is also strong evidence of the Quds Forces’ involvement in the Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 U.S. servicemen and wounded 372 more on June 25, 1996. The attack was carried out by the Iranian-backed Saudi Hezbollah, but led back to the leadership in Tehran. In 2001, U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft said the attack was inspired, supported, and supervised by elements in the Iranian government.

The most radical Islamists control the government in Iran. The Revolutionary Guards’ reach is all-encompassing: they control the vital industries in Iran, serve as ministers in President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s cabinet, are members of the Parliament, control events in Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinian Territory through their Quds Force, and expand their terror network throughout the world, all the while making inroads in nuclear enrichment and missile-delivery technology.

It is not an exaggeration to claim that the radicals belonging to the secretive society called “Hojjatieh,” who are devoted to the 12th Imam, have taken control of all vital positions in Iran. Ayatollah Janati, the head of the Guardian Council in charge of interpreting the constitution, supervising elections, and approving of candidates running for public office, has been very vocal about his opposition to the West: “We are anti-American and we are America’s enemy,” and “Non-Muslims are animals roaming the planet.” They believe that the 12th Imam supports their agenda of obtaining nuclear weapons and destroying Israel in order to start the chaos necessary for the final destruction of what they see as American imperialism and Israeli Zionism.

The Revolutionary Guards, with the help of North Korea, are making advancements in their ballistic missile program by expanding the reach of its Shahab missiles and the successful launch of its long range Kavoshgar 1 missile on February 4, 2008. These missiles are capable of reaching Europe. At the same time, they are moving full speed ahead with their nuclear enrichment activity by installing the new IR-2 centrifuges which can enrich uranium at a faster speed than the P1 model. Iran has installed 3,000 P1 centrifuges with the goal of expanding that number to 50,000 within five years. It is estimated that it will take 1,200 of the new centrifuges to produce enough material for one nuclear weapon in one year as opposed to 3000 units of the P1 model that does the same job. The Guards always believed in a dual process in their operations for their military projects, so if one failed or was sabotaged, the other would carry on. They are doing just that. There is word that in the mountainous region of Mazandaran province, in the north of Iran, the Guards are pursuing nuclear arms underground.

Mostafa Najjar, the current defense minister, is overseeing the enrichment process and the missile-delivery advancements, and his deputy, Ahmad Vahidi, is overseeing the proliferation of arms and missiles to terrorist groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas in coordination with Syria.

Today, trying to fool the world, the current supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, has publicly declared that pursuit and acquisition of atomic bombs are against Islam. But it was Khamenei himself, along with Hashemi Rafsanjani, Rezaei, and others in the leadership, who ordered the start of research and development of nuclear technology in the mid-80s.

Khamenei put out a statement to the world in 2008 that God would punish Iranians if they did not support the country’s disputed nuclear program, and any stop in the continuation of the nuclear work would be against God’s will. Ahmadinejad, in a recent 2008 speech, told the audience that the “enemy” (referring to the U.S. and Israel) and their superficial power are on a path to destruction, and that the countdown to their total destruction has begun.

The rulers in Iran believe it is their duty to prepare the circumstances for the reappearance of the 12th Imam. “Our Revolution’s main mission is to pave the way for the reappearance of the 12th Imam, Imam Mahdi,” Ahmadinejad said during a speech in 2005 to leaders from across the country. Shiites believe the reappearance of the 12th Imam will bring justice and peace to the world by establishing Islam throughout the world. They believe he will reappear when the world has fallen into chaos. It is believed the chaos will start in Afghanistan and then move into Iraq, where there will be blood and destruction everywhere (already in the works) and from there to the world with burning dark clouds (nuclear war). The 12th Imam will then come to destroy the “Dajjal,” the False Messiah, free the world from oppression and aggression, and then bring justice where it will be heaven on earth for many years to come. It is said Jesus will reappear at the same time and fight alongside Mahdi.

Members of the Iranian leadership say they have a “signed contract” with the 12th Imam and are doggedly pursuing nuclear weapons to bring on that catastrophe. Iran’s president, Ahmadinejad, has said that Israel must be destroyed (2005 “World without Zionism” speech, “Israel must be wiped off the map”). This is no idle threat.

11798  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Why is NEST in China? on: July 10, 2008, 10:36:14 AM
Well......yeah. I see your point. Most people see "NEST" and think "bird".  grin
11799  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: July 10, 2008, 10:15:38 AM
- Pajamas Media - -

Is Tehran Bluffing?

July 10, 2008 - by Spook 86

On the heels of a recent Israeli Air Force exercise — and cautionary words from the United States — Iran, quite literally, fired back on Wednesday. According to military and press accounts, Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) units [1] test-fired nine missiles, including a medium-range Shahab-3, capable of reaching Israel.

While the Iranian missile test was enough to ratchet up regional tensions (and trigger a new spike in oil prices), it is possible to read too much into the day’s events, at least militarily. First, this type of drill is hardly an unusual event; IRGC missile units conduct an average of two or three major exercises each year, and missile crews practice continuously at their garrisons. Preparations for the test had been underway for several days and, presumably, detected by U.S. and Israeli intelligence.

Secondly, reporting on the missile test — or at least the information available so far — ignores the salient question about the supposed “highlight” of the exercise: the launch of an extended range Shahab-3 that could target Israel. This is not the first time Iran has tested a longer-rage version of the Shahab-3; launches involving that type of missile date back almost a decade.

But many of those tests had something in common: they resulted in failures, ranging from missiles that blew up in flight, failed to achieve the desired range, or strayed badly off course. So far, Tehran hasn’t provided details on Wednesday’s Shahab-3 launch, only saying that it has a maximum range of 1250 miles and is capable of carrying a one-ton payload. If the extended-range Shahab-3 remains unreliable, it will pose less of a threat to Israel and other potential targets in the Middle East.

In fact, Iran reportedly stopped work on another missile program (dubbed the Shahab-4), replacing it with BM-25 intermediate range missiles from North Korea. The BM-25 — based on an old Soviet SLBM design — arrived in Iran more than a year ago but has not been operationally tested. Cancellation of the Shahab-4 and slow progress with the BM-25 suggest continuing problems with Tehran’s intermediate and long-range missile programs.

Deficiencies can also be found among operational systems. Media reports on Wednesday’s launch are wildly inaccurate in one important element: characterizing many of the missiles tested as long-range systems. The Shahab-3 is actually classified as a medium-range system; the other missiles tested appear to be short-range systems, capable of reaching targets less than 150 miles away — and with only limited accuracy.

In fact, the three missiles that were launched simultaneously (and highlighted in press photos) are unsophisticated battlefield rockets, probably a Zelzal variant. Iran first introduced the Zelzal in the mid-1990s; it was based on the Russian Frog-7 design, which dates from the 1950s. Not exactly state-of-the-art. But the western press accepts Iranian military claims uncritically and often inflates the threat, much to Tehran’s delight.

Remember that advanced fighter that Iran built, supposedly equal to our own F/A-18? It’s actually a remanufactured U.S. F-5, with a second vertical stabilizer and marginally upgraded avionics. Or that high-speed torpedo? It is based on a Soviet design from World War II, requiring precise pre-launch calculations. If the target changes speed, zig-zags, or does anything to upset the firing solution, the torpedo misses its mark.

But with the media unwilling (or unable) to call Tehran’s military bluff, the exaggerated claims continue. After Wednesday’s launch, a senior Iranian officer told reporters that “our missiles are ready for the shooting at any time or place.” He said the purpose of the exercise was to show “we are ready to defend the integrity of the Iranian nation.”

In reality, his claims about a “hair-trigger” alert status are a bit of a stretch. Under some scenarios, it would take Iranian crews several hours to mount a strike due to the technology used in their missile systems. For example, older Shahab-3 variants use highly-voliatle liquid fuel, which must be loaded onto the missile before it can launch. While a highly-proficient crew can prepare the missile for firing in about an hour, less-skilled personnel may need two or three hours to complete the same task.

That’s a critical concern because it means the missile will sit at a fixed site while the preparations are made, increasing its vulnerability to detection and air attack. The problem is further compounded by the limitations of some Shahab-3 launchers which cannot raise an already-fueled missile to the firing position. As a result, the missile must be elevated prior to fueling, making the Shahab-3 easier to detect.

However, those problems do not mean that Iran’s missile threat can be ignored or marginalized. Ballistic missile “hunting” remains an imprecise art, at best. In a country like Iran (which is roughly the size of Alaska), there are plenty of launch sites where Shahab-3 crews could escape detection and targeting. Tehran also has detailed knowledge of our intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems, sometimes scheduling missile movements and other activities during “gaps” in overhead coverage.

Iran has also invested in underground facilities for its missile units, allowing crews to conduct maintenance and training operations without being detected by intelligence systems. One such facility, built specifically for the Shahab-3, contains a vertical launch shaft, permitting the missile to be fueled and fired with minimal warning. Tehran has also begun building in-ground silos for some of its missiles, making it more difficult to monitor activity. These trends, coupled with Iran’s efforts to build more missiles and outfit them with nuclear weapons, are reasons for concern.

Still, it’s important to place events like the missile test in their proper context, at least from an operations perspective. Iran’s ballistic missile forces are improving, but they remain hindered by old technology and limited accuracy. It would be difficult (at least over the short term) for Tehran to build a nuclear weapon small enough to fit atop one of its existing missiles. Until that obstacle is overcome, Iran will lack a viable option for delivering a nuclear device, particularly against distant targets.

The bad news is that Iran has the cash, resolve, and technological access to overcome these obstacles. Liquid-fueled systems are being replaced by solid-fueled missiles and rockets (which can be launched in a matter of minutes) and left unchecked, Tehran will eventually get its hands on technology for smaller nuclear warheads, ideal for short and medium-range missile systems. Measures aimed at concealing missile and nuclear activity are also improving.

From a technical and military standpoint, Iran revealed nothing new in Wednesday’s test. Indeed, the event was (to some degree) an exercise in opportunism, allowing Tehran to grab some headlines, boost oil prices, and send messages to its adversaries at the end of a G-8 summit and in the middle of a U.S. presidential campaign. While preparations for the test began weeks or months ago, it is possible that Iran delayed the launch until the “right” political moment arrived.

And that brings us to a pair of salient points, with clear implications for our future dealings with Tehran. First, it would be reassuring to know that our intelligence community wasn’t fooled by today’s launch. A good barometer in that area is the presence of an RC-135 Cobra Ball aircraft, which tracks missile tests at long range. With sufficient warning from various intel sources, “The Ball” is usually in position ahead of time, ready to collect data with its infrared telescopes and other on-board systems. The appearance of Cobra Ball (or other intel platforms) also sends a powerful message to our adversaries: we know what you’re up to. On the other hand, if our sensors weren’t in position, it would raise the dire prospect that we’re losing track of the Iranian missile program and other, more ominous activities.

The final point focuses on the larger question of dealing with Iran and its WMD ambitions. Not long after Wednesday’s missile salvo was revealed, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama called for more sanctions against Iran and direct negotiations. But we’ve been trying that approach for several years (largely through the European Union), with no appreciable progress. Why does Mr. Obama believe the failed policies of the past will now work with the clerics in Tehran?

If anything, the missile test is a reminder that there are limits to diplomacy, and at some point the next commander-in-chief may be forced to try something else. Senator Obama’s refusal to consider those other options will only embolden Iran, and likely lead to further acceleration of its missile and nuclear programs. There’s no way you can read “too much” into that reality.

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11800  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Why is NEST in China? on: July 10, 2008, 09:42:15 AM
1. China must have seriously scary intel to ask for our help.

2. We must have made a interesting deal to risk putting NEST into the den of China's intelligence apparatus.

3. China's policy of supporting the global jihad to confound the US has now officially entered into the "blowback" stage, although I believe it well may have started quite a while ago, but has been hidden by the PRC.

4. This perfectly refutes the "It's all America's fault" leftists/Ronulans that try to explain the global jihad as the result of American foreign policy.
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