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Howling Dog
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« Reply #350 on: August 20, 2007, 05:10:59 PM »

Buzwardo, I'am not trying to fling pasta.......What I'am trying to get accross with little success is....... Contrary to wishfull thinking.
NOT EVERYONE who opposes us or is fighting against us, is a TERRORIST.
Simple as that.
It seems the concensous on this forum is were in a out right war with hard core Jihadists spawned from the loins of Bin Laden himself.....that simply is not true. Not to say, there are not SOME hardcore Jihadists fighting in Iraq.

Then on the other hand I feel  like guys like SADR are terrorists and we let them take part in Government.
That is kinda some of the B.S. I'am trying to bring to light.

I like SB_Migs answers.....
As for the posts yea they are great......But your right I don't read all of them......I work for a living and don't have the time.......I'am much like main stream America and get most of my info from the 6oclock news....generally accurate to a certain extent and no more biased than any other.......depending on who you talk to.
                                                              TG
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Howling Dog
DougMacG
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« Reply #351 on: August 20, 2007, 06:24:49 PM »

Tom wrote: "I notice you did not respond to my assertion that there were better places world wide to confront Jihadists....so how do you feel about the Sudan?"

Give me a break, yes I did in my own way.  I spelled out dangers in Iraq that are not the same as in the Sudan: [If al Qaida and the terrorists win in Iraq they will] "take the riches of the 3rd largest oil reserves to arm and finance and export terror, worse than before." - Most third world tyranny locations are tragedies.  Iraq is explosive.  Besides oil, 3 reasons Iraq is unique are location, location, location, relating to Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and other hot spots.

How the hell do you think I feel about genocide in Sudan (where is that angry face symbol)? Different than you or others? I would like to find a justification to depose and hang every genocidal dictator across the globe, time permitting, and they will all be more nervous when we are winning in Iraq than when we are losing.

I adamantly disagree with you that we started this war.  Saddam did that.  Saddam justified this war and finally some American President noticed it. He invaded Kuwait, was driven out, saved his skin by signing a 4-page surrender agreement which I have read and then he violated everything in it.

I don't write for a consensus here and I've never met anyone else on the board.  I know Crafty only through writings over a period of years.  In the short time I've been here I've seen most sides of most issues represented.

Let's get a fresh start on a different subject.
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Howling Dog
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« Reply #352 on: August 20, 2007, 07:25:26 PM »

Doug, If you read my post from sunday night I agreed that you need not engage my posts any longer..maybe it was not translated well but it was what I meant.
Feel free to not answer my posts as they will not be directed towards you personally from this point further......with the exception of my last comment grin
You and I seem to be crossing paths in a simple agreement...Oil and who gets it....now your talking strategy in Iraq.
Still even if AQ did get control of Iraqs oil....they would have to sell it to finance their Jihad (agreed)We could still buy it wink

Not to mention we want it as bad or worse than they do....By the way a gallon of gas in Iraq is 5dollars for those who can afford to buy it.
One last comment on "who" we are fighting in Iraq.......Lets for sake of argument reverse our roles, Iraq has invaded the U.S. and started to kick down our doors and impose its will on us.
How would you respond?
Not to mention "Shock and Awe" prior to kicking down our doors rolleyes
Need I remind you that for some strange reason we were not greeted as "liberators"

Then again as you informed me that was "the first Iraq war" where we were fighting Sadaam....pretty sure that was our best chance at being the good guys cheesy
Now that were in the Second Iraq war.....pretty sure were back to being the great Satan evil
Sure hope this all works out and we all get a geat big Hug from the people of Iraq.....when we finally convince them we know whats best for them, or klll them for thier own good.
                                                       TG
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Howling Dog
DougMacG
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« Reply #353 on: August 20, 2007, 10:31:16 PM »

Tom,  I did not give you my "talking strategy"; I gave you honest, heartfelt opinions on matters of life and death.  In return you acknowledge no validity and return with condescension.  What a bummer it was investing the time I did.   - Doug
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #354 on: August 21, 2007, 02:20:44 AM »

Woof Tom:

I'm rather proud of this forum.  By and large I think the level of the material contributed here and the commentary thereon is quite a bit above the level of the generic six o'clock news report.

I really didn't know where you got this idea that anyone here thinks that everyone shooting at us is an Islamofascist or the idea that no one is articulating strategy , , , until I read your post of two posts ago.  The answer was so blindingly simple that it hadn't occurred to me-- you're not reading many of the posts that people are taking the time to make in response to what you ask and what you say. rolleyes

"As for the posts yea they are great......But your right I don't read all of them......I work for a living and don't have the time.......I'am much like main stream America and get most of my info from the 6oclock news....generally accurate to a certain extent and no more biased than any other.......depending on who you talk to."

If you think the typical evening TV news report is intelligent, informed and fairly accurate and its bias level is not worth noting, I'm not really sure what to say other than you might consider reading in depth around here if and when you have the time.  And if you don't have the time to read what people post in response to you, then why should I respond to what to me also appears to be pasta flinging?
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Howling Dog
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« Reply #355 on: August 21, 2007, 05:05:02 AM »

Doug,In truth I appreciate your heart felt opinions. What you view as condecending is just a frustrated me who can't get a point acknowledged.
Crafty, I personally think a little more frank discussion would be good for your forum......The first thing I look at when I see a new article posted is how long is it, then I try to determine do I have enough time to read it.....A lot of times by the time I get back to the articel its buried behind many others....MY OPINON a forum of all articles posted is simply dry and boring a little dialogue ofr disscusion brings flavor esp when all are not in agreement on them.

There again, most who post the articeles here are pro war and I could equally contend a pretty fair slant in Bias as well....I've learned along tme ago not to beleive everything I read of hear.....I also try to employ a little logic and reasoning.
I think in so doing....I maintain a pretty equal balance.
I will at this piont.....do as some of my friends have done here in the past, Crafty you know who they are and refrain from posting where my post neither get acknoledged as at least possible nor logical.
Thanks for your time.
Doug I especially appreciate your honest and open dialogue.......
                                                                 TG
I still think my posts deserve some thought or consideration..........By the way no time to check for typos in this post.....Got to go to work.... Have a nice day.... undecided
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Howling Dog
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #356 on: August 21, 2007, 09:54:12 AM »

I certainly agree that there is a certain orientation around here-- this is a forum, not a news organization, but I think on the whole we are dedicated to a search for truth and there is far more fact and quality analysis to be found here than on the typical TV broadcast featuring some Barbie and Ken dolls.

I easily understand that some of the posts are long  and not everyone has time to read all of them BUT when someone participates in the conversation, it makes sense to me that that someone should be reading the answers that people took the time to paste or write before posting again-- then you would know whether your point has been acknowledged or not. 

Once again, NO ONE here says everyone fighting us is an Islamofascist-- indeed I think most of the posts written here are quite aware that the situation is quite complex-- for example, try reading the posts by Stratfor that I make here analyzing the situation-- at the same time I think Michael Yon, who writes from the front lines as few do, persuasively makes the point that AQ stirs up a goodly percentage of the discord with which we are dealing.  I've brought his site and his reports specifically to your attention to answer your question on this point.  Have you read them?

Yes, OF COURSE some of the people fighting us do so out of some nationalistic impulse.  Forgive me, but I think the point rather obvious and frequently made in many of the posts here, so when you write as if it isn't, I'm left not sure what to say.  I also think that this nationalistic impulse on the part of the Sunnis has seen a change in strategy in Anbar, which last year had been written off by the conventional wisdom of the MSM.  However, the Sunnis who were so motivated, now seem to be working with us rather well-- now that they have gotten a taste of AQ!-- and now that they are getting a taste of Shiite hit squads!

That other person to whom you refer took the pretty special position of actually opposing American success.  Frankly, that message around here is going to receive a tough reception!

You made a post a few days ago that I thought represented a particularly clear example of an unsound thought process and at the time I answered that I was out of town on a keyboard that is tough to work with and that when I got home I would take a stab at explaining why I thought so.  I'm still here in Temecula with a laptop that is irritating to work with, so my response on this particular point will have to wait a bit more.
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Howling Dog
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« Reply #357 on: August 21, 2007, 03:41:41 PM »

I think the real problem with the tv news is not as to weather they report fact or quality, but more what they report....IE pro or negetive......In other words whats reported on tv is not well recieved on this forum.
Lets face it, when a broadcast is made thats seen round the world there has to be a certain amount of credibility to it.....As for the ken and Barbie anchors that report it........who cares what the person looks like thats bringing the news as long as they bring it.
As for not reading the posts that are posted in response to conversation......I onley recall Guro Crafty of late pointing out that a particular post was in fact made as a response to a question or Idea...any that I know or knew were posted as respones I READ.
I do read a good many of the articles posted here or at least in part......I'am getting the impression here that the thought is I don't read ANY......simply not true. I read them as time permits....often theres simply too many or the post is too long.

I have read Micheal Yons blog......and its good......though it is a feel good about whats going on view....and it is onley ONE mans blog.....hardley can one man cover a entire war on his BLOG.
Funny that you make that acknowledgement that there is a "nationlistic impulse" the way I hear things from this forum is that its all AQ or blood thirsty "JIHADISTS"
No one has yet told me how we identify AQ as AQ.....but they sure get blammed for everything......I think that quite conveniant.......Hope someone will be able soon to tell me how AQ are positivley identified.
In closing, My opinon is that its quite a stretch that we went into Iraq to fight terrorists, AQ or Jihadists....which is now the popular line.
I remember when it was regime change, and to bring a free and democratic  government that was to be a model to the mideast, and Sadaam and his Bathist party were the terrorists undecided

Anyway I'am often reminded of a quote from Johnny Cochran at the OJ Simpson trial:
"They have their version of the truth, we have our version of the truth.....then theres the truth"
He smiled and walked away...
                                                                    TG
By the way........the approval rating on the Iraq war falls into the 30% percentile range to me that means....if I hear this forum right...70% of America and most of our allies, and the world are wrong. wink
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Howling Dog
G M
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« Reply #358 on: August 21, 2007, 09:25:07 PM »

War and the Fallacies of Our Critics   
By Bernard Chapin
FrontPageMagazine.com | 8/21/2007

Most of us are best known by our first names or from some sort of professional prefix, but scholar and writer, Dr. Victor Davis Hanson, is often described by the simple acronym of “VDH.” His authoritative analysis of world events, foreign policy, classics, and military history has endeared him to many conservatives over the course of the last decade.

Dr. Hanson is a Senior Fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, and also a professor emeritus at California University, Fresno. His columns are nationally syndicated for Tribune Media Services. I first became aware of him in 2001 after coming across Carnage and Culture: Landmark Battles in the Rise of Western Power. It was also in that year that he first began writing for National Review. All told, Dr. Hanson has written or edited 16 books since his career began. Most recently he published, A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War. He also maintains a personal website that includes many of his works along with original insight from other writers. In 2002, he received the Eric Breindel Award for opinion journalism.

BC: Thanks so much for giving us some of your time, Dr. Hanson. First off, let me ask a general question. Do you think that, as a result of Iraq, the American people have a much more negative view of the military today than they have at any other point in history?

Victor Davis Hanson: Not at all. They realize that our military has fought both effectively and humanely in often impossible conditions. Most of the negative coverage—whether Newsweek's flushed Koran story, John Murtha's rush-to-judgment condemnation of the Marines accused of atrocities, or the New Republic's recent embarrassing fable about supposed American savagery-reveals bias of the left, not empirical research.

The military conducted a transparent investigation of Haditha, allows access to Guantanamo, rebuked those responsible for misleading statements about Pat Tillman, and punished those culpable for the roguery of Abu Ghraib. Can the New York Times, Newsweek, CNN, or the New Republic claim it makes fewer errors, or is as candid in redressing its mistakes? I fear only the ripples of a defeat in Iraq: quite unfairly the military would be blamed and Vietnam-like for a generation weakened by internal dissension, an external loss of prestige, and a new bellicosity from our enemies.

BC: With all the incessant criticism and umbrage caused by the invasion and our continued policing of Iraq, do you think it will be possible for America to fight and win any wars in the future? I mean, won’t we always lose the home front? Currently, it seems as if, among the mainstream media and the Democratic Party, no level of casualties is acceptable.

VDH: The richer, more leisured a society becomes of smaller and smaller families, the harder it is to deploy sons and daughters to the 7th ring of the Inferno like Iraq. And with world therapeutic news coverage, the postmodern dilemma is not only casualties (one can lose very few before open revolt at home ensues), but the morality of killing the enemy as well.

To many Americans, war is obsolete and can be legislated or condemned out of existence-as if an Ahmadinejad, Saddam, or Hugo Chavez cared much what the US, UN, or EU pontificates about.

In the present, we have used force in Grenada, Panama, the Gulf, the Balkans, and Afghanistan and Iraq on the principle of ending illiberal regimes before they threaten regional stability and cost us eventually far higher from neglect than intervention.

Under Bush this has been demonized as 'preemption' and 'unilateralism', even though, unlike Clinton against Serbia, he tried to involve the UN and got prior congressional approval. Like it or not, we will see less preemption, and more reaction, and the American people should be ready for the consequences, especially if we flee Iraq. Iran, North Korea, and Islamic terrorists, to say nothing of a Russia or China, operate on the principle of deterrence-their aggression checked only by a sober calculation of perceived costs versus benefits. Let us hope that American technology, a small cadre of 19th century brave souls in the military, and innate American know-how can save us from ourselves in the hours of war and peril to come.

BC: How do you think the current state of affairs will affect future Presidential decision-making in regards to military action? Perhaps I’m wrong, but how can any Commander in Chief function if the public begins referring to him as a “war criminal” after only a few bombing sorties?

VDH: He really can't. Almost all of al Qaeda's critiques of the US are recycled from Western leftists. Like rust, such Pavlovian hatred of a capitalist free West never sleeps, and the only way to counter it is with logic, reason-and victory. Should we win in Iraq—victory defined as something like Kurdistan—then even the most opportunistic critics will grow quiet. But seem weak and lose—and then even a John Murtha or Kerry can sound like Michael Moore or Sean Penn. We need more explanation of our aims and values in Iraq—and in postmodern war in general-less assertion if we are to counter the lies of the left, from "no blood for oil" to "Bush is a war criminal."

BC: What do you make of the political argument that only people in the military should speak of military affairs? Also, what of the practice of people like Michael Moore walking around wanting to know why Senators and Congressmen aren’t sending or signing-up their sons to fight in Iraq as if there is a personal basis for determining the course of national action?

VDH: And only oncologists can comment on cancer treatment or farmers the nation's food supply? As for the Chicken-hawk argument-first, there are no fronts in this war since 9/11; nearly as many were killed in Manhattan as during combat in Iraq. Second, this is a volunteer military where rights, responsibilities, and dangers are well understood. Third, each American according to his station contributes to the war effort-since out of a cohort of many millions of 18-25 year olds, only a few can serve in the front lines. In general, the military appreciates those who support its efforts more than those who either condemn it or think it is naively fooled by Halliburton profiteers.

BC: Over the years have you noticed, among the general public, a certain level of increased hostility towards the study of military history? If so, did such attitudes begin to form during the period of the Vietnam War?

VDH: Yes, then and during the 1980s, the rise of "theory" in our universities when there was a general withdrawal from empiricism, facts, dates, personages, etc, a movement that allowed the glib but uneducated to spin grand suppositions without the burden of proof or research. But there is a paradox—movies and books dealing with war and its histories are eagerly sought out by the public, while university press publications on the holy trinity of race, class, and gender go unread. And to repeat the cancer simile: do cancer doctors like cancer any more than military historians like war? Should we ignore studying tumors because, like war, they maim and kill?

BC: Another political question…this idea of American interests. In some quarters, it is only acceptable for the United States to take military action if it somehow does not advance our interests. Where does such an attitude come from? How did we reach the point wherein a nation is not expected to act in ways that further their interests?

VDH: "Interest" can be defined in a variety of ways, both material and spiritual. Bombing Milosevic was irrelevant to the security of the US, but important to the psyche of the American people that we did not allow a genocide to continue that we had the means to stop. Since the 1960s, we have promulgated the notion that the sins of mankind—slavery, racism, imperialism, colonialism—were uniquely the sins of the West, and the corollary that no other culture could be worse than our own. The result was this strange bifurcation on the left: liberal leaders and elites (more and more those affluent and exempt from the drudgery of 8-5 labor) still wished to live affluent lifestyles, enjoy the accoutrements of capitalism, and yet to damn the system in the abstract that produced such bounty as a sort of mechanism of alleviating guilt on the cheap.

Now we see the ultimate reification of that hypocrisy is someone like John Edwards whose house, hair, and speaking fees about poverty are in a quite different nation from the one he worries about. The left can quibble about what constitutes national interest, but that is a luxury of peace and affluence: even it, when gas for its Volvos is nonexistent, or its wood for its elegant floors forbidden, or the safety of its elite schools is threatened will consider that it has "interests" worth protecting.

BC: Is there a tendency among people on the left to view history as a means rather than an end? I ask you this because I have heard quite often, “why you would want to study that?” As if subjects devoid of political value are not worth examining. Could it be that, as a product of their own “political engagement,” leftists may believe that we only study those events which directly concern us?

VDH: Marxism lied to us that history is only the story of material interest, rather than the narrative often of the psyche, emotion, and only perceived self-interests. Nations really do go to war over principle, honor and pride. Perhaps I'm mistaken, but I don't think there was oil in the Falklands. More generally, history has become in the university a medieval morality tale, in which we deconstruct the past to find those guilty of sins against gender, race, and class, and then use the standards of the present to condemn them postfacto on grounds of illiberality—as if someone illiterate five centuries ago without electricity, running water, a toilet, or antibiotics should have been as racially sensitive or tolerant of the "other" or as environmentally conscious as we are in Palo Alto or Madison.

In general we forgot that education is simply the ability to translate daily chaos into abstract wisdom of the ages—impossible without a data bank of names, dates, concepts, and a methodology of inductive inquiry; in turn both impossible without a liberal education of languages, literature, history, philosophy, and basic science.

BC: For what reason should non-policy makers study military history? What unique advantages does the discipline offer its students?

VDH: I wrote a long essay on this in the current City Journal [subscriber only, at the moment]. History started with Herodotus and Thucydides as the exclusive study of war, in which the crucible of human experience was best probed and understood. Like it or not, war cannot be legislated away; its best prevention is knowledge of why it starts, how it is conducted, and why and how it ends—and that is only learned by study of the past.

BC: Along the lines of the last question, what do you say to those who ask why you want to study “war?” Personally, I have always thought that in stressful conditions our true nature is most apparent.

VDH: War is a human phenomenon of the ages. Its manifestations—arrows, flintlocks, atomic bombs—change, but its essence is an unchanging human nature driven by fear, honor, and perceived self-interest, with emotions like envy, jealousy, and bullying its catalysts. I agree: as Thucydides put it, war strips off our thin veneer of civilization and reveals human nature in its most honest and disturbing raw essence. Studying war gives us an appreciation of that patina of culture, and why it is so critical to protect and preserve it lest we devolve into our innately natural selves.

Bernard Chapin is a writer and school psychologist living in Chicago. His first book, Napalm is the Scent of Justice, was a fictional account of a radical feminist United States; his latest book concerns the implosion of a school he worked at and loved: Escape from Gangsta Island: A School's Progressive Decline.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #359 on: August 29, 2007, 10:39:49 PM »

While I certainly did not care for Gonzales and I think Ann Coulter often is wide of the mark and sometimes infantile,  this piece does make some fair points:

Reno 911
by Ann Coulter

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This week, congressional Democrats vowed to investigate Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' firing of himself. Gonzales has said he was not involved in the discussions about his firing and that it was "performance-based," but he couldn't recall the specifics.

Right-wingers like me never trusted Gonzales. But watching Hillary Rodham Clinton literally applaud the announcement of Gonzales' resignation on Monday was more than any human being should have to bear. Liberals' hysteria about Gonzales was surpassed only by their hysteria about his predecessor, John Ashcroft. (Also their hysteria about Bush, Rove, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Libby, Rice, Barney and so on. They're very excitable, these Democrats.)

Liberals want to return the office to the glory years of Attorney General Janet Reno!



There is reason to believe Reno is precisely the sort of attorney general that Hillary would nominate, since Reno was widely assumed to be Hillary's pick at the time. As ABC News' Chris Bury reported the day Reno was confirmed: "The search for an attorney general exemplifies Hillary Clinton's circle of influence and its clout. ... The attorney general-designate, Janet Reno, came to the president's attention through Hillary Clinton's brother, Hugh Rodham."

Let's compare attorneys general:

 -- Civilians killed by Ashcroft: 0

 -- Civilians killed by Gonzales: 0

 -- Civilians killed by Reno: 80

Reno's military attack on a religious sect in Waco, Texas, led to the greatest number of civilians ever killed by the government in the history of the United States. More Americans were killed at Waco than were killed at any of the various markers on the left's via dolorosa -- more than Kent State (4 killed), more than the Haymarket Square rebellion (4 killed), more than Three Mile Island (0 killed).

-- Innocent people put in prison by Ashcroft: 0

-- Innocent people put in prison by Gonzales: 0

-- Innocent people put in prison by Reno: at least 1 that I know of

As Dade County (Fla.) state attorney, Janet Reno made a name for herself as one of the leading witch-hunters in the notorious "child molestation" cases from the '80s, when convictions of innocent Americans were won on the basis of heavily coached testimony from small children.

Charged by Reno's office in 1984 with child molestation, Grant Snowden was convicted on the manufactured testimony of one such child, who was 4 years old when the abuse allegedly occurred.

Snowden, the most decorated police officer in the history of the South Miami Police Department, was sentenced to five life terms -- and was imprisoned with people he had put there. Snowden served 11 years before his conviction was finally overturned by a federal court in an opinion that ridiculed the evidence against him and called his trial "fundamentally unfair."

In a massive criminal justice system, mistakes will be made from time to time. But Janet Reno put people like Snowden in prison not only for crimes that they didn't commit -- but also for crimes that never happened. Such was the soccer-mom-induced hysteria of the '80s, when innocent people were prosecuted for fantastical crimes concocted in therapists' offices.

-- Number of obvious civil rights violations ignored by Ashcroft: 0

-- Number of obvious civil rights violations ignored by Gonzales: 0

-- Number of obvious civil rights violations ignored by Reno: at least 1

On Aug. 19, 1991, rabbinical student Yankel Rosenbaum was stabbed to death in Crown Heights by a black racist mob shouting "Kill the Jew!" as retaliation for another Hasidic man killing a black child in a car accident hours earlier.

In a far clearer case of jury nullification than the first Rodney King verdict, a jury composed of nine blacks and three Puerto Ricans acquitted Lemrick Nelson Jr. of the murder -- despite the fact that the police found the bloody murder weapon in his pocket and Rosenbaum's blood on his clothes, and that Rosenbaum, as he lay dying, had identified Nelson as his assailant.

The Hasidic community immediately appealed to the attorney general for a federal civil rights prosecution of Nelson. Reno responded with utter mystification at the idea that anyone's civil rights had been violated.

Civil rights? Where do you get that?

Because they were chanting "Kill the Jew," Rosenbaum is a Jew, and they killed him.

Huh. That's a weird interpretation of "civil rights." It sounds a little harebrained to me, but I guess I could have someone look into it.

It took two years from Nelson's acquittal to get Reno to bring a civil rights case against him.

-- Number of innocent civilians accused of committing heinous crimes by Ashcroft: 0

-- Number of innocent civilians accused of committing heinous crimes by Gonzales: 0

-- Number of innocent civilians accused of committing heinous crimes by Reno: at least 1

Janet Reno presided over the leak of Richard Jewell's name to the media, implicating him in the Atlanta Olympic park bombing in 1996, for which she later apologized.

I believe Reno also falsely accused the Miami relatives of Elian Gonzalez of violating the law, which I am not including in her record of false accusations, but reminds me of another comparison.

Number of 6-year-old boys deported to totalitarian dictatorships by Ashcroft: 0

Number of 6-year-old boys deported to totalitarian dictatorships by Gonzales: 0

Number of 6-year-old boys deported to totalitarian dictatorships by Reno: 1

Not until Bush became president was the media interested in discussing the shortcomings of the attorney general. Whatever flaws Alberto Gonzales has (John Ashcroft has none), we don't have to go back to the Harding administration to find a worse attorney general.

From the phony child abuse cases of the '80s to the military assault on Americans at Waco, Janet Reno presided over the most egregious attacks on Americans' basic liberties since the Salem witch trials. These outrageous deprivations of life and liberty were not the work of fanatical right-wing prosecutors, but liberals like Janet Reno.

Reno is the sort of wild-eyed zealot trampling on real civil rights that Hillary views as an ideal attorney general, unlike that brute Alberto Gonzales. At least Reno didn't fire any U.S. attorneys!

Oh wait --

Number of U.S. attorneys fired by Ashcroft: 0

Number of U.S. attorneys fired by Gonzales: 8

Number of U.S. attorneys fired by Reno: 93
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #360 on: September 05, 2007, 04:50:59 AM »

Gen. Petraeus, the Real War and the Option Missing From the September Debate on American National Security

Dear Friend,

Next Monday, I will give a speech at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) marking six years since 9/11 and outlining the larger war we should have been waging in order to defeat our terrorist enemies on a worldwide basis.

My speech at AEI is designed to make the case for a larger and more productive dialogue about what we need to accomplish in the Real War we're engaged in -- not only in Iraq and Afghanistan but also in dealing with our enemies on a larger strategic scale, including Iran, Syria, al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas and the worldwide forces of terrorism that want to destroy our civilization and eliminate our freedoms.

We will webcast the speech beginning next Monday evening, September 10, and also post the text of it online at Newt.org and AmericanSolutions.com.

The reason I am speaking out is simple: We need a war-winning option, and today we do not have such an option.

Let me explain.

What's Missing in Our National Debate About 'The War'

Next week will be the sixth anniversary of the enemy attack on the United States on 9/11. Six years ago, more than 3,000 innocent civilians were murdered by an evil barbaric force, an irreconcilable wing of Islam that seeks to repress women, eliminate religious freedom and punish personal liberty.

For six years, we have been at war on a worldwide basis with a movement funded largely by Saudi Arabian and Iranian sources.

For six years, we have failed to confront the scale of our enemy, the direct threat of nuclear and biological weapons if possessed by that enemy, and the scale and nature of the strategy needed to win the larger war with that enemy.

Next week, Gen. David Petraeus, who did a brilliant job in his two previous tours of Iraq and is the best counterinsurgency Army general America has, will issue his report on how the "surge" is working in Iraq.

And yet next week, our elites will continue to hide in the smaller argument about Iraq and avoid the larger argument about the global war.

When the analysis and debate on that report begins, there will be an important option missing.


The 'Stay the Course' Camp Versus the 'Lose Quickly' Camp

The debate over the Petraeus Report will rapidly be divided into two predictable camps.

There will be a "stay the course" camp advocating doing more of what we are already doing, hanging on and hoping for the best. This will be led by President Bush and echoed by his most loyal supporters in the Republican Party.

There will be a "let's lose quickly to end the American casualties" camp that will reject the Petraeus Report. This camp will note that we have failed to achieve a promised land of peace and stability in Iraq, and therefore, we should legislate defeat in the United States Congress rather than allow Gen. Petraeus to continue his efforts to engage Iraq to help defeat the enemy.

The Missing Option: A War-Winning Strategy

What will be missing in this debate is a third choice: "a war-winning strategy."

The great tragedy of the six years since 9/11 is that we have not had a national debate about the scale of our opponents, the depth of their hatred for our way of life and the very real threat that they will acquire nuclear and biological weapons. With the former, they may kill hundreds of thousands of Americans in our cities. With the latter, millions of Americans could die in a deliberate attack.

There is no debate about the potential for a second holocaust in which millions die if Israel is overwhelmed with nuclear weapons or if the missiles Hezbollah fires from Southern Lebanon are launched with chemical warheads or if a coalition of terrorist forces backed by Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia simply wear down the Israeli will to resist.

Iraq and Afghanistan Are Campaigns Within the Larger War

Imagine that Lincoln had tried to assess Antietam and Gettysburg without thinking about the larger war for the preservation of the Union.

Imagine that FDR had tried to assess Pearl Harbor or Guadalcanal or Kasserine Pass without looking at the larger war with Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan and Fascist Italy.

Clearly, any battle report which focused only on Iwo Jima or Guadalcanal or the Battle of the Bulge would have been so negative that many Americans would have wanted to quit the war.

Yet, in World War II, Americans understood that they were involved in a larger life-and-death struggle for the very survival of their civilization. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Winston Churchill knew they had to rally the American and British people to a hard, violent war with tyranny, and they brilliantly described the necessity of defending what they called "our Christian civilization" against Paganism and totalitarianism.

Because the American and British people understood what was at stake and because they believed there was a larger strategy for victory, they were prepared to endure defeats, frustrations and casualties to get to victory.

Once we accept that we are in a larger war, the assessment of Iraq and Afghanistan changes and the options available to win in both campaigns changes.

The Tragedy of Next Week's Debate

The tragedy is that next week there will be a debate between "staying the course" and "legislating defeat."

Both will be wrong.

Legislating defeat is more wrong than simply staying the course. Yet, staying the course is wholly inadequate to the long-term challenge of winning the larger war.

By focusing the country on a stay-the-course-versus-legislated-defeat choice, we have left no space for a dialogue about how to win the war.

Legislating Defeat Will Be Tragically Wrong, a Major Victory for Our Enemies and a Major Defeat for the United States

Let me be absolutely clear: I am unalterably opposed to legislating defeat.

And from talking to thousands of you across the country, including those in our armed forces, I know that the American people are opposed to defeat as well.

We know that defeat in Iraq will be a disaster for America, for the Iraqi people and for the cause of freedom and the rule of law.

If the American Congress legislates defeat, it will have taken on its shoulders the burden of politically defeating the United States at a time when it is impossible for our enemies to militarily defeat us.

If the "Reid-Pelosi Defeat America" legislation passes, every terrorist group on the planet will rejoice.

If the leftwing, pro-defeat activists celebrate a victory over Gen. Petraeus and President Bush, they will be joined in their celebration by every anti-American group around the world.

Legislating defeat should not be an acceptable option for any American who cares about our national security and who wants to defeat the enemy who attacked us on 9/11.

Staying the Course Is Inadequate

Yet as wrong as legislating defeat is, the present strategy of staying the course is simply not good enough.

As long as Northwest Pakistan (Waziristan) is a sanctuary, the Taliban can never be defeated.

As long as we have failed to create a better economy in which growing and processing drugs is no longer the best way to earn a living, Afghanistan will never be safe.

As long as Iran is allowed to ship weapons into Iraq, we will never fully bring stability to Iraq.

As long as Syria is allowed to serve as a transit point for foreign terrorists coming into Iraq, we will never fully defeat the insurgent forces.

As long as Saudi sources finance the spread of Wahhabism across the planet and the Wahhabists continue to advocate Jihad and martyrdom, the flow of new terrorist recruits willing to die will continue.

As long as the current dictatorship runs Iran and works every day to create nuclear weapons and to sustain terrorists groups such as Hezbollah, Hamas and the professional state-sponsored terrorists of the Iranian Guard units, our civilization will not be safe.

We Are Faced With a Large Worldwide Threat, and We Need a Large Worldwide Strategy for Victory

The greatest need in American policy today is for a strategy to win the larger war.

A strategy for a larger war requires a much more thorough statement of the scale of our enemies and their preparations.

A strategy for a larger war will involve some very difficult and, at times, frightening conversations about who is helping our enemies and what it may take to cut off that aid.

Confronting the Real War on its worldwide terms will require fundamental changes in national security, homeland security, budgets and preparations.

Setting out to win the larger war will require a new tempo and new rhythm for our bureaucracies and new determination to insist on real changes both in America and abroad.

My speech at AEI September 10 at 10:00 a.m. ET will outline the scale of changes required to win the real war.

Anticipating the Patraeus Report

We already know from a variety of sources, including interviews with Gen. Petraeus, what his report will contain.

Gen. Petraeus will report that things have improved, that we are a long way from winning but we are gaining ground, and that we need more time and more patience. The report will indicate that the military situation in Iraq is improving faster than the political situation but that both are promising.

However, we should be prepared for the probability that the enemy has spent the last several months planning and preparing to launch devastating attacks to coincide with the release of the report.

Our enemies understand how Washington works, and they understand how the media work. They increasingly plan the timing of their attacks in an effort to undermine the resolve of our politicians and our public by perfecting their influence of the war coverage in our news media.

If the enemy fails to attack during the debate over the report, it will be a modest help to Gen. Petraeus and President Bush.

If the enemy does succeed in a series of deadly attacks during the debate over the report, those attacks will be seized upon by the American news media and the pro-defeat left as proof that legislating defeat is the right solution.

Who Do You Trust? Gen. Petraeus or Gen. Pelosi?

No matter what happens that week, given a choice between the self-appointed political generals of Capitol Hill and the professional soldiers and Marines who have dedicated their lives to studying the art of war, it is a lot safer bet to believe in Gen. Petraeus' analysis than Gen. Pelosi's.

This upcoming debate is going to be the most serious effort to legislate the defeat of America in a generation.

No one should underestimate what is at stake. Please tune in to my speech September 10, and let your representatives know that we've had enough debating defeat. It's time for a serious discussion of what it takes for victory.

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SB_Mig
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« Reply #361 on: September 05, 2007, 12:22:27 PM »

Quote
Because the American and British people understood what was at stake and because they believed there was a larger strategy for victory, they were prepared to endure defeats, frustrations and casualties to get to victory.

Unfortunately, one of the biggest failures of this administration has been its inability to make its own citizens understand what is at stake.
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G M
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« Reply #362 on: September 05, 2007, 01:56:28 PM »

Quote
Because the American and British people understood what was at stake and because they believed there was a larger strategy for victory, they were prepared to endure defeats, frustrations and casualties to get to victory.

Unfortunately, one of the biggest failures of this administration has been its inability to make its own citizens understand what is at stake.

Very true. The MSM and it's democratic party masters haven't helped either. Outside of Joe Liberman, what dem has taken a stand against the global jihad?
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SB_Mig
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« Reply #363 on: September 05, 2007, 05:17:04 PM »

No one that I can think of...

GM, why do you think that it's been so hard to rally support for defense against Islamic militants? Are we as a country that blind to danger? Or is it just not politically correct to identify danger anymore?

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #364 on: September 05, 2007, 05:40:24 PM »

THAT is a profoundly important question, one perhaps worthy of its own thread.
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G M
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« Reply #365 on: September 05, 2007, 06:49:36 PM »

No one that I can think of...

GM, why do you think that it's been so hard to rally support for defense against Islamic militants? Are we as a country that blind to danger? Or is it just not politically correct to identify danger anymore?



A good question with a complex answer. Let me collect my thoughts. New thread Crafty, or do I post it here?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #366 on: September 05, 2007, 07:34:02 PM »

New thread.
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G M
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« Reply #367 on: September 07, 2007, 09:08:39 PM »

http://www.dailygut.com/index.php?i=3245

bonus weekend gregalogue! BIN LADEN'S TAPE!

So you've seen the latest message from our favorite goat-toucher Usama bin Laden. In it, he criticizes Americans for reelecting, instead of punishing, Bush, as well as harping on Democrats for not securing a retreat from Iraq. He also mentions global warming and praises Noam Chomsky, the patron saint of the left.

It was at this point, I thought I was listening to Keith Olbermann. That's when it dawned on me. Bin Laden isn't just a terrorist. He's worse. A liberal!


So, when one political party shares a war-time agenda with the guy who's trying to end your civilization, isn't it time to stop renewing Bill Maher's contract? I mean, if Usama wrote these sentiments on a job application, he could land a spot on the View.

You know, I didn't realize bin laden was following US politics that closely. He must watch the Daily Show. But the whole thing seems like Usama's latest video dating offer to America's left. "Lonely, bored goat-herder, into Jihad, mass murder, and figs, seeks fellow 'Progressive' for long term relationship. I enjoy long walks in the desert. And goats. Lets end western civilization together! (AND YES, THIS IS MY REAL BEARD!)

But there's a hint of desperation to all this. UBL is no longer calling for America's destruction. Now, he's begging us to leave the middle east. Which means, he's running out of hummus. It's clear he would love to call things "even" and check into the Yemen Hilton for a nice bath.

Just remember: only a man who's losing it quotes Chomsky. Usama's on the ropes. Let's keep him there. Until he's at the end of one.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #368 on: September 10, 2007, 10:40:54 AM »

Not really a rant, but I put it here anyway:

Listening to Petraeus
The president had the courage to change course on Iraq. Does Congress?

BY JOHN MCCAIN AND JOE LIEBERMAN
Monday, September 10, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

Today, Gen. David Petraeus--commander of our forces in Iraq--returns to Washington to report on the war in Iraq and the new counterinsurgency strategy he has been implementing there. We hope that opponents of the war in Congress will listen carefully to the evidence that the U.S. military is at last making real and significant progress in its offensive against al Qaeda in Iraq.

Consider how the situation has changed. A year ago, al Qaeda in Iraq controlled large swaths of the country's territory. Today it is being driven out of its former strongholds in Anbar and Diyala provinces by the surge in U.S. forces and those of our Iraqi allies. A year ago, sectarian violence was spiraling out of control in Iraq, fanned by al Qaeda. Today civilian murders in Baghdad are down over 50%.

As facts on the ground in Iraq have improved, some critics of the war have changed their stance. As Democratic Congressman Brian Baird, who voted against the invasion of Iraq, recently wrote after returning from Baghdad: "[T]he people, strategies, and facts on the ground have changed for the better, and those changes justify changing our position on what should be done."





Unfortunately, many more antiwar advocates continue to press for withdrawal. Confronted by undeniable evidence of gains against al Qaeda in Iraq, they acknowledge progress but have seized on the performance of the Iraqi government to justify stripping Gen. Petraeus of troops and derailing his strategy.
This reasoning is flawed for several reasons.

First, whatever you think of the performance of Iraq's national leaders, the notion that withdrawing U.S. troops will "shock" them into reconciliation is unsupported by evidence or experience. On the contrary, ordering a retreat will only serve to unravel the hard-fought gains we have won.

The recent National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq was unequivocal on this point: "Changing the mission of Coalition forces from a primarily counterinsurgency and stabilization role"--the Petraeus strategy--"to a primary combat support role for Iraqi forces and counterterrorist operations"--which most congressional Democrats have been pressing for--"would erode security gains achieved thus far."

This judgment is echoed by our commanders on the ground. Consider the words of Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, who is leading the fight in central Iraq: "In my battlespace right now, if soldiers were to leave . . . having fought hard for that terrain, having denied the enemy their sanctuaries, what happens is, the enemy would come back."

In addition, while critics are right that improved security has not yet translated into sufficient political progress at the national level, the increased presence of our soldiers is having a seismic effect on Iraq's politics at the local level.

In the neighborhoods and villages where U.S. forces have moved in, extremists have been marginalized, and moderates empowered. Thanks to this changed security calculus, the Sunni Arab community--which was largely synonymous with the insurgency a year ago--has been turning against al Qaeda from the bottom-up, and beginning to negotiate an accommodation with the emerging political order. Sustaining this political shift depends on staying the offensive against al Qaeda--which in turn depends on not stripping Gen. Petraeus of the manpower he and his commanders say they need.

We must also recognize that the choice we face in Iraq is not between the current Iraqi government and a perfect Iraqi government. Rather, it is a choice between a young, imperfect, struggling democracy that we have helped midwife into existence, and the fanatical, al Qaeda suicide bombers and Iranian-sponsored terrorists who are trying to destroy it. If Washington politicians succeed in forcing a premature troop withdrawal in Iraq, the result will be a more dangerous world with our enemies emboldened. As Iran's president recently crowed, "soon we will see a huge power vacuum in the region . . . [and] we are prepared to fill the gap."





Whatever the shortcomings of our friends in Iraq, they are no excuse for us to retreat from our enemies like al Qaeda and Iran, who pose a mortal threat to our vital national interests. We must understand that today in Iraq we are fighting and defeating the same terrorist network that attacked on 9/11. As al Qaeda in Iraq continues to be hunted down and rooted out, and the Iraqi Army continues to improve, the U.S. footprint will no doubt adjust. But these adjustments should be left to the discretion of Gen. Petraeus, not forced on our troops by politicians in Washington with a 6,000-mile congressional screwdriver, and, perhaps, an eye on the 2008 election.
The Bush administration clung for too long to a flawed strategy in this war, despite growing evidence of its failure. Now advocates of withdrawal risk making the exact same mistake, by refusing to re-examine their own conviction that Gen. Petraeus's strategy cannot succeed and that the war is "lost," despite rising evidence to the contrary.

The Bush administration finally had the courage to change course in Iraq earlier this year. After hearing from Gen. Petraeus today, we hope congressional opponents of the war will do the same.

Mr. McCain is a Republican senator from Arizona. Mr. Lieberman is an Independent Democratic senator from Connecticut.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #369 on: September 11, 2007, 10:16:46 AM »


WSJ
Trashing Petraeus
MoveOn.org, and the new standards of Democratic debate.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

Important as was yesterday's appearance before Congress by General David Petraeus, the events leading up to his testimony may have been more significant. Members of the Democratic leadership and their supporters have now normalized the practice of accusing their opponents of lying. If other members of the Democratic Party don't move quickly to repudiate this turn, the ability of the U.S. political system to function will be impaired in a way no one would wish for.

Well, with one exception. MoveOn.org, the Democratic activist group, bought space in the New York Times yesterday to accuse General Petraeus of "cooking the books for the White House." The ad transmutes the general's name into "General Betray Us."

"Betrayal," as every military officer knows, is a word that through the history of their profession bears the stain of acts that are both dishonorable and unforgivable. That is to say, MoveOn.org didn't stumble upon this word; it was chosen with specific intent, to convey the most serious accusation possible against General Petraeus, that his word is false, that he is a liar and that he is willing to betray his country. The next and obvious word to which this equation with betrayal leads is treason. That it is merely insinuated makes it worse.

MoveOn.org calls itself a "progressive" political group, but it is in fact drawn from the hard left of American politics and a pedigree that sees politics as not so much an ongoing struggle but a final competition. Their Web-based group is new to the political scene, but its politics are not so new. More surprising and troubling are the formerly liberal institutions and politicians who now share this political ethos.





In an editorial on Sunday, the New York Times, after saying that President Bush "isn't looking for the truth, only for ways to confound the public," asserted that "General Petraeus has his own credibility problems." We read this as an elision from George Bush, the oft-accused liar on WMD and all the rest, to David Petraeus, also a liar merely for serving in the chain of command. With this editorial, the Times establishes that the party line is no longer just "Bush lied," but anyone who says anything good about Iraq or our effort there is also lying. As such, the Times enables and ratifies MoveOn.org's rhetoric as common usage for Democrats.
Late last week, for instance, we heard it said of General Petraeus that, "He's made a number of statements over the years that have not proven to be factual." This was from Harry Reid, the Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate.

The Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Tom Lantos, said Thursday that General Petraeus would not be the author of his report; it would be written "by Administration political operatives." He opened yesterday's hearing, moments before General Petraeus was to speak, by saying, "We cannot take anything this Administration says on Iraq at face value."

So far, only two Democrats that we are aware of have repudiated this political turn. Joe Lieberman, already ostracized from the party for dissent, called the MoveOn ad an "act of slander that every member of the Congress--Democrat and Republican--has a solemn responsibility to condemn." And Joe Biden, after the MoveOn ad was read to him on "Meet the Press" Sunday, replied: "I don't buy into that. This is an honorable guy. He's telling the truth."

These are the exceptions. Another of the party's activist groups, Democracy for America, released a statement about the time General Petraeus began to speak: "It is offensive that our commander-in-chief has ordered a four-star general to mislead Congress."

As General Petraeus finished his statement yesterday, Senator Chris Dodd's Presidential campaign spammed an email about "the accuracy" of the report: "The fact that there are questions about General Petraeus's report is not surprising given that it was brought to you by this White House." Thus in Mr. Dodd's view, General Petraeus, returned from the Iraq battlefield, is a complicit ventriloquist's dummy.





Can this really be the new standard of political rhetoric across the Democratic Party? There was a time when the party's institutional elites, such as the Times, would have pulled it back from reducing politics to all or nothing. They would have blown the whistle on such accusations. Now they are leading the charge.
Under these new terms, public policy is no longer subject to debate, discussion and disagreement over competing views and interpretations. Instead, the opposition is reduced to the status of liar. Now the opposition is not merely wrong, but lacks legitimacy and political standing. The goal here is not to debate, but to destroy.

Today General Petraeus testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Its Democratic Members include Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, Barack Obama, John Kerry, Barbara Boxer and Jim Webb. This would be the appropriate setting to apologize to General Petraeus for the MoveOn.org ad. Or let it stand.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #370 on: September 12, 2007, 11:45:16 PM »

From the Halls of Malibu to the Shores of Kennedy
by Ann Coulter

Democrats claim Gen. David Petraeus' report to Congress on the surge was a put-up job with a pre-ordained conclusion. As if their response wasn't.

Democrats yearn for America to be defeated on the battlefield and oppose any use of the military -- except when they can find individual malcontents in the military willing to denounce the war and call for a humiliating retreat.

It's been the same naysaying from these people since before we even invaded Iraq -- despite the fact that their representatives in Congress voted in favor of that war.

Mark Bowden, author of "Black Hawk Down," warned Americans in the Aug. 30, 2002, Los Angeles Times of 60,000 to 100,000 dead American troops if we invaded Iraq -- comparing an Iraq war to Vietnam and a Russian battle in Chechnya. He said Iraqis would fight the Americans "tenaciously" and raised the prospect of Saddam using weapons of mass destruction against our troops, an attack on Israel "and possibly in the United States."

On Sept. 14, 2002, The New York Times' Frank Rich warned of another al-Qaida attack in the U.S. if we invaded Iraq, noting that since "major al-Qaida attacks are planned well in advance and have historically been separated by intervals of 12 to 24 months, we will find out how much we've been distracted soon enough."

This week makes it six years since a major al-Qaida attack. I guess we weren't distracted. But it looks like al-Qaida has been.

Weeks before the invasion, in March 2003, the Times' Nicholas Kristof warned in a couple of columns that if we invaded Iraq, "the Turks, Kurds, Iraqis and Americans will all end up fighting over the oil fields of Kirkuk or Mosul." He said: "The world has turned its back on the Kurds more times than I can count, and there are signs that we're planning to betray them again." He announced that "the United States is perceived as the world's newest Libya."

The day after we invaded, Kristof cited a Muslim scholar for the proposition that if Iraqis felt defeated, they would embrace Islamic fundamentalism.

We took Baghdad in about 17 days flat with amazingly few casualties. There were no al-Qaida attacks in America, no attacks on Israel, no invasion by Turkey, no attacks on our troops with chemical weapons, no ayatollahs running Iraq. We didn't turn our back on the Kurds. There were certainly not 100,000 dead American troops.

But liberals soon began raising yet more pointless quibbles. For most of 2003, they said the war was a failure because we hadn't captured Saddam Hussein. Then we captured Saddam, and Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean complained that "the capture of Saddam has not made America safer." (On the other hand, Howard Dean's failure to be elected president definitely made America safer.)

Next, liberals said the war was a failure because we hadn't captured Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Then we killed al-Zarqawi and a half-dozen of his aides in an air raid. Then they said the war was a failure because ... you get the picture.

The Democrats' current talking point is that "there can be no military solution in Iraq without a political solution." But back when we were imposing a political solution, Democrats' talking point was that there could be no political solution without a military solution.

They said the first Iraqi election, scheduled for January 2005, wouldn't happen because there was no "security."

Noted Middle East peace and security expert Jimmy Carter told NBC's "Today" show in September 2004 that he was confident the elections would not take place. "I personally do not believe they're going to be ready for the election in January ... because there's no security there," he said.

At the first presidential debate in September 2004, Sen. John Kerry used his closing statement to criticize the scheduled Iraqi elections saying: "They can't have an election right now. The president's not getting the job done."

About the same time, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan said he doubted there would be elections in January, saying, "You cannot have credible elections if the security conditions continue as they are now" -- although he may have been referring here to a possible vote of the U.N. Security Council.

In October 2004, Nicholas Lemann wrote in The New Yorker that "it may not be safe enough there for the scheduled elections to be held in January."

Days before the first election in Iraq in January 2005, The New York Times began an article on the election this way:

"Hejaz Hazim, a computer engineer who could not find a job in computers and now cleans clothes, slammed his iron into a dress shirt the other day and let off a burst of steam about the coming election.

"'This election is bogus,' Mr. Hazim said. 'There is no drinking water in this city. There is no security. Why should I vote?'"

If there's a more artful articulation of the time-honored linkage between drinking water and voting, I have yet to hear it.

And then, as scheduled, in January 2005, millions of citizens in a country that has never had a free election risked their lives to cast ballots in a free democratic election. They've voted twice more since then.

Now our forces are killing lots of al-Qaida jihadists, preventing another terrorist attack on U.S. soil, and giving democracy in Iraq a chance -- and Democrats say we are "losing" this war. I think that's a direct quote from their leader in the Senate, Harry Reid, but it may have been the Osama bin Laden tape released this week. I always get those two confused.

OK, they knew what Petraeus was going to say. But we knew what the Democrats were going to say. If liberals are not traitors, their only fallback argument at this point is that they're really stupid.
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rogt
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« Reply #371 on: September 15, 2007, 12:54:05 AM »

Carried over from the "Why we fight" thread.

Quote
Way to misrepresent my position there, snookums.  I consider a US "victory" to be the worst possible outcome because the war itself is a criminal enterprise which, whether you agree with it or not, is a defensible position.  There's a big difference between that and and simply hating America (or some such juvenile  BS), which you imply.

**It is a defensible position, for an enemy of America.

It's unfortunate that you see it this way.  I guess if "America" is basically a thug with the right to do whatever the hell it wants because it's got the muscle, then yes, I'm an enemy.

Quote
I believe i've asked you in the past and you couldn't answer what law you allege has been violated.

I'm not a lawyer, but as I understand it, international law is very clear about "aggressive war" (attacking a sovereign nation that hasn't attacked you) being a big no-no.  We either accept the authority of international law or we don't, but I don't see it as even debatable that we violated it.

Quote
So what exactly do you do?

**I'm a cop.**

I have to admit that I often get a little nervous around cops (especially if they're pulling up behind me), but with very few exceptions the cops I've actually spoken with were perfectly nice guys just trying to do their jobs like professionals.

I get the feeling that your image of "the left" is some absurd caricature.  I live in Oakland, CA, and there are plenty of hippie types (mostly in Berkeley) that annoy the living *&@% out of me.  But most of the people around here who would probably identify as "the left" are just decent, hard working people who want see America work harder towards making it's people's lives better, and they'd rather see the troops back here living their lives than off fighting a senseless war.  It's pretty tough to argue that these are bad things to want.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #372 on: September 15, 2007, 01:30:02 AM »

Rog:

"I'm not a lawyer, but as I understand it, international law is very clear about "aggressive war" (attacking a sovereign nation that hasn't attacked you) being a big no-no.  We either accept the authority of international law or we don't, but I don't see it as even debatable that we violated it."

While in law school, I studied "international law", was on the Board of Directors of the Society of International law for the school, and received the Parker Award for International Law.  None of which means diddly I know, but at least membership in the Soc. for Intl Law got me a 10 day trip to Cuba during the brief period at the end of the Carter years when it was legal to do so.  My one year in law, in Washington DC, was for a firm that billed itself as an international law firm.

What I carried away from this was that a lot of it was utterly meaningless and really more a matter of Conflict of Laws i.e. a determination of whose law applies. 

For example, one case on which I briefly worked was about a client whom had a ship seized in Iran shortly before the Khomeni Revolution.  Jurisdiction in US Federal Court was obtained and proceedings began.  Then the Khomeni govt. nationalized the company that had seized our client's ship.  Not recognizing the jurisdication of US federal court, it stopped showing up and we won a default judgement on the merits.  All that remained was a determination of damages.  Then the US-Iranian Claims tribunal was set up for all pending disputes between the US, its citizens, and Iran and its citizens.  Question presented:  Did the Claims tribunal have to accept the US federal court default decision and rule only on damages, or did it the case get litigated de novo?

Concerning our decision to go into Iraq being illegal or not, IMHO President Bush committed an error in going back to the UN after receiving Resolution 1441, which I would argue empowered us to go in as a legal matter.  As a political matter though, the President thought it better to go back for ,  , , re-approval.

IMHO there really is no coherent thing such as international law.  When has the UN gotten upset for the French going into west Africa, or NATO into Serbia-Croatia?  I don't recall any General Assembly votes on any of that or other similar cases.  OTOH it was a big deal when Saddam invaded Kuwait.  OTOH it wasn't a big deal when the Arabs tried wiping out Israel.  OTOH , , , well you get the idea.
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G M
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« Reply #373 on: September 15, 2007, 02:27:20 AM »

Carried over from the "Why we fight" thread.

Quote
Way to misrepresent my position there, snookums.  I consider a US "victory" to be the worst possible outcome because the war itself is a criminal enterprise which, whether you agree with it or not, is a defensible position.  There's a big difference between that and and simply hating America (or some such juvenile  BS), which you imply.

**It is a defensible position, for an enemy of America.

It's unfortunate that you see it this way.  I guess if "America" is basically a thug with the right to do whatever the hell it wants because it's got the muscle, then yes, I'm an enemy.

**Just like it thuggishly threw it's weight around in asia and europe in the 40's? Flexing it's muscles to end the 3rd. Reich....and it was Japan that bombed Pearl Harbor right? "FDR lied, Nazis died".**

Quote
I believe i've asked you in the past and you couldn't answer what law you allege has been violated.

I'm not a lawyer, but as I understand it, international law is very clear about "aggressive war" (attacking a sovereign nation that hasn't attacked you) being a big no-no.  We either accept the authority of international law or we don't, but I don't see it as even debatable that we violated it.

**As usual, your bumper sticker grasp of geopolitics doesn't begin to approach reality. The Gulf War was ended by a cease fire agreement which Saddam violated flagrantly. President Clinton was also faced with Saddam's violations and mostly resorted to letters and sticking to economic sanctions that only starved Iraqi children while the Saddam palace construction initiative surged forward aside from the token and ineffectual military strikes he did. Was President Clinton violating international law when he launched "Operation Desert Fox"?

Saddam was killing Kurds, Shiites and anyone he suspected of disloyalty. Read one of Clinton's letters here: http://www.fas.org/spp/starwars/offdocs/w960708.htm

Read this article from 7/2000.  http://www.meib.org/articles/0007_me1.htm

Post 9/11, President Bush had the following options:

1. Keep the toothless sanctions in place while Saddam funded terrorists and potentially developed WMD that could be passed on to terrorists.

2. Drop the toothless sanctions and ignore the above listed potential threats. Cross his fingers and hope the next attack on an American city wasn't with something made in Iraq.

3. Risk his easy re-election, go before congress and get the authorization to remove Saddam, which he did. Here is PUBLIC LAW 107–243.
http://www.c-span.org/resources/pdf/hjres114.pdf



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So what exactly do you do?

**I'm a cop.**

I have to admit that I often get a little nervous around cops (especially if they're pulling up behind me), but with very few exceptions the cops I've actually spoken with were perfectly nice guys just trying to do their jobs like professionals.

I get the feeling that your image of "the left" is some absurd caricature. 

**Aside from reading leading left blogs and periodicals (I was reading "Mother Jones" back in the 80's, when I was young and gullible actually believed that garbage) and my time brushing up against academia (I'll someday post my paper "The American Male, Threat or Menace?" written for the professor that announced she was a lesbian-feminist and taught the Dworkin "rape-culture" theory in my class on sex crimes) I had an ex-girlfriend who was a model for current academic thought. She's teaching at a ivy league school the last I heard from her. So I know today's left very well from firsthand experience, not distant stereotypes.**

 I live in Oakland, CA, and there are plenty of hippie types (mostly in Berkeley) that annoy the living *&@% out of me.  But most of the people around here who would probably identify as "the left" are just decent, hard working people who want see America work harder towards making it's people's lives better, and they'd rather see the troops back here living their lives than off fighting a senseless war.  It's pretty tough to argue that these are bad things to want.

**The Kurds' lives are much, much better since Saddam's rule ended. Many other Iraqis are doing much better. Once upon a time, the American left was supposed to be about freeing the oppressed, which is what we did in Iraq. Why now does the left love and supprt monsters like Saddam today?**
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #374 on: September 15, 2007, 08:55:07 AM »

GM:

I'd love to read the "The American Male: Threat or Menace" piece!  If you have it handy, would you be so kind as to email it to me?
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rogt
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« Reply #375 on: September 15, 2007, 10:46:50 AM »

It's unfortunate that you see it this way.  I guess if "America" is basically a thug with the right to do whatever the hell it wants because it's got the muscle, then yes, I'm an enemy.

**Just like it thuggishly threw it's weight around in asia and europe in the 40's? Flexing it's muscles to end the 3rd. Reich....and it was Japan that bombed Pearl Harbor right? "FDR lied, Nazis died".**

So all of a sudden every war we get into is another WW2?  They're all pretty much the same as you see it?

Has the US ever been in a war that wasn't justified?  Or do our leaders just decide we need to go to war and that's all that matters as far as GM is concerned?

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I believe i've asked you in the past and you couldn't answer what law you allege has been violated.

Quote
I'm not a lawyer, but as I understand it, international law is very clear about "aggressive war" (attacking a sovereign nation that hasn't attacked you) being a big no-no.  We either accept the authority of international law or we don't, but I don't see it as even debatable that we violated it.

**As usual, your bumper sticker grasp of geopolitics doesn't begin to approach reality.

Spare me.  Nobody in this forum bases their opinions on any kind of real political expertise, so we're all pretty much "bumper sticker politicians" here.  You being a cop (what kind of cop, exactly?) makes you no more of an expert than does me being a software engineer.

Quote
I get the feeling that your image of "the left" is some absurd caricature.

**Aside from reading leading left blogs and periodicals (I was reading "Mother Jones" back in the 80's, when I was young and gullible actually believed that garbage) and my time brushing up against academia (I'll someday post my paper "The American Male, Threat or Menace?" written for the professor that announced she was a lesbian-feminist and taught the Dworkin "rape-culture" theory in my class on sex crimes) I had an ex-girlfriend who was a model for current academic thought. She's teaching at a ivy league school the last I heard from her. So I know today's left very well from firsthand experience, not distant stereotypes.**

I agree that some of the stuff coming out of academia is pretty ridiculous (like some college in Southern California offering a class on YouTube as a social phenomenon?), but I would still argue that most of "the left" is regular working people who simply want to have a better life and some semblance of social justice.

Quote
**The Kurds' lives are much, much better since Saddam's rule ended. Many other Iraqis are doing much better. Once upon a time, the American left was supposed to be about freeing the oppressed, which is what we did in Iraq. Why now does the left love and supprt monsters like Saddam today?**

Excuse me, but I recall that it was Reagan, Rumsfeld, Bush Sr, etc. and not "the left" that supported Saddam all throughout the 80s, most notably during the time when he was gassing Kurds and committing all the atrocities now cited as justification for our invasion.  That's a simple fact.

I've never met or spoken to any war protester that loved (or even slightly liked) Saddam, but I have heard some say (as well as many Iraqis) that life in Iraq under Saddam was preferable to life in Iraq under the current US occupation.  That's not love for Saddam but a simple statement of fact.  According to this article:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/26/AR2006092601721.html

Clear majorities of Iraqis (with the exception of the Kurds) want an immediate withdrawal of US forces.  Apparently (although I don't have a reference right now) smaller, but still pretty clear, majorities of Iraqis consider violent attacks on US forces to be justified.  Maybe there are "other Iraqis" who are doing better, but I think you're exaggerating their numbers.
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rogt
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« Reply #376 on: September 15, 2007, 10:59:04 AM »

IMHO there really is no coherent thing such as international law. 

So as far as you're concerned, the Nuremburg Trials were basically a one-time deal we used to go after the Nazis, and they set no precedents that would have any relevance today?  IIRC, the NT established that main crime of the Nazis was "aggressive war", from which all of their other crimes ultimately originated. 

For a government convinced of the righteousness of it's decision to invade Iraq, the Bush administration took a lot of pains to argue (unsuccessfully) that Iraq represented an immediate threat to us.  Clearly it occurred to somebody in the BA that our action would be seen as "aggressive war" under international law and that we should have some defense (however lame) against that accusation.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #377 on: September 15, 2007, 11:04:38 AM »

C'mon Rog.  I didn't say it doesn't exist.  I simply said it lacks coherence.

"Concerning our decision to go into Iraq being illegal or not, IMHO President Bush committed an error in going back to the UN after receiving Resolution 1441, which I would argue empowered us to go in as a legal matter.  As a political matter though, the President thought it better to go back for ,  , , re-approval.

IMHO there really is no coherent thing such as international law.  When has the UN gotten upset for the French going into west Africa, or NATO into Serbia-Croatia?  I don't recall any General Assembly votes on any of that or other similar cases.  OTOH it was a big deal when Saddam invaded Kuwait.  OTOH it wasn't a big deal when the Arabs tried wiping out Israel.  OTOH , , , well you get the idea"

I would also add that international law was rarely invoked against the Soviet Empire's sundry expansions.
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G M
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« Reply #378 on: September 15, 2007, 01:12:19 PM »

GM:

I'd love to read the "The American Male: Threat or Menace" piece!  If you have it handy, would you be so kind as to email it to me?

I'll have to transcribe it. I saw it a while ago and laughed. I think I got B despite the obvious sarcasm.
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G M
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« Reply #379 on: September 15, 2007, 03:05:04 PM »

It's unfortunate that you see it this way.  I guess if "America" is basically a thug with the right to do whatever the hell it wants because it's got the muscle, then yes, I'm an enemy.

**Just like it thuggishly threw it's weight around in asia and europe in the 40's? Flexing it's muscles to end the 3rd. Reich....and it was Japan that bombed Pearl Harbor right? "FDR lied, Nazis died".**

So all of a sudden every war we get into is another WW2?  They're all pretty much the same as you see it?

****No, much like WWII, we are in a fight for the survival of our nation and western civilization. Iraq is one front in that war. Why can't you see that?****

Has the US ever been in a war that wasn't justified?  Or do our leaders just decide we need to go to war and that's all that matters as far as GM is concerned?

****No, unlike you I research and read source documents rather just tossing out slogans like "illegal war".****

Quote
I believe i've asked you in the past and you couldn't answer what law you allege has been violated.

Quote
I'm not a lawyer, but as I understand it, international law is very clear about "aggressive war" (attacking a sovereign nation that hasn't attacked you) being a big no-no.  We either accept the authority of international law or we don't, but I don't see it as even debatable that we violated it.

****Again, what part of "violated the cease fire agreement" don't you understand?****

**As usual, your bumper sticker grasp of geopolitics doesn't begin to approach reality.

Spare me.  Nobody in this forum bases their opinions on any kind of real political expertise, so we're all pretty much "bumper sticker politicians" here.  You being a cop (what kind of cop, exactly?) makes you no more of an expert than does me being a software engineer.

****I was dealing with right wing militia groups back in the early/mid 90's, my first training on terrorism was from an FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force years before 9/11. After 9/11 I gave up a dream job as a District Attorney's Investigator to go to work for the USG, where I developed material used in anti-terrorism training today. I received training in Open Source Intelligence gathering, OPSEC and Improvised Explosive Devices among other things. I've written threat assessments/risk analyses for various entities and have consulted as a terrorism SME for a join federal/local task force investigating a cold case related to terrorism.****

Quote
I get the feeling that your image of "the left" is some absurd caricature.

**Aside from reading leading left blogs and periodicals (I was reading "Mother Jones" back in the 80's, when I was young and gullible actually believed that garbage) and my time brushing up against academia (I'll someday post my paper "The American Male, Threat or Menace?" written for the professor that announced she was a lesbian-feminist and taught the Dworkin "rape-culture" theory in my class on sex crimes) I had an ex-girlfriend who was a model for current academic thought. She's teaching at a ivy league school the last I heard from her. So I know today's left very well from firsthand experience, not distant stereotypes.**

I agree that some of the stuff coming out of academia is pretty ridiculous (like some college in Southern California offering a class on YouTube as a social phenomenon?), but I would still argue that most of "the left" is regular working people who simply want to have a better life and some semblance of social justice.

****I'd cite California as exhibit A for the damage leftist ideas can do. "Social Justice" sounds nice, but is in fact just a marxist codeword for all sorts of bad policies that run counter to core American concepts.****

Quote
**The Kurds' lives are much, much better since Saddam's rule ended. Many other Iraqis are doing much better. Once upon a time, the American left was supposed to be about freeing the oppressed, which is what we did in Iraq. Why now does the left love and supprt monsters like Saddam today?**

Excuse me, but I recall that it was Reagan, Rumsfeld, Bush Sr, etc. and not "the left" that supported Saddam all throughout the 80s, most notably during the time when he was gassing Kurds and committing all the atrocities now cited as justification for our invasion.  That's a simple fact.

****Lost in your simplicity is that at that time the Cold War was center stage and Saddam was a useful foil to contain Iran's expansionist shiite jihad. Still, Saddam was much more of a client state of the Soviets than he ever was of ours.****

I've never met or spoken to any war protester that loved (or even slightly liked) Saddam, but I have heard some say (as well as many Iraqis) that life in Iraq under Saddam was preferable to life in Iraq under the current US occupation.  That's not love for Saddam but a simple statement of fact.  According to this article:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/26/AR2006092601721.html

Clear majorities of Iraqis (with the exception of the Kurds) want an immediate withdrawal of US forces.  Apparently (although I don't have a reference right now) smaller, but still pretty clear, majorities of Iraqis consider violent attacks on US forces to be justified.  Maybe there are "other Iraqis" who are doing better, but I think you're exaggerating their numbers.

****Wanting the US out is very different than wanting Saddam back. You have to view some of that through the arab cultural mindset. Iraq is complex and difficult, still I find where we are today to be a better position than leaving Saddam in place. I'd rather see Iraq develop into a halfway decent country rather than just install another dictator that would be useful for us in the short term. Certainly abandoning Iraq to Iran and Al Qaeda isn't a viable option.****
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rogt
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« Reply #380 on: September 15, 2007, 05:35:03 PM »

So all of a sudden every war we get into is another WW2?  They're all pretty much the same as you see it?

****No, much like WWII, we are in a fight for the survival of our nation and western civilization. Iraq is one front in that war. Why can't you see that?****

Sorry, but I don't buy this "one front" business.  Either Iraq was an actual, immediate threat or it wasn't.

Quote
Has the US ever been in a war that wasn't justified?  Or do our leaders just decide we need to go to war and that's all that matters as far as GM is concerned?

****No, unlike you I research and read source documents rather just tossing out slogans like "illegal war".****

Clearly you have no meaningful response, hence you resort to insults.  Clearly this is SOP for GM.

Quote
I'm not a lawyer, but as I understand it, international law is very clear about "aggressive war" (attacking a sovereign nation that hasn't attacked you) being a big no-no.  We either accept the authority of international law or we don't, but I don't see it as even debatable that we violated it.

****Again, what part of "violated the cease fire agreement" don't you understand?****

I don't recall Bush saying we had to go to war because Saddam violated a cease-fire.  I do recall him saying Iraq definitely had working WMD and was months away from having the capability to nuke us, both of which turned out to be complete BS.  Clearly this doesn't matter to you.

Quote
Spare me.  Nobody in this forum bases their opinions on any kind of real political expertise, so we're all pretty much "bumper sticker politicians" here.  You being a cop (what kind of cop, exactly?) makes you no more of an expert than does me being a software engineer.

****I was dealing with right wing militia groups back in the early/mid 90's, my first training on terrorism was from an FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force years before 9/11. After 9/11 I gave up a dream job as a District Attorney's Investigator to go to work for the USG, where I developed material used in anti-terrorism training today. I received training in Open Source Intelligence gathering, OPSEC and Improvised Explosive Devices among other things. I've written threat assessments/risk analyses for various entities and have consulted as a terrorism SME for a join federal/local task force investigating a cold case related to terrorism.****

That does sound like an interesting record.  I'm kind of surprised that somebody with your background seems so willing to take so many of our government's claims regarding Iraq, terrorism, etc. at face value.

Quote
I agree that some of the stuff coming out of academia is pretty ridiculous (like some college in Southern California offering a class on YouTube as a social phenomenon?), but I would still argue that most of "the left" is regular working people who simply want to have a better life and some semblance of social justice.

****I'd cite California as exhibit A for the damage leftist ideas can do. "Social Justice" sounds nice, but is in fact just a marxist codeword for all sorts of bad policies that run counter to core American concepts.****

Depends what you consider "core American concepts" I suppose.  Clearly you and I don't agree on what those are.  For a state as horrible as you seem to think California is, an awful lot of people pay a lot of money to live here.

Quote
Excuse me, but I recall that it was Reagan, Rumsfeld, Bush Sr, etc. and not "the left" that supported Saddam all throughout the 80s, most notably during the time when he was gassing Kurds and committing all the atrocities now cited as justification for our invasion.  That's a simple fact.

****Lost in your simplicity is that at that time the Cold War was center stage and Saddam was a useful foil to contain Iran's expansionist shiite jihad. Still, Saddam was much more of a client state of the Soviets than he ever was of ours.****

BS.  You guys love to cite "cold war expediency" as a catch-all excuse for all kinds of unsavory, un-American things we did back then.  I don't dispute that Saddam was a monster and thug, but where you and I disagree is that I think Rumsfeld, Bush Sr, etc. should also be made to answer for their crimes in supporting him.  Otherwise, all we've done is impose victor's justice.  But clearly that's not a problem for you.  After all, you never know when another Saddam will come along somewhere else who might be useful to us for a while, right?

Quote
Clear majorities of Iraqis (with the exception of the Kurds) want an immediate withdrawal of US forces.  Apparently (although I don't have a reference right now) smaller, but still pretty clear, majorities of Iraqis consider violent attacks on US forces to be justified.  Maybe there are "other Iraqis" who are doing better, but I think you're exaggerating their numbers.

****Wanting the US out is very different than wanting Saddam back.

To my knowledge, nobody on "the left" has ever called for reinstating Saddam in power.  Can you cite an instance of this?  Regardless, I think you'll agree that the probability of this happening now is exactly 0%.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #381 on: September 15, 2007, 05:58:45 PM »

Rog: I don't recall Bush saying we had to go to war because Saddam violated a cease-fire.  I do recall him saying Iraq definitely had working WMD and was months away from having the capability to nuke us, both of which turned out to be complete BS.  Clearly this doesn't matter to you.

MD  Actually the failure of SH to live up to the conditions of the cease fire was exactly the point of Resolution 1441.  SH, reassured by the French that they would via the UN leash us from going in and apparently to bluff Iran, pretended to have/be developing WMD.  The blame for our getting it wrong is his-- not ours.

ROG:  That does sound like an interesting record.  I'm kind of surprised that somebody with your background seems so willing to take so many of our government's claims regarding Iraq, terrorism, etc. at face value.

MD:  Will that background and your surprise cause any shift in your thinking?  Why/why not?
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rogt
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« Reply #382 on: September 15, 2007, 06:30:05 PM »

Rog: I don't recall Bush saying we had to go to war because Saddam violated a cease-fire.  I do recall him saying Iraq definitely had working WMD and was months away from having the capability to nuke us, both of which turned out to be complete BS.  Clearly this doesn't matter to you.

MD  Actually the failure of SH to live up to the conditions of the cease fire was exactly the point of Resolution 1441.  SH, reassured by the French that they would via the UN leash us from going in and apparently to bluff Iran, pretended to have/be developing WMD.  The blame for our getting it wrong is his-- not ours.

I'm no senator or general and I was pretty sure Saddam didn't have any such capabilities.  No matter what he claimed, the UN weapons inspectors stated clearly that they found no evidence that he did.  I find it hard to believe that so many people in our government and intelligence agencies (who presumably know a lot more than me) could be so easily fooled.

Quote
ROG:  That does sound like an interesting record.  I'm kind of surprised that somebody with your background seems so willing to take so many of our government's claims regarding Iraq, terrorism, etc. at face value.

MD:  Will that background and your surprise cause any shift in your thinking?  Why/why not?

All I can say is that if GM wants to shift my thinking, he could include more verifiable facts (and maybe some interesting accounts of his own unique experiences) and less of the snide, backhanded comments and insults when making his points.  A little more "friends at the end of the day" spirit would also make me a little more open to his point of view.  Smiley
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G M
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« Reply #383 on: September 15, 2007, 07:45:45 PM »

So all of a sudden every war we get into is another WW2?  They're all pretty much the same as you see it?

****No, much like WWII, we are in a fight for the survival of our nation and western civilization. Iraq is one front in that war. Why can't you see that?****

Sorry, but I don't buy this "one front" business.  Either Iraq was an actual, immediate threat or it wasn't.

*****Bill Clinton believed Saddam was a threat. Lots of dems agreed. *****

http://www.house.gov/pelosi/priraq1.htm


Statement on U.S. Led Military Strike Against Iraq

December 16, 1998

As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, I am keenly aware that the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons is an issue of grave importance to all nations. Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process.

The responsibility of the United States in this conflict is to eliminate weapons of mass destruction, to minimize the danger to our troops and to diminish the suffering of the Iraqi people. The citizens of Iraq have suffered the most for Saddam Hussein's activities; sadly, those same citizens now stand to suffer more. I have supported efforts to ease the humanitarian situation in Iraq and my thoughts and prayers are with the innocent Iraqi civilians, as well as with the families of U.S. troops participating in the current action.

I believe in negotiated solutions to international conflict. This is, unfortunately, not going to be the case in this situation where Saddam Hussein has been a repeat offender, ignoring the international community's requirement that he come clean with his weapons program. While I support the President, I hope and pray that this conflict can be resolved quickly and that the international community can find a lasting solution through diplomatic means.

******So, was Nancy supporting an illegal war when she supported Clinton's military strikes?*****

Quote
Has the US ever been in a war that wasn't justified?  Or do our leaders just decide we need to go to war and that's all that matters as far as GM is concerned?

****No, unlike you I research and read source documents rather just tossing out slogans like "illegal war".****

Clearly you have no meaningful response, hence you resort to insults.  Clearly this is SOP for GM.

******Pointing out your painful lack of knowledge isn't an insult, though if you wish to take it as one there is nothing I can do about it.*****

Quote
I'm not a lawyer, but as I understand it, international law is very clear about "aggressive war" (attacking a sovereign nation that hasn't attacked you) being a big no-no.  We either accept the authority of international law or we don't, but I don't see it as even debatable that we violated it.

****Again, what part of "violated the cease fire agreement" don't you understand?****

I don't recall Bush saying we had to go to war because Saddam violated a cease-fire.  I do recall him saying Iraq definitely had working WMD and was months away from having the capability to nuke us, both of which turned out to be complete BS.  Clearly this doesn't matter to you.

******Again, if you'll read http://www.c-span.org/resources/pdf/hjres114.pdf you'll see the official reasons we went into Iraq, not media soundbites.*****

Quote
Spare me.  Nobody in this forum bases their opinions on any kind of real political expertise, so we're all pretty much "bumper sticker politicians" here.  You being a cop (what kind of cop, exactly?) makes you no more of an expert than does me being a software engineer.

****I was dealing with right wing militia groups back in the early/mid 90's, my first training on terrorism was from an FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force years before 9/11. After 9/11 I gave up a dream job as a District Attorney's Investigator to go to work for the USG, where I developed material used in anti-terrorism training today. I received training in Open Source Intelligence gathering, OPSEC and Improvised Explosive Devices among other things. I've written threat assessments/risk analyses for various entities and have consulted as a terrorism SME for a join federal/local task force investigating a cold case related to terrorism.****

That does sound like an interesting record.  I'm kind of surprised that somebody with your background seems so willing to take so many of our government's claims regarding Iraq, terrorism, etc. at face value.

******I don't take anything at face value. I research. I can say that it's my opinion that the USG has a policy of downplaying/diminishing terror related incidents CONUS, which flies in the face of "Bush hypes terror for political gain" as he's often accused of. Again read the source documents. Read the indictment of OBL issued by the US DOJ in 1998 for interesting information concerning al Qaeda and Saddam.*****

Quote
I agree that some of the stuff coming out of academia is pretty ridiculous (like some college in Southern California offering a class on YouTube as a social phenomenon?), but I would still argue that most of "the left" is regular working people who simply want to have a better life and some semblance of social justice.

****I'd cite California as exhibit A for the damage leftist ideas can do. "Social Justice" sounds nice, but is in fact just a marxist codeword for all sorts of bad policies that run counter to core American concepts.****

Depends what you consider "core American concepts" I suppose.  Clearly you and I don't agree on what those are.  For a state as horrible as you seem to think California is, an awful lot of people pay a lot of money to live here.

*****Funny, I live in one of those western states that was serious impacted by Californians fleeing California. My opinion is that bad policies have California heading into a socioeconomic crisis of epic scale. I guess we'll see if i'm proven correct in time.*****

Quote
Excuse me, but I recall that it was Reagan, Rumsfeld, Bush Sr, etc. and not "the left" that supported Saddam all throughout the 80s, most notably during the time when he was gassing Kurds and committing all the atrocities now cited as justification for our invasion.  That's a simple fact.

****Lost in your simplicity is that at that time the Cold War was center stage and Saddam was a useful foil to contain Iran's expansionist shiite jihad. Still, Saddam was much more of a client state of the Soviets than he ever was of ours.****

BS.  You guys love to cite "cold war expediency" as a catch-all excuse for all kinds of unsavory, un-American things we did back then.  I don't dispute that Saddam was a monster and thug, but where you and I disagree is that I think Rumsfeld, Bush Sr, etc. should also be made to answer for their crimes in supporting him.  Otherwise, all we've done is impose victor's justice.  But clearly that's not a problem for you.  After all, you never know when another Saddam will come along somewhere else who might be useful to us for a while, right?

*****The real world requires choices between bad and worse more often than not. FDR allied himself with Stalin to beat Hitler, and Stalin was a monster. "If Hitler invaded hell I would make at least a favorable reference to the devil in the House of Commons." -Winston Churchill*****

Quote
Clear majorities of Iraqis (with the exception of the Kurds) want an immediate withdrawal of US forces.  Apparently (although I don't have a reference right now) smaller, but still pretty clear, majorities of Iraqis consider violent attacks on US forces to be justified.  Maybe there are "other Iraqis" who are doing better, but I think you're exaggerating their numbers.

****Wanting the US out is very different than wanting Saddam back.

To my knowledge, nobody on "the left" has ever called for reinstating Saddam in power.  Can you cite an instance of this?  Regardless, I think you'll agree that the probability of this happening now is exactly 0%.

******Michael Moore's portrayal of a wonderful, peaceful Iraq prior to the war is common with the left. As if there was no problem and then we attacked so Haliburton could get rich. Again, it's an illegal war then so were Clinton's military strikes.*****
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #384 on: September 15, 2007, 07:56:30 PM »

"I find it hard to believe that so many people in our government and intelligence agencies (who presumably know a lot more than me) could be so easily fooled."

Well, the CIA missed the collapse of the Soviet Empire.  Intel failures are NOT a great rarity.  As has been noted here many times, MOST intel agencies thought it probable/plausible that SH had or was working on WMD.  The Dems thought so as long ago as 1998 when regime change became the official policy of the US govt.  C'mon Rog, how many times do you need to see the quotes of the various big name Dems during the Clinton administration who thought that SH had/wes going for WMD?  His failure to live up to his obligations to prove to the UN he had disposed of the WMD is precisely why there was an UN embargo!!!  Its precisely why the UN passed Resolution 1441!!! Yet for some reason which eludes logic you insist on trying to portray things as "I find it hard to believe that so many people in our government and intelligence agencies (who presumably know a lot more than me) could be so easily fooled."

Its things like this that lead some to despair of serious conversation with you.


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« Reply #385 on: September 15, 2007, 08:10:30 PM »

http://www.fas.org/irp/news/1998/11/98110602_nlt.html

06 November 1998

****Who was President at this time?****

TEXT: US GRAND JURY INDICTMENT AGAINST USAMA BIN LADEN

4. Al Qaeda also forged alliances with the National Islamic Front in
the Sudan and with the government of Iran and its associated terrorist
group Hezballah for the purpose of working together against their
perceived common enemies in the West, particularly the United States.
In addition, al Qaeda reached an understanding with the government of
Iraq that al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on
particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al
Qaeda would work cooperatively with the Government of Iraq.
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« Reply #386 on: September 15, 2007, 08:23:05 PM »

June 17, 2004, 8:40 a.m.
Iraq & al Qaeda
The 9/11 Commission raises more questions than it answers.


The 9/11 Commission's staff has come down decidedly on the side of the naysayers about operational ties between Saddam Hussein's regime and Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network. This development is already being met with unbridled joy by opponents of the Iraq war, who have been carping for days about recent statements by President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney that reaffirmed the deposed Iraqi regime's promotion of terror.

The celebration is premature. The commission's cursory treatment of so salient a national question as whether al Qaeda and Iraq confederated is puzzling. Given that the panel had three hours for Richard Clarke, one might have hoped for more than three minutes on Iraq. More to the point, though, the staff statements released Wednesday — which seemed to be contradicted by testimony at the public hearing within minutes of their publication — raise more questions than they answer, about both matters the staff chose to address and some it strangely opted to omit.

The staff's sweeping conclusion is found in its Statement No. 15 ("Overview of the Enemy"), which states:

Bin Laden also explored possible cooperation with Iraq during his time in Sudan, despite his opposition to Hussein's secular regime. Bin Laden had in fact at one time sponsored anti-Saddam Islamists in Iraqi Kurdistan. The Sudanese, to protect their own ties with Iraq, reportedly persuaded Bin Laden to cease this support and arranged for contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda. A senior Iraqi intelligence officer reportedly made three visits to Sudan, finally meeting Bin Laden in 1994. Bin Laden is said to have requested space to establish training camps, as well as assistance in procuring weapons, but Iraq apparently never responded. There have been reports that contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda also occurred after Bin Laden returned to Afghanistan, but they do not appear to have resulted in a collaborative relationship. Two senior Bin Laden associates have adamantly denied that any ties existed between al Qaeda and Iraq. We have no credible evidence that Iraq and al Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States.
Just taken on its own terms, this paragraph is both internally inconsistent and ambiguously worded. First, it cannot be true both that the Sudanese arranged contacts between Iraq and bin Laden and that no "ties existed between al Qaeda and Iraq." If the first proposition is so, then the "[t]wo senior Bin Laden associates" who are the sources of the second are either lying or misinformed.

In light of the number of elementary things the commission staff tells us its investigation has been unable to clarify (for example, in the very next sentence after the Iraq paragraph, the staff explains that the question whether al Qaeda had any connection to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing or the 1995 plot to blow U.S. airliners out of the sky "remains a matter of substantial uncertainty"), it is fair to conclude that these two senior bin Laden associates may not be the most cooperative, reliable fellows in town regarding what bin Laden was actually up to. Moreover, we know from press reports and the administration's own statements about the many al Qaeda operatives it has captured since 9/11 that the government is talking to more than just two of bin Laden's top operatives. That begs the questions: Have we really only asked two of them about Iraq? If not, what did the other detainees say?


Inconvenient Facts
The staff's back-of-the-hand summary also strangely elides mention of another significant matter — but one that did not escape the attention of Commissioner Fred Fielding, who raised it with a panel of law-enforcement witnesses right after noting the staff's conclusion that there was "no credible evidence" of cooperation. It is the little-discussed original indictment of bin Laden, obtained by the Justice Department in spring 1998 — several weeks before the embassy bombings and at a time when the government thought it would be prudent to have charges filed in the event an opportunity arose overseas to apprehend bin Laden. Paragraph 4 of that very short indictment reads:
Al Qaeda also forged alliances with the National Islamic Front in the Sudan and with the government of Iran and its associated terrorist group Hezballah for the purpose of working together against their perceived common enemies in the West, particularly the United States. In addition, al Qaeda reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the Government of Iraq.
(Emphasis added.) This allegation has always been inconvenient for the "absolutely no connection between Iraq and al Qaeda" club. (Richard Clarke, a charter member, handles the problem in his book by limiting the 1998 indictment to a fleeting mention and assiduously avoiding any description of what the indictment actually says.)

It remains inconvenient. As testimony at the commission's public hearing Wednesday revealed, the allegation in the 1998 indictment stems primarily from information provided by the key accomplice witness at the embassy bombing trial, Jamal Ahmed al-Fadl. Al-Fadl told agents that when al Qaeda was headquartered in the Sudan in the early-to-mid-1990s, he understood an agreement to have been struck under which the jihadists would put aside their antipathy for Saddam and explore ways of working together with Iraq, particularly regarding weapons production.

On al Qaeda's end, al-Fadl understood the liaison for Iraq relations to be an Iraqi named Mahmdouh Mahmud Salim (a.k.a. "Abu Hajer al Iraqi"), one of bin Laden's closest friends. (There will be a bit more to say later about Salim, who, it bears mention, was convicted in New York last year for maiming a prison guard in an escape attempt while awaiting trial for bombing the embassies.) After the embassies were destroyed, the government's case, naturally, was radically altered to focus on the attacks that killed over 250 people, and the Iraq allegation was not included in the superseding indictment. But, as the hearing testimony made clear, the government has never retracted the allegation.

Neither have other important assertions been retracted, including those by CIA Director George Tenet. As journalist Stephen Hayes reiterated earlier this month, Tenet, on October 7, 2002, wrote a letter to Congress, which asserted:

 Our understanding of the relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda is evolving and is based on sources of varying reliability. Some of the information we have received comes from detainees, including some of high rank.   We have solid reporting of senior level contacts between Iraq and Al Qaeda going back a decade.   Credible information indicates that Iraq and Al Qaeda have discussed safe haven and reciprocal nonaggression.   Since Operation Enduring Freedom, we have solid evidence of the presence in Iraq of Al Qaeda members, including some that have been in Baghdad.   We have credible reporting that Al Qaeda leaders sought contacts in Iraq who could help them acquire W.M.D. capabilities. The reporting also stated that Iraq has provided training to Al Qaeda members in the areas of poisons and gases and making conventional bombs.   Iraq's increasing support to extremist Palestinians coupled with growing indications of relationship with Al Qaeda suggest that Baghdad's links to terrorists will increase, even absent U.S. military action.
Tenet, as Hayes elaborated, has never backed away from these assessments, reaffirming them in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee as recently as March 9, 2004.
Is the commission staff saying that the CIA director has provided faulty information to Congress? That doesn't appear to be what it is saying at all. This is clear — if anything in this regard can be said to be "clear" — from the staff's murky but carefully phrased summation sentence, which is worth parsing since it is already being gleefully misreported: "We have no credible evidence that Iraq and al Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States." (Italics mine.) That is, the staff is not saying al Qaeda and Iraq did not cooperate — far from it. The staff seems to be saying: "they appear to have cooperated but we do not have sufficient evidence to conclude that they worked in tandem on a specific terrorist attack, such as 9/11, the U.S.S. Cole bombing, or the embassy bombings."

Kabul...Baghdad...
The same might, of course, be said about the deposed Taliban government in Afghanistan. Before anyone gets unhinged, I am not suggesting that bin Laden's ties to Iraq were as extensive as his connections to Afghanistan. But as is the case with Iraq, no one has yet tied the Taliban to a direct attack on the United States, although no one doubts for a moment that deposing the Taliban post-9/11 was absolutely the right thing to do.
I would point out, moreover, that al Qaeda is a full-time terrorist organization — it does not have the same pretensions as, say, Sinn Fein or Hamas, to be a part-time political party. Al Qaeda's time is fully devoted to conducting terrorist attacks and planning terrorist attacks. Thus, if a country cooperates with al Qaeda, it is cooperating in (or facilitating, abetting, promoting — you choose the euphemism) terrorism. What difference should it make that no one can find an actual bomb that was once in Saddam's closet and ended up at the Cole's hull? If al Qaeda and Iraq were cooperating, they had to be cooperating on terrorism, and as al Qaeda made no secret that it existed for the narrow purpose of inflicting terrorism on the United States, exactly what should we suppose Saddam was hoping to achieve by cooperating with bin Laden?

Of course, we may yet find that Saddam was a participant in the specific 9/11 plot. In that regard, the commission staff's report is perplexing, and, again, raises — or flat omits — many more questions than it resolves.

Don't Forget Shakir
For one thing, the staff has now addressed the crucial January 2000 Malaysia planning session in a few of its statements. As I have previously recounted, this was the three-day meeting at which Khalid al Midhar and Nawaf al Hazmi, eventual hijackers of Flight 77 (the one that hit the Pentagon), met with other key 9/11 planners. The staff's latest report, Statement Number 16 ("Outline of the 9/11 Plot"), even takes time to describe how the conspirators were hosted in Kuala Lampur by members of a Qaeda-affiliated terror group, Jemaah Islamiah. But the staff does not mention, let alone explain, let alone explain away, that al Midhar was escorted to the meeting by Ahmed Hikmat Shakir.
Shakir is the Iraqi who got his job as an airport greeter through the Iraqi embassy, which controlled his work schedule. He is the man who left that job right after the Malaysia meeting; who was found in Qatar six days after 9/11 with contact information for al Qaeda heavyweights — including bin Laden's aforementioned friend, Salim — and who was later detained in Jordan but released only after special pleading from Saddam's regime, and only after intelligence agents concluded that he seemed to have sophisticated counter-interrogation training. Shakir is also the Iraqi who now appears, based on records seized since the regime's fall, to have been all along an officer in Saddam's Fedayeen.

Does all this amount to proof of participation in the 9/11 plot? Well, in any prosecutor's office it would be a pretty good start. And if the commission staff was going to get into this area of Iraqi connections to al Qaeda at all, what conceivable good reason is there for avoiding any discussion whatsoever of Shakir? At least tell us why he is not worth mentioning.

Prague Problem
One thing the staff evidently thought it was laying to rest was the other niggling matter of whether 9/11 major domo Mohammed Atta met with Iraqi intelligence officer Ahmed al-Ani in Prague in April 2001. The staff's conclusion is that the meeting is a fiction. To say its reasoning is less than satisfying would be a gross understatement. Here's the pertinent conclusion, also found in Statement Number 16:
We have examined the allegation that Atta met with an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague on April 9 [2001]. Based on the evidence available — including investigation by Czech and U.S. authorities plus detainee reporting — we do not believe that such a meeting occurred. The FBI's investigation places him in Virginia as of April 4, as evidenced by this bank surveillance camera shot of Atta withdrawing $8,000 from his account. Atta was back in Florida by April 11, if not before. Indeed, investigation has established that, on April 6, 9, 10, and 11, Atta's cellular telephone was used numerous times to call Florida phone numbers from cell sites within Florida. We have seen no evidence that Atta ventured overseas again or re-entered the United States before July, when he traveled to Spain under his true name and back under his true name.
This is ground, again, that I've recently covered. To rehearse: Czech intelligence has alleged that Atta was seen in Prague on April 8 or 9, 2001. Atta had withdrawn $8,000 cash from a bank in Virginia on April 4 and was not eyeballed again by a witness until one week later, on April 11. The new detail added by the staff is that Atta's cell phone was used in Florida on three days (April 6, 9 and 10) during that time frame. Does this tend to show he was in Florida rather than Prague? It could, but not very convincingly. Telling us Atta's cell phone was used is not the same as telling us Atta used the cell phone.

Atta almost certainly would not have been able to use the cell phone overseas, so it would have been foolish to tote it along to the Czech Republic — especially if he was traveling clandestinely (as the large cash withdrawal suggests). He would have left it behind. Atta, moreover, had a roommate (and fellow hijacker), Marwan al-Shehhi. It is certainly possible that Shehhi — whom the staff places in Florida during April 2001 — could have used Atta's cell phone during that time.

Is it possible that Atta was in Florida rather than Prague? Of course it is. But the known evidence militates strongly against that conclusion: an eyewitness puts Atta in Prague, meeting with al-Ani; we know Atta was a "Hamburg student" and represented himself as such in a visa application; it has been reported that the Czechs have al-Ani's appointment calendar and it says he was scheduled to meet on the critical day with a "Hamburg student"; and we know for certain that Atta was in Prague under very suspicious circumstances twice in a matter of days (May 30 and June 2, 2000) during a time the Czechs and Western intelligence services feared that Saddam, through al-Ani, might be reviving a plot to use Islamic extremists to bomb Radio Free Europe (a plot the State Department acknowledged in its annual global terror report notwithstanding that the commission staff apparently did not think the incident merited mention).

I am perfectly prepared to accept the staff's conclusion about Atta not being in Prague — if the commission provides a convincing, thoughtful explanation, which is going to have to get a whole lot better than a cell-phone record.

What is the staff's reason for rejecting the eyewitness identification? Is the "Hamburg student" entry bogus? Since the staff is purporting to provide a comprehensive explanation of the 9/11 plot — the origins of which it traces back to 1999 — what is their explanation for what Atta was doing in Prague in 2000? Why, when the staff went into minute detail about the travels of other hijackers (even when it conceded it did not know the relevance of those trips), was Atta's trip to Prague not worthy of even a passing mention? Why was it so important for Atta to be in Prague on May 30, 2000 that he couldn't delay for one day, until May 31, when his visa would have been ready? Why was it so important for him to be in Prague on May 30 that he opted to go despite the fact that, without a visa, he could not leave the airport terminal? How did he happen to find the spot in the terminal where surveillance cameras would not capture him for nearly six hours? Why did he go back again on June 2? Was he meeting with al-Ani? If so, why would it be important for him to see al-Ani right before entering the United States in June 2000? And jumping ahead to 2001, if Atta wasn't using cash to travel anonymously, what did he do with the $8000 he suddenly withdrew before disappearing on April 4? If his cell phone was used in Florida between April 4 and April 11, what follow-up investigation has been done about that by the 9/11 Commission? By the FBI? By anybody? Whom was the cell phone used to call? Do any of those people remember speaking to Atta at that time? Perhaps someone would remember speaking with the ringleader of the most infamous attack in the history of the United States if he had called to chat, no?

Are these questions important to answer? You be the judge. According to the 9/11 Commission staff report, bin Laden originally pressed the operational supervisor of the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Sheik Mohammed (KSM), "that the attacks occur as early as mid-2000," even though bin Laden "recognized that Atta and the other pilots had only just arrived in the United States to begin their flight training[.]" Well I'll be darned: mid-2000 is exactly when Atta made his two frenetic trips to Prague immediately before heading to the United States to begin that flight training.

The commission staff next says, "n 2001, Bin Laden apparently pressured KSM twice more for an earlier date. According to KSM, Bin Laden first requested a date of May 12, 2001," and then proposed a date in June or July. Well, what do you know: all those dates are only weeks after Atta may have had some reason to drop everything and secretly run to Prague for a meeting with al-Ani.   
Or maybe it's just a coincidence.

— Andrew C. McCarthy, a former chief assistant U.S. attorney who led the 1995 terrorism prosecution against Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman and eleven others, is an NRO contributor.


   
   
 


    
http://www.nationalreview.com/mccarthy/mccarthy200406170840.asp
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G M
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« Reply #387 on: September 15, 2007, 08:36:18 PM »

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/05/31/60minutes/printable510795.shtml


60 Minutes: The Man Who Got Away
May 31, 2002

(CBS) Abdul Rahman Yasin is the only participant in the first attempt to blow up the World Trade Center in 1993 who was never caught. Yasin, who was indicted in the bombing but escaped, was interviewed by CBS News' Lesley Stahl in an Iraqi installation near Baghdad last Thursday, May 23. Stahl's report appeared on 60 Minutes, Sunday June 2nd.

Abdul Rahman Yasin fled to Iraq after the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993. He lived as a free man for a year, but the authorities in Iraq tell CBS News they put him in prison in 1994. After 9/11, President Bush put Yasin on a new most wanted list, with a $25 million reward.

Yasin tells Stahl that the twin towers were not the terrorists' first choice. Ramzi Yousef, the so-called mastermind of the '93 attack, had something else in mind.

"[Yousef] told me, 'I want to blow up Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn.'" But after scouting Crown Heights and Williamsburg, Yasin says, Yousef had a better idea.

"Ramzi Yousef told us to go to the World Trade Center… 'I have an idea we should do one big explosion rather than do small ones in Jewish neighborhoods,'" Yasin says.

They figured the World Trade Center would serve as a more efficient target. "The majority of people who work in the World Trade Center are Jews," Yasin says.

U.S. officials say they never knew that Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn were on the original hit list of Yousef and his lieutenant, Mohammed Salameh.

Yasin, 40, says he is sorry for what he did and that the bombers, whom he said he met for the first time while living in a Jersey City apartment building, talked him into it.

"[Yousef and Salameh] used to tell me how Arabs suffered a great deal and that we have to send a message that this is not right … to revenge for my Palestinian brothers and my brothers in Saudi Arabia," Yasin tells Stahl. He adds that they also prodded him about being an Iraqi who should avenge the defeat of Iraq in the Gulf War.

Yasin confirms that Yousef was the maker of the bomb used in the attack and that Yousef learned the process in a terrorist camp in Peshawar, Pakistan, before entering the United States.

"He said that in Peshawar there were schools that taught" bomb-making.

Asked if he knew that Yousef had been trained to come to the United States as a terrorist to make bombs and blow things up, Yasin says, "I knew that after I started working with them."

Yasin was picked up by the FBI a few days after the bombing in an apartment in Jersey City, N.J., that he was sharing with his mother. He was so helpful and cooperative, giving the FBI names and addresses, that they released him.

Yasin says he was even driven back home in an FBI car.

60 Minutes has independently confirmed that the man interviewed is, indeed, Yasin, whose picture is on the FBI Web site along with Osama bin Laden, one of President Bush’s 22 most-wanted terrorists.
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« Reply #388 on: September 15, 2007, 08:42:48 PM »

U.S.: Iraq sheltered suspect in '93 WTC attack
By John Diamond, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — U.S. authorities in Iraq say they have new evidence that Saddam Hussein's regime gave money and housing to Abdul Rahman Yasin, a suspect in the World Trade Center bombing in 1993, according to U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials.
The Bush administration is using the evidence to strengthen its disputed prewar assertion that Iraq had ties to terrorists, including the al-Qaeda group responsible for the Sept. 11 attack. But President Bush, in contrast with comments Sunday by Vice President Cheney, said Wednesday, "We've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved."

Cheney had said on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday that "we don't know" if Iraq was involved but said some suggestive evidence had surfaced. He asserted that the campaign in Iraq is striking at terrorists involved in the attacks. Cheney also disclosed the new evidence about the 1993 suspect on the program, but he did not name Yasin.

Military, intelligence and law enforcement officials reported finding a large cache of Arabic-language documents in Tikrit, Saddam's political stronghold. A U.S. intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity said translators and analysts are busy "separating the gems from the junk." The official said some of the analysts have concluded that the documents show that Saddam's government provided monthly payments and a home for Yasin.

Yasin is on the FBI's list of 22 most-wanted terrorist fugitives; there is a $25 million reward for his capture. The bureau questioned and released him in New York shortly after the bombing in 1993. After Yasin had fled to Iraq, the FBI said it found evidence that he helped make the bomb, which killed six people and injured 1,000. Yasin is still at large.

Even if the new information holds up — and intelligence and law enforcement officials disagree on its conclusiveness — the links tying Yasin, Saddam and al-Qaeda are tentative.

The World Trade Center bombing was carried out by a group headed by Ramzi Yousef, who is serving a 240-year prison term. Federal authorities say Yousef's group received financial support from al-Qaeda via Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks. But a direct al-Qaeda role in the 1993 attack hasn't been established.

 

 
 
Find this article at:
http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2003-09-17-iraq-wtc_x.htm
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rogt
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« Reply #389 on: September 15, 2007, 09:23:49 PM »

\
******So, was Nancy supporting an illegal war when she supported Clinton's military strikes?*****

Absolutely.  You'll never hear me defending the Democrats.

Crafty writes:
Quote
As has been noted here many times, MOST intel agencies thought it probable/plausible that SH had or was working on WMD. 

But if it wasn't true, how is it possible that everybody in MOST intel agencies seriously believed it?  It just doesn't seem plausible to me, for many other reasons too.

Quote
The Dems thought so as long ago as 1998 when regime change became the official policy of the US govt.

You guys seem to think the Democrats are blind, stupid, evil, or all of the above 99% of the time (and frankly, I agree), but you clearly have no issues with them on their decision to support the war.  I consider them pretty much as complicit as Bush & co. in all of this, so don't expect what they "believe" to mean all that much to me.

Quote
Its things like this that lead some to despair of serious conversation with you.

Don't think the feeling isn't mutual here.  Smiley
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #390 on: September 15, 2007, 09:37:08 PM »

"The Dems thought so as long ago as 1998 when regime change became the official policy of the US govt.


"You guys seem to think the Democrats are blind, stupid, evil, or all of the above 99% of the time (and frankly, I agree), but you clearly have no issues with them on their decision to support the war.  I consider them pretty much as complicit as Bush & co. in all of this, so don't expect what they "believe" to mean all that much to me."

The point under discussion at the moment is the belief that there was an unacceptable risk that SH had/was developing WMD.  My point is that, contrary to your original comment, it was NOT only the Bush White House that believed and propagaged this, but also included a remarkably broad and diverse spectrum intel agencies of many countries, the UN  shocked , 1998 Democrats, post 911 Republicans, etc
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ccp
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« Reply #391 on: September 15, 2007, 10:03:00 PM »

I have to say this guy is one total jerk.

OK he claims Clinton is a towering intellect - like you guessed it - himself.

I gotta love this one:

"Greenspan interviewed Clinton for the book and clearly admires him. "President Clinton's old-fashioned attitude toward debt might have had a more lasting effect on the nation's priorities. Instead, his influence was diluted by the uproar about Monica Lewinsky." When he first heard and read details of the Clinton-Lewinsky encounters, Greenspan writes, "I was incredulous. 'There is no way these stories could be correct,' I told my friends. 'No way.' " Later, when it was verified, Greenspan says, "I wondered how the president could take such a risk. It seemed so alien to the Bill Clinton I knew, and made me feel disappointed and sad."

I am no towering intellect, yet I was not fooled by a blatant serial bull shit artist like Clinton for one second.  But alas, the greatest mind (in his own mind) of the Fed was fooled.  Well I guess this self serving jerk (didn't he sleep around with some Holywood starlets?) is not as sharp as he thinks.
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« Reply #392 on: September 16, 2007, 10:32:08 AM »

The high water mark for Republicans was 2000.  It may well be another 50 years before we see that party come back.  With the Latin wave it is government controlled by Democrats from here on in as it looks now:

http://www.townhall.com/columnists/DickMorrisandEileenMcGann/2007/09/14/dems_great_senate_hopes
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #393 on: September 24, 2007, 11:17:58 AM »

“The mania for giving the Government power to meddle with the private affairs of cities or citizens is likely to cause endless trouble, through the rivalry of schools and creeds that are anxious to obtain official recognition, and there is great danger that our people will lose our independence of thought and action which is the cause of much of our greatness, and sink into the helplessness of the Frenchman or German who expects his government to feed him when hungry, clothe him when naked, to prescribe when his child may be born and when he may die, and, in time, to regulate every act of humanity from the cradle to the tomb, including the manner in which he may seek future admission to paradise.” —Mark Twain
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DougMacG
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« Reply #394 on: September 25, 2007, 12:26:03 PM »

Commenting on Crafty's quote of Mark Twain - Scary how true that became!  ... and

CCP's post of Republican trouble in the senate this year with Dick Morris' analysis:
"It may well be another 50 years before we see that party come back."

The senate may look bleak for Republicans in 2008 because of numbers and matchups, but the thin Democratic majority in the unpopular house is also up for re-election.  I see two scenarios: one, if conventional wisdom prevails and Hillary becomes President because of the demographics and momentum cited, then the electorate who seem to unconsciously support divided government could cross votes in the close swing districts.  If Hillary success is based on the model of her husband,then her party will likely be hurt down the ticket.

The other unmentioned scenario is that some Republican with a conservative message could win the contest of competing philosophies and thus win some coattails. 

Even if Republicans lose 3 seats in the senate, the majority still falls in the 51-59 seat range unable to do business without minority support.  The lessons of 2008 are not yet known, but almost every scenario I can see involves divided government.

I find Morris to be a polling and demographic expert, but his take on my state "liberal Minnesota" is half wrong.  Statewide elections have split about 50-50 over the last two decades.
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« Reply #395 on: September 26, 2007, 01:24:41 AM »

COLUMBIA'S LOSS
THE MESSAGE IT WON'T HEAR
 
What's Columbia afraid of? An ROTC cadet walking back to his dorm at Princeton. September 25, 2007 -- THE Iranian president's welcome to Columbia - following a self-serving whine by the university's president - reflected brainless activism, not academic freedom.
It was the professoriate imitating Hollywood's embrace of terrorists.

We hear a great deal about the dumbing down of students, but the real problem has been the dumbing down of the teaching class.

Yes, there's been a media fuss over President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's propaganda opportunity. But that just makes the faculty-lounge "heroes" feel even more self-righteous. Anyway, post-modern professors seek publicity, not knowledge.

And we give it to the weasels.

Meanwhile, Columbia denies our military's ROTC programs the chance to recruit and teach on campus - ostensibly because of the Congress-approved "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. Of course, it's just a cultural issue when Ahmadinejad executes homosexuals (although, according to him, there aren't any in Iran).

The ban on ROTC isn't really about gay rights, though. The professors and student-activists behind it believe they're punishing the wicked, wicked Pentagon. Well, let me break the truth to Professor Bunkum: The military doesn't need Ivy League recruits. We're doing just fine without them, thanks.

The victims of the ban are students - who are denied one of the greatest career opportunities our country has to offer. Certainly, not every weenie scribbling a master's thesis on "Cold War-era gender oppression in Archie comics" is meant for a military career. But for the right student the chance to serve would be, literally, the chance of a lifetime.

For the sake of argument, let's set aside all talk of the rewards of serving a higher cause. Selfishly, a military career is an incredible chance for the right individual. My military friends and I can attest that no one ever retired from the Army thinking, Gee, I wish I'd spent my life selling time-shares in Orlando.

The richness of a career in uniform came home to me again a few weeks ago, when I had dinner with a just-retired Army buddy, Col. Tom Wilhem. We were celebrating: He'd recently bought his family their first it's-really-ours home near Ft. Leavenworth, Kan. (Worst of all, from the counter-culture perspective, Tom's family is intact, loving and happy.)

In his three decades of service, Tom had ridden ponies across the steppes and slept in Mongol yurts. He'd bow-hunted big game around the world, convinced the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders to entertain his troops in the Yugoslav ruins - and been chased through the mountains by a Russian helicopter gunship.

As we sat and reminisced, we hooted over the adventures of our other comrades - friends closer than any to be made in the civilian world. We recalled being the first Americans ever to touch remote spots of the globe. Between the two of us, we'd seen a hundred countries, watched multiple wars and helped shape national policies behind the scenes.

We'd stood on different sides of the Khyber Pass and gone on secret counter-drug operations, wandered through the African bush, penetrated fundamentalist-run refugee camps and survived more crises than Lindsay Lohan. Tom rode his antique motorcycle through tribal gun-battles. I'd dodged cobras while jogging in the Golden Triangle.

Talking with Tom conjured the scene in "Blade Runner" when the android played by Rutger Hauer drags Harrison Ford back up to the roof and, before expiring, tries to communicate the wonders he's seen: exploding galaxies and the death of worlds.

Tom and I may not have seen galaxies disintegrate, but we did see empires collapse, humanity torn asunder and the human condition far removed from the shopping mall. Along the way, we encountered realms of beauty far beyond any tourist's itinerary.

Graduates of Columbia will never know what they missed. My pals and I laugh about identity-crisis adults who pay to go on Outward Bound trips. The Army paid us to go.

Meanwhile, the punk egotism poisoning Ivy League faculties prevents even those students who wouldn't measure up to military standards from learning about the richness of the United States beyond the Peter Pan world of the campus. Ahmadinejad may be a Holocaust-denier, but Columbia's faculty denies our nation's history, determined to cast America as the villain.

The profs don't just despise our military - they despise you.

Well, the Army will go on, whether or not young men and women from Columbia, Harvard or Yale sign up to serve. But, thanks to hypocritical professors who want to "protect" them (are students enrolled at Columbia unable to think for themselves?), the Ivy grads will miss a chance to count something other than extra-marital affairs as great adventures.

Back in the 1960s, higher education stopped being about the students and became a theater for the Freudian insecurities of PhDs. In the '70s, their hysterics led to numerous campuses booting out ROTC programs.

The price paid by our military? We now have the best motivated, most professional and best educated armed forces in our history.

The result for the students? President Ahmadinejad - Israel-hater, religious fanatic and sponsor of terror - commands the stage at Columbia, where our veterans are unwelcome.

Who really loses?

Ralph Peters' memoir of his adventure travels in uniform, "Looking for Trouble" is due out next year.

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buzwardo
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« Reply #396 on: October 11, 2007, 08:49:28 PM »

Hmm, I'm overcome by a sense of déjà vu: dubious talking point snippets lifted from dubious sources are used in an ad hominen fashion to dismiss an author by attacking him or her, rather than speaking to the points they made. I know I've seen this somewhere before. . . .


October 11, 2007
Radical Islam's Willing Bloggers
By Patrick Poole

The burgeoning left wing smear industry, set up to manufacture attacks on conservatives, has its own radical Islam sector. I know this by personal experience.

Earlier this week I reported that a known HAMAS operative was scheduled to speak at the Ohio State Capitol later this month (see Thomas Lifson's related blog entry). Within hours, a leftist attack blogger affiliated with the Ohio Democratic Party had published an ad hominem broadside in response parroting talking points prepared by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

Lenin used to crow about the West's "useful idiots" -- politicians, intellectuals and journalists who were either ideologically blinded or just plain stupid to not take Soviet Communism's drive to conquer the world seriously. But in the present war against Islamo-Fascism, some on the Left are more than duped, they appear to be in service to the radical Islamic agenda.

My article published Monday concerned the appearance of Anisa Abd El Fattah (her nom de jihad; lit. "Anisa, servant of the conquest") at an "interfaith" forum to be held in the Ohio Statehouse atrium on October 28th. Fattah previously headed an organization called the United Association for Studies and Research (UASR), which one convicted terrorist leader admitted was "the political command for HAMAS in the United States."  UASR was also founded by HAMAS deputy political director and Specially Designated Global Terrorist Mousa Abu Marzook. Fattah also co-authored two books with current HAMAS spokesman Ahmed Yousef, one of her former colleagues at UASR who fled the US in 2005 and immediately reappeared as part of the HAMAS leadership. She was also a paid consultant for more than a decade to convicted terrorist leader Abdurahman Alamoudi's American Muslim Council.

With breakneck speed, an attack piece posted by blogger Brian Guilfoos of Plunderbund appeared launching into a number of supposedly damning personal tidbits about me. Since I am such an evil character, Guilfoos argued, everything I said about this HAMAS operative must be false and driven by rampant Islamophobia. Classic ad hominem.

But there were two curious elements to this leftist attack blogger's post. The first is that all the information Guilfoos cited was contained in a dossier complied by CAIR and circulated by CAIR national vice-chairman Ahmad Al-Akhras (a Columbus-area resident). Al-Akhras and his associates have been circulating the CAIR dossier, which has gone through several editions, with a significant amount of personal information about me, including personal financial details, work history, and even information on my family members, to Ohio and Franklin County Democratic Party operatives and establishment media representatives. After I exposed an Al-Akhras business partner sitting on the county's Homeland Security oversight board, a position his associate was forced to resign from, Al-Akhras hired a student intern on a 90-day project to do nothing but opposition research on me (Al-Akhras solicited prospective candidates on a closed email list of local Islamic extremists, an email I obtained from an anonymous dissenting member of the list).
One amusing highlight taken from the first version of the CAIR dossier, dated July 24th and bearing Al-Akhras' name, is this insightful discovery:

A Hilliard, Ohio resident and a 1986 graduate of Hilliard Davidson High School. Patrick S. Poole is a self-described "writer" who is "single, straight, Protestant, a smoker and a drinker". [fn19]...On his MySpace, Mr. Poole has a total of ten "friends".
The fact that I'm overweight, balding, and wear glasses didn't make the dossier's final editor's cut, but there is allegedly much to be discerned by the fact that I have ten "friends" on MySpace (perhaps I need to accept more of those friend invites from "Candy", "Misty", and "Lula"?), and that I occasionally both drink and smoke. What escaped CAIR's notice, however, is that sometimes I smoke and drink at the same time! How deep does my infidelity run! I seriously wonder why Mr. Guilfoos didn't expound further on these stunning findings in CAIR's razor-sharp psychological profile of yours truly.

The other curious element to both Guilfoos' attack piece is that taxpayers may be footing the bill for his political blogging and for Al-Akhras to circulate CAIR's dossier. Most of Guilfoos' blog posts, all political-related, appear during business hours, when one might assume he should be tending to his job as systems analyst for the Ohio Supercomputer Center. Unless he works the graveyard shift, perhaps.

And emails I obtained through an Open Records Act request finds that CAIR's Ahmad Al-Akhras has been emailing copies of their dossier to political operatives during work hours when one might assume he was supposed to be tending to his job as assistant director of transportation for the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC). Another graveyard shift employee?

Both the Ohio Supercomputer Center (a division of the Ohio Board of Regents) and MORPC are publicly-funded institutions. Maybe someone should look into that? If someone does, they also might want to look into the multiple anti-Israel rallies Al-Akhras has organized and led at the Federal Courthouse in Downtown Columbus during business hours. Where can I get a job like that?

So what damning information did Guilfoos supposedly uncover about me? Did he obtain copies of my cancelled paychecks from the global Zionist conspiracy? Did he publish those much-rumored pictures of me wearing a dog collar and leash crouching at Mistress Ann Coulter's high-heeled feet? No such luck.

Apparently, my grave crime for which anything I say should immediately be deemed categorical lies is that I'm a Christian. And since I'm a Christian that takes my faith seriously, I must be a Christian Reconstructionist, and therefore want to overthrow the government and install a Christian theocracy, Guilfoos implies. He couldn't even be bothered to identify something I had actually said, but rather, connected me to something someone I know said 25 years ago, and concluded that "it is reasonable to believe that (they) share a number of opinions" without providing any evidence of this alleged agreement. And according to Guilfoos, I'm also connected to Sun Myung Moon by eight degrees! What further proof is needed?

He didn't even mention that I once worked for someone who worked for a major Christian Reconstruction writer three decades ago, though he's now a deacon in the Roman Catholic Church, which otherwise might ruin the narrative, except they can expand the conspiracy connecting me to both Sun Myung Moon and Pope Benedict! And to cap it all off, someone once spent 3,000 words describing how I was personally connected to the Illuminati conspiracy. How that didn't get included in CAIR's dossier and Guilfoos' attack piece is anyone's guess.

The problem with this CAIR-fed narrative is that I've been among the most active and public critics of Christian Reconstruction 2.0, known as "Federal Vision" theology. I've even gone so far as creating and editing for several years a website dedicated to challenging this most recent incarnation of Christian Reconstructionism. Furthermore, my own denomination, the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), of which I am an ordained officer, was the first to explicitly reject this theology in the 1980s, and just a few months ago overwhelmingly adopted a report harshly criticizing its newest manifestation.

It must be disappointing to Ahmad Al-Akhras and CAIR that after so much money they've spent researching my background and so much time spent poring through hundreds of my articles and blog posts, this is the best that they can come up with to attack me.

But with an immediate crisis at hand (my revealing of Fattah's appearance at the State Capitol), sometimes you have to go with what you've got. Fortunately, they have bloggers available on stand-by like Brian Guilfoos, who will present this "research" as their own.

Other leftist bloggers, such as the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Jill Miller Zimon have taken Guilfoos' story and embellished it further. Zimon comments that my reporting of the HAMAS operative appearing at the Ohio Statehouse is "baiting and particularly he uses Jews and Judaism and Israel in a way that many Jews never would". Like Guilfoos, she doesn't provide any evidence, of course, and I the only mention of "Jews and Judaism and Israel" were comments made by Fattah herself, but who needs evidence?

Patrick Poole is an occasional contributor to American Thinker, and also the Executive Director of Central Ohioans Against Terrorism.

http://www.americanthinker.com/2007/10/radical_islams_willing_blogger.html
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #397 on: October 18, 2007, 08:12:35 AM »

WSJ

Gen. Sanchez's Scream
He indicted everyone involved in Iraq, including the media and Congress.

BY DANIEL HENNINGER
Thursday, October 18, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

Over the past weekend there were front-page accounts everywhere of Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez's description of the war in Iraq as a "nightmare." The New York Times led its story this way:

"In a sweeping indictment of the four-year effort in Iraq, the former top commander of American forces there called the Bush administration's handling of the war 'incompetent' and said the result was 'a nightmare with no end in sight.' " Gen. Sanchez said this last Friday to a gathering of reporters and editors in Washington who cover military affairs. It was a dramatic denunciation from the man who led U.S. forces in Iraq from 2003 to 2004.

On Monday my colleague John Fund wrote an item for the Journal editorial page's daily email newsletter, Political Diary, noting that most of the news reports of the speech had failed to note that Gen. Sanchez had also severely criticized the press's performance in Iraq. "For some of you," Gen. Sanchez said to the reporters, "the truth is of little to no value if it does not fit your own preconceived notions, biases and agendas."

By now I was curious to see what Gen. Sanchez actually did say. The full text is an indictment all right, of everyone connected to this war--the president, the press, Congress, the bureaucracy and maybe the country itself.





Gen. Sanchez was running the U.S. war effort in Iraq when the Abu Ghraib scandal blew up, though an investigation absolved him.
It's possible to dismiss some of what he says as over the top or to cavil with the particulars. One cannot really know how extensively Gen. Sanchez's views are shared across the officer corps. But there is a discomfiting, Cassandra-like quality to this speech. It is a scream of rage.

Whatever happens in Iraq, this country at some point will have to think seriously (if possible) about the war's effects on its politics and its institutions. Gen. Sanchez's scream is as good a place as any to start.

With elided excerpts, I'll summarize what he said. Body armor recommended.

• The media. "It seems that as long as you get a front-page story there is little or no regard for the 'collateral damage' you will cause. Personal reputations have no value and you report with total impunity and are rarely held accountable for unethical conduct. . . . You assume that you are correct and on the moral high ground."

"The speculative and often uninformed initial reporting that characterizes our media appears to be rapidly becoming the standard of the industry." "Tactically insignificant events have become strategic defeats." And: "The death knell of your ethics has been enabled by your parent organizations who have chosen to align themselves with political agendas. What is clear to me is that you are perpetuating the corrosive partisan politics that is destroying our country and killing our service members who are at war."

• The Bush administration. "When a nation goes to war it must bring to bear all elements of power in order to win. . . . [This] administration has failed to employ and synchronize its political, economic and military power . . . and they have definitely not communicated that reality to the American people."

• Congress and politics. "Since 2003, the politics of war have been characterized by partisanship as the Republican and Democratic parties struggled for power in Washington. . . . National efforts to date have been corrupted by partisan politics that have prevented us from devising effective, executable, supportable solutions. These partisan struggles have led to political decisions that endangered the lives of our sons and daughters on the battlefield. The unmistakable message was that political power had greater priority than our national security objectives."

• The bureaucracies. Gen. Sanchez argues that "unity of effort" was hampered by the absence of any coordinated authority over the war effort of the bureaucracies: "The Administration, Congress and the entire interagency, especially the Department of State, must shoulder the responsibility for this catastrophic failure."

"Clearly," he says, "mistakes have been made by the American military in its application of power. But even its greatest failures in this war can be linked to America's lack of commitment, priority and moral courage in this war effort. . . . America has not been fully committed to win this war."

He says leaving Iraq is not an option, and he has no doubt about the threat: "As a nation we must recognize that the enemy we face is committed to destroying our way of life."

In sum, what Gen. Sanchez is describing here is a nation that is at risk and is in a state of disunity. Does disunity matter? He is saying that in war, it does.

In politics, a degree of disunity is normal. But in our time, partisan disunity has become the norm. The purpose of politics now is to thwart, to stop.

We may have underestimated how corrosive our disunity has been on the troops in Iraq, and how deeply it has damaged us.





Those of us in politics--politicians, reporters, bureaucrats--are largely inured to all this, and we seem to have assumed that the system shares our infinite capacity for antipathy and tumult. But is this occupational toughness natural to politics, or is it cynicism? I don't think the soldiers or the American people see the difference.
Arguably it is the proper role of politics to intervene, to question. But during Vietnam and again now, we haven't been able to avoid simultaneously putting troops on the battlefield while fighting bitterly amongst ourselves at home for the length of the war.

The U.S. officer corps is aware of this. While no one is talking about a stab in the back, they may conclude that the home front and its institutions are unable to, or will not, protect their back.

One may ask: Will we ever want to do this again? Are we able to undertake military missions that prove difficult? Or is the projection of U.S. military power into the world an idea that now irreparably divides the American people? Before November 2008, we had better have some answers, from our presidential candidates and from ourselves.


Mr. Henninger is deputy editor of The Wall Street Journal's editorial page. His column appears Thursdays in the Journal and on OpinionJournal.com.
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buzwardo
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« Reply #398 on: November 06, 2007, 11:45:08 AM »

Orson Scott Card: Civilized Religion
The Rhinoceros Times, Greensboro, NC ^ | November 01, 2007 | Orson Scott Card


There are those who would like to tell you that no religion is civilized, but these tend to be people whose ignorance of history is so profound as to appear deliberate.

Human beings sometimes do terrible things, and when they do, they invariably find reasons to invoke their belief system, whatever it is, to excuse their bad behavior.

Thus Communists have committed their barbarities in the name of "the good of the people," just as Christians and Muslims and practically everybody else, when they decided certain people needed killing or oppressing, found a way to excuse themselves in the name of whatever they thought gave them superior authority.

In most cases, though, religions – particularly those with gods – also offer a mitigating force against violence and barbarity. While the conquistadors busily planted crosses wherever they decided native Americans needed enslaving, there were in fact Catholic priests who labored mightily – and with much success – to prevent as much mistreatment of the native people as they could, and to preserve what they could of their culture.

No one could seriously argue that the conquistadors conquered because of their purported Christian faith. But the fact that in almost every place the Spanish conquered, large populations of Indians survived, can be credited to Christianity.

That's because Christianity, like other civilizing religions, has an ideology that attempts to suppress warlike behavior and personal violence. So even though hypocrites could violate Christian doctrine and claim to be Christians while doing it, there were always Christians to openly contradict them, and the plain language of Jesus was on the side of those who abjured violence.

Sometimes, though, religion itself (whether or not it has any gods) becomes the actual cause of instead of the excuse for the barbarity. That is, the tenets of the religion promote rather than try to suppress violence and conquest.

It happens that at this moment we are at war with a worldwide terrorist conspiracy whose slaughters are excused by an appeal to actual doctrines in the religion of Islam.

That is, the plain language of the Quran justifies warfare and killing, and long tradition within Muslim culture takes those tenets literally. There are those who will claim that "Islam is a peaceful religion" and that jihad – holy war – is really about "personal struggle." I rejoice that some Muslims choose to take these passages in the Quran figuratively – but the language is there, and Islamofascist murderers of al Qaeda, Hamas, the Taliban, Hezbollah, and the theocratic government of Iran take it very literally.

Large portions of the people professing Islam believe that God has given them, not just the right, but the duty to kill people who, by their doctrines, "deserve" to die.

Freedom of Religion

The US Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, and while that has recently been twisted into an instrument of oppressing and suppressing American Christianity, it still stands as an American ideal.

Whatever dark deeds are in Christianity's past, the fact remains that with a few ugly exceptions, America has been a place where the various sects of Christianity and all other civilized religions have declared a truce.

Surely we can say that the essence of our freedom of religion is that every individual in the United States has the right to change his religion whenever and however he wants.

Except Muslims. Because it is the belief of Muslims throughout the world that it is the duty of good Muslims to kill any Muslim who converts to a different faith.

Now, most American Muslims would probably be outraged by that sentence. "I don't believe in killing people who convert away from Islam," they would insist. "We don't kill anybody."

But they cannot deny that the doctrine is widespread and openly taught throughout the Muslim world, and any American growing up Muslim is likely to be taught that doctrine at some point, by someone. And the more fundamentalist they become, the more likely they are to believe they have the duty to kill apostates – those that break the faith.

And this religion operates inside the United States, invoking the protection the Constitution provides to religions within its borders. Similarly, Islam operates in European nations with similar protections for religion.

To threaten to kill anyone who leaves an organization is one of the hallmarks of organized crime: Once you have joined the Mob, you don't leave it alive. Only with Islam, most of its members are born into it – they never had a choice. Yet if they decide they believe something other than Muslim doctrine, there will be Muslims who think it is their duty to kill them.

This brand of Islam denies its members any freedom of conscience.

No matter how moderate many American Muslims might be, there are among them many others who believe that no Muslim has the right to change religions. A "former Muslim" who is still breathing is an offense to them. So even the moderate Muslims who may believe in freedom are not free. They run the serious risk, if they ever leave Islam, of being murdered by one of the not-so-moderate Muslims.

So the question is: Does a religion that believes in denying freedom of religion to others deserve the same protection as religions that uphold freedom of religion?

No Constitutional Right Is Absolute

It is an established principle of constitutional law that none of the rights granted in the Constitution is absolute. Freedom of speech, for instance, has its limits. Civil libertarians may have struck down obscenity laws, thus legalizing four-letter words like f– and s– and c–; but the very same people enacted hate-speech and hate-crime laws, as well as laws against work-place discrimination, that in effect illegalize other words, like n– and k– and s– and w– and ... you get the idea.

Everybody knows that words are not just words, they are also actions, and some actions, even if they consist of words, can and should be banned by law.

The same is true of the right to freedom of assembly. You have to have a parade permit before you can obstruct traffic with your demonstration. And somehow the Supreme Court decided that it is constitutional to ban kneeling and praying too close to an abortion clinic.

Freedoms come with limitations and responsibilities, and the law recognizes this.

When it comes to freedom of religion, Mormons like me are keenly aware of the fact that there are well-established limits to what religions can do. Back in the 19th century, when the Mormon Church promoted the practice of polygyny (one man, multiple wives), the church tried and failed to get the Supreme Court to protect that practice under the freedom of religion clause in the Constitution.

The Supreme Court held on that occasion that the Constitution did not allow religions to engage in practices that were grossly offensive to the moral standards of the rest of the country. You can gather and preach and teach, but the moment you engage in a practice that offends public decency, limitations kick in.

How did the government enforce the anti-polygamy laws? The Mormon Church was disincorporated, its property seized (including church meetinghouses and temples), and its leaders arrested or driven into hiding.

States also got in the act. Idaho, with a large Mormon population, forbade anyone to vote or hold public office who believed in "celestial marriage" – in those days a doctrinal code-word for polygamy. Utah, in order to be admitted to the union, had to have a state constitutional ban that could never be amended, forbidding the practice of polygamy.

The Mormon Church capitulated with a manifesto in 1890 professing that we no longer taught or condoned plural marriage.

Still, there was a widespread perception that the Mormons would only pretend to adhere to the law, while secretly preaching and practicing polygamy. There were even Mormons who thought it was all a smokescreen to fool the outside world. But by 1907, it was clear to everyone that the church leadership was serious about eliminating polygamy as a practice and a teaching in the Church.

For the past hundred years, the fastest way to get kicked out of the Mormon Church is to preach or practice plural marriage. When TV shows like the ludicrous Big Love give the impression that the Mormon Church really condones polygamy, it is a lie.

Even when the Mormon Church goes into countries where polygamy is legal – many nations in Africa, for instance – polygamous converts to the church are required to separate from (while still providing support for) all wives except the first.

In order to be credible in our claim to have abandoned polygamy, we had to become the most anti-polygamist church in America – in the world. And we did, even if we still don't get much credit for it.

That's how a religion that is adjudged to be barbaric goes about civilizing itself to be worthy of the protection of the US Constitution.

Civilizing American Islam

Personally, I'm glad my church gave up polygamy long before I was born. But when I compare the Mormon practice of polygamy with the Muslim doctrine of killing apostates, I think it makes polygamy look a lot milder, don't you?

It is dangerous in the extreme for America to tolerate, as a religion, a group of people who openly preach – including to children and adolescents – that it is their unique right to kill those who leave their religion, and also unbelievers who act against their religion.

It's perfectly all right for a religion to preach and believe that someday their believers will cover the whole earth. A lot of Christians believe that, and so do a lot of Muslims, and that's fine – as long as you believe that this is to be accomplished either by voluntary religious conversion or by divine intervention.

People of one faith can coexist with people of any other faith as long as they all agree that each has the right to offer membership to anyone who comes to believe their doctrine, and to actively solicit such conversions.

You can hate it when someone converts away – you can hold a funeral for the person who converted. What you can't do is make the funeral literal rather than symbolic.

Right now, because the Church of Political Correctness is the established church of the American elite, Islam has had extraordinary tolerance for these dangerous, violent, anti-American doctrines that are frequently taught among them. Mostly they are in denial, pretending that American Muslims don't teach these things.

But even if only five percent of the imams are preaching the right-to-kill doctrine, it poses a direct danger to American citizens, since this is precisely the doctrine that justifies terrorist massacres as well as individual terrorism against Muslims who wish to leave that religion.

I bet that a significant number of American Muslims – maybe even most of them – would very much like to separate themselves from that doctrine and those who preach it.

But there are several reasons why this is very, very hard to do.

First, the Wahhabists of Saudi Arabia send enormous amounts of money to America and other countries all around the world, in order to support the teaching of their particular brand of Islam – which specifically teaches this dangerous, barbaric doctrine.

Second, Islam is not, strictly speaking, an organized religion. Since Islam has long asserted the right to govern and there is no separation of church and state, Muslim governments have been the only authorities that could determine what was and was not tolerable belief and practice. So in America and Europe, where Islam is not the governing power (yet), there is no authority that can say that this Muslim teacher or group is legitimate and that one is not.

It's Time for Islam to Organize

Let's suppose that the American government wakes up to the danger of extending the protection of the Constitution to all Muslims. Let's suppose a law was enacted stating that the laws respecting freedom of religion apply only to religions that allow freedom of conversion. If you do not allow any of your members age 18 or older to change religions without loss of life, liberty or property, then you get no protection from the Constitution.

We could go farther, and say because the government has a monopoly on the power (within constitutional limitations) to deprive citizens of life, liberty or property, then any religion that claims such rights, whether or not it can be proven to have acted on that claim, does not qualify as a religion when it comes to constitutional protections.

Nobody will be locked up or thrown out of the country just for being Muslim or believing or preaching Muslim doctrine.

But any Muslim congregation that has not rejected the right-to-kill doctrine must pay full taxes on its property and its members get no tax deduction for their contributions.

And those that actively taught the right to kill could be treated, like the Mormon Church once was, as a subversive organization, to be disincorporated, its property seized and its funds blocked.

Furthermore, the FBI will not be barred from observing and tracking members of congregations that have not rejected the right-to-kill doctrine as if they were members of subversive organizations – since they would be.

However, when such laws are enacted, there would be a grace period of a year in which American Muslim religious communities could join one or more national or regional certifying groups, rather like the various Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian and other national sectarian groups or conventions.

All the member congregations would attest that they would not tolerate any teaching of the right-to-kill doctrine in their mosques or among their membership – just the way the Mormon Church had to give up its practice of polygamy and stop teaching it anywhere in the church in order to be legally recognized.

Is This Un-American?

I can hear civil libertarians screaming: This is the government trying to dictate what people believe!

But it is nothing of the kind. It is the government declaring that its hands-off treatment of religion only applies to religions that also have a hands-off policy toward people who belong to or join with other religions.

It doesn't interfere with Muslims' right to convert other people to their faith, just with their ability to teach that Muslims have a "right" to kill people who convert away from Islam or who otherwise offend Muslim sensibilities.

There's no test oath, no spying on people's consciences. But American Muslim organizations have to have as their stated policy a repudiation of the widespread Muslim doctrine of a right or duty to kill infidels of any kind.

Nor would this target Islam specifically. Let this law apply to all religious groups equally: any religion that insists on teaching a right to kill would lose its legitimacy as a religion.

And don't kid yourself – we already have the IRS actively deciding what qualifies as a church when it comes to tax deductions. You can't just declare your home a religious meetinghouse and therefore exempt from property taxes. The IRS will insist that you meet certain (vague) standards.

This standard will be clear and universally applied, and any religion that can't sign it does not qualify as a civilized religion anyway.

But now I'll tell you the law that Muslims would like to have in force: No one can proselytize for any religion except Islam, under the severest penalties. That's the law in most Muslim countries.

If America enacts a law simply requiring Muslims (and all other religions) to reject any claim to have a right to kill unbelievers, you can bet there will be bloody riots all over the Muslim world. That's because, worldwide, Muslims believe that no one has a right to restrict them in any way, while they have the right to restrict everybody else right up to and including the death penalty.

This one-sided view is the opposite of the American way. It is the opposite of religious freedom. And any Muslims who claim the right to restrict others while accepting no restrictions themselves are a danger to every free society on earth.

It's Good for Islam, Too

The irony is that the right to kill is the doctrine that guarantees the corruption of Islam from the start. If people are only Muslims under fear of the death penalty, then how do we know there are any real Muslim believers at all?

Only when people are free to leave a religion can you take their claim to be true believers seriously.

So if America enacted such a law, then only in America would Islam exist in any kind of purity, because only in America would you be sure that anyone claiming to be Muslim really meant it and wasn't saying it for fear of some other Muslim killing him.

Remember when Salman Rushdie was put under a death penalty by the Iranian ayatollahs? I remember that people were shocked when one-time rock star Cat Stevens, a convert to Islam, publicly stated that of course Muslims had a duty to kill apostates like Rushdie.

But Cat Stevens was merely speaking the openly taught doctrine. And because he had freely converted to Islam, he apparently didn't mind.

But we should mind, not as Christians or Jews, but as Americans – and as civilized people. We believe that the only people who should have the power to take life, deny liberty, or seize property are those who have been certified by governments elected by the majority of citizens.

Right from the beginning, Islam has been a barbaric force in the world – invading "infidel" nations and oppressing unbelievers in every land they conquer. There is no such thing as a Muslim nation that was not forcibly converted in the first instance. Islam has been anti-freedom from the start. Its famous "tolerance" of Jews and Christians would be regarded as vile intolerance if anyone proposed such policies today, in a free Western country.

It is time for Islam to join the civilized world – the world where people can preach for and believe in and join with, argue against and doubt and quit any religion they want. Freedom of religion is a recent and hard-won concept, so it would be absurd to criticize Islam for being a few hundred years behind the West on this issue.

However, the time has come, with people committing barbaric crimes around the world in the name of the Muslim right-to-kill doctrine, for the peaceful majority of Muslims to commit to their opposition to that doctrine – and to organize themselves so that they can excommunicate (disqualify as Muslims) any Muslim who does not reject that teaching.

Up to now, the only way that Muslims could kick a Muslim out of the Muslim faith was to kill him. It's time for them to set up an authoritative mechanism to allow them to excommunicate those who make all Muslims look barbaric.

Then, when Muslims themselves are able to excommunicate the barbarians and forbid them to call themselves legitimate Muslims, the religion of Islam can be accepted and trusted as another civilized religion, worthy of the protections of the Constitution.

Meanwhile, however, it is time for us to stop extending the protection of the Constitution to those who, under the guise of religion, are actively promoting the right to deprive Americans of their civil rights – including the right to continue breathing.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #399 on: November 07, 2007, 11:32:45 AM »


The hearts-and-minds myth
Sorry, but winning means killing
By Ralph Peters
Mastering the languages, cultural nuances, beliefs and taboos that prevail in a theater of war, area of operations or tactical environment is vital to military success. It's much easier to kill people you understand.
Beyond that, cultural insights ease routine operations and negotiations, the training of local forces and the development of intelligence. Environmental mastery helps us avoid making unnecessary enemies. But that is where the advantages end in conflicts of blood and faith: No amount of cultural sensitivity inculcated in U.S. troops will persuade fanatic believers to discard their religion, nor can any amount of American empathy change a foreign thug's ethnic identity.

Frustrated with the difficulties facing us in Iraq after being denied both adequate troop strength and the authority to impose the rule of law in the initial days of our occupation, U.S. military commanders responded with a variety of improvisations, from skillful "kinetic ops" to patient dialogue. Nothing achieved enduring results — because we never had the resources or the fortitude to follow any effort through to the end, and our enemies had no incentive to quit, surrender or cooperate. We pacified cities with force but lacked the forces to keep them pacified. We rebuilt schools, but our enemies taught us how easy it was to kill teachers. Accepting that it was politically impossible on the home front, we never conducted the essential first step in fighting terrorists and insurgents: We failed to forge a long-term plan based on a long-term commitment. Instead, we sought to dissuade fanatics and undo ancient rivalries with stopgap measures, intermittent drizzles of money and rules of engagement tailored to suit the media, not military necessity.
 

It is astonishing that our efforts have gone as well as they have.
Yet no honest soldier or Marine would argue that we could not have done better — and should have done better. Setting aside, for now, the inept leadership from the Rumsfeld Pentagon and the fateful, if not fatal, lack of adequate troop strength, we're left with one crippling deficiency on the part of our leadership: The unwillingness to recognize the nature of the various conflicts underway simultaneously in Iraq.
With an obtuseness worthy of the left's caricatures of military officers, we drew the wrong lessons from the wrong historical examples, then did exactly the wrong things. Enmeshed in bitter conflicts over religion and ethnicity resurgent after decades of suppression, senior officers ignored myriad relevant historical examples and focused instead on the counterinsurgency campaigns with which they were comfortable — and that were as instructive as dismantling a toaster to learn how to fix a computer.

Reality's delete key
Officers looked to operations in Malaya, Vietnam, Northern Ireland and, occasionally, Algeria for positive and negative examples. Yet not one of those political struggles is relevant to the situation in Iraq (or Afghanistan). As for the pertinent examples of insurgencies rooted in religious or ethnic fanaticism, such as the Moro Insurrection, Bloody Kansas, the Sepoy Mutiny, the Mahdist Wars, the various European Anabaptist risings, the Thirty Years' War, the Armenian Genocide, Nagorno-Karabagh, the destruction of Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Kashmir, the Pueblo Revolt, the Ghost-Dance Rebellion, 1,300 years of uninterrupted warfare between the Islamic and Judeo-Christian civilizations, and several thousand other examples dating back to the savagery chronicled in the Old Testament; well, the lessons they suggest are, to say the least, politically incorrect. So we hit the delete key on reality.
Our civilian and uniformed leaders have engaged in comforting fantasies about the multilayered conflicts we're in, while speaking in numbing platitudes. Now we're back to "winning hearts and minds."
We can't do it. Not in the Islamic world. Arabs — Sunni or Shiite, in Iraq and elsewhere — are so battered psychologically that many need to blame the West, Israel, unbelievers, Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds and the ice-cream man for their failures. Any chance we had of winning the minds, if not the hearts, of the biddable minority in Iraq was thrown away when we failed to enforce the rule of law the moment Baghdad fell. Proclamations of American generosity fall short when you cannot walk your neighborhood streets without fear.

Even with the limited forces we had on hand three-and-a-half years ago, we could have done more. But the Bush administration and our military leaders had fallen into the politically correct trap that spares the murderer at the expense of his victims. We weren't ready to kill enough of the right people. As a result, our enemies have been able to spend more than three years killing the people we meant to liberate. Our reluctance to kill evil men proved murderous to innocent men, women and children, and our unwillingness to do what needed to be done leaves us at least partly responsible for the thousands of Iraqis killed and maimed by acts of terrorism — as well as for our own unnecessary losses.
The law of war is immutable: Those unwilling to pay the butcher's bill up front will pay it with compound interest in the end.
Mush, not rigor

The new counterinsurgency doctrine the Army and Marines are developing gets the language right initially, noting that no two insurgencies are identical and that each must be understood on its own terms. Then it veers into nonsense, typified by the insupportable claim that a defection is always better than a surrender, a surrender is always better than a capture and a capture is always better than a kill. That's intellectual mush. And it's just plain wrong.
It's Malaya again, with doughty Brits hacking through the jungle to pip-pip-wot-ho those wily communists. It's Kit Carson Scouts in Vietnam and faithful Montagnards. It's the PX at Tan Son Nhut air base (oops, almost wrote "Balad"). It's the nonveteran John Wayne starring in "The Green Berets" and proving beyond any doubt that all good Vietnamese instinctively loved Americans and dreamed of drinking Cokes in suburban freedom. It's Mel Gibson reprising Pickett's Charge in the Ia Drang valley — and winning this time!

The well-intentioned drafters of our counterinsurgency doctrine are mining what they've recently read without serious analysis. Do they really believe that a Sunni Arab insurgent in Kirkuk is going to see the light and declare that, from now on, he's a Kurd? Or that a Shiite militiaman in the Mahdi Army is going to wake up and decide, "Twelfth Imam, Shmim-mam! I'm going to become a Sunni and move to Ramadi!"? Does anyone outside the nuthouse political left really believe that friendly persuasion will disarm al-Qaida in Iraq? Isn't a crucial lesson of Guantanamo that irredeemable prisoners are a strategic liability?
Our doctrine writers are in danger of producing a tome on procreation that doesn't mention sex.
We are in the middle of a multilayered, multisided struggle for supremacy between intolerant religious factions and age-old ethnic rivals. And we pretend that it's just another political struggle amenable to a political solution — because it's more pleasant to think so, because we believe we know what to do in such circumstances, because facing reality would force us to drastically change the way we behave in combat, and because acknowledging the truth about the situation in Iraq would demand that we question every goofball cliché about the human preference for peace that we've bought into for the past half-century.
Yet, unless we accept the truth about the kind of wars we're in — and inevitably will face in the future — we're going to continue to make a botch of things.

Blood ties, bloody gods
The political insurgencies of the last century were easy problems compared to this century's renewed struggles of blood and belief. In political insurgencies, some of the actors can, indeed, be converted. A capture may be better than a kill. Compromise may be possible. Dialogue is sometimes a useful tool, although even political insurgencies are best resolved from a position of indisputable military strength. Men who believe, often hazily, in an ideology occasionally can be converted — or bought. The political beliefs of the masses are fickle. Defeats discourage those with mundane goals. And a political struggle within a population otherwise united by its history can end in reconciliation even after horrible bloodshed — as in the American Civil War, the Risorgimento, the gruesome Mexican revolutions of 1910-20 and the civil wars in Vietnam, Greece and many another gore-drenched, relatively homogeneous states.
Violence arising from differences of religious confession, race or ethnicity is profoundly different — and far more difficult to quell. Generally, such struggles are brought to an end only through a great deal of killing. One side — or all — must be bled out. Whether cast as divinely sanctioned liberation struggles or simply about one bloodline getting its own back from another, these conflicts over God's will and ancestral wrongs are never amenable to reason. Self-righteous journalists love to claim that the first casualty of war is truth, but that's a self-serving lie; the first casualty of any form of violence is reason, that weakest and most disappointing of learned human skills.
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Our exclusive focus on recent political insurgencies misleads us, because wars over tribe and God are humankind's oldest legacy, while the conflicts we choose to study all fall within a brief historical interval that stands as an aberration — the twilight decades of the Age of Ideology, which ran from 1775 to 1991, a blink in historical terms. Now we have reverted to the human norm of killing one another over interpretations of the divine will and ancient blood ties. We don't have to like it — and we won't — but we must recognize the reality confronting us. We have returned to the historical mainstream. The tribes want tribute. The gods want blood. And the killers are ready to help.

The road to Srebrenica was paved with pious platitudes, the path to 9/11 with wishful thinking. Presidents and generals may declare endlessly that we're not engaged in a religious war or that ethnic factions can be reconciled, but the first claim is a lie and the second relies for its fulfillment on intrusive military power and a strength of will greater than that of the factions in question. We are, indeed, engaged in religious wars — because our enemies have determined that these are religious wars. Our own refusal to understand them as such is just one more debilitating asymmetry. As for ethnic reconciliation, call me when Kosovo's Muslims and Serb Christians reintegrate their communities, form joint neighborhood-watch committees and vote for each other's political candidates (and check the ingredients of the casserole that Ivo's wife brought to the potluck, nonetheless).

Blood and budget deficits
If we want achievements commensurate with the risks we undergo and the costs we pay in blood and budget deficits, we must overcome our revulsion at the truth. Saying nice things about war to please the media or to placate noisome academics is useless, anyway, because they'll always oppose what the U.S. government does — even when, as with a dictator's overthrow and a war of liberation, our government implements the left's long-standing agenda. We must stop belching out chipper slogans and fleeing to simplistic models for answers. We have to start thinking beyond our moral comfort zones. When generals lack intellectual integrity, privates die for nothing.
Above all, we must regain our perspective on what truly matters. We must get over our impossible dream of being loved as a nation, of winning hearts and minds in Iraq or elsewhere. If we can make ourselves liked through our successes, that's well and good. But the essential requirements for the security of the U.S. are that our nation is respected and our military is feared. Our lack of resolve and mental rigor has brought us close to sacrificing both of these advantages. And a nation that is not respected encourages foreign chicanery, while a military that is not feared invites attack.

The Marine Corps entered Iraq with a motto that captured the essence of what our efforts should have involved: "No better friend, no worse enemy." That restatement of the carrot-and-stick approach to military operations expressed in simple terms how to fight just about any kind of enemy — including insurgents and terrorists. The problem is that no American leader, in uniform or in a $3,000 suit, lived up to the maxim consistently. Instead, we applied it in fits and starts as we tried to make friends with our enemies. In the clinch, we defaulted to the carrot.
Consider how many potential turning points we missed: We failed to enforce the rule of law while all Iraq was terrified of us and anxious for clear orders. We failed to occupy the predictable trouble spots early on and in force. We failed to display sufficient imagination and courage to break up the artificial country we inherited from Saddam Hussein and a pack of Europeans at Versailles. With our typical dread of short-term costs, we passed up repeated and justified chances to kill Muqtada al-Sadr, inflating his image in the process — and paying a far higher price in the long term than we would have paid had we acted resolutely and promptly. We needed Henry V and got Hamlet. Our leaders fled from victory in the First Battle of Fallujah. Now an administration with a flagging will is determined to withdraw our troops prematurely — Mission Accomplished, Act II. And all the while our soldiers and Marines have paid the price — while re-enlisting to pay it again and again.
Our men and women in uniform deserve better. They're dying not only of roadside bombs but of phony morality imposed by those who face no risks themselves. Spare a terrorist, kill a soldier. Spare a terrorist leader, kill our soldiers by the hundreds.

We want to treat a country torn by rival visions of a punitive god and drenched in ethnic bloodshed as if it needs only a bit of political tinkering. We're not looking for exit strategies, just exit excuses.
The longer we wait to study and learn from the relevant conflicts of the past, the more American blood we'll squander. We have to be tough on ourselves, forcing each other to think beyond the deadly platitudes of the campus, the campaign trail and the press briefing. Begin by listing the number of religion-fueled uprisings throughout history that were quenched by reason and compromise — call me collect if you find a single one. Then list the ethnic civil wars that were solved by sensible treaties without significant bloodshed. Next, start asking the really ugly questions, such as: Hasn't ethnic cleansing led to more durable conditions of peace than any more humane approach to settling power relations between bloodlines? Monstrous as it appears, might not the current neighborhood-by-neighborhood ethnic and confessional cleansing in Iraq make that country more, rather than less, likely to survive as a confederation? Shouldn't we be glad when fanatics kill fanatics? Are all successes in the war on terrorism merely provisional? Is this a struggle that unquestionably must be fought by us but that began long before our country existed and will continue for centuries to come? Is there a historical precedent for coping with violent religious fanatics that does not include bloodshed to the point of extermination?

Even beyond these military and strategic issues, deeper questions about humanity — the individual and the mass — await serious minds. The one useful result of the coming generations of fanaticism will be to rid our own cultural bloodstream of the poison of political correctness, white lies that lead to black results. Why does humankind love war? And yes, the word is "love." Does religious competition have biological roots? Is the assertion of ethnic supremacy as natural as the changing of the seasons? Is genocide in our genes? We do not have to celebrate unpleasant answers, but, if humanity is ever to make the least progress in reducing mass violence, we need to face those answers honestly.
The American military knew how to deal with conflicts of blood and faith. But we do not study our own history when the lessons make us uneasy. During the Moro Insurrection, the U.S. Army lived up to the Marine Corps' motto for Operation Iraqi Freedom. For the peaceful inhabitants of the southern Philippines, our soldiers and administrators were benefactors. For the Moro warriors, they were the worst enemies those fanatics had ever faced. Of course, we didn't have CNN filming our Gatling guns at work, but, then, we may need to banish the media from future battlefields, anyway. Our brutal response to the brutality of Muslim fanatics kept the peace until the Japanese invasion four decades later. And no peace lasts forever — four decades qualifies as a big, big win.

The religious movement that fired the Boxer Rebellion could only be put down through massacre. The same need to rip the heart out of violent millenarian movements, enabling societies to regain their balance, applied from 1520s Germany and 1840s China through the 19th-century Yucatan and the Sudan, down to the Islamist counterrevolution today. Only massive killing brought peace. Only extensive killing will bring peace.
We need to grasp the basic truth that the path to winning the hearts and minds of the masses leads over the corpses of the violent minority. As for humanitarianism, the most humane thing we can do is to win our long struggle against fanaticism and terrorism. That means killing terrorists and fanatics.
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