Tuesday, July 27, 2004

An evening to remember....


After listening for over three years to the simplistic, deceptive babble that emanates from the occupant of the Oval Office, it was a true pleasure to listen to Messrs. Gore and Carter as well as the Clintons. Hopefully, the majority of Americans will realize before they vote that the choice they make will affect their lives dramatically.
On the Kerry-Edwards side we have individuals who profoundly believe in COOPERATION vs. confrontation, both at home and abroad.
On the Bush-Cheney side we have individuals who profoundly believe in CONFRONTATION vs. cooperation, both at home and abroad.Given their arrogant attitude, this great nation finds itself isolated in the world as people from all nationalities and races feel a vested interest in the U.S. election.
Never before in modern U.S. history has an American president been so despised by friend and foe alike.
Does anyone really believe that the war against hatred can be won by triggering more hatred?
Hopefully, we'll wake up on Nov. 3 to the happy realization that two intelligent, thoughtful individuals, Kerry- Edwards, will be guiding this great nation for the years to come.Assuming that the U.S. Supremes stay OUT of he way that is....


Washington Post Staff Writer - Tuesday, July 27, 2004

In Boston, a Ringing Call for Change  - Clinton Rallies Democrats On Day One of Convention By Dan Balz

BOSTON, July 26 -- Led by former President Bill Clinton, the Democratic National Convention opened here Monday night with a tough and sustained critique of President Bush's policies and a partisan rallying cry to delegates to convert their bitterness over the disputed 2000 election into fresh energy aimed at electing John F. Kerry in November.

To a chorus of cheers and sustained applause, Clinton called the 2004 election a stark choice between two major political parties with deeply held and fundamentally different views of how to meet challenges at home and abroad.

"We Democrats want to build a world and an America of shared responsibilities and shared opportunities . . . where we act alone only when we have to," he said. Republicans, Clinton added, "believe in an America run by the right people -- their people -- in a world in which America acts unilaterally when we can and cooperates when we have to."

Clinton staunchly defended the Massachusetts senator, saying that when young men such as himself, Bush and Vice President Cheney found ways to avoid going to Vietnam, Kerry volunteered for service there. And he mocked Bush and the GOP for suggesting that Kerry and his running mate, Sen. John Edwards (N.C.), would be soft on terrorism. "Strength and wisdom are not conflicting values," he said. "They go hand in hand."

With Kerry and Edwards campaigning their way to Boston through battleground states, the opening-night program also featured former president Jimmy Carter, former vice president Al Gore and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.). The Democratic luminaries sent a jolt of energy through Boston's FleetCenter that got the convention off on the high note that organizers had hoped for.

Gore opened his speech with humor about his fate in the 2000 election and then issued an appeal to both those who backed Bush four years ago and those who supported third-party candidate Ralph Nader, urging them to reconsider what their actions had meant for the country.

"I want to say to all Americans this evening that whether it is the threat to the global environment or the erosion of America's leadership in the world, whether it is the challenge to our economy from new competitors or the challenge to our security from new enemies, I believe we need new leadership that is both strong and wise," Gore said.

Carter was even more pointed in his critique of Bush's record.

"The United States has alienated its allies, dismayed its friends and inadvertently gratified its enemies by proclaiming a confused and disturbing strategy of preemptive war," he said.

"With our allies disunited, the world resenting us and the Middle East ablaze, we need John Kerry to restore life to the global war against terrorism." Despite claims by Kerry campaign officials and Democratic Party leaders that this convention would accentuate the positive, the first night's speeches echoed the same criticisms of Bush that Kerry, Edwards and other candidates for the Democratic nomination have sounded throughout the campaign.

But with Kerry in an extremely tight contest with Bush and seeking to use the four-day gathering to flesh out his political profile and convince voters that he is fit to serve as commander in chief in a time of terrorism, Monday's speakers also sought to highlight what they described as Kerry's courage and fitness to lead and said he would provide a needed contrast to the leadership style of the incumbent president. "He will lead the world, not alienate it," Hillary Clinton said. "Lower the deficit, not raise it. Create good jobs, not lose them. Solve a health care crisis, not ignore it."

The 44th Democratic convention marked the first major party convention since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and the extraordinary security around FleetCenter and throughout this historic city offered a reminder to the dramatically altered landscape on which the 2004 election is being fought. That changed climate has put new burdens on the Democratic challenger to demonstrate his national security credentials and, Kerry advisers said, much of the work of this convention will be aimed at giving voters confidence in his leadership.

 "The major thing we're trying to achieve is for people to see him . . . as someone who is ready to lead this nation," Mary Beth Cahill, Kerry's campaign manager, told reporters at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. Democrats have the luxury of focusing almost exclusively Kerry and his credentials this week because of the extraordinary unity within the party. In contrast with past conventions, many of them wracked by major disputes and minor wrangling, the delegates have set aside whatever differences they have behind a wall of unity in their desire to defeat Bush.

One more sign of that goal to set aside differences came Monday afternoon, when former Vermont governor Howard Dean, who shaped the Democratic race through much of 2003 only to see Kerry overtake him in the Iowa caucuses, released his delegates in a symbolic gesture of solidarity and urged them to support Kerry and Edwards when the roll is called on Wednesday night.

Clinton produced the evening's highlight reel, with an oratorical flourish designed to remind voters of the prosperity his eight years in office brought to the country and to argue forcefully that it was Democratic policies that had produced those conditions. Bush, he said, squandered "an amazing opportunity to bring the country together under his slogan of compassionate conservatism and to unite the world in the struggle against terror" in the aftermath of Sept. 11. Instead, he said, the president and his congressional allies chose to "push the country too far to the right and to walk away from our allies."

Clinton said Republicans supported tax cuts for wealthy Americans such as himself while cutting funding for programs aimed at helping children and working families with child care, job retraining and after-school assistance. "If you agree with all that, by all means, reelect them," he said. "If not, John Kerry and John Edwards are your team for the future."

Clinton's speech, which concluded just as the networks were ending their prime-time broadcasts, was interrupted by several standing ovations and by frequent shouts of "You tell him, Bill!" from people in the hall. He was greeted by delegates waving Kerry-Edwards signs reading "America's Future."

"I can sum up my reaction in one word: phenomenal," said Jay Augustine, a delegate from Louisiana. "I thought he hit the nail right on the head with the positions that our country should be moving toward. You could not ask for a sharper contrast between what Democrats stand for and what the party in power believes in."

Gore was the first of the major speakers Monday night and he began on a humorous note with a reference to his bitter defeat in 2000, when he won the popular vote but lost the presidency after a 36-day recount in Florida that ended with a Supreme Court decision that tipped the Electoral College vote to Bush. "I know from my own experience," he said, "that America is a land of opportunity where every little boy and girl has a chance to grow up and win the popular vote." Gore was a sentimental and popular favorite among the thousands of delegates. People in the massive hall rose to their feet well before New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson had finished his introduction.

The roar for Gore was so loud that his name could barely be heard from the floor by the time Richardson finished. Gore argued that Bush abandoned his pledges to unify the country and pursue compassionate conservatism. Instead, he said, Bush has weakened environmental protections, brought about the erosion of civil liberties and turned record projected surpluses into record deficits. "Let's make sure that the Supreme Court does not pick the next president," he said, "and that this president is not the one who picks the next Supreme Court."

The former vice president saved his strongest words for Bush's conduct of foreign policy, an area he has spoken about repeatedly in the past two years, beginning with a speech in 2002 urging Congress not to give Bush the power to go to war with Iraq unilaterally. Gore said Bush diverted critical resources from the battle to defeat Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network to lead the United States into Iraq. "Wouldn't we be better off with a new president who hasn't burned his bridges to our allies and who could rebuild respect for America in the world?" he asked.

Gore, who spoke before the major networks began their coverage, said Kerry, with whom he came to the Senate in 1985, demonstrated the same kind of courage on the floor of the Senate that he had shown in combat in Vietnam. "He never shied away from a fight, no matter how powerful the foe," Gore said.

In closing, Gore exhorted the delegates not to forget 2000. "To those of you who felt disappointed or angry with the outcome in 2000, I want you to remember all those feelings," he said. "But I want you to do with them what I have done: focus them fully and completely on putting John Kerry and John Edwards in the White House in 2004 so we can have a new direction in America."  "He really put the purpose of the convention in the proper perspective," said Ramon Garcia, a delegate from Edinburg, Tex. "He told us where we've been, where we are and where we're going."

Carter said Kerry knows the horrors of war and said the Massachusetts senator, far more than Bush, would safeguard the country against terrorism. "Truth is the foundation of our global leadership, but our credibility has been shattered and we are left increasingly isolated and vulnerable in a hostile world," he said. He described the choice for voters starkly. "Ultimately the issue is whether America will provide global leadership that springs from the unity and integrity of the American people or whether extremist doctrines and the manipulation of truth will define America's role in the world."

Between the main speeches, the convention featured video feeds from around the country with Americans offering short speeches of support for Kerry and Edwards. The convention was gaveled into session promptly at 4 p.m. by Democratic National Committee Chairman Terence R. McAuliffe.

Earlier in the day, Cahill and strategist Tad Devine offered an upbeat appraisal of the Democrats' chances of taking back the White House in November. Devine painted an expansive portrait of the electoral map for the fall campaign, saying that the Kerry team made a strategic decision in the spring not to concentrate most of its resources in a few critical battleground states, such as Ohio, and instead attempt to enlarge the playing field to states Bush won and that have been trending Republican.

From the opening ceremonies through Thursday's acceptance speech, Kerry's Vietnam War experience will form one of the major subtexts of convention week and, Kerry advisers believe, constitutes one of Kerry's major assets as a candidate. Democrats staged the first of what will be a series of veterans' events, this one featuring Kerry's Swift boat crew members from Vietnam as well as retired Army Gen. Wesley K. Clark and former senator Max Cleland (Ga.), who lost three limbs in Vietnam and has campaigned tirelessly for Kerry all year.

Staff writer Paul Farhi and researcher Lucy Shackelford contributed to this report.<<

Saturday, July 24, 2004

The 9/11 Commission's omissions


Just when I started writing about the 9-11 Commission's omissions that served Bushites so well, I find that one of my "clones" had done it for me very effectively:

"The former CIA agent advocates a genuine debate within the United States about its policies in the Middle East, including its relationship with Saudi Arabia and its unqualified support for Israel. "I think before you draft a policy to defeat bin Laden," says Sheuer, "you have to understand that our policies are what drives him and those who follow him."
t r u t h o u t Perspective  -  Saturday 24 July 2004

 The 9/11 Report Misses the Point  By Marjorie Cohn         

After vigorously resisting the establishment of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, known as the 9/11 Commission, George W. Bush is now celebrating its findings. "Constructive," said the commander-in-chief, who plans to study the report. Bottom line: Bush is mightily relieved that the collective finger of the Commission doesn’t point too much in his direction.     

No person or agency is singled out to take serious responsibility for the attacks that killed 3000 people on September 11, 2001. A list of missed opportunities is carefully divided 60-40, six occurring during the Bush II administration and four on Clinton’s watch.

The report recommends the creation of a new intelligence czar, increased congressional oversight, and transparency in funding for intelligence. But the Commissioners were unanimous in refusing to conclude that 9/11 could have been prevented.     

The events of September 11 are recited in chilling detail in the much-anticipated 500-page tome. Although the Commission concludes that the attacks "were a shock," it says, "they should not have come as a surprise." The report provides an itemized list of structural shortcomings, and improvements that could better prepare us for the next terrorist attack.     

"Because of offensive actions against al Qaeda since 9/11, and defense actions to improve homeland security," the Commissioners wrote, "we believe we are safer today." They go on to say: "But we are not safe." The centerpiece of Bush’s election campaign is his mantra that the world has become a safer place on his watch. Earlier this week, however, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said, "I cannot say the world is safer today than it was two, three years ago."     

Indeed, many feel Bush’s misguided war on Iraq has actually made us less safe. But the 9/11 report does not address Operation "Iraqi Freedom" critically. A 23-year veteran of the CIA, identified in the Boston Phoenix as Michael Scheuer, maintains in his soon-to-be-released book, "Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror," that "Iraq was a gift of epic proportions to Osama bin Laden and those who think like him."     

The former CIA agent advocates a genuine debate within the United States about its policies in the Middle East, including its relationship with Saudi Arabia and its unqualified support for Israel. "I think before you draft a policy to defeat bin Laden," says Sheuer, "you have to understand that our policies are what drives him and those who follow him."     

Scheuer is not alone in his admonition. Earlier this month, Senator Ernest F. Hollings (D-S.C.) penned in the Charleston Post and Courier: "Osama bin Laden hit us because of our presence in Saudi Arabia and policy in Israel/Palestine." Hollings wrote: "Imagine 37 years’ occupation of Palestine … Palestine is left with the hopeless and embittered .. But embittered refugees from without lead with terrorism." The senator urges the building of a Palestinian state. "It can’t be built," however, "while homes are bulldozed, settlements extended and walls are constructed."     
Both Hollings and Brandeis Professor Robert B. Reich, Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, dismiss the notion that we are fighting a "War on Terrorism." Hollings says, "Terrorism is not a war, but a weapon." Reich agrees: "Terrorism is a tactic. It is not itself our enemy."     

Challenging Bush’s claim that the terrorists hate us because of our values, Hollings retorts: "It’s not our values or people, but our Mideast policy they oppose." Reich argues for restarting the Middle East peace process, which Bush has "run away from."    

 Many in the Arab and Muslim world see U.S. policies as terrorist. They witnessed the deaths of one million innocent Iraqis as a result of Western sanctions during the 1990s. The tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians killed by Bush’s "coalition" in Iraq have not escaped their notice. And they see the photographs and hear the accounts of torture and humiliation of their brothers emerging from the prisons in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay.     

Yet the 9/11 report glosses over the atrocities, calling them "allegations that the United States abused prisoners in its custody." The photographs belie this characterization as mere "allegations." And the Commissioners have bought into Donald Rumsfeld’s moniker of "abuse," when it is clear that rape, murder and sodomy with foreign objects constitute torture.     

Conspicuously absent from the report is a political analysis of why the tragedy occurred. Missing from the report is a comprehensive strategy to overhaul U.S. foreign policy to inoculate us from the wrath of those who resent American imperialism.     

The report does not undertake a serious criticism of Bush’s misadventure in Iraq, the lies under girding it, and the tragedy it has created in that country. It fails to analyze why this war that Bush created has opened a Pandora’s Box of terrorism where none existed before. Notably, there is a categorical statement that no evidence linked Iraq with the September 11 attacks.     

However, the report focuses on Iran, noting that some of the hijackers easily passed through Iran in the months before 9/11. Yet it finds no evidence that Iran knew of the impending attacks.     Bush’s response to the report’s Iran reference is reminiscent of his reaction after the September 11 attacks. When Richard Clarke caught Bush alone in the Situation Room the next day, Bush "testily" ordered Clarke to investigate whether Iraq was involved in the attacks. Even though Bush admitted this week that the CIA had found "no direct connection between Iran and the attacks of Sept. 11," he promised that "we will continue to look and see if the Iranians were involved."     

The Likud lobby in Washington, which drives much of our foreign policy, seeks the overthrow of the Iranian government partly because it stands in the way of the Israeli annexation of southern Lebanon and its prized Litani River. Bush’s base – the fundamentalist Christians – walk in lockstep with Ariel Sharon, driven by their determination that Jerusalem be in Jewish hands when Christ returns.     

Whether Bush will make Iran the next test of his new illegal "preemptive" war doctrine if elected in November remains to be seen. His blustering about Iran may be designed to pander to his hawkish supporters as the election approaches. At the least, we can expect Bush, if given a second term, to covertly undermine Iran’s government, much as we did in 1953. The CIA led a coup to overthrow the democratically elected Mohammad Mossaddeq, and replaced him with the tyrannical but U.S.-friendly Shah, ushering in 25 years of torture and murder against the people of Iran.     

Iran’s membership in Bush’s "axis of evil" was in the works two years before its formal inauguration in his state of the union address. In its September 2000 document, "Rebuilding America’s Defenses, Strategy, Forces and Resources For a New Century," the neocon’s Project for the New American Century identified Iran, Iraq and North Korea as strategic targets.     

We should not be surprised that countries like Iran and North Korea seek to develop nuclear weapons. While the United States rattles its sabers at these "rogue states," it continues to develop new and more efficient nukes and pledges to use them "preemptively," in violation of its commitments under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. The Bush administration has also exempted itself from a treaty prohibiting biological weapons to avoid being subject to international inspections.     

Short shrift is given in the 9/11 report to the reverberations from U.S. policy in Iraq and Israel: "Right or wrong, it is simply a fact that American policy regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and American actions in Iraq are dominant staples of popular commentary across the Arab and Muslim world." Period. No analysis of the content or consequences of that commentary.     

The Commissioners conclude: "Across the government, there were failures of imagination, policy, capabilities and management." The consequences of U.S. foreign policy, which the CIA dubbed "blowback," need not be left to the imagination of our leaders. The anger of millions people in the Middle East does not stem from resentment at our democratic way of life. It is the understandable result of our policies that torture and kill their brethren.     

The title of one chapter in the report quotes George Tenet: "The system was blinking red." Indeed, we must heed the blinking red light of bitterness against U.S. imperialism throughout the Middle East.     

Finally, the Commission writes, "we should offer an example of moral leadership in the world." Unprovoked attacks on other countries, uncritical support for repression against an occupied people, and the killing and torture of prisoners are not examples of moral leadership.     

We can reorganize, restructure and revamp our institutions. But until the American government undertakes a radical rethinking and remaking of our role in the world, we will never be safe from terrorist attacks.    

Marjorie Cohn, a contributing editor to t r u t h o u t, a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, executive vice president of the National Lawyers Guild, and the U.S. representative to the executive committee of the American Association of Jurists.  <<

IF and WHEN our leaders focus on these issues, we will be able to make progress in the war against hatred.

Meantime, back at the ranch...reforming our intel agencies without reforming our foreign policies, will lead to...NAUGHT.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Supreme Court: The "healing" process"

As I read the following article by J. Shell, I vividly recalled the day when I too was watching the tube as the Florida recount was peacefully proceeding and, suddenly, the order came to....STOP!
I had suspected from the very moment I saw James Baker III appear on the scene that Al Gore would lose given that this was the same guy who helped Bush I drag the U.S. into Gulf War I after failing to warn Saddam that an incursion into Kuwait would mean war with the U.S. 
This was the same guy who "negotiated" with Tariq Aziz at Geneva when all he did was repeat the same ultimatums his boss had made publicly knowing full well that an Arab leader would not surrender in light of PUBLIC humiliation.
As I watched Baker in action, once again, I suspect that he would go all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary to achieve his objectives.But, as I watched the recount that Saturday morning, I started thinking that my suspicions may have been too cynical when, sadly, they were confirmed by the order of the Supremes to STOP the recount.
As a result of this blatant "invasion" of the U.S. Supremes into an issue that should have been resolved by the state of Florida, I have never been able to look at Bush II as the elected president of the U.S.  Instead, he will always be the occupant of the Oval Office SElected by five U.S. Supremes and one of the most deceptive demagogues and ineffective leaders in modern U.S. history.
Jonathan Schell writes about the judiciary "healing process" presently in progress given that millions of Americans lost faith not only in the political process, but...in an institution they'd respected: the U.S. Supreme Court:
To be published in the August 2 - 9, 2004 issue of The Nation
Healing the Law by Jonathan Schell
The Supreme Court of the United States has had two historic encounters with George W. Bush. The first wasits decision to stop the recount of the presidentialvote in Florida in December 2000 and, in effect, to putBush in the White House. The second was the series ofdecisions rendered in June in the cases regarding thedetainees in Guantánamo and the two American citizensbeing held as "enemy combatants."
I was watching television coverage at the moment theCourt stayed the Florida recount and witnessed a votecounter lift her hand to examine a ballot and then, whenthe news of the decision came, drop it, with evidentsadness, back onto the uncounted pile. The law, usually seen as a support and foundation of democracy, had in this case visibly stopped it cold. The decision sent a shock wave through the legalcommunity. Some 673 law professors from 173 law schools signed a statement asserting that "by stopping the vote count in Florida, the US Supreme Court used its power to act as political partisans, not judges of a court of law."
Professor Robert Post, then teachingconstitutional law at Stanford, wrote that the decisionmade him feel "shame" before his students. There rose up before his eyes "a searing and disorienting vision of a world without law."  Even Post probably could not have imagined how quickly the vision would materialize. For if the policies of the Bush Administration have exhibited any one constanttheme, it has been contempt, visceral as well as philosophical, in domestic as well as foreign affairs, for law.
The Administration's distaste for international treaties and laws soon became evident. The President withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol on global warming and the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty, pulled out of talks to create an inspection system for the Biological Weapons Convention and "unsigned" the Rome statute for the creation of an International Criminal Court. Since laws and legal opinions come into effect only upon signing, the act of "unsigning"- an invention of the White House, with no precedent in the annals of the presidency- seemed to symbolize a world of evaporating statutes.The deed was one aspect of a comprehensive onslaught, which quickly unfolded, on the very idea of law.
Its chief elements were the claim by and for the United States, and the United States alone, of a right and duty to order the twenty-first-century world through the use of America's unchallengeable military force. The vision's essential corollaries were the right to wage preventive war and to violently and unilaterally overthrow other governments.  Its goals were to stop the spread (but not reverse the existing possession) of weapons of mass destruction and to remake the world politically and economically in the image of the United States.
The conflict between this vision, correctly called imperial by many of its supporters as well as its detractors, and international law is not incidental but systemic. The ideas of empire and of international law are both ordering principles: Both are means for organizing the world.  They are in competition for the same turf. The world can no more be both an imperial world and a world of law than one car can be driven by two people to two places at the same time. Or, to be exact, to the extent that the imperial vision advances,the legal project must be thrown back and vice versa.
The essence of law is the establishment of a single consistent standard, which is to be obeyed by ruled and ruler alike. The essence of empire is imposition of a double standard-with one standard for the imperial ruler, another for the ruled. The imperial principles of preventive wars and regime change cannot be principles of international law, because their universalization would bring chaos.  The point, of course, is not that in the year 2000 the world was governed according to law (for it was not) only to be suddenly thrown into disorder by the imperial ambitions of President Bush.  Rather a slow evolution, which had made surprisingly good progress since the end of the cold war, toward a more cooperative, lawful world was thrown into reverse by the rise of a rival imperial vision.
The title of an article by Richard Perle, chairman of the defense policy board, on the significant occasion of the launch of the Iraq war, summed up what was afoot: "Thank God for the death of the UN:  Its abject failure gave us only anarchy. The world needs order." He went on to write, "As we sift the debris, it will be important to preserve, the better to understand, the intellectual wreckage of the liberal conceit of safety through international law administered by international institutions."
The disclosure of the use of torture in America's offshore detention system revealed a subterranean dimension of the conflict between empire and law.  Torture is a common product of imperial rule.  It is especially likely to occur when imperial violence meets resistance, as it soon did in Iraq,  giving rise to the torture at Abu Ghraib prison and elsewhere.  Even the refusal of Guantánamo detainees to give information under interrogation was interpreted, well before theIraq war, as "resistance."  Therefore "counterresistance" techniques, in the words of one Pentagon memo, were developed. They included death threats to detainees andf eigned threats to their families and suffocation by water torture.
On February 7, 2002, President Bush wrote in a secret memo later made public, "Our nation recognizes that this new paradigm-ushered in not by us, but by terrorists-requires new thinking in the law ofwar."  The call for new thinking was soon answered in a stream of legal memos.  The Justice Department advised the executive branch that neither international treaties, such as the Geneva Conventions, nor the laws passed by Congress-including, of course, the US Criminal code-could in any way limit a President's right to order torture or otherwise abuse prisoners: "Any effort byCongress to regulate the interrogation of unlawful combatants would violate the Constitution's sole vesting of the Commander-in-Chief authority in the President."
These memos were produced in secret. In public, theAdministration put forward a claim scarcely less breathtaking in its sweep: it asserted its power to designate any person, including any American citizen, as an enemy combatant and to imprison that person indefinitely without any right to legal representation, or to receive visits, or to file habeas corpus or anyother petition before a court to establish innocence.
No less than in the torture memos, the Administration was unilaterally asserting a profound change in the permanent structure of US law. Such was the legal landscape as the Supreme Court faced its second major encounter, in the detention cases, with the man it had made President almost four years before. A question even larger than the legal ones was on thetable.
 The Administration had come to power through an abuse of the lawful authority of the Court. Would there now be any limit to that Administration's own legal abuses? In the period of the Iraq war, other checks and balances provided in the constitutional system had failed: Congress surrendered its war power to the President, and the press, taken as a whole, had become a cheering section for the war.  In its decisions, the Court delivered a firm rebuke to the Administration's imperial conception of the law. It required detainees to have some chance to show their innocence in a judicial forum. Several sentences from the opinions jumped immediately from the legal documentsinto the newspapers and history, among them Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's declaration that "a state of war is not a blank check for the president when it comes tothe rights of the Nation's citizens."
Especially notable was the opinion of Justice Antonin Scalia, thought by some to be the Court's most conservative member. In Scalia's opinion, the majority gave the executive too much leeway in the case of Yaser Hamdi, a US citizen captured on the battlefield in Afghanistan. The Court, he said, should not have ordered up some vague, yet-to-be determined habeas-like proceeding in lower courts forHamdi. Instead, it should either have demanded that the Administration charge him with treason, as the Constitution provides, or let him go.
But more important than the substance of the decisionsand the opinions was the fact of a clear, strong, effective rebuff on the otherwise unconstrained growthof presidential power. That this came from the Court that had put Bush in office in the first place added great weight to the decision. The Justices seemed to be saying, "We meant to make you President, not king."
Would it be too much to hope that in this decision, a signal has been given that the seeming tacit coordination among Republicans in all branches ofgovernment put on display in Bush v. Gore has weakened; that swelling executive power has reached its high tide and now will ebb; that the "conservative" drive to create imperial law, or lawlessness, has run up against a bedrock of republican principle that knows no party name and is honored by the conservatives themselves?
Such a conclusion is no doubt premature. At least one more remedy is needed if the relationship betweendemocracy and law, knocked askew by Bush v. Gore, is tobe righted. The body that was silenced in that decision-the American electorate-must deliver its verdict on thevision of a lawless world proposed to it by George W. Bush.
Jonathan Schell, the Harold Willens Peace Fellow at theNation Institute, is the author, most recently, of AHole in the World.Copyright © 2004 The Nationhttp://www.commondreams.org/views04/0715-14.htm

Friday, July 16, 2004

GREED and paranoia

The main elements that led members of the "Bush-Sharon Axis" to drag our nation into an UNprovoked war were...GREED...and paranoia, in that order.
If there is one issue that is just as sickening as the spectacle of prison abuse at Abu Gharib, it is the issue of greed, namely, some of the most ardent advocates for war filling their pockets with BLOOD $$$:
Los Angeles Times -  Wednesday 14 July 2004
Advocates of War Now Profit from Iraq's Reconstruction By Walter F. Roche Jr. and Ken Silverstein     
Lobbyists, aides to senior officials and others encouraged invasion and now help firms pursue contracts. They see no conflict.   
 Washington - In the months and years leading up to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, they marched together in the vanguard of those who advocated war.  
As lobbyists, public relations counselors and confidential advisors to senior federal officials, they warned against Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, praised exiled leader Ahmad Chalabi, and argued that toppling Saddam Hussein was a matter of national security and moral duty. Now, as fighting continues in Iraq, they are collecting tens of thousands of dollars in fees for helping business clients pursue federal contracts and other financial opportunities in Iraq.
For instance, a former Senate aide who helped get U.S. funds for anti-Hussein exiles who are now active in Iraqi affairs has a $175,000 deal to advise Romania on winning business in Iraq and other matters.     
And the ease with which they have moved from advocating policies and advising high government officials to making money in activities linked to their policies and advice reflects the blurred lines that often exist between public and private interests in Washington. In most cases, federal conflict-of-interest laws do not apply to former officials or to people serving only as advisors.    
 Larry Noble, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, said the actions of former officials and others who serve on government advisory boards, although not illegal, can raise the appearance of conflicts of interest. "It calls into question whether the advice they give is in their own interests rather than the public interest," Noble said.    Michael Shires, a professor of public policy at Pepperdine University, disagreed. "I don't see an ethical issue there," he said. "I see individuals looking out for their own interests."     
Former CIA Director R. James Woolsey is a prominent example of the phenomenon, mixing his business interests with what he contends are the country's strategic interests. He left the CIA in 1995, but he remains a senior government advisor on intelligence and national security issues, including Iraq. Meanwhile, he works for two private companies that do business in Iraq and is a partner in a company that invests in firms that provide security and anti-terrorism services.     
Woolsey said in an interview that he was not directly involved with the companies' Iraq-related ventures. But as a vice president of Booz Allen Hamilton, a consulting firm, he was a featured speaker in May 2003 at a conference co-sponsored by the company at which about 80 corporate executives and others paid up to $1,100 to hear about the economic outlook and business opportunities in Iraq.     
Before the war, Woolsey was a founding member of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, an organization set up in 2002 at the request of the White House to help build public backing for war in Iraq. He also wrote about a need for regime change and sat on the CIA advisory board and the Defense Policy Board, whose unpaid members have provided advice on Iraq and other matters to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.   
 Woolsey is part of a small group that shows with unusual clarity the interlocking nature of the way the insider system can work. Moving in the same social circles, often sitting together on government panels and working with like-minded think tanks and advocacy groups, they wrote letters to the White House urging military action in Iraq, formed organizations that pressed for invasion and pushed legislation that authorized aid to exile groups.     
Since the start of the war, despite the violence and instability in Iraq, they have turned to private enterprise.     The group, in addition to Woolsey, includes: Neil Livingstone, a former Senate aide who has served as a Pentagon and State Department advisor and issued repeated public calls for Hussein's overthrow. He heads a Washington-based firm, GlobalOptions, that provides contacts and consulting services to companies doing business in Iraq.
Randy Scheunemann, a former Rumsfeld advisor who helped draft the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 authorizing $98 million in U.S. aid to Iraqi exile groups. He was the founding president of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq. Now he's helping former Soviet Bloc states win business there.
Margaret Bartel, who managed federal money channeled to Chalabi's exile group, the Iraqi National Congress, including funds for its prewar intelligence program on Hussein's alleged weapons of mass destruction. She now heads a Washington-area consulting firm helping would-be investors find Iraqi partners.
K. Riva Levinson, a Washington lobbyist and public relations specialist who received federal funds to drum up prewar support for the Iraqi National Congress. She has close ties to Bartel and now helps companies open doors in Iraq, in part through her contacts with the Iraqi National Congress.   
 Other advocates of military action against Hussein are pursuing business opportunities in Iraq. Two ardent supporters of military action, Joe Allbaugh, who managed President Bush's 2000 campaign for the White House and later headed the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and Edward Rogers Jr., an aide to the first President Bush, recently helped set up two companies to promote business in postwar Iraq. Rogers' law firm has a $262,500 contract to represent Iraq's Kurdistan Democratic Party.     
Neither Rogers nor Allbaugh has Woolsey's high profile, however.     Soon after the Sept. 11 attacks, he wrote an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal saying a foreign state had aided Al Qaeda in preparing the strikes. He named Iraq as the leading suspect. In October 2001, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul D. Wolfowitz sent Woolsey to London, where he hunted for evidence linking Hussein to the attacks.    
At the May 2003 Washington conference, titled "Companies on the Ground: The Challenge for Business in Rebuilding Iraq," Woolsey spoke on political and diplomatic issues that might affect economic progress. He also spoke favorably about the Bush administration's decision to tilt reconstruction contracts toward U.S. firms.     
In an interview, Woolsey said he saw no conflict between advocating for the war and subsequently advising companies on business in Iraq.     Booz Allen is a subcontractor on a $75-million telecommunications contract in Iraq and also has provided assistance on the administration of federal grants. Woolsey said he had had no involvement in that work.
    Woolsey was interviewed at the Washington office of the Paladin Capital Group, a venture capital firm where he is a partner. Paladin invests in companies involved in homeland security and infrastructure protection, Woolsey said.     Woolsey also is a paid advisor to Livingstone's GlobalOptions. He said his own work at the firm did not involve Iraq.     
Under Livingstone, Global-Options "offers a wide range of security and risk management services," according to its website.     In a 1993 opinion piece for Newsday, Livingstone wrote that the United States "should launch a massive covert program designed to remove Hussein."     
In a recent interview, Livingstone said he had second thoughts about the war, primarily because of the failure to find weapons of mass destruction. But he has been a regular speaker at Iraq investment seminars.     
While Livingstone has focused on opportunities for Americans, Scheunemann has concentrated on helping former Soviet Bloc states.     Scheunemann runs a Washington lobbying firm called Orion Strategies, which shares the same address as that of the Iraqi National Congress' Washington spokesman and the now-defunct Committee for the Liberation of Iraq.     Orion's clients include Romania, which signed a nine-month, $175,000 deal earlier this year. Among other things, the contract calls for Orion to promote Romania's "interests in the reconstruction of Iraq."     
Scheunemann has also traveled to Latvia, which is a former Orion client, and met with a business group to discuss prospects in Iraq.     Few people advocated for the war as vigorously as Scheunemann. Just a week after Sept. 11, he joined with other conservatives who sent a letter to Bush calling for Hussein's overthrow.     
In 2002, Scheunemann became the first president of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, which scored its biggest success last year when 10 Eastern European countries endorsed the U.S. invasion. Known as the "Vilnius 10," they showed that "Europe is united by a commitment to end Saddam's bloody regime," Scheunemann said at the time.     He declined to discuss his Iraq-related business activities, saying, "I can't help you out there."     
Scheunemann, Livingstone and Woolsey played their roles in promoting war with Iraq largely in public. By contrast, Bartel and Levinson mostly operated out of the public eye.    In early 2003, Bartel became a director of Boxwood Inc., a Virginia firm set up to receive U.S. funds for the intelligence program of the Iraqi National Congress.     
Today, critics in Congress say the Iraqi National Congress provided faulty information on Hussein's efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction and his ties to Osama bin Laden.
    Bartel began working for the Iraqi National Congress in 2001. She was hired to monitor its use of U.S. funds after several critical government audits. After the war began, Bartel established a Virginia company, Global Positioning. According to Bartel, the firm's primary purpose is to "introduce clients to the Iraqi market, help them find potential Iraqi partners, set up meetings with government officials ... and provide on-the-ground support for their business interests."     
Bartel works closely with Levinson, a managing director with the Washington lobbying firm BKSH & Associates. Francis Brooke, a top Chalabi aide, said BKSH received $25,000 a month to promote the Iraqi National Congress, and Levinson "did great work on our behalf."     In 1999, Levinson was hired by the Iraqi National Congress to handle public relations. She said her contract with the congress ended last year. Before the invasion and in the early days of fighting in Iraq, Chalabi and the congress enjoyed close relations with the Bush administration, but the relationship has cooled.     
Levinson told The Times: "We see no conflict of interest in using our knowledge and contacts in Iraq that we developed through our previous work with the INC to support economic development in Iraq. As a matter of fact, we see this as complementary to a shared goal to build a democratic country." <<

Thursday, July 15, 2004

"George W. Bush: Presidential or Pathological?"

As usual, Arianna is right-on-the-mark.

What is truly amazing is that many Americans are still blinded by the rhetoric of guy whose simplistic demagogic babble and blatantly distorted assertions make him the worst occupant of the Oval Office in modern U.S. history.


That is the highly provocative question being asked in "Bush on the Couch," a new book in which psychoanalyst and George Washington University professor Dr. Justin Frank uses the president's public pronouncements and behavior, along with biographical data, to craft a comprehensive psychological profile of Bush 43.

It's not a pretty picture, but it goes a long way in explaining how exactly our country got itself into the mess we are in: an intractable war, the loss of allies and international goodwill, a half-trillion-dollar deficit.

Poking around in the presidential psyche, Frank uncovers a man suffering from megalomania, paranoia, a false sense of omnipotence, an inability to manage his emotions, a lifelong need to defy authority, an unresolved love-hate relationship with his father, and the repercussions of a history of untreated alcohol abuse.

Other than that, George Bush is the picture of psychological health.

One of the more compelling sections of the book is Frank's dissection of what he calls Bush's "almost pathological aversion to owning up to his infractions" - a mindset common to individuals Freud termed "the Exceptions," those who feel "entitled to live outside the limitations that apply to ordinary people."

Limitations like, for instance, not driving while drunk. Or the limitation of having to report for required Air National Guard duty. Or the limitation of having to adhere to international law.

And it doesn't help one outgrow this sense of entitlement when Daddy and his pals are always there to rescue you when you get in trouble - whether it's keeping you out of Vietnam by bumping you to the top of the National Guard waiting list or bailing you out of lousy business deals with cushy seats on corporate boards or making sure the votes in Florida (just another limitation) aren't properly counted.

But you don't make it as far as W. has without some psychological defenses of your own - especially when it comes to insulating yourself against your own fears and insecurities.

Raised in a family steeped in privilege and secrecy, and prone to the intense aversion to introspection and denial of responsibility that are the hallmarks of a so-called dry drunk - one who has kicked the bottle without dealing with the root causes of the addiction - Bush has become a
master of the psychological jiu-jitsu known as Freudian Projection.

For those of you who bailed on Psych 101, Freudian Projection is, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a defense mechanism in which "the individual deals with emotional conflict or internal or external stressors by falsely attributing to another his or
her own unacceptable feelings, impulses or thoughts."

In layman's terms, it's the soot-stained pot calling the kettle "black."

On the 2004 campaign trail, it’s the pathologically inconsistent Bush attempting to portray John Kerry as a two-faced flip-flopper.

It's become the Bush-Cheney campaign mantra. GOP talking points 1 through 100. The president's go-to laugh and applause line:

"Senator Kerry has been in Washington long enough to take both sides on just about every issue," chided Bush at a spring fundraiser. "My opponent clearly has strong beliefs, they just don't last very long." Ba-da-bum! (Incidentally, how is this consistent with Bush's other contention, that
Kerry is a rock-ribbed liberal?)

Or as Dick "Not Peaches and Cream" Cheney ominously put it at a Republican fundraiser: "These are not times for leaders who shift with the political winds, saying one thing one day and another the next."

I couldn't f---ing agree more, Mr. Cheney. But it's your man George W. who can't seem to pick a position and stick to it. He's reversed course more times than Capt. Kirk battling Khan in the midst of the Mutara Nebula. Gone back on his word more times than Tony Blundetto. Flip-flopped more frequently than a blind gymnast with an inner-ear infection.

The list of Bush major policy U-turns is as audacious as it is long. Among the whiplash-inducing lowlights:

In September 2001, Bush said capturing bin Laden was "our number one priority." By March 2002, he was claiming, "I don't know where he is. I have no idea and I really don't care. It's not that important."

In October 2001, he was dead-set against the need for a Department of Homeland Security. Seven months later, he thought it was a great idea.

In May 2002, he opposed the creation of the 9/11 Commission. Four months later, he supported it.

During the 2000 campaign, he said that gay marriage was a states' rights issue: "The states can do what they want to do." During the 2004 campaign, he called for a constitutional ban on gay marriage.

Dizzy yet? No? OK:

Bush supported CO2 caps, then opposed them. He opposed trade tariffs, then he didn't. Then he did again. He was against nation building, then he was OK with it. We'd found WMD, then we hadn't. Saddam was linked to Osama, then he wasn't. Then he was - sorta. Chalabi was in, then he was out. Way

In fact, Bush's entire Iraq misadventure has been one big costly, deadly flip-flop:

We didn't need more troops, then we did. We didn't need more money, then we did. Preemption was a great idea - on to Syria, Iran and North Korea! Then it wasn't - hello, diplomacy! Baathists were the bad guys, then Baathists were our buds. We didn't need the U.N., then we did.

And all this from a man who, once upon a time, made "credibility" a key to his appeal.

Now, God knows, I have no problem with changing your mind - so long as you
admit that you have and can explain why. But Bush steadfastly — almost
comically — refuses to admit that there's been a change, even when the
entire world can plainly see otherwise. He's got his story and he's
sticking to it. But that darn Kerry, he keeps shifting his positions!

At the end of his analysis, Dr. Frank offers the following prescription: "Having seen the depth and range of President Bush's psychological flaws, our sole treatment option for his benefit and for ours is to remove President Bush from office."

You don't need to be a psychiatrist to heartily second that opinion.


Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Bibi Netanyahu defends Israel's wall....

I posted the following message on NYTimes boards this morning in response to Bibi Netanyahu's article, but...it was deleted.

Censorship is obviously alive and well....

Bibi Netanyahu writes: "In the last four years, Palestinian terrorists have attacked Israel's buses, cafes, discos and pizza shops, murdering 1,000 of our citizens. Despite this unprecedented savagery, the court's 60-page opinion mentions terrorism only twice, and only in citations of Israel's own position on the fence. Because the court's decision makes a mockery of Israel's right to defend itself, the government of Israel will ignore it. Israel will never sacrifice Jewish life on the debased altar of "international justice."

Sooooooo...what else is new Mr. Netanyahu?

Hasn't Israel always ignored the opinions of the international community as voiced by U.N. Resolutions?

Hasn't Israel always ignored the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty while demanding that other nations in the region be nuclear free?

Hasn't Israel always discriminated against Palestinians/Arabs while proclaiming to be a "democracy?"

A true democracy, Mr. Netanyahu, has ONE set of laws for ALL its citizens.

As James Carville would say: It's the DOUBLE-STANDARDS stupid!

By hiding behind a wall rather than allowing the establishment of a viable Palestinian state, Israel has effectively admitted it is unwilling to live with its neighbors.

A wise Israeli Prime Minister would declare Jerusalem -- where all great religions converge -- an OPEN CITY and INVITE Christians and Muslims to participate in its governance.

Such a largely symbolic gesture would be applauded all across the globe. But, since it would obviously not please those who arrogantly proclaim that only THEY "were chosen by God," it is highly unlikely to happen.

By the way....does that mean that the rest of us were "chosen by the Devil?"


New York Times - July 13, 2004

Why Israel Needs a Fence by Benjamin Netanyahu

JERUSALEM — While the advisory finding by the International Court of Justice last week that Israel's barrier in the West Bank is illegal may be cheered by the terrorists who would kill Israeli civilians, it does not change the fact that none of the arguments against the security fence have any merit.

First, Israel is not building the fence on territory that under international law can be properly called "Palestinian land." The fence is being built in disputed territories that Israel won in a defensive war in 1967 from a Jordanian occupation that was never recognized by the international community. Israel and the Palestinians both claim ownership of this land. According to Security Council Resolution 242, this dispute is to be resolved by a negotiated peace that provides Israel with secure and recognized boundaries.

Second, the fence is not a permanent political border but a temporary security barrier. A fence can always be moved. Recently, Israel removed 12 miles of the fence to ease Palestinian daily life. And last month, Israel's Supreme Court ordered the government to reroute 20 more miles of the fence for that same purpose. In fact, the indefensible line on which many have argued the fence should run — that which existed between Israel and the Arab lands before the 1967 war — is the only line that would have nothing to do with security and everything to do with politics. A line that is genuinely based on security would include as many Jews as possible and as few Palestinians as possible within the fence.

That is precisely what Israel's security fence does. By running into less than 12 percent of the West Bank, the fence will include about 80 percent of Jews and only 1 percent of Palestinians who live within the disputed territories. The fence thus will block attempts by terrorists based in Palestinian cities to reach major Israeli population centers.

Third, despite what some have argued, fences have proven highly effective against terrorism. Of the hundreds of suicide bombings that have taken place in Israel, only one has originated from the Gaza area, where Hamas and Islamic Jihad are headquartered. Why? Because Gaza is surrounded by a security fence. Even though it is not complete, the West Bank security fence has already drastically reduced the number of suicide attacks.

The obstacle to peace is not the fence but Palestinian leaders who, unlike past leaders like Anwar Sadat of Egypt and King Hussein of Jordan, have yet to abandon terrorism and the illegitimate goal of destroying Israel. Should Israel reach a compromise with a future Palestinian leadership committed to peace that requires adjustments to the fence, those changes will be made. And if that peace proves genuine and lasting, there will be no reason for a fence at all.

Instead of placing Palestinian terrorists and those who send them on trial, the United Nations-sponsored international court placed the Jewish state in the dock, on the charge that Israel is harming the Palestinians' quality of life. But saving lives is more important than preserving the quality of life. Quality of life is always amenable to improvement. Death is permanent. The Palestinians complain that their children are late to school because of the fence. But too many of our children never get to school — they are blown to pieces by terrorists who pass into Israel where there is still no fence.

In the last four years, Palestinian terrorists have attacked Israel's buses, cafes, discos and pizza shops, murdering 1,000 of our citizens. Despite this unprecedented savagery, the court's 60-page opinion mentions terrorism only twice, and only in citations of Israel's own position on the fence. Because the court's decision makes a mockery of Israel's right to defend itself, the government of Israel will ignore it. Israel will never sacrifice Jewish life on the debased altar of "international justice."

Benjamin Netanyahu is Israel's finance minister and a former prime minister.<<

Values vs. pseudo-values

While the former C.I.A. Director Tenet has been targeted as the main culprit for intel failures that allegedly "forced" Bush and his cohorts to drag our nation into an UNprovoked war, experienced, objective individuals are well aware that intel had been fashioned to fit White House policy in that all caveats were removed and administration officials used FEAR as the main instrument to achieve their objectives.

"Values" is one of the favorite terms used by Bush and his right-wing cohorts to FOOL most of the people...most of the time.

Pseudo-values is the word they should use given that DECEPTION does not fall into the category of "values."

Fortunately, savvy individuals are not fooled as the following article clearly reveals:


Wash Post - Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Who's Got the Wrong Values Now? By E. J. Dionne Jr.

It's notable that in a week when the major reasons the administration offered for the war in Iraq were undercut by a Senate intelligence committee report, our presidential candidates devoted themselves to talk about "values."

The idea that our country fought a war on false premises is astonishing -- and it has a lot to do with the "values" of this administration.

President Bush's government was unrelenting in trying to convince Americans that Saddam Hussein posed an immediate threat to us, that he had scary weapons, that he was tied to al Qaeda and thus to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. It is wholly inadequate to shuck all this off on the CIA. The president was determined to scare the hell out of the country and make the case for war by whatever means necessary.

"Chemical agents, lethal viruses and shadowy terrorist networks are not easily contained," Bush said in a speech to religious broadcasters in February 2003. "Secretly, without fingerprints, Saddam Hussein could provide one of his hidden weapons to terrorists or help them develop their own. Saddam Hussein is a threat. He's a threat to the United States of America."

This was the president talking, not the CIA.

Note that he's not telling us we should wage war against the evil Hussein for humanitarian reasons -- that was not the central rationale then, though it is now -- but because Hussein posed a threat to us that we have learned he did not. Yesterday, Bush defended his decision to go after the nation that "once had the worst government in the Middle East." And he implied that Libyan disarmament was a byproduct of his actions in Iraq. Even if that's true, Bush's current argument is a much-revised version of his original case for war.

It wasn't the CIA but the president's closest advisers who resorted to the most purple and incendiary rhetoric to make sure we'd support the war. And the administration's talkers were especially eager to use their fiery rhetoric in the run-up to the 2002 midterm elections.

"We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud," declared national security adviser Condoleezza Rice on Sept. 8, 2002. The same weekend, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said: "Imagine a Sept. 11 with weapons of mass destruction. It's not 3,000; it's tens of thousands of innocent men, women and children." And Vice President Cheney spoke with utter certainty about Hussein: "We know we have a part of the picture, and that part of the picture tells us that he is, in fact, actively and aggressively seeking to acquire nuclear weapons."

Again, was it the CIA at fault here or was the administration determined to do all it could to get us to buy into a war it was already determined to fight? What "values" freed it to exaggerate the flimsy evidence it had ("we know we have part of the picture") to get Americans thinking that Saddam Hussein could turn one of our cities into a Hiroshima or Nagasaki?

Did the phony claims influence the course of the debate on the war? Of course they did. Listen to Sen. Pat Roberts, the loyal Republican from Kansas, in response to Tim Russert's question on "Meet the Press" as to whether what Roberts knows now would have led him to change his vote on the war.

"I don't know if I would have or not," replied Roberts, the intelligence committee chairman. "I think the whole premise would have changed, I think the whole debate would have changed, and I think that the response would have changed in terms of any kind of military plans." As for his colleagues' votes for the war, Roberts said: "I doubt if the votes would have been there."

Bush gave a powerful speech in York, Pa., last week describing his "values." He declared: "The culture of America is changing from one that has said 'If it feels good, do it, and if you've got a problem, blame somebody else' to a culture in which each of us understands we are responsible for the decisions we make in life."

That's a great idea. Applying it to the president means that he, not the CIA, is responsible for the case that was made for the war in Iraq. By the president's own logic, he can't blame a bunch of bureaucrats ("if you've got a problem, blame somebody else") for his administration's eagerness to offer the most lopsided picture possible of the threat Hussein posed.

"If it feels good, do it." Bush is absolutely right that this is an inadequate approach to the decisions we face in life. The "values" that lead Bush to reject this concept should pertain especially to decisions to start wars and to the methods used to sell them.<<

Monday, July 12, 2004

Teresa Heinz Kerry

Mrs. Teresa Heinz Kerry is a delightful, intelligent lady and a great asset to her husband.

She is not only unusually candid but, common sense flows from her lips whenever she adds her views to a given issue.

Furthermore, her "devil made me do it," playful attitude adds to her charm and the fact that she speaks several languages fluently completes the picture of a great potential first lady.


New York Times - June 12, 2004

Kerrys Call Questions About Wealth Hypocritical by Jodi Wilgoren

BOSTON, July 11 - Turning one of the Republicans' main lines of attack back in their faces, Senator John Kerry and his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, suggested on Sunday that it was hypocritical for their opponents to raise questions about their wealth and that of Mr. Kerry's running mate, Senator John Edwards.

"Those very same people never criticized my late husband for his money or his wealth - in fact, they used it," said Mrs. Heinz Kerry, who inherited an estate estimated at $500 million to $1 billion from her first husband, Senator H. John Heinz III, a Pennsylvania Republican who was killed in a plane crash. "His money was just dandy."

In an interview broadcast on Sunday on the CBS News program "60 Minutes," Mrs. Heinz Kerry added, "I find it un-American for people to criticize someone and say they're not deserved for any position, whether because they have too much or too little or because they're black or they're white."

Mr. Kerry, the presumed Democratic presidential nominee, called criticism of the candidates' multimillion-dollar bank accounts "the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard in my life."

He asked: "Is this coming from millionaire George Bush and millionaire Dick Cheney? And millionaire Rumsfeld?"

In the interview, Mr. Edwards's wife, Elizabeth, pointed out that the Democratic candidates "voted against tax cuts that would have benefited them" - tax cuts proposed by the Republicans.

"Isn't that what we want - a leader who looks at the greater good instead of simply what benefits the person himself?" she asked Lesley Stahl, the "60 Minutes" interviewer, in a 20-minute segment.

"It seems to me that's an enormous test of character,'' Mrs. Edwards said, "whether you're willing to step out and do something against your own self-interest."

The two men rushed to erase any sense of animosity between them, denying Ms. Stahl's suggestion that they had attacked each other or had "bad blood" while competing for the Democratic nomination.

Asked about concerns that Mr. Edwards's youth, energy and good looks might upstage him, Mr. Kerry shrugged, "I hope he does."

As for whether Mr. Edwards was a better campaigner, Mr. Kerry replied: "No. I think I'm pretty darn good."<<

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Tear Down That Wall Mr. Sharon....

Will Israelis ever decide whether they want to live in a democracy or a theocracy?

Given that they insist that theirs is a Jewish state with two sets of laws, for Jews and non-Jews, how do they expect to sell it as a true democracy?

And why do Israelis allow a minority to take actions/INactions that continue leading to growing anti-Semitism all around the globe?

"But since the Jewish population of Israel is roughly 80 percent secular and only 20 percent religious, the politics of religion has caused enormous resentment to build up over the years."

Rather than hide behind walls, Israelis should join the rest of the world by removing all barriers that separate them from Palestinians, allow the establishment of a viable Palestinian state, declare Jerusalem an OPEN CITY and INVITE Christians and Muslims to participate in its governance.

In the era of globalization, building walls is tantamount to defeat. WHY would Israelis want to hide in an effort to keep non-Jews out when joining the rest of the world is sooooo much more exciting and, potentially, so much more lucrative?

After all, Israel could become the center of a flourishing region should it take the necessary steps to live in peace with its neighbors.

Sharon is a relic from the past and his views are NOT in the best interests of Israelis nor are they in the best interests of the U.S.

It is time that the U.S. government stop caving to Sharon and his right-wing cohorts who are hurting the best interests of both nation.


Wash Post - Sunday, July 11, 2004

The Other Israeli Conflict - The Jewish State Struggles Once Again Over How Jewish It Should Be By Anna R. Morgan

Sitting in a Jerusalem coffee shop several months ago, I listened quietly while an Israeli friend, an academic with secular views, went on a tirade against the nation's Orthodox Jews and what he saw as their desire to force religion down his throat. "Those guys think they can run this country," he muttered angrily, and continued with a torrent of invectives against his more devout countrymen.

After he left, an Arab Israeli friend who had also sat silently through the monologue looked at me. "You know," he smiled, "if I had said those things, you would have called me anti-Semitic." He was half-joking, but I knew what he meant. The cleavage between Israel's secular and religious Jews has grown so sharp that to many, it seems that only the conflict with the Arabs is keeping them together.

With all the focus on Israel's struggle with Palestinian terrorism, foreign political analysts and media have paid little attention to the simmering internal divide between the country's secular and Orthodox worlds. Yet this conflict, which has festered for decades, has the potential to be deeply destabilizing to Israel as a nation. Its resolution will determine what kind of state Israel, born to be a haven for Jews, will be in the years to come.

Oddly, this renewed social tension has come at a time when the clout of Israel's religious political parties is at an all-time low. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, leading a coalition government that is hawkish on national security but anti-religious on domestic policies, has come closer than any previous Israeli administration to achieving what the majority of Israelis have long desired -- an American-style separation of religion and state.

Now, however, with Sharon proposing a withdrawal from Gaza and an abandonment of some Jewish settlements on the West Bank, the religious parties are trying to reassert themselves. The government's accomplishments in taming religious excess on the domestic front may have to be traded away to get religious support for the new disengagement policy. As one religious politician put it in the Jerusalem Report magazine, "For me, to close down a school, yeshiva or synagogue is no less serious than evacuating a settlement."

For most Israelis, religion is an Orthodox-or-nothing affair. The Zionist pioneers who dreamed up the modern Jewish state more than a century ago came primarily from the socialist milieu of Eastern Europe and Russia. The desire to create a nation based on Jewish national identity went hand in hand with a desire to remove themselves from the religious orthodoxy, ghettos and other oppressions of the old country.

There was no room in this movement for a liberal, North American version of Judaism. The Conservative and Reform movements familiar to American Jews remain at the margins of Israeli society. Instead, the strenuous secularism of the early pioneers predominates in Israeli culture today, even as the country has abandoned socialist ideology and moved to the political right.

In the meantime, however, Orthodox Jewry also found a home in Israel. Pluralism in the Israeli religious world now varies only from men in black hats to those wearing crocheted kippahs. The latter tend to be nationalist, religious settlers, who view a territorially greater Israel as the ultimate political objective, while the former are for the most part ultra-Orthodox Jews who view the state, in whatever condition it exists, as secondary to all religious goals.

While the international media tend to focus on the religious zeal of the settlers, their brand of fervent nationalism is reflected in only one of the Knesset's several religious parties -- the National Religious Party. The others, including Shas, the representative of the extremely religious Jewish communities that immigrated to Israel from North Africa, and Agudath Yisrael, the primary political vehicle of ultra-Orthodox Jews of Eastern European descent, have focused on domestic affairs and have been sufficiently flexible on defense and security to work with either the right-leaning Likud or the left-leaning Labor parties.

As a result, the ultra-Orthodox parties have tended in the past to hold the balance of power in Israel's complicated and fractured system of proportional representation. They used this power to force religious restrictions on Israeli public life. El Al flights and all public transportation, for example, were grounded on the Sabbath. Marriage laws enabled men to withhold divorces from their wives. Yeshiva students were exempted from the compulsory three years of military service. But since the Jewish population of Israel is roughly 80 percent secular and only 20 percent religious, the politics of religion has caused enormous resentment to build up over the years.

These feelings came to a head in the elections of January 2003, when the religious parties lost a substantial number of seats in the Knesset, while Shinui -- the secular party that ran on a platform favoring a complete separation of synagogue and state -- more than doubled its number. Sharon's Likud party formed a coalition with Shinui, and the government embarked on a campaign of reducing domestic religious power. They focused on the notoriously bloated bureaucracy of the Ministry of Religious Affairs, and set about dismantling its institutions and regulatory structures.

This dissolution has highlighted a certain irony in current Israeli politics. While affection for the Bush administration has produced some admiration for evangelical Christianity and its support for Israel, the current government has been the most antagonistic in Israel's history to state-sanctioned Judaism. The new power of the Shinui party, combined with the Likud's desire to cut the deficit and reduce non-defense-related spending, as Sharon indicated two weeks ago in a speech to religious leaders, have given rise to a broad attack on state-subsidized religious institutions.

Over the past few months, the dismantling of the ministry's bureaucracy of kosher food inspectors, yeshiva school administrators, ritual bathhouse managers and the like accelerated, and the funding for religious services dried up. In addition, Orthodox rabbis have been faced with a number of court challenges. In mid-June, Israel's Supreme Court ruled that municipalities, another traditional seat of rabbinical power, were not allowed to ban the sale of pork. For the leader of Shas, Eli Yishai, the ruling was one more "nail in the coffin of the Jewish identity of the state."

It is this very Jewish identity that is at the heart of the emotionally charged dispute. For secular Israelis, being Jewish has very little to do with religious laws and ritual. They would rather define themselves through a cultural lens. While many believe that religion should remain an integral part of the country, they want it kept separate from government. "I want to be able to shop on Saturday," a friend from Tel Aviv told me. "But I also want my children to grow up in a country with a Jewish identity."

Barbecued pork and Saturday shopping are very much part of the secular culture in places such as Tel Aviv, where the religious councils reflect the secular urban environment, and Israel boasts the only gay pride parade in the Middle East. The traditional rabbinical monopoly on issues of marriage, food imports, etc. seems hopelessly out-of-date to nonreligious Israelis, whose idea of a Jewish state is one with a national Israeli rather than a religious Jewish identity.

But now that the Gaza withdrawal is becoming imminent, the religious parties previously closed out of Sharon's coalition have seized the moment to present their case. Last week, Sharon held a public meeting with members of the major religious parties who have been demanding an investigation into the closing of the ministry. They accused the government of drastically reducing basic services to the Orthodox community and of withholding salaries from religious workers who had been diverted into other government offices.

The rabbis' timing was impeccable. Sharon is painfully aware that he will need some rabbinical support for a withdrawal from the territories and an abandonment of settlements that he and his nationalist religious allies have sponsored for decades. With the religious settlers, whose party holds five seats in Sharon's coalition, ready to leave the government in protest over the withdrawal, the prime minister will probably have to negotiate with the ultra-Orthodox parties, who care less about settling in Palestinian territory than they do about accessing state funds for their own institutions and services.

Indeed, many Israelis believe that any attempt to withdraw without the support of at least one major religious leader will spell social disaster, given the delicate state of religious-secular relations. To avoid outright confrontation, Sharon's only bargaining chip may be to reinstate the religious services abandoned over the past few months, which means that the majority's desire to separate religion and state will once again be compromised.

It's a dilemma that is not new to Israeli political leaders; in fact, defining the Jewish identity of the state has perplexed every government since the state's creation. Israel was born out of the post-Holocaust desire to create a national haven for Jews and to end a history of religious persecution. As my Arab friend reminded me in our conversation in the coffee shop, in a world where anti-Semitism continues to exist, Israelis cannot eliminate Jewish religious identity from their state. That would undermine its very raison d'etre.

For Sharon, with his double-edged policy of being tough on defense and firm on secularization, the dilemma is coming to a head. The irony is that it is the intractable conflict with the Palestinians that is forcing Sharon to reengage with the ultra-Orthodox. It is Israel's enemies, in other words, who are causing Israel to remain Jewish.

Anna Morgan, a reporter for the Canadian Jewish News in Toronto, is writing a novel about Israel.<<

If stupidity were a crime, Bushites would be serving life sentences

If stupidity were a crime, members of the "Bush-Sharon Axis" would be serving life sentences.

As usual, Bushites are sending the WRONG message to the Iraqi people:

"All of these obstacles raise a fundamental question: Why should the nascent embassy in Iraq be so large in the first place? Are hundreds of Americans holed up in the Green Zone really a way to assist the "New Iraq"? Couldn't a smaller and leaner operation -- better prepared and trained -- do a more efficient job? And wouldn't a more modest-size embassy communicate an important message that the Bush administration is supposedly trying to bring home to the new Iraqi government and the local population: that the fate of their country is in their hands, not in those of their present occupiers?

Wash Post - Sunday, July 11, 2004

They're Supersizing the Baghdad Embassy. Big Mistake By John H. Brown

"This embassy is going to have a thousand people hunkered behind sandbags. I don't know how you conduct diplomacy in that way."

-- Edward L. Peck, U.S. ambassador to Iraq, 1977-80; quoted in the Boston Globe, June 26

One of the better known secrets of the U.S. Foreign Service is the amount of dead time it imposes on its officers. Dead time waiting for congressional delegations to arrive at the airport. Dead time attending overlong meetings to coordinate embassy activities. Dead time handling the advance teams sent to posts by the White House to arrange for presidential visits. Dead time dealing with a ludicrously complicated personnel system in Washington.

Lots and lots of dead time, which keeps Foreign Service officers (FSOs) from doing what taxpayers pay many of them to do while abroad: observe the society around them, keep in touch with its most important elements, provide fresh information and ideas for formulating policy, and negotiate with the host government on bilateral or multilateral issues.

Despite all stated good intentions, the new U.S. embassy in Baghdad promises to be the mother of all dead-time factories, no matter how hard FSOs there try to do their jobs. Based on more than 20 years of experience in the Foreign Service, including tours of duty at six embassies, I see half a dozen ways in which the size of the American mission in Iraq -- which will cost up to an estimated $1 billion to operate in 2005, not including any initial construction costs of the embassy's permanent quarters -- will complicate if not undermine the work of the 190 FSOs who will be assigned to it.

First is the embassy's sheer size. Definitive numbers are hard to get, but it is expected by year's end that the embassy will be home to nearly 1,000 Americans from 10 U.S. government agencies, as well as an estimated 600 Iraqi employees, making it one of the largest U.S. missions in the world. With so many bodies around, it'll be difficult to determine exactly who does what, and an inordinate amount of time will be spent deciding on assignments and responsibilities. Turf wars, so typical of the foreign policy bureaucracy in Washington, will be the rule, with every agency looking out for its interests (not to mention the tensions among employees of the same organizations striving to "grab a piece of the action" and make a good impression on their superiors).

Second, the tour of duty for FSOs in Iraq lasts only one year, which includes a (probably necessary) vacation every three months and a trip home twice a year. How much real work can an FSO accomplish in one year? It is a rule of thumb in the Foreign Service that it takes several months, at least, for a new officer to get accustomed to a new posting, no matter how much "training" he or she has had in Washington before departure. By the time embassy employees in Baghdad fully realize where they are and how to do their jobs effectively, it will be time for them to pack up and leave.

Third, given the rush to staff the mission, it is doubtful that many FSOs at the new embassy, no matter how dedicated they are to flag and country, will be adequately prepared to deal with and observe Iraqi society (if and when they are able to escape from the supposedly secure Green Zone, also known as Emerald City, where the embassy will be located). How many of the Americans at the mission will speak the local languages? How many will be able to read the Iraqi press? With rapid turnover and frequent trips "out," how many will be able to establish relationships with Iraqis that can lead to meaningful discussions of the crush of bilateral issues, let alone possible solutions? FSOs will have to depend on the Iraqis working at the embassy to understand what is going on in the wide world outside their sandbagged fortress. But any experienced FSO will tell you that depending on the insight of local employees, no matter how dedicated and reliable, is not sufficient. FSOs must get at the information themselves to be effective.

Fourth, the perilous security situation means that the embassy will have great difficulty carrying out one of its most important functions -- implementing public diplomacy programs, such as media programs and cultural presentations, in an effort to win over local hearts and minds. These activities require constant, open contact with host country audiences, but given the rampant hostility toward Americans in Iraq -- and an insurgency throughout the country -- such programs will prove to be a challenging, if not impossible, task. And how many Iraqi citizens will actually be allowed to enter an American fortress-embassy intent on securing itself from terrorists and (as the military refers to them) the "bad guys"?

Fifth, the Baghdad embassy will be constantly visited by VIPs and agency heads from Washington. FSOs will be on the receiving end, arranging the logistics for these visits. Cables, e-mails and phone conversations on what the chief of bureau X from the State Department or USAID should do in Emerald City will devour long hours during the work day (and beyond). It will be Americans talking to Americans to prepare visits by Americans, with Iraqi employees probably assigned the task of organizing more local arrangements (if there are any, given security concerns). Meanwhile, for the Americans inside the embassy, Iraq will just about not exist.

Finally, and this is a very important point, an essential part of the American presence in Iraq -- the military, which is already entrenched in parts of the country -- will not be under the embassy's supervision. In practical terms, this means that the FSOs will spend an inordinate amount of time trying to find out what their military colleagues are up to. This will especially be the case in handling the media, where the public affairs section of the embassy will have to assure that the military's statements square with U.S. policy and with what the ambassador is saying. In broader terms, it will mean that the embassy and the military will have their own agendas, leading to potential confusion among Iraqis (and the international community) as to what exactly the United States is up to.

All of these obstacles raise a fundamental question: Why should the nascent embassy in Iraq be so large in the first place? Are hundreds of Americans holed up in the Green Zone really a way to assist the "New Iraq"? Couldn't a smaller and leaner operation -- better prepared and trained -- do a more efficient job? And wouldn't a more modest-size embassy communicate an important message that the Bush administration is supposedly trying to bring home to the new Iraqi government and the local population: that the fate of their country is in their hands, not in those of their present occupiers?

There used to be a joke in the days of the Cold War: that the Soviets were proud to have the biggest microchip in the world. I hope that an updated version of that joke won't be told about our oversize embassy in Baghdad.

John Brown, a former Foreign Service officer, compiles the daily Public Diplomacy Press Review, available free from johnhbrown@hotmail.com. <<

"They Hate Us for Our Policies, Not Our Values"

"Imperial Hubris," you may recall, is the book written by a C.I.A. analyst who continues working at the Agency. The author's real name is omitted and he is referred to as "Anonymous."

I refer to him as my clone given that his views reflect mine to perfection when he writes: "Hated for our policies, not our values."

In a nutshell: "One of the greatest dangers for Americans in deciding how to confront the Islamist threat lies in continuing to believe -- at the urging of senior U.S. leaders -- that Muslims hate us and attack us for what we are and what we think, rather than for what we do."

"With due respect for those who have concluded that we are hated for what we are, think and represent, I beg to disagree and contend that your conclusion is errant and potentially fatal nonsense."



Wash Post - Sunday, July 11, 2004

CIA Insider: The Threat We Refuse to Get

Outlook selected portions from various sections of "Imperial Hubris," rather than a single excerpt, and condensed them to provide a more thorough picture of the book's arguments. The selections are grouped by subject.

Hated For Our Policies, Not Our Values

One of the greatest dangers for Americans in deciding how to confront the Islamist threat lies in continuing to believe -- at the urging of senior U.S. leaders -- that Muslims hate us and attack us for what we are and what we think, rather than for what we do. The Islamic world is not so offended by our democratic system of politics, guarantees of personal rights and civil liberties, and separation of church and state that it is willing to wage war against overwhelming odds to stop Americans from voting, speaking freely, and praying, or not, as they wish. With due respect for those who have concluded that we are hated for what we are, think and represent, I beg to disagree and contend that your conclusion is errant and potentially fatal nonsense.

While important voices in the United States claim the intent of U.S. policy is misunderstood by Muslims, they are wrong. America is hated and attacked because Muslims believe they know precisely what the United States is doing in the Islamic world. They know partly because of Osama bin Laden's words, partly because of satellite television, but mostly because of the tangible reality of U.S. policies. We are at war with an al Qaeda-led, worldwide Islamic insurgency to defend those policies -- and not, as President Bush mistakenly has said, "to defend freedom and all that is good and just in the world."

Keep in mind how easy it is for Muslims to hate the six U.S. policies bin Laden repeatedly refers to as anti-Muslim:

• U.S. support for Israel that keeps Palestinians in the Israelis' thrall.

• U.S. and other Western troops on the Arabian Peninsula.

• U.S. occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.

• U.S. support for Russia, India and China against their Muslim militants.

• U.S. pressure on Arab energy producers to keep oil prices low.

• U.S. support for apostate, corrupt and tyrannical Muslim governments.

Only when U.S. leaders stop believing that bin Laden and his allies are attacking us for what we are and what we think can we put aside our ill-advised and hallucinatory crusade for democracy -- our current default response.

At that point, Americans can begin to intelligently discuss how this national security threat is to be defeated or, more precisely, to decide if status quo U.S. foreign policies toward the Islamic world benefit America enough to offset increasing levels of human and economic loss that will be the cost of unchanged policies. Victory, I think, lies in a yet undetermined mix of stronger military actions and dramatic foreign policy change; neither will suffice alone. Defeat for America, I fear, lies in the military and foreign status quo and the belief that our Islamic foes will be talked out of hating us and disappear if only we teach them voting procedures, political pluralism, feminism, and the separation of church and state.

Misunderstanding Bin Laden

My thesis is that the threat bin Laden poses lies in the coherence and consistency of his ideas, their precise articulation, and the acts of war he takes to implement them. That threat is sharpened by the fact that bin Laden's ideas are grounded in and powered by the tenets of Islam, divine guidelines that are completely familiar to most of the world's billion-plus Muslims and lived by them on a daily basis.

In the context of the ideas bin Laden shares with his brethren, the military actions of al Qaeda and its allies are acts of war, not terrorism; they are part of a defensive jihad sanctioned by the revealed word of God, as contained in the Koran, and the sayings and traditions of the Prophet Mohammed, the Sunnah. Bin Laden is out to drastically alter U.S. and Western policies toward the Islamic world. He is a practical warrior, not an apocalyptic terrorist in search of Armageddon.

Afghanistan and Iraq

I believe the war in Afghanistan was necessary, but is being lost because of our hubris. Those who failed to bring peace to Afghanistan after 1992 are now repeating their failure by scripting government affairs and constitution-making in Kabul to portray the birth of Western-style democracy, religious tolerance, and women's rights -- all anathema to Afghan political and tribal culture and none of which has more than a small, unarmed constituency. We are succeeding only in fooling ourselves. Certain that the Afghans want to be like us, and abstaining from effective military actions against growing numbers of anti-U.S. insurgents, we have allowed the Taliban and al Qaeda to regroup and refit. They are now waging an insurgency that gradually will increase in intensity, lethality, and popular support, and ultimately force Washington to massively escalate its military presence or evacuate. Due to our hubris, what we today identify and promote as a nascent Afghan democracy is a self-made illusion on life-support; it is a Western-imposed regime that will be swept away if America and its allies stop propping it up with their bayonets.

On Iraq, I must candidly say that I abhor aggressive wars like the one we waged there; it is out of character for America in terms of our history, sense of morality, and basic decency. This is not to argue that preemption is unneeded against immediate threats. Never in our history was preemptive action more needed than in the past decade against the lethal, imminent threat of bin Laden, al Qaeda, and their allies. But the U.S. invasion of Iraq was not preemption; it was -- like our war in Mexico in 1846 -- an avaricious, premeditated, unprovoked war against a foe who posed no immediate threat but whose defeat did offer economic advantages.

Insurgents or Terrorists?

The documents recovered from Afghan camps, the intelligence gained from prisoners of war, and, especially, the superb combat performance of al Qaeda and al Qaeda-trained units against U.S.-led forces show that the West has been wrong about the camps' main purpose for more than a decade. Al Qaeda's camps were staffed by veteran fighters who trained insurgents who fought, and trained others to fight, not only against the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, but also against national armies in Indian Kashmir, Chechnya, Uzbekistan, Eritrea, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Tajikistan, Egypt, Bosnia, western China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Macedonia, Kosovo, and the Philippines. This is not to say the camps did not train terrorists; quite the contrary, given the 11 September attacks, they obviously trained the world's most talented terrorists. It is to say, however, that terrorist or urban warfare training was a small subset of the camps' primary training regimen.

Thus, al Qaeda had large numbers of fighters to disperse and protect after the U.S. invasion.

Al Qaeda Expansion

Al Qaeda's most important growth since the 11 September attacks has not been physical but has been, rather, its expansion into the Internet. Ironically, the United States and its allies have increased the appeal and presumed importance of the websites by repeatedly staging "information warfare attacks" on them, thereby forcing them off-line and making their producers hunt for new host servers. The UK-based Arabic daily Al-Hayat, for example, has reported that Al-Neda [one online site] has been the target of twenty U.S. attacks. These attacks have proven the viability of the U.S. military's information-warfare capability. In the end, however, the attacks are interpreted by Islamists as evidence of U.S. fear of what al Qaeda is saying, validation for bin Laden's claim that freedom of speech is not for Muslims, and have probably boosted readership.

War, Not Terrorism

For better and worse, America has fought wars for centuries. Since 11 September 2001, however, we collectively have behaved as if this war is our first. We have spent the past couple years making unmanageable federal government departments into gigantic unmanageable federal departments and embarrassing ourselves with endless, almost-daily cabinet-level statements that simultaneously exalt the great progress being made against al Qaeda and warn that the group is more of a threat than on 11 September.

It has been a dizzying, confusing, and, at times, a profoundly sophomoric performance. The conduct of war is never sedate, orderly, and silent, but it need not produce a cacophony of voices overstating small victories and downplaying a threat not yet grasped. Always tougher than their elites and never more so than now, workaday Americans do not need constant hand-holding and daily briefings from their leaders. They need quiet, confident performance that produces measurable progress and is reported without drama and hyperbole when leaders have something to say. Let us get on with the war and recall the power of silence. After all, bin Laden has us scared to death, and we have heard little from him since 2001.

Unchanged U.S. policies toward the Muslim world leave America only a military option for defending itself. And it is not the option of daintily applying military power as we have since 1991.

Killing in large numbers is not enough to defeat our Muslim foes. With killing must come a Sherman-like razing of infrastructure. Such actions will yield large civilian casualties, displaced populations, and refugee flows. Again, this sort of bloody-mindedness is neither admirable nor desirable, but it will remain America's only option so long as she stands by her failed policies toward the Muslim world.

Bin Laden is waging war while we fight him with counterterrorism policies dominated by law enforcement tactics and procedures. It hasn't worked, and won't. America fought terror from 1975 to 1995 mainly with its intelligence services. We have done the same with al Qaeda, with America's clandestine service inflicting damage magnitudes beyond anything we ever did to a "terrorist group," but al Qaeda can still use weapons of mass destruction in the United States. The battle with al Qaeda is plain old war, not an intelligence service-led counterterror campaign.

As practiced by the United States, counterterrorism is appeasement; it lets the enemy attack and survive, keeps allies sweet by staying the hand of the U.S. military forces they hate, and ignores the true terrorist states in the Sunni Persian Gulf because they own much of the world's oil. The bloated, risk-averse, and lawyer-palsied [counterterrorism] community ensured state sponsors and their proxies survived, and now it blocks the counterinsurgency strategy needed to beat al Qaeda.

The Nature of War

While U.S. leaders will not say America is at war with Islam, some of Islam is waging war on the United States, and more is edging closer to that status. "The war is fundamentally religious," bin Laden said in late 2001. The one thing accomplished by refusing to admit a war exists with an enemy of immense durability, manpower and resources is to delay the designing of a strategy for victory. Only in today's America could the simple statement of fact -- that much of Islam is fighting us -- be labeled discriminatory or racist, a label that kills thought, debate and, ultimately, Americans. But such is the case, and so U.S. leaders prepare for and fight the enemy they want to see, not the one standing on the battlefield.<<