Monday, August 30, 2004

Ahhh...those pesky tree-huggin', girlie men, godless liberals

08/29/04 03:46 pm

>>A DAY IN THE LIFE OF JOE REPUBLICAN by: fuzzylogic0101

Joe gets up at 6 a.m. and fills his coffeepot with water to prepare his morning coffee. The water is clean and good because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water-quality standards. With his first swallow of coffee, he takes his daily medication. His medications are safe to take because some stupid commie liberal fought to insure their safety and that they work as advertised.

All but $10 of his medications are paid for by his employer's medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance - now Joe gets it too. He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs. Joe's bacon is safe to eat because some girly-man liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.

In the morning shower, Joe reaches for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with each ingredient and its amount in the total contents because some crybaby liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained. Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some environmentalist wacko liberal fought for laws to stop industries from polluting our air. He walks to the subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work. It saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees because some fancy-pants liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

Joe begins his work day. He has a good job with excellent pay, medical benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some lazy liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joes employer pays these standards because Joe's employer doesn't want his employees to call the union. If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed, he'll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some stupid liberal didn't think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.

Its noontime and Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe's deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC because some godless liberal wanted to protect Joe's money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the Great Depression.

Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae-underwritten mortgage and his below-market federal student loan because some elitist liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime.

Joe is home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive. His car is among the safest in the world because some America-hating liberal fought for car safety standards. He arrives at his boyhood home. His was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers' Home Administration because bankers didn't want to make rural loans. The house didn't have electricity until some big-government liberal stuck his nose where it didn't belong and demanded rural electrification.

He is happy to see his father, who is now retired. His father lives on Social Security and a union pension because some wine-drinking, cheese-eating liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn't have to.

Joe gets back in his car for the ride home, and turns on a radio talk show. The radio host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. He doesn't mention that the beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day.

Joe agrees: "We don't need those big-government liberals ruining our lives! After all, I'm a self-made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have." <<

"Time to Reasses the Media Coverage of Israel

Yes, it is high time indeed to reassess media coverage given that criticism of Israel is largely viewed as taboo in our nation: - August 29, 2004

Time to Reassess the Media Coverage of Israel by Baruch Kimmerling

Jerusalem - Recently, the two leading American newspapers, the Washington Post and the New York Times, made serious and sincere efforts to review their editorial and coverage policies regarding the Iraqi war and their uncritical approach to the Bush administration's justification for that war. This trend of self-criticism is very good and encouraging news for American democracy. These two publications, while being directed at and read by a relatively narrow 'intellectual' readership, also serve to 'pull' with them the widely circulated local media, TV reporters, and popular press.

As a responsibility of my profession I have been reading a wide spectrum of the American press for many years. Much of the time, I find myself puzzled by the uncritical and biased coverage of the Israeli political scene. American media is uncritical even in comparison to Israel's quality media. All too often, the American media sounds just like a mouthpiece of the Israeli government's propaganda, such as the flattering and ill researched profile of Ariel Sharon in the New York Times Magazine (August 15).

Presently Israel is a highly divided society in which most of the intellectual community is extremely critical of the government's policies. The criticisms are predominantly focused on two main areas. The first is the serious deterioration of the Israeli welfare state; not since the 50s have so many Israelis found themselves below the official poverty line. The second concerns the ways in which Israel chooses to manage its relations with its Arab citizens and with the Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza. Many Israeli intellectuals, experts and professionals, including former high-ranking generals and intelligence officers perceive not only the failures of these policies but also address the inter-linkage between them that could lead Israel towards a suicidal position despite its military strength. The enlightened and informed American public, for its part, is not granted the opportunity to hear any of these non-peripheral voices.

The most recent example concerns the coverage and analysis of the advisory ruling of the International Court of Justice at the Hague regarding the fence/wall. The majority of the American press regurgitated the official American and Israeli propaganda which proposed that the court had singled out the Israeli nation from other nations by its very acceptance to rule on the subject and by its determination that it has the jurisdiction to rule on the subject. Furthermore, they argued that the court had ignored Israel's right to defend itself from suicide terrorism. The bottom line, which was either implicitly or explicitly stated, was that the ruling was driven by pure anti-Semitism.

I find it simply impossible to comprehend why a decent commentator writing for an esteemed newspaper would print such nonsense or why an editor would allow such nonsense to be printed. A simple visit to the website of the ICJ reveals dozens of cases against states which have been brought before this court from 1946 onwards. Among them is not only the recent trial of Serbian Milosevic, but also cases against Belgium, India, Canada, France, Italy, the Netherlands, the United States, Germany, Rwanda genocide operatives, the USSR and on and on.

Furthermore, the ICJ did not ignore the right of Israel to self-defense but objected purely to the route of the disputed wall. The court simply ruled that Israel must protect itself within the confines of international law, which stipulates that unusual measures - such as the construction of a wall in occupied territory - should be undertaken only in cases where no other option is available. The building of the wall along the designated route did not constitute such a case (clause 140). I cannot help but wonder how many of the op-ed writers even bothered to read the ruling.

It seems reasonable that the uncritical reporting and dealing with the invasion of Iraq and of the various Israeli activities are rooted in the same phenomenon - the American cult of power-oriented, exemplified by the weird machoistic quarrel about John Kerry's past as war-hero in the not so heroic Vietnam War. Ignoring and even encouraging power oriented politics does not just contradict the standards of good journalism, but it also exposes both nations, and especially the Israeli one, to unnecessary risks of becoming soon a pariah nation. Please do not forget that Israel does not engage in such adventures as its invasion of Lebanon in 1982 or the destruction Palestinian social and political infrastructures - without American consent.

I strongly believe that the time has come for good and unbiased American journalism and coverage of issues relating to Israel and the US administrations policy toward it.

Baruch Kimmerling is a professor of sociology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Among his recent books are Politicide: Ariel Sharon's War Against the Palestinians (Verso, 2003), Immigrants, Settlers and Natives (Alma and Am Oved, Hebrew, 2003), and The Palestinian People (Harvard University Press, 2003) with Joel S. Migdal<<

Saturday, August 28, 2004

OOoopssss..."Shrub-Sharon Axis" in process of imploding?


Is the "Shrub-Sharon Axis" in the process of imploding?

Does anyone really believe that an analyst working in Douglas Feith's office is not simply doing his dirty work given the close cooperation of Wolfowitz, Feith and other so-called "neoconservatives" with Israeli Sharonites?

And, what is the significance of bringing to light an investigation that has been in the making for roughly a year just before the Republican convention?

Is it an effort by Shrubites to prevent Sharon from launching a preemptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities given that the U.S. is not in a position militarily to deal with another major Mideast nation?

Stay tuned....

New York Times - August 28, 2004

Pentagon Official Suspected of Giving U.S. Secrets to Israel by James Risen

The F.B.I. is investigating a Pentagon official on suspicion of passing secrets to Israel, government officials said Friday.

The espionage investigation has focused on an official who works in the office of Douglas Feith, the under secretary of defense for policy, officials who have been briefed about the investigation said. The F.B.I. has gathered evidence that the official passed classified policy documents to officials at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a major pro-Israeli lobbying group, which in turn provided the information to Israeli intelligence, the officials said.

The bureau has evidence that the Pentagon official has given the Israelis a sensitive report about American policy toward Iran, along with other materials, the officials said.

Several government officials identified the official who was under investigation, but he could not be immediately reached for comment about the accusations.

Neither the official under suspicion nor anyone else associated with the case has been arrested, the officials said. Government officials suggested Friday that investigators were seeking the cooperation of the Pentagon official being investigated.

Justice Department officials declined to comment on the matter.A spokesman for the Israeli Embassy, David Siegel, denied the accusations of espionage. "They are completely false and outrageous," he said.

"The United States is Israel's most cherished friend and ally," Mr. Siegel said. "We have a strong ongoing relationship at all levels, and in no way would Israel do anything to impair this relationship."

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee also denied any wrongdoing. The organization said in a statement: "Any allegation of criminal conduct by the organization or its employees is baseless and false." The group added, "We are fully cooperating with the governmental authorities and will continue to do so."

The F.B.I. inquiry has been under way for at least a year and has been one of the bureau's most sensitive spy cases in years, officials said. One official said that the suspected involvement of people working at a major pro-Israeli lobbying organization led the Justice Department to move cautiously.

The fact that the official under investigation works for Mr. Feith has also made the case politically sensitive for the Bush administration.

Before the war in Iraq, Mr. Feith created a special intelligence unit that sought to build a case for Iraq's ties to Al Qaeda, an effort that has since been heavily criticized by American intelligence professionals as an effort to justify the war.

Mr. Feith has also long been known as a major supporter of Israel, and while he was out of government in 1996 signed a paper, titled "A Clean Break," issued by a Jerusalem-based policy group that called for the toppling of Saddam Hussein in order to enhance Israeli security. Before he came to the Pentagon, Mr. Feith was also a partner in a law firm with L. Marc Zell, a lawyer with a firm now based in Israel.

In a statement released Friday night, the Pentagon said that the Department of Defense "has been cooperating fully with the Department of Justice on this matter for an extended period of time."

"The investigation involves a single individual at D.O.D. at the desk officer level, who was not in a position to have significant influence over U.S. policy," the statement continued. "Nor could a foreign power be in a position to influence U.S. policy through this individual. To the best of D.O.D.'s knowledge, the investigation does not target any other D.O.D. individuals.''

One United States official said that he did not know why the desk officer would have passed on the information and that he could not assess the potential damage. "He had a certain expertise and had access to things, but he wasn't a policymaker," the official said.

Some of the classified information that investigators suspect was passed to Israel dealt with sensitive discussions about the United States' position toward Iran, officials said.

As a result, the investigation is likely to give rise to questions about whether Israel may have used the information to influence American policy in the Middle East.

The Pentagon analyst who officials said was under suspicion was one of two department officials who traveled to Paris for secret meetings with Iranian dissidents, including Manucher Ghorbanifar, an arms dealer. Mr. Ghorbanifar was a central figure in the Iran-contra affair in the 1980's, in which the United States government secretly sold arms to Iran in exchange for the release of American hostages in Lebanon and to finance the fighters, known as contras, opposing the Sandinista government in Nicaragua.

The secret meetings were first held in Rome in December 2001, were approved by senior Pentagon officials and were originally brokered by Michael Ledeen, a conservative analyst at the Washington-based American Enterprise Institute who has a longstanding interest in Iranian affairs.It was not clear whether the espionage investigation was directly related to the meetings with Mr. Ghorbanifar. Nor was there immediate evidence of whether money had changed hands in exchange for classified information.

American policy towards Iran is now of critical importance to Israel, which is increasingly concerned by evidence that Tehran has accelerated its program to develop a nuclear weapon. The Bush Administration has become concerned that Israel might move militarily against Iran's nuclear complex.

American counterintelligence officials say that Israeli espionage cases are difficult to investigate, because they involve an important ally that enjoys broad political influence in Washington. Several officials said that a number of espionage investigations involving Israel had been dropped or suppressed in the past in the face of political pressure. The last major Israeli spy case to become public involved Jonathan Pollard, a Naval intelligence analyst who was arrested in 1985 for passing large volumes of classified material to his Israeli intelligence handlers. He was sentenced to life in prison, and over the years, Israeli officials have lobbied American presidents to try to win his release.<<

Monday, August 23, 2004

Sneaky right-wingers are at it again....

If allowed to remain in power, members of the "Bush-Sharon Axis" are determined to drag our nation into an ever-growing number of military confrontations that will, inevitably, lead to more resentment and hatred that in turn will lead to growing terrorism.

In time, a war of civilizations will be sure to follow: -

The Washington Dispatch - August 20, 2004

George Bush's Real Plans for the Military

Commentary by Randall Risener

At first glance President Bush's widely publicized military redeployment
plan could easily be dismissed as election year malarkey. After all, the
whole notion that putting troops farther away from future crises hot spots
will somehow enable us to respond quicker when crises erupts simply can't be
viewed as serious policy.

To be sure, there is an election angle here - bringing troops home is
usually a crowd pleaser. Unfortunately, though, there is a rather detailed
and thought out plan underlying the rather vague snippets.

As one might expect what little the president disclosed has generated
opposition not only from Sen. John Kerry and his senior foreign policy
advisors but some Republicans such as Sen. John McCain.

Gen. Wesley Clark, former supreme commander of NATO forces and a senior
Kerry advisor, attacked the plan for jeopardizing, further, already strained
relations with European allies, increasing the distance between troops and
where they might be needed and in the case of South Korea weakening our
position with the North Koreans.

Valid as these concerns are, there are even other, and highly questionable,
issues that go to the heart of what the administration actually intends.

In his announcement, Bush made hazy references to some forces being deployed other than here or in Europe. Presumably the lack of detail was to avoid detracting too much from the crowd-pleasing theme of bringing troops home.

Fortunately, the administration's lips have not always been zipped so
tightly. In fact, last year when they were still basking in the glow of
"mission accomplished" photo ops they were talking quite a bit about their

Reduced to the essentials, the scheme is to replace the large bases in
Europe with a string of smaller bases manned by quick reaction forces in
Africa, Asia and other places.

In June of last year the Washington Post's Vernon Loeb described the plan as
the "most extensive global realignment of U.S. military forces since the end
of the Cold War" with the aim being to create "a network of far-flung
military bases designed for the rapid projection of American military power
against terrorists, hostile states and other potential adversaries."

This new configuration of bases would be along what defense officials call
an "arc of instability" which runs "from the Andean region in the Southern
Hemisphere through North Africa to the Middle East and into Southeast Asia,"
Loeb wrote.

The "arc of instability" refers to regions and countries and that could
become havens and breeding grounds for terrorists. Placement of these bases
is predicated on positioning light, mobile forces that can respond quickly
to crises and protect oil resources including those of Nigeria and the Caucasus.

The Naval War College's Thomas Barnett laid down the rationale for targeting
in a speech last year before the Heritage Foundation where he rightly
contended these areas are "plagued by politically repressive regimes,
widespread poverty and disease, routine mass murder, and - most important -
the chronic conflicts that incubate the next generation of terrorists"

But this general strategy was not conjured up just by some military folks
looking for a better way to attack terrorists. It comes from the civilian
political group who call themselves Neoconservatives whose basic doctrine
was detailed in a document called "Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy,
Forces and Resources for a New Century," published by a think tank known as
the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) back in the 1990's.

That's right, the folks who brought us Iraq.

Their doctrine spells out that this repositioning of forces to "perform the
'constabulary' duties associated with shaping the security environment in
critical regions" among a variety of other measures that have more than a
passing whiff of hegemony.

So, what's wrong with all this?

For one thing it won't work. A plan to establish worldwide capabilities to
be involved in dozens of Afghanistans and Iraqs simultaneously is simply a
plan to multiply the tactical mistakes and debacles of Iraq where we
effectively whacked the legal government but have had nothing but a disaster
in managing the occupation.

Simply put, we do not have nor will we ever have the force size necessary to
effectively handle the hostile occupations that would inevitably result as
Afghanistan and Iraq have so vividly proven.

Another problem is that the scheme is attempting to solve a problem that can
never be solved by military force alone - eliminating terrorism. The
military can chase down those who have become terrorists but until we get
serious about attacking the conditions that breed terrorism we will get

And the final difficulty is the administration's lack of candor insofar as
what it intends to do.

If this is where they want to take our country they ought to say so publicly
and specifically and be prepared to defend their plan instead of merely
tossing out a few vague crowd pleasing phrases.

© Copyright 2004 The Washington Dispatch

Ooopppssss...trouble in Neoconland

"But he said that there was one substantive disagreement. "To think that the threat to the United States from Islamic radicalism is not existential is absurd," he said, comparing Al Qaeda today to Hitler in 1936, when he occupied the Rhineland. Hitler did not have the means then to overrun Europe, but Mr. Krauthammer said, "he soon acquired the means."

The latest squabble among "neoconservatives" is interesting in that right-wing Jews see the world through the prism of the Holocaust and non-Jews such as Francis Yukihama see it from a strict geopolitical perspective.

The problem with looking at the world through the prism of the Holocaust is that it could become a self-fulfilling prophecy in that anti-Semitism has resurfaced due mainly to the abuses perpetrated by Sharon in occupied Palestinian lands and the actions of his U.S. "neoconservative" cohorts who are determined to restructure the Middle East in their image.

New York Times - August 22, 2004

War Heats Up in the Neoconservative Fold by David D. Kirkpatrick

IN the 18 months since President Bush declared war on Iraq, the close-knit community of hawkish intellectuals who built the case for the invasion have largely stood their ground.

This clique, often called neoconservative - which includes Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy defense secretary, Richard Perle, former chairman of the Defense Policy Board, and William Kristol of the Weekly Standard magazine - has often emphasized what it said were the invasion's underappreciated successes. Occasionally, some have faulted the United States military for mistakes in execution, like using too little force.

Lately, however, there has been emerging discord within their ranks over the lessons from the war. Earlier this month, Francis Fukuyama, author of "The End of History" and one of the most influential thinkers associated with the movement, surprised many by delivering a lengthy attack on the neoconservatives' longstanding arguments in support of the war in Iraq, including their confidence in building a democracy there and their assessment of the threat from Islamic radicalism.

In the clubby world of neoconservative intellectuals, many of whom are longtime friends and allies, Mr. Fukuyama's repudiation of the case for war, which appeared in The National Interest, was all the more startling because he presented it as an attack on a recent speech by his friend, the columnist Charles Krauthammer of The Washington Post.

Mr. Fukuyama faces stiff resistance. In an interview on Friday, Mr. Krauthammer says he is publishing a rebuttal in the next issue of The National Interest portraying Mr. Fukuyama's critique as "breathtakingly incoherent."

Others are redoubling their arguments for the invasion of Iraq, contending it should be the first step in a campaign to transform the region. In the next issue of Commentary magazine, Norman Podhoretz, who helped found the neoconservative movement in the 1970's, has written a 37- page defense of the Bush administration's foreign policy.

In "World War IV: How It Started, What It Means, and Why We Have to Win," he argues that the United States should now help seek the liberation of other Middle Eastern countries to help drain the swamp where Islamic radicalism breeds, just as the cold war helped liberate the Soviet Union.

"Like anybody else in the world who is sane, I am very much worried about Iran gaining nuclear capacity," Mr. Podhoretz said in an interview Friday. "I am not advocating the invasion of Iran at this moment, although I wouldn't be heartbroken if it happened."

Certainly, many plain old conservatives - or paleoconservatives - opposed the war from the beginning or changed their minds as the war progressed. But neoconservatives laid the intellectual foundation for the war, and they attained influence within the Bush administration.

Many are also bound together by friendships with influential members of the administration's foreign policy team, including Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Mr. Wolfowitz and the under secretary of defense, Douglas Feith. Mr. Fukuyama, for example, said he was a student at Cornell decades ago when he first became friends with Mr. Wolfowitz.

Although few in the movement have criticized the neoconservative argument for the war as comprehensively as Mr. Fukuyama did, several others said his argument with Mr. Krauthammer had captured widespread attention as a new stage in the debate over the lessons of Iraq.

"These are two of the intellectual heavyweights among neoconservatives, and their dispute is real," said Gary Rosen, managing editor of Commentary. "People are looking for guidance on this, and these are two strong proponents of opposing views within the movement."

In an interview last week, Mr. Fukuyama said that he had harbored private doubts about the war at the time, although he kept quiet about them then. "I figured it was going to happen anyway, and there wasn't anything I could do about it," he said. "I believed it was a big roll of the dice, and I didn't believe it was a wise bet. But on the other hand, it was a roll of the dice, and for all I knew, it might have worked."

He added, "It turned out to be even worse than I anticipated."

But as he was listening to his friend Mr. Krauthammer deliver a recent speech on the theme of the United States as a unipolar power, Mr. Fukuyama said, he grew increasingly agitated.

Mr. Krauthammer's speech "is strangely disconnected from reality," Mr. Fukuyama said in his article.

"One gets the impression that the Iraq war," Mr. Fukuyama continued, "has been an unqualified success, with all of the assumptions and expectations on which the war had been based vindicated."

Like many other critics of the war, he argued that Mr. Krauthammer and other neoconservatives were overconfident about turning Iraq into a democracy, too quick to dismiss arguments of longtime allies, and too willing to give up the practical advantages of partnership with other nations.

Most of all, though, he argued that Mr. Krauthammer and other supporters of the war mischaracterized Iraq and Islamic radicals as an immediate threat to the existence of the United States, a claim that justified immediate intervention. The Soviet Union arguably threatened the existence of the United States, Mr. Fukuyama argues, but Iraq never did.

But, Mr. Fukuyama said, he retained his neoconservative principles - a belief in the universal aspiration for democracy and the use of American power to spread democracy in the world. He said he was acknowledging the mistakes to preserve the credibility of the neoconservative movement.

Mr. Krauthammer, for his part, argued that Mr. Fukuyama's essay did not amount to much of a critique at all. "His recalibrations are astonishingly empty," he said, arguing that Mr. Fukuyama's criticisms were undercut by his ultimate endorsement of the same neoconservative views.

"I have never read a piece which is ostensibly meant to attack a person's position and then ends up explicitly endorsing it," he said.

But he said that there was one substantive disagreement. "To think that the threat to the United States from Islamic radicalism is not existential is absurd," he said, comparing Al Qaeda today to Hitler in 1936, when he occupied the Rhineland. Hitler did not have the means then to overrun Europe, but Mr. Krauthammer said, "he soon acquired the means."

Mr. Podhoretz, another old friend of Mr. Fukuyama's, said, he, too, disagreed. "Some things went wrong, but things always go wrong in every war," he said. "It is always a question of compared to what?"

Jeane Kirkpatrick, the former United Nations ambassador and another founder of the neoconservative movement, said she, too, had doubts about the invasion. But she didn't think the debate over the Iraq war was about neoconservatism.

"I think there's almost an epidemic of the use of the term," she said.

For now, Mr. Fukuyama said, he was awaiting the full response from Mr. Krauthammer and his other neoconservative friends.

"I have gotten a lot of e-mails from non-neoconservatives who liked it," he said. "I have yet to hear from almost any of my friends about it."

Monday, August 16, 2004

"The Vision Thing..."

A book well worth reading written by two conservative foreign policy experts:

"Saddam Hussein was a brutal, ruthless tyrant, but he was no Adolf Hitler, and no realistic threat to the United States and the rest of the world, whatever George W. Bush and his neoconservative warriors tell us."

Sunday, August 15, 2004; Page BW05 - Cambridge Univ

The Vision Thing America Alone: The Neo-Conservatives and the Global Order By Stefan Halper and Jonathan Clarke - Reviewed by Stanley I. Kutler

Stefan Halper and Jonathan Clarke are experienced, conservative foreign policy experts. Halper served as deputy assistant secretary of state in the Reagan administration, and Clarke had extensive service in the British diplomatic corps. In America Alone they document the neoconservative capture of American (and British) foreign policy, under the guise of a War onTerror, to reorder Middle East politics and initiate a newly proclaimeddoctrine of preemptive war.

Halper and Clarke are insiders who know theplayers and the sources. Their thoughtful, insightful work spans ideological and partisan differences, a rare phenomenon in these times. The authors understand the two-centuries-long history of American foreign policy. Detente, bipartisanship and respect for the views of allies are at the center of that history; they are not, as the neocons would have it, notions of weakness best replaced by a militant American world view and unilateralism. Halper and Clarke blend realism and idealism. For them, victory in the Cold War resulted from a firm U.S. adherence to the doctrine of containment and a moral authority rooted in fostering the idea of a free, open society.

Now, the authors contend, President George W. Bush and a bandof ideological zealots have put that moral authority at risk. America Alone levels a broad indictment against the Bush administration, which in the name of the war on terror has launched the Iraq war, mounted an assault on personal liberties at home, engaged in a purposeful deceit of the media and the public (both of which suspended any critical judgment) and, above all, has inflicted terrible damage on U.S. moral authority and international legitimacy.

The chief culprits for the authors are the neocons, who are depicted as conspirators who hijacked American foreign policy. This is not exactly news, but the argument never has been put together so persuasively, so conclusively and so effectively. The authors' conservative critique is part of a steadily growing chorus of opposition. The Democrats now are emboldened to challenge the president. The Internet offers numerous libertarian Web sites that, for more than two years, have consistently exposed the fallacy of the Bush administration's arguments. PatrickBuchanan, too, has spoken out from the right, though some are uneasy with his overt hostility to Israel.

The authors reflect the views of these andother critics from traditional Republican and conservative camps. What Halper and Clarke have done is to meticulously dissect the neocon worldview. They trace the neocons' beginnings to their roots as Democratic dissidents, uneasy with a perception of their party's growing isolationism, softness toward national defense and reluctance to assert America's moral authority. The neocons saw the Vietnam War as an unduly paralyzing event. They began as an intellectual movement, and their adherents moved from the academy and the media into positions of power and policy influence, particularly in the Reagan administration.

Today neocons are the key players in the Bush administration, including VicePresident Dick Cheney; his chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby; Secretary ofDefense Donald Rumsfeld; and his assistant Paul Wolfowitz. They are seconded by National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice and influential academici ntellectuals and writers who preach warnings and celebrate their alleged triumphs. Michael Ledeen of the American Enterprise Institute has somberly described the French as a "strategic enemy." Max Boot, author of a book celebrating the United States' "splendid little wars," said that the American sweep through Iraq made "Erwin Rommel and Heinz Guderian seem positively incompetent by comparison." (Well, they were not fortunate enough to fight Saddam's vaunted Republican guard.) Boot loves war so much that he envisions a United States like the British Empire of old, always fighting some war, somewhere, against someone. And we thought that the British Empire collapsed under the weight of all that white man's burden.

The neocons have exalted values over interests in shaping American policy.To further their agenda, they have masked themselves as the true keepers of the Reagan flame, but Halper and Clarke will have none of that. The neocons, they bluntly charge, have "falsified history" and have inflicted a"historical mugging" on Reagan. Like George Orwell, the authors understand that those who control the past control the present and, eventually, the future. The neocons have ignored Reagan's strong commitment to arms control, his summitry, his minimal use of military power and his rejection of the nucleardoctrines of their mentor, Albert Wohlstetter.

They similarly ignoreReagan's China policy, his arms deal with Iran and his failed Lebanon intervention. They love Reagan's invasion of Grenada, which made the Caribbean safe for American medical students, but they insist that in doing so he thwarted a rising communist power. They were decidedly unhappy when Reagan lifted the grain embargo on the Soviets, a decision that he hoped would result in "meaningful and constructive dialogue which will assist us in fulfilling our joint obligation to find lasting peace."

The neocons' mobilization for the Iraq war lies at the heart of this book. Saddam Hussein's tyranny apparently gave them no pause during his 10-yearwar with Iran, waged with arms provided by the United States and England. But George H.W. Bush's Persian Gulf War in 1991 left them embittered whenBush prudently decided that occupying Baghdad would only complicate theAmerican role and endanger the grand alliance he had constructed. The neocons were convinced that toppling Saddam would enable the United States to make Middle East politics more responsive to American wishes -- and, not incidentally, also to help the Israelis.

The idea had its origins in the late 1990s, when Richard Perle and Douglas Feith offered a bizarre plan toIsrael's Likud Party calling for American-Israeli cooperation to overthrowIraqi and Syrian regimes with covert and overt American assistance. BenjaminNetanyahu, Likud's leader, wisely rejected this grandiose vision.

The neocons, apparently aided by the incumbent president's "higher Father,"persuaded Bush that regime change was essential in Iraq, although in his few pre-presidential foreign policy utterances he had specifically rejected such a course. After Sept. 11, the neocons advanced "evidence" that Iraq played a crucial role in al Qaeda's worldwide terrorism plans.

Halper and Clarke demonstrate that the neocons knew that the fundamentalist-dominated al Qaeda had no connection to the secular Saddam. They knew that Saddam was no threat to American interests or values. The Persian Gulf War taught him not to threaten his neighbors -- exactly as Richard Clarke argued, to no avail.

The administration had very little evidence -- precious little, as we have learned -- that Iraq had nuclear, biological or chemical weapons of mass destruction. As Wolfowitz famously said, "For bureaucratic reasons we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction, because it was the one reason everyone could agree on."

Halper and Clarke denounce the Bush administration for effectively co-opting"important allies and entire government agencies in a pattern of deceit."The administration, they believe, created "a synthetic neurosis," which it buttressed by exploiting the Sept. 11 attack. The price has been enormous, they say, with "substantial damage" to both core American political institutions and to American "institutional legitimacy."

The president, his advisers and Attorney General John Ashcroft have fostered a climate in whichAmericans are expected to believe that "our natural state is war -- war with no dimensions, with elusive enemies . . . and no definition of what constitutes victory and thus with no end in sight."

The Bush and neoconpolicy, with its contempt for international opinion, has, according to the authors, inaugurated a new phenomenon of "counter-Americanism." We certainly have retaliated against such intransigence: no more french fries in the dining halls of Congress. Halper and Clarke argue in favor of a "golden mean" for American foreign policy, which, they believe, need not be re-discovered, for it is rooted in centuries of successful policy. Since 1941, that policy also can be characterized as consensual and bipartisan.

Today foreign policy is bipartisan only to the extent that the administration has been blessed with blindly loyal congressional allies and a supine, often meaningless, opposition. With an election campaign looming, President Bush now concedes that "like 11 Presidents before me, I believe in the international institutions and alliances that America helped to form and helps to lead."

Alas, the president and his advisers have rediscovered American history and policy only as our financial and military resources have dwindled, our moral authority has evaporated, our allies have become alienated and, worst of all, our adversaries are newly energized. Regime change in Iraq, as this book tells us, has substituted one order of chaos for another, but this time at the cost of substantial American bloodand treasure.

The war in Iraq was imposed amid a climate of fear and patriotic fervor, with manufactured deceptions about our purposes and the enemy's. Our leaders mislead us with distortions of historical events, twisting and trivializing them as precedents when they are not applicable. For example, former secretary of state Dean Rusk regularly invoked the Munich agreement and the folly of appeasing Hitler as a warning for us to resist Soviet and Chinese communism in Vietnam.

Saddam Hussein was a brutal, ruthless tyrant, but he was no Adolf Hitler, and no realistic threat to the United States and the rest of the world, whatever George W. Bush and his neoconservative warriors tell us.*

Stanley I. Kutler is the author of "The Wars of Watergate" and editor of"The Encyclopedia of the United States in the Twentieth Century." <<

Thursday, August 12, 2004

The First Casualty of War.....

Watching Bush-Cheney on the stump is truly disgusting....

Those of us who follow politics very closely have the opportunity to listen to, say, Kerry in the morning followed by Bush or Cheney later in the day.

What emerges from the Bush-Cheney speeches is a totally distorted version of Senator Kerry's speech.

A single word is often selected (today it was 'sensitivity') from a long paragraph and manipulated in such a way that it doesn't even come close to what the Senator stated earlier.

Admittedly, with Bush behind Kerry in most polls, GOPers are getting a little worried that the majority of Americans can no longer be easily fooled.

The latest GOP tactic is to assault Senator Kerry on his service in Vietnam. This coming from the party whose "fearless leaders" never even came close to a battle field.

But, that did not prevent them from sending our young soldiers into an UNprovoked war where they are dying for no good reason other than opening the doors of Iraq to Republican campaign contributors such as Halliburton and other U.S. corporations.

All I can say is...I am ashamed of my government and fervently hope that Bush and his cohorts are sent back home in November.

It's time for an intelligent, honest, thoughtful individual such as Senator Kerry to lead this great nation.

t r u t h o u t Perspective - Thursday 12 August 2004

The Ghosts of War By John Cory

"They say, the first casualty of war is truth. They are wrong. The first casualty of war is reality. In war, the unreal becomes real, and truth becomes a lie." 'The Ville,' John Cory

It haunts us still. Three-and-a-half decades later, America cannot stop picking the scab of Vietnam. The wound has never healed and has now grown infected and poisoned. Plato said: "Only the dead have seen the end of war."

The White House could stop this Swift Boat slander, but won't. George Bush needs the venomous attacks on John Kerry to distract the media and public from the failures of his leadership, and from the growing stench of Iraq.

There are veterans of all conflicts, who fall in love with the terrible sweet beauty of war. Men who polish their armor long after the parades have faded. Their glory is not in duty, honor, and country; but in the carnival mirrors of their own warped reflections. These are veterans who march with swagger and blaring brass, like small boys struggling to be seen and heard.

There are veterans who have paid passage through the heart of darkness; who dedicate their lives to eliminating the horrors that hide behind their eyes at night, when they dream. These veterans testify to the unreal and repulsive acts of war that forever wound the soul.

And there are veterans who let it go and never look back again. Not that they forget, they simply choose not to dwell in those memories. They seek peace of mind and hope. But war is a ghost that haunts the living. Like guilt, war is the gift that keeps on giving, to paraphrase a song.
This GOP-funded anti-Kerry veterans group is getting lots of free publicity by major networks and cable shows, and lots of discussion about "truth" and "facts" and all the focus-group tested words. This is a group that prefers to tongue-polish the buttons of a war dodger and champagne National Guard frat boy in an effort to restore their battle honor by tarnishing a fellow veteran.
There were stories of Vietnam veterans returning to America, only to be spat upon by people who viewed them as an evil extension of a dishonest and war-mongering government. Now fellow veterans spit upon one another.

America, love it or leave it-is back with a vengeance. Body counts are once again the measurement of successful warfare. Restricted VA benefits for the wounded, bodies returned in the dead of night and shielded from American eyes, a false and misleading premise for war, that daily, kills America's youth; John Wayne-patriotism is glorified and peaceniks are vilified: all of the old ghosts are back.

If Swift Boat veterans are truly concerned with truth and honor, perhaps they should focus on the numerous articles about Iraq veterans being billed for their hospital stays and having their disabilities downgraded so the government won't have to pay as much as they should; of veterans having to fight the VA system for benefits; of troops being short of bullets; of families having to take up collections for the purchase of body armor for their loved-ones, because the government fails to supply them; of Humvees poorly armored to protect our soldiers; and of course, the stories of high ranking officers who live well and distant from the grunts who bleed and die in America's name.

No, these men care not for the present, only their past. They have no concern for the living, only the fading of their glory days. They remember Vietnam through the prism of their own partisan patriotism, not the painful lessons learned by all who served.

My Lai was the result of a few bad apples. Abu Ghraib is not the same. Zippo raids are not the same as Iraqi civilians watching their homes destroyed by American forces. Innocent Iraqi civilian deaths are not the same as innocent Vietnamese deaths. The dishonest and misleading policies of LBJ and McNamara are not the same as Bush and Cheney and Wolfowitz. Nothing is the same, even as nothing changes.

The ghosts of war are chained to America's ankles, as it marches onward.

I have a poster from the days of Vietnam. I have kept it all these years as a reminder of the politics behind war. It is a photograph of Arlington Cemetery, neat orderly rows of white headstones, on green grass, below a sunny sky. The caption reads: "We are the unwilling, led by the unqualified, to do the unnecessary, for the ungrateful."

We were a divided military, in Vietnam-lifers and draftees. We chewed the mud together when mortars fell, and clawed our way to each other through bullets and bullshit. No one questioned the other's patriotism. We were grunts, doing our duty, and politics be-damned on the battlefield.

The ghosts of war never need resurrection because they never die. The poison of this Swift Boat organization does not hide the political puppetry behind their appalling deeds. Nor does it hide the sad and shameful embrace they and the White House have chosen.

As I said, the first casualty of war is not truth-it is reality. The unreal becomes real, and the truth becomes a lie. <<

"How Far will Bush Go?" Good question....

With friends like these...who needs enemies?

t r u t h o u t Perspective - Thursday 12 August 2004

How Far Will Bush Go? By Steve Weissman

Part I: God Knows Where

The day we all watched two hijacked airplanes slam into the twin towers of the World Trade Center, we learned what warriors have known ever since men first fought with stones and cudgels. If your assailant has no fear of dying, or of being caught, he gains an awesome advantage.

George W. Bush and the people around him share a similar power, though with devilishly different beliefs. Having freed themselves from the moral qualms that restrained even the Nixon Administration, Team Bush can do things that lesser mortals would never dream of. They have cast themselves as Supermen.

Just look at their lineup of Nietzschean ubermenschen. The Prince of Darkness Richard Perle, his imperial soul mate Paul Wolfowitz of Arabia, and their fellow neo-conservatives clearly feel it their right - nay, their sacred obligation - to twist the truth when twisting serves their undoubtedly righteous cause. Douglas Feith, another neo-con at the Pentagon, even has an Office of Special Plans, which refudged as "intelligence" the fables that Ahmad Chalabi and other Iraqi exiles cooked up to drag America into their war of choice. Remember the Weapons of Mass Destruction? And all the collaboration between Saddam and Osama? The neo-cons sold us those lies, for our own good, to be sure. They're now selling Iran.

William Kristol, editor of the neo-con Weekly Standard, feels the same about the torture and sexual humiliation of those we capture. We're the good guys. At least some of them are bad guys. And whatever we're doing to them, we're getting the information we need. So don't obsess. Supermen never do.

Donald Rumsfeld, the Pentagon chief, is no neo-con. More a traditional Republican conservative, he put the torturers in place. Why not? When you have the power, use it. Dick Cheney, the vice-president, thinks in much the same way. Like Rumsfeld, he wants Washington and its fat-cat friends to grab as much of the world's oil as they can, using the War on Terror as an Open Sesame for global plunder. Billion-dollar construction contracts are only added value. Why not? Who's going to stop me?

Karl Rove, the president's political Houdini, is an old-fashioned Christian conservative, of the kind that worries considerably less about how presidents go to war than where they put their pecker. Promised his pie in the sky without the need to do good works, Rove shows an utter lack of embarrassment as his party faithful do the most God-awful anti-democratic deeds.

In Florida, Brother Jeb seeks to purge the electoral roles to cut down the number of Afro-American voters, who look likely to vote Democratic. Rove never blushes, but calmly plans to send out thousands of "poll watchers" nationwide on election day to harass Afro-American, Native American, and non-Cuban Hispanic voters, hoping to drive down the Democratic turn-out.

Across the country, Republicans hustle to sell an unsuspecting public on computerized touch-screen voting without a proper paper trail that would allow officials to check the results. I can just see Rove toting up the numbers. Just how many extra votes in which states would the GOP need to win?

In Washington, Tom Ridge lets slip the possibility of having to postpone the November election - in case of a terrorist attack, you understand. I'd give my right arm and tennis racquet just to know the role Rove played in that one. Or in the announcement of an earlier terrorist capture just as John Kerry was about to speak at the Democratic Convention. Or in the terror alert based on computer files dated before 9/11. Or in blowing the cover of an all-too-rare double-agent within al-Qaeda in a vain effort to give credibility to the alert that even mainstream journalists saw for what it was.

None of these had anything to do with the presidential campaign, did they, Mr. Rove? Mr. Bush himself is harder to figure. What really drives him? Oil? Power? A simplistic, overly militarized view of how to fight ideologically driven terrorists? Revenge for Saddam's contract on the elder Bush? A son's desire to finish what his father failed to complete? Or, heaven forbid, the voice of "a higher father?"

I have no idea how to disentangle the mix. I doubt Mr. Bush does either. I can only admit to a deep-seated dread when I read in an online newspaper from Pennsylvania's Lancaster County what the president told Old Order Amish farmers. "I trust God speaks through me," he said. "Without that, I couldn't do my job.''

In The Brothers Karamazov, Doestoevsky has one of his characters - Ivan - argue that without God and the threat of Divine Punishment, human beings would have no reason to refrain from doing whatever they wanted. Without God, all things would be permitted.

Watching Mr. Bush, I fear the reverse. With his certainty that some divine power guides him, he becomes free to do what he will, much as do radical Islamic terrorists. They - and he - become Supermen, above any moral law that most of us would recognize. Anthropologists tell us that men create gods in their own image. In that sense, the president's "higher father" looks sadly like a moral midget.

To be fair, the killing, torture, lies, and other atrocities that Mr. Bush and his team commit in the name of God, Democracy, Freedom, or the War on Terror are far from original sins. If Democrats historically stole elections in Boston, Chicago, and New York City, we can hardly be surprised when Republicans now try their hand in Florida, Ohio, and other closely contested states. If LBJ lied about a sustained North Vietnamese attack on U.S. ships to escalate American involvement in Southeast Asia, we can hardly feel shock when Mr. Bush uses the neo-con lies to take us to war in Iraq.

No need to recount here the lies that eased the way into every U.S. war from 1812 to 1941, or the gross profiteering that followed. Historians have done the work, though too little of it shows up in high school texts or political rhetoric. As the Neo-Conservative Robert Kagan pointed out, John Kerry richly romanticized our nation's past when he declared in his acceptance speech that Americans used to fight only when we had to, not when we wanted to. Should Kerry defeat the Supermen, I only hope he takes his rose-colored view of our history as a worthy rule for the future.

But history falls short. For all the unhappy precedents, Team Bush has set a new course record in the annals of American cheating and chicanery. Almost nothing he and his people said about Iraq was true, except for their attack on the horrors of Saddam Hussein. And even there Team Bush failed to mention the support that Ronald Reagan, Donald Rumsfeld, and the elder Bush gave Saddam in his use of chemical and biological weapons. Half-truths, I suppose, are better than no truth at all.

Nor would we find many forerunners to the unbridled venality that Mr. Cheney and his friends have shown in hustling reconstruction contracts, while doing such a bad job of providing the bedraggled Iraqis with electricity, clean water, or sewage disposal. Add to this the spending of billions of dollars in Iraqi funds without proper accounting, and you have a prima facie case of gross criminal negligence. If Team Bush loses the election, President Kerry's prosecutors could have a field day.

Happily for Mr. Bush, the American television networks have done little to show voters the scale of deceit and corruption he has allowed, encouraged, or taken part in. Hopefully for Mr. Bush, his morally diminished "higher father" will be the only divine justice he encounters.

For the rest of us, the question is obvious: How much farther will Team Bush go to keep their hands on power and all the goodies that go with it? <<

Deadly games right-wingers play....

If the majority of Americans had even the slightest notion of the deadly games right-wingers play behind the scenes, Senator Kerry would win in all fifty states.

The lies and distortions that members of the "Bush-Sharon Axis" are using in a desperate attempt to remain in power, at the cost of thousands of American and Iraqi lives, are abuses of power that can only be described as...CRIMES:

Wash Post - Thursday, August 12, 2004

In Iraq, Strategic Failures By Jim Hoagland

George W. Bush and John Kerry have been trading questions about their past views and actions on Iraq. Their campaign exchange is worse than pointless -- it is a distraction from the debate they should be having about Iraq's present and future. Such a debate might force Bush to recognize that he is losing his moral and pragmatic bearings in Iraq as his administration dilutes its commitment to democracy and the rule of law there. And it might force Kerry to spell out a clear, realistic alternative to the current miasma, if he has one.

The candidates' obligations and options are not equal, of course. The president's decisions are not couched in the tactical subjunctive, as are Kerry's promises. Iraq, the United States and for that matter the rest of the world all live with the consequences of Bush's words -- if he sticks to them.

Last fall the president gave three stirring speeches in which he vowed to end 60 years of reflexive American support for repression by Arab governments: Morality and pragmatism required Washington to support democracy in the region. Iraq would be the model. But Bush's priorities seem to be different today, as his administration engages in or condones cynical maneuvering designed not to create democracy in Baghdad but to create political cover at home and fear and turmoil in Tehran.

Simultaneous U.S. military assaults on Shiite rebels in Najaf, a new and brutal power play in Baghdad against that ever troublesome Shiite politician Ahmed Chalabi, and the temporary suppression of critical news coverage by al-Jazeera satellite television this week have established the fact that "stability" of the Arab strongman kind is again tolerated at the White House.

Long backed by the CIA, Prime Minister Ayad Allawi is now supporting the U.S. intelligence agency's closely related campaigns to destroy Chalabi and use Iraq to subvert Iran's ruling Shiite ayatollahs. The agency is determined to protect its all-important liaison relationships with Sunni Arab governments in Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which fear the Shiite majorities in Iran and Iraq.

That is the decisive background to the appalling choice of priorities for the use of military and judicial power that Bush at least implicitly condones in Iraq. Baathist killers and Wahhabi terrorists go unarrested, unprosecuted and unchallenged in the streets of Fallujah, Ramadi and Sunni sections of Baghdad. At the same time the ragtag Shiite militia of Moqtada Sadr triggers an all-out U.S. assault in Najaf that risks damaging some of the holiest shrines of the Shiite branch of Islam, for small strategic gain.

Sadr deserves no sympathy. U.S. miscalculation is almost entirely responsible for turning this insignificant demagogue into a rebel with a following. Shiites, who are still bitter and distrustful of the United States for its failure to support their uprising against Saddam Hussein in 1991, are likely to note the disparity of treatment of the Sunni and Shiite insurgencies, and to conclude that Shiite political will is the true target of the Najaf operation.

The fact that Allawi is by heritage a Shiite will not reduce the sting of his approving the operation. An ex-Baathist, he has always made his career in Sunni-dominated power structures.

The timing of the latest burst of specious charges and allegations against Chalabi, his nephew Salem and his political party also suggests, at a minimum, a highly selective use of limited resources. Chalabi, whom I have known and written about for 30 years, has made a large number of necessary and unnecessary enemies in his long campaign to bring down the Baathists and then to keep them from returning to power.

Among the unnecessary and unforgiving enemies was L. Paul Bremer, Bush's proconsul in Baghdad during the formal U.S. occupation and a man quick to see a hidden Iranian hand in Iraq's problems. This past spring Bremer collaborated with Bush's National Security Council staff on a seven-page memorandum that outlined a strategy for marginalizing Chalabi. This exercise has now been relentlessly brought to fruition while arrests and prosecutions of insurgents have gone unpursued.

Bremer created a secret court, appointed a manifestly unprepared jurist to head it and made sure Iraq's interim government could not disband it after the U.S. administrator left. It is this judge, Zuhair Maliky, who issued a warrant for the arrest of Chalabi while he was -- guess where? -- in Tehran.

Chalabi's fight with other Iraqi factions in Baghdad is his business. But the Bush team petulantly stakes American prestige, credibility and honor on a covert campaign of score-settling against Chalabi, Sadr and any other Shiites who might be influenced by Iran, while terrorists reign in Fallujah.

This is not strategy; this is folly.<<

Why Nader won't quit the race....

Those who do not understand why Ralph Nader is soooooo angry at BOTH parties have not focused on what has been his major complaint all along, namely, that both sides CAVE to Israeli demands.

In the 2000 presidential race, I suspect Nader was upset when Gore chose Lieberman as his running mate given the latter's dual allegiance to Israel and the U.S., in that order. The rejection of Lieberman as a presidential candidate tells the whole story given that most Democrats do not support his WAR mongering stance.

This time around, Sen. Kerry has also been forced to "pledge allegiance" to Sharon and that is the reason Nader keeps repeating: "there is no difference between the two parties."

Since he is obviously not a stupid man, he is well aware that there is a big difference between the two parties when it comes to other issues, and I suspect that IF Kerry had not fallen into the same Sharonite trap, he would have withdrawn his candidacy.It is possible, of course, that he will still do so, particularly if someone has the GUTS to stand up to Sharon and demand he allow the establishment of a viable Palestinian state.

Furthermore, if Sharonites, both in the U.S. and Israel, are interested in winning the war against terror, it would be most helpful if Jerusalem were declared an OPEN CITY and Christians and Muslims INVITED to participate in its governance.

This largely symbolic gesture would be applauded all across the globe at a time that anti-Americanism (read: anti-Bushism) and anti-Semitism continue growing.

Unfortunately, Sharon is headed in precisely the opposite direction and now that he convinced an American president to clean up Israel's neighborhood by using U.S. troops to invade Iraq, he is highly unlikely to help us win the war against hatred.

The following article speaks to this issue:

Wash Post - Thursday, August 12, 2004

Nader vs. the ADL By Brian Faler

Ralph Nader, that master of controversy, has a new bete noire: the Anti-Defamation League. The independent presidential candidate has become embroiled in an ugly exchange with the Jewish organization, after he suggested that President Bush and Congress were "puppets" of the Israeli government. "

The days when the chief Israeli puppeteer comes to the United States and meets with the puppet in the White House and then proceeds to Capitol Hill, where he meets with hundreds of other puppets, should be replaced," Nader said earlier this summer. That prompted an angry letter from the league, which complained that the "image of the Jewish state as a 'puppeteer,' controlling the powerful US Congress feeds into many age-old stereotypes which have no place in legitimate public discourse."

Nader is not backing down. In a letter to the group that will be released today, he reiterated his arguments, challenged the league to cite a recent example of when American leaders have pursued a policy opposed by the Israeli government and pointed to Israeli peace groups that he said share his criticism of that country's leadership.

"There is far more freedom in the media, in town squares and among citizens, soldiers, elected representatives and academicians in Israel to debate and discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict than there is in the United States," Nader wrote.

The longtime consumer advocate's willingness to criticize Israel may win him some votes, since both Bush and Democratic nominee John F. Kerry strongly support Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. But not if Abraham H. Foxman, the national director of the league has anything to say about it. "What he said smacks of bigotry," Foxman said. <<

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

President Putin stopped "oligarchs" in their tracks

In the U.S. they are known as "neoconservatives." In Russia they are known as "oligarchs."

Their goal: Grab as much as they can while the grabbin' is good in nations such as the Soviet Union and Iraq are transformed into democracies.

Obviously, President Putin decided to put an end to their abuses by driving Yukos and other "oligarchs" out of business:

August 3, 2004 - Counter Punch

The Oligarchs Or How the Virgin Became a Whore By URI AVNERY

This is a TV series about Russia. But it could havebeen about Israel. Or about the United States. It isentitled "The Oligarchs" and is now being screened onIsraeli television.

Some of its episodes are simply unbelievable--or wouldhave been, if they had not come straight from thehorses' mouths: the heroes of the story, who gleefullyboast about their despicable exploits. The series was produced by Israeli immigrants from Russia.

The "oligarchs" are a tiny group of entrepreneurs who exploited the disintegration of the Soviet system to loot the treasures of the state and to amass plunder amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars. In order to safeguard the perpetuation of their business, they took control of the state. Six out of the seven are Jews.

In popular parlance they are called "oligarchs"--from the Greek word meaning "rule of the few". In the first years of post-Soviet Russian capitalism they were the bold and nimble ones who knew how to exploit the economic anarchy in order to acquire enormous possessions for a hundredth or a thousandth of their value: oil, natural gas, nickel and otherminerals. They used every possible trick, includingcheating, bribery and murder. Every one of them had a small private army. In the course of the series theyare proud to tell in great detail how they did it.

But the most intriguing part of the series recounts the way they took control of the political apparatus. After a period of fighting each other, they decided that itwould be more profitable for them to cooperate in orderto take over the state. At the time, President Boris Yeltsin was in a steep decline.

On the eve of the new elections for the presidency, his rating in public opinion polls stood at4%. He was an alcoholic with a severe heart disease, working about two hours a day. The state was, in ractice, ruled by his bodyguard and his daughter; corruption was the order of the day. The oligarchs decided to take power through him. They had almost unlimited funds, control of all TV channelsand most of the other media. They put all these at the disposal of Yeltsin's reelection campaign, denying opponents even one minute of TV time and pouring huge sums of money into the effort. (The series omits an interesting detail: they secretly brought over the most outstanding American election experts and copywriters, who applied methods previously unknown in Russia.)

The campaign bore fruit: Yeltsin was indeed reelected. On the very same day he had another heart attack and spent the rest of his term in hospital. In practice, the oligarchs ruled Russia. One of them, BorisBerezovsky, appointed himself Prime Minister. There was a minor scandal when it became known that he (like most of the oligarchs) had acquired Israeli citizenship, but he gave up his Israeli passport and everything was in order again.

By the way, Berezovsky boasts that he caused the war in Chechnya, in which tens of thousands have been killed and a whole country devastated. He was interested in the mineral resources and a prospective pipeline there. In order to achieve this he put an end to the peaceagreement that gave the country some kind ofindependence. The oligarchs dismissed and destroyed Alexander Lebed, the popular general who engineered the agreement, and the war has been going on since then.

In the end, there was a reaction: Vladimir Putin, the taciturn and tough ex-KGB operative, assumed power, took control of the media, put one of the oligarchs(Mikhail Khodorkovsky) in prison, caused the others toflee (Berezovsky is in England, Vladimir Gusinsky is inIsrael, another, Mikhail Chernoy, is assumed to behiding here.)

Since all the exploits of the oligarchs occurred in public, there is a danger that the affair might cause an increase in anti-Semitism in Russia. Indeed, the anti-Semites argue that these doings confirm the"Protocols of the Elders of Zion", a document fabricated by the Russian secret police a century ago, purporting to reveal a Jewish conspiracy to control the world.

Moving from Russia to America--the same thing happened, of course, in the US, but more than a hundred years ago. At the time, the great "robber barons", Morgan, Rockefeller at al., all of them good Christians, used very similar methods to acquire capital and power on amassive scale.

Today, it works in far more refined ways. In the present election campaign, the candidates collect hundreds of millions of dollars. George W. Bushand John Kerry both brag about their talent for raising enormous sums of money. From whom? From pensioners? From the mythical "old lady in tennis shoes"? Of course not, but from the cabals of billionaires, the giant corporations and powerful lobbies (arms dealers, Jewishorganiztions, doctors, lawyers and such). Many of them give money to both candidates--just to be on the safeside.

All of these expect, of course, to receive a generous bonus when their candidate is elected. "There is nos uch thing as a free lunch", as the right-wing economist Milton Friedman wrote. As in Russia, every dollar (or ruble) invested wisely in an election will yield a ten- or hundred-fold return. The problem is rooted in the fact that presidential candidates (and all other candidates for political office) need ever increasing amounts of money.

Elections are mainly fought out on TV and cost huge sums. It is not a coincidence that all the present candidates in the US are multi-millionaires. The Bush family has amassed a fortune from the oil business (helped by its political connections, of course.) Kerry is married to one of the richest women in America, who was once the wife of the ketchup king, Henry JohnHeinz. Dick Cheney was the chief of a huge corporation that has garnered contracts worth billions in Iraq. John Edwards, candidate for Vice President, has made afortune as a trial lawyer.

From time to time there is talk in America about reforming election finances, but nothing worthwhile ever comes of it. None of the oligarchs has any interest in changing a system that enables them to buy the government of the United States.

In Israel, too, talk about "Money and Power" is now in vogue. Ariel Sharon and one of his two sons have beensuspected of accepting bribes from a real estate magnate. An indictment was blocked by the new AttorneyGeneral who happened to be appointed by the Sharon government at the height of the affair. Another investigation into Sharon and his sons is still pending. It concerns millions of dollars that reached his election coffers by roundabout routes, crossing three continents. Shimon Peres' connections with multi-millionaires are well-known, as are the huge sums poured out by American Jewish multi-millionaires for extreme right-wing causes in Israel. One of the Russian oligarchs is the part-owner of the second biggest Israeli newspaper.

A political scandal concerning the Israeli Minister forInfrastructure has mushroomed into an affair involving giant multi-national corporations competing for contracts for supplying natural gas to the Israeli Electricity Company, an affair of billions in which underworld figures, politicians and private investigators play their parts. This disclosure has made it clear to Israelis that here, too, politicians of the highest rank have long ago been acting as mercenaries for powerful financial interests.These facts must alarm everybody who cares aboutdemocracy--in Israel, Russia, the United States andelsewhere. Oligarchy and democracy are incompatible. Asa Russian commentator in the TV series said about thenew Russian democracy: "They have turned a virgin intoa whore."

-----------Uri Avnery is an Israeli writer and peace activist with Gush Shalom. He can be reached at:

So much for freedom of the press in Iraq

With the American election getting closer and closer, Bushites and their selected Prime Minister Ayad Allawi are working overtime to cover-up the mess that has been created in Iraq by occupying a nation without having a working plan for peace keeping:

New York Times - August 10, 2004

Banning Bad News in Iraq

As interim prime minister, Ayad Allawi is supposed to be guiding Iraq toward democratic elections. Yet in his first six weeks he has begun yielding to the same kind of authoritarian mentality that has stifled democracy in too many neighboring states.

His latest target is Al Jazeera, whose sometimes sensational news coverage is the Arab world's principal source of uncensored information.

Claiming that Al Jazeera's extensive coverage of terrorist kidnappings and other crimes encourages continuing violence, Mr. Allawi's police shut down the station's Baghdad bureau on Saturday for at least 30 days. The office will be allowed to reopen only if Al Jazeera agrees to change its policies.

Thwarting Al Jazeera's news coverage will not halt the violence that has been tearing Iraq apart for the past 16 months. But it may spare Mr. Allawi the embarrassment of having that violence so visible to a worldwide audience. It may also give his government a freer hand to abuse human rights and pursue personal political vendettas in the name of restoring law and order.

Al Jazeera's professional, provocative and partisan news coverage has no exact parallel in the United States, in part because the journalistic context in which it operates fortunately has no parallel here. Before the station began broadcasting in 1996 with financial support from the emir of Qatar, Arab viewers were largely limited to tame and uninformative state broadcasting outlets.

Now tens of millions of people across the Arab world see news that their own governments would prefer to keep quiet. That has repeatedly gotten Al Jazeera into trouble with authoritarian Arab governments - a precedent that Mr. Allawi should not be so eager to follow. The station has also drawn sharp criticism from Bush administration officials like Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for its stridently Arab nationalist tone and the graphic details of its Iraq war coverage.

More sensitivity and less stridency on Al Jazeera's part would certainly be welcome. But on the whole, it has been a healthy and crucially important force for change. It often stands almost alone in holding the actions of previously unaccountable governments up to public view and encouraging broader public debate. Mr. Allawi's government is supposed to be pointing the way toward a more democratic Iraq in a more democratic Middle East. By moving against Al Jazeera, it does just the opposite. <<

Monday, August 09, 2004

Using the tragedy of 9/11 to justify an UNprovoked war

"If attacked, I will defend the American people every time" is the LIE used by Bush as he travels the nation for reelection.

IF that were true, he would have focused his attention on winning the war on Afgahnistan where warlords and druglords still reign supreme.

In addition, he would have leaned on Ariel Sharon and demanded he allow the establishment of a viable Palestinian state given that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the most effective recruiting tool for al Qaeda.

But, that was not to be. Instead, Sharon was given carte blanche to do as he pleased and the attention was diverted to waging an UNprovoked war on a pathetic old man whose only objective at this point in time was...self-preservation.

Following is the roster of leaders of the "Bush-Sharon Axis:"

Dick Cheney, Vice President of the United States, former CEO of Halliburton; Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense; Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary of Defense; Elliot Abrams, National Security Council; John Bolton, Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security; I. Lewis Libby, Cheney's top National Security assistant

These individuals had lobbied for the elimination of Saddam for roughly ten years and used the tragedy of 9/11 to implement their policies.

Unfortunately, they failed to inform Americans of their TRUE INTENT as they dragged us into an UNprovoked war:

t r u t h o u t Perspective - Monday 09 August 2004

The Writing on the Latrine Walls By William Rivers Pitt

I sat with a photographer from Reuters who had just returned from a six-month tour of Iraq. He had been tagging along with the Kellogg Brown & Root operation, subsidiary of Halliburton, and saw everything there was to see. He went from new military base to new military base, from the oil work in the north and back to the south, observing how busy were the contactors for Halliburton.

"I feel like I compromised every one of my principles by even being over there," he told me after the story had been spun out a bit. His eyes, which had seen too many things through the lens of his camera, were haunted.

It was two years ago that talk about invading Iraq began to circulate. Reasons for the invasion were bandied about - they had weapons of mass destruction, they had a hand in September 11, they will welcome us as liberators - but it wasn't until the Project for the New American Century got dragged into the discussion that an understanding of the true motives behind all this became apparent.

The Project for the New American Century, or PNAC for short, is just another right-wing think tank, really. One cannot swing one's dead cat by the tail in Washington D.C. without smacking some prehensile gnome, pained by the sunlight, scuttling back to its right-wing think tank cubicle. These organizations are all over the place. What makes PNAC different from all the others?

The membership roll call, for one thing:

Dick Cheney, Vice President of the United States, former CEO of Halliburton; Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense; Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary of Defense; Elliot Abrams, National Security Council; John Bolton, Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security; I. Lewis Libby, Cheney's top National Security assistant;

Quite a roster.

These people didn't enjoy those fancy titles in 2000, when the PNAC manifesto 'Rebuilding America's Defenses' (Adobe document) was first published. Before 2000, they were just a bunch of power players who had been shoved out of the government in 1993. In the time that passed between Clinton and those hanging chads, these people got together in PNAC and laid out a blueprint. 'Rebuilding America's Defenses' was the ultimate result, and it is a doozy of a document. 2000 became 2001, and the PNAC boys - Cheney and Rumsfeld specifically - suddenly had the fancy titles and a chance to swing some weight.

'Rebuilding America's Defenses' became the roadmap for foreign policy decisions made in the White House and the Pentagon; PNAC had the Vice President's office in one building, and the Defense Secretary's office in the other. Attacking Iraq was central to that roadmap from the beginning. When former Counterterrorism Czar Richard Clarke accused the Bush administration of focusing on Iraq to the detriment of addressing legitimate threats, he was essentially denouncing them for using the attacks of September 11 as an excuse to execute the PNAC blueprint.

Iraq, you see, has been on the PNAC menu for almost ten years.

The goals codified in 'Rebuilding America's Defenses,' the manifesto, can be boiled down to a few sentences: The invasion and occupation of Iraq, for reasons that had nothing to do with Saddam Hussein. The building of several permanent military bases in Iraq, the purpose of which are to telegraph force throughout the region. The takeover by Western petroleum corporations of Iraq's nationalized oil industry. The ultimate destabilization and overthrow of a variety of regimes in the Middle East, friend and foe alike, by military or economic means, or both.

"Indeed," it is written on page 14 of 'Rebuilding America's Defenses,' "the United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein."

Two years after the talk began, the invasion is completed. There are no weapons of mass destruction, there is no connection to September 11, and the Iraqi people have in no way welcomed us as liberators. The cosmetic rationales for the attack have fallen by the wayside, and all that remains are the PNAC goals, some of which have been achieved in spectacularly profitable fashion.

The stock in trade of Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root is the construction of permanent military bases. The Reuters reporter I spoke to had been to several KBR-built permanent American military bases in his six month tour of Iraq. "That's where the oil industry money is going," he told me. "Billions of dollars. Not to infrastructure, not to rebuilding the country, and not to helping the Iraqi people. It's going to KBR, to build those bases for the military."

According to the Center for Public Integrity, Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root has made $11,475,541,371 in Iraq as of July 1. So that's one PNAC goal checked off the list.

As for the corporate takeover of the Iraqi oil industry, that has become the prime mission of the American soldiers engaged there. Kellogg Brown & Root also does a tidy business in the oil-infrastructure repair market. "The troops aren't hunting terrorists or building a country," said the Reuters photographer. "All they do is guard the convoys running north and south. The convoys north are carrying supplies and empty tankers for the oil fields around Mosul and Tikrit. The convoys south bring back what they pull out of the ground up there. That's where all these kids are getting killed. They get hit with IEDs while guarding these convoys, and all hell breaks loose."

That last goal, about overthrowing other regimes in the region, hasn't been as easy to follow through on as the PNAC boys might have hoped. The Iraqi people are fighting back, and the small-by-comparison force Rumsfeld said would be enough to do the job can't seem to pacify the country. Perhaps that is because too many troops are dedicated to guarding the oil supply lines. More likely, however, it is because of the sincere belief among the Iraqi people that they have been conquered - not 'liberated' but conquered - and their conquerors don't give a tinker's damn whether they live or die.

"The Americans over there have all these terms for people who aren't Americans," the Reuters photographer said. "The Iraqi people are called LPs, or 'Local Personnel.' They get killed all the time, but it's like, 'Some LPs got killed,' so it isn't like real people died. Iraqi kids run along the convoys, hoping a soldier will throw them some food or water, and sometimes they get crushed by the trucks. Nothing stops, those are the orders, so some LPs get killed and the convoy keeps rolling. The labels make it easier for them to die. The people are depersonalized. No one cares."

"Everyone is an 'insurgent' over there," the photographer told me. "That's another label with no meaning. Everyone is against the Americans. There is a $250,000 bounty on the head of every Westerner over there, mine too, while I was there. The Americans working the oil industry over there are the dumbest, most racist jackasses I've ever seen in my life. That's the American face on this thing, and the Iraqi people see it."

930 American soldiers have died to achieve goals the PNAC boys gamed out before they ever came in with this Bush administration. Well over 10,000 Iraqi civilians have likewise died. Over $200 billion has been spent to do this. Fighting today rages across several sections of Iraq, and the puppet 'leaders' installed by U.S. forces are about to drive a final stake into the heart of the liberation rhetoric by declaring nationwide martial law.

Two enemies of the United States - the nation of Iran and Osama bin Laden - are thrilled with the outcome to date. Saddam Hussein was an enemy to both Iran and bin Laden, and he has been removed. The destabilization and innocent bloodshed bolsters Iran's standing against the U.S., and sends freshly motivated martyrs into the arms of Osama.

Yes, the Halliburton contracting in Iraq for military bases and petroleum production is a cash cow for that company. The bases are being built. The oil industry has been privatized. The resulting chaos of the PNAC blueprint, however, has left the entire theater of the war in complete chaos. The Bush administration has insisted all along that this invasion was central to their 'War on Terror.' It has, in truth, become a failed experiment in global corporate hegemony writ large, foisted upon us by some men named Cheney and Rumsfeld who thought it would all work out as they had planned it in 2000.

It hasn't, except for the profiteering. For all their white papers, for all their carefully-laid plans, for all the power and fancy titles these erstwhile think-tankers managed to gather unto themselves, their works are now blood-crusted dust. They are clearly not as smart as they thought they were. The overall 'War on Terror' itself has plenty of examples of these boys not being too swift on the uptake. Iraq is only the largest, and costliest, example.

The case of Mohammad Naeem Noor Khan is another perfect example. Khan was a mole, deep undercover within the ranks of al Qaeda, who was sending vital data on the terror organization from Pakistan to British and American intelligence. But officials with the Bush administration, desperate to show the American people they were making headway in the terror war, barfed up Khan's name to the press while bragging about recent arrests. Khan's position as a mole within al Qaeda was summarily annihilated. The guy we had inside was blown.

Pretty smart, yes? "The whole thing smacks of either incompetence or worse," said Tim Ripley, a security expert who writes for Jane's Defense publications, in a Reuters article on the blown agent. "You have to ask: what are they doing compromising a deep mole within al Qaeda, when it's so difficult to get these guys in there in the first place? It goes against all the rules of counter-espionage, counter-terrorism, running agents and so forth. It's not exactly cloak and dagger undercover work if it's on the front pages every time there's a development, is it?"

This would be the second agent we know of who has been blown by the arrogant stupidity of the Bush administration. The other, of course, was Valerie Plame. Plame was a 'Non-Official Cover' agent, or NOC, for the CIA. NOC designates the deepest cover an agent can have. Plame's deep-cover assignment was to run a network dedicated to tracking any person, nation or group that might give weapons of mass destruction to terrorists. Because her husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson, had the temerity to accuse the Bush administration of lying in the public prints, the administration blew Plame's cover as a warning to Wilson and any other whistleblowers who might have thought of coming forward.

The Bush administration blew Khan's cover because they wanted to get a soundbite out for the election campaign. They blew Plame out of sheer spite, and out of desperation. The mole we had inside al Qaeda, and an agent we had tracking the movement of weapons of mass destruction, are both finished now because the PNAC boys are watching all their plans go awry, and they don't quite know what to do about it. That makes them stupid and exceedingly dangerous.

The soldiers over there are hip to the jive at this point. Michael Hoffman, a Marine corporal in artillery, was part of the original March invasion. Before Hoffman's unit shipped out, his battery first sergeant addressed all the enlisted men. "Don't think you're going to be heroes," said Hoffman's sergeant. "You're not going over there because of weapons of mass destruction.

You're not going there to get rid of Saddam Hussein, or to make Iraq safe for democracy. You're going there for one reason and one reason alone: Oil."

The Reuters photographer I spoke to couldn't get any soldiers to talk about how they felt when surrounded by their fellow soldiers. "They don't talk in the ranks, or just about anywhere on base," he said. "You have to go out to the latrine area, to the Port-O-Potties. For some reason, they talk there. You can read how they really feel - all the anti-Bush stuff, all the wanting to go home - in the writing on the shithouse walls."

William Rivers Pitt is a New York Times and international bestseller of two books -
'War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You To Know' and 'The Greatest Sedition is Silence.' -------

Saturday, August 07, 2004

"We don't need to be a nation of crybabies...."

Following is an article written by an individual who clearly does NOT suffer from paranoia. It is a refreshing view after the hysterical warnings that we were served during the past few days by members of the Administration.

The paint brush was applied to NY, NJ and DC in that yellow gave way to orange, once again, a warning that was based largely on intel that was roughly four years old.

What the Administration intended to prove is not clear given that all Americans know that another attack is possible.

True. The info was more detailed in that certain building were pinpointed but, given that all they had was an old blueprint, what was the ordinary citizen to do?

Fortunately, there are still those who are unwilling to allow Osama to disrupt our lives...without even lifting a finger.

Anyone living in D.C. can testify that it is increasingly looking like a city under siege.

If Osama is alive, I suspect he is sittin' in his cave enjoying every minute of what he sees as his dream come true, namely, for the "infidels" to be "twisting slowly in the wind."

I, for one, would never have given the guy that satisfaction....

>>CBS News - Monday 02 August 2004

We Are Not 'A Nation in Danger' By Dick Meyer

"We are a nation in danger."- President George W. Bush I don't buy it.

I think America in 2004 is about as far removed from fundamental danger as any nation in history has ever been. We may be scared, but we are, in fact, safe. Safe, at least, by any reasonable historic measure.

No other country on earth has military might even close to ours. Has such a global monopoly on armed power ever existed? Has any nation had less to fear from its neighbors and foreign armies?

Modern America does know real danger. The nuclear duel of the Cold War was real danger. America is safer than it was when the Soviet Union existed. The threat of nuclear proliferation, of a nuclear attack from a small state or terrorists, existed then, too. The country is probably better prepared to prevent that now.

We are safer from plague, pestilence, famine and weather than any of our ancestors ever were.

We have one of the most stable governments in human history. There is no risk of a dictator, a Gestapo or a civil war.

I'm quite certain that I've never been accused of being an optimist. But even I can't accept the dark, frightened dictate the president issued, ironically, from the Rose Garden.

America does have enemies - crazy, sadistic, tenacious, growing and wily enemies. America is an open and ethnically diverse society with vast borders, huge tourism and immigration.

So the country is of course vulnerable to terrorism. After 9/11, Americans feel that acutely and perhaps that is sad. But no one in government underestimates the country's vulnerability or the power of the unconventional enemy.

This does not, however, add up to a nation in danger. It adds up to something that sounds too callous for politicians to say out loud. America is vulnerable to the tragedy and trauma of a terrorists attack. There is a much more remote danger of an act of terror with a nuclear device that could eclipse 9/11. But there is no danger of the equivalent of war on our soil, of mass loss of life, of a crippled economy, disrupted civilian life and destabilized government.

Israel is in danger. Palestinians are in danger. Iraq is in danger. Sudan is in danger. Colombia is in danger. America is not in danger.

And America is not at war.

What happened in Afghanistan and Iraq was war. We should have stuck to that old-fashioned use of the word war. The battle now and ahead with the evildoers is not likely to be helped by calling it war any longer.

Perhaps it was necessary to use the rhetoric of war after 9/11 to marshal an adequate and swift response to the newly real threat. Perhaps. We've had wars on crime, a war on drugs and even a war on poverty. Why not a war on terror? There is no intrinsic reason why not.

But war, and even war rhetoric, can rationalize unwise and uncharacteristic choices at home ­ restricted civil liberties, plundered treasury, over-reaching bureaucracy, fear-mongering, and misplaced secrecy. Both the administration and the opposition party have bungled that balance; the glaring example of that is the dishonest case that was sold and bought for invading Iraq. Both sides have squandered credibility.

"War" is a word that ends arguments. So is "danger." The president has tried to sell a lot of policy by saying it was necessary because we are at war and in danger and so have the Democrats.

We don't need to declare ourselves "a nation in danger" or "a nation at war" to carefully reform the intelligence bureaucracy, to respond to discovered plots and threats, to catch terrorists or to get other nations to help our cause.

We don't need to be a nation of crybabies or a nation that cries wolf. <<