Friday, May 07, 2004

The curious lack of curiosity about WMD

Larry Elder (archive)

May 6, 2004


"Week after week after week after week," said Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., about President Bush's rationale for going to war with Iraq, "we were told lie after lie after lie after lie." Were we?

Jordan recently seized 20 tons of chemicals trucked in by confessed al Qaeda members who brought the stuff in from Syria. The chemicals included VX, Sarin and 70 others. But the media seems curiously incurious about whether one could reasonably trace this stuff back to Iraq. Had the terrorists released a "toxic cloud," Jordanian officials say 80,000 would have died!

So, I interviewed terrorism expert John Loftus, who once held some of the highest security clearances in the world. Loftus, a former Army officer, served as a Justice Department prosecutor. He investigated CIA cases of Nazi war criminals for the U.S. attorney general. Author of several books, Loftus once received a Pulitzer Prize nomination.

John Loftus: There's a lot of reason to think (the source of the chemicals) might be Iraq. We captured Iraqi members of al Qaeda, who've been trained in Iraq, planned for the mission in Iraq, and now they're in Jordan with nerve gas. That's not the kind of thing you buy in a grocery store. You have to have obtained it from someplace.

Larry Elder: They couldn't have obtained it from Syria?

Loftus: Syria does have the ability to produce certain kinds of nerve gasses, but in small quantities. The large stockpiles were known to be in Iraq. The best U.S. and allied intelligence say that in the 10 weeks before the Iraq war, Saddam's Russian adviser told him to get rid of all the nerve gas. It would be useless against U.S. troops; the rubber suits were immune to it. So they shipped it across the border to Syria and Lebanon and buried it. Now, in the last few weeks, there's a controversy that Syria has been trying to get rid of this stuff.

They're selling it to al Qaeda is one supposition. We know the Sudanese government demanded that the Syrian government empty its warehouse in Khartoum where they've been hiding illegal missiles along with components of weapons of mass destruction. But there's no doubt these guys confessed on Jordanian television that they received the training for this mission in Iraq. . . . And from the description it appears this is the form of nerve gas known as VX. It's very rare, and very tough to manufacture . . . one of the most destructive chemical mass-production weapons that you can use. . . . They wanted to build three clouds, a mile across, of toxic gas. A whole witch's brew of nasty chemicals that were going to go into this poison cloud, and this would have gone over shopping malls, hospitals . . .

Elder: You said that the Russians told Saddam, "There is going to be an invasion. Get rid of your chemical and biological weapons."

Loftus: Sure. It would only bring the United Nations down on their heads if they were shown to really have weapons of mass destruction. It's not generally known, but the CIA has found 41 different material breaches where Saddam did have a weapons of mass destruction program of various types. It was completely illegal. But no one could find the stockpiles. And the liberal press seems to be focusing on that.

Elder: It seems to me that this is a huge, huge story.

Loftus: It's embarrassing to the (press). They've staked their reputations that this stuff wasn't there. And now all of a sudden we have al Qaeda agents from Iraq showing up with weapons of mass destruction.

Elder: David Kay said, in an interim report, that there was a possibility that WMD components were shipped to Syria.

Loftus: A possibility? We had a Syrian journalist who defected to Paris in January. The guy is dying of cancer, and he said, "Look, my friends in Syrian intelligence told me exactly where the stuff is buried." He named three sites in Syria, and the Israelis have confirmed the three sites. They know where the stuff is, but the problem is that the United States can't just go around invading Arab countries. . . . We know from Israeli and defectors' intelligence that the son of the Syrian defense minister was paid 50 million bucks to bring the stuff across the border and bury it.

Elder: Why would al Qaeda attack Jordan?

Loftus: Jordan is an ally of the United States. It's at peace with Israel. And Jordan has a long history of trying to prosecute terrorists. . . . There are a lot of reasons. . . . They want to make an example of them. They want to terrorize as many of the Arab states as possible. This is sort of a political dream for the president. The worst nightmare is al Qaeda gets weapons of mass destruction from Iraq. And it looks like it's coming true.

A Syria/Iraq/al Qaeda/WMD connection? Why, this calls for a congressional investigation.




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Sleeping with the enemy -- Muslim participation in U.S. Elections

Reuven Paz is founder and director of the Project for Research of Islamist Movements (PRISM), GLORIA Center, The Interdisciplinary Center, Herzeliya. Prism was founded in 2002, in order to combine academic and field research of new developments of radical Islam and Islamist movements.
PRISIM web site is -- www.e-prism.org


Introduction
In recent months, the coming presidential elections in the United States, scheduled for November 2004, have raised a public debate among American Muslim organizations. Issues such as U.S. support for Israel; the occupation of Iraq; the global war against terrorism; question marks on the human and civil rights of American Muslims; feelings of general hostility towards Muslims by the American public and politicians; and the shutting down of Islamic foundations in the United States, have raised doubts among American Muslim organizations and private citizens, over whether or not the six million member-strong American Muslim constituency should take part in American political life, including the presidential elections. Meanwhile, the general opinion of Muslim leaders in the United States supports the active and intensive participation in the various election campaigns and the political life in the United States.

The issue of Muslim participation in elections has also been raised in countries other than the United States, primarily in Europe. Thus far, only a small number of Salafist scholars have called upon Muslim citizens in Western countries to boycott such elections, and have at times even issued such a ruling in favor of a boycott. Yet, the severe attacks embodied by these rulings (Fatwah), as well as other declarations, books, and articles directed against the United States; the total disqualification of Western democracy, including its political systems; and the direct calls to stop immigration from the Muslim world; are an indirect call for limiting Muslim participation in Western life and culture. For those Salafi Jihadists that live in the West and take part in its political culture, their situation is hence tantamount to “sleeping with the enemy.”


Yes to participation
On November 1st 2003, the popular web site Islam On-Line published the most recent Fatwah on this issue, by Sheikh Muhammad Al-Mukhtar Ash-Shanqiti, President of the Islamic Association of Lubbock, Texas.1 The Fatwah was an answer to the following question:

Dear scholars, As-Salamu `alaykum. There is a great controversy among the Muslim communities in the US concerning whether it is permissible for Muslims to participate in the coming elections, its benefits and regulations. Some people say it is essential for the Muslims to take part in the U.S. elections so as to change the extravagance of the current administration, which has started its colonial policies in the Arab and the Muslim World. On the other hand, another group sees that it is haram (unlawful) to take part in elections in non-Muslim countries, either by voting or being a member of their parliaments. They see that Muslims must keep away from such elections. So, what is the juristic view on the whole issue? Jazakum Allah khayran.

Sheikh al-Shanqiti, who is regarded a supporter of Saudi pragmatic Wahhabism, categorically supports the participation in the American elections, based on the Qur’an and the Hadith of the Prophet:

That is the way that Muslims living in non-Muslim countries in the West should look upon participation in the political life there. In this context, taking part in the U.S. elections is required, so that goodness may overcome evil and justice would prevail. It is not a sign of affiliation to the polytheists, nor is it a kind of support for the oppressors. Therefore, judging parliaments to be gatherings of disbelief and polytheism is inappropriate, as this does not take into account the complicated nature of such parliaments. The U.S. Congress, for instance, is not a religious organization, as the American constitution neither supports a certain religion nor restricts another. The U.S. Congress is not thus, a gathering of disbelief, even though its members are disbelievers. Also, it is not a gathering of belief, even if there are Muslim members in it. It is a neutral political body in relation to matters of religion, according to the American constitution...

The last ruling is a continuance of two previous ones from October 2003, by Dr. Taha Jaber al-`Alwani and Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, two of the leading Islamic scholars in the United States. Dr. Siddiqi, former president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), was answering a question about the participation of Muslims in local elections across the United States.2 Dr. al-`Alwani, President of the Graduate School of Islamic and Social Sciences and President of the American Fiqh Council, widened the spectrum of this question to the participation of Muslims in the American political system at large.3 Both these American Islamic scholars support the participation of Muslims in all fields of American political life, and thus simultaneously, pave the way for Muslim candidates to nominate themselves to various elected posts.

The most interesting and important Fatwah in this regard however, was provided in February 2002, by Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradawi of Qatar.4 The Arab World and Muslim communities in the West regard Qaradawi as the supreme religious authority of the Muslim Brotherhood of our times. His Fatwahs serve as a basis for many major rulings in cardinal issues, including suicide operations against civilians; Islamic economy; immigration; participation of Muslims in the U.S. military forces in Iraq, etc.

Qaradawi, who prohibited the participation of Muslims in the Israeli parliamentary elections, and thus helped encourage a split of the Israeli Islamic Movement over this issue, presented an inverted opinion concerning the elections in Western countries, including the United States, where he permitted such participation. A look at the Sheikh’s considerations concerning the American political scene, to which he dedicated a special section in his Fatwah, is exemplary:


1 http://www.islam-online.net/fatwaapplication/english/display.asp?hFatwaID=106769
2 http://islamonline.net/fatwa/english/FatwaDisplay.asp?hFatwaID=62236
3 http://islamonline.net/fatwa/english/FatwaDisplay.asp?hFatwaID=16542
4 http://islamonline.net/fatwa/english/FatwaDisplay.asp?hFatwaID=4743



Particularities of the American Situation:
America has special conditions that need to be addressed in order to reach a rule in this matter:

1. America is a nation composed by immigrant communities from all over the world. It is not connected to one nation or one culture, in a limited sense where non-Europeans are excluded.
2. It is a young country. Its cultural patterns are still open to Influence from Islam. It also provides Islam with an opportunity to contribute to its growth.
3. It is a country that respects the freedoms of all religions to exist regardless of some shortcomings

Based on the above mentioned, the following conclusions can be reached in terms of Muslims participation in politics in America:

First: It is incumbent upon Muslims to participate in politics effectively in America. They need to involve for the following reasons:
- If Muslims needs to protect their rights they have to involve in politics.
- Supporting their fellow Muslims around the world
- Spreading Islam’s message
- Expressing the universality of Islam

Participating in politics is an obligation not “a right” that they can quit exercising it whenever they wish. It’s a matter of “protecting societal necessities” and the improvement of Muslims conditions in America.

Second: What ever helps in achieving such noble goals takes their rule Islamicaly. This includes:
1. Nominating any able Muslims to public offices in order to promote what is good for the society and for them, as well as preventing what is evil from harming the society and harming them. These offices are mayors, governors, members of the congress, and alike.
2. Individual Muslims nominate themselves, if Muslims did not nominate him
3. Supporting a non-Muslim candidate if he is more beneficial to Muslim’s causes or less harmful than a Muslim.
4. Supporting non Muslim candidates financially
5. Pursuing citizenship in America because it’s the bases of exercising rights
6. Registering for elections and voting. These are two separate but mandatory obligations.




Regulations and limitations:
1. In order for Muslims to gain their rights in this country, and their positive interaction with the native people of this country, it requires from us consultation and agreement on the main principles of Islam, and we should excuse each other on the minor differences. The righteous Companions of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, set up an example hundreds of years ago when they met to consult each pother on the best response to the critical situation during their migration to Abyssinia.
2. Muslims minority in America is in need for strengthening their belief, and enhancing their Islamic culture. Interaction with others should not lead to concessions that hinder their religion. Again the example of Ja`far At-tyar and his refusal to paw for An-Najashi (Negus) King of Abyssinia is the best example.

3. Muslim minority is in need of expressing the facts of Islam in the best manner. Eternal values of Islam, and its humanitarian system should be practiced and reflected in the best way. Exactly as Ja`far did in his speech in front of An-Najashi, when he stated the Pringles of Islam and the difference between Islam and darkness. In doing so, Muslims not only gain support and sympathy of others but an encouragement to others to follow the path of Islam.

4. Muslims in America should familiarize themselves with the art of communication and public relations. Again, Ja`far’s example when he ended his speech addressing the kin “we have come to your country’ we have chosen you among kings, we seek our neighborhood, and seek not to be dealt with unjustly.”



Conclusion
For the time being, Islamic leaders and organizations answer the question whether Muslims should take an active role in Western political life, and the American political system in particular, in the affirmative. This approval generally follows the lines of thought of the Muslim Brotherhood, which seeks a compromise with Western democracy on one hand, and judge many of its principles according to the benefit to Muslims (Maslahah), on the other. This line of thought, approved by Al-Qaradawi, follows previous doctrines developed by Sudan’s Dr. Hasan al-Turabi and the Tunisian exile in London, Rashid al-Ghannushi.

Thus far, the issue has not attracted a great deal of attention among the Islamists of the Jihadi-Salafi scholars of global Jihad. This is partly due to the fact that their Muslim supporters in the United States are still a small minority. They enjoy greater support among Muslims in Europe. Since the attacks of September 11, support for global Jihad and anti-American sentiments among American Muslims, are channeled primarily in two directions: The first is anti-Israeli propaganda and support for the Palestinians. The second is an effort to fight for Muslim human rights and to confront the anti-Islamic atmosphere in the American public and Media. Muslim Americans do not tend to adopt the Islamist terms of the Salafi Jihadi scholars, and regard themselves as living in an “apostate state” (Dawlat Kufr) or under the rule of a “tyrant” (Taghut).

So far, Muslim leaders and political activists have refrained from publicly calling upon their constituency to vote for candidates of the opposition Democratic Party and against President George W. Bush. Presumably, these leaders would seek the support of Democratic candidates rather than risk reelecting Republicans affiliated with the present Administration, but they will closely weigh the benefits they could gain with the price they would have to pay.

Another element in the equation, and perhaps one that is linked to the election campaign is the position of major Jewish American communities and organizations. In terms of numbers of eligible voters, the Jewish and Muslim communities within the United States today, are roughly equal in size. The Republican Party would probably attempt to increase its support among Jewish voters, who traditionally tend to support the Democrats, by expressing support for Israel, the occupation of Iraq, and the war against global/Islamist terrorism. In the longer run, the development of future competition between the two communities is likely to strengthen the support for a more intensive participation of the Muslim community in the American political system.



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Thursday, May 06, 2004

CAIR'S War On Talk Radio

CAIR is a danger to all Americans. Here's an article by Michelle Malkin highlighting their newest crusade.

http://www.jewishworldreview.com/michelle/malkin_2004_05_05.php3

The Council on American-Islamic Relations won't condemn Muslim fanatics, but it has declared war on outspoken Americans who will.

CAIR, which calls itself "America's largest Islamic civil liberties group," has lately focused its wrath on conservative radio talk show hosts. A new report by the group released this week attempts to tie talk radio to a dubious "sharp jump" in (self-reported) "Islamophobic hate crimes" in the U.S. CAIR fights dirty — fabricating quotes, taking comments out of context, indulging in the cult of victimology, and exploiting a gullibly sympathetic press. By manufacturing an anti-Muslim hate epidemic that doesn't exist, CAIR obfuscates its own suspicious role in fomenting anti-American extremism.

The most recent target of CAIR's campaign to stifle critics of radical Islam is Boston-based radio talk show veteran Jay Severin. On April 23, CAIR issued a press release headlined: "Boston Radio Host Says Kill All Muslims; Islamic Civil Rights Group Calls for Host's Termination." On April 25, the Boston Globe parroted the charges in a story that quoted CAIR spokeswoman Rabiah Ahmed accusing Severin of saying on his show, "I've got an idea, let's kill all Muslims."

Just one teensy problem with the story. It wasn't true. On April 27, the Globe was forced to publish a correction admitting that Severin never said "kill all Muslims." CAIR, however, has refused to admit the fabrication and continues to call for Severin's termination.

In Washington, D.C., CAIR took aim at local talk show host and JewishWorldReview.com columnist Michael Graham for making an "implicit" call for violence against all Muslims and for advocating common-sense security profiling. Singling Graham out for criticism, CAIR announced a new initiative "designed to counter anti-Muslim hate on radio talk shows" called "Hate Hurts America." Like Severin, Graham refused to be intimidated. (To read article, please click HERE.).

"What CAIR does is try to portray all criticism of all Muslims everywhere as bigotry," Graham responded.

"They singled me out because I said on the air (and have said in print as well) that Islam is a uniquely dangerous religion, that the religion itself needs a reformation much like those experienced by Catholicism and Mormonism, and that the one distinguishing attribute of 'moderate' Muslims is their reluctance to publicly criticize the actions of the Islamo-fascist extremists who continue to spread terror. Now, you might agree with me or you might disagree with me, but this is hardly bigotry. 'Stating the obvious' is a more apt description. But any criticism from an infidel like yours truly is unbearable to the folks at CAIR, and so they've launched their attack."

National radio personalities Paul Harvey and Dr. Laura have also come under fire for expressing opinions about Islam and calling on Muslims to disassociate themselves from terrorists. Harvey caved in to CAIR's pressure after members of the group besieged advertisers with threats and complaints because the veteran broadcaster alluded to Islam as "a religion which encourages killing." The ever-feisty Dr. Laura stood her ground, refusing to apologize for advising a mother not to let her daughter attend a field trip to a local mosque unless it was "one that has done its best to rout out terrorists in its midst."

CAIR attacks the "hate-filled rhetoric" of conservative talk show hosts, but as Middle East scholars Daniel Pipes, Robert Spencer, and others have amply demonstrated, several of the group's past and present leaders have refused to criticize the hate-filled rhetoric — and bloody acts of violence — of terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah. Three former CAIR officials have been indicted on charges of terrorism, money laundering or fraud-related charges. Most recently, Ismail Royer — a former CAIR "communications specialist" who "wrote investigative pieces on anti-Muslim organizations" — was sentenced to 20 years in prison for weapons convictions related to his participation in a network of militant jihadists centered in Northern Virginia.

CAIR publicity hounds remain uncharacteristically silent about Royer's conviction. Instead, they fulminate about the civil rights of Muslims being violated whenever someone offers even the mildest public dissent from Religion of Peace propaganda. These people won't rest until they have achieved the Al Jazeera-fication of America's airwaves.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for our daily update. It's free. Just click here.


JWR contributor Michelle Malkin is the author of, most recently, "Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists Criminals & Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores".

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There Are None So Blind

as Zionists who won't let go and Neocons who have never made a mistake.

Thanks to Tom Friedman in the NYT, we have been handed a solution to the colossal blunder in Iraq:


Mr. Bush needs to invite to Camp David the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, the heads of both NATO and the U.N., and the leaders of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Syria. There, he needs to eat crow, apologize for his mistakes and make clear that he is turning a new page. Second, he needs to explain that we are losing in Iraq, and if we continue to lose the U.S. public will eventually demand that we quit Iraq, and it will then become Afghanistan-on-steroids, which will threaten everyone. Third, he needs to say he will be guided by the U.N. in forming the new caretaker government in Baghdad. And fourth, he needs to explain that he is ready to listen to everyone's ideas about how to expand our force in Iraq, and have it work under a new U.N. mandate, so it will have the legitimacy it needs to crush any uprisings against the interim Iraqi government and oversee elections — and then leave when appropriate. And he needs to urge them all to join in.


I like to inject humor here when possible. In this case, Mr. Friedman has done it for me. Pardon me a moment while I wipe the tears of mirth from my eyes. Friedman actually suggests that George W. "I've NEVER made a mistake of any kind" Bush should (ah ha ha ha ha) "eat crow" and "apologize".

Perhaps it would have been easier, so long as we're dealing in fantasy, merely to opine that the solution to the Iraqi (and terrorist) problem in the world would be for all Muslims to convert to Judaism. That would work! And it's just as likely as Friedman's idiotic scenario.
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Join the Caravan--Reasons to wage Jihad

For all the politically-correct apologists out there, here's Iman Abdulah Azzams preface for a much larger article that can be found at http://www.at-tawbah.com/al-jihaad/join_the_caravan.htm

PART 1 - REASONS FOR JIHAD

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Praise be to Allah Whom we praise, and from Whom we seek help and forgiveness. We seek refuge with Allah from the evil of our selves and from our bad deeds. Whomever Allah guides none can lead astray, and whomever He leaves to stray, none can guide him aright. I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship but Allah alone, Who has no partners, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His Servant and Messenger. Oh Allah! There is nothing easy except that which You make easy, and you make difficult things easy when You will.

Anybody who looks into the state of the Muslims today will find that their greatest misfortune is their abandonment of Jihad (due to love of this world and abhorrence of death). Because of that, the tyrants have gained dominance over the Muslims in every aspect and in every land. The reason for this is that the Disbelievers only stand in awe of fighting.

"So fight in the Path of Allah- you will be held accountable only for yourself- and arouse the believers.

Surely, Allah will subdue the might of the Disbelievers, and Allah is mightier in power and severer in exemplary punishment."

We then are calling upon the Muslims and urging them to proceed to fight, for many reasons, at the head of which are the following:

1. In order that the Disbelievers do not dominate.

2. Due to the scarcity of men.

3. Fear of Hell-fire.

4. Fulfilling the duty of Jihad, and responding to the call of the Lord.

5. Following in the footsteps of the Pious Predecessors.

6. Establishing a solid foundation as a base for Islam.

7. Protecting those who are oppressed in the land.

8. Hoping for martyrdom.

9. A shield for the Ummah, and a means for lifting disgrace off them

10. Protecting the dignity of the Ummah, and repelling the conspiracy of its enemies

11. Preservation of the earth, and protection from corruption

12. Security of Islamic places of worship

13. Protection of the Ummah from punishment, disfiguration and displacement

14. Prosperity of the Ummah, and surplus of its resources

15. Jihad is the highest peak of Islam.

16. Jihad is the most excellent form of worship, and by means of it the Muslim can reach the highest of ranks.

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Tuesday, May 04, 2004

The Summer of Vigilance

Robert Spencer wrote an important editorial for the Washington Times last week that we have reprinted in the articles section of williamwebb.org. He joins a growing number of concerned citizens who warn of near-term attacks within the United States.

While I think nothing short of a miraculous effort by our outstanding men and women at FBI or Department of Homeland Security can prevent the upcoming series of attacks—I do not think it is time for fear or hysteria.

Rather, it is time for vigilance from all our citizens—particularly from that elusive and supposedly dominate group of “moderate Muslims” that our politicians and diversity-preaching media and academics assure us represent the real face of Islam.

It is time for people of all religions, political persuasions and heritages to become vigilant and observant. The next series of mass murders by the Islamists will respect neither Muslim, Christian nor Jew, nor Republican, Democrat nor Independent.

Right now, there are Islamist terror cells operating within the United States. And just like the 9/11 hijackers, the majority of the terrorists making up these cells are not on the various terrorist watch lists. So it is up to ordinary citizens to be alert for suspicious behaviors and to alert proper authorities. The terrorists in these cells are not Protestants, Jews, Buddhists, Mormons, Catholics, Hindus, Moonies or Agnostics. They are as the Al-Qaida manual says, “The member of the Organization must be Moslem. How can an unbeliever, someone from a revealed religion (Christian, Jew), a secular person, a communist, etc, protect Islam and Moslems and defend their goals and secrets when he does not believe in that religion [Islam]?"

It is time for the moderate Moslems to step up to the plate and maintain vigilance with us infidels as we go into a very dangerous summer.

Now I know the civil libertarians on both sides of the political spectrum gnash their teeth over any suggestion of “spying” on fellow citizens and if we weren’t involved in a worldwide religious insurgency I would wholeheartedly agree with those on both the right and left.

But it is my contention that we are involved in a religious war that is ultimately going to result in the death of hundreds of thousands of Americans unless we wake up very soon. Many of these well-meaning libertarians will have the blood of these thousands on their hands.


These libertarians don’t want the government creating databases like TIA or the Matrix to conduct homeland intelligence gathering. They don’t want the Patriot Act extended. They don’t want an MI-5-type organization created to focus only on homeland intelligence and counter-terrorism. They don’t want to profile the only group of people who have declared war on us and openly calls for our destruction. They don’t want to allow the FBI or DHS to do surveillance of known radical mosques. They don’t want to have any semblance of a sane immigration policy. They don’t want foreign students tracked. They don’t want to treat combatants like war criminals but rather like common criminals.

What methods are left other than blind chance or a vigilant citizenry?

Bin Laden has said that Americans never understand “until they are hit in the head.”

Those who have seen the classified information are now beginning to understand the true danger behind bin Laden and the growing Islamist legions.

Does he have a nuke? The evidence strongly suggests he does. This is the nightmare scenario. Unfortunately, many Americans, including many politicians and media elites can’t comprehend that radical Islamists have already received religious justification from radical Islamic religious leaders to use WMDs against us.

Will it take a massive “strike against the head” with hundreds of thousands killed and the severe economic consequences to follow to get our politicians to finally get it?

But just as bad would be a strike against a nuclear reactor (which was the original plan for 9/11), a large chemical plant, refinery, or a strike involving a combination of three. You can read in many major metropolitan newspapers during the immediate post 9/11-era the predicted death toll for any one of these strikes.

We are entering a very dangerous time here in the United States. With all the victories in the war on terror, and all the hard work of dedicated FBI, DHS and police officers across the country, we still are very vulnerable.

Many of these vulnerabilities remain because of the sheer impossibility of making an enormous country like the United States 100 percent safe.

But many of the vulnerabilities remain because libertarians and politicians on both the right and left put civil liberties and votes ahead of homeland security and effective counter-intelligence. Hopefully, we won’t have to lose a 100,000 people to learn we tilted the balance too much in favor of terrorists.

It is the summer for all citizens to be vigilant.





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Sunday, May 02, 2004

Iraq Will Go Down as Biggest US Blunder Ever


(first published May 1, 2004)

May Day, May Day! Or should that be m'aidez, m'aidez?

The month of May brings two noteworthy news items--neither likely to give Americans more pride in their selected/appointed president and his government. Although in this case, W cannot be held responsible, it will certainly prove to be another occasion on which the "buck" will stop somewhere else--anywhere else.

First of all we learn of the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at the famed Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad. For those hardened cynics among the gentle readers of this blog, perhaps these revelations are neither shocking nor even deeply disturbing--in and of themselves. But if you are sufficiently cynical (if that is even possible these days), you cannot help but wonder if the Bush Administration and the US Department of Defense are not deliberately doing everything they can to inflame the world of Islam. Given radical Islam's beliefs about women, even though by Western standards reprehensible, the US could hardly have done anything more heinous than having WOMEN sexually abusing Muslim men. And someone actually took pictures? The woman soldier in these images is almost certain to spend time in military prison over this. Who in his right mind would let someone take photographs?

So, the damage is done and now, if anyone even thought it was possible, the Islamic world has an even deeper disgust of the United States than before. And this kind of thing will move moderates to support the extremists. This is so unbelievably stupid. This is throwing gasoline on a fire that threatens to consume the world for the next century. This is catastrophically stupid--and, sadly, not the least bit surprising. The "advisors" in the Bush Administration, the collective brain trust, is either so incredibly ignorant of the world or so genuinely evil that it really beggars belief.

Both "sides" in the US seem to agree that since we invaded Iraq we must stay and fix it. At least, so it has seemed so far. But developments over the early spring point to a much different conclusion. The Iraq invasion is an error of such colossal proportions that even the world's only remaining superpower has neither the money nor the sustainable will to fix it. If you have not read it elsewhere, mark that you have read it here: the United States will ultimately withdraw from a war torn, bloody Iraq with nothing to show for it but the loss of thousands of soldiers (killed or maimed), hundreds of billions of dollars thrown away, the vitriolic hatred of a large proportion of the world's billion or so Muslims, and the complete loss of respect of the entire rest of the civilized world. That will be president George W. Bush's legacy. And America's greatest moment of shame.

The second item involves William Webb's favourite politician, Ted Kennedy. Senator Kennedy was quoted as having said, "The war in Iraq will go down in history as the greatest foreign policy blunder in the history of the United States." Whatever else may be wrong with Senator Kennedy, whatever else he may be guilty of or whatever else he may have said, you have got to give him his due on this one. He is dead on the mark. In closing, let me repeat his words--words that I have said and typed long before now anyway. And for those of you who are still in deep denial and supporting this fiasco of historic proportions, remember you read these words here and now. If we can compare notes in 20 years or so, let's see who was right.

"The war in Iraq will go down in history as the greatest foreign policy blunder in the history of the United States."

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