Saturday, May 15, 2004

The Images We See--And Those We Don't

By Jeff Jacoby The Boston Globe May 13, 2004

THE DEATH of Nicholas Berg is a horror. It is a bitter reminder of why we are at war -- something that much of America's political and media elite, in their binge of outrage and apology over the Abu Ghraib abuses, have lately seemed all too willing to forget.

I don't for a moment minimize the awfulness of what some American soldiers did to their Iraqi captives in that prison. Their offenses may have fallen far short of the savagery that Abu Ghraib was notorious for under Saddam Hussein, but in their cruelty and urge to humiliate and in the sadistic glee with which they posed for those photographs, they reek of the depravity we went to Iraq to uproot. As one who believes that this war was necessary above all on moral grounds, I'm sickened by what they did.

But I'm sickened as well by the relish with which this scandal is being exploited by those who think that the defeat of the Bush administration is an end that justifies just about any means. I'm sickened by the recklessness of the media, which relentlessly flogged the graphic images from Abu Ghraib, giving them an in-your-face prominence that couldn't help but exaggerate their impact. And I'm sickened by the thought of how much damage this feeding frenzy may have done to the war effort.

We do remember the war effort, don't we? Surely we haven't forgotten the jetliners smashing into the twin towers and Pentagon, and 3,000 innocents dying in a single morning. Or the monstrous Saddam, who filled mass graves to bursting, invaded two neighboring countries, and avidly sought weapons of mass destruction. Or the reason why 130,000 US soldiers are on the line in Iraq: because establishing a democratic beachhead in the Middle East is critical to cutting off the terrorists' oxygen -- the backing they get from dictatorial regimes.

My sense is that the public hasn't lost sight of any of this. But for weeks now, a goodly swath of the chattering class has been treating the war as little more than a rhetorical backdrop against which to score political points or increase market share.

Newsweek's Eleanor Clift, for instance, reacted to the Abu Ghraib revelations with a column urging the Democratic presidential candidate to milk the moment for all it was worth. "If ever there was a moment for John Kerry to come out swinging, this is it," she wrote. "It is the biggest story of the war, and he is essentially silent." There are many thoughtful things one might say about Abu Ghraib, but only someone eager for the US campaign in Iraq to fail and George W. Bush to be defeated could possibly describe it as "the biggest story of the war."

Besides, the Kerry campaign has hardly been silent on the prison scandal. It is using it as a fund-raising hook, sending out mass e-mails urging supporters to petition for Donald Rumsfeld's resignation -- and to donate money to the Kerry campaign.

Poor Nick Berg. The anybody-but-Bush crowd isn't going to rush to publicize his terrible fate with anything like the zeal it brought to the abused prisoners story. CBS and The New Yorker couldn't resist the temptation to shove the Abu Ghraib photos into the public domain -- and the rest of the media then made sure the world saw them over and over and over. But when it comes to video and stills of Al Qaeda murderers severing Berg's head with a knife and brandishing it in triumph for the camera, the Fourth Estate is suddenly squeamish.

As I write on Wednesday afternoon, the CBS News website continues to offer a complete "photo essay" of naked Iraqi men being humiliated by Americans in a variety of poses. But the video of Berg's beheading, CBS says, "is too gruesome to show." No other network and no newspaper that I have seen shows the gory pictures, either.

What exactly is the governing rule here? That incendiary images sure to enrage our enemies and get more Americans killed should be published while images that show the world just how evil those enemies really are should be suppressed? Offensive and shocking pictures that undermine the war effort should be played up but offensive and shocking pictures that remind us why we're at war in the first place shouldn't get played at all?

Yes, Virginia, there really is a gaping media double standard. News organizations will shield your tender eyes from the sight of a Berg or a Daniel Pearl being decapitated, or of Sept. 11 victims jumping to their deaths, or of the mangled bodies on the USS Cole, or of Fallujans joyfully mutilating the remains of four lynched US civilians. But they will make sure you don't miss the odious behavior of Americans or American allies, no matter how atypical that misbehavior may be or how determined the US military is to uproot and punish it.

We are at war with a vicious enemy, and propaganda in wartime is a weapon whose consequences can be deadly. Nick Berg lost his life because the Abu Ghraib pictures were turned into a worldwide media event. Yes, those who did so were sheltered by the First Amendment. That makes what they did not better but worse
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Friday, May 14, 2004

Nutwatch 2004--Doctor Raul Castro Guevara--More thought on Beheading on Nick Berg

It has been a grim week with the media machine obsessing over nude photos from Iraq. But Nutwatch 2004 rages on--and today--we have another "conspiracy" theory brewing on another progressive website backed up by pseudo-science.

Over at http://www.informationtimes.com/ we have Doctor Raul Castro Guevara who obviously has forgotten to drink his Lithium milkshake and finds himself in the grip of painful delusions consistent with advanced schizophrenia--or maybe way too much tequila--sun over-exposure-- dehydration from diarrhea from eating nasty meat--well, you get the idea.

Here's the story:

Nick Berg decapitation video declared "a fraud" by medical doctor


The first casualty of war is the truth and this one has been no exception. La Voz de Aztlan obtained a copy of the video showing the beheading of American Nick Berg of Philadelphia and immediately something very odd was readily apparent. Not only were the purported screams of Nick Berg not in synchrony with the decapitation but their was also a total lack of blood spurting out as his jugular and other veins and arteries were being cut.

We forwarded the video to Doctor Raul Castro Guevara, a surgeon and forensic expert in Mexico City for his expert opinion. He wrote back and commented, "No hay manera que el individuo en el video estaba vivo y su corazon funcionando cuando le estaban cortando la cabeza. En estos casos, el corazon impela sangre con gran presion, y se corta las arterias del cuello, hay una gran cantidad de sangre que salpica por todos lados. En mi opinion el video es un fraude."

Doctor Raul Castro Guevara is saying that there is no way that the individual in the video was alive and his heart pumping while his neck was being cut. The doctor adds that in these cases, while the heart is pumping, cutting a person's artery in the neck, would cause copious amounts of blood to spurt all over the immediate environment. He says that in his opinion the video is a fraud.

We hope that our readers view the video and see for themselves. We will provide a copy to any of our subscribers that have been supportive of our publication. Send a request to La Voz de Aztlan at Fake_Video@Aztlan.Net

If you are able to view the video, please pay close attention to the five so called Al queda terrorists making the political statement. Look at their height, weight, skin color and their mannerisms. Do you think these people are Arabs or Iraqis?
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Yes Raul, the first casualty of any conspiracy theory is truth as well--and like most conspiracies--the first thing you must do is check all facts that everybody else has witnessed at the door. Mr Berg's torso and head were found separately on a bridge this past weekend. How do you think this happened, Raul? Vultures? Jessica Lange on a glue binge? Charlie Manson was let out of prison by the CIA and set loose in Iraq?

Then we have the video and the credit showing up on an Islamist site--before the hated American's had released how Mr Berg was killed. How does Al Qaida and their spawn continue to cooperate with the Americans by not popping up and saying: Wait a minute here--we didn't do this--this is a CIA plot.

Are Al Qaida and Al-Zarqawi really a plot by the Bush Administration and Saudi Arabia and the Masons and the Jews and Right-Wing Evangelical Christians and All White Men and Women with boob-jobs to further enslave the pathetic masses?

Raul, get back on your milkshake-and seek help immediately
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Nutwatch 2004--Dumber than three dogs ... KerryWatch

Nutwatch 2004 is blowing almost hurricane-force today.

As the vile winds blow, the pathetic bawling and screeching from the Kerry camp is in full force as the most liberal of Senators has his record revealed to the voters. What all know is going to be a brutish, nasty campaign is in full-swing and many young, idealistic twenty-something’s are learning that politics is a contact sport.

Showing up in my e-mail yesterday is a missive so hideously insane that I feel I must share part of it—and commit its’ writer to the Nutwatch 2004 hall of fame:

"The Bush Campaign has violated every standard of decency by attacking John Kerry's military service. When it comes down to it, this is an attack on all veterans, soldiers and their families. And so we're asking for help from all Americans to hit back now:

https://contribute.johnkerry.com

RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie and Bush Campaign Manager Ken Melhman are running an ugly smear campaign on John Kerry's service in Vietnam. We've seen this before. In 2000 they ran a "whisper campaign" against John McCain, suggesting his time as a POW made him unfit for the Presidency. Then in this campaign, their surrogates have even questioned Max Cleland's war heroism -- a man who received a Silver Star and lost three limbs in the Vietnam War.

The fact is they're terrified of running against John Kerry's war record. And so they're desperately doing everything they can to try to tear it down.

We need to hit back, and hit back hard to get out the truth. We've learned that the Bush Campaign will say and do anything in the attack ads they're running in key swings states. We've simply got to be able to counter them. And we can only do that if supporters keep contributing to our campaign at the record-setting levels we saw last month.
Give us the means to hit back. Contribute now:

Thank you,
Mary Beth Cahill
Campaign Manager, John Kerry for President


Yes, Mary Beth, I’ll just dig deep into my pockets and mail you a check for a grand or two but first I want you to promise me you’ll get back on your medicine and back into therapy and quit mixing the drugs and alcohol—and try to get laid once a day because you obviously are getting high-strung and it’s exacerbating your schizophrenia and causing you to send out twisted letters like the one I received in my e-mail yesterday—I know lithium is probably too strong to function, you may want to try Caramazepine or Propranolol—but watch mixing these with other drugs Mary Beth. This is serious business—and millions are observing your behavior.

Down in Texas they have a saying for letter like this Mary Beth. That dog won’t hunt.

I’d like to add a little more risqué Texas saying: Your letter is dumber than three dogs having sex.

Now I know you’re suffering Mary Beth, and the disease that has you in it’s grasp is a wicked and vile one—but please get someone to give missives a sniff-test before you go off the deep end with a letter like this

Do you remember the attack on President Bush’s National Guard record Mary Beth? There is something rather illogical to a statement “violated every standard of decency” when referring to one candidate’s attack on a record—when you did it first.

Try to see through your madness and twisted logic—if this is an attack on all veterans, etc—what was your attack on the President’s record? And while we’re on that topic—how do you feel the protesting of the war and John Kerry claiming he served with a bunch of war criminals made people feel? What about the new JFK throwing someone else’s war medals over a fence?

Whisper campaign? Have you listened to the Senator Kennedy, the butcher of Chappaquiddick giving speeches in public lately? He obviously has been mixing copious amounts of alcohol with drugs to listen to his personal insults and attacks on the President. Bet he is getting laid though, Mary Beth—although that is an image worse than the three above-mentioned dogs.

Max Cleland? I’m actually a Republican who admires him. But he didn’t lose three limbs in combat—as you and your campaign have tried to assert. He had a tragic accident—picked up a grenade and it exploded.

So, Mary Beth, send me a letter from your therapist and I’ll be glad to send you some money.

Until then, I’m hitting http://williamwebb.org and enrolling you in Nutwatch 2004.

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Thursday, May 13, 2004

What A "Moderate Arab" Says When He's Overseas

Arabs 'must woo American public'
By SARA HORTON
Published: 13 May 2004

ARAB leaders and their people are doing little or nothing to change US foreign policy, an international expert declared in Bahrain last night.

Meanwhile the Israelis are busy lobbying from the street up to keep US policy in their favour, said visiting Arab American Institute founder and president Dr James Zogby last night.

Arab Americans are doing their best to win hearts and minds both among ordinary US citizens and the leadership, but they cannot do it alone, Dr Zogby told guests at a public meeting at the Bahrain Conference Centre, Crowne Plaza Hotel.

The event was organised by the Bahrain Centre for Studies and Research, which has co-sponsored Dr Zogby's visit with Bahrain University.

"I make no apologies for the politics of my country," he told the audience.

"I have been fighting against it all my life as an American. However the Arab-American community have been fighting by themselves.

"The Palestinians as a movement have done nothing.

"Most Arab embassies, while they do work on behalf of their governments, do not engage with the American people.

"We are fighting against political forces more potent than us and we're fighting a battle against a sea of disinformation presented by apparently authoritative voices.

"A quiet word from an Arab leader to the President is not enough.

"Politics on the ground, where the real decisions are made, are being shaped in other directions."

To initiate real change, the American and Arab peoples have to see each other clearly, by educating each other to see past the stereotypes and prejudices which mar both sides' images, said Dr Zogby.

However, while the Americans are receptive to learning more about Arabs, they are learning about them from those who are interested in creating more tension, partly because Arab people are not actively visiting the US to dispel these myths.

"There is a lack of understanding on both sides formed from ignorance and prejudice," said Dr Zogby.

"We show no appreciation for the complexity of our peoples. We have taken aberrant behaviour and made it into generalisations.

"Yes Muslims have committed violence and yes Americans have been guilty of bigotry towards Arabs, but that does not reflect either people.

"Extremists do exist in both worlds. There are ideologues who are seeking to create a clash of civilisations.

"They are seeking to reinforce the world as it currently exists. They do not seek to solve problems but to exacerbate existing problems and widen the gap.

"These people are preaching in mosques and churches and they are leading a fundamentalist movement that wishes to create havoc.

"If we want this to change the only way to do it is to engage with each other."

If Bahraini delegations were to go the US and meet ordinary Americans they could both increase understanding and even help change political policy for it is the voters politicians want to please.

The Israeli lobby has been doing this for years and it is time the Arabs follow suit, said Dr Zogby. "The US policy is not fair and it not right, but just saying that will not change anything," he continued.

"Congress is only responsive to what it takes to get people to vote for them.

"Although America is a superpower, most Americans don't have a sense of the world at all.

"The Israelis understand this and they go from city to city, bypassing the leadership and changing political discourse from the bottom up.

"We have justice on our side but if it is not talked about it does not exist.

"The Arab world can do it. We have more people and a better story and we can make changes through engaging with people."

Now is the perfect time to start working on constructive dialogue, says Dr Zogby.

"The American people are saying that something is wrong and they want a different direction," he continued.

"What can help bring that about is dialogue.

"At the end of the day the American people want to be fair. There's just a failure of leadership and understanding now.

"As difficult as the current situation is, it is an opening to create change."

However, the relationship between the Americans and the Arabs will not be transformed overnight.

"The other side has been working on this for well over half a century, but we've only just begun," noted Dr Zogby.

"It's not going to happen quickly and it will take time.

"We have work to do and you have work to do but together we can make some changes."


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Great Question From Uzbekistan

Who is going to cut the roots of fundamentalist forces? - 05/13/2004 12:40 from Pravda

"Pakistan is still supporting Al-Qaida and Taliban terrorist elements and not doing enough for flushing them out..."

The recent terrorist attacks in Central Asian State of Uzbekistan and the latest confession made by the arrested young Uzbek terrorist have once again reconfirmed that despite several assurances and promises, Pakistan and the Inter Services Intelligence(ISI) are still continuing to support the cross border terrorism. The statements of American Ambassador in Afghanistan and senior officials of US in their remarks have also said that unfortunately ⌠Pakistan is still supporting Al-Qaida and Taliban terrorist elements and not doing enough for flushing them out, especially those who are presently based on Pak side of Afghanistan √Pakistan border. Not only this, it is already confirmed that the dangerous Uzbek terrorist who subverted Uzbek youth, under the banner of Muslim religion were also trained on the territory of Pakistan and despite several official requests of Uzbekistan, till date Pak is not ready to hand over the resident IMU cadres to Uzbekistan.

The president of Uzbekistan Mr. Islam Karimov has in the past several times accused Pakistan and this time during the 14th session of the Uzbek Parliament, addressing diplomats, MP▓s and Journalists, he openly confirmed that routes of these terrorist acts lay beyond the border of Uzbekistan. The perpetrators of these acts underwent training in extremist camps in South Waziristan in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where they were subverted by false ideas and promises.

On the other hand, like always, president Musharraf repeatedly assured the world community about his determination to fight against fundamentalism forces including the Al-Qaida & Taliban. It should be mentioned here that Mr. Musharraf himself assured and certified to the world community that foreign terrorists were no longer been trained in the training camps in Pakistan.

However, this runs contrary to the statements made by the arrested Uzbek terrorist suspects, who were involved in the recent attacks in Uzbekistan. Though the world community is quite well aware of the realities of General Musharraf▓s promises and speeches. All this throws an important question. That General Musharraf may have personally unaware of such camps which are located on Pakistan territory, may be possible but certainly it is impossible that such developments took place without the knowledge of the omnipresent PAK, ISI, on its own territory. It is necessary to state here that the PAK, ISI, as has been admitted even by President Musharraf, has been actively involved in providing material and other logistic support and facilitating the training of terrorist cadres of several banned international extremist organization such as Islam Movement of Uzbekistan, Al-Qaida, Talibans etc.

It must be remembered that the Inter Services Intelligence(ISI) was created for the purpose of espionage against the enemy or enemies of Pakistan to safeguard the interests of the nation. But contrary to and in total violation of its basic duty, the personnel of this organization have been meddling in the politics and civilian affairs of the country has reached to such a level that now ISI can make or break any government and in involved in the fractioning of the political parties. Thus no one from the political establishment of Pakistan wants to take on the ISI.

To prove the real faces and to shed a little light on Pak's, ISI (which is disturbing directly or indirectly the international community), not only the international journalists but the Pakistani writers also have written volumes in this regard. For example, internet editions like THE NEWS, HERALD TRIBUNE,THE NATION, DAWN, SOUTH ASIA TRIBUNE, PAKISTAN-FACTS.COM, DAILY TIMES & SOUTH ASIA MONITOR etc. have published real facts of the actual role and functioning of the ISI and its unethical practices.

Under the heading Don▓t be fooled by Musharraf an ex-editor of Pakistan▓s most influential English daily The News, Mr. Shaheen Sehbai has written in his article(19.3.2002): --- Over 20 years ago, another military dictator, Zia-ul-Haque, created the first reign of the ISI when he empowered the agency to run a different war in Afghanistan≈the one against the Soviets. Billions of American taxpayer dollars and weapons of every imaginable type flowed through the ISI into mujahedeen hands≈while the US government looked the other way as Zia built Pakistan's nuclear capacity, trained Islamic militants and inculcated radical Islam into the barracks and the schools. Rogue terrorist armies were born and no one paid attention.■

Naeem Mansoor Khan of Karachi has written; ⌠Pakistan intelligence agency(ISI) not only involved in politics but also involved in all criminals activities like ⌠Heroin■ arms smuggling, blue literatures, terrorism. Now a day took all over religious matters in hands, they made many jihad organizations and use that so called jihad groups against state and throughout the world."

A retired Pakistani Colonel and a freelance columnist Mr.Masud Akhtar Shaikh has written in ⌠The News■ on 15th of June 2003 that: ⌠The imposition of military rule and the forced suspension of the democratic process has always been a child▓s play in this country ever since the first Commander-in-Chief Ayub Khan tried his hands at this game with remarkable success.■

Ahmed Rashid of Lahore in his article for ⌠Far Eastern Economic Review■ has written: ⌠The equation has not changed, despite Musharraf's need to maintain a strong alliance with the United States. The religious parties platform of anti-Americanism did not deter Musharraf: In fact, it appears that the army and the ISI sponsored the religious leaders, or mullahs √⌠Waqar Alam, of Karachi: --- The face of ISI sponsored JEHADI organizations is now clear to the whole world┘.

In view of the foregoing it is time that the leaders of international anti-terrorist coalition and their erudite planners and advisers focused on the activities of the ISI rather than go after individual cadres of several terrorist organizations in the world which are somehow linked to the ISI.

Finally, we should remember one wise proverb that: ⌠It is better to finish the problem at its roots rather than trim the branches.■

It's almost certain that if the ISI is reined in, operational functioning of a large number of terrorist organizations in the world would be hampered. Certainly, the problem in Afghanistan would also show a marked improvement.

Here also a question arises: Who will proceed to cut the unwanted roots of fundamentalist forces?

UZBEKISTAN

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How An Arab Writer Views Torture

Mohamad Rumaihi Al-Hayat 2004/05/12


We heard terrible stories about the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and the torture of Iraqi detainees by American soldiers and officers. They are really painful ones for the people who read the details or even saw the pictures of the many detention camps in North or South Iraq. They are all denounced them for they could not be justified.

These stories were well denounced by Arab politicians and writers, who called for condemning them.

All the above is good and welcomed, however, some of the Arab writers who condemned these savage acts, justified the killings and torture practiced by the former Iraqi regime. Some of them even said that the former regime is not responsible for the mass graves.

The Arab symphony that rightfully condemned the U.S. torture in Iraq, did not point out the Arab torture which is spread everywhere, whose history is well known and documented in articles and books that showed the extent to which the human beings, the prisoners and especially the political detainees are not respected.

The rightful condemnation of the U.S. torturing the detainees in Iraq does not include the condemnation of some Arab prisons torturing prisoners, not in the past, but today.

Many intellectuals are in prisons today; we know the names of some. Others have been in jail since dozens of years and we know nothing about them.

These double standards occur in denouncing the external violations and ignoring or overlooking the internal ones.

This is a deep Arab cultural paradox. If we do not get rid of it and discuss it openly, we will remain, despite the many Arab human rights committees and organizations, people who accept oppression and the lack of freedoms, be they local or foreign.

True, the crimes perpetrated against the Iraqi detainees are a savage act that humiliates human pride. It is also true that these acts were revealed by Western American institutions at first and then American officials talked about them hesitantly. Some of them apologized and promised to compensate the harmed people. This is the difference we want to attract attention to. The societies that are based on independent and accountable institutions, the mistakes of which are condemned symbolically, morally or even judicially, without forgetting any of the perpetrators. This method diminishes the harmful effects and prevents or reduces the same crimes being perpetrated.

The calamity is to unveil this inhuman act only after the fall of the regimes in our countries where people are silenced. Accountability lacks and inhuman practices are tolerated in our Arab prisons. Such actions lead to blind terror.

One day, an Egyptian friend of mine, Said Kefrawi, told me that after he published his book "The Mare" in 1969, which is a long story of two brothers possessing a mare. The eldest brother used to control the mare, uses it as he wishes and forbids his youngest brother from using it, although the latter used to take care of it. After the book was published, the writer was accused of being a Communist and even belonging to the Islamic Brotherhood! He was jailed and tortured because the mare was considered Egypt and the eldest brother Abdul Nasser!

Torturing Kefrawi in jail is a small but telling example on morality. The big one is that in jail, there was a blind man who used to work as an average scholar in a small city. He was accused of inciting the people after the war of 1967! Each night, the blind man was tortured and then left in the tight corridors of the prison, hitting all the walls. The blind man is Omar Abdulrahman, who later became the Mufti of the Islamic Jihad groups. He moved from the prison in his country to another one in the land of Uncle Sam.

The security solution is useless. It might realize some results on the short term; however, it leaves incurable pains that history should learn from. Oppression and torture in the Arab prisons created terrorist people.

It is good to condemn the American jailers in Abu Ghraib and other jails however; it would be even more courageous to condemn the local torture in the jails that leaves dozens of hearts full of hatred. Since we denied them their right of expression, they have turned to destroying countries.

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Wednesday, May 12, 2004

The Lesser of Evils

The single most disturbing aspect of the current worldwide uproar over shenanigans in US military prisons is the way in which it reveals the complete lack of depth, ignorance, and cowardice of America's leaders.

Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) blithely commented yesterday, during the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, that he was "more outraged by the outrage" than by what happened to Iraqi prisoners. That, in and of itself, is reason enough to remove Inhofe from the Senate--indeed to remove him from any public office.

Am I trying to say that the prisoner abuse was so outrageous and horrible that no one should be allowed to say it's just OK? No! No! No!

The reason Inhofe has shown that he has to go is because he is stupid. Apparently, like any other bellicose idiot in our country, once the testosterone gets to the brain, all higher functions cease. America's paralysis in dealing with issues like this is not coming from politics. Let me repeat that--IT'S NOT POLITICS, STUPID! We are trapped by the complete lack of integrity and stupidity of our leaders--in both parties.

If those who are outraged by intimidation, beatings, sexual abuse, and threatening prisoners with attack dogs claim that the US is "just as bad as Saddam" for doing these things, that's not politics---it's just plain STUPID. It's time we started calling stupid people stupid. On the other hand, to have no better grasp of the importance and long term implications of the recently released photographs than to liken the prisoners' treatment to a "frat hazing" is also just plain STUPID.

Intelligent and courageous leadership would take us into the middle ground where problems can be solved. But what do we have? STUPID leaders. The point is NOT whether what was done in US custody is AS bad, 50% as bad, 66.723% as bad. And you cannot do anything for peace and stability in the world by making the (let's face it) STUPID argument that the US is OK because we're not as bad as Saddam.

Let's take Inhofe's STUPID argument a few steps further. If Saddam lined up and executed 100 ten year old kids, we naturally find that abhorrent and intolerable and we have to stop it. No argument on that--so far as I know--from either side. Now what is it the US can do--what is it that is OK for the US to do? Can we line up and shoot 80 twelve year old kids? Why not? It's not AS BAD AS SADDAM! After all there aren't as many and we let them get two years older! Do twelve year olds bother you? OK then, is it OK if they are sixteen?

OK--let's assume that you are outraged because I suggested that we line them up and shoot them (US troops did just that at My Lai, but let's assume that such a thing could NEVER happen again). Can we just beat the living crap out of 100 eighteen year olds? No? Twenty year olds? Come on, all of you angry white men who just can't wait to kick ass--where's the line? How old do they have to be and how badly can we treat them? After all, that's the question, right?

The Army is justly concerned about ignoring the Geneva Conventions and the so-called "rules of war". Why? Not because the US Army routinely ignores these things. It's to protect US soldiers when they are captured. To give us justifiable moral indignation if anyone, ANYONE dares to treat captured US soldiers in any way that violates what the world has accepted as humane and civilized.

As I watch all of this, I think back to the cowboy, military combat, and cops and robbers shows of my youth. They INVARIABLY showed that the good guys never fired first, never beat up an enemy, never became the bad guy. Maybe those were soft and silly times--but these shows were broadcast not long after the US had endured WW II--a war in which over 1 million of our citizens died. No--I don't accept the notion that those who had passed through the genuine fires of World War II were soft and silly. No, they were tough and wise and they knew what dignity, integrity, and real courage were.

It does not take courage nor conviction to argue that the US only needs to be seen as "better than Saddam". No, that's STUPID. It is not intelligent nor wise to suggest that humiliation is just as "bad as Saddam". No, that's also STUPID.

And, before concluding, let's inject a tiny bit of reality into the proceedings. Anyone who has ever worn a uniform can give you a dozen ways and more of suggesting how to do things while not being held accountable. This fencing match between generals and DOD bureaucrats over who exactly ordered whom to do what when is also STUPID. The military intel guys who wanted the prisoners "softened up" for interrogation did not leave written orders around saying "strip the prisoners naked and sodomize them with a broom handle". OK? But did they want exactly that to happen? Maybe. Probably. But attempting to handle this as a "who knew what when" investigation is doomed to failure from the "get go".

Unfortunately, given the worldwide distribution of graphic evidence, our government has no choice but to engage in public self-flagellation. For those of you still firmly in the "might makes right" camp, those of you who have decided that, since we have most of the bombs and most of the guns, we will do whatever we damn well please... Just like everybody else, you get to live the rest of your lives wondering whether or not the plane you or your family is in is going to blow up. And having hundreds of F-16s, M1-A1s, smart bombs, etc. doesn't help.

Sadly, the world is now in a place where there are two possibilities and only two. This is not false dilemma--this is real dilemma. The developed nations of the world can undertake a long, expensive, and difficult mission to genuinely win hearts and minds among the deadly dangerous religionists of the world, or they can undertake to kill them all. Think of that... either we decide to kill between 100 million and 1 billion people or we engage in long term and expensive programs to discredit their ideology. To do so will require wisdom, courage, endurance, generosity, and integrity. Stupid leaders and stupid adolescent arguments will not help.
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Savages for Allah

I had turned off the news for the past week--tired of the endless self-flagellation over juvenile pictures of naked Iraqi prisoners being touted as horrific abuse beyond the pale of human dignity. At least nobody has rolled out the Nazi comparisons—yet.

The media has been bad enough--endless words and the pictures and analysis bombarding the senses for 24 hours-a-day. But then, we've have to listen to murderers like the butcher of Chappaquiddick, Ted Kennedy, and other democrats like Senator Byrd shaking and twitching from the Senate floor creating another political incident in their obsessive hatred of President Bush.

Well Teddy and Bob and Dan Rather and all you other self-serving hypocrites--here's a website where you can view real brutality and give you all a clue as to the character of the people we are fighting: drive.hostnow.biz/iraq/iraq2vediow.zip

These are savages and barbarians killing in the name of Allah.

This is standard practice--from the 9/11 hijackers slitting several passengers throats, to the torture and killing of Danny Pearl, to the beheading of tourists in Pakistan by Omar Sheik.

Let's not forget the rape and torture of American women military people in both Iraq Wars.

Apparently none of this has been as newsworthy or as politically expedient as the naked Iraqis.

And of course, none of the media will point out that this "slaughter" is celebrated in the Koran and the Islamist barbarians use the Koran as justification. Political correctness has been drilled into the heads of these politicians and journalists for so long they have lost any capacity to ask unpleasant questions concerning the so-called "religion of peace."

Nicholas Berg, may God rest his soul, got to experience the Islamists’ love.

I predict you will see less than one-thousandth of the coverage and analysis of the beheading of Nicholas Berg and that the religious motivation and justification won’t be the lead story on CBS news or above the fold of the New York Times.

As I have written many times, this is a religious war, stupid, and until our mainstream media and politicians accept that Islamists have declared war we will continue to see dead Americans.

We are fighting religiously-motivated savages and barbarians. People who behead, rape and practice real torture as a matter of course.

They all come from one religion.

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Idiots for Bush

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Buried in the middle of a Washington Post article about political activism in middle America, we find this extremely telling bit of information:

Yet, while there was ample positive sentiment expressed for Bush and what this group believed was his decency and strength, the conversation became visibly more animated when people were talking about subjects they do not like.

Kerry, for instance. Linda Zins-Adams, who teaches German, regards the presumed Democratic nominee as a rudderless phony who is running only because "he's bored and wants something to do -- he has to have a reason for his $1,000 haircuts." Various speakers denounced the alleged Democratic view that terrorists should be prosecuted rather than have war waged against them. They also carped about the United Nations, welfare, Hillary Rodham Clinton and abortion-rights supporters. One man, visibly emotional, said liberals have rejected God and declared, "Hitler was a liberal."


Although we have Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Joe Scarborough to thank for endless blather about how "liberals" are hateful and do nothing but call conservatives bad names, here we have an example of the Bush base--good, brainless, middle American sheep. What is it that people in and around the most typical of American cities have to say when they gather to support our stumble-bum president? "Liberals have rejected God." And, going on, apparently in an effort to show that he is not only stupid, but profoundly ignorant, this idiot says "Hitler was a liberal." They rant about haircuts and a New York senator because... who can tell why. But trust me, they will, in the proverbial New York minute, tell you that it is "liberals" who are hateful name-callers.

Somehow, ten years of right wing talk radio and Fox News have effectively lobotomized half the population. Working class "conservatives" have been convinced to vote against their own economic interests in election after election in favor of the latest reason to hate "liberals". How can half the population of an "educated" nation believe that an academically challenged son of east coast, old money, who has never succeeded at anything and has been saved over and over again by cronyism and connections is somehow a "Texan" and a "regular" guy? When they decide to hate "elitists", who the hell do they think they are talking about? Who could possibly be more of an "elitist" than a Bush?

The most amusing Bush supporters are the fringe nouveau riche. These are the people who make just enough money to get soaked by the tax policies of the really rich. Yet, they are affluent enough to be fooled into thinking they are part of "us" and not "them". While those making a million dollars or more a year pay almost zero in taxes, these poor suburban doctors and executives are out doing their absolute best to keep a party in power that will suck every dime out of them to make sure that the "real people" will not have to pay taxes at all.

"Starve the beast" Who will be whining and wailing about the rotten schools their kids are in, the cost of college tuition, highways that are nothing but mile after mile of potholes, bums in the streets, elderly parents with little or no medical care after the REAL elite get done "starving the beast"? If you can't afford private schools, private colleges, limousines and helicopters, and medical self-insurance, then wake up stupid! The Republican Party (at least as it is now) is NOT ON YOUR SIDE. They are laughing at you all the way to the bank (on Grand Cayman) and figuring out how to get you to support the next stupid initiative that will redistribute your wealth UP to them.

On sober reflection, the only people who could possibly be Bush supporters are "idiots for Bush."
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Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Sobering Future of Europe? From Daniel Pipes

Europe becomes more and more a province of Islam, a colony of Islam." So declares Oriana Fallaci in her new book, La Forza della Ragione, or, "The Force of Reason." And the famed Italian journalist is right: Christianity's ancient stronghold of Europe is rapidly giving way to Islam.

Two factors mainly contribute to this world-shaking development.

The hollowing out of Christianity. Europe is increasingly a post-Christian society, one with a diminishing connection to its tradition and its historic values. The numbers of believing, observant Christians has collapsed in the past two generations to the point that some observers call it the "new dark continent." Already, analysts estimate Britain's mosques host more worshippers each week than does the Church of England.

An anemic birth rate. Indigenous Europeans are dying out. Sustaining a population requires each woman on average to bear 2.1 children; in the European Union, the overall rate is one-third short, at 1.5 a woman, and falling. One study finds that, should current population trends continue and immigration cease, today's population of 375 million could decline to 275 million by 2075.To keep its working population even, the E.U. needs 1.6 million immigrants a year; to sustain the present workers-to-retirees ratio requires an astonishing 13.5 million immigrants annually.

Into the void are coming Islam and Muslims. As Christianity falters, Islam is robust, assertive, and ambitious. As Europeans underreproduce at advanced ages, Muslims do so in large numbers while young.

Some 5% of the E.U., or nearly 20 million persons, presently identify themselves as Muslims; should current trends continue, that number will reach 10% by 2020. If non-Muslims flee the new Islamic order, as seems likely, the continent could be majority-Muslim within decades.

When that happens, grand cathedrals will appear as vestiges of a prior civilization — at least until a Saudi style regime transforms them into mosques or a Taliban-like regime blows them up. The great national cultures — Italian, French, English, and others — will likely wither, replaced by a new transnational Muslim identity that merges North African, Turkish, subcontinental, and other elements.

This prediction is hardly new. In 1968, the British politician Enoch Powell gave his famed "rivers of blood" speech in which he warned that in allowing excessive immigration, the United Kingdom was "heaping up its own funeral pyre." (Those words stalled a hitherto promising career.) In 1973, the French writer Jean Raspail published Camp of the Saints, a novel that portrays Europe falling to massive, uncontrolled immigration from the Indian subcontinent. The peaceable transformation of a region from one major civilization to another, now under way, has no precedent in human history, making it easy to ignore such voices.

There is still a chance for the transformation not to play itself out, but the prospects diminish with time. Here are several possible ways it might be stopped:

Changes in Europe that lead to a resurgence of Christian faith, an increase in childbearing, or the cultural assimilation of immigrants; such developments can theoretically occur but what would cause them is hard to imagine.

Muslim modernization. For reasons no one has quite figured out (education of women? abortion on demand? adults too self-absorbed to have children ?), modernity leads to a drastic reduction in the birth rate. Also, were the Muslim world to modernize, the attraction of moving to Europe would diminish.

Immigration from other sources. Latin Americans, being Christian, would more or less permit Europe to keep its historic identity. Hindus and Chinese would increase the diversity of cultures, making it less likely that Islam would dominate.

Current trends suggest Islamization will happen, for Europeans seem to find it too strenuous to have children, stop illegal immigration, or even diversify their sources of immigrants. Instead, they prefer to settle unhappily into civilizational senility.

Europe has simultaneously reached unprecedented heights of prosperity and peacefulness and shown a unique inability to sustain itself. One demographer, Wolfgang Lutz, notes, "Negative momentum has not been experienced on a large scale in world history."

Is it inevitable that the most brilliantly successful society also will be the first in danger of collapse due to a lack of cultural confidence and offspring? Ironically, creating a hugely desirable place to live would seem also to be a recipe for suicide. The human comedy continues.


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Surrendering to Terror; Understanding Our Current Situation

Opinion/Editorial/Commentary

By C. L. Staten, CEO and Senior Analyst, Emergency Response & Research Institute

"Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it." - George Santayana, A Life of Reason, Book One: Reason & Common Sense, 1916

Waffling, wavering, withdrawal, or appeasement -- all in response to terrorism...the sentiment has any number of names and only one inevitable conclusion. And, in the opinion of this author, all of them are wrong. The last thing that Western civilization should do at this time in history is to display any sign of weakness or fear. To do so is exactly what Al-Qaeda and others of their ilk desire and are working very hard to achieve.

We have seen this problem before, particularly just before World War Two. Although the enemies are very different, history will show that the intent and effect may be very similar. For those of you who remember your history in order to put current events in perspective, the implications of attitudes toward terrorism in parts of Europe are all to familiar. One only needs to return to the history of 1938 and Neville Chamberlain's appeasement of Adolf Hitler which culminated in the "Munich Pact" of 1938. Essentially, and in summary, at that meeting both England and France quickly surrendered to Hitler's demands, and an agreement was signed on Sept. 30,1938 that permitted immediate occupation by Germany of the Sudetenland. (1)

For a more recent and telling example of "capitulation to terrorism," and one that has had a profound effect on the mindset of both the jihadists and the current state of terrorism, one must study Task Force Ranger and the 1993 Battle of Mogadishu, Somalia (now commonly called "Blackhawk Down"). (2)(3) The outcome of that battle, and the subsequent withdrawal of U.S. forces from Somalia, is believed to be among the important roots of our current world situation.

No less a personage that Usama Bin Laden himself has been quoted as saying that the United States' failed 1993 mission in Somalia was an important example of how Al-Qaeda could defeat the United States. In a Oct 21, 2001 statement that was transmitted to the Arabic-language Al-Jazeera network and later shown on the Cable News Network (CNN), Bin Laden said, ""Our brothers with Somali mujahedeen and God's power fought the Americans. God granted them victory. America exited dragging its tails in failure, defeat, and ruin." (4)

Furthermore, Bin Laden's own words from a 1996 fatwa speak very clearly about the impact in his mind about the street-battle and subsequent withdrawal from Somalia: "But your most disgraceful case was in Somalia; where- after vigorous propaganda about the power of the USA and its post cold war leadership of the new world order- you moved tens of thousands of international force, including twenty eight thousand American solders into Somalia. However, when tens of your solders were killed in minor battles and one American Pilot was dragged in the streets of Mogadishu you left the area carrying disappointment, humiliation, defeat and your dead with you. Clinton appeared in front of the whole world threatening and promising revenge, but these threats were merely a preparation for withdrawal. You have been disgraced by Allah and you withdrew; the extent of your impotence and weaknesses became very clear. It was a pleasure for the "heart" of every Muslim and a remedy to the "chests" of believing nations to see you defeated in the three Islamic cities of Beirut , Aden and Mogadishu." (5) (6)

Whether or not Bin Laden's people actually participated in the ambush and assault on U.S. troopers and helicopters in remains open to some question, although it has been hypothesized by several sources that the situation in Mogadishu may have actually been a trap laid out by Al-Qaeda operatives. (7) But, regardless of whether or not Al-Qaeda operatives engineered the victory in, the response of the United States government played into their hand and convinced Bin Laden that Americans could be intimidated to undertake changes in policy by relatively small scale terrorist events.

Finally, that brings us to try to understand the latest notable terrorist atrocity, this time in in Madrid, Spain, On 11 Mar 2004, multiple bomb blasts engulfed the Madrid transit system, claimed the lives of more than 200 people and wounded more than 1,000 others (8). The attacks were undertaken only days before a major election that was to decide the leadership of Spain for years to come.

It increasingly appears as though our allies in Spain did not learn the necessary lessons from either World War II or the peacekeeping mission in Somalia. Instead, their electorate chose to oust the party of Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar and reject his decision to take part in the U.S.-led military coalition in Iraq.

Almost immediately following his election, Socialist Prime Minister-elect Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero dramatically reversed course about Spanish participation in the "War on Terror" as he announced that he would order Spanish forces to withdraw from Iraq. In effect, Zapatero gave both Al-Qaeda and ETA a major psychological victory in the war on terror. Worse, they loudly told terrorists that coercion, terrorism, and intimidation work. Our present assessment would suggest that the electoral results in Spain and Mr. Zapatero's statements will only encourage further attempts to use violence to influence the political process in any number of countries.

It is obvious that some of our friends in Europe and Asia believe that the answer to transnational terrorism is negotiation and somehow gaining a "diplomatic understanding" with the insurgents. Furthermore, some undoubtedly think that they can prevent an atrocity in their country by simply avoiding confrontation with the jihadists. Others, engaging in some sort of misguided "political correctness," either in rhetoric or practice, continue to try to differentiate between "terrorists" and "freedom fighters," instead of focusing on combating those who kill innocents. In any case, we must respectfully suggest that those who advocate any sort of appeasement or negotiation with terrorists are sadly mistaken. History has shown us the folly of this strategy time and time again.

The democracies and enemies of the terrorists can not allow these sort of events to happen again. We must stand resolved to battle the scourge of extremism and terrorism in all of its forms. We must battle the forces that would undertake attacks on innocent civilians, wherever they may occur. We must counter the propaganda that poisons the minds of those who might assist us in this war. And, we must undertake the necessary programs to undermine the motivations of terrorism and sustain our allies in this battle. To do otherwise is to engage in irrational thinking and will only result in more terrible events like Madrid and more unnecessary deaths of innocents. Collectively, the world must not allow that to happen.

References:

(1) "Munich Pact September 29, 1938," An Electronic Publication of the Avalon Project - William C. Fray and Lisa A. Spar, Co-Directors, Copyright 1996 The Avalon Project, Can be found on-line at: http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/imt/munich1.htm

(2) Urban Warfare Considerations; Understanding and Combating Irregular and Guerilla Forces During A "Conventional War" In Iraq, 29 March 2003, by Staten, C. L., ERRI. Can be found on the internet at: http://www.emergency.com/2003/urban_warfare_considerations.htm

(3) (1999). "Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War." By Bowden, Mark, Atlantic Monthly Press. This is probably the most comprehensive account of the Battle of Mogadishu as it is presently known.

(4) "Bin Laden Defiant In October Interview," Bin Laden's first broadcast interview after Sept. 11, 2001, Reuters News Service, 01 Feb 2002

(5) "Declaration of War against the Americans Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Places." The translated text is a fatwa, or declaration of war, by Osama bin Laden first published in Al Quds Al Arabi, a London-based newspaper, in August, 1996.

(6) "ERRI Terrorist Group Profile-Special Report-Usamah Bin Mohammad Bin Laden (Osama bin-Laden), June 30, 1998, by Zakis, Jeremy, available on the internet at: http://www.emergency.com/bldn0798.htm

(7) "Bin Laden Tied to Mogadishu Massacre," DEBKA-Net-Weekly and WorldNetDaily.com, Thursday
20 September, 2001. Can be found on the internet at: http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=24595

(8) "Series of "Real-Time" Reports Concerning Multiple Train Bombings in Madrid, Spain," 11 March 2004, can be found on the internet at: http://www.emergency.com/2004/Madrid_bmb031104.htm

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Monday, May 10, 2004

War on Women

By Jeff Jacoby
The Boston Globe

Sunday, May 2, 2004

http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2004/05/02/feminists_real_enemy_isnt_the_white_house/

There were two must-read stories on Page 1 of the April 26 New York Times. One, headlined "Abortion-rights marchers vow to fight another Bush term," reported on the massive pro-choice rally that had flooded the nation's capital one day earlier. The other, "Militants in Europe openly call for jihad and the rule of Islam," described the rise of Muslim supremacists who make no secret of their goal: the conversion of Europe to Islam, by force if necessary.

The abortion rally was called the March for Women's Lives -- a creepy Orwellian inversion if there ever was one. And yet countless marchers really did seem to believe that the foremost threat to women's lives today is George W. Bush and his benighted opinion that killing babies in the womb is wrong. To be sure, killing babies in the womb is legal -- and has been for 30-plus years. Roughly 1.3 million abortions are performed in the United States every year, which suggests that what the pro-choicers euphemistically call "reproductive freedom" is alive and well in modern American life.

But 750,000 people don't descend on Washington to hear that things are OK. The mood on the National Mall was acrid with fear and loathing. Protesters bore signs reading "Stop the war on women." And speaker after speaker warned that no female will be safe until the Republicans are driven from the White House.

"Keep your laws off my body!" yelled actress Ashley Judd. "Can you hear me, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?" Hillary Clinton issued a plea to "stand up for our Constitution" by electing John Kerry in November. "We will not be gagged!" roared Susan Sarandon. "We reject, Mr. Bush, your hypocrisy, your greed, your disrespect for women's bodies, for women everywhere." Gloria Steinem intoned: "This government is the greatest danger on earth."

But there is a vastly greater danger -- especially to women -- than the president of the United States: the global jihad being waged by militant Islamists, like those described in the other New York Times story.

"Young Britons whose parents emigrated from Pakistan . . . have turned against their families' new home," the paper reported. "They say they would like to see Prime Minister Tony Blair dead or deposed and an Islamic flag hanging outside No. 10 Downing Street. They swear allegiance to Osama bin Laden and his goal of toppling Western democracies to establish an Islamic superstate under Shariah law, like Afghanistan under the Taliban."

The abortion marchers haven't forgotten what "Afghanistan under the Taliban" was like, have they? Women could not leave their homes unless accompanied by a male relative. In public they had to be shrouded from head to toe and could be flogged for allowing a glimpse of ankle or wrist. Barred from working outside the home, many Afghan women sank into poverty. They couldn't wear brightly colored clothes, high heels, or makeup. They were forbidden to play sports. They weren't even permitted to laugh out loud.

Today the Taliban dictatorship is gone and Afghanistan's 12 million women are free of its cruel fanaticism. For that they can thank the US military and its commander-in-chief -- the same commander-in-chief so stridently denounced on the Mall last week as an enemy of women.

It is surreal: We are at war with aggressors who would undo every gain women have made in the last 200 years, and the feminist left makes abortion its number one priority. Is the pro-choice movement really so frozen in Sept. 10 thinking? Do the National Organization for Women and Planned Parenthood and Feminist Majority really consider it more important to fight for partial-birth abortion than to fight for the liberal democratic values the Islamofascists aim to destroy? Don't they understand what it means when radical imams -- like the one in Geneva quoted by the Times -- are openly urging their followers to "impose the will of Islam on the godless society of the West"?

Writing in the Australian newspaper The Age last week, journalist Pamela Bone listed a few recent news items from the Pakistani press: A 17-year-old girl strangled by her older brother because she had married a man of her own choosing. Two women dead in "honor killings" committed by their husbands -- one tied to a bed and electrocuted; the other axed to death. A woman beaten so severely by her in-laws for failing to prevent her younger sister from eloping that her legs had to be amputated.

"Thousands of women in Arab countries are legally murdered every year in the name of honor," Bone wrote. "Women are stoned and beaten for reasons that would be unheard of in Western countries. The freedoms of Western women, their open sexuality, are a large part of the hatred Islamist men feel for the West. . . . They would, if they could, have all our daughters in burqas."

Militant Islam is on the march. Not only in Pakistan or the Middle East, but in England and France -- and America. The stakes are enormous. This is no time for any of us to be fighting the wrong enemy.






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Al AHram Interview with President Bush

Mr President, I have learned that President Mubarak recently sent you two important messages. I don't know the contents of these messages, but I assume, naturally, that they're linked to the situation in Iraq, and Palestine. At the start, I would like to ask you about your vision of the future of the Middle East.

Well, first of all, I communicate with President Mubarak a lot, because I value his judgment, and we've got a frank relationship where, if he thinks things are going badly, he'll tell me. In other words, he doesn't gloss over.

I think that things in the Middle East for the United States are difficult right now. I think they're difficult because people don't really understand our intentions. I think they're difficult because some people ascribe bad values and bad motives to the American people and the American government.

Our intentions are to work for free societies and peaceful societies. Our intentions are to protect our own security, on the one hand, but also enable people to live in peace. Obviously, our reputation has been damaged severely by the terrible and horrible acts, inhumane acts that were conducted on Iraqi prisoners. Today, I can't tell you how sorry I am to them and their families for the humiliation.

I'm also sorry because people are then able to say, look how terrible America is. But this isn't America, that's not -- Americans are appalled at what happened. We're a generous people. I don't think a lot of people understand that. So I've got to do a better job of explaining to people that we're for a lot of things that most people who live in the Middle East want. We want there to be peace. We want people to have a living. We want people to send their kids to schools that work. We want there to be health care. We want there to be a Palestinian state at peace with its neighbours. We want there to be reform. We want people to have a chance to participate in the process.

But I'd say right now times are tough for the United States and the Middle East.

I have four topics, Mr. President: Iraq, the Israeli-Arab issue, the so-called greater Middle East Initiative, and bilateral relations -- which of these would you choose to begin with, Mr President?

Whatever you want to do, sir, you're the distinguished journalist.

Thank you very much, indeed. Okay, I will go for the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Okay.

Many Arabs feel that after the letter of assurances you gave to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, any future Palestinian state would exist on less than half what the partition plan offered them in '47. How do you reconcile this with a moral concept of justice?

First of all, I made it very clear in my letter that I recognised circumstances had changed -- but I made it very clear of a couple of very important points. One, that any final status would be negotiated by the parties -- that would be the Israelis and the Palestinians -- not the United States, we won't pre-judge final status.

Secondly, I made it clear that I supported what the Prime Minister had done, because I think it's a great opportunity for the establishment of a Palestinian state. I'm the first President ever to have articulated the vision of a Palestinian state.

I've written about this, and I want to express to you that we appreciate this very highly.

Well, I'll tell you, and I'm somewhat amazed, sir, that the debate has already started about what the end results are going to look like when we haven't even really begun yet to establish a state. I think the focus ought to be on putting the institutions in place for a Palestinian state that is peaceful and prosperous to emerge.

I think it's very important for reform-minded Palestinians to step up and ask the world for help, in order to build the security apparatus needed for a state to grow; ask for education help; ask for help to stimulate the entrepreneurial class so businesses will grow. I believe it'll happen. And when it does happen, the final status issues will be much easier to solve.

In other words, when there is a state that's up and running and prosperous and has the confidence of Egypt and Israel and America and the EU and the rest of the world, it'll be much easier for these final -- these tricky issues to be solved between the two parties. And so now is the time not to be arguing over what the world will look like down the road. We ought to be arguing about what the world can look like this year. And that's why the road map is so important.

The United States is firmly committed to the road map. I'm sending a letter to the -- I announced today I'm going to send a letter to the Palestinian Prime Minister explaining that I'm committed to the road map, committed to two states living side-by-side in peace, but also reminding him it's now time to step up and show leadership, show leadership against the terrorists, and show leadership in putting the institutions in place for a state to emerge.

The right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland and to be provided with compensation is legally asserted in several UN resolutions.

Right.

The United States has also traditionally supported the right of refugees to return in recent major conflicts. How would you then justify making the Palestinian refugees an exception for accepted international laws under human rights conventions?

My comment, again, was this, that the right of refugees is a final-status issue. And that's to be negotiated on between the Palestinians and the Israelis. When I said what has changed and what will change is when there's a Palestinian state to which Palestinians can go. There hasn't been one. And my point was that when a state is set up and the institutions are in place and people have a chance to make a living and it's peaceful, the entrepreneurial class is growing, small businesses, people are participating in the political process, that's going to change the dynamic on the ground.

I fully concede there's a lot -- the compensation issue is an issue that's still being negotiated. The rights of -- you know, the rights of Palestinians to return to Israel will be negotiated. But what I'm telling you is when a state emerges, it'll change the dynamic. And that's all I said in my comment.

Again, I'll repeat to you, people want to focus on the future, when I think we ought to be focused right now on the right now, which is what is necessary to put a Palestinian state in place so people can have a chance to live in a hopeful society. And I'm frustrated, I must tell you, a little bit, because I think that there needs to be better leadership in saying, what can we do to help the Palestinian people develop a state. And there needs to be a new constitution, it seems like to me.

And some of these reforms stalled. Heck, we've been talking about them for about two years, unfortunately. But now is an opportunity. And I think Prime Minister Sharon created an interesting dynamic, I really do, and that is withdrawal from Gaza. You know, it wasn't all that long ago if an Israeli Prime Minister stood up and said, we're out of Gaza and parts of the West Bank, people would have said, that's fantastic. And so the Prime Minister makes the decision to get out and, of course, his own party rejects it, which speaks to -- it speaks to his leadership, in my judgment, that he's willing to do what he thinks is right, in face of political opposition.

But do you really agree that pragmatic realities mean annexation of other people's lands?

I think what it means is, I think you're going to see over time with the emergence of a Palestinian state that the West Bank will be occupied by Palestinians. And to the extent to what the final border looks like is up for negotiations.

Again, we very much appreciate the fact that you were the first US President to call for the creation of an independent Palestinian state. But in all the recent proposals that are being circulated, including the latest disengagement plan, we did not see any specific timetable. What happened to your pledge to create a Palestinian state by 2005? And do you still believe that this could be possible?

Well, 2005 may be hard, since 2005 is right around the corner. I readily concede the date has slipped some, primarily because violence sprung up. When I laid out the date of 2005, I believe it was around the time I went to Aqaba, Jordan. It was a very meaningful moment, where former Prime Minister Abu Mazen, myself, Prime Minister Sharon and His Majesty, the King of Jordan, stood up and pledged to work together.

But we hit a bump in the road -- violence, as well as Abu Mazen being replaced, which changed the dynamic. I don't want to make any excuses, but nevertheless, I think the timetable of 2005 isn't as realistic as it was two years ago. Nevertheless, I do think we ought to push hard as fast as possible to get a state in place.

And I repeat to you, sir, that part of my frustrations were alleviated with the Quartet making the statement it made the other day -- the Quartet being the EU, Russia, United Nations and the United States, working together. I think we can get the World Bank involved. But there is a certain sense of responsibility that falls upon the Palestinians, reform-minded Palestinians to step up and say, yes, we accept these institutions necessary for a peaceful state to emerge.

There's also a responsibility for Egypt. Egypt has got, in my judgment, an important role to play to help make sure there is security in Gaza, as the civil structure is put in place and as the government structure is put in place. And President Mubarak, I think, is willing to assume that responsibility over time -- I don't want to put him on a timetable, but I do believe he is committed to helping bring security to that part of the world, it's in Egypt's interest that there be security.

You know, Mr President, we did our best; getting all the factions together in Cairo to try to convince them to have one single opinion, and that we're ready for training the police and security guards.

That's right. President Mubarak has been a leader on the issue of security, he really has. As you say, he's convened a very important meeting to make it clear that in order for there to be a peaceful evolution of a state there has to be security, and that he's willing to train police. Egypt plays a mighty important role. And it's a great country and it should play an important role.

Mr President, you have said in recent statements that the assurances you gave to Sharon did not differ from what was being discussed, and what we mentioned now, and previous final status talks. But in those talks there were proposals on land swaps and an Israeli acceptance of the return of a limited number of refugees. Why were these proposals absent from your recent letters?

Look, I want to assure you once again that I understand the sensitivity of these final status issues. But they will be negotiated, not between the United States and the parties, they're negotiated between Israel and the Palestinian government, of a new state. And that's really -- and that is a position I've taken all along.

It's what I told my friend, President Mubarak. I just told that to His Majesty, the King of Jordan. And I will explain that consistent position of mine.

People -- I think some people are trying to read something into what I said or didn't say. And what -- you know, I'll say it finely one more time: This is an opportunity that we can't let go by. There's a lot of argument about final status issues, and they're very important issues, don't get me wrong. But the focus ought to be on how do we get a Palestinian state up and running and moving forward.

You have praised Sharon's proposal to withdraw from Gaza, which is an idea that does not represent more than one per cent of historical Palestine. Would you accept granting Palestinians a similar letter of assurances stating that any annexation of West Bank territory has to be minimal and that Israel has to pull out from nearly the entire West Bank, according to Security Resolution 242 and 338?

No, I will write -- I will say the exact same thing in a letter to the Palestinians that I have said publicly today, that I believe an opportunity exists and it's essential that the Palestinian Authority find reform-minded leaders who are willing to step up and lead.

The last question on Israeli-Arab issue; you have repeatedly stated that Israel had the right to defend itself. But do you believe that by building walls and settlements and by assassinating Palestinian leaders, Israel is enhancing security and helping and reassuring peace talks?

I think that any country has a right to defend herself. And you're looking at a President who is now in the process of defending my country against terrorist attacks. It is very difficult for the President of the United States to condemn anybody for defending themselves.

My problem with the wall was not the security aspect of the wall. My problem with the wall was that at one point in time it looked like it was trying to prejudge any final status. And I hope -- my hope is that, at one point in time, the wall is unnecessary. The hope is that a peaceful Palestinian state, that -- I keep saying that, but I think it's possible -- but a peaceful Palestinian state must be a state in which youngsters are well-educated, and have a chance to make a living, and parents have a chance to raise their children in a peaceful setting.

And I think that a peaceful Palestinian state will eventually change the dynamics on that which exists on the ground today.

I thank you, very much, for your patience. I will move to the other topic, Iraq.

Sure. Sure.

You said yesterday that you first learned of the abuses of Abu Ghraib and other prisons in Iraq generally. Why has it taken so long to adopt serious measures against those directly responsible and their commanders?

First of all, I learned about the fact that there was an investigation going on. I did not know the extent of the abuse. And there was a report done as a result of those investigations. And what you're hearing here in America is, why didn't I see the report? And that's a good question.

That's one of the questions I'm asking, because I first saw about the pictures on television screens.

But one of the things you've got to understand about our country is that, one, we reject this kind of treatment of people. It's abhorrent. And it's not America. Your readers have to understand, this is not our country. Secondly, that we will fully investigate. Now, there's a difference between fully investigating and rushing to judgment. We will investigate. And there's a procedure in the military that is necessary to make sure that the guilty are truly guilty. It's very important for the Commander-in-Chief not to prejudge.

Thirdly, the process will be transparent. Your readers have got to know that here in America, in our system, the judicial process will be fully transparent. And you're beginning to see the transparency. The press corps wants to know different questions. And those questions need to be answered.

Tomorrow, our Secretary of Defense, in whom I've got confidence and believe in, will go up and testify at the United States Senate. So you'll see the process evolve as to -- and the truth come out, as to why the military needed to take the time necessary to fully investigate these horrible, horrible acts.

And I repeat to you, sir, I am sorry for the humiliation suffered by those individuals. It makes me sick to my stomach to see that happen.

I'll tell you what else I'm sorry about. I'm sorry that the truth about our soldiers in Iraq becomes obscured. In other words, we've got fantastic citizens in Iraq; good kids; good soldiers, men and women who are working every day to make Iraqi citizens' lives better. And there are a thousand acts of kindness that take place every day of these great Americans who really do care about the citizens in Iraq. It's an awful, awful period for the American people, just like it's awful for the Iraqi citizens to see that on their TV screens.

Again, sir, do you feel that you need to apologize to the Iraqis and the Arab world, now you've said that you're sorry"?

Well, I'm sorry for the prisoners, I really am. I think it's humiliating. And it is, again -- what the Arab world must understand is a couple of things. One, under a dictatorship, these -- this wouldn't be transparent. In other words, if there was torture under a dictator, we would never know the truth. In a democracy, you'll know the truth. And justice will be done. And that's what people need to know.

What are the main pillars of the upcoming Security Council resolution on Iraq? How much control are you ready to cede to the United Nations and the future Iraqi government?

Well, I think the Iraqi government wants sovereignty. And I think that's the proper -- the proper relationship is sovereignty to be passed to the Iraqi government with help from the coalition, as well as the United Nations.

I'll tell you a very good role for the United Nations is to help set up the elections that will take place in January of 2005. And the United Nations Security Council resolution is important, because it says to members of the world, please participate in helping this government grow.

But the sovereignty -- Iraqi people want to run the government themselves. That's not to say they don't want help; of course they want help. But they want to run their government. Frankly, you hear frustrations about America there in Iraq. And I can understand that, because nobody wants their government run for them. The people of Iraq want to run their own government, and that's what will happen.

How long do you think the United States will stay in Iraq?

As long as necessary, and not one day more.

A recent Gallup Poll showed that 71 per cent of Iraqis considered the United States an occupying power. Does this disappoint you?

No, listen, I understand. I mean, if I were an Iraqi and I saw people -- was asked, am I happy that somebody is running my government for me -- which basically is what the question implies -- the answer would be, no, we want to run our government ourselves. And that's why we're transferring sovereignty.

I'll tell you, however, the Iraqi people understand that America needs to be around for a while to help make sure that the killers -- the foreign fighters who are there, disgruntled former Saddamists -- don't wreak havoc. There are thousands of Iraqis losing their lives at the hands of these killers. And they need help right now, until Iraqi security forces are efficient, are formed in a way that will be able to be responsive to the dangers of these few people. It is essential that there be a secure environment as Iraq emerges from this period of tyranny. And they want our help there. They also want the reconstruction aid.

And this has been delayed a lot.

Well, it has, for a reason. Early in the winter there was fast movement on the reconstruction projects. I mean, there's some wonderful things that have happened in Iraq, which of course don't get mentioned very often.

For example, I'll tell you an interesting thing that's happened, is that the currency, the old currency was replaced by a new currency in about a six or seven month period of time. That's hard to do. And, yet, it was done without a lot of arbitrage, a lot of counterfeiting, theft -- there was no theft. And the currency is stable, which is a remarkable feat, when you think about it. The electricity levels were climbing quite dramatically. The oil production, which is Iraqi oil production, it's not American, it's -- Iraq owns the oil -- it's up to about two-and-a-half million barrels a day.

So in other words, there were positive signs going on. And then we had this period of fighting, where elements in society decided to fight, because they saw freedom coming and they wanted to try and stop it, is what they're trying to do. And we took them on and are defeating them.

What's happening now is that big projects are starting back up again, because the security situation is a little better, and big companies are moving in with these reconstruction projects. It will start back up, and Iraq will be better for it.

I am aware of a very emotionally-charged meeting that took place recently between you and an Iraqi women's delegation -- it was very emotional and there were tears shed. Do you care to share the details of that meeting with us?

Only because you asked. I did have the honour of welcoming a group of women to the Oval Office. I was told ahead of time that some members of the delegation did not want to come in the Oval Office because they didn't want to get their picture taken, because they were afraid -- not of American reaction, but of reaction back home. In other words, there is still fear in people's heart.

I met with those ladies later. The door opened to the Oval Office and the first woman that walked in looked at me and she burst out in tears, and said, "You are my liberator." It touched my heart, it really did. And I, of course -- I held her in my arms and tears came to my eyes as she cried of joy. It really made me feel great. She said, "Thank you, Mr President. You liberated us." I said, "No, the American people helped liberate you." And then another lady came in and another lady came in. We had about six of us in our office.

And it was a touching meeting. These were people that were obviously somewhat taken aback that they were in with the President of the United States. And, yet, when they were with me, it was deeply emotional. It touched my heart. I still remember it clearly today. It made me very joyous inside to think that people who had been enslaved to tyranny, fearful of torture, probably had friends in mass graves, would be so thankful for the chance to live in peace.

And I'll tell you what's really important for the people -- those people, those women, and I think about them all the time, is for me to never show any weakness in the face of the dangers in Iraq. In other words, those killers want us to leave. But my attitude is, having met with these women, if we leave, they will be in jeopardy. And I have an obligation, no matter how difficult it gets, to stay strong on behalf of those women, and their chance to raise their children in freedom.

The other day I had the Olympic Committee from Iraq come, two members of the Olympic Committee. It was an exciting moment. I love sports, for starters. And the head of the women's Olympic committee came. She was a former runner. And she told me about her two-year-old son and one-year-old son. She had quit the Olympic team because she didn't want to run for one of Saddam's sons, for fear of her life. And yet she was so grateful for the freedom she has. It's heartening.

I met with Fulbright Scholars, young Iraqis that are here studying in the United States. I met with doctors from Iraq who are getting new training -- all of whom are desperate for there to be a free society so they can live in peace. And that's why we share the same goal.

On the Greater Middle East; Mr, President, has your vision on the greater Middle East initiative changed at all, in light of recent reactions from Arab and European countries? What will be presented to the G8 leaders in their meeting next month?

My vision for the greater Middle East reforms was strengthened by the Alexandria Library Conference. You might have heard of that. (Laughter.) I saw the spirit of that conference. There are people in the Middle East who understand the need for reforms.

Now, when I talk about reforms, I fully understand that the pace of reform will be different from country to country. But, nevertheless, there has to be a commitment to reform for a better life for every citizen. I am as strong today on reforms in the greater Middle East as I have ever been.

I fully understand the criticism. I mean, I get criticised all the time in my job. I think the job of a leader is to have a vision, a vision that is hopeful and optimistic, and one based upon certain principles -- a principle like rule of law; a principle like human dignity by empowering individuals to make decisions in the political process; a principle that every person deserves respect; a principle that says that a peaceful society is more likely to be one that is a free society. And, therefore, I won't abandon those principles, no matter how significant the pressure.

One last question --

Okay, one more question. Then we've got to go.

Why does your administration insist on imposing sanctions against Syria?

Because they will not fight terror, and they won't join us in fighting terror. We've asked them to do some things, and they haven't responded. And Congress passed a law saying that if Syria will not join -- for example, booting out a Hizbullah office out of Damascus -- that the President has the right to put sanctions on.

I have yet to impose a sanction, but the bill enables me to do so. And we've talked to the Syrian leader very clearly -- and these aren't -- these are reasonable requests -- and thus far, he hasn't heeded them. And that's why, if I make the decision to put on sanctions, it will be because he hasn't been a full partner in the war against terror.

That would create more problems in the area.

Well, we'll see. But I think that people need to understand that there needs to be a full commitment. I mean, there's no need to harbour people who are expressing hatred. And if the world would join together to rout out terrorist organisations who want to kill innocent people, it would be a heck of a lot better off.

See, here's my objection. We've got Muslims killing Muslims in Iraq. There are Muslims who will kill an innocent Muslim, for the sake of trying to create fear. We can't let that happen. Civilized people must not allow that to happen. What they're trying to do is they're trying to shake our will, our collective will. For those of us who love freedom, they were trying to say, well, don't work for freedom, leave us alone so we can kill other people. We just can't let that happen. There are too many peaceful people who need protection. And we want to help them. And, most importantly, we want to help them help themselves, so they can be self-governing in Iraq.

But the killing of innocent life for political purposes is not acceptable in the 21st century. And you know that, and I believe that.

Let me assure you that the Arab people have no ill-will towards the American people. Maybe the only issue is the Palestinian-Israeli --

The Israeli issue, yes.

-- and the American bias in it.

I hope we can get that solved. I mean, I truly believe that a peaceful state will emerge. And, listen, I've got great respect for Arab culture; I've got great respect for the Muslim religion. I reject this notion that this is a war against Muslims. This is not a war against Muslims. The Muslim religion is a peaceful religion. Islam is peace. This is a war against evil people who want to kill innocent life. That's what this is.

And it is -- they've killed in our country. They've killed in your country. They killed a great man in Sadat. And it's essential that freedom-loving people and peaceful people fight terror. It's the call of our time; it's the challenge of the 21st century. And we've got to work together to do so.

And I appreciate you giving me a chance to visit and share my views to the people who need to learn more about our intentions and our deep desire for peace.

I do thank you very much.

Thank you, sir.

And I hope we shall see you very soon in Egypt.

Good job. Very good job. Very good interview.






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