On a more interesting note here at home, seems we may have a real problem within the CIA. I've considered it sufficiently important that I've contacted my senators asking for a congressional investigation .... and will do so again as many times as it takes to get it done.
When a nation has its president's own intelligence gathering agency attempting to undermine if not overthrow that seated president you have a real problem that needs to be addressed immediately. A house cleaning needs to take place and if rogues are discovered they need to be referred to the Justice Department for prosecution.
Please contact your senators and representatives if you feel this is sufficiently serious.
I do or wouldn't have used as much blog space to post articles about it.
THE CIA'S WAR against the Bush administration is one of the great untold stories of the past three years. It is, perhaps, the agency's most successful covert action of recent times. The CIA has used its budget to fund criticism of the administration by former Democratic officeholders. The agency allowed an employee, Michael Scheuer, to publish and promote a book containing classified information, as long as, in Scheuer's words, "the book was being used to bash the president." However, the agency's preferred weapon has been the leak. In one leak after another, generally to the New York Times or the Washington Post, CIA officials have sought to undermine America's foreign policy. Usually this is done by leaking reports or memos critical of administration policies or skeptical of their prospects. Through it all, our principal news outlets, which share the agency's agenda and profit from its torrent of leaks, have maintained a discreet silence about what should be a major scandal.
Recent events indicate that the CIA might even be willing to compromise the effectiveness of its own covert operations, if by doing so it can damage the Bush administration. The story began last May, when the New York Times outed an undercover CIA operation by identifying private companies that operated airlines for the agency. The Times fingered Aero Contractors Ltd., Pegasus Technologies, and Tepper Aviation as CIA-controlled entities. It described their aircraft and charted the routes they fly. Most significantly, the Times revealed one of the most secret uses to which these airlines were put:
When the Central Intelligence Agency wants to grab a suspected member of Al Qaeda overseas and deliver him to interrogators in another country, an Aero Contractors plane often does the job.
The Times went on to trace specific flights by the airlines it unmasked, which corresponded to the capture of key al Qaeda leaders:
Flight logs show a C.I.A. plane left Dulles within 48 hours of the capture of several Al Qaeda leaders, flying to airports near the place of arrest. They included Abu Zubaida, a close aide to Osama bin Laden, captured on March 28, 2002; Ramzi bin al-Shibh, who helped plan 9/11 from Hamburg, Germany, on Sept. 10, 2002; Abd al-Rahim al-Nashri, the Qaeda operational chief in the Persian Gulf region, on Nov. 8, 2002; and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the architect of 9/11, on March 1, 2003.
A jet also arrived in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, from Dulles on May 31, 2003, after the killing in Saudi Arabia of Yusuf Bin-Salih al-Ayiri, a propagandist and former close associate of Mr. bin Laden, and the capture of Mr. Ayiri's deputy, Abdullah al-Shabrani.Flight records sometimes lend support to otherwise unsubstantiated reports. Omar Deghayes, a Libyan-born prisoner in the American detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, has said through his lawyer that four Libyan intelligence service officers appeared in September in an interrogation cell.
Aviation records cannot corroborate his claim that the men questioned him and threatened his life. But they do show that a Gulfstream V registered to one of the C.I.A. shell companies flew from Tripoli, Libya, to Guantánamo on Sept. 8, the day before Mr. Deghayes reported first meeting the Libyan agents. The plane stopped in Jamaica and at Dulles before returning to the Johnston County Airport, flight records show. The Times reported that its sources included "interviews with former C.I.A. officers and pilots." It seems difficult to believe that the information conveyed in those interviews was unclassified. But if the agency made any objection to the Times's disclosure, it has not been publicly recorded. And the agency's flood of leaks to the Times continued.
The other shoe dropped on November 2, when the Washington Post revealed, in a front-page story, the destinations to which many terrorists were transported by the CIA's formerly-secret airlines--a covert network of detention centers in Europe and Thailand:
The CIA has been hiding and interrogating some of its most important al Qaeda captives at a Soviet-era compound in Eastern Europe, according to U.S. and foreign officials familiar with the arrangement.
The secret facility is part of a covert prison system set up by the CIA nearly four years ago that at various times has included sites in eight countries, including Thailand, Afghanistan and several democracies in Eastern Europe, as well as a small center at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, according to current and former intelligence officials and diplomats from three continents.
The Post's story caused a sensation, as the "current and former intelligence officials" who leaked the classified information to the newspaper must have expected it would. The leakers evidently included officials from the highest levels of the CIA; the Post noted that the facilities' existence and location "are known to only a handful of officials in the United States and, usually, only to the president and a few top intelligence officers in each host country." Further, the paper said that it "is not publishing the names of the Eastern European countries involved in the covert program, at the request of senior U.S. officials." So this top-secret leak was apparently not a rogue operation. On the contrary, it appears to have been consistent with the agency's longstanding campaign against the Bush administration, which plainly has been sanctioned (if not perpetrated) by officials at the agency's highest levels.
Both the Post and the leaking officials knew that publication of the secret-prisons leak would damage American interests:
[T]he CIA has not even acknowledged the existence of its black sites. To do so, say officials familiar with the program, could open the U.S. government to legal challenges, particularly in foreign courts, and increase the risk of political condemnation at home and abroad.
The damage foreseen by CIA leakers quickly came to pass. Anti-American elements in a number of European countries demanded investigations into the use of their countries' airports and air space by civilian airlines that are known or suspected CIA fronts. In Spain, the foreign minister testified before a parliamentary committee that no laws were broken in what allegedly were CIA-linked civilian landings in Majorca. But that site will be closed to the agency in the future:
[H]e said the government would immediately step up checks on civilian aircraft that flew over or stopped in Spanish territory to make sure they were civilian flights. If necessary, the government would implement more exhaustive checks inside aircraft, he said.
The twin leaks to the Times and the Post have severely impaired the agency's ability to carry out renditions, transport prisoners, and maintain secret detention facilities. It is striking that top-level CIA officials are evidently willing to do serious damage to their own agency's capabilities and operations for the sake of harming the Bush administration and impeding administration policies with which they disagree.
The CIA is an agency in crisis. Perhaps, though, there is a ray of hope: the agency has referred the secret-prison leak to the Post to the Justice Department for investigation and possible criminal prosecution. It is a bitter irony that until now, the only one out of dozens of CIA-related leaks known to have resulted in a criminal investigation was the Valerie Plame disclosure, which was trivial in security terms, but unique in that it helped, rather than hurt, the Bush administration.
John Hinderaker is a contributing writer to THE DAILY STANDARD and a contributor to the blog Power Line.
Wonder when folks worldwide are going to figure out that socialism (Marxism by any other name) creates a slave state hierarchy of worker ants which which support those who would crown themselves as queen(s)???????
We've witnessed communism (radical Marxism) fail time and time again over the past hundred years while capitalism has thrived.
However, the (Clinton-Kerry-Kennedy-Pelosi +++) left wants to push us farther and farther away from capitalism and model us after Euro socialists we're currently watching dive head first into the bottomless abyss they've created through Marxism.
France and Germany economies and standards of living are going to in a hand basket and they would have us follow such a fine example. Our own left refuses to learn from the glaring obvious.
Last week, the partners of Germany's new "Grand Coalition", the CDU/CSU and SPD, signed off on their governing agreement. Now it's official: instead of long overdue reform to jumpstart the economy and restore consumer confidence, Germans will get more of the same rigid policies that have failed the country over at least the last three decades.
In the weeks leading up to the special election on September 18, many political commentators and foreign investors had hoped for a dramatic change for the better in Germany's public policy. These hopes were shattered as election results came in. Due to the disappointing performance of the CDU/CSU at the polls, a reform-minded government coalition between CDU/CSU and free-market FDP became impossible. Free Democrats and Christian Democrats were ready to roll up their sleeves and tackle the country's tremendous challenges in full awareness of the political realities: reform would be painful, but unavoidable if the country wanted to return to the path of prosperity.
The morning after was sobering. The election had produced no clear winner, leading to bitter exchanges not only about who would assume the chancellorship, but also about the direction of the country. So it comes as no surprise that the coalition agreement presented last week is merely the latest manifestation of the country's lack of direction. The result can be summarized in two words: "ignore" and "postpone".
The political agenda is dictated by the availability of federal funds. What would have been needed, a clear leitmotif in economic policy, is blatantly lacking. Moreover, the coalition agreement failed to produce a coherent and stringent concept for political modernization because core elements of Germany's economic malaise, the health care crisis and labor market reform to name just two, had been exempt from the coalition negotiations altogether.
Most worrisome about the coalition agreement is the fact that it ignores the most basic rule in economics 101: tax cuts, not tax increases, spur economic growth and investment. Instead, the agreement presents taxpayers with the biggest tax hikes in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Before September 18, the CDU/CSU and FDP had presented a joint vision to move the country forward: elimination of subsidies, shrinking Germany's overwhelming bureaucratic apparatus, as well as simplifying the tax code and reducing taxes across the board. Two months later the CDU/CSU is humming a very different tune.
Tax relief and the rollback of overwhelming government intervention are no longer at the center of the coalition's grandiose vision to heal the "sick man of Europe". Quite the contrary: the increase of Germany's value added tax from 16 to 19 percent is presented as an economic silver bullet to revive domestic consumption.
CDU/CSU and SPD believe that with the VAT increase starting in 2007, Germans will go on an all out spending spree in 2006 to avoid the higher tax rate a year later. This shortsightedness is breathtaking. Even if domestic consumption were to rise in 2006, potential gains would by far be outweighed by a higher private savings rate starting in 2007 to pay for all the other government-expanding schemes and tax hikes the coalition has in store. In essence, the VAT hike will drain €72 billion over three years from Germany's economy without anything positive to show for it.
Adding insult to injury, the coalition agreement is tellingly silent on changing the country's socialist welfare programs. All of these programs, while already in the red, rely on future taxpayers to "secure" their existence. In their coalition agreement, CDU/CSU and SPD have once more dodged reality. Structural changes - complete or at least partial privatization - in the country's exorbitant welfare programs have been postponed until the end of time. The only "reform" the coalition could agree on is to raise monthly withholdings for Social Security from 19.5 to 19.9 of pre-tax income. In the contentious realm of health care policy, the parties agreed to postpone talks on the issue until late 2006.
Blatantly ignoring the advice of German economists and tax experts, Germany's emerging government is set on implementing disincentive after disincentive: On top of raising the VAT, it is also adding a special "wealth". Also, Germany's corporate tax system is in dire need of reform, yet the coalition once again opted for postponement. No debate on the issue is scheduled before 2008.
Overall, the coalition agreement looks like a victory for Social Democrat policies. The Christian Democrats have clearly sacrificed much-needed reform on the altar of political power for the sake of claiming the chancellorship. The bill will be footed by the German taxpayer.
Friedrich Merz, the former CDU/CSU parliamentary leader, said after the coalition agreement was published: "A tax-cutting party has been converted into a tax raising party." He hit the nail on the head, not only in the area of the emerging tax policies of this government, but also in assessing the coalition agreement in its entirety: More taxes, more bureaucracy and more redistribution.
During the campaign, the CDU floated the flat tax model as a viable solution to the country's ills. Instead, CDU/CSU and SPD will increase the existing tax burden and invent new taxes, increase subsidies for eco-energy fivefold, continue to subsidize coal until at least 2008 and prohibit dumping prices on groceries. The worst anti-market move to come from the agreement is a freezing of prescription drug prices for at least two years, until 2007.
The new government will expand government intervention and continue robbing Peter to pay Paul -- once more ignoring the fact that it was exactly this kind of redistribution that created the German malaise. German taxpayers better hold on to their wallets and brace themselves for a continuation of downturn: courtesy of the "not-so-grand-coalition" the anti-growth and anti-wealth policies are here to stay.
"There have been rumblings of late about the developing alliance between Islamic radicals and neo-Nazis. In late May, Israeli president Moshe Katzav gave a speech before the German parliament in which he warned, "Let's not be surprised if terror organizations use neo-Nazis for carrying out terror attacks." And on August 5, WorldNetDaily reported, "Neo-Nazi skinheads are working with radical Islamists in a growing unholy alliance that has European law enforcement officials concerned about a new front in the war on terrorism."
Such an alliance seems unlikely on its face; after all, neo-Nazis view most Muslims as racially inferior, while Islamic extremists believe that neo-Nazis are just another flavor of infidel. However, a closer examination reveals that many white-supremacist groups have expressed solidarity with Islamic terrorists recently, and in turn some white supremacists and far-right Holocaust deniers have found newfound supporters among the Islamists.
The most prominent recent example of white supremacists' vocal support for Islamic terrorism came from August Kreis, the new head of Aryan Nations. In an interview with CNN earlier this year, Kreis said of al Qaeda, "You say they're terrorists, I say they're freedom fighters. And I want to instill the same jihadic feeling in our peoples' heart, in the Aryan race, that they have for their father, who they call Allah." Going a step further, Kreis told CNN that he had a message for Osama bin Laden: "The message is, the cells are out here and they are already in place. They might not be cells of Islamic people, but they are here and they are ready to fight."
The Aryan Nations website reflects Kreis's desire to instill a "jihadic feeling" in his followers. For example, it features an article purporting to show that the idea of jihad can be found not only in Islam but also in the Bible. The article concludes with a battle cry: "All the sons of Abraham, all descendants of his three wives, Sarah, Hagar and Ketourah, the parties of the Islamic and Aryan World, all need to understand their duty to enact Holy Jihad, we need to live this Jihad; total war, death to our enemy, the insidious, poisonous and rabid satanic jEw." [sic]
Aryan Nations also boasts a quote on its main page further reflecting its support for radical Muslims. Attributed to Obergruppenführer Gottlob Berger, the quote states that "a link is created between Islam and National-Socialism on an open, honest basis. It will be directed in terms of blood and race from the North, and in the ideological-spiritual sphere from the East." The main page also touches on other issues of importance to Muslim radicals. It demands immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces from the Middle East, and under the headline "Ariel Sharon: your typical domineering jew," the website features a picture of the Israeli prime minister with fire coming out of his mouth that ends in a mushroom cloud. Underneath, the website proclaims the photograph to be Sharon's "plan for
Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, etc . . . "
Beyond the Aryan Nations, a surprising number of other white-supremacist websites openly sympathize with Islamic terrorists. The National Alliance, the country's largest neo-Nazi organization, published a 2002 essay by its founder, the late William Pierce, which claimed that the September 11 attacks were a salutary event. Pierce wrote that through the attacks, bin Laden "forced the whole subject of U.S. policy in the Middle East into the open: the subject of American interests versus Jewish interests, of Jewish media control and its influence on governmental policy." Because bin Laden broke the "taboo" about questioning Jewish interests, Pierce claimed, "n the long run that may more than compensate for the 3,000 American lives that were lost."
Neo-Nazi James Wickstrom has a webpage that includes a number of featured articles, the headlines of which provide a good indication of where he stands on the Islamist question. These include "Military Personnel Wounded in Iraq & Afghanistan For The JEW Neo-cons," "U.S. Slaughters People At Prayer At Baghdad Mosque," "U.S. Teachers Targeted By jews If They Teach Contrary to Israeli," and "The President and his jewish handlers LIED about 9/11!"
And the neo-Nazi ADLUSA website (a site designed to oppose the Anti-Defamation League) brands the Anti-Defamation League's call for Hezbollah TV to be designated a foreign terrorist organization as part of a campaign "of smear, corruption, and harassment," and promotes the conspiracy theory that Jewish hands were behind the 7/7 and 9/11 terrorist attacks. In case this doesn't make their position perfectly clear, the ADLUSA features a direct appeal to Muslims: "Moslems, lay down your guns and join our mission to remove Jews from positions of power from which they persecute one people after another; killing Americans misled by Jews only incites endless wars."
This vocal neo-Nazi support for al Qaeda reaches back to shortly after 9/11. The Jewish newspaper Forward reported in November 2001 that the World Church of the Creator displayed a bin Laden quote on its website warning Americans that they needed to tend to their own interests and not those of the Jews.
Around the same time, the website for Florida-based Aryan Action displayed the message: "Support Taliban, Smash ZOG." (ZOG stands for Zionist Occupation Government, a term rooted in the idea that the Jews control world affairs.) In a perverse twist on President Bush's declaration that "either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists," Aryan Action's website voiced its unequivocal support for al Qaeda: "Either you're fighting with the jews against al Qaeda, or you support al Qaeda fighting against the jews."
Thus far, there has been no proof of neo-Nazi cooperation with Muslim terrorist groups in planning attacks. Despite the lack of proof of operational links, several figures with feet in both movements have actively tried to bring them closer. One such individual is Ahmed Huber, a 77-year-old Swiss convert to Islam whose study is adorned with twin pictures of Adolf Hitler and Osama bin Laden.
Huber told the Washington Post that his goal is to build bridges between radical Muslims and the "New Right." He said that a prevalent view on the New Right is that "what happened on the 11th of September, if it is the Muslims who did it, it is not an act of terrorism but an act of counterterrorism." Certain far-right figures, such as German National Democratic Party theorist Horst Mahler, seem amenable to Huber's ideas. Mahler has spoken of the "sense of sympathy" and "common ground" that far-right European groups share with Islamists, and has admitted to "contacts with political groups, in particular in the Arab world, also with Palestinians."
The neo-Nazis' newfound love for Islamists is by no means unrequited. Some radical Islamic groups have--perhaps in an effort to undercut one of the justifications for the state of Israel--forged intellectual ties with right-wing Holocaust deniers.
At the forefront of contemporary Holocaust denial is the California-based Institute for Historical Review (IHR), which is dedicated to the idea that the Holocaust is a historical fiction. The IHR has been so heartened by the support it's received in the Islamic world that investigative journalist Martin A. Lee noted its journal's frenetic description of a "white-hot trend: the rapid growth of Holocaust revisionism, fueled by increasing cooperation between Muslims and Western revisionists, across the Islamic world."
A number of Middle Eastern newspapers, in countries such as Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria, have published articles endorsing the Holocaust deniers' thesis. Beyond that, neo-Nazi writers who lack legitimacy in the West have increasingly found a platform in the Arab world. For example, Lee further reported that an article by David Duke was featured on the front page of the Oman Times.
Nor is the Islamic promotion of neo-Nazis confined to the Middle East. Lee reports that Muslims, a New York-based weekly newspaper, has published opinion pieces by both David Duke and William Pierce.
Even some Islamic groups with more mainstream legitimacy have promoted far-right figures as featured speakers. One such speaker is William W. Baker, author of the anti-Israel screed Theft of a Nation and former president of the neo-Nazi Populist Party. (While Baker claims that he did not know at the time that the Populist Party was racist, his own words undercut these denials. The Orange County Weekly reports that, in a speech Baker delivered around the time that he headed the Populist Party, he referred to Jerry Falwell as "Jerry Jewry" and commented that he hated traveling to New York City "'cause the first people I meet when I get off the plane are pushy, belligerent American Jews.")
Baker's current avocation is promoting "religious tolerance" by emphasizing the commonalities between Christianity and Islam. In this capacity, Baker has frequently spoken at events hosted by the Council on American-Islamic Relations and various chapters of the Muslim Students' Association; he was also the featured speaker at the Assadiq Islamic Educational Foundation in Boca Raton earlier this year.
There are obstacles to further development of the relationship between Islamists and neo-Nazis. In Europe, ethnic Muslims are frequent targets of neo-Nazi violence, and not all neo-Nazis share the sympathy for Palestinians expressed by the likes of William Baker. As one white supremacist website puts it, "I hate Jews but that doesn't mean I automatically love the Jews' victims." And countless Muslims recoil from Nazi ideology.
Nonetheless, this developing alliance is not without historical precedent. Mohammad Amin al-Husayni, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, famously supported Adolf Hitler during World War II, broadcasting radio propaganda on Germany's behalf and even forming Bosnian Muslim divisions of the Waffen SS. As with al-Husayni and Hitler, the current Islamist/neo-Nazi love affair is rooted in the notion that "the enemy of my enemy is my friend": Both groups are united in their hatred of the Jews, and of the United States.
Moving forward, this peculiar alliance presents the risk that neo-Nazis may collaborate with Islamist terrorist groups on attacks. But a second danger is that the far right's newfound legitimacy in the Arab world may allow neo-Nazi figures to claw their way out from the lunatic fringe to which they're currently relegated.
Daveed Gartenstein-Ross is a counterterrorism consultant and attorney. Kamal Ghali provided research assistance for this article. "
Sunday, Nov. 20, 2005 3:15 p.m. EST
"Al-Qaida Operative Nabbed Near Mexican Border
An al-Qaida operative who was on the FBI's terrorist watch list was recently captured near the Mexican border, housed in a Texas jail and turned over to federal agents, Rep. John Culberson, R-Texas, said on Friday.
"A confirmed al-Qaida terrorist, an Iraqi national, was held in the Brewster County jail," Rep. Culberson told ABC Radio host Sean Hannity. "He was captured in Mexico. This was within the last six weeks. He was turned over to the FBI."
The Texas Republican said he obtained the stunning information about the terrorist's capture "from the sheriffs who were directly involved.
"In fact, one was the sheriff who incarcerated him in the Brewster County jail [and who] confirmed this as well," he explained. The same sheriff also confirmed "that this guy is on the FBI's al-Qaida list," he added.
The al-Qaida operative "had been in Mexico, living just about 60 miles east of El Paso," Rep. Culberson said. "He was captured in a little town called El Porvenir, right across from Fort Han ."
Rep. Culberson said the detainee had been living in Mexico for up to a year, where the terrorist "was taking careful notes on the movement of people, police officers, wildlife, etc."
The Iraqi national "had apparently aggravated a neighbor in Mexico, who turned him in to Mexican authorities," he explained. Mexican officials then turned him over to the U.S. officials, who temporarily housed him in the Brewster County jail.
Asked why this news hadn't been reported earlier, Culberson told Hannity, "That's a very good question and one that I intend to get to the bottom of in my subcommittee."
Rep. Culberson sits on the appropriations subcommittee with jurisdiction over the FBI and the Department of Justice. "I guarantee that we're going to get to the bottom of this," he pledged.
He said FBI Director Robert Mueller had previously "confirmed" in testimony before his committee "that there are individuals from countries with known al-Qaida connections who are changing their Islamic surnames to Hispanic-sounding names and obtaining false Hispanic identities, learning to speak Spanish and pretending to be Hispanic immigrants."
"And these are clearly Arab terrorists," Rep. Culberson added, "from countries like Yemen, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. They're crossing the border, pretending to be Hispanic immigrants, and then disappearing."
Rep. Culberson said news of al-Qaida's penetration of the U.S.'s southern border has him worried that the next terrorist plot could involve setting off simultaneous truck bombs in major urban centers.
"The day they blow us up," he predicted, "the border will be sealed tighter than the Berlin Wall and you'll have armed United States military forces" enforcing immigration laws."
I believe that in most rational, logical, mature minds evidence emerging through sources ignored by the leftist lame-stream-media is demonstrating that
(1) we went into Iraq based upon evidence accumulated and agreed to during the Clinton administration up to when the current decision was made
(2) President Bush did NOT lie about that information
(3) Democrats unanimously agreed on that information but are now attempting to re-write history by repeating a lie long enough to have it replace the truth.... as all Marxist do. Thank you internet!!!
"No hype needed: Saddam, al-Qaida linked
By Victor Davis Hanson
"As American casualties mount in Iraq, politicians at home now fight over who said what and when about weapons of mass destruction and the need for going to war. One of the most frequent charges is that President Bush hyped a non-existent link between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida — and that as a result, we diverted our efforts from finishing off the real terrorists to start a new and costly war to replace a secular dictator.
This charge is false for several reasons — and illogical for even more. Almost every responsible U.S. government body had long warned about Saddam's links to al-Qaida terrorists. In 1998, for example, when the Clinton Justice Department indicted bin Laden, the writ read: "In addition, al-Qaida reached an understanding with the Government of Iraq that al-Qaida would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al-Qaida would work cooperatively with the Government of Iraq."
Then in October 2002, George Tenet, the Clinton-appointed CIA director, warned the Senate in similar terms: "We have solid reporting of senior-level contacts between Iraq and al-Qaida going back a decade." Seventy-seven senators apparently agreed — including a majority of Democrats — and cited just that connection a few days later as a cause to go to war against Saddam: " ... Whereas members of al-Qaida, an organization bearing responsibility for attacks on the United States, its citizens, and interests, including the attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, are known to be in Iraq."
The bipartisan consensus about this unholy alliance was not based on intriguing but unconfirmed rumors of meetings between Saddam's intelligence agents and al-Qaida operatives such as Sept. 11 hijacker Mohamed Atta. Nor did the senators or the president ever claim that Saddam himself planned the Sept. 11 attacks. Instead, the Justice Department, the Senate and two administrations were alarmed by terrorist groups like Ansar al-Islam, an al-Qaida affiliate that established bases in Iraqi Kurdistan.
More importantly, one of the masterminds of the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, Abdul Rahman Yasin, fled to Baghdad to find sanctuary with Saddam after the attack. And after the U.S.'s successful war against the Taliban, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the present murderous al-Qaida leader in Iraq, reportedly escaped from Afghanistan to gain a reprieve from Saddam.
All of this is understandable since Saddam had a long history of promoting and sheltering anti-Western terrorists. That's why both Abu Nidal and Abu Abbas — terrorist banes of the 1970s and 1980s — were in Baghdad prior to the U.S. invasion and why the families of West Bank suicide bombers were given $25,000 rewards by the Iraqi government.
Saddam worried little over the agendas of these diverse terrorist groups, only that they shared his own generic hatred of Western governments. This kind of support from leaders such as Saddam has proven crucial to radical, violent Islamicists' efforts.
After Sept. 11, it became clear that these enemies can only resort to terrorism to weaken American resolve and gain concessions — and can't even do that without the clandestine help of illegitimate regimes (from Saddam in Iraq to the Taliban in Afghanistan, the theocracy in Iran, Bashar Assad in Syria and others) who provide money and sanctuary while denying culpability.
Middle Eastern terrorists and tyrants feed on one another. The Saddams and Assads of the region — and to a less extent the Saudi royal family and the Mubarak dynasty — deflected popular anger over their own failures onto the United States by allowing terrorists to scapegoat the Americans.
Yet, for a quarter-century, oil, professed anti-communism and loud promises to "fight terror" earned various reprieves from the West for these dictatorships, who were deathly afraid that one day America might catch on and do something other than shoot a cruise missile at enemies while sternly lecturing "friends."
That day came after Sept. 11. To end the old pathology, we took out the Taliban and Saddam Hussein, pressured the Syrians to leave Lebanon, encouraged Lebanese democracy, hectored the Egyptians about elections, told Libya's Moammar Gaddafi to come clean about his nuclear plans, and risked oil supplies by jawboning the Persian Gulf monarchies to liberalize.
The theory behind all these messy and often caricatured efforts was not the desire for endless war — we removed by force only the two worst regimes, in Afghanistan and Iraq — but to allow Middle Easterners a third alternative between Islamic radicalism and secular dictatorship. No wonder that wherever there are elections in the Middle East — Afghanistan and Iraq — legitimate governments there have the moral authority and the desire to fight Islamic terrorism.
Americans can blame one another all we want over the cost in lives and treasure in Iraq. But the irony is that not long ago everyone from Bill Clinton to George Bush, senators, CIA directors and federal prosecutors all agreed that Saddam had offered assistance to al-Qaida, the organization that murdered 3,000 Americans. That was one of the many reasons we went into Iraq, why Zarqawi and ex-Baathists side-by-side now attack American soldiers — and why an elected Iraqi government is fighting with us. ""
"The left hates inequality, not evil
by Dennis Prager
"If you want to understand the Left, most of what you need to know can be summarized thus: The Left hates inequality, not evil.
As one raised as a New York Jew (who, moreover, attended an Ivy League university) and therefore liberal -- it took me a while to recognize this fatal moral characteristic of the Left. But the moment I realized it, it became immoral not to oppose leftist values.
It is neither possible nor virtuous to be devoid of hatred. Even those who think it is always wrong to hate must hate hatred. The question therefore is not whether one hates but what (or whom) one hates.
For example, on the basis of the value system that I hold -- the Judeo-Christian -- I try to confine my hating to evil. By evil I mean the deliberate infliction of unjust suffering on the undeserving; cruelty is the best example of such evil.
From the 1930s to the 1950s, liberals and social democrats vigorously opposed communism. But the rest of the world's Left, especially its intellectuals and artists, not only did not oppose communist governments, they were the greatest defenders of communism.
By the end of the Vietnam War (begun and prosecuted by liberals), however, most liberals abandoned anti-tyranny, anti-evil liberalism and joined the rest of the Left. Since the late 1960s, with almost very few exceptions (one is Sen. Joseph Lieberman), "liberal" and "Left" have become synonyms. (That is why The New York Times characterizes the Nation, a far-left journal, as "liberal.")
Thus, when President Ronald Reagan called the Soviet Union an "evil empire," the liberal world condemned him. The Cold War, once regarded as an epochal battle between freedom and tyranny, came to be regarded by liberals as an amoral battle between "two superpowers."
Likewise liberals almost universally mocked President George W. Bush when he labeled Saddam Hussein's Iraq, North Korea and Iran an "axis of evil." It takes a mind that either has little comprehension of evil or little desire to confront it to object to characterizing three of the worst regimes in modern history as "evil."
How else can one explain the Left's enchantment with Fidel Castro, the totalitarian ruler of Cuba? Clearly his evil is of little consequence. What matters to people on the Left is that there is free health care and almost universal literacy in Cuba. Whereas non-leftists believe that it is far better to be illiterate but free, leftists believe that it is better to be a literate slave.
Today, this inability to either recognize or to hate evil is manifested in the liberal opposition to the war in Iraq. As I pointed out in a previous column, opponents of the war should be asked to at least acknowledge that America is fighting evil people and an evil doctrine in Iraq. But even that is difficult, if not impossible, for most people on the Left.
As noted above, everyone hates someone, and that includes people on the Left. The problem is that because they don't hate evil, they hate those who oppose evil. That is how liberals went from anti-communist to anti-anti-communist. To paraphrase one of the greatest moral insights of the Talmud, those who show mercy to the cruel will be cruel to the merciful. So, George W. Bush, not the Islamic terror world, is the Left's villain; life-embracing Israel is the Left's villain, not their death-loving enemies; and religious Christians who note moral weaknesses within the Islamic world are the real danger, not the moral weaknesses within the Islamic world.
To be fair, it should be noted that confusion over evil and insufficiently hating it are not confined to the Left. There are religious people who conflate sexual sin with evil and/or advocate automatic forgiveness of all evildoers, even when no repentance has taken place.
But the inability to acknowledge the greatest evils, let alone to join in fighting them, is the defining characteristic of the Left. That is why former Vice President Al Gore just announced that global warming was a worse threat to humanity than terrorism. He really believes that. As do the great many people on the Left whose moral passion focuses more on gasoline prices, drug prices, health care prices, and other expressions of material inequality than on people and movements dedicated to murder. That is why Robert Redford and friends from Hollywood can celebrate Fidel Castro. Castro may imprison political opponents, and most Cubans may have no right of dissent, but they are economically equal.
Dennis Prager is a radio talk show host, author, and contributing columnist for Townhall.com. "
Seems we did have unanimous congressional approval for going into Iraq which nixes any arguments about any illegality of us being there.
We're a member of the United Nations which created Resolutions 678, 687 and 1441 each made a part of the other by reference calling for the removal of Saddam by one or more member nations for non-compliance to these resolutions.
We are the only remaining super power in the world, the only nation powerful enough to remove Saddam so we did the right thing and lead the way.
While removing Saddam which happened quickly we set about to provide a stable democratically elected representative republic government for the people of Iraq so that Iraq would not become the heartbeat for an Islamafascist terrorist state occupying most of Asia and eclipsing Europe over time.... which would further enable their stated goal of world domination.
Neal Boortz, attorney member of the Georgia Bar Assn., a Libertarian has covered the issue many times and here is what he says about our involvement in Iraq.
So ... here's your scenario. You're the president, and here is the information you have:
So, what do you do? With that information can you really afford to sit back and just watch Saddam? Can Saddam be watched that closely? Could Saddam be watched closely enough to insure that he would not place either chemical, biological or nuclear weapons in the hands of any terrorist group? This man, Saddam Hussein, was absolutely refusing to abide by any of the 17 UN resolutions. The burden of proof had been on Saddam. Prove that you have destroyed your weapons. Show us how you did it. Show us where you did it. Give us the documentation. Show us that those weapons and those weapons systems are gone and we'll leave you alone. But Saddam refused.
You're the president here, and you have two possible screw-ups you can commit. You can attack Saddam and then fail to find those weapons of mass destruction. Or, you can give Saddam more time and then try to explain to the American people why a nuclear device was detonated in the center of Chicago, or why thousands were killed when a poison gas was spread throughout the New York Subway system.
Which mistake do you want? Which screw-up do you want to explain to the American people? Do you really want to try to explain to the American people that after Saddam kicked the inspectors out in 1998 that you thought he went on and did just exactly what the UN had demanded of him, and then didn't tell anybody?
Sometimes there are no really good choices. Sometimes you have to chose between two options on the basis of which one would lead to the worst consequences, not necessarily the best result. True leaders can make those decisions. Demagogues cannot."
My question of the moment is what did Sen. Jay Rockefeller tell Assad on his visit to Syria in 2002 which may have prompted Saddam to truck out and hide any weapons of any kind that he had????? See previous post
"Interesting Timeline" https://blogs.lotterypost.com/konane/2005/11/interesting-timeline.htm
Thank you for your consideration.
BTW, they have a drop down box where you sign the peititon which shows different countries which leads me to believe they may be requesting world opinion ..... which Dems seem to consider more important than US opinion.
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Republican-controlled House spurned calls for an immediate pullout of troops from Iraq in a vote hastily arranged by the GOP that Democrats vociferously denounced as politically motivated.
"To cut and run would invite terrorism into our backyards, and no one wants to see troops fighting terrorism on American soil," Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., said Friday night after the House, as planned, rejected a GOP-written resolution for immediate withdrawal.
The vote, held as lawmakers rushed toward a two-week Thanksgiving break, was 403-3.
Democrats accused Republicans of orchestrating a political stunt that prohibited thoughtful debate on the issue, and nearly all voted against the measure.
That included Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania, the Democratic hawk whose call Thursday for pulling out troops set off a nasty, personal debate over the war.
"Several readers wrote to follow up on Jay Rockefeller's description of his trip to Syria in January 2002 to warn of the pending invasion of Iraq by the United States, or to warn Syria that President Bush was serious about doing something about Iraq. Take your pick.
These readers noticed the timing of the movement of WMDs from Iraq to Syria according to Bill Tierney in his Frontpage interview "Where the WMDs went." They point to this passage:
FP: Ok, so where did the WMDs go?
Tierney: While working counter-infiltration in Baghdad, I noticed a pattern among infiltrators that their cover stories would start around Summer or Fall of 2002. From this and other observations, I believe Saddam planned for a U.S. invasion after President Bush’s speech at West Point in 2002.
On Sunday Jay Rockefeller told Chris Wallace: "I took a trip by myself in January of 2002 to Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria, and I told each of the heads of state that it was my view that George Bush had already made up his mind to go to war against Iraq — that that was a predetermined set course which had taken shape shortly after 9/11." Today Senator Rockefeller issued a press release responding to those of us (including the estimable Bill Bennett and Seth Liebsohn) who have raised questions -- termed "unfounded criticism" by his flack -- about his statement:
"It is ridiculous to suggest that any sensitive information was revealed during my January 2002 Middle East trip. Every aspect of this trip was sanctioned by and coordinated with the State Department and the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. I was accompanied in each country by either our U.S. Ambassador or our Deputy Chief of Mission, and each of our U.S. officials specifically praised my meetings and the message I delivered. I conveyed my belief that President Bush was very serious about taking action in Iraq. I had no knowledge of specific Bush Administration plans to invade Iraq, and I certainly never suggested that I did. I raised this issue on Sunday to make the point that while I hadn’t made up my mind until October of 2002, I believe the president had decided to go to war long before, and continued down that path into 2003 – even as some of the intelligence was being called into question. Once again, it appears that Republican defenders of the president are trying to distract from the real issue – whether the president was straight with the American people about the war in Iraq."
Nevertheless, Senator Rockefeller's press release leaves a few questions open:
1. While Senator Rockefeller stated on Sunday that he took his trip to Syria "by myself," he now claims that it was "sanctioned and coordinated" by the State Department, as well as the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Intelligence Committees. Which was it? Did he act alone or did he act with approval and coordination of his committee and the Department of State? If the latter, who approved the trip?
2. Senator Rockefeller now claims each of the public officials involved "specifically praised my meetings and the message I delivered." Really? To whom? And if this is true, is Senator Rockefeller saying that it was State Department policy to allow and approve of individual Senators to visit with certified state sponsors of terror (who in this case were allied with Saddam) in order to convey the message to Saddam's ally that we were going to war with Saddam -- all before Bush made any public case at all? If so, we should know that too. The State Department should confirm or deny this.
3. To repeat the facts as we know them: Syria is and was a state sponsor of terror, on the Department of State's list as being so; Syria was an ally of Iraq; Syria is a place now contemplated by serious people as a haven for Iraq's WMDs; and a known place from whence terrorists travel into Iraq. Just why would a respected United States Senator tell a sponsor of terrorism and an ally of the regime we were to liberate something they otherwise had not heard, something the President had not said? And just what might that ally of the Iraqi regime have done with that information? In sum, what business of Senator Rockefeller's was it to speculate openly to the head of an enemy regime, and a sponsor of terror (when we were at war with terror), that the President was to go to war with that enemy's ally?
Just wondering, in case any journalist on good terms with Senator Rockefeller thinks the answer to any of these questions might be of interest to his or her readers, as it would be to ours.
"The Murtha of All Morons"
"John Murtha Urged Iraq Pullout Last Year
The press is pretending that Rep. John Murtha had been a longtime, staunch supporter of the Iraq war right up until yesterday's "shocking reversal," when the Pennsylvania Democrat abruptly called for an immediate U.S. pull out.
In fact, Murtha began advocating a cut-and-run strategy way back in May 2004 - after U.S. forces had been in Iraq just a little more than a year.
Standing at the time next to San Francisco-based House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi - who was last seen defending her city's decision to ban military recruiters from public school property - the allegedly pro-war Murtha proclaimed that the Iraq war was "unwinnable."
"We have to either mobilize or get out [and] I don't know that we have the will to mobilize," he declared 18 months ago.
Peacenik Pelosi was delighted at the time - showing off her new catch as if Murtha was a prize-winning poodle.
"He is one of the most recognized experts on defense in the country," she boasted. "And no one has worked harder to meet the needs of our troops."
Of course, one of the troops' most compelling needs is support of their mission on the home front.
And Murtha very publicly yanked his support a long time ago.
The only thing more painful than listening to Jimmy Carter lecture President Bush on how to conduct a successful presidency was living through his disastrous attempt to turn his advice into reality.
As I noted earlier this week, Carter has channeled his hatred of non-leftists, secular and religious, into a glut of slanders in his new bestseller, Our Endangered Values. He charges his opponents with, among other things, countenancing female circumcision, defending the murder of federal judges, torturing innocent Islamofascists, and forcing North Korea to manufacture nuclear weapons. Jimmy once again offers himself as the nation’s savior-by-acclamation, leading his errant people, like a latter-day Moses, to the Promised Land. Every time he flashes his toothy grin before an adoring interviewer, the American people should ask why they should listen to anything he has to say. Jimmy Carter’s presidency could be summed up by a Billy Joel couplet: “Ayatollahs in Iran/Russians in Afghanistan.” However, this would omit so much: “malaise,” the misery index, soaring interest rates, a “helpless giant” foreign policy, stagflation, gas lines, record deficits, and killer jackrabbits. The former president doesn’t ignore his record in his book; he lies about it.
Carter provides a portal into his alternate reality in chapter one, where he insists, “As a Southern moderate and former career naval officer, I espoused a conservative fiscal policy and a strong defense.”  Insert laugh track. He boasts, for instance, that he brought religious liberty to China (on p. 26), although his book hit #1 on the New York Times bestseller list the week Chinese Communists sentenced three Christians to a total of six-and-a-half years in prison for distributing Bibles. His tome is replete with such Carter revisionism.
Upon his inauguration, he provided a “strong defense” by slashing defense spending$6 billion (in 2003 dollars) in the first two years of his administration, canceling the B-1 bomber, and decimating the U.S. fleet.  Gerald Ford warned this would devastate military preparedness in their second debate but was instead remembered for quipping, “there is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe.”
Carter boasts as president he set about “convincing the Soviets of our ability and resolve to respond.”  Unfortunately, his response was naïvete and unilateral surrender. Carter failed to consult either the Pentagon or the Kremlin before removing U.S. missiles from South Korea within hours of his inauguration, a move Brezhnev interpreted as weakness rather than conciliation. In 1979, Brezhnev refused to remove Soviet submarines and aircraft from Cuba.
Carter now frets, “A recent announcement of withdrawal of U.S. troops farther away from the demilitarized zone has caused increasing concern in South Korea that hard-line leaders in Pyongyang and Washington might precipitate the threatened conflict.” Hard-liners “in Pyongyang and Washington,” Mr. President?  Beyond his reprehensible equation of President Bush with Kim Jong-il, Carter apparently forgot that he offered to remove all troops from South Korea during his presidency.
Meanwhile, brother Billy tried to open trade relations with Libya in 1978 after depositing a generous $220,000 “loan” from Qaddafi. He registered as an agent of a foreign government two years later. (Billy exerted no influence over his brother, although Jimmuh made his teenage daughter an ad hoc nuclear advisor.)
The ex-prez now asserts he did a better job of collecting international intelligence than Bush-43. “It was quite different when I was there,” he told Tim Russert. He called his CIA chief “Stansfield Turner, a notable man…an admirable person in every respect, and he gave me unequivocal intelligence regularly…We didn’t have any secret intelligence agencies established within the Defense Department” that already had “a commitment to go to war with Iraq.” To this day, he says, “there hasn’t been any allegation of impropriety” of his use of intelligence.
Stansfield Turner gutted the CIA, cutting 820 human intelligence positions. Without assets of its own, Langley had to rely on the intelligence agencies of foreign governments. Thus, on New Year’s Eve 1977, Carter would toastthe Shah’s Iran as “an island of stability in one of the more troubled areas of the world…[due] to the respect, admiration and love which your people give to you.” Eight months later, the CIA issued the report Iran in the 1980s, in which Carter’s spooks surmised, “Iran is not in a revolutionary or even a ‘prerevolutionary’ situation.” As tensions mounted, Carter withdrew U.S. support from the Shah, turning Iran into a beacon of hope for jihadists around the world. Before admitting the exiled Shah to America, he accepted Iranian guarantees they could secure our embassy, one of the costliest miscalculations in the history of American foreign policy. If al-Qaeda was emboldened by American reversals in Beirut and Somalia, one can only imagine their glee at the 14-month-long hostage crisis. Carter ultimately agreed to pay a ransom of $8 billion (of which, Iran netted $3 billion),  although Ronald Reagan’s toughness and resolution was the decisive factor in ending the crisis.
Nonetheless, in his book Carter presumes to advise George W. Bush on how to deal with Iran.  Without Carter’s policies, the Iran-Iraq war would not have raged for nearly a decade; the United States would not have had to form an unsavory alliance of convenience with Saddam Hussein, in order to hem in the mullahs; Hezbollah would not receive $100-$200 million a year from Tehran’s coffers; al-Qaeda would not have received training in Iran in 1992; and Iran’s nuclear ambitions, if they existed, would be of no consequence to the West whatsoever.
Jimmy Carter’s presidency was the lowest point of American prestige in modern history. The missteps he made during those critical years continue to threaten the United States and the West.
Today, Carter’s foreign policy failures nearly obscure the mess he made of his country in every other way. President Carter enacted his “conservative fiscal policy ” by running annual deficits more than twelve times larger than Richard Nixon’s and increasing the federal debt by 42 percent, more than previous president who had not fought a world war. Had his agenda been implemented, that total would have been higher yet. (Before Hillarycare, he proposed a national health insurance plan, in 1979.)
In Our Endangered Values, Carter advises Bush on how to achieve “far more savings” on the price of oil.  Average gas prices more than doubled during Carter’s presidency, reaching $1.25 a gallon by election day 1980, or roughly $3.00 a gallon today. Carter’s price controls gave us gas lines, shortages, and rationing. Prices continued to rise until Reagan abolished price controls by executive order. Rather than stand up to OPEC during the 1979 gas crisis, Carter cracked down on the American auto industry, and blamed the American people for their “crisis of confidence” in his incompetent leadership.
Carter has discussed his views on reducing abortion through a combination of social welfare spending (such as WIC, which he created) and economic prosperity.  However, abortion increased to near-record highs under Carter, skyrocketing from 1.3 million in 1977 to nearly 1.6 million in 1981.
President Carter’s economic genius created the situation that, by 1980, interest rates stood at 21 percent, inflation at 13.5 percent, unemployment at 7 percent, and the “misery index” he coined during the 1976 campaign reached 20.5 percent.
Carter was so vulnerable a half-hearted primary fight from a wounded Ted Kennedy presented a major challenge. During his re-election campaign, the best pitch he could make was, “I'll be a better president in the next four years.” The New Republic (which endorsed John Anderson that year) editorialized, “He has made our society less prosperous without making it more generous. He has made this country less respected and feared abroad without making it more loved.” Jimmy Carter pulled out all the stops, even dispatching Armand Hammer to negotiate for Soviet interferencein his race against Ronald Reagan. (Hammer told Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin, “Carter won't forget that service if he is elected.” Perhaps this was what he meant about show the Soviets he intended “to respond.”) Still, to this day, Carter excuses his landslide defeat by slandering columnist George F. Will.
The Post-Presidential Peril
It has long been an unwritten rule for former presidents not to criticize the incumbent officeholder, especially on foreign policy. Those who have broken that law in the last 100 years include Herbert Hoover, Jimmy Carter, and, as of yesterday, Bill Clinton. History has judged all as failed presidents. But no former president actively sabotaged the foreign policy of a sitting president before Jimmy Carter.
Carter began his long history of interfering in his successors’ affairs in 1984 by again suggesting Dobrynin interfere in a U.S. election, this time on behalf of Walter Mondale. During the meeting, Carter complained, “there would not be a single agreement on arms control, especially on nuclear arms, as long as Reagan remained in power.” He and other Democrats maintained relations with the Soviets out of concern that Ronald Reagan was an extremist.
Before Operation Desert Storm, Carter wrote a letter to UN Security Council members, asking them to oppose the war. Five days before military operations were to commence, he again wrote to Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt, “I urge you to call publicly for a delay in the use of force while Arab leaders seek a peaceful solution to the crisis.”
However, it was during the Clinton administration that his personal diplomacy reached its zenith. Carter writes that, in 1994, when North Korea began threatening to build nuclear weapons, he left on negotiations “with the approval of President Bill Clinton”  Clinton allowed Carter to visit, after Al Gore pushed for the trip. However, as President Bill Clinton tried to convince Pyongyang all options were on the table including a military response, Carter “unilaterally” promised that even economic sanctions would not be forthcoming. When asked about this discrepancy, President Clinton told reporters, “None of us have talked directly with President Carter. We don’t know what he said.”  For once, Bill Clinton sounded believable. Carter’s behavior in North Korea led a Clinton administration Cabinet member to call him a “treasonous prick.”
During his 1994 trip to North Korea, Carter found time to bolster the image of the Stalinist enclave, saying he didn’t see anyone starving, and the well-stocked groceries of Pyongyang reminded him of the “Wal-Mart in Americus, Georgia.” Soon, he worked out agreement to give Pyongyang 500,000 metric tons of oil, tons of grain, and a light-water nuclear reactor – and he pressed the Clinton administration for a weaker agreement yet. The unverifiable agreement Carter designed allowed North Korea to develop as many as half-a-dozen nuclear weapons – which he now blames on George W. Bush.
Despite his previous betrayal, Clinton sent Carter to Haiti the following September to restore Marxist Jean-Bertrand Aristide to power. Carter was to tell Lt. Gen. Raoul Cedras an invasion would follow imminently if he did not step down. He instead legitimized Cedras, allowed him to stay past the deadline, and offered his own policy views on CNN – before reporting to the White House. When Clinton finally called his bluff by launching “Operation Restore Freedom,” Carter said he was “distressed.” (The move worked; Cedras resigned. Aristide proved no better than his predecessors.)
Carter has hobnobbed with murderous tyrants throughout his post-presidency. He once pounded out a speech delivered by Yasser Arafat. In 2004, he certifieddubious election of pro-Castro strongman Hugo Chavez.
However, he distinguished himself for useful idiocy by visiting Castro’s Cuba in 2002. Then as now, he opposed the Cuban embargo while acknowledging “the benefits of Cuba’s superior services in education and health.”  At this time, then-Undersecretary of State John Bolton stated Castro had some form of biological weapons research in progress, an allegation dating back to the Clinton administration. From overseas, Carter called him a liar, because he had not seen evidence of these programs during his tour. Condoleeza Rice quickly responded, “That’s not how biotech weapons work. And they’re actually very easy to conceal.”
Carter’s crusade to embrace every two-bit thug in the world garnered him a 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, awarded on political grounds, as Carter opposed Operation Iraqi Freedom. Gunnar Berge, chairman of the Nobel Peace Prize committee, said the honor “should be interpreted as a criticism of the line that the current administration has taken.” Carter was happy to administer the criticism in a speech pointedly criticizing U.S. policy on Iraq.
He has escalated his criticism ever since. In a 2004 “Hardball” interview, Carter told his former speechwriter that Operation Iraqi Freedom was like the Revolutionary War, because “in some ways the Revolutionary War could have been avoided. It was an unnecessary war.”
22. Grant and Harding may have been weak and corrupt, but they didn’t set totalitarianism on the march, decimate the U.S. economy, and transform an allied nation into an exporter of Islamist fundamentalism – all in one term. The presidency itself was a weaker institution in their day. By the modern era, the American president acted as leader of the free world. In that capacity, Carter choked during the most strategic moment of the Cold War. If the sundering of the Union would not have sanctioned slavery and diminished America’s role in advancing liberty throughout the world in the following century, Carter would qualify as the worst president ever.http://frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=20232
If you're looking for something to be offended about don't go to this site. However if you're looking for good political cartoons with commentary (click the picture) then by all means have a good laugh because he has quite a library.
"Funny about Money"
Tierney: Thanks for the opportunity.
FP: With the Democrats now so viciously and hypocritically attacking Bush about WMDs, I’d like to discuss your own knowledge and expertise on this issue in connection to Iraq. You have always held that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Why? Can you discuss some actual finds?Tierney: It was probably on my second inspection that I realized the Iraqis had no intention of ever cooperating. They had very successfully turned The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections during the eighties into tea parties, and had expected UNSCOM to turn out the same way. However, there was one fundamental difference between IAEA and UNSCOM that the Iraqis did not account for. There was a disincentive in IAEA inspections to be aggressive and intrusive, since the same standards could then be applied to the members states of the inspectors. IAEA had to consider the continued cooperation of all the member states. UNSCOM, however, was focused on enforcing and verifying one specific Security Council Resolution, 687, and the level of intrusiveness would depend on the cooperation from Iraq.
I came into the inspection program as an interrogator and Arabic linguist, so I crossed over various fields and spotted various deception techniques that may not have been noticed in only one field, such as chemical or biological. For instance, the Iraqis would ask in very reasonable tones that questionable documents be set aside until the end of the day, when a discussion would determine what was truly of interest to UNSCOM. The chief inspector, not wanting to appear like a knuckle-dragging ogre, would agree. Instead of setting the documents on a table in a stack, the Iraqis would set them side to side, filling the entire table top, and would place the most explosive documents on the edge of the table. At some point they would flood the room with people, and in the confusion abscond with the revealing documents.
This occurred at Tuwaitha Atomic Research Facility in 1996. A car tried to blow through an UNSCOM vehicle checkpoint at the gate. The car had a stack of documents about two feet high in the back seat. In the middle of the stack, I found a document with a Revolutionary Command Council letterhead that discussed Atomic projects with four number designations that were previously unknown. The Iraqis were extremely concerned. I turned the document over to the chief inspector, who then fell for the Iraqis’ “reasonable request” to lay it out on a table for later discussion. The Iraqis later flooded the room, and the document disappeared. Score one for the Iraqis.
On finds, the key word here is “find.” UNSCOM could pursue a lead and approach an inspection target from various angles to cut off an escape route, but at some point, the Iraqis would hold up their guns and keep us out.
A good example of this was the inspection of the 2nd Armored Battalion of the Special Republican Guards in June 1997. We came in from three directions, because we knew the Iraqis had an operational center that tracked our movement and issued warnings. The vehicle I was in arrived at the gate first. There were two guards when we arrived, and over twenty within a minute, all extremely nervous.
The Iraqis had stopped the third group of our inspection team before it could close off the back of the installation. A few minutes later, a soldier came from inside the installation, and all the other guards gathered around him. He said something, there was a big laugh, and all the guards relaxed. A few moments later there was a radio call from the team that had been stopped short. They could here truck engines through the tall (10”) grass in that area. When we were finally allowed in, our team went to the back gate. The Iraqis claimed the gate hadn’t been opened in months, but there was freshly ground rust at the gate hinges. There was a photo from overhead showing tractor trailers with missiles in the trailers leaving the facility.
When pressed, Tariq Aziz criticized the inspectors for not knowing the difference between a missile and a concrete guard tower. He never produced the guard towers for verification. It was during this period that Tariq Aziz pulled out his “no smoking gun” line. Tariq very cleverly changed the meaning of this phrase. The smoking gun refers to an indicator of what you are really looking for - the bullet. Tariq changed the meaning so smoking gun referred to the bullet, in this case the WMD, knowing that as long as there were armed guards between us and the weapons, we would never be able to “find,” as in “put our hands on,” the weapons of mass destruction. The western press mindlessly took this up and became the Iraqis’ tool. I will let the reader decide whether this inspection constitutes a smoking gun.
FP: So can you tell us about some other “smoking guns”?
Tierney: Sure. Another smoking gun was the inspection of the 2nd Infantry Battalion of the Special Republican Guards. After verifying source information related to biological weapons formerly stored at the National War College, we learned at another site that the unit responsible for guarding the biological weapons was stationed near the airport. We immediately dashed over there before the Iraqis could react, and forced them to lock us out. One of our vehicles took an elevated position where they could look inside the installation and see the Iraqis loading specialized containers on to trucks that matched the source description for the biological weapons containers. The Iraqis claimed that we had inspected the facilities a year earlier, so we didn’t need to inspect it again.
Another smoking gun was the inspection of Jabal Makhul Presidential Site. In June/July 1997 we inspected the 4th Special Republican Guards Battalion in Bayji, north of Tikrit. This unit had been photographed taking equipment for the Electro-magnetic Isotope Separation (EMIS) method of uranium enrichment away from inspectors. The Iraqis were extremely nervous as this site, and hid any information on personnel who may have been involved with moving the equipment. This was also the site where the Iraqi official on the UNSCOM helicopter tried to grab the control and almost made the aircraft crash.
When I returned to the States, I learned that the Iraqis were extremely nervous that we were going to inspect an unspecified nearby site, and that they checked that certain code named items were in their proper place. I knew from this information the Iraqis could only be referring to Jabal Makhul Presidential Site, a sprawling mountain retreat on the other side of the ridge from the 4th Battalion, assigned to guard the installation. This explained why the Iraqis caused the problems with the helicopter, to keep it from flying to the other side of the mountain.
We inspected Jabal Makhul in September of 1997. The Iraqis locked us out without a word of discussion. This was the start of the Presidential Site imbroglio. The Iraqis made great hay out of inspectors wanting to look under the president’s furniture, but this site, with its hundreds of acres, was the real target.
During the Presidential Site inspections in Spring of 1998, inspectors found an under-mountain storage area at Jabal Makhul. When the inspectors arrived, it was filled with drums of water. The Iraqis claimed that they used the storage area to store rainwater. Jabal Makhul had the Tigris River flowing by at the bottom of the mountain, and a massive pump to send water to the top of the mountain, where it would cascade down in fountains and waterfalls in Saddam’s own little Shangri-la, but the Iraqi had to go to the effort of digging out an underground bunker akin to our Cheyenne Mountain headquarters, just so they could store rainwater.
A London Sunday Times article in 2001 by Gwynne Roberts quoted an Iraqi defector as stating Iraq had nuclear weapons in a heavily guarded installation in the Hamrin mountains. Jabal Makhul is the most heavily guarded location in the Hamrin mountains. With its under-mountain bunker, isolation, and central location, it is the perfect place to store a high-value asset like a nuclear weapon.
On nukes, some analysts wait until there is unambiguous proof before stating a country has nuclear weapons. This may work in a courtroom, but intelligence is a different subject altogether. I believe it is more prudent to determine what is axiomatic given a nation’s capabilities and intentions. There was no question that Iraq had triggering mechanisms for a nuke, the question was whether they had enriched enough uranium. Given Iraq’s intensive efforts to build a nuke prior to the Gulf War, their efforts to hide uranium enrichment material from inspectors, the fact that Israel had a nuke but no Arab state could claim the same, my first-hand knowledge of the limits of UNSCOM and IAEA capabilities, and Iraqi efforts to buy yellowcake uranium abroad (Joe Wilson tea parties notwithstanding), I believe the TWELVE years between 1991 and 2003 was more than enough time to produce sufficient weapons grade uranium to produce a nuclear weapon. Maybe I have more respect for the Iraqis’ capabilities than some.
FP: Tell us something you came up with while conducting counter-infiltration ops in Iraq.
Tierney: While I was engaged in these operations in Baghdad in 2004, one of the local translators freely stated in his security interview that he worked for the purchasing department of the nuclear weapons program prior to and during the First Gulf War. He said that Saddam purchased such large quantities of precision machining equipment that he could give up some to inspections, or lose some to bombing, and still have enough for his weapons program. This translator also stated that when Saddam took human shields and placed some at Tarmiya Nuclear Research Facility, he was sent there to act as a translator. One of the security officers at Tarmiya told him that he had just recovered from a sickness he incurred while guarding technicians working in an underground facility nearby. The security officer stated that the technicians left for a break every half hour, but he stayed in the underground chamber all day and got sick. The security officer didn’t mention what they were doing, but I would say uranium enrichment is the most logical pick.
What, not enough smoke? There was the missile inspection on Ma’moun Establishment. I was teamed with two computer forensic specialists. A local technician stood by while we opened a computer and found a flight simulation for a missile taking off from the Iraqi desert in the same area used during the First Gulf War and flying west towards Israel. The warhead was only for 50 kilograms. By the time we understood was this was, the poor technician was coming apart. I will never forget meeting his eyes, and both of us realizing he was a dead man walking. The Iraqis tried to say that the computer had just been transferred from another facility, and that the flight simulation had not been erased from before the war. The document’s placement in the file manager, and the technician’s reaction belied this story. UNSCOM’s original assessment was that this was for a biological warhead, but I have since seen reporting that make me think it was for a nuclear weapon.
These are only some of the observations of one inspector. I know of other inspections where there were clear indicators the Iraqis were hiding weapons from the inspectors.
FP: Ok, so where did the WMDs go?
Tierney: While working counter-infiltration in Baghdad, I noticed a pattern among infiltrators that their cover stories would start around Summer or Fall of 2002. From this and other observations, I believe Saddam planned for a U.S. invasion after President Bush’s speech at West Point in 2002. One of the steps taken was to prepare the younger generation of the security services with English so they could infiltrate our ranks, another was either to destroy or move WMDs to other countries, principally Syria. Starting in the Summer of 2002, the Iraqis had months to purge their files and create cover stories, such as the letter from Hossam Amin, head of the Iraqi outfit that monitored the weapons inspectors, stating after Hussein Kamal’s defection that the weapons were all destroyed in 1991.
I was on the inspections that follow-up on Hussein Kamal’s defection, and Hossam said at the time that Hussein Kamal had a secret cabal that kept the weapons without the knowledge of the Iraqi government. It was pure pleasure disemboweling this cover story. Yet the consensus at DIA is that Iraq got rid of its weapons in 1991. This is truly scary. If true, when and where did Saddam have a change of heart? This is the same man who crowed after 9/11, then went silent after news broke that Mohammed Atta met with an Iraqi intelligence operative in Prague. Did Saddam spend a month with Mother Theresa, or go to a mountain top in the Himalaya’s? Those that say there were no weapons have to prove that Saddam had a change of heart. I await their evidence with interest.
FP: So do you think the WMD is the central issue regarding Iraq?
Tierney: No, and it never should have been an issue. The First Gulf War -- and I use this term as a convention, since this is actually all the same war -- was a prime example of managing war instead of waging it. Instead of telling Saddam to get out of Kuwait or we will push him out, we should have said to get out of Kuwait or we will remove him from power. As it was, we were projecting our respect for human life on Saddam, when actually, from his point of view, we were doing him a favor by killing mostly Shi’ite military members who were a threat to his regime. I realize that Saudi Arabia, our host, did not want a change in government in Iraq, and they had helped us bring down the Soviet Union with oil price manipulation, but we should have bent them to our will instead of vice versa. Saddam would not have risked losing power to keep Kuwait, and we could have avoided this whole ordeal.
We topped one mistake with another, expecting Saddam Hussein and the Baath Party, a criminal syndicate masquerading as a political party, to abide by any arms control agreement. Gun control and Arms control both arise from the “mankind is good” worldview. If you control the environment, i.e. get rid of the guns, then man’s natural goodness will rise to the surface. I hope it is evidence after more than a decade of Iraqi intransigence how foolish this position is. The sobering fact is that if a nation feels it is in their best interest to have certain weapons, they are going to have them. Chemical weapons were critical to warding off hoards of Iranian fighters, and the Iraqis knew they would always be in a position of weakness against Israel without nuclear weapons. The United States kept nuclear weapons to deter the Soviet Union, but we would deny the same logic for Iraq?
There is also the practicality of weapons inspections/weapons hunts. After seventeen resolutions pleading with the Iraqis to be nice, the light bulb still didn’t go off that the entire concept is fundamentally flawed. Would you like to live in a city where the police chief sent out resolutions to criminals to play nice, instead of taking them off the streets?
As I said earlier, I knew the Iraqis would never cooperate, so the inspections became a matter of illustrating this non-cooperation for the Security Council and the rest of the world. No manipulation or fabrication was necessary. There was a sufficient percentage of defectors with accurate information to ensure that we would catch the Iraqis in the act. UNSCOM was very successfully at verifying the Iraqis’ non-cooperation; the failure was in the cowardice at the Security Council. Maybe cowardice is too strong a word. Maybe the problem was giving a mission that entailed the possible use of force to an organization with the goal of eliminating the use of force.
On the post-war weapons hunt, the arrogance and hubris of the intelligence community is such that they can’t entertain the possibility that they just failed to find the weapons because the Iraqis did a good job cleaning up prior to their arrival. This reminds me of the police chief who announced on television plans to raid a secret drug factor on the outskirts of town. At the time appointed, the police, all twelve of them, lined up behind each other at the front door, knocked and waiting for the druggies to answer, as protocol required. After ten minute of toilet flushing and back-door slamming, somebody came to the front door in a bathrobe and explained he had been in the shower. The police took his story at face value, even though his was dry as a bone, then police proceeded to inspect the premises ensuring that the legal, moral , ethnic, human, and animal rights, and also the national dignity, of the druggies was preserved. After a search, the police chief announced THERE WERE NO STOCKPILES of drugs at the inspected site. Anyone care to move to this city?
FP: Let’s talk a little bit more about how the WMDs disappeared.
Tierney: In Iraq’s case, the lakes and rivers were the toilet, and Syria was the back door. Even though there was imagery showing an inordinate amount of traffic into Syria prior to the inspections, and there were other indicators of government control of commercial trucking that could be used to ship the weapons to Syria, from the ICs point of view, if there is no positive evidence that the movement occurred, it never happened. This conclusion is the consequence of confusing litigation with intelligence. Litigation depends on evidence, intelligence depends on indicators. Picture yourself as a German intelligence officer in Northern France in April 1944. When asked where will the Allies land, you reply “I would be happy to tell you when I have solid, legal proof, sir. We will have to wait until they actually land.” You won’t last very long. That officer would have to take in all the indicators, factor in deception, and make an assessment (this is a fancy intelligence word for an educated guess).
The Democrats understand the difference between the two concepts, but have no qualms about blurring the distinction for political gain. This is despicable. This has brought great harm to our nation’s credibility with our allies. A perfect example is Senator Levin waving deception by one single source, al-Libi, to try and convince us that this is evidence there was no connection between Iraq and al-Qaeda, as though the entire argument rested on this one source. Senator Levin, and his media servants, think the public can’t read through his duplicity. He is plunging a dagger into the heart of his own country.
Could the assessments of Iraq’s weapons program been off? I am sure there were some marginal details that were incorrect, but on the matter of whether Iraq had a program, the error was not with the pre-war assessment, the error was with the weapons hunt.
I could speak at length about the problems with the weapons hunt. Mr. Hanson has an excellent article in “The American Thinker,” and Judith Miller, one of the few bright lights at the New York Times, did an article on the problems with the weapons hunt that I can corroborate from other sources. But if the Iraqi Survey Group had been manned by a thousand James Bonds, and every prop was where it should have been, I doubt the result would have been much different. The whole concept of international arms inspections puts too much advantage with the inspected country. Factor in the brutality used by the Baath Party, and it amounts to a winning combination for our opponents.
I was shocked to learn recently that members of the Iraqi Survey Group believed their Iraqi sources when they said they don’t fear a return of the Baath Party. During my eight months of counterinfiltration duty, we had 50 local Iraqis working on our post who were murdered for collaborating. Of the more than 150 local employees our team identified as security threats, the most sophisticated infiltrators came from the Baath Party. This was just one post, yet the DIA believes no one was afraid to talk, even though scientists who were cooperating with ISG were murdered. You can add this to the Able Danger affair as another example of the deep rot inside the intelligence community.
I believe that once the pertinent sources have a sense of security, a whole lot of people are going to have egg on their face. I believe the Iraqis had a WMD program, and I am not changing my story, no matter how many times Chris Matthews hyperventilates.
FP: Before we go, can you briefly touch on some of the prevailing attitudes in the U.S. military that may hurt us?
Tierney: There is a prevailing attitude that the U.S. is too big and ponderous to lose, so individual officers don’t have to take the potentially career-threatening risks necessary to win. I have heard it said that for every one true warrior in the military, there are two to three self-serving, career-worshipping bureaucrats. We shouldn’t be surprised. After all, the Army advertised “Be all you can be!” Or in other words, get a career at taxpayer expense.
President Clinton changed the definition of the military from peace makers to peace keepers, and no senior officers resigned or objected. President Clinton took a one star general who ran a humanitarian effort in Northern Iraq, Shalikashvilli, and made him Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The signal was out, warriors need not apply. Shalikashvilli later spoke at a U.N. meeting and listed the roles for the military in the “Revolution in Military Affairs.” He included warm and fuzzy things like “confidence building,” but failed to mention waging war. In my five years at CENTCOM headquarters, I very rarely heard the words, “war,” “enemy,” or “winning.” This was all absorbed into the wonderful term “strike operations.”
Operation Desert Fox was a perfect example of the uselessness of strike operations. Iraqis have told me that the WMD destruction and movement started just after Operation Desert Fox, since after all, who would be so stupid as to start a bombing campaign and just stop.
It was only after Saddam realized that President Clinton lacked the nerve for anything more than a temper-tantrum demonstration that he knew the doors were wide open for him to continue his weapons program. We didn’t break his will, we didn’t destroy his weapons making capability (The Iraqis simply moved most of the precision machinery out prior to the strikes, then rebuilt the buildings), but we did kill some Iraqi bystanders, just so President Clinton could say “something must be done, so I did something.”
General Zinni, Commander of CENTCOM, and no other senior officer had any problem with this fecklessness. They apparently bought into the notion that wars are meant to be managed and not waged. The warriors coming into the military post 9/11 deserve true warriors at the top. I believe the house cleaning among the senior military leadership started by the Secretary of Defense should continue full force. If not across the board, then definitely in the military intelligence field.
FP: Mr. Tierney it was a pleasure to speak with you today. Thank you for visiting Frontpage.
Tierney: Thank you Jamie for the opportunity to say there were weapons, and that we were right to invade Iraq."
...Americans, for their part, should take little pleasure in France's agony -- the struggle to integrate an angry underclass is one shared across the Western world."
One way to describe libertarianism is that we believe in the separation of family and state as strongly as the American Civil Liberties Union believes in the separation of church and state. In contrast, both the Left and the Right view government as a substitute parent. As pointed out by George Lakoff in Moral Politics, the Left wants government to be a nurturant parent and the Right wants government to be a strict parent.
Libertarianism does not want the government to act as a parent. What I want is for government to ensure that property disputes are resolved peacefully, according to rules. The rules themselves do not have to be perfect. They should reflect prevailing custom, which in turn may evolve gradually over time.
With some trepidation, I chose to connect this essay to the news du jour, namely the riots in France. Everyone wants to interpret those riots according to their preconceptions. Some pundits see the riots as an anti-Western intifada. Others see them as a cry for social justice.
My reaction to the riots is to view them as teenage rebellion against the state as parent. The French government, like a deer caught in the headlights, cannot decide which direction to turn. Should it adopt the strict parent model, and crack down? Or should it adopt the nurturant parent model, and try to provide better education, jobs, and social acceptance for ethnic minorities?
In this particular case, I believe that libertarian thinking tends to correspond to conservative thinking. With property being destroyed and people being assaulted, government needs to enforce the rules, by force if necessary -- and force is clearly necessary.
Libertarianism also offers clear philosophical resistance to the solutions dear to the hearts of those who want government to act as a nurturant parent. I think it is fair to say that France ought to have rules that forbid discrimination against ethnic minorities. Beyond that, however, the libertarian message to people of color in France would be, "Your prosperity and dignity come from your own efforts. They do not come from the state." Of course, our message to the white French would be exactly the same.
To the traditional Left and Right, one question raised by the riots is how the French welfare state affects Muslims and other minorities. The Right worries that it provides too much support for "alien" immigrant "parasites." The Left worries that it does not provide enough education and employment opportunities.
To libertarians, the welfare state is something that is economically ineffective and morally wrong for everyone, not just for ethnic minorities. Families and non-coercive institutions, such as charities and churches, ought to provide for basic needs. Education and health care ought to be primarily the responsibility of families, not of the state.
The Coase Theorem and Imperfect Rules
I believe that a key element of practical libertarianism has to be a willingness to live with imperfect rules. I view the famous theorem of Nobel Laureate Ronald Coase as an illustration of this.
Suppose that there are two users and a common resource. An example would be a ball field that could be used by soccer players and baseball players. Another example would be a stream that could be used either to water livestock or irrigate crops.
Roughly speaking, the Coase theorem says that it does not matter who owns the common resource, as long as someone owns it. If the farmer owns the stream, then the herder can buy water from the farmer. If the herder owns the stream, then the farmer can buy some water. Either way, water will be allocated efficiently. Furthermore, the owner will have an incentive to maintain the stream in such a way as to maximize the value for both uses. On the other hand, if no one owns the water, then each user will attempt to consume too much. Perhaps the stream will go dry.
A willingness to live with imperfect rules is a little-noticed requirement for libertarianism. If instead you say, "I believe in a government that only enforces rules, but the rules must satisfy the larger needs of justice," you have created a hole in libertarianism through which one can drive a proverbial truck of big government. As Thomas Sowell has pointed out, the Quest for Cosmic Justice is never-ending and self-defeating.
Family, Church, and State
The United States and France have been fairly aggressive about separating church and state. For example, in public schools the U.S. bans school prayer and France bans Muslim head scarves.
Libertarians would like to see equally aggressive policing of the boundary between family and state. We would eliminate the controversy concerning religious expression in public schools by eliminating public schools.
Under the welfare state, government usurps the role of the family in education, health care, and saving for retirement. As economic historian Robert Fogel has pointed out, these are the fastest-growing segments of our economy. Government's role in the economy, as measured by the ratio of taxes and government spending to GDP, is certain to increase sharply as long as we fail to enforce a boundary between family and state.
Policies that treat the state as parent often are defended as helping families that are economically disadvantaged. However, in Bleeding-heart Libertarianism, I showed how we could have a redistributionist tax regime without having government take over family functions. (See also, What's Wrong With Paternalism?)
Does family-state separation have the same Constitutional status as church-state separation? In practice, it clearly does not, and perhaps one could argue that nothing in the Constitution favors family-state separation. However, it strikes me that church-state separatists choose a particularly strict reading of the "establishment clause" of the first amendment, while paternalists choose a particularly loose reading of the parts of the Constitution that limit government's powers in other realms. I would prefer a strict reading on all counts.
What I would like to see is a philosophical movement for the separation of family and state. Such a movement could act as a bulwark against "big-government conservatism." Government should leave children behind and let seniors face the cost of prescription drugs. Those needs should be addressed by families, with support from non-coercive charitable institutions."
Looks like the powerlineblog.com guys have begun challenging a supposed non-partisan CIA.
Liberals love to hatch conspiracy theories which don't exist, but looks like conservatives have a real one crafted by the left being unraveled before their very eyes.
Kudos to Powerline plus the other conservative journalists and bloggers!! If it weren't for them Wilson would remain "sainted" by the MSM and the CIA's part in it would go unnoticed.
Last week before the dam began to break on the subject of the CIA war on the Bush administration, I contacted the CIA public information officer who fields media questions regarding Joe Wilson. I asked him why the Agency hadn't required Wilson to sign a confidentiality agreement regarding his trip to Niger. He hesitated for a few seconds, then responded: "I don't know." At his suggestion, I followed up with my questions by e-mail:
The CIA officer responded:(1) Why wasn't Wilson's February 2002 trip to Niger made subject to a confidentiality agreement?
(2) Did the Agency contemplate that Wilson would publicly discuss the trip at will upon his return?
(3) Did the agency anticipate that if he did so, it would attract attention to the employment of his wife by the agency?
(4) Why did the Agency select Wilson for the mission to Niger to check out such an important and sensitive matter given his lack of experience in intelligence or investigation?
(5) Was the Agency aware when it selected him for the mission of his hostility to the Bush administration?
Joe Wilson was not the only CIA-related political opponent of the Bush administration who emerged during the run-up to the 2004 election. In July 2004, the same month that the Times published Wilson's notorious op-ed column, CIA analyst Michael Scheuer published his strange book Imperial Hubris.Given the ongoing legal process, I don't have anything for you in response to your questions about Ambassador Wilson.
In the epilogue to the paperback edition, Scheuer stated that he "was never told why the CIA permitted publication." Following publication of the book, the CIA permitted Scheuer "anonymously" to criticize the Bush administration's conduct of the war on terror in media interviews until his criticisms extended beyond the administration to the intelligence community. (Scheuer left the Agency last November -- the week after the election.) I also asked the CIA the following questions regarding Scheuer:
The Agency's response to these questions was a bit more forthcoming:(1) Has the Agency ever before in its history authorized the publication of a book by a current Agency employee attacking the incumbent administration?
(2) Was Scheuer's employment status classified at any time between 1999 and the time he resigned from the Agency? If so, over what period?
(3) Can you cite any previous instances in the history of the Agency of currently employed Agency analysts attacking the incumbent administration?
Which leaves the open question: How did things stand last year? The Daily Standard has posted my column on the subject of the CIA's apparent efforts to undermine the Bush administration: "Three Years of the Condor."[A]ll CIA employees have prepublication obligations. Beyond the obvious prohibition on releasing classified information, the outside writings and speeches of serving officers must not affect either their ability to do their jobs or the agency's ability to accomplish its mission. Because CIA is not a policy organization, its regulations discourage current employees from speaking or writing publicly on policy issues.
In light of that common-sense guidance, the chances are extremely remote -- to put it mildly -- that a presently serving officer would be allowed to write a book today injecting him or herself into a national policy debate. That is how things stand now.
Jed Babbin provides a take similar to my own in a column for the Spectator: "The CIA disinformation campaign." Babbin's column points to additional anomalies in Wilson's 2002 trip to Niger, but Babbin erroneously asserts that the 2002 trip was Wilson's first such trip. Babbin overlooks the Senate Intelligence Committee Report's brief reference to Wilson's having performed a previous mission to Niger on behalf of the CIA in 1999. At the American Thinker, Clarice Feldman picks up the thread: "Joe Wilson's earlier mission to Niger." The American Thinker also posts an intriguing column by James Lewis speculating on the possible French role in the affair as well: "The French connection."
The Senate Intelligence Committee Report on prewar intelligence is the key document on Wilson's trip. If only the Senate Intelligence Committee had classified the Report and leaked it to the Times, it might have had an impact on the mainstream media story line on the Wilson affair. As it is, the fact that the Report demonstrated Wilson's thoroughgoing mendacity essentially remains confidential insofar as mainstream media reporting is concerned.
One of these days some big-time journalist is bound to take a look at the story underlying Joe Wilson's phony baloney assertions of wrongdoing against the Bush administration and dig out the evidence of the CIA's scandalous efforts to undermine it. Right?
A cartoon format satire about current events which I find to be outstanding.
Be sure to click the picture for his explanation.
Not for the PC crowd or those looking to be easily offended!!
"Déjà Vu" by Jay D. Dyson (11/07/2005) (Sacredcowburgers)
Add this one too:
There are an amazing number of French fingerprints all over the Plame-Wilson affair. While it is not easy to penetrate the dark fog of lies, there is a highly consistent pattern pointing to French government involvement with a Watergate-style assault on the American Presidency, fronted by Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV.
In 2002 French intelligence forged the notorious document claiming that Saddam tried to obtain Niger uranium. The Italian middle man, Rocco Martino, later confessed to French involvement in open court. Rocco Martino might sound like a small-time mafia hood from the Sopranos. Actually, he works at times for Italian military intelligence. The truth about the French connection came out when Martino confessed in court that the French had given him the forged document to peddle to various intelligence agencies. The Italians and French have had a furious war of words ever since then about who was responsible for the forgery.
The FBI just leaked a claim that Rocco did it just for the money. That is very doubtful. The French naturally deny any responsibility, but the forged document was dropped on the public at exactly the time that Dominique de Villepin, then Foreign Minister, was in New York trying to make Colin Powell believe that France was prepared to help overthrow Saddam. The French forgery was a stink bomb, designed to be exposed in public as soon as Colin Powell publicly accepted it.
At the very same time the Niger forgery showed up, France’s Foreign Minister, Dominique de Villepin, was sand bagging Secretary Powell at the UN by pretending to support American efforts against Saddam – even as he got ready to pull out the rug in a surprise press conference. Reporter Kenneth Timmerman told Brit Hume for FoxNews that:
“Our administration thought that the French were with us, that French had dispatched their top general to Centcom, Chirac had promised the president (to support the United States against Saddam). Villepin the foreign minister had promised Powell. They said they were with us, and they weren’t. ...”
“So then de Villepin goes outside at noontime. ... Powell is actually watching Fox News… as de Villepin goes on TV … And that’s when he announces to the world that France will never ever support the use of force against Saddam Hussein. ... Powell’s jaw dropped to the floor….”
It was a carefully planned ambush. Timmerman summed it up by saying that
“Chirac lied to the president of the United States, and then he ordered his Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin to do the same thing with Colin Powell.”
And then, they pulled the plug.
De Villepin’s ambush triggered a giant anti-American firestorm in Europe and around the world. Germans, French, Brits and Swedes were foaming at the mouth for months and months. France was therefore extremely successful in discrediting American policy against Saddam.
But that was not enough, because Saddam was quickly knocked over by the US-led coalition forces. Somehow the media fires had to be kept alive. The “Bush lied us into war” slogan had to be kept going in the minds of the public.
Enter our hero, Joseph C. Wilson, from stage left. The French forgery about Niger led straight to Wilson’s bogus trip to Africa. Wilson supposedly went there to find out the truth for the CIA. But every government involved already knew the truth about the bogus document, because it showed incorrect names of Niger officials. A single telephone call to Niger would have established that fact.
The reason why Wilson had to travel to Niger in person to “investigate,” while drinking mint tea with his uranium mining friends, was to establish his bona fides – to make him an instant “expert witness” on Saddam’s dealings with Niger. Did French intelligence urge Wilson to make his trip and enlist his wife Valerie to propose him? Without that trip, Joseph C. Wilson had no special claim to any expertise about Saddam’s weapons. It was Valerie Plame who was the CIA WMD expert, but it was Wilson who became the front man.
Notice that the modus operandi for the Wilson trip was much the same as for the Niger forgery: a classic con game. Find a sucker, tell him what he wants to hear, and use that credulous embrance by the mark to destroy your enemy. In the first case the sucker was Colin Powell. In the second case it was the New York Times Op-Ed page. In both cases the enemy to be shafted was George W. Bush and the administration. This is how disinformation is supposed to work.
Joseph Wilson had intimate French connections for many years before his mint tea-sipping journey to Niger. In fact, he met his first wife at the French Embassy in Washington. His second wife, Jacqueline, to whom he was still married when he took up with Valerie Plame, was a former French diplomat. There is even a report that she was a “cultural attaché” in Francophone Africa, a post often used as cover for intelligence operatives, though this remains quite a murky point, as tradecraft suggests it should.
Today Wilson claims to be a business agent for “African mining companies.” But Niger’s mines are owned by a French consortium, which operates cheek-by-jowl with the Quai d’Orsay. Niger itself is a semi-colony of France. No uranium sales go on there without the full knowledge and consent of the French government. Valerie Plame was quoted in a CIA memo as saying that “my husband has good relations with both the PM [prime minister] and the former Minister of Mines (not to mention lots of French contacts)...” Lots of French contacts, indeed.
Wilson exploded into public view, and spent two years barnstorming around the country, giving outraged speeches to publicize the idea that he had found the smoking gun to prove Bush had lied. Moveon.org and their friends were happy to believe him.
Wilson was interviewed on PBS and NPR, and wrote a book, now thoroughly discredited, to push his anti-Bush agenda. In the process he told so many lies that he lost track of them himself. But that made no difference. The media and the Left leaped on the story like manna from heaven; or, possibly, like fine champagne from France.
Well, hypothetically just suppose for a moment that Wilson’s strings are being pulled by the French. What motivates the French government? They have been very clear about that.
Jacques Chirac and his close ally Dominique de Villepin have long proclaimed France to be the strategic enemy of American power. Paris openly yearns to lead the European Union to superpower status, in order to undermine American “hegemony,” and above all for the eternal grandeur of la belle France. De Villepin has written books vilifying the United States; he is an open French imperialist, who conceives of himself as a world-historic figure in the mold of his personal heroes Napoleon and Niccolo Machiavelli.
France’s short-term aim for the Niger forgery was to block US actions against Saddam Hussein, or at least to discredit America in the run-up to the Iraq war. The long-term strategic purpose was to drive a wedge between the US and Europe, so that the European Union – guided by France – could be persuaded to revolt against fifty years of US leadership of the West.
This strategy succeeded, but not completely. The American action in Iraq provoked massive public fury in Europe, whipped up by the government-owned media and the Left. It caused a rift in public opinion that continues today. Had Tony Blair not gone along with President Bush against Saddam, the EU might now be going on its separate way, aiming for world domination, just as de Villepin has fervently advocated. If the EU Constitution had been approved, as the media confidently predicted it would be, Jacques Chirac might now be running to be the first president of Europe.
For decades France has conducted major industrial espionage in the United States. Having Wilson as a source on Clinton’s National Security Council would be an obvious boon for that purpose. Had John Kerry won the 2004 election, Wilson might now be back in the White House, perhaps helping his good friends abroad. He was therefore a very good prospect for French intelligence to cultivate, especially given the lax security standards of the Clinton years. And if Wilson and Plame do succeed in bringing down George W. Bush, Chirac and de Villepin would be overjoyed.
French hatred of American power is the reason why France pressured Turkey (anxious to enter the EU) to block the US IV Infantry Division from crossing Iraq’s northern border to help knock over Saddam Hussein. Had the IV ID hit Saddam from the North while Tommy Franks attacked from the South, the current Iraqi insurrection might have been crushed even before it got started, the Baathist hardcore unable to flee north to the Sunni Triangle and entrench itself among the small percentage of Iraqis who benefited from Saddam’s rule. The original plan envisioned just such a pincer movement. We therefore owe many of our 2,000 soldiers’ deaths to deliberate and malicious French sabotage, with thanks to Dominique de Villepin and Jacques Chirac.
There is every reason to believe that France desperately wants this White House to be weakened or overthrown. They would be happy with Hillary Clinton or any other Democrat as president, because the Euro-socialist, non-interventionist base of that party is compatible with French policies and strategies. European emphasis on the United Nations as the forum for handling international conflicts plays to France’s strongest asset in world affairs, its veto-wielding Security Council seat, and its large number of Francophone former colonies, each with a vote in the General Assembly. A strong America wielding its mighty military force is de Villepin’s worst nightmare.
What about France and Wilson? While we do not know all the facts, there is no question that Joseph Wilson has acted precisely as we might expect from an agent provocateur. He worked fervently to undermine the Bush White House with plainly false accusations, putting the Niger forgery to very good use. Joe Wilson calls himself a business agent for unnamed “African mining companies.” We can reasonably guess that he made those contacts during his several postings in Francophone West Africa, possibly when he was Ambassador to Gabon, another former French colony, at the culmination of his State Department career.
Wilson claims credit for persuading Bill Clinton to make a heavily hyped trip to French Africa, tossing millions of US aid dollars to the local dictatorships, including, possibly, some of Wilson’s friends. So Wilson apparently works as a consultant for French-owned mining companies in Africa, which would allow him to be openly paid by those companies. None of this makes for a smoking gun, but it is certainly, at minimum, an interesting coincidence that a man with such extensive and intimate French connections should be conducting a ferocious nationwide crusade against the President of the United States, who also happens to be hated by the French government.
Was Wilson acting on his own in planting the Times Op-Ed? Were Valerie Plame and her friends at CIA pulling strings? Or was it other Democrats? There is plenty of evidence for CIA backing of Wilson and Plame, as many have previously noted. There may be nothing more to it than a failed CIA WMD intelligence group covering itself with a manufactured diversionary scandal.
But for someone with Wilson’s ego, simple flattery by the “sophisticated” French might be a powerful tool of manipulation. He has all the appearance of a wounded narcissist, someone who needs the attention of the world to make up for his inner deficiencies. When the Soviet KGB ran agents all over the Western world they rarely bothered to pay them. They were “idealists” whose vanity could be easily manipulated.
Is all that tangled enough for you? Keep in mind that the whole affair may be a classic disinformation campaign, run by the pros who make their living doing just that. Just as Watergate showed how Mark Felt learned how to make damaging leaks from J. Edgar Hoover, the modus operandi of the Plame-Wilson affair reflects professional intelligence methods.
For now, there are only questions, not answers. Maybe someone with the power to subpoena and compel testimony under oath ought to be investigating. Whoever is guiding Joseph C. Wilson IV seems to specialize in dangerous intrigue. We have not seen the end of them yet.
James Lewis is a frequent contributor. "
November 6, 2005
BY MARK STEYN SUN-TIMES COLUMNIST
Ever since 9/11, I've been gloomily predicting the European powder keg's about to go up. ''By 2010 we'll be watching burning buildings, street riots and assassinations on the news every night,'' I wrote in Canada's Western Standard back in February.
Silly me. The Eurabian civil war appears to have started some years ahead of my optimistic schedule. As Thursday's edition of the Guardian reported in London: ''French youths fired at police and burned over 300 cars last night as towns around Paris experienced their worst night of violence in a week of urban unrest.''
''French youths,'' huh? You mean Pierre and Jacques and Marcel and Alphonse? Granted that most of the "youths" are technically citizens of the French Republic, it doesn't take much time in les banlieus of Paris to discover that the rioters do not think of their primary identity as ''French'': They're young men from North Africa growing ever more estranged from the broader community with each passing year and wedded ever more intensely to an assertive Muslim identity more implacable than anything you're likely to find in the Middle East. After four somnolent years, it turns out finally that there really is an explosive ''Arab street,'' but it's in Clichy-sous-Bois.
The notion that Texas neocon arrogance was responsible for frosting up trans-Atlantic relations was always preposterous, even for someone as complacent and blinkered as John Kerry. If you had millions of seething unassimilated Muslim youths in lawless suburbs ringing every major city, would you be so eager to send your troops into an Arab country fighting alongside the Americans? For half a decade, French Arabs have been carrying on a low-level intifada against synagogues, kosher butchers, Jewish schools, etc. The concern of the political class has been to prevent the spread of these attacks to targets of more, ah, general interest. They seem to have lost that battle. Unlike America's Europhiles, France's Arab street correctly identified Chirac's opposition to the Iraq war for what it was: a sign of weakness.
The French have been here before, of course. Seven-thirty-two. Not 7:32 Paris time, which is when the nightly Citroen-torching begins, but 732 A.D. -- as in one and a third millennia ago. By then, the Muslims had advanced a thousand miles north of Gibraltar to control Spain and southern France up to the banks of the Loire. In October 732, the Moorish general Abd al-Rahman and his Muslim army were not exactly at the gates of Paris, but they were within 200 miles, just south of the great Frankish shrine of St. Martin of Tours. Somewhere on the road between Poitiers and Tours, they met a Frankish force and, unlike other Christian armies in Europe, this one held its ground ''like a wall . . . a firm glacial mass,'' as the Chronicle of Isidore puts it. A week later, Abd al-Rahman was dead, the Muslims were heading south, and the French general, Charles, had earned himself the surname ''Martel'' -- or ''the Hammer.''
Poitiers was the high-water point of the Muslim tide in western Europe. It was an opportunistic raid by the Moors, but if they'd won, they'd have found it hard to resist pushing on to Paris, to the Rhine and beyond. ''Perhaps,'' wrote Edward Gibbon in The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire, ''the interpretation of the Koran would now be taught in the schools of Oxford, and her pulpits might demonstrate to a circumcised people the sanctity and truth of the revelation of Mahomet.'' There would be no Christian Europe. The Anglo-Celts who settled North America would have been Muslim. Poitiers, said Gibbon, was ''an encounter which would change the history of the whole world.''
Battles are very straightforward: Side A wins, Side B loses. But the French government is way beyond anything so clarifying. Today, a fearless Muslim advance has penetrated far deeper into Europe than Abd al-Rahman. They're in Brussels, where Belgian police officers are advised not to be seen drinking coffee in public during Ramadan, and in Malmo, where Swedish ambulance drivers will not go without police escort. It's way too late to rerun the Battle of Poitiers. In the no-go suburbs, even before these current riots, 9,000 police cars had been stoned by ''French youths'' since the beginning of the year; some three dozen cars are set alight even on a quiet night. ''There's a civil war under way in Clichy-sous-Bois at the moment,'' said Michel Thooris of the gendarmes' trade union Action Police CFTC. ''We can no longer withstand this situation on our own. My colleagues neither have the equipment nor the practical or theoretical training for street fighting.''
What to do? In Paris, while ''youths'' fired on the gendarmerie, burned down a gym and disrupted commuter trains, the French Cabinet split in two, as the ''minister for social cohesion'' (a Cabinet position I hope America never requires) and other colleagues distance themselves from the interior minister, the tough-talking Nicolas Sarkozy who dismissed the rioters as ''scum.'' President Chirac seems to have come down on the side of those who feel the scum's grievances need to be addressed. He called for ''a spirit of dialogue and respect.'' As is the way with the political class, they seem to see the riots as an excellent opportunity to scuttle Sarkozy's presidential ambitions rather than as a call to save the Republic.
A few years back I was criticized for a throwaway observation to the effect that ''I find it easier to be optimistic about the futures of Iraq and Pakistan than, say, Holland or Denmark." But this is why. In defiance of traditional immigration patterns, these young men are less assimilated than their grandparents. French cynics like the prime minister, Dominique de Villepin, have spent the last two years scoffing at the Bush Doctrine: Why, everyone knows Islam and democracy are incompatible. If so, that's less a problem for Iraq or Afghanistan than for France and Belgium.
If Chirac isn't exactly Charles Martel, the rioters aren't doing a bad impression of the Muslim armies of 13 centuries ago: They're seizing their opportunities, testing their foe, probing his weak spots. If burning the 'burbs gets you more ''respect'' from Chirac, they'll burn 'em again, and again. In the current issue of City Journal, Theodore Dalrymple concludes a piece on British suicide bombers with this grim summation of the new Europe: ''The sweet dream of universal cultural compatibility has been replaced by the nightmare of permanent conflict.'' Which sounds an awful lot like a new Dark Ages."
It's like a spy thriller. Institutional rivalries and political loyalties have fostered an intelligence officer's resentment against the government. Suddenly, an opportunity appears for the agent to undercut the national leadership. A vital question of intelligence forms the core justification for controversial military actions by the current leaders. If this agent can get in the middle of that question, distort that information and make it public, the agent might foster regime change in the upcoming election.But the rules on agents are clear. They can't purposely distort gathered intelligence, go public with secret information or use their position or information to manipulate domestic elections or matters without risking their job or jail.
But their spouse can!
The agent realizes her spouse can go out on behalf of the spy agency, can distort information, go public with classified information and use all this spy-agency-sponsored material and credentials to try to pull down the current government, and it is all perfectly legal.
Suppose the spouse adds just one more brilliant, well-aimed lie: claim your foremost political opponent put the spouse up to the trip. As your spouse uses your agency's name to mount attacks, your enemy may fall into your trap. Will your enemy suffer your spouse's lies or take the bait and try to clarify his non-role? If he tells the press he didn't hire your spouse, the press will demand to know, "Then who did?"
Instead of you violating secrecy laws, it is your victim who is guilty because he tried to set the record straight. Heads, you win; tails, he loses.
It sounds unbelievable, a fiction, perhaps to be called "To Sting a King." But it is no fiction. This is the story behind Valerie Plame, Joe Wilson and the Bush administration. And it appears that Plame and Wilson will get away with the biggest sting operation ever.
No one seems to care that our intelligence agency has crippled our president. Certainly not the media. They are determined to make Wilson a hero. Recall the dozens of times the Washington Post and The New York Times carried his lies on the front page, above the fold. The conclusive story discrediting Wilson was buried 6 feet deep, back by the obituaries.
To the media, it doesn't matter that the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence says Wilson lied about what he did and with whom he met while investigating Iraqi attempts to purchase "yellowcake" uranium.
To the media, it doesn't matter that the CIA says what Wilson did actually find supported that Iraq was attempting to buy the uranium — a direct contradiction to Wilson's public claims.
To the media, it doesn't matter that he claimed the vice president assigned him to the uranium investigation when we all know now it was his wife.
Some absurdly claim that Plame had nothing to do with her husband's political activities against President Bush. But let it be clear. Plame could not have done what Wilson did and gotten away with it. Wilson could not have done what he did without Plame giving him a way to do it.
Something has to be done. We can't let the CIA become the domestic dirty tricks shop, with Republican and Democratic agents each trying to pull down their opposing presidents.
We need a Plame rule. Any family member of a CIA agent tapped to help out must live by the same rules regarding information disclosure and domestic political manipulations as those imposed on the agent. If the family member fails to live by those rules, the agent is terminated.
Clearly this will restrict the flexibility of the CIA. But who ever thought that the flexibility given to CIA agents would be misused to destabilize a U.S. president? No one — until Valerie Plame.
Zell Miller is a former Georgia governor and U.S. senator. "
"If the world would have paid attention to the struggle of the Christians against the Islamic revolution 30 years ago in Lebanon, the world would not be suffering now from a plague of terrorism from New York to London, from Bali to Madrid, from Beslin to Turkey."
Carter years coming back to haunt us again. Bush will be remembered by history as the president who was instrumental in planting seeds of freedom and democracy in an area where no one believed it would ever be possible. No wonder both Clinton and Carter are so vocal about someone who is eclipsing them.
Symposium: Lebanon: The Spark of Liberty in the Middle East
By Jamie Glazov
FrontPageMagazine.com | November 3, 2005
A new UN resolution being hammered out this week will attempt to force Syria to turn over suspects to the world body's inquiry into the assassination of Rafiq al-Hariri, the former Lebanese prime minister who had opposed the 30 year-long presence of Syrian troops in his country. The al-Hariri murder last February set off a spate of killings against anti-Syrian figures. On June 2, anti-Syrian newspaper columnist Samir Kassir was killed in a car bombing. That same month, George Hawi, another critic of Syria, was murdered in another car explosion. In late September 2005, May Chidiac, a prominent anti-Syrian Christian news anchor, was seriously wounded when her car exploded in Lebanon. Her left leg was blown off beneath the knee, and her left hand suffered extensive damage.
Syria has denied any role in these murders, but the Damascus hand is transparently evident. The UN inquiry into al-Hariri’s assassination has already led to the arrest of four pro-Syrian generals on charges of murder.
All of these developments reveal that Lebanon is paying a heavy price for the freedom and independence it is now gaining. Lebanese citizens are clearly no longer afraid of the Syrians and are moving quickly toward regaining their independence and becoming a truly democratic society. This phenomenon obviously poses a huge threat not only to Syria, but also to Islamists throughout the Middle East terrified of liberty in their midst.Today, FrontPage Magazine would like to discuss this first true pro-democratic revolution in the Arab world. We would like to focus on one key central question: is this incredible development connected to the same reason why Lebanon was destroyed as a country in the Middle East? Does Lebanon have promise for modernity and freedom because it is a Christian nation? Is that why, in the last quarter of the 20th century, the Islamic-Arab world suffocated Lebanon -- because it couldn't, at that time, digest freedom?
Thanks to two successful elections in Iraq, the tide of for freedom in the Middle East has clearly turned, and it appears that the forces of authoritarianism and terror can no longer prevent the crumbling of the Arab Berlin Wall. At the same time, it must asked: does the large Christian contingent of the Lebanese Arab population mean that this country's democratic revolution may not be readily repeatable elsewhere in the Middle East?
To discuss these and other questions with us today, FrontPage has assembled a distinguished panel. Our guests today are:
Joe Baini, Speaker of the World Lebanese Cultural Union (WLCU) Senate and the immediate past World President of the WLCU. Has been active in the struggle to liberate Lebanon from foreign occupation and restore its sovereignty for over 28 years;
Ret. Colonel Charbel Barakat, a Former Officer of the Lebanese Army, Vice President of the World Lebanese Organization and a former International Security Advisor to the President of the Lebanese Diaspora. He is a terrorism analyst for the Canadian Lebanese Council and testified on Terrorism and Hezbollah to the US Senate in 1997 & 2000;
Tom Harb, the Chairman for Media and Director for Foreign Affairs at the World Lebanese Cultural Union, the legitimate representative of the Lebanese Diaspora. The Vice President of the American Lebanese Coalition for Political Affairs, he has served as a President of the American Maronite Union. Mr. Harb is also the coordinator of United Nations activities on behalf of the Lebanese Diaspora. He has been a leading contributor in the introduction of the UNSCR 1559, which called on Syria to withdraw from Lebanon;B rigitte Gabriel, a survivor of Islam's Jihad against Lebanese Christians. She's the former news anchor of World News for Middle East television and is now an expert on the Middle East conflict who lectures nationally and internationally on the subject. She is the founder of AmericanCongressforTruth.com;
andJoe Farah, an Arab-American Christian journalist whose grandparents came from Lebanon and Syria. The founder of WorldNetDaily.com, he served as a correspondent covering the Middle East in the 1980s and has reported about and analyzed the region ever since.
FP: Tom Harb, Brigitte Gabriel, Joseph Farah, Col. Barakat and Joe Baini, welcome to Frontpage Symposium. Mr. Baini, let us begin with you. Let’s start on a general theme. Tell us why you think Lebanon was at one time the Paris of the Middle East and why other Arab nations weren’t.Tom HarbBrigitte Gabriel, Joseph Farah, Col. Barakat and Joe Baini, welcome to Frontpage Symposium. Mr. Baini, let us begin with you. Let’s start on a general theme. Tell us why you think Lebanon was at one time the Paris of the Middle East and why other Arab nations weren’t.
Baini: Perhaps it is easy to oversimplify the reasons in light of events of the last 30 years, however the real reasons firstly stem back in the history of Lebanon, to the era of our ancestors the Phoenicians. Renowned throughout history for their endless talents of Skills, Architecture, Craftsmanship, astuteness in business, merchandising and the ability to draft legal agreements as in establishing the first school of law in the world.
Secondly, we saw the advent of the Maronites, a Christian Church who are the followers of Saint Maroun; a Catholic Church with Eastern Rites who brought with them a sense of stability and balance through their strong faith, intellect and inner strength of character. Who also had an ability to plan and develop communities and build for the future. They ultimately became the most dominant yet progressive and highly productive force in the land that we now know as Lebanon. They withstood many challenges to their supremacy but always managed to remain the main power base. Their strong desire for education gave rise to incentives and stimulated the people of Lebanon onto greater endeavours and achievements in social reforms, politics and the process currently known as democracy.
These basic historical facts plus many more since, have given the people of Lebanon a fundamentally strong foundation for the development of a balanced outlook on life. Notwithstanding their experience of the last 30 years, the Lebanese will never lose their passion for freedom, democracy and independence; a characteristic not seen or experienced anywhere else in the Middle East. There is no doubt that it stems from the influence of Christianity which teaches us that every one is born free and is equal in the eyes of God and the law and has the right for self determination.
FP: So in many respects, militant Islam had to destroy this light of freedom within its midst? Lebanon could not be allowed to live?So in many respects, militant Islam had to destroy this light of freedom within its midst? Lebanon could not be allowed to live?
Barakat: I am afraid so, yes, but it is important to stress that Lebanon had different names and slogans every time. In 1920 it was the Arab Kingdom of Damascus under Faysal, the son of Sharif Hussein of Hijjaz. All the Christian villages South of the Litani river were attacked in the same terrorist way, the orders and the main bands came from Damascus. But Lebanon survived and the freedom light was kept alive.I am afraid so, yes, but it is important to stress that Lebanon had different names and slogans every time. In 1920 it was the Arab Kingdom of Damascus under Faysal, the son of Sharif Hussein of Hijjaz. All the Christian villages South of the Litani river were attacked in the same terrorist way, the orders and the main bands came from Damascus. But Lebanon survived and the freedom light was kept alive.
The second time was with Nasser of Egypt who wanted to "export" his revolution everywhere in the Middle East and united Syria with Egypt. For sure Lebanon had to suffer the "Brotherhood" approach of the new situation and a flow of weapons to destabilize it. Nasser, who did "monopolise" the power and "nationalize" the economy in Egypt, couldn't accept having on his "new borders" a free country with an open market and a democratic regime. But as progressive as he use to call himself, he did exploit Islam to popularize his image and have some Lebanese followers.
The third time the source of the problem was Syria again. Assad wanted to wage a war against Israel from Lebanon using the Palestinians as tools. He trained and armed them, he took advantage of the free opinion and the free press in Lebanon, he used all means to create instability in the country. This led to a real war and a "brotherly" occupation that we have suffered for 30 years now. Even though he did terminate all existence of the Muslim Brotherhood of Syria, he did create and support the Terrorists of Hezbollah in Lebanon which are the main problem for the return of stability and progress to the country now.
With all the pressures and the problems Syria caused, Lebanon managed to survive and keep freedom its main target. The weakness and strength of Lebanon is always its multicultural society. This society cannot be ruled but with democracy, which will give the country its strength, but when the dictatorial regimes of the neighbouring countries are strong or the fanatic movements are rising, Lebanon will always be put to the test and the results will be more sufferings.
Gabriel: In so many respects, Lebanon’s Christian influence and culture clashed with militant Islam’s intolerance of anything western.
At the heart of the Middle East and the crossroads of three continents, Lebanon is where the East meets the West. DH Lawrence described Beirut as "a chromatic Levantine screen through which foreign influences entered". It is that western influence adopted by the Christian Lebanese, the largest concentration of Christians in the region that turned Lebanon into the Jewel of the Middle East. It is that western culture and Judeo Christian values which dominated Lebanon that went against the grain of Islam, its traditions and teachings.
Lebanon, also known as the land of the alphabet, is the Middle East’s most liberal country, an oasis of tolerance and easy-going enjoyment in a turbulent region. On Hamra Street, Beirut’s equivalent of Oxford Street, micro-skirted young Lebanese women brush shoulders with Muslim women covered head to foot in black hijab.
It had been in Lebanon that celebrities such as Frank Sinatra, Charles Aznavour and Johnny Halliday entertained high-rolling Arab sheikhs and European jet-setters, among them film stars such as Brigitte Bardot and Sophia Loren. It was also in Lebanon where Europeans and Arab tourists alike came to see the likes of Rudolf Nureyev, Margot Fonteyn, Joan Baez and Herbert von Karajan’s Berlin Philharmonic perform beneath the floodlit splendour of Balback’s exquisite Roman temples.
The backbone of Lebanese culture like Mr. Baini mentioned is education . The Lebanese, have the highest literacy rates in the Arab world. Most Lebanese speak three languages Arabic, French and English and hold the most college degrees than any other Arabic country in the region.
Democracy can only thrive in a society that values education, human rights and treats its citizens men and woman as equals in the eyes of the law. All concepts central to Christian Lebanese. With the civil war decrease of the Christian population and subjugation of those remaining to somewhat of a dhimitude status and the rise of international Islamic fundamentalism, hope for Democracy hinges on U.S. and world support for those remaining Christians and the creation of an atmosphere of stability and security encouraging expatriate Christians to return.
Farah: Brigitte is so right. I don't see a real return to self-government, in the truest sense of the word, without incentives for the vast Lebanese diaspora to return. The "revolution" in Lebanon this year was very encouraging, very inspiring. But it will not fully blossom into an expansion of freedom and security unless the demographic balance, so key to the "Lebanon difference" in the Middle East, is re-established. I know many, many Lebanese Americans, Lebanese-Canadians, Lebanese-Australians and others around the world who would like to return to their homeland. But it's not likely to happen unless they see more progress -- unless they see that this is real, that this is permanent. I don't think we're there yet.Brigitte is so right. I don't see a real return to self-government, in the truest sense of the word, without incentives for the vast Lebanese diaspora to return. The "revolution" in Lebanon this year was very encouraging, very inspiring. But it will not fully blossom into an expansion of freedom and security unless the demographic balance, so key to the "Lebanon difference" in the Middle East, is re-established. I know many, many Lebanese Americans, Lebanese-Canadians, Lebanese-Australians and others around the world who would like to return to their homeland. But it's not likely to happen unless they see more progress -- unless they see that this is real, that this is permanent. I don't think we're there yet.
We may not be there yet until Syria is held accountable for its crimes.
Right now, Assad is biding his time. He's watching Cindy Sheehan and these other idiots in America characterizing the terrorists in Iraq as "freedom fighters." He is being advised that, while the war in Iraq may have gone very well for the Americans, the lesson of Vietnam is that the war ultimately will be waged at home in the U.S.
Do the American people have the intestinal fortitude to stay the course?
That, I believe, is the real question for Lebanon.
After all, it was Walid Jumblatt, the Druze leader who was a staunch opponent of American involvement in Iraq who ultimately conceded that it was the free election in that country that inspired the Lebanon Revolution. If that revolution is to continue, there needs to be continued progress in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East.
Harb: Lebanon's historical problems started with the rejection by Syria and the PanArabists of the very existence of the country. In 1920, after the liberation of Lebanon from the Ottoman occupation by France and Britain, the League of Nations decided that a Lebanese independent state would be created and guaranteed. Even though Syria was under the French mandate as was Lebanon, the Arab nationalist forces and the Islamic Fundamentalists refused to recognized the independence of Lebanon and waged multiple campaigns to stop Lebanese sovereignty. As soon as the French withdrew from the region in 1945, and after the country of Lebanon became independent, the new Syrian state, even before the Baath, put enormous pressures on the Lebanese Republic.L ebanon's historical problems started with the rejection by Syria and the PanArabists of the very existence of the country. In 1920, after the liberation of Lebanon from the Ottoman occupation by France and Britain, the League of Nations decided that a Lebanese independent state would be created and guaranteed. Even though Syria was under the French mandate as was Lebanon, the Arab nationalist forces and the Islamic Fundamentalists refused to recognized the independence of Lebanon and waged multiple campaigns to stop Lebanese sovereignty. As soon as the French withdrew from the region in 1945, and after the country of Lebanon became independent, the new Syrian state, even before the Baath, put enormous pressures on the Lebanese Republic.
In 1948, thousands of Palestinian refugees were admitted into Lebanon. Syria started to arm them as of the 1950s to attack the Lebanese Government. In the early 1960s, Damascus helped Syrian nationalists in Lebanon to organize a coup d'etat, which failed. In 1969, Damascus supported the PLO to take the control of enclaves inside Lebanon. They wanted to drag Lebanon further in the Arab Israeli conflict. And in 1970, after King Hussein of Jordan defeated them, the followers of Yassir Arafat moved to Lebanon and launched attacks against the Lebanese army. Followed by wider operations in 1973. Finally, in 1975, a generalized war took place between the Lebanese army and its supporting popular militias on the one hand, and the PLO, leftwing and Islamic militias on the other hand. In June 1976, Hafez Assad ordered an invasion of Lebanon. By 1977-1978 his troops were battling the Lebanese resistance. A Syrian-PLO-Jihadist alliance was trying to defeat the Lebanese resistance Forces and regular Army till 1982 without success.
In 1982, Israel invaded from the south to fight the PLO and push back the Syrian army. But in 1985, Hizbollah, the pro-Syrian militias and the Syrian forces took back most of the country except the East Beirut enclave. In 1990, and as Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, Assad invaded the last free and independent enclave of Lebanon. Since then, the Syrian occupation, backed by the Iranian-supported Hizbollah controlled the country. Lebanon's civil society tried hard to free itself without success for a whole decade. The 1990s were very difficult, as neither Washington nor Paris were interested in liberating their old friends the Lebanese.
But after September 11, the US Congress and Administration realized the importance of Lebanon in the War on terror. The Lebanese Diaspora became active and called for an initiative to free their mother country. In the US, we were working along with other Mideast free communities from Iraq, Syria, Egypt etc. The Congress voted the Syrian Accountability Act in 2003 and in September of 2004, thanks to the "Lebanese lobby," a United Nations resolution was voted asking Syria to withdraw. After the assassination of Prime Minister Hariri, demonstrations exploded in Beirut, and the Cedars Revolution was on. President Bush and his European allies pressed Damascus for withdrawal. Most Syrian forces left the country and legislative elections took place. However, we know that Syrian intelligence is still inside the country, Hizbollah has thousands of fighters and democracy is still threatened. The Cedars Revolution is not over yet.
Barakat: The main problem for Lebanon now as Mr. Harb mentioned still the full implementation of the UNSCR 1559 which calls on the disarmament of the Lebanese and non Lebanese militia (or armed groups). We have to remember that all the Palestinian camps still armed and form a safe heaven for many of the outlaws like the killers of the four judges in Saida or the famous Abu Mohjen and the killers of the American nurse, not to name the Terrorists like Fatah, Hamas and all the pro-Syrian organizations. Along the Syro-Lebanese borders also we still have many military positions fully armed and occupied by the pro-Syrian Palestinian organizations and which were left behind after the Syrian withdrawal. The United Nations observers and Mr. Larson may be consider those as part of the armed groups to be disarmed according to UNSCR 1559. Also the Sunni terrorist groups in North Lebanon connected in some way to Al Qaeda remain armed and spread hatred in their so called Islamic schools. Mr. Hariri and his party were not able to content them -- yet?
The main problem to the return of stability and security to Lebanon which are two of the pillars of the democracy, is Hezbollah. Why?
As Shiite as this party is and while the Shiite community is one of the major Lebanese communities, it was forced by Iran, Syria and its own terrorist ways to become the main player, the most armed and the well organized faction in the Lebanon of the Syrian Era. It was Mr. Terry Rod Larson, the special envoy of the UN secretary General, who helped making of him The Liberator in the year 2000.
Now and after all what happened (the killing of Hariri, the Cedar revolution, the elections, the new government and the number of terrorist attacks), no body can assure the return of the stability into Lebanon before reaching an end to Hezbollah's arsenal.
No one can accept to have in the same country and in a multi-cultural society different classes of citizens where a minority of militant is forming a state within the state and having its own security system and its own army.
While the Christian militias and security system were dismantled and the new government can not, until now, change the state security system (made by Syria to just hold any opposition to their occupation), we are assisting to a security vacuum in the Christian areas which lead to a series of attacks and killing of opposition figures.
The government is claiming that it is fighting a "Ghosts" because it does not have until now a clear decision about the future, it did not yet choose a position, it did not, for example, accept the UNSCR 1559 fully or reject it. Hezbollah is part of the government and is an ally to Syria in the same time. Syria is behind the instability, behind all the explosions and the killing and the government do not dare to name it.
Lebanon needs in this period a full involvement of the international society. The borders with Syria should be sealed against infiltrations of terrorists and weapons. All the communities and specially the Shiite suppose to agree on the full implementation of UNSCR 1559 and the disarmament of Hezbollah. Syria shouldn't be allowed to return to the old ways of disturbing its neighbor's security. Then we can have the time to think and review our democratic system which could need some changes or upgrades.
Gabriel: There have already been some changes taking place concerning democracy and I am not referring to the system. Hezbollah itself has been changing. Not that its terrorist side has changed but its new face of being a political party is emerging. With its recent political gains in Lebanon, it is learning how to use the democratic process as a cover of respectability while still being one of the most lethal terrorist organizations in the world operating freely and suppressing and terrorizing the Christians. This threat does not stop with the Christian Lebanese. It is in the international community’s best interest, while concerned about the threat of radical Islam and terrorism, to stop Hezbollah in its tracks.
Hezbollah and its radical Shiite militia is financed and armed by Iran, supported and protected by Syria. It was a one year old organization when they bombed the marines in Lebanon in 1983. Today Hezbollah is leading the training of the insurgents in Iraq, including Al-Qaeda members in their training centers in the Bekaa valley in Lebanon under the protection of Syria. It is Hezbollah’s technology and weapons, supplied by Iran, tested in Lebanon, that are used against the allied forces in Iraq to drive the hope of democracy from taking place. And we think that a handful of Lebanese who demonstrated in the Cedar revolution who don’t possess any weapons are going to triumph over this goliath of a terrorist organization, armed to the hilt and backed by most Muslim countries in the Middle East? Let’s get real.
If the world would have paid attention to the struggle of the Christians against the Islamic revolution 30 years ago in Lebanon, the world would not be suffering now from a plague of terrorism from New York to London, from Bali to Madrid, from Beslin to Turkey. The world justified the unrest in the Middle East as an Israeli/Arab problem. But after the Muslims started massacring the Christians in Lebanon the world had no excuse to turn their head away and justify Islamic aggression against Christians as anything other than what it really is: A war by the non compatible Islamic culture with the democratic, educated Judeo Christian culture be it in Christian Lebanon or Jewish Israel. After all it was the Christian influence in Lebanon that propelled it into the Paris of the Middle East and the Jewish influence in Israel that made an oasis out of the desert.
Lebanon, without a doubt, has no chance of achieving peace and returning to its days of being a beacon of education and free democracy for all without the whole hearted support of UN members standing up behind UNSCR 1559 with the military force to disarm Hezbollah. After all, how many times is the United States going to warn Syria to stop supporting such terrorism and doing nothing about it before becoming fools in the eyes of the Arabic world for not taking action to back their words? Meanwhile, this cancer of terrorism is spreading around the world, becoming harder to deal with and to kill before it kills us.
Farah: It strikes me that one of the things we need to do is recognize Christians in the Middle East as a minority group that needs to be protected. I don't know that the new constitution in Iraq goes far enough in that direction. Lebanon is the only country in the Middle East with a still large group of Christians. Their interests, their freedoms, their rights need to be protected. This is essential. Lebanon is unlike any other country in the Middle East because of the diversity of its population -- large numbers of Shiites, Sunnis, Christians of different denominations and persuasions, Druze, etc. This makes Lebanon different than any other nation in the region -- which has been and can continue to be a strength.It strikes me that one of the things we need to do is recognize Christians in the Middle East as a minority group that needs to be protected. I don't know that the new constitution in Iraq goes far enough in that direction. Lebanon is the only country in the Middle East with a still large group of Christians. Their interests, their freedoms, their rights need to be protected. This is essential. Lebanon is unlike any other country in the Middle East because of the diversity of its population -- large numbers of Shiites, Sunnis, Christians of different denominations and persuasions, Druze, etc. This makes Lebanon different than any other nation in the region -- which has been and can continue to be a strength.
Because it's a tiny country, it cannot be divided up -- any more than we should seriously consider the proposals to strip Israel of any more land. Instead, Lebanon's borders must be protected from further intrusion by foreigners trying to disrupt the country. Immigration laws need to be strictly enforced.
This is no time to be looking backward -- except, as Brigitte has said, to learn the lessons of the past. Lebanon needs to get on its feet and become a truly functioning free republic -- not a democracy. It needs to be a constitutional republic with full protections for minority rights. It needs to get its economy on track again. I believe many Lebanese, perhaps millions in the diaspora, will return if that happens. That will be a great step forward for the country, the region and the world.
Harb: Let’s recap: Lebanon has been occupied by Syria’s Baathist regime for many decades. The occupation wasn’t limited to tanks and troops. The most lethal dimension of that occupation was the deep security and intelligence penetration of the country: Government, bureaucracy, diplomatic affairs, émigré affairs, education, economy and social fabric. In addition, and to solidify their hegemony, the Syrian Baathists established an array of control over political parties from all religious backgrounds: From the Lebanese branch of the Baath Party, to the Social-Nationalist Syrian Party, to Nasserite organizations, Sunni, Shiite, Druze and Christian politicians, Assad created a shadow power in Lebanon in addition to his control of the Lebanese regime. He even created pro-Syrian versions of traditional anti-Syrian Christian parties such as Karim Pakradouni’s Phalanges and Fuad Malek’s Lebanese Forces.L et’s recap: Lebanon has been occupied by Syria’s Baathist regime for many decades. The occupation wasn’t limited to tanks and troops. The most lethal dimension of that occupation was the deep security and intelligence penetration of the country: Government, bureaucracy, diplomatic affairs, émigré affairs, education, economy and social fabric. In addition, and to solidify their hegemony, the Syrian Baathists established an array of control over political parties from all religious backgrounds: From the Lebanese branch of the Baath Party, to the Social-Nationalist Syrian Party, to Nasserite organizations, Sunni, Shiite, Druze and Christian politicians, Assad created a shadow power in Lebanon in addition to his control of the Lebanese regime. He even created pro-Syrian versions of traditional anti-Syrian Christian parties such as Karim Pakradouni’s Phalanges and Fuad Malek’s Lebanese Forces.
But obviously, the most significant allies of Damascus are Hizbollah (and Amal) and the Palestinian terror groups. Hence, even though UNSCR 1559 was voted last year and Syrian regular units withdrew last April, the bulk of Syrian power is still infesting the country. The Syrian Mukhabarat, their allies within the Lebanese security, Hizbollah and the Palestinian Terrorists are roaming Lebanon and involved in the many political assassinations that took place even after the killing of Hariri. We have to face it, the international community needs to put teeth to the UNSCR 1559. President Bush and European leaders have certainly pressured Assad to pull his soldiers out of Lebanon. But we all know that he left tremendous Terror power behind. Our concern is that this Terrorist army is not only deployed to obstruct Lebanese independence and resume the assassinations and intimidations, but also to be used in the global war between the US led coalition against terrorism and the Syrian-Iranian-Jihadi axis.
President Bush in his last speech made it clear that Syria should be made accountable for these terror activities. France, the UK, and even some Arab countries, whose missions we visited few weeks ago at the UN Security Council concur: Those who killed Hariri and are brutalizing the Lebanese people have to be brought to international justice. Nothing less than an international multinational force in alliance with the free Lebanese army, can protect the liberty and sovereignty of Lebanon.
FP: Tom Harb, Brigitte Gabriel, Joseph Farah, Col. Barakat and Joe Baini, thank you for joining Frontpage Symposium. We’ll see you again soon.Tom HarbBrigitte Gabriel, Joseph Farah, Col. Barakat and Joe Baini, thank you for joining Frontpage Symposium. We’ll see you again soon.
|"25 ways to tell if you're a Redneck|
1. The Halloween pumpkin on your porch has more teeth than your spouse.
2. You let your twelve-year-old daughter smoke at the dinner table in front of her kids.
3. You've been married three times and still have the same in-laws.
4. You think a woman who is "out of your league" bowls on a different night.
5. Jack Daniel's makes your list of "most admired people."
6. You wonder how service stations keep their restrooms so clean.
7. Anyone in your family ever died right after saying, "Hey y'all watch this."
8. You think Dom Perignon is a Mafia leader.
9. Your wife's hairdo was once ruined by a ceiling fan.
10. Your junior prom had a daycare.
11. You think the last words of the Star Spangled Banner are, "Gentlemen start your engines."
12. You lit a match in the bathroom and your house exploded right off its wheels.
13. The bluebook value of your truck goes up and down, depending on how much gas is in it.
14. You have to go outside to get something from the fridge.
15. One of your kids was born on a pool table.
16. You need one more hole punched in your card to get a freebie at the House of Tattoos.
17. You can't get married to your sweetheart because there's a law against it.
18. You think loading a dishwasher means getting your wife drunk.
19. Your toilet paper has page numbers on it.
20. Somebody hollers "Hoe Down" and your girlfriend hits the floor.
21. You have a complete set of salad bowls and they all say "Cool Whip" on the side.
22. The biggest city you've ever been to is Wal-Mart.
23. Your working T.V. sits on top of your non-working T.V.
24. Your neighbors think you're a detective because a cop always brings you home.
25. You missed 5th grade graduation because you had jury duty.
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