fnf"An immoral war was thus waged and the world is a great deal less safe place than before. There are many more who resent the powerful who can throw their weight about so callously and with so much impunity." / - Archbishop Desmond Tutu, 2004 x xh FANNING the FLAMES of FEAR, LOATHING and TERRORgvf . x xh
/hnhbbs "Don't Attack Saddam" By Brent Scowcroft (National Security Advisor, Bush I) Wall Street Journal August 15, 2002
- George H.W. Bush ( Bush I ), 1992
Our nation is presently engaged in a debate about whether to launch a war against Iraq. Leaks of various strategies for an attack on Iraq appear with regularity. The Bush administration vows regime change, but states that no decision has been made whether, much less when, to launch an invasion.
It is beyond dispute that Saddam Hussein is a menace. He terrorizes and brutalizes his own people. He has launched war on two of his neighbors. He devotes enormous effort to rebuilding his military forces and equipping them with weapons of mass destruction. We will all be better off when he is gone.
That said, we need to think through this issue very carefully. We need to analyze the relationship between Iraq and our other pressing priorities -- notably the war on terrorism -- as well as the best strategy and tactics available were we to move to change the regime in Baghdad.
Saddam's strategic objective appears to be to dominate the Persian Gulf, to control oil from the region, or both.
That clearly poses a real threat to key U.S. interests. But there is scant evidence to tie Saddam to terrorist organizations, and even less to the Sept. 11 attacks. Indeed Saddam's goals have little in common with the terrorists who threaten us, and there is little incentive for him to make common cause with them.
He is unlikely to risk his investment in weapons of mass destruction, much less his country, by handing such weapons to terrorists who would use them for their own purposes and leave Baghdad as the return address. Threatening to use these weapons for blackmail -- much less their actual use -- would open him and his entire regime to a devastating response by the U.S. While Saddam is thoroughly evil, he is above all a power-hungry survivor.
Saddam is a familiar dictatorial aggressor, with traditional goals for his aggression. There is little evidence to indicate that the United States itself is an object of his aggression. Rather, Saddam's problem with the U.S. appears to be that we stand in the way of his ambitions. He seeks weapons of mass destruction not to arm terrorists, but to deter us from intervening to block his aggressive designs.
Given Saddam's aggressive regional ambitions, as well as his ruthlessness and unpredictability, it may at some point be wise to remove him from power. Whether and when that point should come ought to depend on overall U.S. national security priorities. Our pre-eminent security priority -- underscored repeatedly by the president -- is the war on terrorism. An attack on Iraq at this time would seriously jeopardize, if not destroy, the global counterterrorist campaign we have undertaken.
The United States could certainly defeat the Iraqi military and destroy Saddam's regime. But it would not be a cakewalk. On the contrary, it undoubtedly would be very expensive -- with serious consequences for the U.S. and global economy -- and could as well be bloody. In fact, Saddam would be likely to conclude he had nothing left to lose, leading him to unleash whatever weapons of mass destruction he possesses.
Israel would have to expect to be the first casualty, as in 1991 when Saddam sought to bring Israel into the Gulf conflict. This time, using weapons of mass destruction, he might succeed, provoking Israel to respond, perhaps with nuclear weapons, unleashing an Armageddon in the Middle East. Finally, if we are to achieve our strategic objectives in Iraq, a military campaign very likely would have to be followed by a large-scale, long-term military occupation.
But the central point is that any campaign against Iraq, whatever the strategy, cost and risks, is certain to divert us for some indefinite period from our war on terrorism. Worse, there is a virtual consensus in the world against an attack on Iraq at this time. So long as that sentiment persists, it would require the U.S. to pursue a virtual go-it-alone strategy against Iraq, making any military operations correspondingly more difficult and expensive. The most serious cost, however, would be to the war on terrorism. Ignoring that clear sentiment would result in a serious degradation in international cooperation with us against terrorism. And make no mistake, we simply cannot win that war without enthusiastic international cooperation, especially on intelligence.
Possibly the most dire consequences would be the effect in the region. The shared view in the region is that Iraq is principally an obsession of the U.S. The obsession of the region, however, is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If we were seen to be turning our backs on that bitter conflict -- which the region, rightly or wrongly, perceives to be clearly within our power to resolve -- in order to go after Iraq, there would be an explosion of outrage against us. We would be seen as ignoring a key interest of the Muslim world in order to satisfy what is seen to be a narrow American interest.
Even without Israeli involvement, the results could well destabilize Arab regimes in the region, ironically facilitating one of Saddam's strategic objectives. At a minimum, it would stifle any cooperation on terrorism, and could even swell the ranks of the terrorists. Conversely, the more progress we make in the war on terrorism, and the more we are seen to be committed to resolving the Israel-Palestinian issue, the greater will be the international support for going after Saddam.
If we are truly serious about the war on terrorism, it must remain our top priority. However, should Saddam Hussein be found to be clearly implicated in the events of Sept. 11, that could make him a key counterterrorist target, rather than a competing priority, and significantly shift world opinion toward support for regime change.
In any event, we should be pressing the United Nations Security Council to insist on an effective no-notice inspection regime for Iraq -- any time, anywhere, no permission required. On this point, senior administration officials have opined that Saddam Hussein would never agree to such an inspection regime. But if he did, inspections would serve to keep him off balance and under close observation, even if all his weapons of mass destruction capabilities were not uncovered. And if he refused, his rejection could provide the persuasive casus belli which many claim we do not now have. Compelling evidence that Saddam had acquired nuclear-weapons capability could have a similar effect.
In sum, if we will act in full awareness of the intimate interrelationship of the key issues in the region, keeping counterterrorism as our foremost priority, there is much potential for success across the entire range of our security interests -- including Iraq. If we reject a comprehensive perspective, however, we put at risk our campaign against terrorism as well as stability and security in a vital region of the world.
Copyright 2004 The Wall Street Journal (In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.)
SEE ALSO: Brent Scowcroft Interview, "Gunning for Saddam", PBS FRONTLINE October 2001
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ vfagavvsfbsfdbsbsbgavsvavavvgvg /
October 15, 2003 by Peter Graff Reuters
LONDON - War in Iraq has swollen the ranks of al Qaeda and galvanized the Islamic militant group's will, the International Institute for Strategic Studies said on Wednesday in its annual report.
The 2003-2004 edition of the British-based think-tank's annual bible for defense analysts, The Military Balance, said Washington's assertions after the Iraq conflict that it had turned the corner in the war on terror were 'over-confident.' (Chris Helgren/Reuters)
The report, widely considered an authoritative text on the military capabilities of states and militant groups worldwide, could prove fodder for critics of the U.S.-British invasion and of the reconstruction effort that has followed in Iraq.
Washington must impose security in Iraq to prevent the country from "ripening into a cause celebre for radical Islamic terrorists," it concluded. "Nation-building" in Iraq was paramount and might require more troops than initially planned.
"On the plus side, war in Iraq has denied al Qaeda a potential supplier of weapons of mass destruction and discouraged state sponsors of terrorism from continuing to support it," the report said.
"On the minus side, war in Iraq has probably inflamed radical passions among Muslims and thus increased al Qaeda's recruiting power and morale and, at least marginally, its operating capability," it said.
"The immediate effect of the war may have been to isolate further al Qaeda from any potential state supporters while also swelling its ranks and galvanizing its will."
By Mark Matthews The Maryland Sun Saturday 22 November 2003 zbzdbbz "RAND Corp. terrorism specialist Bruce Hoffman believes that al-Qaida probably wanted the United States to invade"
WASHINGTON - The American invasion and occupation of Iraq has provided al-Qaida with a powerful propaganda tool in its holy war against the West, injecting new energy into the worldwide network even though many of its key operatives are in jail or dead, its top leadership is on the run and its sources of money are shrinking, according to international security analysts.
While exhorting Muslims to turn Iraq into a new anti-American battleground, the network has staged spectacularly bloody bombings in neighboring Turkey and Saudi Arabia in hopes of undermining their pro-U.S. governments and demonstrating that it remains a dangerous force, analysts say.
Meanwhile, al-Qaida and related groups have used Web sites, videos and publications throughout the Muslim world to seek new warriors, proclaiming its message that Islam is under threat from the United States and that the region's governments are powerless to defend it.
"Iraq is a rallying cause for al-Qaida - it's allowed them to attract new recruits," said Kenneth Katzman, a terrorism specialist at the Congressional Research Service, the think tank for the House and Senate. "This was an organization that was under enormous pressure. Iraq has put new wind in its sails, definitely."
Indeed, the period since the buildup to the war in Iraq might mark a new stage in the life of this adaptable network, which is showing an ability to regroup and reinvent itself even as it comes under fierce attack.
"We think we can decapitate them by going after leaders," said Zachary Abuza, a specialist on militant Islamic groups in Southeast Asia. But instead the groups "are going to morph and be able to reorganize with the same principles but with different organizations and leaders."
President Bush has frequently described the invasion of Iraq as part of the nation's overall war on terror launched after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. While the president's justification for the Iraq invasion remains a focus of worldwide debate, the conflict's role in energizing al-Qaida raises new doubts about whether it can be seen as a successful milestone in the war on terrorism, at least in the short term.
Occupation Made World Less Safe, Pro-War Institute Says By Kim Sengupta Independent U.K. May 26, 2004
The US and British occupation of Iraq has accelerated recruitment to the ranks of Osama bin Laden's terrorist network and made the world a less safe place, according to a leading London-based think-tank.
The assessment, by the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS), states that the occupation has become "a potent global recruitment pretext" for al-Qa'ida, which now has more than 18,000 militants ready to strike Western targets.
It claims that although half of al-Qa'ida's 30 senior leaders and up to 2,000 rank-and-file members have been killed or captured, a rump leadership is still intact and over 18,000 potential terrorists are at large, with recruitment accelerating on account of Iraq. About 1,000 al-Qa'ida supporters are believed to be active in Iraq.
The IISS report, published yesterday, says that the Iraq invasion "galvanised" al-Qa'ida while weakening the campaign against terrorism. At the same time it has split the Western alliance, leaving the US and Britain isolated.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ vfagavsfbsfdbsbsbgavgvfagav vfagav Are We Safer? Not as Long as Al-Qaeda Lurks vfagav By Joseph L. Galloway Knight Ridder Newspapers Tuesday 13 January 2003
WASHINGTON - Have we permitted ourselves to become bogged down in Iraq, in what at best is a sideshow in the Global War on Terrorism, while diverting precious manpower and resources away from the real objective?
More than a few analysts believe that is precisely what has happened - most recently Dr. Jeffrey Record, author and visiting professor at the Air War College. Record's scathing criticism of the Bush administration's strategy and tactics is presented in a paper for the Strategic Studies Institute titled "Bounding the Global War on Terrorism" (www.carlisle.army.mil/ssi).
Record declares that the war on terrorism "lacks strategic clarity, embraces unrealistic objectives and may not be sustainable over the long haul." He calls for scaling back the scope of the war on terrorism to reflect both concrete U.S. security interests and the limits of American military power.
Record says that what we have done in Iraq, by lumping al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein's Iraq into a single terrorist threat, has resulted in "an unnecessary preventive war of choice against a deterred Iraq that has created a new front in the Middle East for Islamic terrorism and diverted attention and resources away from securing the American homeland against further assault by ... al-Qaeda."
"If we have to eat some crow, so be it. Feed the first bite, feathers and all, to Rumsfeld and then get on with taking care of the business at hand with al-Qaeda. Bumbling around Iraq, losing two or three American soldiers per day, is not making America a safer place. Capturing Osama bin Laden and smashing his organization would.
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ vfsfbsfdbsfbsfdbsbsbgavsbsbgavagavg / (M.O.W. editorial insert) vfagav Washington's Call for War Plays Into Terrorist Hands vfagav by William Pfaff International Herald Tribune September 17, 2001
vfagaPARIS -- The calls for war that have come from Washington since Tuesday's catastrophes - for "war" against terrorism, against evil, against enemies of civilization - answer the psychological demands of the hour, the leaders' need to seem to lead. But they are wrong. Without tangible content, they fall short. They cannot satisfy. They risk actions that will make things worse, blows that hit people who had nothing to do with these attacks, thus adding to the numbers of those who hate the United States and are willing to die to do it harm.
The riposte of a civilized nation, one that believes in good, in human society and does oppose evil, has to be narrowly focused and, above all, intelligent.
Missiles are blunt weapons. These terrorists are smart enough to make others bear the price for what they have done, and to exploit the results.
A maddened U.S. response that hurts still others is what they want: It will fuel the hatred that already fires the self-righteousness about their criminal acts against the innocent.
What the United States needs is cold reconsideration of how it has arrived at this pass. It needs, even more, to foresee disasters that may lie in the future.
Osama bin Laden, peremptorily but plausibly accused of responsibility for the attacks, is in a position of power today because of past U.S. policies that focused on the short term and were indifferent to the future. The United States does not need more of that.
"One power, with a president who has no foresight, who cannot think properly, is now wanting to plunge the world into a holocaust." _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ / "The bottom line is that we're [in Iraq] for the safety and security of the nation and our friends and allies around the world," Cheney said. "We didn't do anything to provoke the attack of 9/11. We were attacked by the terrorists, and we've responded forcefully and aggressively." /- CNN.com - Kerry challenges Bush on Iraq-9/11 connection - Sep 12, 2004 /. / / PROOF we are FAR, FAR LESS SAFE because of the Iraq invasion: / QUOTES (COMPLETE ARTICLES BELOW) _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ / "Invading Iraq damaged the war on terror, there is no doubt about that. It has strengthened rather than weakened al-Qa'ida." / - the International Instit/ute of Strategic Studies _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Walter Cronkite __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ / "....Mr. Clarke bemoans the way the invasion of Iraq, in his view, played right into the hands of Al Qaeda: "Bush handed that enemy precisely what it wanted and needed . . . It was as if Osama bin Laden, hidden in some high mountain redoubt, were engaging in long-range mind control of George Bush." "Bin Laden had been saying for years, 'America wants to invade an Arab country and occupy it, an oil-rich Arab country.' This is part of his propaganda," Clarke said. "So what did we do after 9/11? We invade ... and occupy an oil-rich Arab country, which was doing nothing to threaten us." / - White House counterterrorism coordinator Richard A. Clarke ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Archbishop Desmond Tutu
- William Pfaff, International Herald Tribune, September 17, 2001
- "U.S. Faces Lasting Damage Abroad" By Robin Wright,The Washington Post, 07 May 2004
- Maureen Dowd, New York Times ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _
- "Dancing Alone", by conservative columnist Thomas Friedman, New York Times, May 13, 2004 ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
/ U.S. Admits the War for 'Hearts and Minds' in Iraq is Now Lost Pentagon report reveals catalogue of failure. / By Neil Mackay The Sunday Herald Sunday 05 December 2004 http://www.sundayherald.com/46389
The Pentagon has admitted that the war on terror and the invasion and occupation of Iraq have increased support for al-Qaeda, made ordinary Muslims hate the US and caused a global backlash against America because of the "self-serving hypocrisy" of George W Bush's administration over the Middle East.
The mea culpa is contained in a shockingly frank "strategic communications" report, written this autumn by the Defence Science Board for Pentagon supremo Donald Rumsfeld.
On "the war of ideas or the struggle for hearts and minds", the report says, "American efforts have not only failed, they may also have achieved the opposite of what they intended".
"American direct intervention in the Muslim world has paradoxically elevated the stature of, and support for, radical Islamists, while diminishing support for the United States to single digits in some Arab societies."
Referring to the repeated mantra from the White House that those who oppose the US in the Middle East "hate our freedoms", the report says: "Muslims do not 'hate our freedoms', but rather, they hate our policies. The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in favour of Israel and against Palestinian rights, and the long-standing, even increasing support, for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan and the Gulf states.
"Thus when American public diplomacy talks about bringing democracy to Islamic societies, this is seen as no more than self-serving hypocrisy. Moreover, saying that 'freedom is the future of the Middle East' is seen as patronising ... in the eyes of Muslims, the American occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq has not led to democracy there, but only more chaos and suffering. US actions appear in contrast to be motivated by ulterior motives, and deliberately controlled in order to best serve American national interests at the expense of truly Muslim self-determination."
The way America has handled itself since September 11 has played straight into the hands of al-Qaeda, the report adds. "American actions have elevated the authority of the jihadi insurgents and tended to ratify their legitimacy among Muslims." The result is that al-Qaeda has gone from being a marginal movement to having support across the entire Muslim world.
"Muslims see Americans as strangely narcissistic," the report goes on, adding that to the Arab world the war is "no more than an extension of American domestic politics". The US has zero credibility among Muslims which means that "whatever Americans do and say only serves ... the enemy".
The report says that the US is now engaged in a "global and generational struggle of ideas" which it is rapidly losing. In order to reverse the trend, the US must make "strategic communication" - which includes the dissemination of propaganda and the running of military psychological operations - an integral part of national security. The document says that "Presidential leadership" is needed in this "ideas war" and warns against "arrogance, opportunism and double standards".
"It's a war that's going to destroy the credibility of the United States of America." / - U.N weapons inspector, and Gulf War I veteran Scott Ritter speak ing at Suffolk University in Boston on July 23, 2002 ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
"We face a war on terrorism," the report says, "intensified conflict with Islam, and insurgency in Iraq. Worldwide anger and discontent are directed at America's tarnished credibility and ways the US pursues its goals. There is a consensus that America's power to persuade is in a state of crisis." More than 90% of the populations of some Muslims countries, such as Saudi Arabia, are opposed to US policies.
"The war has increased mistrust of America in Europe," the report adds, "weakened support for the war on terrorism and undermined US credibility worldwide." This, in turn, poses an increased threat to US national security.
America's "image problem", the report authors suggest, is "linked to perceptions of the US as arrogant, hypocritical and self-indulgent". The White House "has paid little attention" to the problems.
The report calls for a huge boost in spending on propaganda efforts as war policies "will not succeed unless they are communicated to global domestic audiences in ways that are credible".
American rhetoric which equates the war on terror as a cold-war-style battle against "totalitarian evil" is also slapped down by the report. Muslims see what is happening as a "history-shaking movement of Islamic restoration ... a renewal of the Muslim world ...(which) has taken form through many variant movements, both moderate and militant, with many millions of adherents - of which radical fighters are only a small part".
Rather than supporting tyranny, most Muslim want to overthrow tyrannical regimes like Saudi Arabia. "The US finds itself in the strategically awkward - and potentially dangerous - situation of being the long-standing prop and alliance partner of these authoritarian regimes. Without the US, these regimes could not survive," the report says.
"Thus the US has strongly taken sides in a desperate struggle ... US policies and actions are increasingly seen by the overwhelming majority of Muslims as a threat to the survival of Islam itself ... Americans have inserted themselves into this intra-Islamic struggle in ways that have made us an enemy to most Muslims.
"There is no yearning-to-be-liberated-by-the-US groundswell among Muslim societies ... The perception of intimate US support of tyrannies in the Muslim world is perhaps the critical vulnerability in American strategy. It strongly undercuts our message, while strongly promoting that of the enemy."
The report says that, in terms of the "information war", "at this moment it is the enemy that has the advantage". The US propaganda drive has to focus on "separating the vast majority of non-violent Muslims from the radical- militant Islamist-Jihadist".
According to the report, "the official take on the target audience [the Muslim world] has been gloriously simple" and divided the Middle East into "good" and "bad Muslims".
"Americans are convinced that the US is a benevolent 'superpower' that elevates values emphasising freedom ... deep down we assume that everyone should naturally support our policies. Yet the world of Islam - by overwhelming majorities at this time - sees things differently. Muslims see American policies as inimical to their values, American rhetoric about freedom and democracy as hypocritical and American actions as deeply threatening.
"In the last two years the jihadi message - that strongly attacks American values - is being accepted by more moderate and non-violent Muslims. This in turn implies that negative opinion of the US has not yet bottomed out.
Equally important, the report says, is "to renew European attitudes towards America" which have also been severely damaged since September 11, 2001. As "al-Qaeda constantly outflanks the US in the war of information", American has to adopt more sophisticated propaganda techniques, such as targeting secularists in the Muslim world - including writers, artists and singers - and getting US private sector media and marketing professionals involved in disseminating messages to Muslims with a pro-US "brand".
The Pentagon report also calls for the establishment of a national security adviser for strategic communications, and a massive boost in funding for the "information war" to boost US government TV and radio stations broadcasting in the Middle East.
The importance of the need to quickly establish a propaganda advantage is underscored by a document attached to the Pentagon report from Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy defence secretary, dated May.
It says: "Our military expeditions to Afghanistan and Iraq are unlikely to be the last such excursion in the global war on terrorism."
"Bin Laden had been saying for years, 'America wants to invade an Arab country and occupy it, an oil-rich Arab country.' This is part of his propaganda," Clarke said. "So what did we do after 9/11? We invade ... and occupy an oil-rich Arab country, which was doing nothing to threaten us."
vfagav Former Aide Decries Bush Over Terror War The Associated Press Saturday 20 March 2004
WASHINGTON - Richard A. Clarke, the former White House counterterrorism coordinator, accuses the Bush administration of failing to recognize the al-Qaida threat before the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks and then manipulating America into war with Iraq with dangerous consequences.
He accuses Bush of doing "a terrible job on the war against terrorism."
Clarke also harshly criticizes Bush over his decision to invade Iraq, saying it helped brew a new wave of anti-American sentiment among supporters of Osama bin Laden.
"Bin Laden had been saying for years, 'America wants to invade an Arab country and occupy it, an oil-rich Arab country.' This is part of his propaganda," Clarke said. "So what did we do after 9/11? We invade ... and occupy an oil-rich Arab country, which was doing nothing to threaten us."
Powell: "We should constantly be reviewing our policies, constantly be looking at those sanctions to make sure that they have directed that purpose. That purpose is every bit as important now as it was 10 years ago when we began it. And frankly, they have worked. He has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors." - February 24, 2001
Rice: "But in terms of Saddam Hussein being there,
let's remember that his country is divided, in effect. He does
not control the northern part of his country. We are able to keep arms
from him. His military forces have not been rebuilt." - July 29, 2001
Colin Powell, Feb. 2001: "Sanctions have worked." g
Guardian Interview: Richard Clarke Julian Borger Guardian, U.K. Tuesday March 23, 2004 http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,1175790,00.html
Interview: Richard Clarke
Julian Borger in Washington talks to former White House insider Richard Clarke about US's vulnerability to al-Qaida before the September 11 attack.
Tuesday March 23, 2004
JB: Condoleezza Rice wrote today in response to your book - that the Bush administration did have a strategy for eliminating al-Qaida and that the administration worked on it in the spring and summer of 2001? Is that true?
RC: We developed that strategy in the last several months of the Clinton administration and it was basically an update on that strategy. We briefed Condi on that strategy. The point is that it was done before they came to office and she never held a meeting on it. It was done before she asked for it.
JB: What about the claim that the administration did work hard on the issue?
RC: Its not true. I asked - on January 24 in writing to Condi - urgently for a meeting on cabinet level - the principal's committee - to review the plan and I was told I can't have that. It had to go to the deputies. They had a principals meeting on September 4. Contrast that with the principal's meeting on Iraq, on February 1. So what was urgent for them was Iraq. Al-Qaida was not important to them.
JB: In the plan developed under the Clinton administration, was the potential use of ground forces included?
RC: That option was included in the plan, and the Clinton people had never rejected it. Yes it was there. But when they finally did the ground invasion they kind of botched it, because all they did initially was send special forces with the northern alliance. They did not insert special forces to go in after Bin Laden. They let Bin Laden escape. They only went in two months after.
JB: So were there any principals meetings about al-Qaida in all this time?
RC: It didn't come up in the principal's meetings. Between April and July only four of the 30 or 35 deputy principal meetings touched on al-Qaida. But three of those were mainly about US-Pakistan relations, or US-Afghan relations or South Asian policy, and al-Qaida was just one of the points. One of the meetings looked at the overall plan. It was the July one. April was an initial discussion of terrorism policy writ large and at that meeting I said we had to talk about al-Qaida. And because it was terrorism policy writ large [Paul] Wolfowitz said we have to talk about Iraqi terrorism and I said that's interesting because there hasn't been any Iraqi terrorism against the United States. There hasn't been any for 8 years. And he said something derisive about how I shouldn't believe the CIA and FBI, that they've been wrong. And I said if you know more than I know tell me what it is, because I've been doing this for 8 years and I don't know about any Iraqi-sponsored terrorism against the US since 1993. When I said let's start talking about Bin Laden, he said Bin Laden couldn't possibly have attacked the World Trade Centre in '93. One little terrorist group like that couldn't possibly have staged that operation. It must have been Iraq.
JB: So what were all the principal's meetings about then?
RC: There were a lot of meetings on 'Star Wars'. We had a lot of meetings about Russia policy, because Condi is a Russian specialist. There were a lot of meetings on China.
JB: And after the February meeting any more on Iraq?
RC: Yes there were many more, it was central. The buzz in national security staff was that the administration wanted to go after Iraq.
JB: Do you think they came into office with that as a plan?
RC: If you look at the so-called Vulcans group [Bush's pre-election foreign policy advisors] talked about publicly in seminars in Washington. They clearly wanted to go after Iraq and they clearly wanted to do this reshaping of the middle east and they used the tragedy of 9/11 as an excuse to test their theories.
JB: Do you think President Bush was already on board when he came to office?
RC: I think he was. He got his international education from the Vulcans group the previous year. They were people like Richard Perle, Jim Woolsey, Paul Wolfowitz. They were all espousing this stuff. So he probably had been persuaded. He certainly wasn't hearing any contrary view during this education process.
JB: If there had been meetings on terrorism in that first eight months, do you think it would have made a difference?
RC: Well let me ask you: Contrast December '99 with June and July and August 2001. In December '99 we get similar kinds of evidence that al-Qaida was planning a similar kind of attack. President Clinton asks the national security advisor to hold daily meetings with attorney-general, the CIA, FBI. They go back to their departments from the White House and shake the departments out to the field offices to find out everything they can find. It becomes the number one priority of those agencies. When the head of the FBI and CIA have to go to the White House every day, things happen and by the way, we prevented the attack. Contrast that with June, July, August 2001 when the president is being briefed virtually every day in his morning intelligence briefing that something is about to happen, and he never chairs a meeting and he never asks Condi rice to chair a meeting about what we're doing about stopping the attacks. She didn't hold one meeting during all those three months. Now, it turns out that buried in the FBI and CIA, there was information about two of these al-Qaida terrorists who turned out to be hijackers [Khalid Almidhar and Nawaf Alhazmi]. We didn't know that. The leadership of the FBI didn't know that, but if the leadership had to report on a daily basis to the White House, he would have shaken the trees and he would have found out those two guys were there. We would have put their pictures on the front page of every newspaper and we probably would have caught them. Now would that have stopped 9/11? I don't know. It would have stopped those two guys, and knowing the FBI the way they can take a thread and pull on it, they would probably have found others.
JB: So might they have stopped the September 11 attacks?
RC: I don't want to say they could have stopped the attacks. But there was a chance.
JB: A reasonable chance? A good chance?
RC: There was a chance, and whatever the probability was, they didn't take it.
JB: Condoleezza Rice argued today that when President Bush was asking you to find evidence linking September 11 to Iraq, he was simply showing due diligence, asking you to explore the options.
RC: That's very funny. There are two ways of asking. There's: 'check every possibility - don't assume its al-Qaida look at everybody'. That's due diligence. Then there's the: 'I want you to find every shred of evidence that it was Iraq and Saddam' - and said in a very emphatic and intimidating way, and the other people who were with me got the same impression as I did. This was not due diligence. This was: 'come back with a memo that says it was an Iraqi attack'.
JB: And when you didn't find any evidence, the memo was bounced back?
JB: Stephen Hadley [deputy national security advisor] said he bounced it back saying just update this?
RC: Well as soon as he got it he said update it, even though it was very current. Hadley's a good lawyer, he knows how to cover his ass. He not going to write: 'I don't like the answer'. But when your memo is immediately bounced and its got very current information and its bounced back to you and you're told to do over, its pretty clear what the implication is.
JB What do you think drove these people on Iraq?
RC: Some are ideologues - they have a superpower vision of us reshaping the Middle East. Changing the historical balance. Condi Rice has this phrase: 'We needed to change the middle east so terrorists would not fly aircrafts into buildings'.
JB: Do you believe they felt they had to finish what Bush's father started?
RC: That's a big part of it. For Wolfowitz and Cheney feels some guilt for having stopped the war, a couple of days early, not that we should have marched on Baghdad but at least we should have gone after the Republican Guard.
JB: Do you believe there were also political motives.
RC: You have to bifurcate the White House team between the national security types and the political types. For the political types like Karl Rove this has been a godsend. They ran on the war in the congressional elections two years ago. They're running on the war now. They're painting this election as a vote on terrorism, a vote against Osama Bin Laden. And they're succeeding to a certain extent because 70 per cent of American people last year thought that Iraq had something to do with 9/11. But the political benefit clearly a secondary benefit.
JB: Do you believe the administration believed the intelligence on Iraqi WMD?
RC: We all believed Saddam had WMD. What I kept saying was: So what? They said he could give it to terrorists. But I said he's not that stupid. If he gave WMD to terrorists he would lose power. The question was: Is there an imminent threat or had we contained him? And I thought we had successfully contained him. I didn't see it as a first-tier issue.
JB: Did the Pentagon and the office of special plans play an important role in the processing of intelligence?
RC: Certainly. The people in Rumsfeld's office and in Wolfowitz's operation cherry-picked intelligence to select the intelligence to support their views. They never did the due diligence on the intelligence that professional intelligence analysts are trained to do. [The OSP] would go through the intelligence reports including the ones that the CIA was throwing out. They stitched it together they would send it out, send it over to Cheney. All the stuff that a professional would have thrown out. As soon as 9/11 happened people like Rumsfeld saw it was opportunity. During that first week after September 11, the decision was made. It was confirmed by the president we should do Afghanistan first. But the resources necessary to do a good job in Afghanistan were withheld. There was not enough to go in fast, to go in enough to secure the country. Troops were held back. There were 11,000 troops in Afghanistan. There were fewer in whole country than police in the borough of Manhattan
JB: The White House is suggesting that this is sour grapes from a Clinton holdover, scoring political points.
RC: I was a Bush [senior] holdover. I'm not a registered Demcrat. I don't want a job in the Kerry admin. What I want to do is to provide the American people with a set of facts and let them draw their own conclusions.
JB: What conclusions did you draw about President Bush's leadership style.
RC: He doesn't like to read a lot - not terribly interested in analysis. He is very interested in getting to the bottom line. Once he's done he puts a lot of strength behind pushing it, but there's not a lot of analysis before the decision.
JB: Do you think Britain had much influence in the run-up to the war?
RC: They would have done it without Britain. I don't think it made a lot of difference. I think the British were able to help Colin Powell to persuade them to go to the UN. It did go to the UN for a period of time, and it may have helped a little. It may also have forced president to issue a statement on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He went out there and read the words like he was seeing them for the first time. There hasn't been a lot of follow through, and I don't think the Brits got very much. They got the minimum possible out of us. I think Blair tried to influence the decision making and thought he could do better inside, but his influence was small.
JB: What was Cheney's role in all this?
RC: Quite enormous. Huge. Very quietly and behind the scenes he sat in all the national security meetings chaired by Condi Rice, and no vice president had done that before. He would listen and then give his thoughts. But he bought the compromise that it was al-Qaida first, Iraq second.
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ / Walter Cronkite, "Most Trusted Man in America", says Democracy is Threatened; election "Most Important Since Civil War" / Referring to the importance of educating the public on critical issues such as the Iraq War, Cronkite stated, "We are on the precipice of being so ignorant that our democracy is threatened."
BARBARA, CA - Walter Cronkite,
selected by the American
people in the mid 1990s as
the most trusted man
in America, has called
the upcoming presidential election the "most important
since the Civil War." Cronkite, who was in Santa Barbara
on October 23rd to receive the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation's
2004 Distinguished Peace Leadership Award, stated that the
November presidential election provides an opportunity to reverse
the Bush administration's dangerous doctrine of preemptive war, a doctrine that he believes is setting
the wrong example for countries throughout the world.
In a live interview with ABC news correspondent Sam Donaldson following the presentation -of the Foundation's award, Cronkite argued that the US is far less secure today as a result of initiating the war against Iraq. Cronkite added that the way to peace is through diplomacy and cooperation with international organizations such as the United Nations. As a solution to the Iraq War, Cronkite suggested convening high-ranking retired US military leaders who have opposed the war and asking them to design a plan to bring US soldiers home in six months. Cronkite further suggested that the returning soldiers should be greeted as heroes on the main street in every US city and that the government provide a "GI Bill" for their education and to get them back on their feet in business.
Referring to the importance of educating the public on critical issues such as the Iraq War, Cronkite stated, "We are on the precipice of being so ignorant that our democracy is threatened."
The Distinguished Peace Leadership Award was presented to the former CBS Nightly News anchor for his "uncompromising integrity" in reporting the news to the American people and for his commitment to building a more peaceful world. David Krieger, president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, stated, "The principal function of a journalist is to bring the truth to the people so that power will not be abused. That requires hard work and integrity, and it is what has characterized Walter Cronkite throughout his distinguished career. Mr. Cronkite has served democracy well, and set a high standard for all journalists to follow."
For more than 20 years, the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation has been committed to advancing initiatives to eliminate the nuclear weapons threat to all life, to fostering the global rule of law, and to building an enduring legacy of peace through education and advocacy. The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation is a non-profit, non-partisan international organization on the Roster in consultative status to the United Nations Economic and Social Council. Some of the previous recipients of the Foundation's Distinguished Peace Leadership Award include Archbishop Desmond Tutu, The Dalai Lama, Jacques Cousteau, King Hussein of Jordan and Jody Williams.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ / Gorbachev Calls US-led War in Iraq a 'Great Mistake' "Invading Iraq was a "great mistake that led to more terrorism and not the prevention of this scourge," Agence France Presse Saturday 20 March 2004
Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has described the US-led war in Iraq as a "great mistake" that increased the risk of terrorist attacks.
Invading Iraq was a "great mistake that led to more terrorism and not the prevention of this scourge," Gorbachev said at a conference on threats to peace hosted by Anahuac University on the outskirts of Mexico City.
The United States on Friday marked the first anniversary of the war, which it launched arguing it was part of its "war on terror."
But the war has brought "severe consequences," said Gorbachev, who led the Soviet Union from March 1985 to December 1991, when the 15-republic Communist superpower was dissolved.
"Every day we witness the consequences of the erroneous invasion of Iraq," he said to the applause of 5,000 people at the university.
Democracy cannot be achieved by military force, he added.
"Democracy is not imposed with tanks and missiles, but with respect of other peoples and international law," Gorbachev said.
The war has also wounded US relations with traditional allies, the former Soviet leader said.
"Nobody doubts the economic, military and democratic power of the United States," he said. "We recognize this and that (Washington) can be a world leader. But we do not believe in leadership through domination."
"There is no other path than through the respect of international law and cooperation," he continued. "Anything else would be a great danger to the rest of the world."
Jimmy Carter Savages Blair and Bush: 'Their War Was Based on Lies' By Andrew Buncombe The Independent UK Monday 22 March 2004
Jimmy Carter, the former US president, has strongly criticised George Bush and Tony Blair for waging an unnecessary war to oust Saddam Hussein based on "lies or misinterpretations". The 2002 Nobel peace prize winner said Mr Blair had allowed his better judgement to be swayed by Mr Bush's desire to finish a war that his father had started.
In an interview with The Independent on the first anniversary of the American and British invasion of Iraq, Mr Carter, who was president from 1977 to 1981, said the two leaders probably knew that many of the claims being made about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction were based on imperfect intelligence.
He said: "There was no reason for us to become involved in Iraq recently. That was a war based on lies and misinterpretations from London and from Washington, claiming falsely that Saddam Hussein was responsible for [the] 9/11 attacks, claiming falsely that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. And I think that President Bush and Prime Minister Blair probably knew that many of the allegations were based on uncertain intelligence ... a decision was made to go to war [then people said] 'Let's find a reason to do so'."
Before the war Mr Carter made clear his opposition to a unilateral attack and said the US did not have the authority to create a "Pax Americana". During his Nobel prize acceptance speech in December 2002 he warned of the danger of "uncontrollable violence" if countries sought to resolve problems without United Nations input.
His latest comments, made during an interview at the Carter Centre in Atlanta, are notable for their condemnation of the two serving leaders. It is extremely rare for a former US president to criticise an incumbent, or a British prime minister. Mr Carter's comments will add to the mounting pressure on Mr Bush and Mr Blair.
Mr Carter said he believed the momentum for the invasion came from Washington and that many of Mr Bush's senior advisers had long ago signalled their desire to remove Saddam by force. Once a decision had been taken to go to war, every effort was made to find a reason for doing do, he said.
"I think the basic reason was made not in London but in Washington. I think that Bush Jnr was inclined to finish a war that his father had precipitated against Iraq. I think it was that commitment of Bush that prevailed over, I think, the better judgement of Tony Blair and Tony Blair became an enthusiastic supporter of the Bush policy".
Mr Carter's criticisms coincided with damaging claims yesterday from a former White House anti-terrorism co-ordinator. Richard Clarke said that President Bush ignored the threat from al-Qai'da before 11 September but in the immediate aftermath sought to hold Iraq responsible, in defiance of senior intelligence advisers who told him that Saddam had nothing to do with the conspiracy.
With an eye to November's presidential elections, Mr Bush sought on Friday to use the anniversary of the Iraq invasion to say that differences between the US and opponents of the war belonged "to the past".
Speaking at the White House, he told about 80 foreign ambassadors: "There is no neutral ground in the fight between civilisation and terror. There can be no separate peace with the terrorist enemy."
But in the US and Britain, and elsewhere, there is growing anger among people who believe the war in Iraq was at best a deadly distraction and at worst an impediment to the war against al-Qa'ida - diverting resources and energy from countering those groups responsible for attacks such as the train bombings in Madrid.
Over the weekend millions of anti-war protesters poured on to the streets of cities around the world to call for the withdrawal of US-led troops from Iraq. It was estimated that in Rome - which saw the biggest crowds - up to one million turned out.
Mr Carter, 79, has recently published a novel. The Hornet's Nest is centred on America's revolutionary war against the British. That period had many lessons for the present day, Mr Carter said.
- Groucho Marx _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ //
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ // Jimmy Carter takes president to task By JAMES PINKERTON Houston Chronicle , April 9, 2004
BROWNSVILLE -- Former President Carter on Thursday called the Bush administration's decision to wage war against Iraq "ill-advised and unnecessary," adding the resulting campaign "has turned out to be a tragedy."
The former Democratic president also said Bush's environmental policies are perhaps the worst in the nation's history.
Carter made the comments at the Rio R.V. Park after wrapping up a four-day birding trip with his wife, Rosalynn, in the lower Rio Grande Valley.
"President Bush's war was ill-advised and unnecessary and based on erroneous statements, and has turned out to be a tragedy," Carter said. "And my prayer has been that brave young American men and women, and others who are there, that their lives will be spared and there will be some peaceful resolution of the war."
Carter, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002, also blamed what he called Bush's pro-Israel policies for engendering animosity against America.
"The prime source of animosity towards the United States is the lack of progress in dealing with the Palestinian issue," Carter said, adding that past U.S. administrations since Harry Truman's have maintained a "balanced position" in dealing with the rights of the Arab population within the Jewish nation.
"The present administration has not done so at all. We have been exclusively committed to the policies of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Israel, and have made no effort to try to have a balanced negotiating position between Israel and the Palestinians," Carter said.
Carter, who brokered the historic 1978 Camp David accords that led to peace between Israel and Egypt, noted that President George H.W. Bush threatened to halt foreign aid when Israel began building settlements in Palestinian territory.
"In the meantime, of course, the Israelis have established hundreds of settlements all over Palestinian land with no critical comment ever coming from the present Bush administration," Carter said.
Carter, who placed 103 million acres of Alaskan land under federal protection during his term, also took the current White House to task on the environment.
"This national administration is the worst for conservation in my lifetime, maybe in history," said Carter, whose family has farmed in Georgia since 1833. "In all the basic elements of preserving the purity of parks and wildlife lands, controlling the industries that are inclined to pollute ... the decimation of forest lands."
vfsbvasdbb Republican senator rips Bush on Iraq strategy Hagel says war hurt U.S. in terror battle by James Sterngold San Francisco Chronicle Wednesday, June 30, 2004 http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2004/06/30/MNGTS7E5RK1.DTL
Los Angeles - Sen. Chuck Hagel, an influential moderate Republican from Nebraska, sharply criticized the Bush administration in an interview here Tuesday, saying that the war in Iraq appears to have hurt America in its battle against terrorism.
Hagel, a politician sometimes mentioned as a future presidential contender, also said the United States is going to have to consider restarting the draft to maintain its many military commitments abroad.
In a sharp critique of the leader of his own party, Hagel said he believes the occupation of Iraq by the American military was poorly planned and has spread terrorist cells more widely around the world.
"This put in motion a new geographic dispersion" of the terrorists, said Hagel, 58, in an interview before delivering a speech to the World Affairs Council in Los Angeles. "It's harder to deal with them because they're not as contained. Iraq has become a training ground."
He added that although it is too soon to judge how the war in Iraq will ultimately influence the war on terror, in the short term it has created more terrorists and given them more targets -- American soldiers.
Hagel, a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War, said he agrees with President Bush that the duration of the war on terror might be measured in generations and that to sustain the badly overstretched military for the struggle, a new draft may be needed.
"We are seeing huge cracks developing in our force structure," he said. "The fact is, if we're going to continue with this, we're going to have to be honest with the American people."
Hagel is clearly trying to carve out a role for himself as a leading moderate voice within the Republican Party, particularly in foreign policy. He has given a string of speeches over the past year advocating a cooperative approach in foreign policy, and he wrote an essay in the current issue of "Foreign Affairs," a policy journal, in which he spells out his principles for a more internationalist and pragmatic Republican foreign policy.
A two-term senator, Hagel is regarded as a pragmatist who is ideologically out of line with the conservatives in the Bush administration. There were even reports recently that he had been courted by Sen. John Kerry, the likely Democratic nominee for president, as a vice presidential candidate.
Asked if he had been approached or if he would consider the offer, Hagel said he is a diehard Republican "and I'll stay in the Republican Party."
But after finding his moderate views largely ignored by the president, Hagel said he feels that Bush, who has taken a strong unilateral approach to foreign policy, is now being forced to embrace positions much closer to those Hagel and other moderates have advocated.
Hagel has pushed for the United States to work much more closely with the United Nations, NATO and America's principal allies in Europe. The president has been in Europe this week offering a more conciliatory face to the allies, and Hagel said the harsh reality of the war in Iraq has forced his hand.
"It's a whole different administration approach,'' Hagel said. "There is a newfound humility, a newfound realism" in the Bush administration.
In another area in which Hagel's views differ sharply from the president's, he suggested that the best way to ultimately win the war on terror is to earn the trust and respect of foreigners, especially younger people in the Arab world and other parts of the globe. The best way to do that, he said, is to make the United States more accessible to them and more open to immigration.
"We are pushing away our friends, our allies, the next generation around the world," Hagel said.
By Barnaby Mason BBC diplomatic correspondent Monday, 16 February, 2004
Former archbishop of Cape Town and Nobel peace prize winner Desmond Tutu says the "immoral" war in Iraq has left the world a much more unsafe place.
Desmond Tutu urged US President George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair to admit they had made a mistake.
The archbishop also demanded to know whether it had been right to attack Iraq in defiance of international law.
Archbishop Tutu's severest criticism of the war yet came in a lecture to the Prison Reform Trust in London.
Desmond Tutu has made several critical comments about the Iraq war and its aftermath since beginning a short stint as a visiting professor at London University.
In this lecture he was at his most outspoken.
He said belligerent and militarist policies had produced a novel and dangerous principle - that of pre-emptive attack on the basis of intelligence reports.
In the case of Iraq, Archbishop Tutu said, the intelligence had been flawed - yet it was the basis for the United States going to war dragging Britain behind it.
He also criticised the alternative justification of ousting a tyrannical regime.
He demanded to know by what authority President Bush and the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, had acted; was it might is right, and to hell with international law?
Desmond Tutu brought this onslaught into a lecture arguing that retribution was a poor basis for a penal system and arguing for the kind of restorative justice seen in South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which he chaired.
Archbishop Tutu referred to the idea that harsh prison sentences made people safer.
In the invasion of Iraq, he said, they could see the same illusion on a global scale - that force and brutality could produce security.
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ cxcv Iraq War Wasn't Justified, U.N. Weapons Experts Say cxcvv Blix, El Baradei: U.S. ignored evidence against WMDs
WASHINGTON (CNN) Sunday 21 March 2004 -- The United Nations' top two weapons experts said Sunday that the invasion of Iraq a year ago was not justified by the evidence in hand at the time.
"I think it's clear that in March, when the invasion took place, the evidence that had been brought forward was rapidly falling apart," Hans Blix, who oversaw the agency's investigation into whether Iraq had chemical and biological weapons, said on CNN's "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer."
Blix described the evidence Secretary of State Colin Powell presented to the U.N. Security Council in February 2003 as "shaky," and said he related his opinion to U.S. officials, including national security adviser Condoleezza Rice.
"I think they chose to ignore us," Blix said.
Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, spoke to CNN from IAEA headquarters in Vienna, Austria.
ElBaradei said he had been "pretty convinced" that Iraq had not resumed its nuclear weapons program, which the IAEA dismantled in 1997.
Days before the fighting began, Vice President Dick Cheney weighed in with an opposing view.
"We believe [Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein] has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons. I think Mr. ElBaradei, frankly, is wrong," Cheney said. "And I think if you look at the track record of the International Atomic Energy Agency in this kind of issue, especially where Iraq's concerned, they have consistently underestimated or missed what Saddam Hussein was doing."
Now, more than a year later, ElBaradei said, "I haven't seen anything on the ground at that time that supported Mr. Cheney's conclusion or statement, so -- and I thought to myself, well, history is going to be the judge."
No evidence of a nuclear weapons program has been found so far.
Blix, who recounts his search for weapons of mass destruction in his book "Disarming Iraq," said the Bush administration tended "to say that anything that was unaccounted for existed, whether it was sarin or mustard gas or anthrax."
Blix specifically faulted Powell, who told the U.N. Security Council about what he said was a site that held chemical weapons and decontamination trucks.
"Our inspectors had been there, and they had taken a lot of samples, and there was no trace of any chemicals or biological things," Blix said. "And the trucks that we had seen were water trucks."
The most spectacular intelligence failure concerned a report by ElBaradei, who revealed that an alleged contract by Iraq with Niger to import uranium oxide was a forgery, Blix said.
"The document had been sitting with the CIA and their U.K. counterparts for a long while, and they had not discovered it," Blix said. "And I think it took the IAEA a day to discover that it was a forgery."
Blix said that during a meeting before the war with the U.S. president, Bush told him that "the U.S. genuinely wanted peace," and that "he was no wild, gung-ho Texan, bent on dragging the U.S. into war."
Blix said Bush gave the inspectors support and information at first, but he said the help didn't last long enough.
"I think they lost their patience much too early," Blix said.
"I can see that they wanted to have a picture that was either black or white, and we presented a picture that had, you know, gray in it, as well," he said.
Iraq had been shown to have biological and chemical weapons before, "and there was no record of either destruction or production; there was this nagging question: Do they still have them?" ElBaradei said.
Blix said he had not been able to say definitively that Iraq had no such weapons, but added that he felt history has shown he was not wrong.
"At least we didn't fall into the trap that the U.S. and the U.K. did in asserting that they existed," he said.
ElBaradei faulted Iraq for "the opaque nature of that Saddam Hussein regime."
"We should not forget that," he said. "For a couple of months, their cooperation was not by any way transparent, for whatever reason."
ElBaradei said he hoped the past year's events have taught world leaders a valuable lesson.
"We learned from Iraq that an inspection takes time, that we should be patient, that an inspection can, in fact, work."
(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.)
Mandela: Bush "Cannot Think Properly"
/////In an unflinching address before the International Women's Forum, meeting in Johannesburg in January, former South African president Nelson Mandela condemned the U.S. plan for attacking Iraq. "What I am condemning is that one power, with a president who has no foresight, who cannot think properly, is now wanting to plunge the world into a holocaust." Following is the text from his address:
//// It's a tragedy what is happening, what Bush doing. All Bush wants is Iraqi oil. There is no doubt that the US is behaving badly. Why are they not seeking to confiscate weapons of mass destruction from their ally Israel? This is just an excuse to get Iraq's oil.
/////We have not had world wars in 57 years, and it is because of the United Nations. We should condemn both [British Prime Minister Tony] Blair and Bush and let them know in no uncertain terms that what they are doing is wrong. Other international countries like France and Russia must influence the United Nations to condemn what he [Bush] is doing.
/////"What I am condemning is that one power, with a president who has no foresight, who cannot think properly, is now wanting to plunge the world into a holocaust."
/////Bush is now undermining the United Nations. He is acting outside it, notwithstanding the fact that the United Nations was the idea of President Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. Both Bush, as well as Tony Blair, are undermining an idea which was sponsored by their predecessors. They do not care. Is it because the secretary-general of the United Nations [Ghanaian Kofi Annan] is now a black man? They never did that when secretary-generals were white.
//// What is the lesson of them acting outside the United Nations? Are they saying any country which believes that they will not be able to get the support of the countries with a veto [in the United Nations] are entitled to go outside the United Nations and to ignore it? Or are they saying we, the United States, are the only superpower in the world now, [so] we can act as we like? Are they saying this is a lesson we should follow or are they saying 'we are special, what we do should not be done by anybody [else]?'
/////If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America. They don't care for human beings. Fifty-seven years ago, when Japan was retreating on all fronts, they decided to drop the atom bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki; killed a lot of innocent people, who are still suffering the effects of those bombs.
/////Those bombs were not aimed against the Japanese, they were aimed against the Soviet Union to say, 'look, this is the power that we have. If you dare oppose what we do, this is what is going to happen to you'. Because they are so arrogant, they decided to kill innocent people in Japan, who are still suffering from that.
/////Who are they, now, to pretend that they are the policemen of the world? To want to decide for the people in Iraq what they should do with their government and with their leadership? If this is done by the United Nations, if the United Nations says that 'Saddam Hussein is not carrying out the resolutions of the United Nations, therefore we the United Nations are going to take action,' I will support that without reservation.
/////What I am condemning is that one power, with a president who has no foresight, who cannot think properly, is now wanting to plunge the world into a holocaust. I am happy that the people of the world-especially those of the United States of America-are standing up and opposing their own president.
/////I hope that that opposition will one day make him understand that he has made the greatest mistake of his life in trying to bring about carnage and to police the world, without any authority of the international body. It is something we have to condemn without reservation. I only hope that the people of the United States will make Bush aware that he has made a big mistake to want to surpass the global body, the United Nations, whose ideals are to bring peace and eradicate wars.
/////The people of the US should
use their democracy to get rid of him. It
is best for the US to use the ballot box and demonstrations to
draw attention to the issue.
And the women at this forum are there to look into these things, to be bold with their leadership and to condemn what is wrong.
/////And finally, we have of course the question of globalisation in this country. As [the former South African High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and current CEO of South African Tourism] Cheryl Carolus has said, somebody who is saying he or she is not going to accept globalisation, is like saying I do not recognise winter, I am not going to put on clothing for winter!
/////She has put it very well, because what
happens today in northern Europe has got an effect on our region
the same day. Globalisation is already there, whether we like
it or not.
/////And of course globalisation at the present moment favours the rich and the mighty. We have to fight that. It must favor all human beings, whether in Europe or in Africa. And I'm sure this is the task of this forum to make sure that such irregularities are rectified.
Thank you very much.
Former South African President Nelson Mandela, left, and French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin are seen during a photo opportunity in Johannesburg, Friday June 27, 2003. Mandela on Friday criticized U.S President Bush for the U.S.-led war in Iraq and praised French President Jacques Chirac for refusing to participate. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell) . // Bush Delivers Unprecedented Snub to Mandela in Africa Visit / by Basildon Peta the lndependent/UK, July 1, 2003
President George Bush will make history next week when he becomes the first head of state not to ask for a meeting with Nelson Mandela while on a visit to South Africa.
Former South African President Nelson Mandela, left, and French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin are seen during a photo opportunity in Johannesburg, Friday June 27, 2003. Mandela on Friday criticized U.S President Bush for the U.S.-led war in Iraq and praised French President Jacques Chirac for refusing to participate.
Officials say there is no precedent, except during large summits such as the UN earth summit in Johannesburg last year when heads of state visited in huge numbers. But even then, world leaders lined up to visit Mr Mandela at his upmarket residence in Johannesburg, and others met him at official events.
But when Mr Bush lands in South Africa next week on his first visit to Africa, the world's most powerful leader will not meet the world's most famous statesman. Mr Bush had not asked for a meeting with Mr Mandela, the former president's spokeswoman said.
The two met at the White House soon after the 11 September suicide attacks, and Mr Mandela expressed support for Mr Bush in hunting down those responsible in Afghanistan. But they fell out when Mr Bush turned on Iraq, and Mr Mandela dismissed the US leader as a President who "cannot think properly" for bypassing the United Nations.
Mr Mandela also made a scathing attack on Tony Blair, labeling him the "Foreign Affairs Minister of the United States". He has reportedly made peace with Mr Blair after apologizing in a phone discussion in which he admitted that his vitriol might have been a bit over the top. But Mr Mandela did not retract his firm opposition to the Iraq war.
He repeated his attack on Mr Bush
when he met the French Foreign Minister, Dominique de Villepin,
in Johannesburg on Friday, and heaped praise on the French President,
Jacques Chirac, who opposed the war.
Asked whether he would voice his concerns to Mr Bush during his visit, Mr Mandela replied: "Do not assume that he will meet with me," in what was taken as a snub addressed to the US President. Apparently, Mr Bush will not easily forgive a man widely regarded as the moral conscience of the world.
A US embassy spokesman said that Mr Bush's schedule had not been finalized, but he held out little prospects of a Bush-Mandela meeting. The US President, who will meet President Thabo Mbeki, visits Africa from 7 to 12 July for talks, including how to help the continent out of poverty so it does not become a breeding ground for terrorists. Other items on the agenda will cover Zimbabwe, US help for fighting Aids, removal of US farm subsidies that helped to destroy African agriculture, and support for the economic renewal program, the New Partnership for African Development.
© 2003 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd
/ "Those who refuse to learn from history are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
North Korea 6.7 % Iraq 6.3 % The United States 86.9 %
ssbs "After every ''victory'' you have more enemies." - Jeanette Winterson sb "I hate war for its consequences, for the lies it lives on and propagates, for the undying hatreds it arouses..." - Harry Emerson Fosdick sb d b "War is the no-win, all-lose option." / - Gore Vidal / Q: How do you think the current war in Iraq is going to play out? / GORE VIDAL: I think we will go down the tubes right with it. With each action Bush ever more enrages the Muslims. And there are a billion of them. And sooner or later they will have a Saladin who will pull them together, and they will come after us. And it won't be pretty." / - "Uncensored Gore" , LA WEEKLY, Nov. 14 - 20, 2003 / ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ / Future terrorists?
When the Rabbits Get a Gun / By William Rivers Pitt t r u t h o u t | Perspective Wednesday 15 September 2004
This is the comforting fiction: Osama bin Laden is a monster who sprang whole from the fetid mire. He had no childhood, no influences, no education, no experiences to form his view of the world. He did not exist, and then he did, a vessel into which the universe poured the essence of evil. It is a simple, straightforward story of a man who hates freedom and kills for the pure joy of feeling innocent blood drip from his fingers.
This is the fairy tale by which children are put to bed at night. As frightening and terrifying as bin Laden may be, it is a comfort to imagine him as having been chiseled from the dust. The fiction of his existence, absent of detail, makes him unique, a singular entity not to be replicated. Osama bin Laden becomes truly scary only when the actual context of his life is made clear, where he is from, what he has seen, and why those things motivated him to do what he does.
Osama bin Laden becomes truly scary when the realization comes that he is not unique, not singular, not an invention of the universe. He becomes truly scary when the realization comes that there are millions of people who have seen what he has seen, who feel what he feels, and why. He becomes truly scary when the realization comes that he is a creation of the last fifty years of American foreign and economic policy, and that he has an army behind him created by the same influences. Simply, Osama bin Laden becomes truly scary when the realization comes that he can be, and has been, and continues to be, replicated.
Osama bin Laden, after being educated at Oxford University, learned how to kill effectively while working as an agent of American Cold War policy in Afghanistan. He was a helpful American ally throughout the 1980s as a ruthless and wealthy warrior against the Soviet Union. It was the desire of the American government to deliver to the Soviets their own Vietnam, to arrange a hopeless military situation which would demoralize the Soviet military and bleed that nation dry.
Osama bin Laden played the part of the Viet Cong, and he was good at it. With the help of the American government, he was able to create an army of true believers in Afghanistan. Our government believed that if one bin Laden was good, a hundred would be better, and a thousand better again, in the fight against the Soviets. So strong was this group America helped to create that it became known as 'The Base.' Translated into the local dialect, 'The Base' is known as al Qaeda.
Osama bin Laden learned something else besides the art of killing while he was working as an ally of the United States. He learned that given enough time, enough money, enough violence, enough perseverance, and enough fellow warriors, a superpower can be brought to its knees and erased from the book of history.
Bin Laden was at the center of one of the most important events of the 20th century: The fall of the Soviet Union. Political pundits like to credit Reagan and the senior Bush for the collapse of that regime, but out in front of them, in the mountains of Afghanistan, was Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda, the sharp end of our sword, who did their job very well. Today, the United States faces this group and its leader, armed with their well-learned and America-taught lessons: How to kill massively and how to annihilate a superpower.
Osama bin Laden learned a few other things before he became the monster under our collective bed. When Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein began to make his move against Kuwait, bin Laden was outraged. Hussein was a despised name on the lips of bin Laden and his followers; here was an unbelieving heretic who spoke the words of Allah, a self-styled Socialist who pretended piety, a ruthless dictator who killed every Islamic fundamentalist he could get his hands on.
Osama bin Laden went to King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, home of the holiest sites of Islam. The royal family was not to be found anywhere on bin Laden's list of friends at the time. A shrewd observer of local politics, bin Laden knew that the Saudi government enjoyed having the Palestinians living in squalor, bereft of homeland and hope, because it distracted the fundamentalists within Saudi Arabia from focusing on the inequities within their own country. With the crooking of a single oil-rich finger, the Saudi royals could solve the Palestinian problem. Their refusal to do so fed bin Laden's rage, for in his mind, they were aiding and abetting what he saw as an intolerable Israeli apartheid.
Bin Laden asked Fahd to help him resurrect the army that fought with him against the Soviets so that he could fight Saddam Hussein. Here again is an irony of the times: As in the 1980s, Osama bin Laden was spoiling for a fight against an enemy of the United States - for his own purposes, to be sure, but it is difficult to avoid a shake of the head when considering all of the recent rhetoric about a Saddam/Osama alliance.
Fahd turned bin Laden down, and allowed the American military to set up bases in Saudi Arabia for use in what became known as Operation Desert Storm. According to the version of Islam practiced by bin Laden, it is rank heresy to allow soldiers from an infidel army to occupy the land of Mecca and Medina. Bin Laden learned from this that regimes in the Middle East which claim fealty to Islam, but which in fact act at the behest of the Unites States, were not to be trusted. The royal family of Saudi Arabia joined the list of bin Laden's enemies, along with the United States, Saddam Hussein, and Israel.
It was Israel, proxy of the Unites States, which taught Osama bin Laden what could be considered the final, irrevocable lesson of his life. In April of 1996, Israel began a military action against Beirut and southern Lebanon called Operation Grapes of Wrath. "It is quite obvious," wrote Israeli writer Israel Shahak at the time, "that the first and most important Israeli aim to be established in the 'Grapes of Wrath' is to establish its sovereignty over Lebanon - to be exercised in a comparable manner to its control over the Gaza Strip."
On April 13, an ambulance driver named Abbas Jiha was rushing patients to a hospital in Sidon. Civilians caught in the crossfire of 'Grapes of Wrath' begged him to take them to Sidon, and so he squeezed his wife, his four children and ten others into his ambulance. An Israeli helicopter targeted his ambulance and fired two missiles. The ambulance was blasted sixty feet into the air, and Jiha was thrown clear. When he made it back to the remains of his rig, he found his nine year old daughter, his wife, and four others dead within the flaming wreckage.
On April 18, the small village of Qana was flooded with some 800 refugees from the fighting who were seeking protection from UN forces there. At about two in the afternoon, the village came under bombardment by Israeli 'proximity shells' - antipersonnel weapons which explode several meters above the ground and shower anyone below with razor-sharp shrapnel. The result was a massacre, a blood-drenched scene of shredded humanity.
Robert Fisk, the most decorated and reputable journalist in Britain, was there. "It was a massacre," he wrote. "Israel's slaughter of civilians in this 10-day offensive - 206 by last night - has been so cavalier, so ferocious, that not a Lebanese will forgive this massacre. There had been the ambulance attacked on Saturday, the sisters killed in Yohmor the day before, the 2-year-old girl decapitated by an Israeli missile four days ago. And earlier yesterday, the Israelis had slaughtered a family of 12 - the youngest was a four-day-old baby - when Israeli helicopter pilots fired missiles into their home."
These stories barely made a dent in the American press in 1996, but were widely reported at length by both European and Middle Eastern media outlets. Photographs of headless babies and slaughtered civilians reached far and wide, inflaming a region already filled with rage against Israel and America. From this time on, Osama bin Laden used Qana as a rallying cry against what he called the Israeli-United States alliance. The rest, as they say, is history.
Osama bin Laden is a damned murderer of innocents, with thousands of notches in his belt. His actions are indefensible by any measure. Yet to dismiss him as something other than the creation of his experiences, to categorize him as some unique freak whose motivations are beyond comprehension, is to deny the most important dilemma that faces our world. Monsters are not born. They are made.
On Sunday, September 12, 2004, a large crowd of Iraqi civilians came under fire from U.S. attack helicopters on Haifa Street in Baghdad. An American Bradley Fighting Vehicle had been attacked and destroyed by 'insurgents' fighting the ongoing occupation of their country, and the civilians - after more than a year of deprivation and violence which came on the heels of a decade of deprivation and violence - were dancing on top of and beside the vehicle. 13 of them were killed and dozens more wounded. A reporter from the UK Guardian named Ghaith Abdul-Ahad was there, and was wounded in the attack.
"One of the three men piled together," wrote Abdul-Ahad, "raised his head and looked around the empty streets with a look of astonishment on his face. He then looked at the boy in front of him, turned to the back and looked at the horizon again. Then he slowly started moving his head to the ground, rested his head on his arms and stretched his hands towards something that he could see. It was the guy who had been beating his chest earlier, trying to help his brother. He wanted help but no one helped. He was just there dying in front of me. Time didn't exist. The streets were empty and silent and the men lay there dying together. He slid down to the ground, and after five minutes was flat on the street."
(M.O.W. editorial insert)
The survivors of this attack, like the survivors of Qana, were probably not terrorists before the fire came raining down. It is a safe bet they are now, after seeing what they have seen, willing to trade their lives to see Americans die. They have seen the massacre of civilians, and so believe that civilians are fair game in this dirtiest of wars. They are monsters now, not born, but made.
The story of the 20th century Middle East is one of American action. We created Saddam Hussein, and then twice attacked him, leaving nearly two million civilians dead in the process. We created the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and bent our policies towards defending that house of cards and its precious oil. We created the Shah of Iran, then lost him, and propped up Hussein to checkmate our failure. We created Israel, a nation that has become our front line against the hostilities we manufactured in the region through our relentless military and economic meddling, and supported them militarily and financially as they committed acts of barbarism. We have paid great lip service to the plight of the Palestinians, but have always deferred to Israel.
More recently, we invaded Iraq on the pretext of destroying weapons of mass destruction which, according to recent comments by Secretary of State Powell, do not actually exist. We accused Saddam Hussein of collaborating with bin Laden, and of being involved in 9/11, despite the fact that bin Laden has wanted Hussein dead for years. We killed over 10,000 Iraqi civilians. .We raped and tortured Iraqi men, women and children in the dungeons of Abu Ghraib. All of our poor history in the region has been distilled into that one nation, a place that now manufactures bin Laden allies by the truckload.
We created Osama bin Laden. We taught him to kill, we showed him how to destroy a superpower, and we gave him a face-first lesson in American interventionism in his back yard. Whatever predispositions towards violence and murder existed in him when he was born became honed, refined and perfected as he watched our government storm the policies, rulers and innocent people of the Middle East like so many rabbits. We have created millions more like him.
We are learning now that the game isn't much fun when the rabbits get a gun.
William Rivers Pitt is a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of two books - 'War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know' and 'The Greatest Sedition Is Silence.' He is also editor and publisher of t r u t h o u t .com.
- George H.W. Bush (Bush I ), 1998 /
- From " Why We Didn't Remove Saddam " by George H.W. Bush (Bush I ) and Brent Scowcroft, Time Magazine, 1998
The first anniversary of the war in Iraq provides an inevitable and appropriate time for reflection. The Bush administration deployed its top officials this week to argue its case. President Bush on Friday took his turn, telling diplomats from scores of countries gathered in the East Room of the White House that Iraqis are better off now and that the world at large is safer than it was a year ago.
At least the president might score a debatable point in asserting that life in Iraq is far better without Saddam Hussein. But he's the president of the United States and leader of the free world. So it's fair to ask whether the war has made life better for this nation and its allies. In our assessment, it has not. Although ridding Iraq of weapons of mass destruction was the administration's major selling point for the war, it is now clear that Hussein's regime no longer possessed those weapons. And European allies, including Poland - which Bush on Friday used as a post-communist model of how Iraq could evolve - feel misled and more worried than ever about their security.
Hussein's Iraq played no part in 9/11, even as the administration insisted that the war in Iraq was an inevitable consequence of the 9/11 attacks. Al Qaeda followers, perpetrators of the assault against the United States, were and still are more likely to be found within the borders of U.S. ally Pakistan than within the borders of Iraq. Islamic radicals were able to portray the war as an imperialist ploy of the U.S. and its reluctant followers, invading Iraq because it was a Muslim nation with a stand-up Hussein as leader. That propaganda, which the Bush administration helped mightily to feed through its hubris and miscalculations, has spawned a new generation of recruits for terror. Those recruits have joined Hussein's followers to kill U.S. soldiers and Iraqis cooperating with the occupation forces. More than 570 U.S. troops have died in Iraq, along with soldiers from Britain, Spain, Italy and other nations. The war has killed thousands of Iraqis as well. Nations must retaliate for attacks like those on the World Trade Center and Pentagon and expect casualties in war. But the invasion and occupation of Iraq - a nation that did not pose an imminent threat - and the shameful underfunding of homeland security have not lessened U.S. vulnerability. The U.S. grows increasingly isolated from its allies, and that gives comfort and strength to its enemies.
Last October, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld asked his generals: "Are we capturing, killing or deterring and dissuading more terrorists every day than the [Islamic schools] and the radical clerics are recruiting, training and deploying against us?" The answer was obvious as Islamic radicals killed more than 200 in Spain this month and scores more in Turkey, Morocco and Saudi Arabia earlier.
Meanwhile, troops are still in Afghanistan, hunting Al Qaeda and remnants of the Taliban while Pakistanis chase Osama bin Laden's right-hand man, Ayman Zawahiri.
In March last year, before the invasion, this editorial page agreed that Iraq would be better without Hussein. We still believe that. But we worried that the war would do far more harm than good. We were concerned that combat would fuel a myth of American bullies come to wreak havoc on Muslims, would cost us billions of dollars, not to mention the rebuilding costs, and would divert attention from attempts to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "We desperately hope to be wrong in our trepidation about the consequences here and abroad," we said then. Today we regret that our fears are being realized.
Summary of Findings
A year after the war in Iraq, discontent with America and its policies has intensified rather than diminished. Opinion of the United States in France and Germany is at least as negative now as at the war's conclusion, and British views are decidedly more critical. Perceptions of American unilateralism remain widespread in European and Muslim nations, and the war in Iraq has undermined America's credibility abroad. Doubts about the motives behind the U.S.-led war on terrorism abound, and a growing percentage of Europeans want foreign policy and security arrangements independent from the United States. Across Europe, there is considerable support for the European Union to become as powerful as the United States.
In the predominantly Muslim countries surveyed, anger toward the United States remains pervasive, although the level of hatred has eased somewhat and support for the war on terrorism has inched up. Osama bin Laden, however, is viewed favorably by large percentages in Pakistan (65%), Jordan (55%) and Morocco (45%). Even in Turkey, where bin Laden is highly unpopular, as many as 31% say that suicide attacks against Americans and other Westerners in Iraq are justifiable. Majorities in all four Muslim nations surveyed doubt the sincerity of the war on terrorism. Instead, most say it is an effort to control Mideast oil and to dominate the world.
There has been little change in opinion about the war in Iraq except in Great Britain, where support for the decision to go to war has plummeted from 61% last May to 43% in the current survey. In contrast, 60% of Americans continue to back the war. Among the coalition of the "unwilling," large majorities in Germany, France and Russia still believe their countries made the right decision in not taking part in the war. Moreover, there is broad agreement in nearly all of the countries surveyed the U.S. being a notable exception that the war in Iraq hurt, rather than helped, the war on terrorism.
In the four predominantly Muslim countries surveyed, opposition to the war remains nearly universal. Moreover, while large majorities in Western European countries opposed to the war say Saddam Hussein's ouster will improve the lot of the Iraqi people, those in Muslim countries are less confident. In Jordan, no less than 70% of survey respondents think the Iraqis will be worse off with Hussein gone.
This is the latest in a series of international surveys by the Pew Global Attitudes Project. It was conducted from late February to early March in the United States and eight other countries, with fieldwork under the direction of Princeton Survey Research Associates International. The survey finds a significant point of agreement in opinion on Iraq's future. Overwhelming majorities in all countries surveyed say it will take longer than a year to establish a stable government in Iraq. But there are deep differences about whether the U.S. or the United Nations would do the best job of helping Iraqis to form such a government. The U.N. is the clear choice of people in Western Europe and Turkey; Americans are divided over this issue. However, roughly half of Jordanians and a third of Moroccans volunteered that neither the U.S. nor the U.N could do best in this regard.
Americans have a far different view of the war's impact on the war on terrorism and the global standing of the U.S. than do people in the other surveyed countries. Generally, Americans think the war helped in the fight against terrorism, illustrated the power of the U.S. military, and revealed America to be trustworthy and supportive of democracy around the world.
These notions are not shared elsewhere. Majorities in Germany, Turkey and France and half of the British and Russians believe the conflict in Iraq undermined the war on terrorism. At least half the respondents in the eight other countries view the U.S. as less trustworthy as a consequence of the war. For the most part, even U.S. military prowess is not seen in a better light as a result of the war in Iraq.
A growing number in Western Europe also think that the United States is overreacting to the threat of terrorism. Only in Great Britain and Russia do large majorities believe that the U.S. is right to be so concerned about terrorism. Many people in France (57%) and Germany (49%) have come to agree with the widespread view in the Muslim countries surveyed that the America is exaggerating the terrorist threat.
Nevertheless, support for the U.S.-led war on terrorism has increased dramatically among Russians, despite their generally critical opinion of U.S. policies. More than seven-in-ten Russians (73%) currently back the war on terrorism, up from 51% last May. Since the end of the Iraq war, there also have been gains in support for the U.S. anti-terrorism campaign in Turkey (from 22% to 37%) and Morocco (9% to 28%). On the other hand, backing for the war against terrorism has again slipped in France and Germany; only about half of the public in each country favors the U.S.-led effort.
Publics in the surveyed countries other than the United States express considerable skepticism of America's motives in its global struggle against terrorism. Solid majorities in France and Germany believe the U.S. is conducting the war on terrorism in order to control Mideast oil and dominate the world. People in Muslim nations who doubt the sincerity of American anti-terror efforts see a wider range of ulterior motives, including helping Israel and targeting unfriendly Muslim governments and groups.
Large majorities in almost every country surveyed think that American and British leaders lied when they claimed, prior to the Iraq war, that Saddam Hussein's regime had weapons of mass destruction. On balance, people in the United States and Great Britain disagree. Still, about three-in-ten in the U.S. (31%) and four-in-ten in Great Britain (41%) say leaders of the two countries lied to provide a rationale for the war.
In that regard, opinions of both President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair are negative. Large majorities in every country, except for the U.S., hold an unfavorable opinion of Bush. Blair is rated favorably only by a narrow majority in Great Britain but fully three-quarters of Americans. In contrast, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan is viewed positively in nearly all nine countries surveyed, with Jordan and Morocco as prominent exceptions.
The United Nations itself engenders varied reactions around the world. Just 55% of Americans have a favorable opinion of the world body. This is the lowest rating the U.N. has achieved in 14 years of Pew Research Center surveys. People in Russia and the Western European countries have a considerably more favorable view of the U.N. But large majorities in Jordan and Morocco hold negative views of both the U.N. and the man who leads it.
Majorities in the Western European countries surveyed believe their own government should obtain U.N. approval before dealing with an international threat. That idea is much more problematic for Americans, and on this issue Russians and people in Muslim countries are much closer to Americans than they are to Western Europeans.
Despite that small piece of common ground, however, there is still considerable hostility toward the U.S. in the Muslim countries surveyed. Substantial numbers in each of these countries has a negative view of the U.S. Overwhelming majorities in Jordan and Morocco believe suicide attacks against Americans and other Westerners in Iraq are justifiable. As a point of comparison, slightly more people in those two countries say the same about Palestinian suicide attacks against Israelis.
About half of Pakistanis also say suicide attacks on Americans in Iraq and against Israelis in the Palestinian conflict are justifiable.
Fewer respondents in Turkey agree, but slightly more Turks view suicide attacks on Americans in Iraq as justifiable as say the same about Palestinian attacks on Israelis (31% vs. 24%).
· Despite concerns about rising anti-Semitism in Europe, there are no indications that anti-Jewish sentiment has increased over the past decade. Favorable ratings of Jews are actually higher now in France, Germany and Russia than they were in 1991. Nonetheless, Jews are better liked in the U.S. than in Germany and Russia. As is the case with Americans, Europeans hold much more negative views of Muslims than of Jews.
· The survey finds, however, that Christians get much lower ratings in predominantly Muslim countries than do Muslims in mostly Christian countries. Majorities in Morocco (73%), Pakistan (62%) and Turkey (52%) express negative views of Christians.
· The adage that people in other nations may dislike America, but nonetheless want to move there is borne out in Russia, Turkey and Morocco. Roughly half of the respondents in those three countries say people who have moved to the U.S. have a better life.
· But one of the largest gaps between Americans and Europeans concerns the question of whether people who move to the U.S. have a better life. Americans overwhelmingly believe this to be the case 88% say people who move to the U.S. from other countries have a better life. By contrast, just 14% of Germans, 24% of French and 41% of British think that people who have moved to the U.S. from their countries have a better life.
- The Pew Research Center for
the People and the Press
Scaring Up Votes ' By MAUREEN DOWD New York Times November 23, 2003
First came the pre-emptive military policy. Now comes the pre-emptive campaign strategy.
Before the president even knows his opponent, his first political ad is blanketing Iowa today.
"It would take one vial, one canister, one crate slipped into this country to bring a day of horror like none we have ever known," Mr. Bush says, in a State of the Union clip.
Well, that's a comforting message from our commander in chief. Do we really need his cold, clammy hand on our spine at a time when we're already rattled by fresh terror threats at home and abroad? When we're chilled by the metastasizing Al Qaeda, the resurgent Taliban and Baathist thugs armed with deadly booby traps; the countless, nameless terror groups emerging in Turkey, Morocco, Indonesia and elsewhere; the vicious attacks on Americans, Brits, aid workers and their supporters in Iraq, Afghanistan and Turkey? The latest illustration of the low-tech ingenuity of Iraqi foes impervious to our latest cascade of high-tech missiles: a hapless, singed donkey that carted rockets to a Baghdad hotel.
Yet the Bush crowd is seizing the moment to scare us even more.
Flashing the words "terrorists" and "self-defense" in crimson, the Republican National Committee spot urges Americans "to support the president's policy of pre-emptive self-defense" - a policy Colin Powell claimed was overblown by the press.
"Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike?" Mr. Bush says.
With this ad, Republicans have announced their intention: to scare us stupid, hoping we won't remember that this was the same State of the Union in which Mr. Bush made a misleading statement about the Iraq-Niger uranium connection, or remark that the imperial idyll in Iraq has created more terrorists.
Richard Clarke, the former U.S. counterterrorism chief, told Ted Koppel that Mr. Bush's habit of putting X's through the pictures of arrested or killed Qaeda managers was very reminiscent of a scene in the movie "The Battle of Algiers," in which the French authorities did the same to the Algerian terrorists: "Unfortunately, after all the known Algerian terrorists were arrested or killed, the French lost. And that could be the thing that's happening here, that even though we're getting all the known Al Qaeda leaders, we're breeding new ones. Ones we don't know about and will be harder to find."
This view of Al Qaeda was echoed by a European counterterrorism official in The Times: "There are fewer leaders but more followers."
The president is trying to make the campaign about guts: he has the guts to persevere in the war on terror.
But the real issue is trust: should we trust leaders who cynically manipulated intelligence, diverted 9/11 anger and lost focus on Osama so they could pursue an old cause near to neocon hearts: sacking Saddam?
The Bush war left our chief villains operating, revved up the terrorist threat, ravaged our international alliances and sparked the resentment of a world that ached for us after 9/11.
Now Mr. Bush says that poor Turkey, a critical ally in the Muslim world, is the newest front in the war on terror. "Iraq is a front," he said. "Turkey is a front. Anywhere the terrorists think they can strike is a front." Here a front, there a front, everywhere a terror front.
In his Hobbesian gloom - "Fear and I were born twins," Hobbes said - Dick Cheney thought an Iraq whupping would make surly young anti-American Arab men scuttle away. Instead, it stoked their ire.
James Goodby and Kenneth Weisbrode wrote in The Financial Times last week that the Bush crew has snuffed the optimism of F.D.R., Ronald Reagan and Bush père: "Fear has been used as a basis for curtailing freedom of expression and for questioning legal rights long taken for granted. It has crept into political discourse and been used to discredit patriotic public servants. Ronald Reagan's favorite image, borrowed from an earlier visionary, of America as `a shining city on a hill' has been unnecessarily dimmed by another image: a nation motivated by fear and ready to lash out at any country it defines as the source of a gathering threat."
Instead of a shining city, we have a dark bunker.
But the only thing we really have to fear is fearmongering itself.
Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company (In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.)
n"Dick Cheney thought an Iraq whupping would make surly young anti-American Arab men scuttle away. Instead, it stoked their ire."nd
The failed July 21 bombings in London were inspired by the Iraq war and deadly attacks of two weeks earlier, a suspect in the later bombings is reported to have told Italian authorities.nd
LONDON, England (AP) -- Britain's close alliance with the United States and involvement in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have left it at particular risk of terrorist attack, according to a report published Monday by two leading think tanks.
The Royal Institute of International Affairs, known as Chatham House, and the Economic and Social Research Council also said the situation in Iraq had given "a boost to the al Qaeda network's propaganda, recruitment and fund-raising" and provided an ideal training ground for al Qaeda-linked terrorists.
One year after the United States announced the start of the world's first pre-emptive war with a fearsome bombardment of Baghdad, the results of this ill-advised application of armed force are plain. Iraq is a devastated and divided country, balanced on a knife-edge between a faltering return to self-government and civil war. Nearly 600 Americans, 60 Britons and more than 40 nationals of other countries have been killed. Many times more have been injured. The number of Iraqi dead, military and civilians, runs into thousands. Large numbers of foreign troops and billions of dollars in aid will be needed in Iraq for many years to come.
As we argued forcefully and repeatedly at the time, this was a war that should never have happened. Even at our most pessimistic, however, we underestimated the flimsiness of the pretext and the gravity of the consequences. With the chief UN weapons inspector, Hans Blix, we pleaded for the inspectors to be given more time. With the French, Germans and Russians, we demanded a Security Council mandate before any military action. With sceptical back-benchers, we argued that our government had not produced the clear legal justification for war that it needed.
And we drew attention, more times than we care to recall, to the muddled logic that the Government used in its increasingly desperate efforts to persuade a sceptical public that force was the only option. Did Britain join the US in order to eradicate the threat from Iraq's weapons of mass destruction? Or was it to liberate Iraqis from an evil dictator? To spread peace and democracy through the region? Because we believed that Saddam Hussein protected al-Qa'ida terrorists? Or was it in the hope of restraining President George Bush's reckless unilateralism?
One year on, it turns out that Iraq had no stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction: the inspectors should have been given more time. When the US and Britain defied the majority of the Security Council, they prompted an international schism, which divides Europe and isolates our two countries to this day. There was no evidence, and never had been, of links between Saddam Hussein and al-Qa'ida - US officials now admit as much - but the occupation of Iraq is already becoming terrorism's best recruiting agent. The removal of Saddam has precipitated no spread of peace or democracy through the region, nor the least whiff of reform. As for American unilateralism, recent polls show the US as diplomatically isolated and as globally unpopular as it was one year ago.
Yes, Saddam and his regime fell at the end of a remarkably short and clinical war that was, in purely military terms, a success. But the abject lack of planning for the "day after" created a security vacuum that left many Iraqis asking whether they were any better off than they had been before. A string of policy errors, which included the dissolution of the Iraqi armed forces, fuelled popular resistance and religious and ethnic rivalries. The complexities of securing a post-Saddam Iraq were the chief reasons why President Bush's father had decided against driving on to Baghdad after allied forces had liberated Kuwait. He was right then; his son and Mr Blair were wrong.
But what has been done, while deeply misguided and regrettable, cannot be undone. If, as this week's poll suggests, a majority of Iraqis is now reconciled to current circumstances, even hopeful of a better future, there may still be a chance that something can be salvaged. The Iraqis must seize the opportunities opened by the removal of Saddam. But the occupying powers have an obligation to provide the necessary conditions. They must redouble their efforts to impose law and order, while restoring reliable supplies of water and electricity. If this requires more funds and more troops, the US and Britain have a duty to dispatch them well before the 30 June return of sovereignty to an Iraqi authority. The 30 June deadline must be met - not to suit George Bush's electoral timetable, but to show that the US and Britain honour their promises and that the occupation is finite.
The UN must return to Iraq, not under US-set conditions, but with a Security Council mandate and genuinely international protection and blessing. Elections must be organised, if possible, ahead of the 2005 schedule. But the watchword must be security: Iraqis must be able to live their daily lives without fear for their safety, or what is their new freedom worth? This is the absolute minimum that the US and Britain owe to Iraqis. Together they committed one of the gravest foreign policy errors that either country has committed for decades: the US since Vietnam; Britain since Suez.
This historic misjudgement has cost Iraqis dear, but not only Iraqis. The Spanish government fell at least in part because of its unpopular decision to support the US. The Polish Prime Minister has expressed retrospective doubts about joining the alliance. But the highest price may yet be extracted from those who launched the whole ill-fated enterprise. George Bush, once cruising to re-election as a "war" president, finds himself fighting for a second term, his 11 September heroics in tatters. Mr Blair's plight is equally grave. Britain has reaped no reward from the Prime Minister's loyalty to Mr Bush, only grief. British companies received no favours in the granting of post-war contracts; four of our citizens are still held in the reprehensible legal limbo of Guantanamo. Most of all, Mr Blair has forfeited perhaps his most prized political asset: the trust of voters in his judgement. He aspired to bring democracy to Iraq, but came perilously close to subverting it at home.
Far from making the world safer, the Iraq war was a catastrophe that has made it more dangerous in every respect. It will account for more lives and many billions more dollars, before it is truly over, and there may be more governments to fall.
ndndnd nd Smear Without Fear fgnxnx By Paul Krugman The New York Times April 2, 2004 // "....Mr. Clarke bemoans the way the invasion of Iraq, in his view, played right into the hands of Al Qaeda: "Bush handed that enemy precisely what it wanted and needed . . . It was as if Usama bin Laden, hidden in some high mountain redoubt, were engaging in long-range mind control of George Bush." // (M.O.W. editorial insert)
A funny thing happened to David Letterman this week. Actually, it only started out funny. And the unfunny ending fits into a disturbing pattern.
On Monday, Mr. Letterman ran a video clip of a boy yawning and fidgeting during a speech by George Bush. It was harmless stuff; a White House that thinks it's cute to have Mr. Bush make jokes about missing W.M.D. should be able to handle a little ribbing about boring speeches.
CNN ran the Letterman clip on Tuesday, just before a commercial. Then the CNN anchor Daryn Kagan came back to inform viewers that the clip was a fake: "We're being told by the White House that the kid, as funny as he was, was edited into that video." Later in the day, another anchor amended that: the boy was at the rally, but not where he was shown in the video.
On his Tuesday night show, Mr. Letterman was not amused: "That is an out and out 100 percent absolute lie. The kid absolutely was there, and he absolutely was doing everything we pictured via the videotape."
But here's the really interesting part: CNN backed down, but it told Mr. Letterman that Ms. Kagan "misspoke," that the White House was not the source of the false claim. (So who was? And if the claim didn't come from the White House, why did CNN run with it without checking?)
In short, CNN passed along a smear that it attributed to the White House. When the smear backfired, it declared its previous statements inoperative and said the White House wasn't responsible. Sound familiar?
On Tuesday, I mentioned remarks by CNN's Wolf Blitzer; here's a fuller quote, just to remove any ambiguity: "What administration officials have been saying since the weekend, basically, that Richard Clarke from their vantage point was a disgruntled former government official, angry because he didn't get a certain promotion. He's got a hot new book out now that he wants to promote. He wants to make a few bucks, and that his own personal life, they're also suggesting there are some weird aspects in his life."
Stung by my column, Mr. Blitzer sought to justify his words, saying that his statement was actually a question, and also saying that "I was not referring to anything charged by so-called unnamed White House officials as alleged today." Silly me: I "alleged" that Mr. Blitzer said something because he actually said it, and described "so-called unnamed" officials as unnamed because he didn't name them.
Mr. Blitzer now says he was talking about remarks made on his own progra m by a National Security Council spokesman, Jim Wilkinson. But Mr. Wilkinson's remarks are hard to construe as raising questions about Mr. Clarke's personal life.
Instead, Mr. Wilkinson seems to have questioned Mr. Clarke's sanity, saying: "He sits back and visualizes chanting by bin Laden, and bin Laden has a mystical mind control over U.S. officials. This is sort of `X-Files' stuff." Really?
On Page 246 of "Against All Enemies," Mr. Clarke bemoans the way the invasion of Iraq, in his view, played right into the hands of Al Qaeda: "Bush handed that enemy precisely what it wanted and needed. . . . It was as if Usama bin Laden, hidden in some high mountain redoubt, were engaging in long-range mind control of George Bush." That's not " `X-Files' stuff": it's a literary device, meant to emphasize just how ill conceived our policy is. Mr. Blitzer should be telling Mr. Wilkinson to apologize, not rerunning those comments in his own defense.
Look, I understand why major news organizations must act respectfully toward government officials. But officials shouldn't be sure - as Mr. Wilkinson obviously was - that they can make wild accusations without any fear that they will be challenged on the spot or held accountable later.
And administration officials shouldn't be able to spread stories without making themselves accountable. If an administration official is willing to say something on the record, that's a story, because he pays a price if his claims are false. But if unnamed "administration officials" spread rumors about administration critics, reporters have an obligation to check the facts before giving those rumors national exposure. And there's no excuse for disseminating unchecked rumors because they come from "the White House," then denying the White House connection when the rumors prove false. That's simply giving the administration a license to smear with impunity.
Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company (In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.)
Sunday 28 March 2004
MANKATO, MINN. Richard Clarke, who served as the national coordinator for counterterrorism in the White House, argues in his new book, Against All Enemies, that the Bush administration ignored the threat from Al-Qaida and instead chose to fight the wrong war by attacking Iraq.
The troops who could have been used in Afghanistan to capture Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaida were instead held back for the planned invasion of Iraq. In contrast to the 150,000 men sent to Iraq, only about 11,500 troops were sent to Afghanistan, a force smaller than the New York City police. The result is that Bin Laden and his followers escaped across the border into Pakistan.
Meanwhile, American troops are being killed in Iraq, our army is stretched to the breaking point, our international credibility is at an all-time low, Muslims are further radicalized to join a jihad against us, and our relations with key allies have been damaged.
The Bush administration has counterattacked furiously, impugning Clarkes facts, his timing and his motives. Marc Racicot, chairman of the Bush-Cheney campaign, said on national television that Clarkes charges were almost malevolent. The qualifier almost is apparently meant to distinguish Clarke from someone genuinely malevolent (Saddam Hussein, perhaps).
Clarke was a colleague of mine for 15 months in the White House, under both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Subsequently, I moved to the U.S. State Department as deputy coordinator for counterterrorism, and worked with him and his staff before and after 9/11.
My experience confirms what Clarke relates in his book. The Bush administration did ignore the threat of terrorism. It was focused on tax cuts, building a ballistic missile system, withdrawing from the ABM Treaty and rejecting the Kyoto Protocol.
Administration officials seemed to believe that the terrorist attacks on the United States in East Africa, and on the USS Cole, were due to Clintons moral failings. Since they didnt share those weaknesses, and because President Bush had the blessing of Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and Justice Antonin Scalia, we would be spared any serious attack. Moral superiority would triumph.
I personally believe that Clarke was one of the most effective government officials I have ever worked with ---most effective, but not the most loved. He has been described as a bureaucratic steamroller, and he no doubt ruffled some feathers, but who better to put in charge of counterterrorism? Unfortunately, he suffered the fate of Cassandra: He was able to foresee the future but not convince his leaders of the threat.
Despite its own failings, the Bush administration has conducted a scorched-earth smear campaign against Clarke, because his book threatens Bushs carefully orchestrated image as a war president.
The president keeps repeating the mantra that America is safer now that Saddam is gone. But no weapons of mass destruction (WMD) have been found in Iraq, and Bush now admits that Saddam was not involved in 9/11. The future of a nuclear-armed Pakistan is far more important to our security than was Iraq.
We have also learned from former Treasury Secretary Paul ONeill that the president spoke of overthrowing Saddam from the day he arrived in office. Clarke reports that on Sept. 12, 2001, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was already advocating bombing Iraq, even though Clarke told him that Iraq was not involved in the 9/11 attack.
We also know that some people who became members of the Bush administration had been advocating the overthrow of Saddam since 1996. The presidents claim that this was a war of necessity was never supported by the facts. But what better to stir up patriotic fervor in the run-up to an election than a war?
Is this too cynical?
Karl Rove, the presidents political adviser, is said to reread Machiavelli the way the devout study their Bibles. It was the Bush-Rove team that deployed the scurrilous push-poll techniques against Sen. John McCain in the 2000 South Carolina primary. (Sample question: Would you be more likely or less likely to vote for John McCain for president if you knew he had fathered an illegitimate black child? In reality, the brown-skinned child with McCain was his adopted Bangladeshi daughter, but the race-baiting worked and McCain was defeated.)
It was also Rove who in 2002 counseled Republican congressional candidates to run on the war. This is a man who recognizes a potent political prop when he sees one. Is this the real reason for the invasion of Iraq? The Bush administrations other justifications dont hold water.
The Bush-Cheney ads dont show the dead or wounded from that war, of course, nor do the cheerleaders on Fox News, despite the nearly 4,000 casualties we have suffered in Iraq to date.
They dont like to talk about the $160 billion we have spent to run the war either. That works out to $571 for each man, woman and child, or $2,285 for a family of four. And the cost is sure to go higher.
Clarkes gutsy insider recounting of events related to 9/11 is an important public service. From my perspective, the Bush administration has practiced the most cynical, opportunistic form of politics I witnessed in my 28 years in government: hijacking legitimate American outrage and patriotism over 9/11 to conduct a pre-ordained war against Saddam Hussein.
That invasion was then misleadingly packaged as a war on terrorism and used to sell more tax cuts, the USA Patriot Act, oil drilling in ANWR, exemptions to environmental laws and other controversial programs. Those who have opposed the misguided invasion have been labeled appeasers and unpatriotic for failing to support "the troops" -- meaning the president's policies.
As Clarke has observed, the real war is against Al-Qaida. Instead, the Bush administration has involved us in a breath takingly cynical, unprovoked war against Iraq, under false pretenses, which it now uses to justify the reelection of a president who has violated the public trust.
Tom Maertens, now retired, also served as a Naval officer during the Vietnam era and a Peace Corps volunteer in Africa.
ndndnd nd The Wrong Debate on Terrorism ' By RICHARD A. CLARKE New York Times April 25, 2004
The last month has seen a remarkable series of events that focused the public and news media on America's shortcomings in dealing with terrorism from radical Islamists. This catharsis, which is not yet over, is necessary for ou r national psyche. If we learn the right lessons, it may also prove to be an essential part of our future victory over those who now threaten us.
But how do we select the right lessons to learn? I tried to suggest some in my recent book, and many have attempted to do so in the 9/11 hearings, but such efforts have been largely eclipsed by partisan reaction.
One lesson is that even though we are the world's only remaining superpower - as we were before Sept. 11, 2001 - we are seriously threatened by an ideological war within Islam. It is a civil war in which a radical Islamist faction is striking out at the West and at moderate Muslims. Once we recognize that the struggle within Islam - not a "clash of civilizations" between East and West - is the phenomenon with which we must grapple, we can begin to develop a strategy and tactics for doing so. It is a battle not only of bombs and bullets, but chiefly of ideas. It is a war that we are losing, as more and more of the Islamic world develops antipathy toward the United States and some even develop a respect for the jihadist movement.
I do not pretend to know the formula for winning that ideological war. But I do know that we cannot win it without significant help from our Muslim friends, and that many of our recent actions (chiefly the invasion of Iraq) have made it far more difficult to obtain that cooperation and to achieve credibility.
What we have tried in the war of ideas has also fallen short. It is clear that United States government versions of MTV or CNN in Arabic will not put a dent in the popularity of the anti-American jihad. Nor will calls from Washington for democratization in the Arab world help if such calls originate from a leader who is trying to impose democracy on an Arab country at the point of an American bayonet. The Bush administration's much-vaunted Middle East democracy initiative, therefore, was dead on arrival.
We must also be careful, while advocating democracy in the region, that we do not undermine the existing regimes without having a game plan for what should follow them and how to get there. The lesson of President Jimmy Carter's abandonment of the shah of Iran in 1979 should be a warning. So, too, should we be chastened by the costs of eliminating the regime of Saddam Hussein, almost 25 years after the shah, also without a detailed plan for what would follow.
Other parts of the war of ideas include making real progress on the Israel-Palestinian issue, while safe-guarding Israeli security, and finding ideological and religious counter-weights to Osama bin Laden and the radical imams. Fashioning a comprehensive strategy to win the battle of ideas should be given as much attention as any other aspect of the war on terrorists, or else we will fight this war for the foreseeable future. For even when Osama bin Laden is dead, his ideas will carry on. Even as Al Qaeda has had its leadership attacked, it has morphed into a hydra, carrying out more major attacks in the 30 months since 9/11 than it did in the three years before.
The second major lesson of the last month of controversy is that the organizations entrusted with law enforcement and intelligence in the United States had not fully accepted the gravity of the threat prior to 9/11. Because this is now so clear, there will be a tendency to overemphasize organizational fixes. The 9/11 commission and President Bush seem to be in a race to propose creating a "director of national intelligence," who would be given control over all American intelligence agencies. The commission may also recommend a domestic security intelligence service, probably modeled on Britain's MI-5.
While some structural changes are necessary, they are a small part of the solution. And there is a risk that concentrating on chain-of-authority diagrams of federal agencies will further divert our attention from more important parts of the agenda. This new director of national intelligence would be able to make only marginal changes to agency budgets and interactions. The more important task is improving the quality of the analysts, agents and managers at the lead foreign intelligence agency, the Central Intelligence Agency.
In addition, no new domestic security intelligence service could leap full grown from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security. Indeed, creating another new organization while we are in a key phase in the war on terrorism would ignore the lesson that we should have learned from the creation of Homeland Security. Many observers, including some in the new department, now agree that the forced integration and reorganization of 22 agencies diverted attention from the missions of several agencies that were needed to go after the terrorists and to reduce our vulnerabilities at home.
We do not need another new agency right now. We do, however, need to create within the F.B.I. a strong organization that is vastly different from the federal police agency that was unable to notice the Al Qaeda presence in America before 9/11. For now, any American version of MI-5 must be a branch within the F.B.I. - one with a higher quality of analysts, agents and managers.
Rather than creating new organizations, we need to give the C.I.A. and F.B.I. makeovers. They cannot continue to be dominated by careerists who have carefully managed their promotions and ensured their retirement benefits by avoiding risk and innovation for decades. The agencies need regular infusions throughout their supervisory ranks of managers and thinkers from other, more creative organizational cultures.
In the new F.B.I., marksmanship, arrests and skill on the physical training obstacle course should no longer be prerequisites for recruitment and retention. Similarly, within the C.I.A. we should quash the belief that - as George Tenet, the director of central intelligence, told the 9/11 commission - those who have never worked in the directorate of operations cannot understand it and are unqualified to criticize it.
Finally, we must try to achieve a level of public discourse on these issues that is simultaneously energetic and mutually respectful. I hoped, through my book and testimony, to make criticism of the conduct of the war on terrorism and the separate war in Iraq more active and legitimate. We need public debate if we are to succeed. We should not dismiss critics through character assassination, nor should we besmirch advocates of the Patriot Act as fascists.
We all want to defeat the jihadists. To do that, we need to encourage an active, critical and analytical debate in America about how that will best be done. And if there is another major terrorist attack in this country, we must not panic or stifle debate as we did for too long after 9/11.
Richard A. Clarke, former head of counterterrorism at the National Security Council, is the author of "Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror."
Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company (In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.)
ndndnd nd A CONSERVATIVE FINALLY GIVES UP ON THE BUSH ADMINISTRATON
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN NEW YORK TIMES May 13, 2004 fadfsab
rgbIt is time to ask this question: Do we have any chance of succeeding at regime change in Iraq without regime change here at home?
"Hey, Friedman, why are you bringing politics into this all of a sudden? You're the guy who always said that producing a decent outcome in Iraq was of such overriding importance to the country that it had to be kept above politics."
Yes, that's true. I still believe that. My mistake was thinking that the Bush team believed it, too. I thought the administration would have to do the right things in Iraq - from prewar planning and putting in enough troops to dismissing the secretary of defense for incompetence - because surely this was the most important thing for the president and the country. But I was wrong. There is something even more important to the Bush crowd than getting Iraq right, and that's getting re-elected and staying loyal to the conservative base to do so. It has always been more important for the Bush folks to defeat liberals at home than Baathists abroad. That's why they spent more time studying U.S. polls than Iraqi history. That is why, I'll bet, Karl Rove has had more sway over this war than Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Bill Burns. Mr. Burns knew only what would play in the Middle East. Mr. Rove knew what would play in the Middle West.
I admit, I'm a little slow. Because I tried to think about something as deadly serious as Iraq, and the post- 9/11 world, in a nonpartisan fashion - as Joe Biden, John McCain and Dick Lugar did - I assumed the Bush officials were doing the same. I was wrong. They were always so slow to change course because confronting their mistakes didn't just involve confronting reality, but their own politics.
Why, in the face of rampant looting in the war's aftermath, which dug us into such a deep and costly hole, wouldn't Mr. Rumsfeld put more troops into Iraq? Politics. First of all, Rummy wanted to crush once and for all the Powell doctrine, which says you fight a war like this only with overwhelming force. I know this is hard to believe, but the Pentagon crew hated Colin Powell, and wanted to see him humiliated 10 times more than Saddam. Second, Rummy wanted to prove to all those U.S. generals whose Army he was intent on downsizing that a small, mobile, high-tech force was all you needed today to take over a country. Third, the White House always knew this was a war of choice - its choice - so it made sure that average Americans never had to pay any price or bear any burden. Thus, it couldn't call up too many reservists, let alone have a draft. Yes, there was a contradiction between the Bush war on taxes and the Bush war on terrorism. But it was resolved: the Bush team decided to lower taxes rather than raise troop levels.
Why, in the face of the Abu Ghraib travesty, wouldn't the administration make some uniquely American gesture? Because these folks have no clue how to export hope. They would never think of saying, "Let's close this prison immediately and reopen it in a month as the Abu Ghraib Technical College for Computer Training - with all the equipment donated by Dell, H.P. and Microsoft." Why didn't the administration ever use 9/11 as a spur to launch a Manhattan project for energy independence and conservation, so we could break out of our addiction to crude oil, slowly disengage from this region and speak truth to fundamentalist regimes, such as Saudi Arabia? (Addicts never tell the truth to their pushers.) Because that might have required a gas tax or a confrontation with the administration's oil moneymen. Why did the administration always - rightly - bash Yasir Arafat, but never lift a finger or utter a word to stop Ariel Sharon's massive building of illegal settlements in the West Bank? Because while that might have earned America credibility in the Middle East, it might have cost the Bush campaign Jewish votes in Florida.
And, of course, why did the president praise Mr. Rumsfeld rather than fire him? Because Karl Rove says to hold the conservative base, you must always appear to be strong, decisive and loyal. It is more important that the president appear to be true to his team than that America appear to be true to its principles. (Here's the new Rummy Defense: "I am accountable. But the little guys were responsible. I was just giving orders.")
Add it all up, and you see how we got so off track in Iraq, why we are dancing alone in the world - and why our president, who has a strong moral vision, has no moral influence.
Restoring Our Honor ' By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN New York Times May 6, 2004
We are in danger of losing something much more important than just the war in Iraq. We are in danger of losing America as an instrument of moral authority and inspiration in the world. I have never known a time in my life when America and its president were more hated around the world than today. I was just in Japan, and even young Japanese dislike us. It's no wonder that so many Americans are obsessed with the finale of the sitcom "Friends" right now. They're the only friends we have, and even they're leaving.
This administration needs to undertake a total overhaul of its Iraq policy; otherwise, it is courting a total disaster for us all.
That overhaul needs to begin with President Bush firing Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld - today, not tomorrow or next month, today. What happened in Abu Ghraib prison was, at best, a fundamental breakdown in the chain of command under Mr. Rumsfeld's authority, or, at worst, part of a deliberate policy somewhere in the military-intelligence command of sexually humiliating prisoners to soften them up for interrogation, a policy that ran amok.
Either way, the secretary of defense is ultimately responsible, and if we are going to rebuild our credibility as instruments of humanitarian values, the rule of law and democratization, in Iraq or elsewhere, Mr. Bush must hold his own defense secretary accountable. Words matter, but deeds matter more. If the Pentagon leadership ran any U.S. company with the kind of abysmal planning in this war, it would have been fired by shareholders months ago.
I know that tough interrogations are vital in a war against a merciless enemy, but outright torture, or this sexual-humiliation-for-entertainment, is abhorrent. I also know the sort of abuse that went on in Abu Ghraib prison goes on in prisons all over the Arab world every day, as it did under Saddam - without the Arab League or Al Jazeera ever saying a word about it. I know they are shameful hypocrites, but I want my country to behave better - not only because it is America, but also because the war on terrorism is a war of ideas, and to have any chance of winning we must maintain the credibility of our ideas.
We were hit on 9/11 by people who believed hateful ideas - ideas too often endorsed by some of their own spiritual leaders and educators back home. We cannot win a war of ideas against such people by ourselves. Only Arabs and Muslims can. What we could do - and this was the only legitimate rationale for this war - was try to help Iraqis create a progressive context in the heart of the Arab-Muslim world where that war of ideas could be fought out.
But it is hard to partner with someone when you become so radioactive no one wants to stand next to you. We have to restore some sense of partnership with the world if we are going to successfully partner with Iraqis.
Mr. Bush needs to invite to Camp David the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, the heads of both NATO and the U.N., and the leaders of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Syria. There, he needs to eat crow, apologize for his mistakes and make clear that he is turning a new page. Second, he needs to explain that we are losing in Iraq, and if we continue to lose the U.S. public will eventually demand that we quit Iraq, and it will then become Afghanistan-on-steroids, which will threaten everyone. Third, he needs to say he will be guided by the U.N. in forming the new caretaker government in Baghdad. And fourth, he needs to explain that he is ready to listen to everyone's ideas about how to expand our force in Iraq, and have it work under a new U.N. mandate, so it will have the legitimacy it needs to crush any uprisings against the interim Iraqi government and oversee elections - and then leave when appropriate. And he needs to urge them all to join in.
Let's not lose sight of something - as bad as things look in Iraq, it is not yet lost, for one big reason: America's aspirations for Iraq and those of the Iraqi silent majority, particularly Shiites and Kurds, are still aligned. We both want Iraqi self-rule and then free elections. That overlap of interests, however clouded, can still salvage something decent from this war - if the Bush team can finally screw up the courage to admit its failures and dramatically change course.
Yes, the hour is late, but as long as there's a glimmer of hope that this Bush team will do the right thing, we must insist on it, because America's role in the world is too precious - to America and to the rest of the world - to be squandered like this.
/// "Let us not talk falsely now because the hour is getting late..." / - Bob Dylan, "All Along the Watchtower" (1968) _______________________________
To FANNING the FLAMES of FEAR, LOATHING and TERROR PART 2 >>>> // "...a terrorist recruitment poster for the ages." / ____________ / Bushwars / Bushlies / Cheneylies / Incurious George / St. George / King George (the madness of) / George the Lionheart and the New Crusades / George of Orwell / Georgie Warbucks / George W. Hoover / Vanishing Votes / Death Culture / Hall of Shame / 911 Accountability / (Not-so) Friendly Fascism / Project For A New American Perpetual War / Fanning the Flames of Fear, Loathing and Terror / T h e C o l l a t e r a l C h i l d r e n /_________________ QUOTES from SMART people on our dire situation / More writings by, and interviews with SMART PEOPLE on our Dire Situation: / Kurt Vonnegut Speaks / Bill Moyers Rallies / Gore Vidal Rants / Mark Twain Sings _________________ nrfnnfnf / To FANNING the FLAMES of FEAR, LOATHING and TERROR PART 2 >>>> // "....a terrorist recruitment poster for the ages."
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