Monday, November 28, 2005

Bunch O' Bushes and Lies....Maureen Farrell

Tired of Being Lied to? Modern History You Can't Afford to Ignore

Part II -- 1990- 2000

by Maureen Farrell

"Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth."
~ Albert Einstein

"Be loyal to your country always, and to the government only when it deserves it."
~ Mark Twain


* In Sept.1990, five months after Saddam Hussein invades Kuwait, the White House claims that satellite images prove that Iraqi troops are gathering at the Saudi border. The St. Petersburg Times acquires two commercial Soviet satellite images from the same vicinity, during the same time period, and discovers miles of empty desert. "It was a pretty serious fib," journalist Jean Heller says. "That [Iraqi buildup] was the whole justification for Bush sending troops in there, and it just didn't exist."
* After Hill & Knowlton, a public relations firm with ties to George H.W. Bush, is hired by the Citizens for a Free Kuwait to sell the looming war in Iraq, the perfect pitch comes in the form of an attractive young woman who tells a Congressional committee that she saw Iraqi soldiers take 15 Kuwaiti babies out of incubators only to leave them "on the cold floor to die." The woman is later revealed to be the 15-year-old daughter of Kuwait's ambassador to the U.S.-- and hospital employees contend that the incubator incident never happened. Even so, President George H. W. Bush repeats the story several times during the lead-up to war, convincing lawmakers to authorize the use of force against Iraq. In 2002, as America teeters on the brink of yet another Gulf war, experts question senior officials' claims. "These are all the same people who were running [the war propaganda] more than 10 years ago," author John MacArthur says. "They'll make up just about anything ... to get their way." In an assessment later confirmed by the Downing Street memo, former US Rep. Lee Hamilton tells the Christian Science Monitor, "My concern in these situations, always, is that the intelligence that you get is driven by the policy, rather than the policy being driven by the intelligence."


* Five days after Congress authorizes the use of force in Iraq, the Gulf War begins. On Feb. 28, a cease-fire is declared and the Bush administration decides on a containment strategy that includes sanctions, U.N. inspections and no-fly zones. Richard Perle, William Kristol, Paul Wolfowitz and other neoconservatives are not happy about the decision to keep Saddam Hussein in power, however, and six years later, Kristol co-founds the Washington-basked think tank, Project for the New American Century. (PNAC) Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz are listed among PNAC's supporters.
* The Rendon Group is hired by the CIA to help "create the conditions for the removal of Hussein from power." Previously paid $100,000 a month by the Citizens for a Free Kuwait to help market the war, by the time the Gulf War ends, "perception management" expert John Rendon becomes, as James Bamford puts it, "Washington's leading salesman for regime change." In time, Rendon assembles the Iraqi National Congress, helps install Ahmed Chalabi as its leader, and becomes the INC's lead advisor and media guru, with considerable help from New York Times journalist Judith Miller. Between 2000 and 2004, the Pentagon awards the Rendon Group at least thirty-five contracts worth millions -- including a hefty contract three weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks.


* "The Wolfowitz Doctrine," written by Pentagon analysts Paul Wolfowitz and I. Lewis Libby, is leaked to the New York Times, creating a stir with plans for preemptive strikes and a go-it-alone military strategy. The document's aggressive and controversial recommendations are later removed by Defense Secretary Dick Cheney.
* 1992's "Ruby Ridge" incident and the federal government's 1993 intervention against the Branch Dividians in Waco cause people on the political right to question if America is turning into a police state. By the time Elian Gonzalez makes headlines in 1999, many are convinced -- even though most Americans support the Clinton administration's decision to return Elian to his father in Cuba. When Congress and the president intervene in the Terry Schiavo case in 2005, however, the far right sanctions government intervention -- even though 80% of Americans say the federal government should not become involved in citizens' private lives.
* Mother Jones raises questions about George W. Bush's Harken stock sale and ties to the notorious Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI).


* Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf explains why the U.S. didn't unseat Saddam during the first Gulf War. "From the brief time that we did spend occupying Iraqi territory after the war, I am certain that had we taken all of Iraq, we would have been like the dinosaur in the tar pit -- we would still be there, and we, not the United Nations, would be bearing the costs of the occupation," he writes in his autobiography. Other "realists" later make similar observations.
* The
* World Trade Center is bombed, six are killed. Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, the mastermind of the attack, is later tried, convicted, and sentenced to 240 years in prison. In 1995, during the course of the investigation, the FBI uncovers "Project Bojinka," a terrorist plot which includes plans to hijack commercial airplanes and crash them into buildings. President Bill Clinton bombs Iraqi intelligence centers, in retaliation, he says, for Saddam Hussein's attempted assassination of President George H. W. Bush. Iraq's involvement in the assassination attempt is later called into question.


* A memo leaked from the Director of Resource Management for the Department of the Army discusses plans to "establish civilian prison camps on [military] installations," with Rep. Henry Gonzalez later admitting that there are "standby provisions" and "statutory emergency plans. . . whereby you could, in the name of stopping terrorism, apprehend, invoke the military, and arrest Americans and hold them in detention camps." Following the Sept. 11 terror attacks, the Sydney Morning Herald investigates these plans and author James Mann discloses a top secret program which could circumvent the Constitution in case of a national crisis. A Washington state county commissioner later says he has copy of documents indicating that his county has been pegged as a potential "concentration camp" location.
* During the "Republican Revolution," the GOP wins back control of Congress after 40 years. Predicated upon a promise to fight against "government that is too big, too intrusive, and too easy with the public's money," the movement fails to deliver. By 2005, true conservatives rail against the Bush administration's "big government" policies.

1995: The Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City is bombed, 168 people are killed. Timothy McVeigh is later found guilty and executed. In April, 2005, in response to persistent rumors that Iraq was behind the Oklahoma City bombing, FOX News anchor John Gibson speculates that McVeigh was wrongly executed, and that Bush invaded Iraq because he realized "that Iraq was behind a lot of the attacks on the U.S. and it was time for it to stop." Aside from mentioning a book by Jayna Davis and a lawsuit filed by Oklahoma bombing victims' family members, Gibson offers no proof that Iraq was behind "a lot of the attacks." Others on FOX also cover this story, but when Stanley Hilton, a former aid to Sen. Bob Dole, files a $7 billion class action suit against top government officials on behalf of Sept 11 family members, he and his "ridiculous lawsuit" are attacked on FOX's Hannity and Colmes.


* In the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing, Congress passes the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, the first of three pieces of controversial anti-terrorism pieces of legislation which trouble civil libertarians. In response to this legislation, the Nation calls President Bill Clinton a "serial violator of the Bill of Rights."
* Pakistani terrorist Abdul Hakim Murad tells U.S. federal agents that he was learning to fly a plane so that he could crash into CIA headquarters.
* The Pentagon releases training manuals from the U.S. Army School of Americas (SOA) located in Fort Benning, Georgia. SOA alumni (including Manuel Noriega) are schooled in execution and torture, and participate in some of the worst human rights abuses in Latin America. Though the name of the school is later changed, the "terrorist training" remains the same -- with SOA graduates reportedly fighting in the "dirty war" in Colombia.
* The cover of the Dec. 1 edition of Bill Kristol's Weekly Standard declares, "Saddam Must Go: A How-to Guide" and contains articles written by Zalmay M. Khalilzad (who later becomes White House envoy to the Iraqi opposition) and Paul Wolfowitz.


* Power Geyser, a secret counterterrorism program using Special Operation commandos inside the U.S. is created. Such "extra-legal missions" call into question the future of the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act, which prevents the military from being used to police U.S. citizens.
* Members of Afghanistan's Taliban travel to Texas to meet with Unocal officials to discuss plans to construct a gas pipeline across Afghanistan. Two months later, a Unocal official testifies before Congress, saying that construction of their proposed pipeline cannot begin "until an internationally recognized Afghanistan Government is in place." Following the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan, President Harmid Karzai (who previously worked for Unocal) signs a deal to build a pipeline through Afghanistan.
* The Florida legislature passes a reform law designed to eliminate registration of ineligible voters. In 1998, Florida's secretary of state hires lone bidder Database Technologies (DBT) to remove ineligible voters, paying $4.3 million for a task that cost $5,700 beforehand. Between May 1999 and Nov. 2000, Secretary of State Katherine Harris and her predecessor (who are both proteges of Governor Jeb Bush) order 57,700 "ex-felons" to be removed from voter rolls. An inordinate number of those "scrubbed" are not actually felons.


* PNAC writes a letter to President Bill Clinton and Republican leaders in Congress asking for "the removal of Saddam Hussein's regime from power." Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, John Bolton, William Kristol, Zalmay Khalilzad, Richard Armitage and eleven others sign the memo.
* President Clinton contemplates action against Iraq, but Republican Senator Arlen Specter reminds him to respect the Constitution. "Bomber and missile strikes constitute acts of war," he writes in a letter to the president. "Only Congress has the constitutional prerogative to authorize war." In 2002, White House lawyers contend that President Bush can preemptively attack Iraq without Congressional approval.
* Paul Wolfowitz testifies before Congress, urging it to pass the Iraqi Liberation Act. Help the Iraqi people "remove him [Saddam Hussein] from power," Wolfowitz says, denying that the use of American force would be necessary. "The estimate that it would take a major invasion with U.S. ground forced seriously overestimates Saddam Hussein," he says. Later that year, President Bill Clinton signs the Act into law.
* U.S. intelligence reports that Osama bin Laden's "next operation could possibly involve flying an aircraft loaded with explosives into a U.S. airport and detonating it" with a second report explicitly warning against attacks in New York and Washington, D.C.
* At a gathering at the Cato Institute, Dick Cheney underscores his distaste for sanctions against Iraq, Iran, Libya and other oil-rich countries. "The good Lord didn't see fit to put oil and gas only where there are democratic regimes friendly to the United States," he says. Though Cheney later calls Iran "the worlds' leading exporter of terror," as CEO and chairman of Halliburton, he lobbies to have economic sanctions against Tehran lifted.
* "George H.W. Bush and Brent Scowcroft co-author A World Transformed -- portions of which appear in Time under the heading, "Why We Didn't Remove Saddam." Saying that a "march into Baghdad" would force soldiers "to fight in what would be an unwinnable urban guerilla war," which "could only plunge that part of the world into ever greater instability," Bush also says that if coalition forces had unseated Saddam, "the United States could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land."
* President Clinton orders a strike against Iraq, saying that "Saddam Hussein must not be allowed to threaten his neighbors or the world with nuclear arms, poison gas or biological weapons." Scott Ritter later tells Buzzflash that by 1996-1997, "Iraq had been fundamentally disarmed, meaning that there was no chance of viable weapons of mass destruction existing in Iraq."


* President William Jefferson Clinton, after being impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives is acquitted by the Senate of perjury and obstruction of justice. At the height of the impeachment, only 33 percent of Americans polled say they think Clinton should resign, while in 2005, 50 percent of those polled say that Bush should be impeached if he lied about Iraq. In addition to questions about American democracy, Clinton's impeachment shines a spotlight on the secretive Richard Mellon Scaife and the anti-Clinton Arkansas Project.
* Candidate George W. Bush makes his rumored "king-making" speech before the Council of National Policy, fueling speculation that, if elected, he will appoint anti-abortion-rights judges to the Supreme Court and take measures against gays and lesbians. Bush also meets with the Committee to Restore American Values, chaired by Left Behind co-author Timothy LaHaye -- foretelling a time when high-ranking government officials will consult Christian fundamentalists before setting policy and selecting Supreme Court nominees. "Whatever else it achieves, the presidential campaign of 2000 will be remembered as the time in American politics when the wall separating church and state began to collapse," the New York Times Magazine later asserts.
* The Library of Congress publishes a report saying that Al Qaeda "could crash-land an aircraft packed with high explosives. . . into the Pentagon, the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency, or the White House."
* NORAD (the North American Aerospace Defense Command) begins running drills, simulating hijacked airliners crashing into buildings.
* Gary Hart and Warren Rudman, co chairs of the United States Commission on National Security, report that "Americans will likely die on American soil, possibly in large numbers" as the result of a terrorist attack.


* British intelligence warns U.S. intelligence agencies of a plot to hijack airplanes and crash them into buildings.
* The 2000 GOP platform calls for "the removal of Saddam Hussein" as a way to promote "peace and stability in the Persian Gulf," and wags a finger at the Clinton administration for failing to coddle Ahmad Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress. In time, Chalabi's disinformation worms its way into the New York Times and into the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans. Though Chalabi supplies false intelligence to the U.S. and is later accused of passing off top secret information to Iran, he is welcomed with open arms by Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice and other Bush administration officials in 2005.
* Candidate George W. Bush makes a speech at Bob Jones University -- raising questions concerning just how "compassionate" he truly is; Questions regarding George W. Bush's National Guard's service arise and persist.
* During the 2000 presidential campaign, Cheney admits that though Halliburton conducted business with Iran and Libya, he held a "firm policy" against dealing with Iraq. In June, 2001, however, the Washington Post reports that "Halliburton held stakes in two firms that signed contracts to sell more than $73 million in oil production equipment and spare parts to Iraq while Cheney was chairman and chief executive officer of the Dallas-based company."
* PNAC publishes "Rebuilding America's Defenses," outlining several "core missions" for the U.S. military, including to "fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theater wars." This aggressive foreign policy will take years to come to fruition, unless, as the reports states, there is "some catastrophic and catalyzing event, like a new Pearl Harbor." Thomas Freeman later explores how the neconservatives used 9/11 to advance their agenda. "Those people had an idea to sell when September 11 came, and they sold it. Oh boy, did they sell it. . .I could give you the names of 25 people (all of whom are at this moment within a five-block radius of this office) who, if you had exiled them to a desert island a year and a half ago, the Iraq war would not have happened," he says. Former Middle East envoy General Anthony Zinni tells 60 Minutes that "everybody I talk to in Washington has known and fully knows what their agenda was and what they were trying to do."
* The USS Cole is bombed in Yemen, in an attack masterminded by Osama bin Laden. Seventeen sailors are killed.
* After George W. Bush's brother assures him he's won Florida and his cousin declares him the winner on national TV, the 2000 presidential election raises serious questions about the health of our republic. The election is marked by scrubbed voter rolls, millions of lost votes and out-and-out thuggery.
* The Washington Post reports that "Something very strange happened on election night" in Volusia County, FL. Al Gore, it seems, was leading George W. Bush 83,000 votes to 62,000 at one point, but a half hour later, "Gore's count had dropped by 16,000 votes, while an obscure Socialist candidate had picked up 10,000--all because of a single precinct with only 600 voters." America gets its first whiff of e-voting election fraud.
* Journalist Greg Palast uncovers the shameful Database Technologies voter roll purge in Florida, but the New York Times refuses to carry the story. A little more than three years later, when it's too late to do anything about it, the paper admits that something's rotten in the state of Florida. "In 2000, the American public saw in Katherine Harris's massive purge eligible voters in Florida, how easy it is for registered voters to lose their rights by bureaucratic fiat," the Times reports.
* The U.S. government publishes a 90 page study regarding Gulf War veterans suffering from Gulf War Illness and "concludes that stress is likely a primary cause of illness in at least some Gulf War veterans." Veteran groups suspect a cover-up, with many experts believing that depleted uranium, which is used in US munitions, is the culprit. Dr. Doug Rokke, who headed the DU clean-up program for the U.S. Army in Iraq, speaks out against its use, despite repeated warnings by US military officials and subsequent threats and harassment.
* Al Gore concedes the presidential election after the Supreme Court installs George W. Bush President of the United States. Unsettling questions regarding the future of American democracy arise. "The people have not been heard. They will not be heard. And each of those uncounted ballots is a cry of reproach against the act of judicial arrogance that has now forever silenced them," laments.

End of Part II of a 3-Part Series.

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Editorial: Teaching patriotism

An editorial
November 26, 2005
Right-wing talk radio hosts found a perfect "scandal" for their programs to exploit this past week: the controversy over an Allis Elementary School assignment that asked third-graders to write letters urging an end to the war in Iraq.

As part of a social studies course that sought to teach the children how to be active citizens, teachers asked the 90 third-graders at the school to write a letter a day for 12 days. The letters were to be addressed to other students, journalists, members of Congress, the president and the secretary-general of the United Nations with the purpose of "urging them to press for peace" in Iraq.

Of course, the teachers arranged for an alternative assignment for students whose parents did not want them to participate in the letter-writing project. But that wasn't enough for the right-wing ranters who are always looking for a way to attack anyone who is not praising the president. For lockstep right-wingers, teaching children to be active citizens is troubling enough; teaching them to express dissenting views is heresy of the highest order.

So the teachers at Allis got hit with a firestorm. While many parents, including leaders of Allis' Parent Teacher Organization, supported the assignment, lots of people who have no tie to the school district, nor even to Madison, weighed in - including talk radio hosts in distant towns and even U.S. Rep. Mark Green, R-Green Bay, who is rapidly emerging as the biggest nanny-state busybody in Wisconsin. School district officials quickly announced that the assignment had been rescinded because, they said, it violated a School Board policy against teachers urging students to engage in political activity.

Teacher Julie Fitzpatrick, who helped develop the assignment, said, "It's kind of sad when peace causes a furor."

She's correct, of course. But, unfortunately, these are times when many of the most powerful people in politics and the media fear the very mention of the word "peace." Thus, Fitzpatrick was right when she said that she and the other teachers should have anticipated the furor.

The fact is that teaching children to express their views, particularly dissenting and provocative views, is essential if democracy is going to function and flourish. And teaching children to be for peace is entirely appropriate and patriotic.

The mistake that the teachers at Allis made was not in setting up an assignment that urged students to write letters promoting peace but rather in the specific language of the assignment, which said students would be "writing letters to encourage an end to the war in Iraq." Instead of such precise language, the teachers should have left open the question of how best to push for peace - allowing for the mainstream view that the best way to do that is by ending the war but also accepting the increasingly isolated position of the Bush administration and its acolytes, which holds that fighting this war to a successful conclusion will ultimately make the world more secure and peaceful.

When all is said and done, we think that the educators at Allis were trying to teach an important lesson, in an engaging and valuable manner. Members of the Madison School Board and the school administration should make it clear that teachers in this city's schools will continue to be encouraged to come up with creative, boundary-breaking assignments that teach students to be more than mere spectators on the sidelines of American democracy.

Children should never be indoctrinated. But they should always be encouraged to embrace the full responsibility of their citizenship - and that includes the duty of dissent.

Thomas Jefferson got it right: "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism." And teaching children how to be thoughtful and effective dissenters is the highest form of education.

Ah, Daschle, Ah Life...Pensito Review

For Bush, Iraq War Has Always Been About GOP Politics
Posted November 28th, 2005 at 6:57 am by Jon

Bush’s war: From the outset of the Bush team’s “marketing campaign” (their words) promoting the war in Iraq in 2002, cynical types such as yours truly have suspected that going to war in Iraq on the timetable they rammed through the Congress and the Pentagon had everything to do with electing Republicans - including themselves in 2004 - and nothing whatsoever to do with WMD, democracy in the Middle East, fighting terrorism “over there” and the dozens of other reasons they have tested on us for sending American youths to die in Iraq.
I said: ‘Mr. President, I know this is urgent, but why the rush? Why do we have to do this now?’ He looked at Cheney and he looked at me, and there was a half-smile on his face. And he said: ‘We just have to do this now.’ “

Now - at long last, and way too late - the former Democratic Majority Leader of the Senate confirms this suspicion:

Tom Daschle, the former Democratic senator from South Dakota, remembers the exchange vividly.

The time was September 2002. The place was the White House, at a meeting in which President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney pressed congressional leaders for a quick vote on a resolution authorizing military action against Iraq.

But Daschle, who as Senate majority leader controlled the chamber’s schedule, recalled recently that he asked Bush to delay the vote until after the impending midterm election.

“I asked directly if we could delay this so we could depoliticize it. I said: ‘Mr. President, I know this is urgent, but why the rush? Why do we have to do this now?’ He looked at Cheney and he looked at me, and there was a half-smile on his face. And he said: ‘We just have to do this now.’”

Daschle’s account, which White House officials said they could not confirm or deny, highlights a crucial factor that has drawn little attention amid rising controversy over the congressional vote that authorized the war in Iraq. The recent partisan dispute has focused almost entirely on the intelligence information legislators had as they cast their votes. But the debate may have been shaped as much by when Congress voted as by what it knew.

It was obvious in 2002, and it is crystal clear now, that the Bush team - led by their political director, Karl Rove - carefully scheduled the war so that the timetable would work with the schedule of the next two election cycles.

The vote in Congress to give the president war authority had to occur before the mid-term elections in November 2002 in order to put the Democrats in disarray and to get all the Democratic senators who were planning to run for president in 2004 on the record. That part worked beautifully. Sen. John Kerry, the eventual Democratic nominee, never fully recovered from the GOP ads in which he stated conflicting views on the war.

The war itself was supposed to be a cakewalk. I believe Bush, Cheney and Rove were looking at intelligence that backed up weapons inspectors, including Scott Ritter, who said that Iraq was virtually free of weapons. Saddam was complicit in this because his personal safety from his enemies inside Iraq depended on the myth that he had the weapons.

The Bush political team’s plan was to have the war successfully ended and a new democratically elected government installed by mid-2004 so that Bush could skate to re-election in November - not just as a “war president,” as he referred to himself, but also as a war hero.

Emblematic of this plan was the massive and costly publicity stunt in which Bush landed on the U.S.S. Lincoln off the coast of California and gave a speech with the “Mission Accomplished” banner in the background. The “Mission Accomplished” footage of Bush on the Lincoln was intended to be used in ads for the 2004 elections. That never happened, of course. The war quickly got out of their control and the violence has steadily escalated ever since.

Back in 2002, a lot of foks predicted that the most probable outcome of going into Iraq would be that security on the ground there would spiral out of control. In fact, it was this probability that Bush’s father has cited as the reason he didn’t march into Baghdad after he won the battle for Kuwait in the first Gulf War.

We know now that Bush & Co. received, and ignored, this sort of advice - even when it came from the senior Bush and his advisors. In fact, Bush Jr. probably smiled the same impish half-smile he gave Daschle as he dismissed the warnings of the old graybeards. They just didn’t get it - or, more likely, what they were too shocked to believe - was that the march to war in Iraq war was primarily about domestic politics - about Republicans winning elections at any cost.
“Yes, we screwed up and now our soldiers are dead and dismembered - but, hey, at least we didn’t lie!!”

Recent polls appear to show that the public is becoming increasingly aware that mistakes were made by the Bush Administration in the run-up to war. The Bush political team’s reaction to this has been to muddy the water by suggesting that they made mistakes based on faulty data, not out of malfeasance. The underlying sentiment from the White House is, “Yes, we screwed up, but it wasn’t our fault.”

Wars do not run like clockwork - neat, tidy and right on schedule. It can’t be done. The president’s attempt to rig the timetable for the Iraq war to the domestic election cycles was beyond foolish, and beyond immoral.

“Yes, we screwed up and now our soldiers are dead and dismembered - but, hey, at least we didn’t lie!!”

Can you imagine a Democratic president making such an assertion? Imagine the howling that would cause, and the drubbing the president would take. The media, the rightwing and even members of the Democratic Party would skewer him (or her). Members of Congress would consider whether official negligence and dereliction of duty at this magnitude constituted impeachable offenses.

The rules for Republicans are just different, I guess.
Topic: Politics, Impeachment, GOP Scandals, Worst President Ever, Lies into War |

Bob Herbert: "CUT THE LOSSES"


November 28, 2005
Op-Ed Columnist
Cut Our Losses
Washington — Jack Murtha is as tough as they come, but he's seen enough of the misguided, mismanaged, mission impossible war in Iraq to know that it's not sustainable, not worth the continued killing and butchering and psychological maiming of thousands of American G.I.'s.

"I mean, this was a war done on the cheap and we're paying a heavy price for it," he said in an interview just before Thanksgiving.

Mr. Murtha is the Pennsylvania congressman, former marine and traditional war hawk whose call for a quick withdrawal of American troops from Iraq has intensified the national debate over the war. He makes weekly visits to wounded troops in military hospitals, and when he talks about their suffering it sometimes seems as if his own heart is breaking.

"These kids are magnificent," he said. "They've done their duty."

He talked about the former Notre Dame basketball player Danielle Green, a left-handed guard ("heck of a player") who lost her left hand in a rocket attack in Baghdad. And he recalled a young marine who was trying to defuse a bomb when it exploded. "It blinded him and took his hands off," said Mr. Murtha. "It killed the guy behind him."

In Congressman Murtha's view, the troops who have displayed so much valor and made so many sacrifices in Iraq deserved better from their leadership here at home. "We went in with insufficient forces," he said. "We had people in the wrong [specialties], people driving trucks who couldn't back trucks up. We had security forces without radios. I found 40,000 troops without body armor."

He has no faith in President Bush's repeated calls to stay the course. "The number of incidents have gone from 150 a week to 772 a couple of weeks ago," he said. As additional U.S. forces have been deployed, casualty rates have increased, not decreased. And his many conversations with G.I.'s have convinced him that American fighting men and women don't have much confidence in their Iraqi allies.

"They don't trust them - that's all there is to it," said Mr. Murtha. The disparagement of Iraqi security forces by American troops was so widespread that Mr. Murtha was surprised when one soldier "started talking about how good they are, how much they've improved, and so forth."

It was a miscommunication. The congressman soon realized that the soldier was talking about how much the insurgents had improved; how they had become more sophisticated, and thus "more deadly."

Mr. Murtha, 73, is a Democrat who has maintained good ties over the years with Republicans and has extraordinary contacts within the Defense Department and the military. He's a decorated Vietnam War veteran (Bronze Star, two Purple Hearts) who retired as a colonel in the Marine Corps Reserves after 37 years of service.

He said he's convinced that there is nothing more the military can accomplish in Iraq. It's the presence of the American troops themselves, inevitably seen by the Iraqis as occupiers, that continues to fuel the insurgency.

"Our military captured Saddam Hussein and captured or killed his closest associates," he said. "But the war continues to intensify."

When he went public with his proposal to pull American troops out of Iraq (he would establish a "quick reaction" force elsewhere in the region, perhaps in Kuwait), he said:

"Our military and their families are stretched thin. Many say that the Army is broken. Some of our troops are on their third deployment. Recruitment is down, even as our military has lowered its standards. Defense budgets are being cut. Personnel costs are skyrocketing, particularly in health care."

Equipment shortages at premier military bases in the U.S., including Fort Hood in Texas and Fort Bragg in North Carolina, are so severe, Mr. Murtha told me, "that the troops don't have the equipment they need to train on."

We need to cut our losses in Iraq. The folly of the Bush crowd and its apologists is now plain for all to see. Congressman Murtha is right, the war is not sustainable. Even Republicans in Congress are starting to bail out on this impossible mission. They're worried - not about the welfare of the troops, but about their chances in the 2006 elections.

To continue sending people to their deaths under these circumstances is worse than pointless, worse than irresponsible. It's a crime of the most grievous kind.

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Frank Rich Can't Say That...He's Rewriting History, Isn't He?


November 27, 2005
Op-Ed Columnist
Dishonest, Reprehensible, Corrupt ...
GEORGE W. BUSH is so desperate for allies that his hapless Asian tour took him to Ulan Bator, a first for an American president, so he could mingle with the yaks and give personal thanks for Mongolia's contribution of some 160 soldiers to "the coalition of the willing." Dick Cheney, whose honest-and-ethical poll number hit 29 percent in Newsweek's latest survey, is so radioactive that he vanished into his bunker for weeks at a time during the storms Katrina and Scootergate.

The whole world can see that both men are on the run. Just how much so became clear in the brace of nasty broadsides each delivered this month about Iraq. Neither man engaged the national debate ignited by John Murtha about how our troops might be best redeployed in a recalibrated battle against Islamic radicalism. Neither offered a plan for "victory." Instead, both impugned their critics' patriotism and retreated into the past to defend the origins of the war. In a seasonally appropriate impersonation of the misanthropic Mr. Potter from "It's a Wonderful Life," the vice president went so far as to label critics of the administration's prewar smoke screen both "dishonest and reprehensible" and "corrupt and shameless." He sounded but one epithet away from a defibrillator.

The Washington line has it that the motivation for the Bush-Cheney rage is the need to push back against opponents who have bloodied the White House in the polls. But, Mr. Murtha notwithstanding, the Democrats are too feeble to merit that strong a response. There is more going on here than politics.

Much more: each day brings slam-dunk evidence that the doomsday threats marshaled by the administration to sell the war weren't, in Cheney-speak, just dishonest and reprehensible but also corrupt and shameless. The more the president and vice president tell us that their mistakes were merely innocent byproducts of the same bad intelligence seen by everyone else in the world, the more we learn that this was not so. The web of half-truths and falsehoods used to sell the war did not happen by accident; it was woven by design and then foisted on the public by a P.R. operation built expressly for that purpose in the White House. The real point of the Bush-Cheney verbal fisticuffs this month, like the earlier campaign to take down Joseph Wilson, is less to smite Democrats than to cover up wrongdoing in the executive branch between 9/11 and shock and awe.

The cover-up is failing, however. No matter how much the president and vice president raise their decibel levels, the truth keeps roaring out. A nearly 7,000-word investigation in last Sunday's Los Angeles Times found that Mr. Bush and his aides had "issued increasingly dire warnings" about Iraq's mobile biological weapons labs long after U.S. intelligence authorities were told by Germany's Federal Intelligence Service that the principal source for these warnings, an Iraqi defector in German custody code-named Curveball, "never claimed to produce germ weapons and never saw anyone else do so." The five senior German intelligence officials who spoke to The Times said they were aghast that such long-discredited misinformation from a suspected fabricator turned up in Colin Powell's presentation to the United Nations and in the president's 2003 State of the Union address (where it shared billing with the equally bogus 16 words about Saddam's fictitious African uranium).

Right after the L.A. Times scoop, Murray Waas filled in another piece of the prewar propaganda puzzle. He reported in the nonpartisan National Journal that 10 days after 9/11, "President Bush was told in a highly classified briefing that the U.S. intelligence community had no evidence linking the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein to the attacks and that there was scant credible evidence that Iraq had any significant collaborative ties with Al Qaeda."

The information was delivered in the President's Daily Brief, a C.I.A. assessment also given to the vice president and other top administration officials. Nonetheless Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney repeatedly pounded in an implicit (and at times specific) link between Saddam and Al Qaeda until Americans even started to believe that the 9/11 attacks had been carried out by Iraqis. More damning still, Mr. Waas finds that the "few credible reports" of Iraq-Al Qaeda contacts actually involved efforts by Saddam to monitor or infiltrate Islamic terrorist groups, which he regarded as adversaries of his secular regime. Thus Saddam's antipathy to Islamic radicals was the same in 2001 as it had been in 1983, when Donald Rumsfeld, then a Reagan administration emissary, embraced the dictator as a secular fascist ally in the American struggle against the theocratic fascist rulers in Iran.

What these revelations also tell us is that Mr. Bush was wrong when he said in his Veterans Day speech that more than 100 Congressional Democrats who voted for the Iraqi war resolution "had access to the same intelligence" he did. They didn't have access to the President's Daily Brief that Mr. Waas uncovered. They didn't have access to the information that German intelligence officials spoke about to The Los Angeles Times. Nor did they have access to material from a Defense Intelligence Agency report, released by Senator Carl Levin of Michigan this month, which as early as February 2002 demolished the reliability of another major source that the administration had persistently used for its false claims about Iraqi-Al Qaeda collaboration.

The more we learn about the road to Iraq, the more we realize that it's a losing game to ask what lies the White House told along the way. A simpler question might be: What was not a lie? The situation recalls Mary McCarthy's explanation to Dick Cavett about why she thought Lillian Hellman was a dishonest writer: "Every word she writes is a lie, including 'and' and 'the.' "

If Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney believe they were truthful in the run-up to the war, it's easy for them to make their case. Instead of falsely claiming that they've been exonerated by two commissions that looked into prewar intelligence - neither of which addressed possible White House misuse and mischaracterization of that intelligence - they should just release the rest of the President's Daily Briefs and other prewar documents that are now trickling out. Instead, incriminatingly enough, they are fighting the release of any such information, including unclassified documents found in post-invasion Iraq requested from the Pentagon by the pro-war, neocon Weekly Standard. As Scott Shane reported in The New York Times last month, Vietnam documents are now off limits, too: the National Security Agency won't make public a 2001 historical report on how American officials distorted intelligence in 1964 about the Gulf of Tonkin incident for fear it might "prompt uncomfortable comparisons" between the games White Houses played then and now to gin up wars.

SOONER or later - probably sooner, given the accelerating pace of recent revelations - this embarrassing information will leak out anyway. But the administration's deliberate efforts to suppress or ignore intelligence that contradicted its Iraq crusade are only part of the prewar story. There were other shadowy stations on the disinformation assembly line. Among them were the Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group, a two-man Pentagon operation specifically created to cherry-pick intelligence for Mr. Cheney's apocalyptic Iraqi scenarios, and the White House Iraq Group (WHIG), in which Karl Rove, Karen Hughes and the Cheney hands Lewis Libby and Mary Matalin, among others, plotted to mainline this propaganda into the veins of the press and public. These murky aspects of the narrative - like the role played by a private P.R. contractor, the Rendon Group, examined by James Bamford in the current Rolling Stone - have yet to be recounted in full.

No debate about the past, of course, can undo the mess that the administration made in Iraq. But the past remains important because it is a road map to both the present and the future. Leaders who dissembled then are still doing so. Indeed, they do so even in the same speeches in which they vehemently deny having misled us then - witness Mr. Bush's false claims about what prewar intelligence was seen by Congress and Mr. Cheney's effort last Monday to again conflate the terrorists of 9/11 with those "making a stand in Iraq." (Maj. Gen. Douglas Lute, director of operations for Centcom, says the Iraqi insurgency is 90 percent homegrown.) These days Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney routinely exaggerate the readiness of Iraqi troops, much as they once inflated Saddam's W.M.D.'s.

"We're not going to sit by and let them rewrite history," the vice president said of his critics. "We're going to continue throwing their own words back at them." But according to a Harris poll released by The Wall Street Journal last Wednesday, 64 percent of Americans now believe that the Bush administration "generally misleads the American public on current issues to achieve its own ends." That's why it's Mr. Cheney's and the president's own words that are being thrown back now - not to rewrite history but to reveal it for the first time to an angry country that has learned the hard way that it can no longer afford to be without the truth.

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Just Another Guantanamo......Just Some More Torture


The leak that revealed Bush's deep obsession with al-Jazeera

The US president planned to bomb the Qatar-based channel - that was the remarkable claim made in a top-secret memo. Why is the world's most powerful man so worried about a TV station?

Jamie Doward, Antony Barnett, Peter Beaumont, David Rose and Mark Townsend
Sunday November 27, 2005
The Observer

It was an ambush. As Britain woke up yesterday morning to snowstorms and arctic temperatures, the Attorney General was preparing to be questioned on Radio Four's Today programme over government plans to scrap jury trials in complex fraud cases.

Instead, as the interview with John Humphrys ground to an end shortly after 8.30am, the urbane Lord Goldsmith found himself explaining why he had warned national newspapers not to reveal the contents of a top secret memo detailing a lengthy conversation between the Prime Minister and President George Bush over the direction of the war in Iraq.

'I wasn't seeking to gag newspapers; what I said to newspapers was you need to take legal advice,' Goldsmith insisted as an increasingly irritable Humphrys accused him of trying to silence the media for political expediency. 'It is not being used to save the embarrassment of a politician,' Goldsmith persevered. 'That is completely not the case at all.'

It is unlikely this will be the last time Goldsmith will be asked about the memo, which first emerged in the offices of a little known Northamptonshire MP in June last year, and has metamorphosed into a major diplomatic incident.

The status of the now infamous five-page document concerning the meeting between Bush and Blair, on 16 April last year, has already reached mythic proportions among bloggers on the internet. It is the smoking gun to end all smoking guns, claim conspiracy theorists, who believe it details everything from an agreed date to pull the troops out, to plans to take the one-time rebel stronghold of Fallujah.

The one indisputable fact, though, is that part of the memo - 10 lines to be precise - concerns a conversation between Bush and Blair regarding Al Jazeera, the Arabic satellite television station that the US accuses of being a mouthpiece for al-Qaeda. According to those familiar with the memo's contents, Bush floated the idea of bombing the Qatar-based station. The Daily Mirror, which ran the story last Tuesday, claimed the Prime Minister talked Bush out of the plan.

As they attempted damage limitation last week, government officials suggested Bush's comments were nothing more than a joke. It was preposterous to suggest Bush would countenance such an idea, the officials said. The White House described the allegations as 'unfathomable' although according to those who have seen the memo 'there is no question Bush was serious.'

But whether said in jest or not, the memo reveals Bush's profound obsession with Al Jazeera, an obsession that stretches from stucco-clad government offices in Washington to the tin huts located behind the razor wire in Guantanamo Bay. Why is the most powerful man in the world worried about a 24-hour news organisation?

Salah Hassan, an Al Jazeera camerman, was arrested by US forces in November 2003, while filming the aftermath of an attack on a US convoy near the city of Baquba. Following his arrest he was surprised to discover he had been trailed by US troops for weeks and had been secretly photographed at the scene of other attacks. When he was interrogated, he was accused of having prior knowledge of attacks on coalition forces.

At the heart of the accusation is the fundamental tension between journalists - largely Arab reporters catering for an Arab audience - who say they are anxious to cover the story from both sides, and a United States that regards reporting on some aspects of the insurgency as tantamount to collaboration with terrorism. None of which would matter much were into not for the ferocious tenacity and professionalism of Al Jazeera, factors which have made the station an international phenomenon.

Most gallingly for the US, its reporters have told a story that Washington either disagrees with or would rather remain untold: that the kind of war America is prosecuting in Iraq is messy and heavy handed; that civilians are too often the victims, and that the insurgents are not shadowy sinister figures but ordinary men with more support than politicians would like to acknowledge.

As a result Al Jazeera has seen itself under almost constant attack by a White House whose instinct has been to control the media since the war in Afghanistan. The US military has harassed its reporters. Its offices in Baghdad and Kabul have both been bombed by the US and reporters have been detained, threatened and abused.

The reason, perhaps, is not so difficult to fathom. In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the station, which now enjoys a viewership of some 50 million, began broadcasting a series of messages from Osama bin Laden. It was a remarkable scoop, but one for which the station would pay heavy consequences, convincing the US that Al Jazeera was, at the very least, infiltrated by Al Qaeda. Was bin Laden using the broadcasts to send secret messages to his followers?

By the April of 2004 - and the first battle of Fallujah - US official loathing of the channel had reached a tipping point. Its focus was the figure of Ahmed Mansour, who reported from the city.

According to Sami Muhyideen al-Hajj, an Al Jazeera camerman arrested in Afgahnistan in 2001 and detained in Guantanamo Bay, US interrogators are obsessed with the idea of Al Qaeda infiltration of the channel and asked about Mansour over 100 times.

On separate occasions the reporter and producer has been accused of membership of the radical Muslim Brotherhood (which he denies) and forming 'improper' relationships with mujahedeen leaders when he covered the Russian wars in Afghanistan and Chechnya.

'I don't know why they would ask about me over a hundred times,' Mansour told The Observer last week. 'But the American authorities did not hide their extreme annoyance and fury as a result of my coverage of the first Fallujah campaign in April of 2004. My sole crime was broadcasting the reality of a war I was witnessing.'

Mansour has become something of a cause celebre, lionised almost as much in the West as he is the Middle East. And the fact remains, despite the plethora of accusations against Al Jazeera by its political enemies, so far only one case of Al Qaeda collaboration has been brought to court - that of Taysir Allouni in Spain. A celebrated war correspondent who has interviewed bin Laden, Allouni was jailed for seven years after being cleared of the main charges in a case some claim was more political than evidential.

It was a Friday afternoon in early June last year when a five-page document lying in his pigeon-hole in his constituency office caught the attention of Tony Clarke, the then Labour MP for Northampton South. It was immediately clear to him this was no ordinary party political memo. As he began to read the document, it became apparent it contained extraordinary details of a discussion between the British Prime Minister and the US President during Tony Blair's visit to the White House the previous April.

Written by a Blair aide who accompanied the Prime Minister to Washington it was headed 'top secret'. It is understood that on the five pages there were details of troop deployments and movements. Lurking within the pages were also frank discussions over the US assault on Fallujah. It was clear from the tone of the memo that Blair was far from happy at the tactics used by American forces.

Then, within a few short lines, came the bombshell: documentary evidence the US president had openly talked about bombing Al Jazeera. Clarke, who had voted against military intervention in Iraq believed he had no choice but to call Downing Street and reveal what he had been sent. The next day officers from Special Branch interviewed him at his home.

Clarke's trusted 42-year-old political researcher, Leo O'Connor, was also questioned. Detectives investigating the leak searched Clarke's offices in the House of Commons. It was not long before they had set their sights on the potential leaker as David Keogh, a 49-year old civil servant who had been seconded from the Foreign Office to the Cabinet Office.

Keogh lives alone in Northampton, not far from O'Connor, and was a member of the Labour Party and an occasional member of a dining club that Clarke and other senior members of the local Labour Party attended.

He was arrested on 1 September last year and 10 days ago was charged with sending the document to O'Connor some time between 16 April and 28 May 2004 in breach of the Official Secrets Act. O'Connor, in turn, has been charged with receiving the document under section 5 of the Official Secrets Act.

Details of the Foreign Office's deep misgivings over the way the US was prosecuting the war had already been reported on 23 May last year in the Sunday Times , which had obtained another leaked document. Back then there was no desire by the Attorney General to pick a fight with Fleet Street and threaten it with the Official Secrets Act. Some suspect the difference this time is down to the fact the Al-Jazeera memo has deeply embarrassed the Bush administration.

Keogh and O'Connor are due to appear at Bow Street magistrates' court, south west London, this Tuesday. This initial hearing is likely to be held behind closed doors while the defence and prosecution teams fire their opening salvos. Crucial to the case will be whether the judge believes any of the case can be heard in public.

Legal experts draw comparisons with the case of Katherine Gunn, the former GCHQ employee who alerted the world to the United Nations bugging scandal. The case against Gunn collapsed over fears British intelligence secrets would be revealed in open court and lead to questions over the legality of the war.

The conclusion must be the government's legal advisers believe it won't be forced into such a humiliating climbdown when the case goes to court. This time around the government isn't going to blink.

An arab rival to the BBC
The television station was set up in 1996 with $150 million from the Emir of Qatar.
It was accused of being al-Qaeda's mouthpiece when it broadcast a message from Osama bin Laden praising the 9/11 hijackers.
Many Muslim viewers criticise it for being too pro-Western and giving airtime to Israeli officials.
It now rivals the BBC, with a worldwide audience of 50 million. An English-language satellite service will launch in March 2006.
In 2004 Index on Censorship praised its 'courage in circumventing censorship and contributing to the free exchange of information in the Arab world'.

See Yourself? Bush Should...Maybe We Should Tools for Coping with Life's Stressors

Acting Out Personality


* Appearance to the world of the acting out personality
* Feelings inside persons with the acting out personality traits
* Negative consequences of acting out behaviors
* Irrational beliefs of people with the acting out personality traits
* Turning negative acting out traits into positive potential

Appearance to the world of the acting out personality


The "scapegoat'' of the environment


Troublemakers at home, work, school, or community

Get into a lot of mischief


Drug or alcohol problems

Delinquent or pre-delinquent behavior

Brushes with legal authority

Rebellious against any type of authority figure

Do not take direction easily

Goof off people

Bring disgrace to family, fellow workers, friends, or self

Lack tolerance for others

Poor achievement record

Angry, hostile, or belligerent

Fail at school or work

Sexually promiscuous, unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases

Unwilling to abide by rules or codes of conduct

Prone to use a self-destructive behavior pattern

Lack of worth to the system, organization, family unit

Sullen and uncooperative

Bombastic, mouthy, caustic

Shallow, self-centered, manipulative, exploitive

Feelings inside persons with the acting out personality traits


Lack freedom to vent frustration directly onto its source

Emotional withdrawal from problem situations, e.g., family, job, peer interactions

Dependence on others to fill unsatisfied need for belonging to a family or unit

Starved for attention from those in their lives who have problems

Lots of bottled up emotions; need for acceptance, belonging, being wanted and cared for

Jealous and irritated at all the attention others get in family, school, job, or with friends

Sense of being neglected, ignored, or unwanted

Sense of no emotional support from their enviornment

Intense need for love and intimacy

Unwilling to use "achievement tactics'' to gain others' love, attention, and respect

Self hatred for not being "good enough'' to gain unconditional acceptance from others

Intense sense of rejection and loneliness

Intense hurt

Consumed with anger:

at parents for not caring

at the person in their life who has the real major problem

at the looking good types for hiding and denying the problem

at the world for accepting their behavior as "real''

at selves that brought them to their current problem state

Negative consequences of acting out behaviors


Low self-esteem

Excesses can lead to poor nutrition and poor health

Involvement in hazardous exploits and accidents

Self-destructive consequences in school, job, family, community

Suicide: accidental or intentional

Alcoholism or chemical dependency

Heavy sense of guilt for personal negative behavior traits

Self loathing and self hatred

Shallow relationships with others with few deep, caring friendships

Lack of trust in others

Problem in showing love for others

Peer group becomes primary reference or system for their involvement in life

Anger increases rather than decreases

Poor development of intimate, cooperative, or loving relationships with others

Violation of accepted standards of behavior at home, school, work, or in the community

Use of emotional defenses of rationalizing, noisy argumentation, etc.

Provides troubled persons with a chance to get focus away from themselves and onto the acting out person

Irrational beliefs of people with the acting out personality traits


No one is ever willing to admit how screwed up this environment really is.

There is no sense in trying to make it work in this environment since no one else is willing to work on the problems.

The only sanity in my life is with my friends.

No one is going to tell me how to live my life.

There is nothing I can do to make things better.

No one loves me.

No one understands me.

I will do anything to get the love I need.

Life sucks!

You have got to be a sucker or a wimp to go along with what they expect out of me.

The only value that counts in life is to be yourself.

Everyone is so dumb they can't see what's going on.

The only thing that counts in life is power.

Attack first before you get attacked.

Don't ever let anyone take advantage of you.

Everyone in authority is messed up so ignore them.

There is no proof that hard work and effort pay off in the long run.

Get out before they devour you.

Don't trust anyone!

Get everything you can grab because you won't be given anything.

I don't have any dependencies or problems.

Turning negative acting out traits into positive potential
Negative Acting Out Behavior Positive Potential
Reliance on peers They can be helped to see that they are capable of being "real leaders'' if correctly channeled. They have an ability to interact freely in a variety of social settings.
Acting out They are capable of being healthy "risk takers'' if correctly channeled.
Defiance They are capable of seeing the "truth'' or "reality'' in a "corrupt'' or "sick'' system, e.g., family, school, job, or community organization. They can speak the truth, which others often do not want to hear.
Rebellious They challenge the status quo! They asks questions others are unwilling to ask or to face. They can help others to analyze the propriety of rules, customs, rights, and habits.
Withdrawn They are capable of pulling themselves out of a "sick'' situation so as not to be caught up in the disease themselves. They are capable of ignoring the games that keep people down in a system.
Mischief making They are capable of initiating lots of "fun'' or stress reducing activities for the system, which have a unique form and involve imagination and creativity.
Sullen Having experienced rejection, hurt, and pain, if channeled they can be sensitive to those who suffer similarly today. They can become excellent helpers due to their ability to tune into and be sensitive to others.
Argumentative and rationalizer They can be helped to channel their verbal prowess so as to be effective logisticians or debaters. They have good potential for being courtroom performers.
Irresponsible They need help recognizing that their behavior is a part of a compulsive pattern in a delusional system. Much of what appears to be irresponsible is a cry for help, which can result in the family system getting help for itself.
Nonproductive If channeled appropriately they can become a "change agent'' in family, school, job, or community, due to their sharp awareness of inequality and injustice. With help, they can use their willingness to speak out as catalysts for real changes for good in such systems.

Juan Cole on "Leaving Iraq" as seen by Seymour Hersh

Informed Comment

Thoughts on the Middle East, History, and Religion

Juan Cole is Professor of History at the University of Michigan

Monday, November 28, 2005

US Air Power to Replace Infantry in Iraq;
Distant President Trapped in Utopianism

Veteran journalist Seymour Hersh is reporting in the New Yorker that the Bush administration has decided to draw down ground troops in Iraq. Knowledgeable observers strongly suspect that this step would produce a meltdown and possibly even civil war in Iraq (which could become a regional war). Bush's strategy may be to try to control the situation using air power.

Readers and colleagues often ask me why a Shiite majority and the Kurdish Peshmergas couldn't just take care of the largely Sunni Arab guerrillas. The answer is that the Sunni Arabs were the officer corps and military intelligence, and the more experienced NCOs, and they know how to do things that the Shiites and Kurds don't know how to do. The Sunni Arabs were also the country's elite and have enormous cultural capital and managerial know-how. Sunni Arab advantages will decline over time, but they are there for this generation, and no one should underestimate the guerrilla leadership. If the Americans weren't around, all those 77 Hungarian T-72 tanks that the new Iraqi military now has would be in guerrilla hands so fast it would make your head spin.

Shiite leader Abdul Aziz al-Hakim complained to the Washington Post that the US itself was holding back the Iraqi army (which seems to be mostly Kurds and Shiites) from going after the Sunni Arab guerrillas in a concerted way. But this prospect is the other reason that the Shiites and the Kurds can't just take care of the Sunni Arabs. If one isn't careful, it would turn into a hot civil war on ethnic grounds (I don't mean 38 dead a day, I mean it would be ten times that). And if the Shiites and Kurds massacre Sunni Arabs in the course of fighting the guerrillas, the Saudi, Jordanian and Sunni Syrian publics are not going to take that lying down and volunteer fighters would flock to Iraq in real numbers.

This diary over at Daily Kos discusses both Hersh's reporting on this military issue and what his sources are saying about Bush and the White House.

Hersh reports that US Air Force officers are alarmed by the implication that Iraqi targeters may be calling down air strikes using US warplanes. I remember that Iraqi troops (mainly Kurds) were allowed to call down airstrikes in Tal Afar last August, and if my recollection serves, the Tal Afar operation may even have been conceived as an opportunity for Iraqi troops to get practice in doing so. They levelled whole neighborhoods of the Sunni Turkmen (many of whom had thrown in with Saddam in the old days).

The Air Force officers are right to be alarmed. It has been obvious to me for some time that US air power will be used to try to keep the guerrillas from taking over Iraq as the ground troops depart. This is why last August I argued for keeping some US Special Operations forces embedded with the new Iraqi army, since I felt that the US military should remain in control of the use of American air power (i.e. the laser targetting should be done by Navy Seals and others, not by Iraqis).

Likewise, I argued that the US should only make this airstrike capability available for defensive operations. Say that the 1920 Revolution Brigades got up a militia force to march on Hilla from Mahmudiyah, and the brigade made short work of the Iraqi infantry sent against it. In such a situation, the US should use air power to stop the neo-Baathists and Salafis from massacring the Shiites of Hilla. But the US Air Force should not be a toy in the hands of Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, who will most likely be the most powerful politician in Iraq come Dec. 16. If one keeps some Special Ops forces in Iraq, it would require a continued ability by the US to rescue them if anything went wrong, which is one reason both I and Congressman Murtha envisaged a continued over-the-horizon US presence in the region for a while.

But Hersh's sources in Washington strongly give the impression that George W. Bush is incapable of making coherent policy in Iraq, and is fixated on his legacy there 20 years down the line.

Even Bush allies such as former transitional Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, however, are already bringing his legacy into question. Allawi asserts that governmental abuse of human rights in Iraq today is even worse than in the time of Saddam. If yours truly had said something like that, Jeff Jarvis would have called me pond scum and Andrew Sullivan would have given me a Sontag award. Jarvis and Sullivan were big supporters of Allawi (who is alleged to have been involved in a terrorist attack in Baghdad in the 1990s that blew up a school bus full of children). So what do they have to say now that the bad news is coming from the secular, pro-American politicians and they aren't playing pollyanna any more? By the way, President Jalal Talabani rejected Allawi's charges, but then he heads the government that Allawi is critiquing.

Bush's legacy as a builder of democracy and promoter of rights in Iraq, all he has left going for him, was dealt another black eye by the emergence of a video that appears to show private security guards in Iraq firing at civilian vehicles for sport out on the road to the airport.

Hersh appeared on Wolf Blitzer on Sunday, and Wolf read out this quote from the New Yorker piece by Hersh:

" 'The president is more determined than ever to stay the course,' the former defense official said. 'He doesn't feel any pain. Bush is a believer in the adage, "People may suffer and die, but the Church advances." ' He said that the president had become more detached, leaving more issues to Karl Rove and Vice President Cheney. 'They keep him in the gray world of religious idealism, where he wants to be anyway,' the former defense official said."

Hersh goes on to tell Blitzer that Bush disparages any information about Iraq that does not fit his preconceived notions, and that he feels he has a (perhaps divine) mission to bring democracy to the country. Hersh's inside sources paint a president who is detached and in the grip of profound utopian delusions, which Hersh charitably characterizes as "idealistic."

Congress really has to step in here. Senators and representatives should demand that Bush get the ground troops out without turning control of the US air force over to Shiite clerics like Abdul Aziz al-Hakim. Presidents cannot do anything without money, and Congress controls the money. The wiser and more knowledgeable heads on both sides of the aisle have to start telling Bush "No!" when he comes to them asking for another $100 billion so he can level another Sunni Arab city. He is counting on the public punishing "no" votes on military affairs. But the American public would at this point almost certainly be grateful for it. And apart from telling him "No!" they should put strict reporting requirements on how the money is used. For instance, only defensive operations should any longer be funded.

Let me finish with a word to W. As for your legacy two decades from now, George, let me clue you in on something--as a historian. In 20 years no Iraqis will have you on their minds one way or another. Do you think anyone in Egypt or Israel is still grateful to Jimmy Carter for helping bring to an end the cycle of Egyptian-Israeli wars? Jimmy Carter powerfully affected the destinies of all Egyptians and Israelis in that key way. Most people in both countries have probably never heard of him, and certainly no one talks about the first Camp David Accords anymore except as a dry historical subject. The US pro-Israel lobby is so ungrateful that they curse Carter roundly for all the help he gave Israel. Human beings don't have good memories for these things, which is why we have to have professional historians, a handful of people who are obsessed with the subject. And I guarantee you, George, that historians are going to be unkind to you. You went into a major war over a non-existent nuclear weapons program. Presidents' reputations don't survive things like that. Historians are creatures of documents and precision. A wild exaggeration with serious consequences is against everything they stand for as a profession. So forget about history and destiny and the divine will. You are at the helm of the Exxon Valdez and it is headed for the shoals. You can't afford to daydream about future decades.

American Hiroshima – the next 9/11?

American Hiroshima – the next 9/11?
by Shaheen Chughtai in London
Friday 25 November 2005 10:55 PM GMT

Author David Dionisi says the US faces a nuclear threat

When Australian police announced recently that eight men arrested on terrorism charges were planning a bomb attack against a nuclear reactor near Sydney, many security observers elsewhere were not surprised.

Officials and analysts in the United States have been warning that al-Qaida or associated groups are planning such attacks on American soil.

Dubbed American Hiroshima, the plan apparently targets New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Boston and Washington, DC.

Former US Defence Secretary William Perry says there is an even chance of a nuclear attack on the US this decade. Renowned investor Warren Buffet has predicted "a nuclear terrorist attack ... is inevitable".

David Dionisi, a former US army intelligence officer, is convinced that plans for a nuclear attack are under way.

Once a conservative Republican, Dionisi enjoyed success as a Fortune 500 business executive after leaving the army. But he later rejected his political beliefs and now advocates peace, social justice and humanitarianism.

In his new book, American Hiroshima, Dionisi argues decades of unjust US foreign policies will be largely to blame for sowing the seeds of hostility and vengeance which could lead to a nuclear catastrophe.

Aljazeera's Shaheen Chughtai caught up with Dionisi in London.

Dionisi had just flown from Liberia where he helps run a Catholic orphanage. You were once a conservative Republican. What made you change your beliefs?

Dionisi: The transformation was a discovery process. When I joined the military, I had a very limited view of what the US was doing around the world. Through my experiences as a military intelligence officer and later as a business executive doing international volunteer work, I started to see our foreign policies were often hurting people and making the world more dangerous.

One of the more dramatic moments in this process was when I was assigned to a unit focusing on implementing US foreign policy in central America. I was part of a rapid deployment team designed to go in and suppress forces working for social justice in places such as Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala.

You describe the US public as uninformed - why?

The major media outlets are owned by a handful of corporations interested in promoting advertising and pro-government messages. Anything that challenges the existing power structure very often fails to receive air time. I highlight Fox as an extreme example of the Republican propaganda machine.

But when your country is fighting a war, you have an obligation to understand what's really going on. If you don't, you can become an agent of injustice. If people can find the time to watch baseball or soccer etc, they can make an effort to read, travel, talk and not be limited to the messages of fear.

They also need to understand their history. In 1962, the Joint Chiefs of Staff presented a plan called Operation Northwood, which is now declassified. It proposed conducting mass casualty attacks on American targets and blaming it on Cuba to rally public support for war against Fidel Castro. President Kennedy rejected the plan. So we shouldn't just assume any future attack on our soil is the work of al-Qaida.

Your book condemns alliances with repressive regimes. Can't these be justified if they serve a greater cause?

History teaches us that when you form alliances that promote injustice, you can only expect injustice in the future. Kindness begets kindness and the inverse is also true.

The US fought the largest secret war in its history during the 1980s in Afghanistan - over $6bn was funnelled into that war. As a result, US collaboration with and responsibility for al-Qaida goes well beyond what most even informed Americans understand.

If you consider that there are over 500 prisoners in Guantanamo Bay from over 40 countries - though not a single one is from Iraq - and that the CIA recruited thousands of people from over 40 countries to be part of that war - none from Iraq - you can better understand how the US played a direct role in creating what became the Taliban and al-Qaida.

Bush supporters argue the removal of Saddam and the Taliban was beneficial and therefore justified military action.

That starts from an artificial premise. When the Bush administration says, "Well, it's great that Saddam's gone," it fails to acknowledge that Bush's father and President Ronald Reagan were key forces that helped create Saddam Hussein.

Looking at what happened in 1979 it can put a lot of this in perspective. As Reagan came into office, the US embassy hostages in Iran were released after 444 days in captivity. Americans don't know this wasn't a coincidence. The US had agreed in writing not to attack Iran and also paid Tehran $8bn. That's why that media event (of the hostages' release during Reagan's inauguration ceremony) occurred with such precise timing.

How do you know this?

These are facts that were subsequently published. The agreement with Iran was submitted for review by the current administration to see if it would be binding and prevent an attack in the near future.

Bush administration attorneys concluded it was signed under duress and therefore not binding. I know this from a former senior member of the Bush administration, a seasoned CIA officer named Ray Flynn

The US felt humiliated; the Reagan administration wanted to hurt the Iranians but its hands were tied. So Saddam Hussein was used as the agent for that. He ended up invading Iran ... and you had this brutal war from 1980 to 1988 that killed over a million people.

What was the US role in that war?

By 1982, Iran had recaptured lost territory and Saddam asked the US for help. So President Reagan signed a National Security Decision Directive - NSDD 114 - to provide all means of support to Saddam Hussein. Donald Rumsfeld then went on a very sensitive mission to deliver satellite intelligence, other forms of intelligence and weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

That's why the current Bush administration was so confident Saddam had chemical and biological weapons; they knew the US had supplied the ingredients in the 1980s.

Saddam broke with the US, however, when he found out we were selling weapons to Iran in the mid-1980s - the Iran-Contra affair. All this puts the invasion of Kuwait into perspective. Saddam got clear messages from the US saying he could invade; plus he felt the US owed him one after betraying him over Iran.

All these wars form a continuum of injustice. Look at the UN economic sanctions in the 1990s that the US and UK refused to lift: over a million Iraqis died, including 500,000 children. That's more than the number who died from the Nagasaki and Hiroshima atomic bombings.

You list numerous "unjust" actions that led to attacks on US targets - isn't that justifying terrorism?

I talked to the CIA's Michael Scheuer, head of the "find Bin Ladin" team, and he stresses that people in the Muslim world are not fighting us because of our freedoms or elections but our foreign policy. This is something the Bush administration constantly twists.

The basic principle is: if you hurt someone, they're going to want to hurt you. We need to ask questions like: Why did 9/11 happen? Bin Ladin has a very clear articulation of why he's at war with the US, Britain, Israel and others. If Americans read it, they'll see it's very clear about things such as US forces on Arab land.

And it's not just an Arab or Muslim issue. I learnt this in South Korea where the US has had troops since 1950. When you're there that long, it sends a powerful message that you're not there to liberate, you're there to occupy.

You describe the US as the biggest WMD proliferator. Why?

The US has spent $5 trillion on 70,000 nuclear weapons since 1945 - more than the rest of the world combined. A Congressional report in 1999 found the designs for every deployed nuclear warhead - and for some not built yet - had been stolen and passed to China. Israel acquired its programme from the US too.

Despite this, ordinary Americans are more concerned about the Bush administration's lies and hyped-up warnings about WMD in places such as Iraq.

Is Iran really a threat to the US? An alliance between Shia Iran and Sunni-led al-Qaida seems far fetched.

Iran will not attack the US if the US does not attack Iran. Congressman Curt Weldon (who accuses Tehran of plotting to attack the States) talks about attacking Iran but such talk makes the world more dangerous. If we were Iran, we'd develop nuclear weapons simply because Israel has them. So the US should facilitate a process whereby Israel eliminates its nuclear weapons.

As for the religious differences between Iran and al-Qaida, yes, that's been true - but Bush's War on Terror has been pushing the sects together. Intelligence reports indicate Bin Ladin's son Saad has been based in Iran. No, we can't be certain they're helping each other. But in any case, the Bush administration does not want peace with Iran.

You say "kindness begets kindness". What's your evidence?

After the first world war, the Treaty of Versailles punished Germany harshly, producing hardship and hostility that the Nazis exploited. But after the second world war, when the Marshall Plan helped rebuild Germany and Japan, the US did more to promote democracy than at any time during the Cold war.

To make the world a safer place, we must aggressively attack the causes of suffering and hostility. Imagine if Bush had said after 9/11: "People are capitalising on our mistakes in the Middle East. So, let's ensure there is no hunger, lack of clean water, lack of education etc in the Muslim world." We would have made more friends and drained support for our enemies.

If we can't expect US foreign policy to change soon, isn't it too late to stop an American Hiroshima?

It's not too late although your point is realistic. But we can still influence the US response. Far more people will die in the retaliation and the counter-retaliation.

If the US had the wisdom, we could make the world safer. The US military budget was over $420 billion in 2005. We could split that three ways: a third on economic development in the Middle East, especially Iraq; a third on tackling injustice at home, such as providing universal healthcare - and that would still leave us with the world's biggest military budget.

People have to become more involved. The anti-Vietnam war movement is an example - but it failed to hold government to account. If we had tried (former Defence Secretary) Robert McNamara or (former Secretary of State) Henry Kissinger for crimes such as the illegal bombing of Cambodia, it would have sent a powerful message to future leaders. The Bush government today wouldn't have been so bold.

Ultimately, Americans need to understand many of them will die and parts of their country will become uninhabitable unless they hold their government to account.

By Shaheen Chughtai in London

You can find this article at:


A Clean Break:
A New Strategy for Securing the Realm

Following is a report prepared by The Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies’ "Study Group on a New Israeli Strategy Toward 2000." The main substantive ideas in this paper emerge from a discussion in which prominent opinion makers, including Richard Perle, James Colbert, Charles Fairbanks, Jr., Douglas Feith, Robert Loewenberg, David Wurmser, and Meyrav Wurmser participated. The report, entitled "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm," is the framework for a series of follow-up reports on strategy.

Israel has a large problem. Labor Zionism, which for 70 years has dominated the Zionist movement, has generated a stalled and shackled economy. Efforts to salvage Israel’s socialist institutions—which include pursuing supranational over national sovereignty and pursuing a peace process that embraces the slogan, "New Middle East"—undermine the legitimacy of the nation and lead Israel into strategic paralysis and the previous government’s "peace process." That peace process obscured the evidence of eroding national critical mass— including a palpable sense of national exhaustion—and forfeited strategic initiative. The loss of national critical mass was illustrated best by Israel’s efforts to draw in the United States to sell unpopular policies domestically, to agree to negotiate sovereignty over its capital, and to respond with resignation to a spate of terror so intense and tragic that it deterred Israelis from engaging in normal daily functions, such as commuting to work in buses.

Benjamin Netanyahu’s government comes in with a new set of ideas. While there are those who will counsel continuity, Israel has the opportunity to make a clean break; it can forge a peace process and strategy based on an entirely new intellectual foundation, one that restores strategic initiative and provides the nation the room to engage every possible energy on rebuilding Zionism, the starting point of which must be economic reform. To secure the nation’s streets and borders in the immediate future, Israel can:

* Work closely with Turkey and Jordan to contain, destabilize, and roll-back some of its most dangerous threats. This implies clean break from the slogan, "comprehensive peace" to a traditional concept of strategy based on balance of power.

* Change the nature of its relations with the Palestinians, including upholding the right of hot pursuit for self defense into all Palestinian areas and nurturing alternatives to Arafat’s exclusive grip on Palestinian society.

* Forge a new basis for relations with the United States—stressing self-reliance, maturity, strategic cooperation on areas of mutual concern, and furthering values inherent to the West. This can only be done if Israel takes serious steps to terminate aid, which prevents economic reform.

This report is written with key passages of a possible speech marked TEXT, that highlight the clean break which the new government has an opportunity to make. The body of the report is the commentary explaining the purpose and laying out the strategic context of the passages.

A New Approach to Peace

Early adoption of a bold, new perspective on peace and security is imperative for the new prime minister. While the previous government, and many abroad, may emphasize "land for peace"— which placed Israel in the position of cultural, economic, political, diplomatic, and military retreat — the new government can promote Western values and traditions. Such an approach, which will be well received in the United States, includes "peace for peace," "peace through strength" and self reliance: the balance of power.

A new strategy to seize the initiative can be introduced:


We have for four years pursued peace based on a New Middle East. We in Israel cannot play innocents abroad in a world that is not innocent. Peace depends on the character and behavior of our foes. We live in a dangerous neighborhood, with fragile states and bitter rivalries. Displaying moral ambivalence between the effort to build a Jewish state and the desire to annihilate it by trading "land for peace" will not secure "peace now." Our claim to the land —to which we have clung for hope for 2000 years--is legitimate and noble. It is not within our own power, no matter how much we concede, to make peace unilaterally. Only the unconditional acceptance by Arabs of our rights, especially in their territorial dimension, "peace for peace," is a solid basis for the future.

Israel’s quest for peace emerges from, and does not replace, the pursuit of its ideals. The Jewish people’s hunger for human rights — burned into their identity by a 2000-year old dream to live free in their own land — informs the concept of peace and reflects continuity of values with Western and Jewish tradition. Israel can now embrace negotiations, but as means, not ends, to pursue those ideals and demonstrate national steadfastness. It can challenge police states; enforce compliance of agreements; and insist on minimal standards of accountability.

Securing the Northern Border

Syria challenges Israel on Lebanese soil. An effective approach, and one with which American can sympathize, would be if Israel seized the strategic initiative along its northern borders by engaging Hizballah, Syria, and Iran, as the principal agents of aggression in Lebanon, including by:

* striking Syria’s drug-money and counterfeiting infrastructure in Lebanon, all of which focuses on Razi Qanan.

* paralleling Syria’s behavior by establishing the precedent that Syrian territory is not immune to attacks emanating from Lebanon by Israeli proxy forces.

* striking Syrian military targets in Lebanon, and should that prove insufficient, striking at select targets in Syria proper.

Israel also can take this opportunity to remind the world of the nature of the Syrian regime. Syria repeatedly breaks its word. It violated numerous agreements with the Turks, and has betrayed the United States by continuing to occupy Lebanon in violation of the Taef agreement in 1989. Instead, Syria staged a sham election, installed a quisling regime, and forced Lebanon to sign a "Brotherhood Agreement" in 1991, that terminated Lebanese sovereignty. And Syria has begun colonizing Lebanon with hundreds of thousands of Syrians, while killing tens of thousands of its own citizens at a time, as it did in only three days in 1983 in Hama.

Under Syrian tutelage, the Lebanese drug trade, for which local Syrian military officers receive protection payments, flourishes. Syria’s regime supports the terrorist groups operationally and financially in Lebanon and on its soil. Indeed, the Syrian-controlled Bekaa Valley in Lebanon has become for terror what the Silicon Valley has become for computers. The Bekaa Valley has become one of the main distribution sources, if not production points, of the "supernote" — counterfeit US currency so well done that it is impossible to detect.


Negotiations with repressive regimes like Syria’s require cautious realism. One cannot sensibly assume the other side’s good faith. It is dangerous for Israel to deal naively with a regime murderous of its own people, openly aggressive toward its neighbors, criminally involved with international drug traffickers and counterfeiters, and supportive of the most deadly terrorist organizations.

Given the nature of the regime in Damascus, it is both natural and moral that Israel abandon the slogan "comprehensive peace" and move to contain Syria, drawing attention to its weapons of mass destruction program, and rejecting "land for peace" deals on the Golan Heights.

Moving to a Traditional Balance of Power Strategy


We must distinguish soberly and clearly friend from foe. We must make sure that our friends across the Middle East never doubt the solidity or value of our friendship.

Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria. This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq — an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right — as a means of foiling Syria’s regional ambitions. Jordan has challenged Syria's regional ambitions recently by suggesting the restoration of the Hashemites in Iraq. This has triggered a Jordanian-Syrian rivalry to which Asad has responded by stepping up efforts to destabilize the Hashemite Kingdom, including using infiltrations. Syria recently signaled that it and Iran might prefer a weak, but barely surviving Saddam, if only to undermine and humiliate Jordan in its efforts to remove Saddam.

But Syria enters this conflict with potential weaknesses: Damascus is too preoccupied with dealing with the threatened new regional equation to permit distractions of the Lebanese flank. And Damascus fears that the 'natural axis' with Israel on one side, central Iraq and Turkey on the other, and Jordan, in the center would squeeze and detach Syria from the Saudi Peninsula. For Syria, this could be the prelude to a redrawing of the map of the Middle East which would threaten Syria's territorial integrity.

Since Iraq's future could affect the strategic balance in the Middle East profoundly, it would be understandable that Israel has an interest in supporting the Hashemites in their efforts to redefine Iraq, including such measures as: visiting Jordan as the first official state visit, even before a visit to the United States, of the new Netanyahu government; supporting King Hussein by providing him with some tangible security measures to protect his regime against Syrian subversion; encouraging — through influence in the U.S. business community — investment in Jordan to structurally shift Jordan’s economy away from dependence on Iraq; and diverting Syria’s attention by using Lebanese opposition elements to destabilize Syrian control of Lebanon.

Most important, it is understandable that Israel has an interest supporting diplomatically, militarily and operationally Turkey’s and Jordan’s actions against Syria, such as securing tribal alliances with Arab tribes that cross into Syrian territory and are hostile to the Syrian ruling elite.

King Hussein may have ideas for Israel in bringing its Lebanon problem under control. The predominantly Shia population of southern Lebanon has been tied for centuries to the Shia leadership in Najf, Iraq rather than Iran. Were the Hashemites to control Iraq, they could use their influence over Najf to help Israel wean the south Lebanese Shia away from Hizballah, Iran, and Syria. Shia retain strong ties to the Hashemites: the Shia venerate foremost the Prophet’s family, the direct descendants of which — and in whose veins the blood of the Prophet flows — is King Hussein.

Changing the Nature of Relations with the Palestinians

Israel has a chance to forge a new relationship between itself and the Palestinians. First and foremost, Israel’s efforts to secure its streets may require hot pursuit into Palestinian-controlled areas, a justifiable practice with which Americans can sympathize.

A key element of peace is compliance with agreements already signed. Therefore, Israel has the right to insist on compliance, including closing Orient House and disbanding Jibril Rujoub’s operatives in Jerusalem. Moreover, Israel and the United States can establish a Joint Compliance Monitoring Committee to study periodically whether the PLO meets minimum standards of compliance, authority and responsibility, human rights, and judicial and fiduciary accountability.


We believe that the Palestinian Authority must be held to the same minimal standards of accountability as other recipients of U.S. foreign aid. A firm peace cannot tolerate repression and injustice. A regime that cannot fulfill the most rudimentary obligations to its own people cannot be counted upon to fulfill its obligations to its neighbors.

Israel has no obligations under the Oslo agreements if the PLO does not fulfill its obligations. If the PLO cannot comply with these minimal standards, then it can be neither a hope for the future nor a proper interlocutor for present. To prepare for this, Israel may want to cultivate alternatives to Arafat’s base of power. Jordan has ideas on this.

To emphasize the point that Israel regards the actions of the PLO problematic, but not the Arab people, Israel might want to consider making a special effort to reward friends and advance human rights among Arabs. Many Arabs are willing to work with Israel; identifying and helping them are important. Israel may also find that many of her neighbors, such as Jordan, have problems with Arafat and may want to cooperate. Israel may also want to better integrate its own Arabs.

Forging A New U.S.-Israeli Relationship

In recent years, Israel invited active U.S. intervention in Israel’s domestic and foreign policy for two reasons: to overcome domestic opposition to "land for peace" concessions the Israeli public could not digest, and to lure Arabs — through money, forgiveness of past sins, and access to U.S. weapons — to negotiate. This strategy, which required funneling American money to repressive and aggressive regimes, was risky, expensive, and very costly for both the U.S. and Israel, and placed the United States in roles is should neither have nor want.

Israel can make a clean break from the past and establish a new vision for the U.S.-Israeli partnership based on self-reliance, maturity and mutuality — not one focused narrowly on territorial disputes. Israel’s new strategy — based on a shared philosophy of peace through strength — reflects continuity with Western values by stressing that Israel is self-reliant, does not need U.S. troops in any capacity to defend it, including on the Golan Heights, and can manage its own affairs. Such self-reliance will grant Israel greater freedom of action and remove a significant lever of pressure used against it in the past.

To reinforce this point, the Prime Minister can use his forthcoming visit to announce that Israel is now mature enough to cut itself free immediately from at least U.S. economic aid and loan guarantees at least, which prevent economic reform. [Military aid is separated for the moment until adequate arrangements can be made to ensure that Israel will not encounter supply problems in the means to defend itself]. As outlined in another Institute report, Israel can become self-reliant only by, in a bold stroke rather than in increments, liberalizing its economy, cutting taxes, relegislating a free-processing zone, and selling-off public lands and enterprises — moves which will electrify and find support from a broad bipartisan spectrum of key pro-Israeli Congressional leaders, including Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich.

Israel can under these conditions better cooperate with the U.S. to counter real threats to the region and the West’s security. Mr. Netanyahu can highlight his desire to cooperate more closely with the United States on anti-missile defense in order to remove the threat of blackmail which even a weak and distant army can pose to either state. Not only would such cooperation on missile defense counter a tangible physical threat to Israel’s survival, but it would broaden Israel’s base of support among many in the United States Congress who may know little about Israel, but care very much about missile defense. Such broad support could be helpful in the effort to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

To anticipate U.S. reactions and plan ways to manage and constrain those reactions, Prime Minister Netanyahu can formulate the policies and stress themes he favors in language familiar to the Americans by tapping into themes of American administrations during the Cold War which apply well to Israel. If Israel wants to test certain propositions that require a benign American reaction, then the best time to do so is before November, 1996.

Conclusions: Transcending the Arab-Israeli Conflict

TEXT: Israel will not only contain its foes; it will transcend them.

Notable Arab intellectuals have written extensively on their perception of Israel’s floundering and loss of national identity. This perception has invited attack, blocked Israel from achieving true peace, and offered hope for those who would destroy Israel. The previous strategy, therefore, was leading the Middle East toward another Arab-Israeli war. Israel’s new agenda can signal a clean break by abandoning a policy which assumed exhaustion and allowed strategic retreat by reestablishing the principle of preemption, rather than retaliation alone and by ceasing to absorb blows to the nation without response.

Israel’s new strategic agenda can shape the regional environment in ways that grant Israel the room to refocus its energies back to where they are most needed: to rejuvenate its national idea, which can only come through replacing Israel’s socialist foundations with a more sound footing; and to overcome its "exhaustion," which threatens the survival of the nation.

Ultimately, Israel can do more than simply manage the Arab-Israeli conflict though war. No amount of weapons or victories will grant Israel the peace its seeks. When Israel is on a sound economic footing, and is free, powerful, and healthy internally, it will no longer simply manage the Arab-Israeli conflict; it will transcend it. As a senior Iraqi opposition leader said recently: "Israel must rejuvenate and revitalize its moral and intellectual leadership. It is an important — if not the most important--element in the history of the Middle East." Israel — proud, wealthy, solid, and strong — would be the basis of a truly new and peaceful Middle East.

Participants in the Study Group on "A New Israeli Strategy Toward 2000:"

Richard Perle, American Enterprise Institute, Study Group Leader

James Colbert, Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs
Charles Fairbanks, Jr., Johns Hopkins University/SAIS
Douglas Feith, Feith and Zell Associates
Robert Loewenberg, President, Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies
Jonathan Torop, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
David Wurmser, Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies
Meyrav Wurmser, Johns Hopkins University