ASSESSING THE ORIGINS OF GENIUS
A scientist postulates that Albert Einstein and Sir Issac Newton may have been suffereing from Asperger's Syndrome
. Einstein was a late talker as a child but the region of his brain that dealt with mathematical reasoning was found to be after his death 15 % larger than normal. Later in life Newton, the inventor of the physics that reigned supreme until the coming of Einstein and Heisenberg, became quite obsessed with theological issues not unlike Einstein's colleague, the great mathematician Kurt Godel
who died paranoid and consumed with demonological studies.
An interesting question is to ask if the most profoundly gifted among us, the tiny fraction of 1 % of the population whose I.Q.'s measure at least 180 or surpass our current psychometric capabilities to even assess accurately, have brains that are phsyiologically different from the rest of us but alike to each other.
Flowers for Algernon anyone ?
WILL SADDAM BECOME THE ELVIS OF ARABIA ?
THIS IS EXACTLY WHY BUSH REJECTED THE ICC:
The transnationalist social-democratic elites are acting on the Iraq War
pretty much as conservatives predicted they would when the GOP insisted upon immunity from prosecution before the ICC for American troops on peacekeeping duties in Bosnia.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
" France fell because there was corruption without indignation"
THE DEATH OF NATO
Drudge has a developing story on French help, confirmed from captured Iraqi records, given to Iraq about confidential meetings between the United States and France. If this proves to be true
the United States will have little recourse but to terminate it's military alliance with France because having been betrayed diplomatically, the United States can no longer share sensitive information, intelligence or military technology with the French government. Apparently Berlin may have similarly been involved with Iraq. NATO, for all practical purposes, will be dead.
President Chirac has destroyed the most successful military alliance in history and managed to gain absolutely nothing for his country.
THE SADDAM-BIN LADEN ALLIANCE
The Daily Telegraph has published documentary evidence proving not merely a link or contacts but a working alliance between Saddam Hussein's regime and the al Qaida network going back to 1998. This, even more than the other documents showing a major British antiwar figure and Labor MP to have been a paid agent of the Iraqi regime is a devastating blow to the credibility of those who opposed the war loudly and long while accusing the Bush administration of " lying " about Iraq and 9/11.
The Telegraph Article in full:
The proof that Saddam worked with bin Laden
By Inigo Gilmore
Iraqi intelligence documents discovered in Baghdad by The Telegraph have provided the first evidence of a direct link between Osama bin Laden's al-Qa'eda terrorist network and Saddam Hussein's regime.
Papers found yesterday in the bombed headquarters of the Mukhabarat, Iraq's intelligence service, reveal that an al-Qa'eda envoy was invited clandestinely to Baghdad in March 1998.
The documents show that the purpose of the meeting was to establish a relationship between Baghdad and al-Qa'eda based on their mutual hatred of America and Saudi Arabia. The meeting apparently went so well that it was extended by a week and ended with arrangements being discussed for bin Laden to visit Baghdad.
The papers will be seized on by Washington as the first proof of what the United States has long alleged - that, despite denials by both sides, Saddam's regime had a close relationship with al-Qa'eda.
The Telegraph found the file on bin Laden inside a folder lying in the rubble of one of the rooms of the destroyed intelligence HQ. There are three pages, stapled together; two are on paper headed with the insignia and lettering of the Mukhabarat.
They show correspondence between Mukhabarat agencies over preparations for the visit of al-Qa'eda's envoy, who travelled to Iraq from Sudan, where bin Laden had been based until 1996. They disclose what Baghdad hopes to achieve from the meeting, which took place less than five months before bin Laden was placed at the top of America's most wanted list following the bombing of two US embassies in east Africa.
Perhaps aware of the sensitivities of the subject matter, Iraqi agents at some point clumsily attempted to mask out all references to bin Laden, using white correcting fluid. The dried fluid was removed to reveal the clearly legible name three times in the documents.
One paper is marked "Top Secret and Urgent". It is signed "MDA", a codename believed to be the director of one of the intelligence sections within the Mukhabarat, and dated February 19, 1998. It refers to the planned trip from Sudan by bin Laden's unnamed envoy and refers to the arrangements for his visit.
A letter with this document says the envoy is a trusted confidant of bin Laden. It adds: "According to the above, we suggest permission to call the Khartoum station [Iraq's intelligence office in Sudan] to facilitate the travel arrangements for the above-mentioned person to Iraq. And that our body carry all the travel and hotel costs inside Iraq to gain the knowledge of the message from bin Laden and to convey to his envoy an oral message from us to bin Laden."
The letter refers to al-Qa'eda's leader as an opponent of the Saudi Arabian regime and says that the message to convey to him through the envoy "would relate to the future of our relationship with him, bin Laden, and to achieve a direct meeting with him."
According to handwritten notes at the bottom of the page, the letter was passed on through another director in the Mukhabarat and on to the deputy director general of the intelligence service.
It recommends that "the deputy director general bring the envoy to Iraq because we may find in this envoy a way to maintain contacts with bin Laden". The deputy director general has signed the document. All of the signatories use codenames.
The other documents then confirm that the envoy travelled from Khartoum to Baghdad in March 1998, staying at al-Mansour Melia, a first-class hotel. It mentions that his visit was extended by a week. In the notes in a margin, a name "Mohammed F. Mohammed Ahmed" is mentioned, but it is not clear whether this is the the envoy or an agent.
Intriguingly, the Iraqis talk about sending back an oral message to bin Laden, perhaps aware of the risk of a written message being intercepted. However, the documents do not mention if any meeting took place between bin Laden and Iraqi officials.
The file contradicts the claims of Baghdad, bin Laden and many critics of the coalition that there was no link between the Iraqi regime and al-Qa'eda. One Western intelligence official contacted last night described the file as "sensational", adding: "Baghdad clearly sought out the meeting. The regime would have wanted it to happen in the capital as it's only there they would feel safe from surveillance by Western intelligence."
Over the past three weeks, The Telegraph has discovered various other intelligence files in the wrecked Mukhabarat building, including documents revealing how Russia passed on to Iraq details of private conversations between Tony Blair and Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister, and how Germany held clandestine meetings with the regime.
A Downing Street spokesman said last night: "Since Saddam's fall a series of documents have come to light which will have to be fully assessed by the proper authorities over a period of time. We will certainly want to study these documents as part of that process to see if they shed new light on the relationship between Saddam's regime and al-Qa'eda.
DEMOLISHING THE OLD CANARD OF " MORAL EQUIVALENCE "
It is often the case that when two parties are in a dispute a temptation arises on the part of observers to resolve the question in their own minds by blaming both sides equally. Generally, this temptation is strongest when judging the merits of the argument and assigning blame involves some degree risk for the observer; avoiding judgement thus becomes a psychologically comfortable form of cowardice ( or at least laziness ). When this conduct is elevated into foreign policy, as with arms embargos that " affect both sides equally " as with the Spanish Civil War in 1936 or Bosnia in the 1990's, moral equivalence becomes essentially a passive assist to the stronger party without reference to justice. Usually this means favoring the aggressor over the victim.
I mention this because H-DIPLO is running a thread entitled " The Left, the Right and..." debating the philosophical influences that may have caused academics to become partisans or apologists for various dictatorships in the 20th century. Left-wing posters have raised the issue of Pol Pot's years as an an anti-Vietnamese guerrilla in the 1980's a proof of " Right-wing " perfidy.
A brilliant and completely devastating rebuttal was just posted by Stephen J. Morris
of The Foreign Policy Institute
. I can say I learned some things from it while admiring the comprehensively thorough rejection of the poster's argument. Here it is in it's entirety:
Some myths about Indochina die hard, even in academia. Doug Stokes is
completely wrong about "the right" (i.e. the British and US governments
of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan) supporting Pol Pot more than
It was the "left" wing, to be precise communist, governments of Vietnam
and China that armed, trained and supported the rise to power of the
Khmers Rouges. The "left" government of Vietnam continued to support the
Khmers Rouges politically until 1977 and the "left" Chinese and North
Koreans supported them politically, economically and materially until
1993. The radical left in academia supported Pol Pot during most of his
time in power. The political "right" in the democratic west gave the
most limited and qualified political support, in the form of supporting
continued UN recognition to the Khmers Rouges guerrilla movement only
after it lost power, and even then it did so in order not to restore the
Khmers Rouges to power, but to find a way to reverse the Vietnamese
communist occupation, which China was determined to do regardless of
western policy, and to facilitate a noncommunist alternative for
Cambodia. No western government gave military aid to the Khmers Rouges.
One cannot base one's knowledge of recent Cambodian history, as Mr
Stokes seems to have done, upon the writings of a notoriously unreliable
journalist named John Pilger (most of his print journalism is for the
English tabloid Daily Mirror newspaper). To get a sense of Pilger's
credibility, one should recall that he recently described the United
States under George Bush as being like Nazi Germany. This is par for the
course. Pilger is an agit prop specialist, not a balanced analyst nor an
To get a sense of Pilger's intellectual deceitfulness, in the article
cited Pilger refers to UN food supplies to the Khmers Rouges. This was
food, not weapons. It was authorised by the UN, not the "right." KR
commanders ran the camps, and their soldiers benefited from the food.
But mostly civilians lived in the camps. Similarly UN food supplies went
to the larger refugee camps controlled by the noncommunist resistance.
It was all humanitarian aid. The UN responsibility was feeding
civilians, who would otherwise have starved, even if soldiers who
controlled them also were fed.
To make his case by sleight of hand, Pilger lumps together the
noncommunist resistance with the Khmers Rouges, despite their
organisational separation. There was a political alliance against the
Vietnamese occupation regime from 1982 on, imposed upon them by ASEAN to
enable ASEAN and others to help the noncommunists, because the UN in the
pre-Yugoslavia era of the "primacy of national sovereignty," had
recognized the KR regime overthrown by Vietnam's invasion as the
legitimate rulers of Cambodia, and an unsavory coalition with them was
the only way to give the noncommunists a role in Cambodia's future.
Although the KR and the noncommunist resistance did occasionally
cooperate in battles against the Vietnamese and the regime that Hanoi
had installed, the noncommunists did not take military orders from the
Khmer Rouges, and mostly operated separately. Sometimes the KR attacked
the noncommunists, despite their political alliance. There was no
functioning common high command. Later, when the UN peace plan was put
into practice in 1992, the noncommunists completely separated from the
KR, and ran in the 1993 elections that the KR boycotted.
I have studied the international and domestic politics of Cambodia for
two decades, and as a producer-correspondent for CBS News in 1983 spent
several weeks with a cameraman in the jungle guerrilla strongholds of
the Khmers Rouges and the noncommunist resistance. I can state quite
categorically that all of the supply of arms to the Khmers Rouges came
from China, not from Britain or the United States. John Pilger is
telling falsehoods when he claims the contrary. The noncommunist
resistance received most of its arms overtly from the ASEAN countries,
some from China, and perhaps some assistance covertly from the CIA,
though I cannot be sure of the latter. The USA was backing the
noncommunist resistance (NCR) to win power in Cambodia through a
political settlement, and that was the reason it supported the tactical
political alliance the noncommunists had undertaken with the Khmers
For the record, I was a strong public advocate of the west, especially
the United States, arming the NCR, and was the only western academic to
publicly do so (first in the New York Times in December 1982 and then
most fully in The Atlantic Monthly January 1985, and also in various
other newspaper articles). In the 1980s I publicly berated the Reagan
Administration, for not doing more. From 1989 I interacted informally
with the then powerful and highly respected US Democratic Congressman
Stephen Solarz to achieve the UN mandate to take over and run an
election in Cambodia. (Solarz, it should be noted, though sneeringly
dismissed by Pilger as a "cold warrior," is a liberal Democrat who holds
the high moral ground on Cambodia. He had held the first hearings on the
Khmers Rouges holocaust in May 1977, at a time when Pilger's moralizing
tabloid journalism never expressed a moment's concern for the Cambodian
victims of Pol Pot. At that forum Solarz also denounced the Institute
for Policy Studies witness Gareth Porter for his pro-KR testimony).
That the limited western support for the noncommunist resistance was
morally justified can be seen in the outcome of the UN sponsored 1993
elections in Cambodia. Despite the fact that the playing field was
tilted against the noncommunist parties (the ruling communist faction,
led by Hun Sen, carried out large scale intimidation, including murder,
of its opponents), the noncommunists won a majority of the vote.
Tragically the UN peacekeepers did not stand by the election outcome,
and allowed the losers (Hun Sen's ruling faction) to be given a role in
the government after they threatened a civil war. How and why that
happened is another long and sad story.
Subsequently the Hun Sen regime, led by former Khmers Rouges commissars
launched a full scale coup d'etat in 1997, and welcomed the vast
majority of surviving Khmers Rouges back into Cambodian life, giving
some of the mass murderers posts in the Cambodian armed forces, and
engaging in lucrative business deals with others. Little wonder that Hun
Sen has opposed a full scale international tribunal to try and punish
the Khmers Rouges for crimes against humanity.
No western government ever endorsed the Khmers Rouges while they were in
power, nor did any western government, "right" or "left," want them to
return to power. However a number of "left" western academics did
endorse the Khmers Rouges regime while it was in power, and either
denied the numerous published refugee and journalists reports of massive
atrocities by the regime, or else claimed that these atrocities were not
the fault of the central authorities but rather spontaneous expressions
of anger by poor peasants. Most notably the Americans Gareth Porter,
George Hildebrand, George McT. Kahin, and Michael Vickery, the
Englishman Malcolm Caldwell, the Frenchman Serge Thion (who also denied
the Nazi Holocaust, and was recently fired from his tenured academic
posting in Paris) and Thion's sometime coauthor, the Australian Ben
Kiernan. Though all of these academic authors eventually ceased
supporting Pol Pot's communist regime -- but only after the KR split
with Hanoi became open in 1978 -- they never apologised for misleading
the academic community and their own societies more generally about the
Cambodian holocaust, nor explained how they could have been responsible
for such bad scholarship. Perhaps they could use the forum of H-Diplo to
do so now.
I have documented most of the charges made in the last paragraph above,
in my article "Ho Chi Minh, Pol Pot and Cornell," published in The
National Interest, Summer 1989, and in "The Wrong Man to Investigate
Cambodia," published in The Wall Street Journal, April 17, 1995. Full
citations are available there.
Stephen J. Morris.
The Foreign Policy Institute.
Johns Hopkins University.
JUDITH APTER KLINGHOFFER
has a great quote on her HNN blog
from Martin Luther King, Jr.
explaining why Anti-Zionism is a manifestation of Anti-Semitism. I'd never heard this one before in all the media articles on King or on Anti-Zionism that I've read and the effect will probably be, for the Left, dismay and then anger with some racial-socialist nitwit like Maxine Waters claiming proprietary use to any quotations from dead historical figures that might possibly embarrass progressive activists.
THE UN vs.THE US:
An interesting article at Foreign Affairs
- I don't agree with everything but the author, Micheal Glennon of Tufts University has an excellent analysis of the decline of the UN. Worth the investment of time to read.
THE ONLY QUESTION ABOUT TARIQ AZIZ'S STATUS IS HOW QUICKLY HE CAN BE TRIED AND HANGED
What in the world is the nonsense coming out of Iraq regarding " questions about Tariq Aziz's status
" ? Hasn't anyone at the State department ever heard of the Genocide Convention ? Or crimes against humanity ? How can you try some Bosnian Serb thug but not the Joachim von Ribbentrop of Iraq ?
Aziz is an official of the highest level for a regime that has murdered over 200,000 people, targeted ethnic minorities for obliteration, made unprovoked attacks upon three neighboring states, built and used WMD against women, children and old people. Aziz is getting cut slack because of his long familiar place on the diplomatic circuit and the number of past and present government officials and heads of state with whom he has shared cocktails and off the record jokes in fluent English. The idea of trying Aziz makes some folks a little squirmy but morally how is Aziz any different from Chemical Ali ?
Let's try to remember that his job was making life easier for the regime to kill it's enemies quietly and without cost.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
"What sort of philosophy one chooses depends on what sort of person one is "
- Johann Gottlieb Fichte
MORE IRAQI SPYMASTERS NABBED
Along with Tariq Aziz, the covert ops chief of Iraqi intelligence is in U.S. custody. Story from CNN
READ NEWT'S BLAST AT THE STATE DEPARTMENT here.
It's little secret that many of the foreign service officers do not have much sympathy for the policies of the president they serve and politically, many of the career officials are far more attuned to the diplomatic worldview of the EU than the GOP. However, part of the problem is institutional - Foggy Bottom is a congenial place for loose cannons and heads of desk and assistant secretaries can, in the words of George Shultz " wander off doing deals on their own ". Democratic presidents also have problems getting State to carry out policies but philosophically as a rule they are more in tune with the results State bureaucrats seek through acts of passive resistance and insubordination. A personal memoir worth reading on this topic is from Constantine Menges
a neoconservative analyst who worked for the CIA and the NSC under Ronald Reagan, called Inside the National Security Council
. Even if you disagree with Menges' politics, he has anecdotes of interest to history buffs and political junkies.
NORTH KOREA REACTS WITH FURY
and plays its remaining nuclear card card
as it's only ally, China, refuses to support Pyongyang's belligerence.
North Korean threats to export plutonium in violation of the NPT could lead to a naval blockade of the regime by the United States and UN Security Council sanctions banning air flights and trade.
THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE
reported today that " mercenaries" exfiltrated several high level North Korean nuclear scientists through embassies in China to safe houses in the Washington DC area. One defector includes " The Father of the North Korean Bomb ". The article emphasized that the agents were not
U.S. government employees which indicates to me that high U.S. government officials in the national security or intelligence communities have leaked the information on the start of trilateral talks with Pyongyang.
The Bush administration is cleverly boxing the North Koreans in with multiple-levels of public and back channel diplomacy. The revelation that the highly secretive and brutal Stalinist regime could be successfully penetrated in such a manner is itself a political shock to the public prestige of Pyongyang.
Not exactly. However Juan Cole
, a Mideast scholar who I frequently am in disagreement with on H-Diplo shares my concern about the emergence of an Iranian kowtowing Sharia state in Iraq. Cole did reluctantly endorse the toppling of Saddam by American intervention in an article on HNN though he is generally exceptionally critical of the Bush administration, neoconservatives and Israel. With those caveats in mind he does have real expertise in Islamic studies and Mideastern cultures and you can sift through the politics to find useful observations.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
" It is a general popular error to imagine that the loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for their welfare "
UNDERMINING THE BILL OF RIGHTS WHILE TRANSFERRING SOVEREIGNTY TO FOREIGN SOCIALISTS
A timely example of how the transnational class of academics and activists work behind the scenes to erect an international structure designed to usurp the Constitutional authority of the U.S. government and impose socialistic programs by fiat - go here
" A SLAP IN THE FACE FOR EUROPEAN DEMOCRACY "
is how observers are describing the proposed constitutional reforms
of the EU. Rather than remediate the EU's current " democratic deficit " the reforms instead auger a move toward further " Transfer of Sovereignty " to an unaccountable class of transnational elite bureaucrats and political string-pullers. Americans should watch closely because this is the direction that NGO activists, International Law theorists, political Progressives and left-wing Democrats are attempting to take the United States.
The link seems not to be functioning so here's the full article:
Brussels rejects Giscard's blueprint for EU
By David Haworth in Brussels
The attempt to draw up a new European Union constitution suffered a serious setback yesterday when Brussels rejected the blueprint drawn up by the former French president, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing.
The European Commission said plans by M Giscard's 105-member Convention on the Future of Europe failed to give any clear answer to the question of "who does what?" Using language that in diplomatic terms was scathing, a commission statement said it was "disappointed" with the way the convention's proposals had been presented.
It added that they were "unlikely to foster the development of a consensus on these difficult institutional issues".
M Giscard's proposals, due to be presented to EU leaders in June, threaten to dilute the commission's power and its attack sets the stage for a brutal struggle before agreement is reached.
At present the plans include the appointment of a powerful EU president, with a deputy and executive office, to replace the current rotating presidency which shifts between member states every six months.
They also foresee the slimming-down of the commission, reducing its current 20 members to 13, and creation of a seven-member "bureau' within the Council of Ministers to co-ordinate the EU's work.
"Increasing the number of presidents and vice-presidents, setting up a bureau, can only bring confusion. Duplication of bureaucracies goes against common sense and against indications coming from all sides," the commission added.
Opponents see the scheme as concentrating power among the EU's larger members. At present the union has 15 members but is due to take in 10 more, mostly in eastern Europe, next year.
"This would undermine the checks and balances in place between the EU institutions," said a commission spokesman. "It could lead to unequal treatment of member states and this would jeopardise trust between them. In short, it would damage the community method, firmly based on an equilibrium between council, commission and parliament, which has been at the heart of the success of 50 years of European integration."
European leaders failed to agree at a summit in Athens last week whether the EU should have a permanent chairman or president.
Tony Blair is backing the creation of such a post, which is also supported by France and Spain. The smaller EU members are highly suspicious of the idea, as are the governments of the 10 incoming states.
Although the role of such a "president of Europe" would supposedly be confined to coordination, his or her existence would be seen as a threat to the primacy of the commission within EU decision-making.
The convention has also proposed that EU foreign policy decisions should be taken by majority voting once the EU is enlarged in 2004. But Peter Hain, the Welsh Secretary and the senior British representative on the Convention, has already rejected that out of hand.
MEPs also condemned the proposals. Elmar Brok, a senior Christian Democrat, described them as "autistic". He explained: "This is purely about reducing the powers of smaller EU countries, the commission and the European Parliament."
Monica Frassoni, co-president of the Greens group in the European Parliament, said M Giscard's proposals were "a slap in the face for European democracy".
IRAQI SPYMASTERS CAPTURED
We may possibly find out what sort of activities Iraqi intelligence carried out inside the United States and if there are any American political figures or celebrities like the British Labor Party MP Galloway who is alleged to have been a paid agent of influence of Saddam's regime. From the AP:
" Gen. Zuhayr Talib Abd al-Sattar al-Naqib, the former head of the Directorate of Military Intelligence, surrendered to U.S. troops Wednesday, a senior Pentagon official said.
The directorate monitored the loyalty of Iraq's regular army, provided security at Iraqi military facilities and collected intelligence on military forces opposing Iraq. The Pentagon official said Naqib's American equivalent would be the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency.
Naqib was No. 21 on the 55 most wanted list and was the seven of hearts in the deck of cards produced by the U.S. military with pictures of Saddam's associates.
Naqib was a professional soldier who rose through the ranks of the Iraqi army, U.S. officials said. The military intelligence directorate he headed was separate from the Iraqi Mukhabarat, which gathered strategic intelligence and conducted covert operations aimed at maintaining government authority.
The 56-year-old Naqib told The Los Angeles Times in an interview before his surrender that he had no apologies for his involvement in Saddam's government. He also made it clear that he had not always agreed with the Iraqi leader. However, he had shared Saddam's Pan-Arabist ideas and had hope that Iraq and its military could be the force for creating an Arab nation, the Times report said.
Also captured Wednesday was Muhammad Mahdi al-Salih, the former Iraqi trade minister and No. 48 on the most wanted list. He was the six of hearts in the military's deck.
Also Wednesday, allied special operations troops captured a Mukhabarat officer formerly in charge of American operations, a senior U.S. official said.
Jim Wilkinson, director of strategic communications for U.S. Central Command, identified the prisoner as Salim Said Khalaf al-Jumayli. He was not among the 55 most wanted.
Al-Jumayli is suspected of having knowledge of Iraqi intelligence activities in the United States, including names of people spying for Iraq, Wilkinson said in a statement from Doha, Qatar.
He offered no details about how the Iraqi was captured but said there was one Iraqi casualty during the operation.
HITCHENS ON THE ANTI-WAR FOLKS
Here's a milder excerpt:
"But unless the anti-war forces believe Saddam's fires should be allowed to burn out of control indefinitely, they must presumably have an idea of which outfit should have got the contract instead of Boots and Coots. I think we can be sure that the contract would not have gone to some windmill-power concern run by Naomi Klein or the anti-Starbucks Seattle coalition, in the hope of just blowing out the flames or of extinguishing them with Buddhist mantras. The number of companies able to deliver such expertise is very limited. The chief one is American and was personified for years by "Red" Adair—the movie version of his exploits (played by John Wayne himself!) was titled Hellfighters. The other main potential bidder, according to a recent letter in the London Times, is French. But would it not also be "blood for oil" to award the contract in that direction? After all, didn't the French habitually put profits in Iraq ahead of human rights and human life? More to the point, don't they still? "
THE DEAN GRASPS AT STRAWS
With the war issue toast, Democratic dark-horse candidate soon to be favorite son candidate Howard Dean assailed Senator Rick Senatorum's recent outburst expressing a desire for a KGB of sex to police America's bedrooms
"Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean on Wednesday called for Republican Sen. Rick Santorum to resign his leadership post after the lawmaker compared homosexuality to bigamy, polygamy, incest and adultery.
"Gay-bashing is not a legitimate public policy discussion; it is immoral. Rick Santorum's failure to recognize that attacking people because of who they are is morally wrong makes him unfit for a leadership position in the United States Senate," Dean said in a statement."
The only problem is that Santorum, whose comments were scarily authoritarian as well as bizarre, never targeted gays specifically. That was inserted by the AP reporter. Santorum wants the states to regulate everyone's
sexual behavior according to the tenets of his brand of Christianity
The GOP needs to get back to telling the government to stay the hell out of our lives.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
" I hope and firmly believe that the whole world will sooner or later benefit from the issue of our assertion of the rights of man "
THE HIDDEN ASPECT OF IRANIAN MEDDLING IN IRAQ
Can be discerned in a key excerpt from the NYT:
"The leading Shiite cleric in southern Iraq is the Iranian-born Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sestani, who is 73, and whose base is in Najaf. Like many Iraqi clerics, he has a long record of opposition to what has become the Iranian model of Shiite jurisprudence, which grants clerics a pre-eminent political as well as religious role. "
The truth of the political matter is that the hard-line clerical -Pasdaran faction that rules Iran, headed by ex-President Rafsanjani and " Supreme Guide " Khameini is not only a political minority in the nation they rule but a minority sect among the Shiite religious establishment as well. A majority of the senior theologians of Shiism, the Grand Ayatollahs, disagree with the theocratic model of governance where public power is wielded exclusively by the clergy. Moreover, most of the " up and coming " ayatollahs of Shiism in Iran and Iraq do not adhere to Khameini's fascistic view of religious authority and even the regime's own followers - like the Ayatollah Taheri of Qom, have taken their disenchantment with the regime public.
A free Iraq would mean that the Arab Shiite Holy city of Karbala and the scholars of Najaf would return to their pre-Saddam prominence and authority among Shiite muslims and challenge the sectarian and totalitarian views of Iran's hardline rulers. Thus the impetus to meddle in Iraqi affairs is not merely motivated by the desire to contest with " The Great Satan " America but for Khameini and his crew to cling to power in their own demense; if necessary they will use violence, assassination and terrorism to maintain their shaky primacy.
The United States needs to put pressure on the regime in Teheran to respect human rights at home, speed democratic reforms and cease oppressing their own people. Pasdaran-trained infiltrators stirring up violence or threatening moderate Iraqi clergy should be imprisoned or expelled by occupation authorities and most importantly, Iraqi civil society should be given time to organize parties supporting a democratic and secular constitution.
An Iranian-backed Sharia dictatorship will come to Iraq only if we stand by and allow it. The Iranian dictatorship fears its own people and they need to be warned that regime change has many forms.
CLINTON TAUGHT, BUSH LEARNED
Anyone recall the 1996 presidential campaign when a bloodied, battered and broke Bob Dole staggered out of the primary process into the general election while a golf-playing Bill Clinton, at his ease, had been whacking Dole and the GOP with early-buy campaign commercials since the Spring ?
Well. 2004 is going to look a lot like that except the shoe will be on the other foot. The Left one.
FIRST PYONGYANG, NOW BAGHDAD ? PAYING THE ANTIWAR LEFT'S BILLS:
has linked to a Daily Telegraph article on an apparently damning financial connection between Saddam's regime and a leading British antiwar activist, anti-American critic and Labor MP. The World Worker's Party, the mainstay behind ANSWER has long been subsidized by North Korea but these Iraqi intelligence documents are the first to connect the Antiwar Left to Saddam's regime.
Galloway was in Saddam's pay, say secret Iraqi documents
By David Blair in Baghdad
George Galloway, the Labour backbencher, received money from Saddam Hussein's regime, taking a slice of oil earnings worth at least £375,000 a year, according to Iraqi intelligence documents found by The Daily Telegraph in Baghdad.
A confidential memorandum sent to Saddam by his spy chief said that Mr Galloway asked an agent of the Mukhabarat secret service for a greater cut of Iraq's exports under the oil for food programme.
George Galloway: 'I have never in my life seen a barrel of oil, let alone owned, bought or sold one'
He also said that Mr Galloway was profiting from food contracts and sought "exceptional" business deals. Mr Galloway has always denied receiving any financial assistance from Baghdad.
Asked to explain the document, he said yesterday: "Maybe it is the product of the same forgers who forged so many other things in this whole Iraq picture. Maybe The Daily Telegraph forged it. Who knows?"
When the letter from the head of the Iraqi intelligence service was read to him, he said: "The truth is I have never met, to the best of my knowledge, any member of Iraqi intelligence. I have never in my life seen a barrel of oil, let alone owned, bought or sold one."
In the papers, which were found in the looted foreign ministry, Iraqi intelligence continually stresses the need for secrecy about Mr Galloway's alleged business links with the regime. One memo says that payments to him must be made under "commercial cover".
For more than a decade, Mr Galloway, MP for Glasgow Kelvin, has been the leading critic of Anglo-American policy towards Iraq, campaigning against sanctions and the war that toppled Saddam.
He led the Mariam Appeal, named after an Iraqi child he flew to Britain for leukaemia treatment. The campaign was the supposed beneficiary of his fund-raising.
But the papers say that, behind the scenes, Mr Galloway was conducting a relationship with Iraqi intelligence. Among documents found in the foreign ministry was a memorandum from the chief of the Mukhabarat to Saddam's office on Jan 3, 2000, marked "Confidential and Personal".
It purported to outline talks between Mr Galloway and an Iraqi spy. During the meeting on Boxing Day 1999, Mr Galloway detailed his campaign plans for the year ahead.
The spy chief wrote that Mr Galloway told the Mukhabarat agent: "He [Galloway] needs continuous financial support from Iraq. He obtained through Mr Tariq Aziz [deputy prime minister] three million barrels of oil every six months, according to the oil for food programme. His share would be only between 10 and 15 cents per barrel."
Iraq's oil sales, administered by the United Nations, were intended to pay for only essential humanitarian supplies. If the memo was accurate, Mr Galloway's share would have amounted to about £375,000 per year.
The documents say that Mr Galloway entered into partnership with a named Iraqi oil broker to sell the oil on the international market.
The memorandum continues: "He [Galloway] also obtained a limited number of food contracts with the ministry of trade. The percentage of its profits does not go above one per cent."
The Iraqi spy chief, whose illegible signature appears at the bottom of the memorandum, says that Mr Galloway asked for more money.
"He suggested to us the following: first, increase his share of oil; second, grant him exceptional commercial and contractual facilities." The spy chief, who is not named, recommends acceptance of the proposals.
Mr Galloway's intermediary in Iraq was Fawaz Zureikat, a Jordanian. In a letter found in one foreign ministry file, Mr Galloway wrote: "This is to certify that Mr Fawaz A Zureikat is my representative in Baghdad on all matters concerning my work with the Mariam Appeal or the Emergency Committee in Iraq."
The intelligence chief's memorandum describes a meeting with Mr Zureikat in which he said that Mr Galloway's campaigning on behalf of Iraq was putting "his future as a British MP in a circle surrounded by many question marks and doubts".
Mr Zureikat is then quoted as saying: "His projects and future plans for the benefit of the country need financial support to become a motive for him to do more work and, because of the sensitivity of getting money directly from Iraq, it is necessary to grant him oil contracts and special and exceptional commercial opportunities to provide him with an income under commercial cover, without being connected to him directly."
Mr Zureikat is said to have emphasised that the "name of Mr Galloway or his wife should not be mentioned".
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
" Politics is not a science but an art "
Otto von Bismarck
NATURAL ECONOMIES IN WAR ZONES
a thoughtful piece
from TechCentral Station
FASCISM AND TOTALITARIANISM
are being examined at riting on the wall
. A good historical commentary on the relationship between Nazi Foreign Policy and international fascism can be found in The Hitler of History
by historian John Lukacs.
IRAQI SCIENTIST UNRAVELS A LAYER OF SADDAM'S WMD PROGRAM
An excerpt from the NYT:
Illicit Arms Kept Till Eve of War, an Iraqi Scientist Is Said to Assert
By JUDITH MILLER
ITH THE 101ST AIRBORNE DIVISION, south of Baghdad, Iraq, April 20 — A scientist who claims to have worked in Iraq's chemical weapons program for more than a decade has told an American military team that Iraq destroyed chemical weapons and biological warfare equipment only days before the war began, members of the team said.
They said the scientist led Americans to a supply of material that proved to be the building blocks of illegal weapons, which he claimed to have buried as evidence of Iraq's illicit weapons programs.
The scientist also told American weapons experts that Iraq had secretly sent unconventional weapons and technology to Syria, starting in the mid-1990's, and that more recently Iraq was cooperating with Al Qaeda, the military officials said.
The Americans said the scientist told them that President Saddam Hussein's government had destroyed some stockpiles of deadly agents as early as the mid-1990's, transferred others to Syria, and had recently focused its efforts instead on research and development projects that are virtually impervious to detection by international inspectors, and even American forces on the ground combing through Iraq's giant weapons plants.
An American military team hunting for unconventional weapons in Iraq, the Mobile Exploitation Team Alpha, or MET Alpha, which found the scientist, declined to identify him, saying they feared he might be subject to reprisals. But they said that they considered him credible and that the material unearthed over the last three days at sites to which he led them had proved to be precursors for a toxic agent that is banned by chemical weapons treaties.
The officials' account of the scientist's assertions and the discovery of the buried material, which they described as the most important discovery to date in the hunt for illegal weapons, supports the Bush administration's charges that Iraq continued to develop those weapons and lied to the United Nations about it. Finding and destroying illegal weapons was a major justification for the war.
The officials' accounts also provided an explanation for why United States forces had not yet turned up banned weapons in Iraq. The failure to find such weapons has become a political issue in Washington.
Under the terms of her accreditation to report on the activities of MET Alpha, this reporter was not permitted to interview the scientist or visit his home. Nor was she permitted to write about the discovery of the scientist for three days, and the copy was then submitted for a check by military officials.
Those officials asked that details of what chemicals were uncovered be deleted. They said they feared that such information could jeopardize the scientist's safety by identifying the part of the weapons program where he worked.
The MET Alpha team said it reported its findings to Washington after testing the buried material and checking the scientist's identity with experts in the United States. A report was sent to the White House on Friday, experts said.
Military spokesmen at the Pentagon and at Central Command headquarters in Doha, Qatar, said they could not confirm that an Iraqi chemical weapons scientist was providing American forces with new information.
The scientist was found by a team headed by Chief Warrant Officer Richard L. Gonzales, the leader of MET Alpha, one of several teams charged with hunting for unconventional weapons throughout Iraq. Departing from his team's assigned mission, Mr. Gonzales and his team of specialists from the Defense Intelligence Agency tracked down the scientist on Thursday through a series of interviews and increasingly frantic site visits.
" FEASTER "
Zenpundit's lack of postings were due to a holiday overindulgence and a temporary internet connection difficulty. Sorry for those who visited yet saw nothing new.
" IT'S NOT IN THE DNA "
Andrew Sullivan on the breezily idiotic charge that America is an " empire "
TIME TO GIVE IT A REST DEPARTMENT
"BERLIN - The chief U.N. weapons inspector for Iraq urged the U.S.-led coalition to allow his team back into the country to look for weapons of mass destruction, saying that would increase the credibility of any discoveries, a magazine reported Thursday."
After his news conference, Mr. Blix went about locking barn doors.
skewers liberal hypocrisy
on the war on terror
" HOW TO DEFEAT AMERICA" PART I - REVERSE CONTAINMENT,IT’S LIMITATIONS AND HOW IT WAS COUNTERED
The victory in Iraq does not mean that nations with a strategic interest in checking American influence so as to promote a world order friendlier to paternalistic governments have given up. Instead, they will look at the circumstances of the Iraq War and reassess how to best employ their strategies on “ How to Defeat America ”. Today the focus is on the “ Hard Power “ approach exemplified by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq – the policy of Reverse –Containment.
Historian Eric Bergerud recently in an H-Diplo Listserv commentary accurately characterized the actions of the regional hegemons ( France,Russia,China) in supporting Iraq militarily to be the behavior “ of enemies” of the United States. Bergerud is quite correct; the value of Reverse-Containment as a policy is rooted in the concept that these regional powers can covertly forment dangerous military situations by abetting the WMD programs of Rogue states while maintaining the pretense of overtly peaceful relations with the United States. From the viewpoint of the Hegemons it would be ideal that the United States be preoccupied containing states like North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Syria while remaining “ on-call ” militarily for a crisis elsewhere, leaving the hegemons free to dominate their respective spheres.
The assumptions of the Reverse-Containment have been that the United States could be trusted to react by 1) Being too timid to openly acknowledge that the Franco-German EU bloc, Russia and China were effectively allied with Saddam and take diplomatic steps to retaliate appropriately and; 2) Would in the final analysis, shrink from “ pulling the trigger” and initiating a major war absent a gratuitously aggressive provocation from one of the rogue states. The Bush administration has badly undermined Reverse Containment’s premises on both counts and by precedent, made it more difficult for a succeeding administration of Democratic or Establishment Republican character from returning to the old U.S. policy of “ looking the other way until the next crisis arrives”. Not impossible to return but more politically difficult as the presidential bar for measuring how well a politician protects American security is now noticeably higher ( this has left Democrats squirming with discomfort or in the progressive wing of the party, enraged ). Essentially “ Preemption “ checks “ Reverse-Containment” very effectively which badly worries social democratic elites on both sides of the Atlantic. It’s a successful prescription for maintaining American dominance abroad and- so long as Democrats visibly look uncomfortable with using armed force to crush serious security threats – Republican control at home.
It is obvious that when put to a real test, as predicted by _Unrestricted Warfare_,
the Chinese analysis of combatting U.S. power asymmetrically, Reverse-Containment is a miserable failure. Once American leaders muster the will to assume WMD use risks against American troops, the Rogue state proxies have no chance of prevailing in combat against America's overwhelming military might. North Korea apparently read this lesson from saddam's fall and abruptly backed away from an escalating policy of nuclear brinksmanship with the United States. The only way for the Hegemons to restore Reverse-Containment to viability is to work to reestablish the political conditions in America that made that policy feasible in the first place.
THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION ON SYRIA AND OCCUPIED IRAQ
SLATE'S TAKE ON SYRIAN MILITARY CAPABILITIES
Mostly, they are quoting Anthony Cordesman's analysis
TRADE WITH THE MULLAHS, GO TO JAIL. PERIOD. NO EXCEPTIONS.
posted the following and to give credit where it is due he's right. Corporate CEO's who undermine U.S. national security by trading with hostile states - especially cases involving high technology - belong in jail next to Aldrich Ames and Jonathan Jay Pollard. Let's not equivocate, look the other way or make feeble excuses. In every instance this behavior is illegal
; in most cases it is unpatriotic; on a few occasions it may legitimately give rise to a charge of treason. Wars are won by taking them seriously and the United States is at war with radical Islamism and the network of rogue states that aid and abet the terrorist cells of the Mullahs.
"Double Standard in the Terror War
When individuals are charged with doing business with enemy states or listed terrorist groups, there are press conferences and press releases, evidence leaks, criminal charges, ruined reputations and more likely than not, jail time. When it happens to a corporation, the penalty turns out to be a slap on the wrist.
Why is it so different for US companies quietly caught trading with the enemy?
...Why are the government's cops so reluctant to tell us about the crooks they've captured? Who ever heard of a shy prosecutor, especially one who can show success in the war against terrorism?
When deranged American citizens are accused of working with terrorist groups like al-Qaida, Attorney General John Ashcroft holds a press conference and the FBI puts a new name and face on its Top 10 Most Wanted List, even though the allegations have not been proved in court. The suspects can languish in jail for months without any formal charges.
And when a Muslim charity is suspected of laundering funds for alleged terror groups, the Treasury Department shuts it down and freezes its assets.
But when multinational corporations like Wal-Mart, Dow Chemical, ExxonMobil and Amazon .com agree with government prosecutors that they have violated laws that prohibit doing business with enemy states, the news is buried on an obscure government Web site.
Why the secrecy? Why the protection from the public?
In the past two weeks, the Treasury's Office of Foreign Asset Control has revealed that 57 companies and organizations have been fined more than $1.35 million for civil violations of the sanctions laws.
For the first time, the government will provide weekly updates on the status of its civil cases. But the information provided by the government about these violations is paltry, and unless you've memorized the law, you'll never understand that "EO13121 FT" means an illegal funds transfer to the former Yugoslavia.
The government has provided almost no information about the civil cases except what country the company traded with and what the penalty was. No dates, no details, no way of knowing if the violations were egregious or inadvertent. No way of knowing if the companies sold brass knuckles to the secret police or baby formula to an orphanage.
Citigroup was fined for violating laws against financing terrorism. Other corporations have been caught doing business with Iraq, Cuba, North Korea, Iran and Sudan. The companies are a diverse group, including The New York Yankees, Walmart, Chevron, Exxon, ESPN and Royal Crown (cola).
Each year, the government investigates thousands of cases of U.S. individuals or companies for alleged violations of the Trading with the Enemy Act and other statutes and executive orders that restrict free trade. Each year, the government imposes millions of dollars in civil penalties and prosecutes 10 or so criminal cases.
Its time the Government stopped shielding corporations who engage in misdeeds related to trade with terrorist countries or organizations. This is conduct that the public has a right to know about and the media has a duty to report "
HOW TO DEFEAT AMERICA - Introduction.
The victory in Iraq means that the Bush administration has dealt a significant blow to the transnational social democratic elites and would-be regional hegemons who have the objective of constraining and checking American power and the values that we promote abroad. Thus far they have followed two complementary strategies, one based upon " soft power " and one upon traditional realpolitik diplomacy and" hard power ". The " hard power " strategy I would call " reverse-containment
" - tying down American military assets, economic resources and diplomatic capital by multiplying the power parameters of rogue states that only the United States can and feels obligated to contain. The " soft power " strategy I would call " Transfer of Sovereignty "
. While stymied by Bush's ultimate refusal to back down in face of UN intransigence, " Transfer of Sovereignty" retains great potential for future harm and popularity among political progressives, transnational elites and the NGO activists that Geitner Simmons
has been assailing. The third strategy will be " Burrowing in "
and it is already ongoing and will be extremely difficult to get our politicians to muster the will to stop it even as the victory in Iraq will increase the interest among foreign governments of countering U.S. power in this fashion.
I will deal with each strategy and the potentialities they raise in terms of national security in separate postings.
If Osama Bin Laden turns out to be sheltered in Damascus or Teheran - what will Pelosi, Daschle, Howell Raines, Paul Krugman, Eric Alterman and those even further Left suggest Bush should do ?
Let's make it a contest ;o)
GIVING THE MEDIA THE BOOT
by Max Boot
READING THE RITING ON THE WALL
I would like to thank Riting on the Wall
for adding Zenpundit to their blogroll. It's a thoughtful site; here's a sample:
"why have more hope for iran than your average middle eastern country?
simple. they've figured out schizophrenic politics.
ok, not simple.
by no stretch of the imagination are all iranians duly and accurately represented in any sort of power-proportionate manner in the government. that is, some people's views are way, way better represented than others', while a few are left out entirely. this is not an ideal situation. i could note that truly power-proportionate representation doesn't exist anywhere for any number of reasons, but at least grant me that iran is further off than western democracies.
however, it's also considerably more representative than most countries in the middle east, especially the former iraqi regime and the existing pseudo-totalitarian states (like saudi arabia). while that's not a huge accomplishment, it does point to the fact that there's something fundamentally different in a state that allows internal and public opposition within the regime and even a limited seperation of powers from, say, an absolute monarchy or a totalitarian ba'athist dictatorship where opinion is set by decree and expected to be propogated as absolute.
following iranian politics casually can be frustrating for this reason, too. not only is there a fairly (relatively) wide variety of of opinions coming from both official and unofficial sources (unlike jordan or syria), but the opinions don't really fit neatly on an axis (unlike egypt). it's totally possible to get reactions from khamenei, khatami and rafsanjani that are completely unrelated (that is, not two "poles" and a middle ground); they are coming at reality from such radically different angles that they can't be idealized and slotted in to fixed categories. factor in more radical elements and you'll have no clue what "iran thinks".
which is good. if you can look at a country and automatically see where, as a whole, it's headed, then it lacks a vibrant political life (ie: kazakhstan).
iran, on the other hand, is confusing, speaking from all sorts of angles that cannot be simultaneously held: schizophrenia.
at least there's a reason to hope."
And he's right.
GEITNER SIMMONS NAILS IT
on the transnationalist
activities of NGO's which are acquiring a tendency to act in concert to devalue traditional concepts of sovereignty and assert the juridical " superiority " of unaccountable international institutions over American Constitutional procedures. It's a dangerous and highly undemocratic movement that so far, has managed to operate " off -radar ". That may soon be changing as I see the story has already spread to Donald Sensing's
blog as well. Can the mainstream press be far behind ?
AN EXCELLENT COLUMN
by John Leo
A FEW WORDS FROM BILL CLINTON
"We can't run," Clinton pointed out. "If you got an interdependent world, and you cannot kill, jail or occupy all your adversaries, sooner or later you have to make a deal."
Like with North Korea in 1994 perhaps ? How about when an unfriendly regime, seeking to curry favor with the U.S., offers to hand over a master terrorist ? That might have been a good time for Clintonian deal-making...at least from the perspective of a few thousand who died as a result.
THE NATION - A MAGAZINE IMPERVIOUS TO REALITY
From the editorial page of the Nation online. Suggestions for a UN role in Iraq comprising duties the UN has repeatedly proven incompetent at administering:
"Also, the UN would be a more legitimate governing power in Iraq than either a US proconsul or a handpicked government; a UN security force could better deal with the growing breakdown of law and order than a military government, which is likely to ignite smoldering anger in the Arab world. A US-occupied Iraq could become a target for attacks and guerrilla actions by Arab fighters; resentment against Washington could eclipse democracy on the Middle Eastern agenda, and anti-US fury could recruit hundreds of terrorists determined to avenge the Arab world's humiliation in Iraq. Furthermore, a unilateral occupation will cost untold billions, becoming a drag on the US economy. Finally, only UN inspectors, who should be returned to Iraq immediately, will be able to credibly identify hidden stocks of chemical or biological weapons, the ostensible reason for the US invasion. "
No thanks guys, all you really care about is putting into place a method by which to obstruct a Bush administration-led reconstruction of Iraq. Let the UN hand out wheat and free innoculations. We'll handle the rest just fine on our own.
HYUNDAI FIRES MARINE UNDER FIRE IN IRAQ
This is against federal law. Nor is this the first instance of corporations firing employees on active-duty in Iraq. The Department of Justice needs to begin enforcing the law that protects reservists and their families.
Tuesday, April 15, 2003
Marine Fired While Serving in Iraq
What in the world is going on with Hyundai? First the giant conglomerate is caught in South Korea's bribery scandal involving communist North Korea. Now the pregnant wife of a Marine reservist says the corporation fired him while he was serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Shari Moffitt says her husband, Sgt. Clifford Moffitt, thought his job at the automaker was secure after he was called to active duty.
"Instead he received a letter on the battlefield saying that Hyundai decided to terminate his employment two months after he left," Mrs. Moffitt told KGTV in San Diego.
Mrs. Moffitt, also employed at Hyundai, is talking with publicity-loving attorney Gloria Allred about legal action.
AVOIDING THE MISTAKES OF SCAP
The first meeting to rebuild the Iraqi civil polity has begun
under Coalition auspices. Hopefully, with Iraq there will more care exercised in the selection of personnel and a through dismantling of the fascist Baath than there was during the Occupation of Japan.
Hastiness, confusion and the lack of familiarity with Japanese language and culture of American officers allowed not only politically unacceptable Japanese bureaucrats to retain their posts under SCAP but Class-A war criminals like Colonel Manasobu Tsuji - the architect of the Death March to Bataan- were able to worm their way back into the government. Large numbers of fascist ex-Naimusho ( Home Ministry)and Kempetai ( Military Police) officials found places in Japan's postwar Ministries of Education, Finance and International trade and Industry and ultranationalist gangsters like Yoshio Kodama who had looted Manchuria for the Japanese Imperial Army were left free to build billion dollar Yakuza empires.
In an effort to restore order to Baghdad, the wholesale recall of Iraqi police is worrisome without some kind of vetting procedure to screen out the rank and file uniformed traffic cop from the agents of Saddam's Amn, Mukhabarat and other security agencies. If Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union are any guide, midlevel security officials often wear the hats of several organizations and they will be presenting themselves to Coalition officers in their least sinister roles.
Backgrounds need to be checked.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
" Man is the measure of all things "
TIPPING THE ZENPUNDIT HAT TO THE FORMER IRAQI MINISTER OF MISINFORMATION
A good friend sent this to me, perhaps some of you have seen it since it is making the rounds on the internet. It's a good indication of the lunatic mindset that prevails in a totalitarian state. Where the chilling meets the laughingstock.
-- Daily Updates --
14 April - Still no sighting of Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf (M.S.S.). Major media outlets promise lucrative personal-appearance contracts, talk show bookings, etc. Representatives of William Morris Agency sighted at Iraqi/Syrian border...
13 April - M.S.S. not included in "Death Pack" playing cards distributed to coalition forces. International uproar. NBC News: M.S.S. "curiously absent."
12 April - Sahafomania grips globe. Amateurish website dedicated to M.S.S. crashes four separate servers. Visitor rates reach 4000 per second. Website inexplicably featured in daily papers, Reuters, AP, CNN, BBC and assorted lame talk shows.
10 April - M.S.S. begins 'administrative leave'.
9 April – Last known remark of M.S.S., to John Burns of NY Times : "I NOW INFORM YOU THAT YOU ARE TOO FAR FROM REALITY."
-- TREASURY OF DEATHLESS QUOTES --
"There are no American infidels in Baghdad. Never!"
"My feelings - as usual - we will slaughter them all"
"Our initial assessment is that they will all die"
"I blame Al-Jazeera - they are marketing for the Americans!"
"God will roast their stomachs in hell at the hands of Iraqis."
"We have destroyed 2 tanks, fighter planes, 2 helicopters and their shovels - We have driven them back."
"They're coming to surrender or be burned in their tanks."
"No I am not scared and neither should you be!"
"We are not afraid of the Americans. Allah has condemned them. They are stupid. They are stupid" (dramatic pause) "and they are condemned."
"The authority of the civil defense ... issued a warning to the civilian population not to pick up any of those pencils because they are booby traps," he said, adding that the British and American forces were "immoral mercenaries" and "war criminals" for such behavior.
"I am not talking about the American people and the British people," he said. "I am talking about those mercenaries. ... They have started throwing those pencils, but they are not pencils, they are booby traps to kill the children."
"We have them surrounded in their tanks"
"The American press is all about lies! All they tell is lies, lies and more lies!"
"Lying is forbidden in Iraq. President Saddam Hussein will tolerate nothing but truthfulness as he is a man of great honor and integrity. Everyone is encouraged to speak freely of the truths evidenced in their eyes and hearts."
"because we will behead you all"
"Let the American infidels bask in their illusion"
"I triple guarantee you, there are no American soldiers in Baghdad."
Britain "is not worth an old shoe"
"we have given them a sour taste"
Of US troops: "They are most welcome. We will butcher them."
"We will welcome them with bullets and shoes."
"We are in control. They are in a state of hysteria. Losers, they think that by killing civilians and trying to distort the feelings of the people they will win. I think they will not win, those bastards."
“We have placed them in a quagmire from which they can never emerge except dead”
"Washington has thrown their soldiers on the fire"
"I speak better English than this villain Bush"
"These cowards have no morals. They have no shame about lying"
"They're not even [within] 100 miles [of Baghdad]. They are not in any
place. They hold no place in Iraq. This is an illusion ... they are
trying to sell to the others an illusion."
"Their failure in this regard is abysmal. They want to tell the world changes thought - as a matter of fact, they do not respect the world, they want to tell taxpayers and the domestic public to keep them deceived. We will embroil them, confuse them and keep them in the quagmire. They have begun to tell more lies so that they might continue with the perpetration of their crimes. May they be accursed."
"We will kill them all........most of them."
When Hafez al Assad ruled Syria with an iron grip less paranoid but equally as ruthless as Saddam's hold over Iraq, the Syrian dictator was often described as " wily " by journalists. His son and successor, Bashar al Assad
seems to lack his father's talent for reading the geopolitical situation and changing course. When the elder Assad took into account the impact of the ongoing Soviet collapse on Syria's military fortunes, Assad promptly lined up with the United States to tackle his bitter enemy Saddam Hussein in the first Gulf War. By contrast, Bashar embraced the Iraqi regime in its weakness, reputedly having formed a close friendship with Hussein's maniacal son Uday and has granted not only asylum to his father's defeated Baathist rivals but passage to jihadi radicals who wanted to fight the Americans. By contrast, Hafez Assad regarded the Islamists as a dire threat to the Syrian Baath, having crushed the Muslim Brotherhood at Hama.
In short, Bashar Assad is cultivating needless conflict with the United States by provoking U.S. military forces on the ground in Iraq when even the Neocon hawks would prefer to leave Syria alone If the U.S. strikes at Damascus it will be driven by the security needs of U.S. troops in Iraq, not Pentagon civilian Neocons who would much rather be putting pressure on Iran or turn to to North Korea. Syria is small beer on the rogue state all-star team.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
" The Tree of Liberty needs to be refreshed with the blood of patriots and tyrants "
FOREIGN POLICY MAGAZINE ONLINE
has a debate
between Richard Perle and Daniel Cohn-Bendit, leader of the European Parliament's Green Party.
THE RUSSIANS AND THE ROGUE STATE:
The UK Telegraph posted a story about captured Iraqi intelligence documents pointing to a far more extensive prewar collaboration between Russia's SVR ( successor to the Foreign Intelligence Directorate of the KGB ) and Iraqi secret police than previously realized. Included is an offer of assassins and an awareness of Iraqi nuclear capacity. I have argued here and on H-Diplo that the would-be Regional Hegemons - Russia, China, France - are intentionally aiding the Rogue states in order to harm American interests. Here apparently is some proof:
"Moscow also provided Saddam with lists of assassins available for "hits" in the West and details of arms deals to neighbouring countries. The two countries also signed agreements to share intelligence, help each other to "obtain" visas for agents to go to other countries and to exchange information on the activities of Osama bin Laden, the al-Qa'eda leader.
The documents detailing the extent of the links between Russia and Saddam were obtained from the heavily bombed headquarters of the Iraqi intelligence service in Baghdad yesterday.
The sprawling complex, which for years struck fear into Iraqis, has been the target of looters and ordinary Iraqis searching for information about relatives who disappeared during Saddam's rule.
The documents, in Arabic, are mostly intelligence reports from anonymous agents and from the Iraqi embassy in Moscow. Tony Blair is referred to in a report dated March 5, 2002 and marked: "Subject - SECRET." In the letter, an Iraqi intelligence official explains that a Russian colleague had passed him details of a private conversation between Mr Blair and Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister, at a meeting in Rome. The two had met for an annual summit on February 15, 2002, in Rome.
The document says that Mr Blair "referred to the negative things decided by the United States over Baghdad". It adds that Mr Blair refused to engage in any military action in Iraq at that time because British forces were still in Afghanistan and that nothing could be done until after the new Kabul government had been set up.
It is not known how the Russians obtained such potentially sensitive information, but the revelation that Moscow passed it on to Baghdad is likely to have a devastating effect on relations between Britain and Russia and come as a personal blow to Mr Blair. The Prime Minister declared a "new era" in relations with President Putin when they met in Moscow in October 2001 in the aftermath of the World Trade Center attacks.
In spite of warnings by the British intelligence and security services of increasing Russian espionage in the West, Mr Blair fostered closer relations with Mr Putin, visiting his family dacha near Moscow, supporting the Russians in their war in Chechnya, and arranging for the Russian president to have tea with the Queen.
Mr Blair was surprised and dismayed when Mr Putin joined France in threatening to veto the American and British resolution on Iraq in the UN, but continued to differentiate between President Putin and President Jacques Chirac.
The Prime Minister refused to join the French, German and Russian leaders in their summit on Iraq this weekend, but still regarded Mr Putin as an ally in global politics.
The list of assassins is referred to in a paper dated November 27, 2000. In it, an agent signing himself "SAB" says that the Russians have passed him a detailed list of killers. The letter does not describe any assignments that the assassins might be given but it indicates just how much Moscow was prepared to share with Baghdad. Another document, dated March 12, 2002, appears to confirm that Saddam had developed, or was developing nuclear weapons. The Russians warned Baghdad that if it refused to comply with the United Nations then that would give the United States "a cause to destroy any nuclear weapons".
SOMEBODY'S THINKING CAP ( or helmet) IS IN PLACE
From the NY TIMES
"Colonel Pomfret said the marines were already reaching out to local leaders, mainly in the mosques. He said they were focusing on lower-level leaders who were in touch with their neighborhoods. He said the effort entailed the extensive use of Arabic translators, as there was a realization that the Americans should not rely too heavily on Iraqi officials just because they speak English.
"We are trying to take the pulse of the street," he said. "We don't want to rely only on the English-speaking Iraqi leaders, because a lot of them were involved in the regime."
ASSYMETRY AND THE HEIRS OF SUN-TZU
Also in the Chicago Tribune on Sunday is a series of excerpts from _ Unrestricted Warfare_
by Colonels Qiao Liang and Wang Xiagsui of China's PLA examining how the first Gulf War required that all other states throw out the rule book vis-avis the United States. This book, published in 1999,
is apparently not yet available in English, was translated by the CIA for the agency's Foreign Broadcast Service. The commentary is eerily prescient of what would happen on 9/11 yet fits fully within the Chinese strategic philosophy for those familiar with the writings of Sun-Tzu, Han Fei-Tzu, Mao ZeDong and _The General Mirror for the Aid of Government. My excerpts of the Trib's excerpts of the CIA's excerpts of _Unrestricted Warfare__
" There is nothing in the world today that cannot become a weapon "
" We believe some morning people will awake to discover with surprise that quite a few gentle and kind things have begun to have offensive and lethal characteristics "
" The appearance of precision-kill weapons is a turning point "
Of Bin Laden, after the USS COLE and Embassy bombings in Africa :
" The American military is naturally unprepared to deal with this type of enemy"
Mostly the weaker side selects as its main axis of battle those areas or battle lines where its adversary does not expect to be hit.....always a place which will result in a huge psychological shock to the adversary "
I would argue in response, in addition to those I wrote some time ago in an article
, that the comparative advantage for the weaker side lasts so long as the stronger side continues to adhere to the disadvantageous " old rules ". When the stronger side takes the initiative in rewriting the rules, not merely reacting defensively, the precious advantage is lost and the weaker side risks being extirpated.
IN THE VANGUARD OF REFORM:
I am doing a late night perusal of the Sunday edition of the Chicago Tribune and in their Books section accompanying an article on the new Taubman biography of Nikita Khrushchev was a recommended reading list on Russia compiled by Jonathan Brent, the editorial director of Yale University Press. I cannot quarrel with any of the books he included on his list which contains authors such as Maxim Gorky, Aleksander Solzhenitsyn, Arthur Koestler and Robert Tucker but I was saddened to see nothing included by the late historian W. Bruce Lincoln whose book, _The Romanov's_
is a standard text in courses on Russian history. An unusually prolific scholar who wrote with a verve and power that rivaled the prose of David McCullough or Stephen Ambrose, Professor Lincoln was a rarity - an academic specialist who cultivated a popular audience without sacrificing accuracy or analysis. Interested laymen would be able to grasp much of the impact that modern history has left on Russia by reading Lincoln's _Passage Through Armageddon_
and _Red Victory_
which chronicled the suffering of war, Revolution and finally civil war and the accompanying political terror that marked the Soviet Union until 1953.
I cannot claim to have known Professor Lincoln well, having only spoken to him on a couple of occasions and sat through a few of his lectures but he left a mark upon his field that merits recollection
"Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, weighing a run for the job, met Thursday with Karl Rove, President Bush's top political adviser.
If he decides to run, Schwarzenegger may face a challenge from national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, who has spoken to senior Republicans about running for California's top job, according to a Bush adviser. Rice's candidacy is a "real possibility," this adviser said, adding that Rice wants to take on an executive role.
This opens up some interesting possibilities for the GOP in a major electoral college state that is firmly in the hands of the Democrats but beleaguered by multiple problems and the highly unpopular Democratic Governor Gray Davis. While the idea of a Schwarzeneger candidacy might cause chuckles in some quarters, Arnold would be a major headache for Democrats if he ran for Senator or Governor in California as would a Condoleeza Rice candidacy though for very different reasons.
Merely running for governor of California would make Rice a heavyweight contender for the GOP presidential nomination in 2008. Armed with a Ph.d, experience in foreign affairs in two Bush administrations, attractive and personable on television Rice's candidacy would send a powerful symbolic message to the nation about Republican commitment to minority inclusion in the American dream. California Democrats do not have a candidate of similar stature unless they can persuade Diane Feinstein to abandon the Senate to battle Rice for the governorship ( Barbara Boxer, something of a liberal lightweight in the Senate, is no match for Rice intellectually ).
By contrast, Schwarzenegger would bring his fame, fortune and an outsized steamroller personality in the same way that he engineered a successful ballot initiative for after school programs. Neither money nor media would be a problem in a state that once elected Ronald Reagan. Aside from being free of any fundraising worries - Schwarnegger ranks thirtieth on the Forbes' celebrity 100 list - he would appeal to the conservative base of the GOP while bringing to the ballot box the same apolitical, alienated, young, white male voters who showed up in Minnesota unexpectedly to hand Jesse " the Body " Ventura an upset victory.
California is a " must have " state for Democrats in presidential contests - a loss in 2006 or even a tough race that electrifies a moribund state GOP, bodes poorly for their chances of dominating national politics.
THE STATE DEPARTMENT AND IRAQ
"Our view of an Iraqi interim authority," State Department deputy spokesman Philip Reeker said, "is something that is run and chosen by Iraqis; that it should be representative of all the groups in Iraq; it should include members of the exile community who have worked very hard over a number of decades for the liberation of Iraq, for the freedom of the Iraqi people. It should also include people inside Iraq."
This is more than a battle over the status of Ahmed Chalabi and the INC in post-Saddam Iraq. State and the CIA have reason to be wary of Chalabi, who while reliably pro-Western and secular, has minimal support within Iraq itself. However, the State Department's basic concept of relying heavily on established power brokers such as tribal leaders, the lower echelon Iraqi civil service and the UN bureaucracy, caters to regional Arab preferences to go slow with any genuine democratic reforms. Reforms that could only be implemented by a tough, military-run occupation unfettered by UN obstructionism. State Department officials, who have been openly skeptical of attempting to democratize Iraq, would prefer an Arab version of Loya Jirga where a council of Iraqi leaders are transformed into a provisional government of the usual paternal characteristics of the region. Opposition to Chalabi at State stems not from fears that he would be a puppet- strongman, but because out of weakness Chalabi and the INC would need to institute genuine democracy and win a free election to acquire legitimacy. This causes great anxiety to the Saudis, the Egyptians and even the Jordainians who would find even a limited Arab democracy in Iraq destabilizing and attractive to their own restive populations. All the more reason to press forward and let the DoD run the show.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
" Bad laws are the worst form of tyranny "
- Edmund Burke
QUOTE OF THE DAY - TOM SPENCER ON THE LIBERATION OF IRAQ AND DOWNFALL OF SADDAM
"As a demonstration of both America’s military might and his own itchy trigger finger, Bush had decided to make Iraq his Alderaan, the hapless planet in the original Star Wars movie that was picked to show off the power of the Death Star."
I once wrote to Tom that if Bush healed the blind, the lame and the halt of speech Tom would regard it purely as a clever Republican gambit to avoid national health care. He was amused but Bush-hatred really has gotten the better of him. Tom, you can be happy for 20 million human beings being liberated from a monstrous tyranny while still hating the President who achieved it - trust me, you won't have to turn in your Paul Krugman Fan Club membership ;o)
WAS THERE AN IRAQI INTELLIGENCE CONNECTION TO FARC ? THE ELN ? HUGO CHAVEZ ?
The Iraqi embassy in Brazil is in a sudden hurry to destroy documentation
. Traditionally, this action is only taken by embassies expecting to be siezed in a time of war by an enemy state.
IRAQ AND THE MIDWEST
a thoughtful article
by Regions of Mind
blogger and newspaper editor Geitner Simmons in National Interest. A good retrospective of Senator Chuck Hagel's position on Iraq.
THE LEFT: GETTING IT AS WRONG ABOUT IRAQ AS THEY DID ABOUT THE SOVIETS
Consistency must be a virtue.From the Associated Press:
"BAGHDAD, Iraq - Their hour of freedom at hand, jubilant Iraqis celebrated the collapse of Saddam Hussein's murderous regime on Wednesday, beheading a toppled statue of their longtime ruler in downtown Baghdad and embracing American troops as liberators.
"He killed millions of us," said a young Iraqi, spitting on one of countless portraits of Saddam scattered throughout the capital. Men hugged Americans in full combat gear and women held up babies so soldiers riding on tanks could kiss them
CALLING JIMMY CARTER
Cuban dissident and poet Diego Rivera, along with 77 others associated with the pro-freedom Varela Project
endorsed by former President Jimmy Carter have been arrested by Cuban secret police. Rivera has received a 20 year sentence from one of Castro's kangaroo courts. If you want to email the Ministry of Foreign Affairs asking Cuba to release the Rivera and the Varela 78 go here
You will have to scroll to the bottom of the page.
Gee...how long before Ed Asner, Barbra Streisand, Sean Penn, Representative McDermott, Mike Farrell, Micheal Moore stick up for the human rights of oppressed Cubans ?
A long time I'm betting.
Addendum: The English language page is not working - nor is the email. Surprise !
JOHN LEO TAKES ON THE " BUSH IS HITLER " NUTJOBS
" The Hitlerization of Bush is particularly outlandish since there already is a rather obvious Hitler figure in this drama. Saddam Hussein gouges out the eyes and cuts out the tongues of resisters--and their children. He drills holes in people's hands and pours acid into the holes. He rapes and tortures. Yet the "peace" and the human-rights movements are reluctant to notice. Sarah Baxter of Amnesty International points out that her group issued a "harrowing" indictment of Saddam's regime just before 9/11; then it instantly switched gears, deploring western leaders who mentioned all the Saddam Hussein terror that Amnesty had laboriously documented.
Like Amnesty International's downplaying of Saddam's terror, the peace movement was a direct and abrupt result of 9/11. A month ago, a Washington Post news report said this February's peace rallies were agreed upon at an international meeting two months earlier in Italy, "but their roots go back to the days just after Sept. 11, 2001, when activists say they began meeting to map out opposition to what they anticipated would be the U.S. military response to the terrorist at-tacks on New York and the Pen-tagon." In other words, the "peace" organizers were not responding to any Hitler-like actions by President Bush. They just didn't want the United States to defend itself.
Many "peace" marchers, of course, are not anti-American, just antiwar. That's the point of all the news articles saying the movement has "broadened," i.e., pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. However, we should all pay some heed to whom we hang out with. Tom Bevan, a blogger at RealClearPolitics, put it nicely: "It matters a great deal who is organizing the protests. I don't absolve the `true' antiwar protesters for taking part in a march organized by American-hating groups any more than I'd absolve someone who marched in a legitimate protest of immigration laws if it was sponsored by the KKK."
Being Left-wing doesn't mean never having to say you are sorry - it means never living up to the standards you want to impose on everyone else.
I CAN ONLY APPLAUD
"ROME - A top U.S. State Department official said Wednesday that the war on Iraq should be a lesson for other regimes pursuing weapons of mass destruction, but insisted that the United States is seeking the peaceful elimination of those weapons programs.
John R. Bolton, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, spoke to reporters after meetings with Vatican officials on proposals for humanitarian assistance and postwar reconstruction in Iraq.
He was asked about speculation that Syria and Iran could be America's next targets after the war in Iraq.
"We are hopeful that a number of regimes will draw the appropriate lesson from Iraq that the pursuit of weapons of mass destruction is not in their national interest," Bolton said.
He called the pursuit of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons programs a terrorist threat and said it "will remain our priority to achieve a peaceful elimination of these programs so that supporters of terrorism cannot use them against innocent people."
It's nice to have an administration with officials who inhabit the real world instead of a Strobe Talbott utopian plan for the coming planetary government fantasy where American power is viewed as the primary problem facing American policy makers.
FOR ALL THE IDIOTS WHO POST COMMENTS ON THE ATRIOS ESCHATON WEBSITE THAT THINK THE UNITED STATES IS " FASCIST"
a look at what Fascism really is like
. There will be more and worse to come - and remember, the antiwar folks tried to keep these guys in business.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
He who can protest and does not is an accomplice to the act-
THE UNITED STATES AND THE WORLD ORDER
The entire saga with the UN and France prior to the second war with Iraq means that that it's time to face facts that the old 20th century cold war world is dead and gone as far as other states are concerned. From the August Coup to September 11 we were in a world in transition where American policy elites resisted acknowledging that the ground had shifted under our feet ( how many times did Foreign Affairs run articles regarding the future of NATO ? Each issue ?). We either make a serious effort to rewrite the rules of international conduct to reflect and balance actual power relationships in reality or we resign ourselves to nuclear anarchy as the old system stumbles toward inevitable collapse. The problem we face is very simply that all other great powers - potential regional hegemons - have an interest in seeing the United States maintain international order everywhere but in their own sphere of influence. They do not want to do something to bring down the house of cards, just constrain America enough to carve out special roles for themselves. A little place in the sun - at least for the short run. Except, in combination, all these attempts to create local exceptions invites global collapse which is in no one's interest. The United States, Britain, Japan and to an extent India seem to see the larger picture while Russia, China and the Franco-German- EU Social Democratic bloc are gambling that they can satisfy their ambitions by managing a relative American decline through a reverse-containment policy.
This will be hard to carry out because much of our foreign policy bureaucracy and academic elite share assumptions with the Franco-German-EU bloc, assume it's good motives and are career-invested in the old Cold War diplomatic structures. If you have doubts, read the resignation letters sent to Colin Powell by the State Department nonentities in angst over Iraq. They reflect the majority view in their service unusual only for their willingness to sacrifice their careeers to express it. I question neither their patriotism or their dedication, just their analytical prowess and political judgement. Their blindness exemplifies the axiom of not seeing the forest for the trees.
Small states who have to live alongside the would-be regional hegemons - " New Europe " for example - recognize the danger. So does Britain and Japan which would prefer to maintain it's current symbiotic security relationship with the US but will, if forced to do - remilitarize and become a nuclear power to face down North Korea and China. (Skeptics need to recall Japanese capacity for abrupt and radical changes in national policy when faced with a crisis) These small states plus Australia, Canada,Israel, Italy, Spain can be built into a reliable diplomatic coalition to negotiate new rules favorable to themselves as well as us - sovereign legitimacy rooted in democracy; robust NP; outlawing of Terrorism; market economics; human rights from an Anglo-American individualist/political perspective; international law enforcement by a democratic club instead of the UN.
The old structures - the UN, NATO, Council of Europe, Partnership for Peace, the EU do not need to be torn down, instead they should be used to push this agenda and in the case of the EU, reformed along these lines. Since this will take time the agenda has to be pursued by creating new structures that in themselves create incentives in terms of state behaviors for the regional hegemons the way the WTO enticed nations to change trading practices. This is a course to be sustained for decades long after those running the Bush administration are dead so forging a domestic consensus from moderate democrats through the very conservative Republicans is critical ( this policy is inimical to the values of left-wing of the Democratic party and the American Conservative crowd - we need 65%-80 % public support, not unanimity. Enough to weather election cycles as Containment once did )
PRAISE FOR OUR REAL ALLIES
A mood of cautious celebration appears to be setting in as one of the world's worst regimes slinks off to an ignominous resting place on the ash-heap of history. Before we commence any rejoicing in Saddam's downfall or death, we who are Americans owe a debt of thanks to those who stood with us in a time of trial when looking the other way or outright opposition was the road to cheap popularity. The Australians and especially the British stood by the United States when few other nations would ( or frankly, could ). It will not be forgotten. Thank you.
A FEW WORDS FROM JOHN KEEGAN
"Saddam has disappeared. He may have fled the country. He may have left Baghdad to take refuge elsewhere in Iraq. He may be hiding underground in the city. He may - though the likelihood is now discounted - be dead.
Whatever his current situation, some of his supporters are still loyal and are fighting to defend what remains of his regime. Resistance cannot last long. Basra is now almost completely under British control.
The Americans are reducing the capital, district by district. In the outlying regions, the towns have either surrendered or are being occupied one by one. Saddam's Iraq has been defeated and will shortly have been purged of the Ba'ath Party apparatus.
Saddam's war plan, if he had one, must be reckoned one of the most inept ever designed. It made no use of the country's natural defences. All advantages the defence enjoyed were thrown away even before they could be utilised."
Courtesy of Andrew Sullivan
MORE ON TOTALITARIAN MINDSETS
a strongly argued essay from Frontpagemag.com
has an excellent post
on the fantasist nature of Iraq's dying Baathist regime's war claims - a segment:
"The Iraqi information minister’s shameless resort to peddling fantasy as truth gives a telling indication about what everyday life is like in authoritarian societies. In Saddam’s Iraq, such incessant disregard for the truth is the norm.
What a burden it must be to try to carry on a thoughtful, rational existence in a society where one’s rulers routinely remove the truth as a normal consideration of life. The pushing out of truth removes the oxygen vital to an honest intellectual life "
Geitner really beat me to the punch today with an important point. This need to impose fantastical versions of reality seem to be part and parcel of totalitarian states ( or their intellectual advocates here in the West). Recall William Shirer's descrption of life and politics in the Fuhrerbunker in the last day's of the Third Reich or the dialogue between O'Brien and Winston Smith in the Ministry of Love. As an undergraduate I remember one of my profs during the Glasnost era was a member of a joint American-Soviet historical commission - the Soviets had so revised their records in this instance to conform to shifting Party lines that they needed the help of American historians to sort through the entanglement of lies and deceptions