Author Topic: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces  (Read 833919 times)


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Political Rants & interesting thought pieces
« on: June 12, 2003, 11:06:21 AM »
Woof All:

  I open this thread for all WELL-WRITTEN and REASONED political rants and interesting thought pieces.  GOOD HUMORED Commentary welcome.

Crafty Dog
Ann Coulter

I could hardly breathe. Gulping for air, I started crying and yelling, "What do you mean? What are you saying? Why are the Clintons back again?"

Interviewing Hillary Clinton last Sunday night about her book Living History, ABC's Barbara Walters began with such hardball questions as:

"Are you a saint?"
"[Is it] tougher than being first lady, being a senator?"
"You know, you have been working on so many bills with Republicans. ... How do you turn old enemies into allies? ... I mean, no hard feelings?"
"How do you get on with this?"
"There were the accusations that [your husband] was a womanizer." I believe a DNA test revealed that they were more than accusations. "How'd you deal with it?"
Hillary dealt with it. Hillary is a survivor. As Walters said, Living History is a "wife's deeply personal account of being betrayed in front of the entire world." In fact, it was so deeply personal, it took several ghostwriters to get it right.

Walters brazenly probed the question on everyone's mind: How could Hillary be so brave, so strong, so downright wonderful? As Walters recounted, once our brave heroine even lived in Arkansas! Summarizing Hillary's sacrifice, Walters said: "You were young. You were smart. You had a future in Washington. But you gave it up to be with Bill Clinton, to move to Arkansas. ... Why on earth would you throw away your future?" Admittedly, even Bill Clinton couldn't wait to get out of Arkansas. Manhattanites cannot conceive of a greater hardship.

Walters also astutely observed that "in addition to being first lady, you're a mother." Will Hillary's mind-boggling feats never end? Usually such phony liberal amazement at the staggering heroism of women ends with the woman drowning all her children.

Describing interviews like these, New York Times television reviewer Alessandra Stanley said that Hillary was finally able to show her "grit, an outsize will and discipline that has nothing to do with gender." This, Ms. Stanley said, was a welcome change from Hillary's more recognized role as "an emblem of the modern female condition." So on one hand, Hillary has grit and determination. But on the other hand, she is a living, breathing icon. It's good to see the New York Times really going the extra mile to give both sides these days.

In "her" book, "Hillary" explains that the story of how Nelson Mandela forgave his jailers inspired her to forgive Bill for his infidelity. OK, but they locked up Mandela only once. Revealing more about herself than Hillary, Ms. Stanley claims that "millions of women have forgiven far worse of philandering husbands." Far worse? Really? No wonder liberal women hate men so much.

If you credit news reports, the public can't get enough of Hillary. The crush of ordinary people buying Hillary's book seems baffling in light of recent polls. According to an ABC poll, 48 percent of Americans have an unfavorable impression of Hillary, 53 percent of Americans don't want Hillary to ever run for president, and 7 percent of Americans have been date-raped by Bill Clinton.

First in line for Hillary's book at Barnes & Noble at Lincoln Center on Sunday night was Charles Greinsky, who told the New York Daily News he rushed out at midnight to get one of the first books because he supported Hillary's health-care plan. A few years ago, the Associated Press identified Greinsky more fully. It turns out he is "a longtime Clinton campaigner" from Staten Island, who has been the Clintons' guest several times both at the White House and at their home in Chappaqua, N.Y.

Lining up at midnight to buy Hillary's book is street theater for liberals. I suppose shelling out $30 to support the concept of Hillary is less dangerous than the pernicious nonsense liberals usually fund. Hillary has already gotten a record $8 million advance from Simon & Schuster for the book ? the most anyone has ever received for rewriting history. Hillary's acolytes could buy enough copies of her book to rebuild the World Trade Center, and she's not going to pocket more than that.

Another average individual eager to get Hillary's book was Greg Packer, who was the centerpiece of the New York Times' "man on the street" interview about Hillary-mania. After being first in line for an autographed book at the Fifth Avenue Barnes & Noble, Packer gushed to the Times: "I'm a big fan of Hillary and Bill's. I want to change her mind about running for president. I want to be part of her campaign."

It was easy for the Times to spell Packer's name right because he is apparently the entire media's designated "man on the street" for all articles ever written. He has appeared in news stories more than 100 times as a random member of the public. Packer was quoted on his reaction to military strikes against Iraq; he was quoted at the St. Patrick's Day Parade, the Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Veterans' Day Parade. He was quoted at not one ? but two ? New Year's Eve celebrations at Times Square. He was quoted at the opening of a new "Star Wars" movie, at the opening of an H&M clothing store on Fifth Avenue and at the opening of the viewing stand at Ground Zero. He has been quoted at Yankees games, Mets games, Jets games ? even getting tickets for the Brooklyn Cyclones. He was quoted at a Clinton fund-raiser at Alec Baldwin's house in the Hamptons and the pope's visit to Giants stadium.

Are all reporters writing their stories from Jayson Blair's house? Whether or not it will help her presidential ambitions,  Living History definitely positions Hillary nicely for a job as a reporter.

Ann Coulter is host of
« Last Edit: July 20, 2016, 09:05:32 AM by Crafty_Dog »


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« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2003, 12:31:34 PM »
cool article. ann as usual, articulated the issue well.
 one book that underline the clinton's misuse of public trust is  "derilection of duty". the authors name escapes me at the moment but it is by a former "football" holder who listed all the things bubba did when in office, one of which is actually losing the nuclear codes :shock:  :shock: ! think of it: lost code: no way to authorize counter strike. for a period of time the united states nuclear might was effectively neutralised. by it's own president. scary stuff. now hillary is sending out feelers for a posible run :shock: ?

god help us all



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« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2003, 12:35:24 PM »
Some of you may have heard that AC was fired by National Review.  Here's some background:


The background story here is as follows. Coulter wrote a column, quoted by many, wherein she called upon America to invade Muslim countries and convert them to Christianity. Then she wrote another column--whose original words seem in dispute--which meandered upon the same lines. National Review Online ran the first column, but did not publish the second. At which point NRO and Coulter parted ways. She loudly claimed censorship; they said editorial judgement. Here's the editor's letter explaining his side. Not badly, I think.


October 3, 2001

Dear Readers,

As many of you may have heard, we've dropped Ann Coulter's column from NRO [National Reviw Online]. This has sparked varying amounts of protest, support, and, most of all, curiosity from our readers. We owe you an explanation.

Of course, we would explain our decision to Ann, but the reality is that she's called the shots from the get-go. It was Ann who decided to sever her ties with National Review -- not the other way around.

This is what happened.

In the wake of her invade-and-Christianize-them column, Coulter wrote a long, rambling rant of a response to her critics that was barely coherent. She's a smart and funny person, but this was Ann at her worst -- emoting rather than thinking, and badly needing editing and some self-censorship, or what is commonly referred to as "judgment."

Running this "piece" would have been an embarrassment to Ann, and to NRO. Rich Lowry pointed this out to her in an e-mail (I was returning from my honeymoon). She wrote back an angry response, defending herself from the charge that she hates Muslims and wants to convert them at gunpoint.

But this was not the point. It was NEVER the point. The problem with Ann's first column was its sloppiness of expression and thought. Ann didn't fail as a person -- as all her critics on the Left say -- she failed as WRITER, which for us is almost as bad.

Rich wrote her another e-mail, engaging her on this point, and asking her -- in more diplomatic terms -- to approach the whole controversy not as a PR-hungry, free-swinging pundit on Geraldo, but as a careful writer.

No response.

Instead, she apparently proceeded to run around town bad-mouthing NR and its employees. Then she showed up on TV and, in an attempt to ingratiate herself with fellow martyr Bill Maher, said we were "censoring" her.

By this point, it was clear she wasn't interested in continuing the relationship.

What publication on earth would continue a relationship with a writer who would refuse to discuss her work with her editors? What publication would continue to publish a writer who attacked it on TV? What publication would continue to publish a writer who lied about it -- on TV and to a Washington Post reporter?

And, finally, what CONSERVATIVE publication would continue to publish a writer who doesn't even know the meaning of the word "censorship"?

So let me be clear: We did not "fire" Ann for what she wrote, even though it was poorly written and sloppy. We ended the relationship because she behaved with a total lack of professionalism, friendship, and loyalty.

What's Ann's take on all this? Well, she told the Washington Post yesterday that she loves it, because she's gotten lots of great publicity. That pretty much sums Ann up.

On the Sean Hannity show yesterday, however, apparently embarrassed by her admission to the Post, she actually tried to deny that she has sought publicity in this whole matter. Well, then, Ann, why did you complain of being "censored" on national TV? Why did you brag to the Post about all the PR?

Listening to Ann legalistically dodge around trying to explain all this would have made Bill Clinton blush.

Ann also told the Post that we only paid her $5 a month for her work (would that it were so!). Either this is a deliberate lie, or Ann needs to call her accountant because someone's been skimming her checks.

Many readers have asked, why did we run the original column in which Ann declared we should "invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity" -- if we didn't like it.

Well, to be honest, it was a mistake. It stemmed from the fact this was a supposedly pre-edited syndicated column, coming in when NRO was operating with one phone line and in general chaos. Our bad.

Now as far as Ann's charges go, I must say it's hard to defend against them, because they either constitute publicity-minded name-calling, like calling us "girly-boys" -- or they're so much absurd bombast.

For example:

Ann -- a self-described "constitutional lawyer" -- volunteered on Politically Incorrect that our "censoring" of her column was tantamount to "repealing the First Amendment." Apparently, in Ann's mind, she constitutes the thin blonde line between freedom and tyranny, and so any editorial decision she dislikes must be a travesty.

She sniffed to the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz that "Every once in awhile they'll [National Review] throw one of their people to the wolves to get good press in left-wing publications." I take personal offense to this charge. She's accusing us of betraying a friend for publicity, when in fact it was the other way around.

And, lastly, this "Joan of Arc battling the forces of political correctness" act doesn't wash. In the same 20 days in which Ann says -- over and over and over again -- that NR has succumbed to "PC hysteria," we've run pieces celebrating every PC shibboleth and bogeyman.
Paul Johnson has criticized Islam as an imperial religion. William F. Buckley himself has called, essentially, for a holy war. Rich Lowry wants to bring back the Shah, and I've written that Western Civilization has every right to wave the giant foam "We're Number 1!" finger as high as it wants.

The only difference between what we've run and what Ann considers so bravely iconoclastic on her part, is that we've run articles that accord persuasion higher value than shock value. It's true: Ann is fearless, in person and in her writing. But fearlessness isn't an excuse for crappy writing or crappier behavior.

To be honest, even though there's a lot more that could be said, I have no desire to get any deeper into this because, like with a Fellini movie, the deeper you get, the less sense Ann makes.

We're delighted that FrontPageMagazine has, with remarkable bravery, picked up Ann's column, presumably for only $5 a month. They'll be getting more than what they're paying for, I'm sure.

-- Jonah Goldberg


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« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2003, 05:06:05 PM »
Woof Dog Russ:

  I've moved your Wood Allen post to this thread with an eye to saving the WW3 thread for more serious posts  :)  


LONDON, England (CNN) -- U.S. film director and comedian Woody Allen has made an advert for France in which he calls on Americans to put "petty" anti-French feelings behind them.

In an advert for the French Tourist Board he asks his fellow Americans to "forget about our differences."

The winner of three Oscars, including two for the 1978 comedy "Annie Hall," says he will defy a boycott of everything French by his fellow countrymen.

He will continue to eat French fries and French kiss his wife, he said.

The star asks the U.S. to forgive the French for their resistance to the latest war in Iraq. French President Jacques Chirac threatened to veto any U.S.-inspired second resolution in the U.N. Security Council which would have opened the way to military action.

Anti-French sentiments are so high that some sections in the U.S. retaliated by calling for a boycott of French products, with some going so far as to call for the renaming of French fries as freedom fries.

Some U.S. media lampooned the French as "cheese-eating surrender monkeys," while the number of U.S. tourists visiting France in the last three months has dropped by 15 percent.

"Recently there has been a lot of controversy between the countries, and I would hope that now the two countries could put all that behind them and start to build on what really has been a great friendship," Allen said in the video.

"No one will be petty about this and we can forget about our differences and I will not have to refer to my French fried potatoes as 'freedom fries' and I don't have to freedom kiss my wife when I really want to French kiss her. So let's pull together now."

The video, called "Let's Fall in Love Again," also features chef Daniel Boulud, New York firefighter Chris Jense and jazz musician Wynton Marsalis.

Allen, recently voted as one of the 100 greatest movie stars in a poll by British film fans, has long been a fan of French culture. Last year at the Cannes Film Festival he defended the strength of French democracy in the face of far-right prominence.

The comedian rejected a call by American Jews to boycott the festival because of recent anti-Semitic attacks in France and the rise of the far-right.

A long-standing fan of French culture, Allen is an obvious advertising choice, at least from a French point of view.

But the decision has raised eyebrows in the United States.

"Woody Allen is bizarre choice. ... Catherine Deneuve would have been good -- the boys would appreciate her, and Johnny Depp -- the girls would appreciate him. And he lives in Paris," said Ray Bennett, a Hollywood reporter.

"I don't know why they would use Woody Allen, I don't think he has a good reputation in New York, a lot of people don't like him, so I don't think it's a good idea," said one New Yorker, Julie Belcher.

In his film "Hollywood Ending," Allen -- who plays a blind director whose film was a hit in France but a flop in America -- says: "Here I am a bum, there I am a genius. Thank God the French exist."


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« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2003, 05:17:08 PM »
If The Bush Administration Lied About WMD, So Did These People (Updated)By John HawkinsSince we haven't found WMD in Iraq yet, a lot of the anti-war/anti-Bush crowd is claiming that the Bush administration lied about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. The story being floated now is that Saddam had no WMD (or almost none) and that the Bush administration didn't tell the truth about the WMD threat.

Well, if they're going to claim that the Bush administration lied, then there sure are a lot of other people, including quite a few prominent Democrats, who have told the same lies since the inspectors pulled out of Iraq in 1998. Here are just a few examples of what I'm talking about...

"[W]e urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs." -- From a letter signed by Joe Lieberman, Dianne Feinstein, Barbara A. Milulski, Tom Daschle, & John Kerry among others on October 9, 1998

"This December will mark three years since United Nations inspectors last visited Iraq. There is no doubt that since that time, Saddam Hussein has reinvigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status. In addition, Saddam continues to refine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer- range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies." -- From a December 6, 2001 letter signed by Bob Graham, Joe Lieberman, Harold Ford, & Tom Lantos among others

"Saddam's goal ... is to achieve the lifting of U.N. sanctions while retaining and enhancing Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs. We cannot, we must not and we will not let him succeed." -- Madeline Albright, 1998

"Iraq made commitments after the Gulf War to completely dismantle all weapons of mass destruction, and unfortunately, Iraq has not lived up to its agreement." -- Barbara Boxer, November 8, 2002

"The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retained some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capability. Intelligence reports also indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons, but has not yet achieved nuclear capability." -- Robert Byrd, October 2002

"What is at stake is how to answer the potential threat Iraq represents with the risk of proliferation of WMD. Baghdad's regime did use such weapons in the past. Today, a number of evidences may lead to think that, over the past four years, in the absence of international inspectors, this country has continued armament programs." -- Jacques Chirac, October 16, 2002

"The community of nations may see more and more of the very kind of threat Iraq poses now: a rogue state with weapons of mass destruction, ready to use them or provide them to terrorists. If we fail to respond today, Saddam and all those who would follow in his footsteps will be emboldened tomorrow." -- Bill Clinton in 1998

"In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members, though there is apparently no evidence of his involvement in the terrible events of September 11, 2001. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. Should he succeed in that endeavor, he could alter the political and security landscape of the Middle East, which as we know all too well affects American security." -- Hillary Clinton, October 10, 2002

"I am absolutely convinced that there are weapons...I saw evidence back in 1998 when we would see the inspectors being barred from gaining entry into a warehouse for three hours with trucks rolling up and then moving those trucks out." -- Clinton's Secretary of Defense William Cohen in April of 2003

"Iraq is not the only nation in the world to possess weapons of mass destruction, but it is the only nation with a leader who has used them against his own people." -- Tom Daschle in 1998

"Saddam Hussein's regime represents a grave threat to America and our allies, including our vital ally, Israel. For more than two decades, Saddam Hussein has sought weapons of mass destruction through every available means. We know that he has chemical and biological weapons. He has already used them against his neighbors and his own people, and is trying to build more. We know that he is doing everything he can to build nuclear weapons, and we know that each day he gets closer to achieving that goal." -- John Edwards, Oct 10, 2002

"I share the administration's goals in dealing with Iraq and its weapons of mass destruction." -- Dick Gephardt in September of 2002

"Iraq does pose a serious threat to the stability of the Persian Gulf and we should organize an international coalition to eliminate his access to weapons of mass destruction. Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to completely deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power." -- Al Gore, 2002

"We are in possession of what I think to be compelling evidence that Saddam Hussein has, and has had for a number of years, a developing capacity for the production and storage of weapons of mass destruction." -- Bob Graham, December 2002

"We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction." -- Ted Kennedy, September 27, 2002

"I will be voting to give the president of the United States the authority to use force - if necessary - to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security." -- John F. Kerry

"We begin with the common belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandates of the United Nations and is building weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them." -- Carl Levin, Sept 19, 2002

"Over the years, Iraq has worked to develop nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. During 1991 - 1994, despite Iraq's denials, U.N. inspectors discovered and dismantled a large network of nuclear facilities that Iraq was using to develop nuclear weapons. Various reports indicate that Iraq is still actively pursuing nuclear weapons capability. There is no reason to think otherwise. Beyond nuclear weapons, Iraq has actively pursued biological and chemical weapons.U.N. inspectors have said that Iraq's claims about biological weapons is neither credible nor verifiable. In 1986, Iraq used chemical weapons against Iran, and later, against its own Kurdish population. While weapons inspections have been successful in the past, there have been no inspections since the end of 1998. There can be no doubt that Iraq has continued to pursue its goal of obtaining weapons of mass destruction." -- Patty Murray, October 9, 2002

"As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, I am keenly aware that the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons is an issue of grave importance to all nations. Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process." -- Nancy Pelosi, December 16, 1998

"Even today, Iraq is not nearly disarmed. Based on highly credible intelligence, UNSCOM [the U.N. weapons inspectors] suspects that Iraq still has biological agents like anthrax, botulinum toxin, and clostridium perfringens in sufficient quantity to fill several dozen bombs and ballistic missile warheads, as well as the means to continue manufacturing these deadly agents. Iraq probably retains several tons of the highly toxic VX substance, as well as sarin nerve gas and mustard gas. This agent is stored in artillery shells, bombs, and ballistic missile warheads. And Iraq retains significant dual-use industrial infrastructure that can be used to rapidly reconstitute large-scale chemical weapons production." -- Ex-Un Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter in 1998

"There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years. And that may happen sooner if he can obtain access to enriched uranium from foreign sources -- something that is not that difficult in the current world. We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction." -- John Rockefeller, Oct 10, 2002

"Saddam?s existing biological and chemical weapons capabilities pose a very real threat to America, now. Saddam has used chemical weapons before, both against Iraq?s enemies and against his own people. He is working to develop delivery systems like missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles that could bring these deadly weapons against U.S. forces and U.S. facilities in the Middle East." -- John Rockefeller, Oct 10, 2002

"Whether one agrees or disagrees with the Administration?s policy towards Iraq, I don?t think there can be any question about Saddam?s conduct. He has systematically violated, over the course of the past 11 years, every significant UN resolution that has demanded that he disarm and destroy his chemical and biological weapons, and any nuclear capacity. This he has refused to do. He lies and cheats; he snubs the mandate and authority of international weapons inspectors; and he games the system to keep buying time against enforcement of the just and legitimate demands of the United Nations, the Security Council, the United States and our allies. Those are simply the facts." -- Henry Waxman, Oct 10, 2002


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Your Inner Caveman
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2003, 03:39:13 PM »
Guys, don't lose touch with your inner caveman  

By Samantha Bonar, Times Staff Writer

A group called Euro RSCG Worldwide has done a study of American men aged 21 to 48, purporting to deconstruct the 21st century man. If you are like me, you will find the results alarming.

According to the new study, "When asked to choose from a list of approximately three dozen words," only 20% of men described themselves as "sexy."

"The word today's men are most apt to assign themselves is 'caring,' selected by 74% of correspondents," the study said.

I don't want a caring man. I like my men moody, sullen, dark and distant. Disturbed, if you will. With deep thoughts they cannot articulate ? and big, strong arms. Caring? Ho-hum. My mom's caring.

When asked what they would choose if they could have only one wish, 35% of men said they want "to grow old with a woman I love." In second place (22%) was "to have happy, healthy kids." Third was "to have a circle of friends to support me unconditionally and whose company I enjoy" (10%).

I'd say these "new men" are more like old women.

The media has dubbed these girlie-guys "metrosexuals." They are said to be concentrated around big cities ? kind of like pollution. They are said to be knowledgeable about fashion and to enjoy shopping ? kind of like gay men ? but they are not gay.

The study results continued to sicken me. Today's men apparently care about "feeling and looking good": "In the business world, good grooming is essential for men today, according to 89% of the male respondents. Perhaps that's why nearly half the sample (49%) contend that there's nothing wrong with a man getting a facial or manicure."

I've never desired a man with baby-soft, exfoliated skin. There's something super-sexy about a man's rough lip and cheek and the "chin burn" it leaves behind. And if my date had polished nails I would escape out the bathroom window.

"The metrosexual represents the tipping point of a shift that parallels the process of the women's movement," reads a statement by Marian Salzman, chief strategy officer of Euro RSCG Worldwide.

My God. The men's women's movement? More like the fall of the Roman Empire. Onetime heroes fiddling with moisturizer and self-help books while Rome burns.

"In this new century, men are finding the courage to explore the female domain without fear of losing their status as 'real' men," Salzman continued.

It does take a certain amount of courage to face various waxing procedures, I will admit. But I don't want my men to fret about such things. I want them to worry about how they are going to sweep me off my feet, not how they are going to get those nasty calluses off their heels.

One of the best things about being a man, I have always thought, is that men get to worry about what they do and what they are rather than how they look. Why should we celebrate their joining women's narcissistic, consumerist party?

Men: Get out of Stepford while you still can!

Women want you scruffy and intense, not coiffed and chatty. It's your psychological complexity and physical roughness that make you so appealing to we on the softer, more emotional end of the species. We want the man about town, the man of his word and the man of the world, he who is his own man who works lots of man hours using his man power. Heck, I'll even take a man-ipulative man-ic-depressive over a metroweenie.

Samantha Bonar can be contacted at samantha.


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« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2003, 02:45:06 PM »
Tuesday, July 1, 2003 12:01 a.m. EDT

Students across the state of New York recently took their Regents' examinations, the tests that they must pass in order to get a high school diploma. A year ago, the state education department was embarrassed when Jeanne Heifetz, a vigilant parent in Brooklyn, announced her discovery that state officials had expurgated literary selections on the English examination. Words and sentences that might offend anyone had been quietly deleted from passages by writers such as Elie Wiesel, Isaac Bashevis Singer, and Franz Kafka.

New York's penchant for bowdlerizing literature, it turns out, was not unique to the Empire State. The educational publishing industry follows very specific guidelines to ensure that school children are not exposed to words or topics that might be controversial, especially those that are related to gender, race, religion, or sex. I compiled a list of over 500 words that are banned by one or more publishers. Some are relatively obsolete, like "authoress" or "geezer," but others are everyday words that one is likely to encounter in the newspaper, like "landlord," "senior citizen," "dogma," "yacht" or "actress" (what would the late Katherine Hepburn have made of that?).


Since my book appeared, I have received a large number of letters from people in the educational publishing industry, offering fresh material about the sanitizing that occurs on a regular basis. In Michigan, the state does not allow mention of flying saucers or extraterrestrials on its test, because those subjects might imply the forbidden topic of evolution. A text illustrator wrote to say that she was not permitted to portray a birthday party because Jehovah's Witnesses do not believe in celebrating birthdays. Another illustrator told me that he was directed to airbrush the udder from his drawing of a cow because that body part was "too sexual."
A review of my book in the Scotsman, an Edinburgh newspaper, said that a well-known local writer for children sold a story to an American textbook company, along with illustrations. The U.S. publisher, however, informed her that she could not show a little girl sitting on her grandfather's lap, as the drawing implied incest. So, the author changed the adult's face, so that the little girl was sitting on her grandmother's lap instead. A contributor to a major textbook series prepared a story comparing the great floods in 1889 in Johnstown, Pa., with those in 1993 in the Midwest, but was unable to find an acceptable photograph. The publisher insisted that everyone in the rowboats must be wearing a lifevest to demonstrate safety procedures.

A freelance writer sent me the "bias guidelines" for a major publisher of texts and tests. The "bias guidelines" consist of advice to writers and editors about words and topics that must be avoided, as well as specifications for illustrations. Like other publishers, this one requires adherence to gender and ethnic balance. All lessons, test questions, and illustrations must reflect the following ratios: 50-50 male-female; 45% Caucasian; 25% African American; 22% Hispanic American; 5% Asian American; 5% American Indian and others; and 3% "persons with disabilities." These figures do not total 100%, nor do they represent actual U.S. Census numbers, but the principle of representation is well understood by writers and editors. American society, as represented in the textbooks, is perfectly integrated by race, ethnicity, gender, age, and disability.

When it comes to illustrations in textbooks, certain images--women cooking, men acting assertive, scenes of poverty, and old people walking with the aid of a cane or a walker--are likewise considered unacceptable. The specifications for photographs, I have learned, are exquisitely detailed. Men and boys must not be larger than women and girls. Asians must not appear as shorter than non-Asians. Women must wear bras, and men must not have noticeable bulges below the waist. People must wear shoes and socks, never showing bare feet or the soles of shoes, and their shoelaces must be solid black, brown, or white. People must never gesture with their fingers, nor should anyone be depicted eating with the left hand. Things to avoid: holiday decorations and scenes in which a church or a bar appears in the background.

There are so many rules, one wonders how they manage to keep track of them. Even after its national humiliation a year ago, the New York State Education Department still manages to make mistakes. On the last administration of the Regents' English examination in January, the state asked high school seniors to write about a poem by Matthew Arnold. However, the examination did not mention the name of this famous poem ("Dover Beach"); it inexplicably offered only one stanza of the four-stanza poem; and it changed or misquoted an important line. Instead of Arnold's exclamation, "Ah, love, let us be true to one another!" it stated, "Ah, friend, let us be true to one another!"


As the example shows, bowdlerization is not only dishonest, it leads to dumbing down of language and ideas. And of one thing I am convinced: The widespread censorship of language and ideas in education caused by the demands of advocacy groups will not end unless it is regularly exposed to public review and ridicule. The next time someone in a publishing office or a state education agency suggests deleting a literary passage from a test or textbook because it contains the word "anchorman" or shows a witch flying around on a broomstick, perhaps someone in the room will say, "Wait, if we do that, people will laugh at us."

Ms. Ravitch is author of "The Language Police: How Pressure Groups Restrict What Students Learn" (Knopf, 2003).


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« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2003, 03:53:16 PM »
Woof All,

>I open this thread for all WELL-WRITTEN and REASONED political rants.
>GOOD HUMORED Commentary welcome.

Started off with an editorial from right-wing bully Anne Coulter, no

>Ann Coulter

>Walters also astutely observed that "in addition to being first lady,
>you're a mother." Will Hillary's mind-boggling feats never end?
>Usually such phony liberal amazement at the staggering heroism of
>women ends with the woman drowning all her children.

In case Coulter didn't know, Andrea Yates (the woman who drowned all
5 of her children in June 2001, to whom I assume she's referring) and
her husband were as conservative and fundamentalist Christian as one
could find.  So it's pretty dishonest for her to imply that
"liberalism" was somehow to blame for this.

>In "her" book, "Hillary" explains that the story of how Nelson
>Mandela forgave his jailers inspired her to forgive Bill for his
>infidelity. OK, but they locked up Mandela only once. Revealing more
>about herself than Hillary, Ms. Stanley claims that "millions of
>women have forgiven far worse of philandering husbands." Far worse?
>Really? No wonder liberal women hate men so much.

If Coulter wants to slam out Bill over his infidelity, fine.  Have at
him.  But why the outrage over the fact that Hillary forgave him?
Given how vocally most conservatives register their support for
"family values", I'd think Coulter might find Hillary's decision

As for this idea that "liberal women hate men so much", where's she
getting this idea?  Coulter may seem like some kind of "intellectual"
to people whose only source of political information is conservative
talk radio and right-wing media watch groups, but her "arguments"
largely consist of name-calling and ad hominem attacks on "the

>Lining up at midnight to buy Hillary's book is street theater for
>liberals. I suppose shelling out $30 to support the concept of
>Hillary is less dangerous than the pernicious nonsense liberals
>usually fund. Hillary has already gotten a record $8 million advance
>from Simon & Schuster for the book ? the most anyone has ever
>received for rewriting history. Hillary's acolytes could buy enough
>copies of her book to rebuild the World Trade Center, and she's not
>going to pocket more than that.

I don't see Coulter donating any of the profits from her book sales
(or her lucrative career as right-wing media critic) to the 9/11
victims or the rebuilding of the trade center, so what exactly is the
meaning of the above criticism?

I have no love for Hillary myself, but it's obvious that Coulter and
her colleagues feel somewhat threatened by her.  I think they don't
like the fact that as much as they trash and ridicule Hillary and
"liberal" views altogether, both are actually quite popular.  Too bad
for Coulter that hundreds of people aren't lining up outside of
stores at midnight to buy a copy of *her* book.



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« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2003, 09:31:40 PM »
Woof Rog et al:

  I could go at length on the merits of why I don't like her (a bag lady-- the $100k commodities deal that was a pay off to her husband the governor; a criminal-- the missing files from her law firm found in her quarters, the theft of White House furniture; her participation in peddling pardons;  a socialist-- the effort to socialize American medicine, etc etc etc) but instead I'll share the following:

Some Late Night TV show comments about our beloved Hillary........

"Hillary's got this huge book, it's a memoir of her life and times at the
White House. In the book she says when Bill told her he was having an
affair, she said 'I could hardly breath, I was gulping for air.'
No, I'm  sorry, that's what Monica said."
     David Letterman

"Hillary Clinton's book hits the stores this Monday. Oh
boy, it took her a long time to write it. But in her defense, every time she
tried to use the desk, Bill was always using it for a date."
       Jay Leno

"Hillary Clinton's 506-page memoirs comes out next week.
So much of her personality shines through, that in the end, you'll want
to sleep with an intern."
         Craig Kilborn

"In Hillary Clinton's new book 'Living History,' Hillary
details what it was like meeting Bill Clinton, falling in love with him,
getting married, and living a passionate, wonderful life as husband and
wife. Then on page two, the trouble starts."
         Jay Leno

"Hillary Clinton has finished her memoirs for publication
next year, while Bill has barely finished the first chapter. Well, in all
fairness, Fiction is a lot harder to write."
         Jay Leno

"Hillary Clinton, our junior senator from New York, announced that
she has no intentions of ever, ever running for office of the
President of the United States. Her husband, Bill Clinton, is bitterly
disappointed. He is crushed. There go his dreams of becoming a
two-impeachment family."
         David Letterman

"Last night, Se! nator Hillary Clinton hosted her first
party in her new home in Washington. People said it was a lot like the parties she used to host at the White House. In fact, even the furniture was the same."
         Jay Leno

"Senator Hillary Clinton is attacking President Bush for
breaking his campaign promise to cut carbon dioxide emissions, saying
a promise made, a promise broken. And then out of habit, she demanded that Bush spend the night on the couch."
         Late, Late Show host Craig Kilborn

"Hillary Clinton is the junior senator from the great state of New York.
When they swore her in, she used the Clinton family Bible. You know,
the one with only seven commandments."
         David Letterman

"CNN found that Hillary Clinton is the most admired woman in America.
Women admire her because she's strong and successful. Men admire her because she allows her husband to cheat and get away with it."
         Jay Leno


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« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2003, 12:31:21 PM »
Woof All,

>I could go at length on the merits of why I don't like her (a bag
>lady-- the $100k commodities deal that was a pay off to her husband
>the governor;

I don't know the exact details of this deal, but it seems like $100k
is nothing compared to the $800k George W. Bush made from insider
trading while on the board of Harken Energy.  Not to mention the
personal between qhis administration and the Enron scandal.

>a criminal-- the missing files from her law firm found in her
>quarters, the theft of White House furniture;

Don't know about any missing papers (regarding what exactly?), but
did the Clintons really steal any White House furniture?  I've heard
the right-wingers make this claim over and over, but if you can cite
a source of hard evidence that they committed any such theft, I'd
like to see it.

>her participation in peddling pardons;

Oh, like Bush Sr. pardoned all of his fellow Iran-Contra
conspirators?  Not that this excuses what the Clintons did, but how
is it any worse than any other pardon-peddling by Republican

>a socialist-- the effort to socialize American medicine, etc etc etc)

Trying to ensure that all Americans can get quality healthcare makes
her a "socialist" (a term to which you clearly attribute only
negative connotations)?  Have you ever heard Hillary (or any
Democrat) urge workers to "seize the means of production" or advocate
the abolition of private property rights?  If Hillary is a full-on
"socialist", then what do you consider merely "liberal"?



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« Reply #10 on: July 03, 2003, 09:24:32 PM »
Hate My Father? No Ma'am!
By Glenn Sacks


The university professor began the first class of the semester by announcing that she was an "anti-imperialist, anti-heterosexist Marxist-feminist." She read us the famous quote from Robin Morgan, the leading feminist and former editor of Ms. Magazine, who said "kill your fathers, not your mothers."  Seeing the students' shocked faces, she added "Kill is too strong.  Hate your fathers, not your mothers."  I guess she was a moderate.

One of the male students in the class, obviously feeling chastised, said the defense I've heard young men say hundreds of times--"don't blame us for what happened to women in the past--blame our fathers and grandfathers."

I've ruminated darkly over those words many times, and when thinking of my father and grandfather, I can't help but be struck by the special burdens they shouldered as men, because they were men, and how these special burdens have now become a blank space in our history.

Hate my grandfather? My grandfather was a milkman.  A young immigrant who enlisted to fight in World War I out of gratitude to the country which had allowed him to escape Russian Czarist tyranny.  A man who, wounded in the decisive Battle of the Argonne Forest in 1918, received the Purple Heart and the French Croix de Guerre.  A tender father who stayed up half the night stroking the fevered brow of his sickly youngest daughter--a "daddy's girl"-- before going to work at three in the morning. A man who put his safety and even his life on the line during the violent union strikes and battles of the 1930s, because he believed that workers have the right to decent wages and living conditions.

Hate my father? The man who worked six days a week for 25 years yet somehow always had time to spend with me? Who never once let me down? Who worked 12 hour days when my sister and I were toddlers so he could ensure that we would be provided for? Who recalls sadly as he looks at his little granddaughter that he doesn't even remember what we looked like at that age, because he was rarely able to be home?

The successful feminist re-writing of the pre-feminist past as a virtual dark ages where men lived like nobles and women were their serfs is at the core of the "hate your father" idea. Tens of millions of male blue collar workers--who put their bodies on the line in the coal mines and steel mills so their wives and children could live in safety and comfort--have been turned into oppressors.  Their wives and children, for whom these men sacrificed so much, have been turned into their victims.  

Edited out of our history are the tragedies of millions of American men who were killed or maimed on what early trade unionists called the "battlefield of labor."  The miners who died in cave-ins, explosions, or of black lung disease.  The sailors and fisherman who died at sea. The oil refinery workers killed in explosions. The factory workers killed in industrial accidents. The construction workers who died carving train tracks and then highways through majestic mountain cliffs or the scorching desert.  The construction workers who died building our bridges, dams, high rises, stadiums, and apartments.

All of them have been forgotten, in part because there is no natural constituency which would like to remember them--the right generally does not dwell on yesterday's struggling blue collar workers and heroic union men, and the left is beholden to the feminists, for whom any mention of men as special contributors or as victims is strictly forbidden.

The only credit left for men is the military, and even this has been partially hijacked.  We now speak of "the men and women who fought and died in our wars" as if even one percent of our military casualties were ever suffered by women, or as if women were ever conscripted the way men were.

Feminists once excoriated our society--correctly--for ignoring the massive, hidden contributions of women in child-rearing and housework.  They asked new and important  questions like "Who cooked the last supper?" and, even better, "Who washed the dishes afterwards?"  But we have now come full circle--men's special and unique contributions (hazardous jobs, long work hours, long commutes, time away from the family, etc.) are ignored, and any reference to them as a male burden is "sexism."

I thought of this recently  when I took my young son to a large model train exhibition, one rich in 1940s and 1950s Americana.  Looking at the huge displays of trains cutting through mountain peaks, of bridges and railroad trusses towering hundreds of feet above canyons and rivers, of towns and their factories and coal mines, of the sheer industrial might of the old America, I felt torn inside.  I know that this was a world where many Americans were terribly mistreated--blacks, Latinos, some women, and often the working-class and the poor.  Yet I couldn't also help but feel a tug of nostalgia as I looked at a world which men--through their ingenuity, strength, and raw physical courage--had carved out of wilderness.  Men of my generation have endured relentless criticism,  and even the best of us must struggle just to attain the moral status automatically granted to women.  Yet in this older world, it seems,  there was respect for men and the special sacrifices they made.

And perhaps someday, the professor's dictum "hate your father" aside, there will be some respect for the sacrifices my father and grandfather made, the uniquely male sacrifices they made. Hate my father?  No ma'am!


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« Reply #11 on: July 28, 2003, 09:40:57 PM »
"It doesn't get any better (worse?) than this.

"Jessie Jackson has added former Chicago democratic congressman Mel Reynolds to Rainbow/PUSH Coalition's payroll. Reynolds was among the 176 criminals excused in President Clinton's last-minute forgiveness spree.

"Reynolds received a commutation of his six-and-a-half-year federal sentence for 15 convictions of wire fraud, bank fraud and lies to the Federal Election Commission. He is more notorious, however, for concurrently serving five years for sleeping with an underage campaign volunteer.

This is a first in American politics: an ex-congressman who had sex with a subordinate... won clemency from a president who had sex with a subordinate... then was hired by a clergyman who had sex with a subordinate.

"His new job?

"Youth counselor!!!


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« Reply #12 on: August 06, 2003, 11:19:42 PM »
Dan Rather, Jesse Jackson, Cokie Roberts, and a marine were hiking through the jungle one day when they were captured by cannibals.  They were tied up, led to the village, and brought before the chief.  The chief said, "I am familiar with your western custom of granting the condemned a last wish. Before we kill and eat you, do you have any last requests?"

Dan Rather said, "Well, I'm a Texan; so I'd like one last bowlful of hot, spicy chili." The chief nodded to an underling, who left and returned with the chili. Rather ate it all and said, "Now I can die content."

Jesse Jackson said, "You know, the thing in this life I am proudest of is my work on behalf of the poor and oppressed. So before I go, I want to sing "We Shall Overcome" one last time." The chief said, "Go right ahead, we're listening." Jackson sang the song, and then said, "Now I can die in peace."

Cokie Roberts said, "I'm a reporter to the end. I want to take out my tape recorder and describe the scene here and what's about to happen.  Maybe someday someone will hear it and know that I was on the job til the end."  The chief directed an aide to hand over the tape recorder, and Roberts dictated some comments. She then said, "Now I can die happy."  

The chief said, "And, Mr. Marine, what is your final wish?"  "Kick me in the ass," said the Marine.  "What?," said the chief. "Would you mock us in your last hour?"   No, I'm not kidding. I want you to kick me in the ass," insisted the Marine. So the chief untied the Marine, shoved him into the open, and proceeded to kick him in the ass. The Marine went sprawling, but then rolled to his knees, pulled a 9mm pistol from his waistband, and shot the chief dead. In the resulting confusion, he leapt to his haversack, pulled out an M16, and sprayed the cannibals with gunfire. In a flash, the cannibals were all dead or fleeing for their lives.

As the Marine was untying the others, they each asked him, "Why didn't you just shoot them? Why did you ask them to first kick you in the ass?"  "What!?" asked the Marine. "And have you assholes call me the aggressor?!?"


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« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2003, 12:44:26 PM »
Moore's Law
The immorality of the Ten Commandments.
By Christopher Hitchens
Posted Wednesday, August 27, 2003, at 2:04 PM PT

The row over the boulder-sized version of the so-called "Ten Commandments," and as to whether they should be exhibited in such massive shape on public property, misses the opportunity to consider these top-10 divine ordinances and their relationship to original intent. Judge Roy Moore is clearly, as well as a fool and a publicity-hound, a man who identifies the Mount Sinai orders to Moses with a certain interpretation of Protestantism. But we may ask ourselves why any sect, however primitive, would want to base itself on such vague pre-Christian desert morality (assuming Moses to be pre-Christian).

The first four of the commandments have little to do with either law or morality, and the first three suggest a terrific insecurity on the part of the person supposedly issuing them. I am the lord thy god and thou shalt have no other ... no graven images ... no taking of my name in vain: surely these could have been compressed into a more general injunction to show respect. The ensuing order to set aside a holy day is scarcely a moral or ethical one, unless you assume that other days are somehow profane. (The Rev. Ian Paisley, I remember, used to refuse interviewers for Sunday newspapers even after it was pointed out to him that it's the Monday edition that is prepared on Sunday.) Whereas a day of rest, as prefigured in the opening passages of Genesis, is no more than organized labor might have demanded, perhaps during the arduous days of unpaid pyramid erection.

So the first four commandments have almost nothing to do with moral conduct and cannot in any case be enforced by law unless the state forbids certain sorts of art all week, including religious and iconographic art?and all activity on the Sabbath (which the words of the fourth commandment do not actually require). The next instruction is to honor one's parents: a harmless enough idea, but again unenforceable in law and inapplicable to the many orphans that nature or god sees fit to create. That there should be no itemized utterance enjoining the protection of children seems odd, given that the commandments are addressed in the first instance to adults. But then, the same god frequently urged his followers to exterminate various forgotten enemy tribes down to the last infant, sparing only the virgins, so this may be a case where hand-tying or absolute prohibitions were best avoided.

There has never yet been any society, Confucian or Buddhist or Islamic, where the legal codes did not frown upon murder and theft. These offenses were certainly crimes in the Pharaonic Egypt from which the children of Israel had, if the story is to be believed, just escaped. So the middle-ranking commandments, of which the chief one has long been confusingly rendered "thou shalt not kill," leave us none the wiser as to whether the almighty considers warfare to be murder, or taxation and confiscation to be theft. Tautology hovers over the whole enterprise.

In much the same way, few if any courts in any recorded society have approved the idea of perjury, so the idea that witnesses should tell the truth can scarcely have required a divine spark in order to take root. To how many of its original audience, I mean to say, can this have come with the force of revelation? Then it's a swift wrap-up with a condemnation of adultery (from which humans actually can refrain) and a prohibition upon covetousness (from which they cannot). To insist that people not annex their neighbor's cattle or wife "or anything that is his" might be reasonable, even if it does place the wife in the same category as the cattle, and presumably to that extent diminishes the offense of adultery. But to demand "don't even think about it" is absurd and totalitarian, and furthermore inhibiting to the Protestant spirit of entrepreneurship and competition.

One is presuming (is one not?) that this is the same god who actually created the audience he was addressing. This leaves us with the insoluble mystery of why he would have molded ("in his own image," yet) a covetous, murderous, disrespectful, lying, and adulterous species. Create them sick, and then command them to be well? What a mad despot this is, and how fortunate we are that he exists only in the minds of his worshippers.

It's obviously too much to expect that a Bronze Age demagogue should have remembered to condemn drug abuse, drunken driving, or offenses against gender equality, or to demand prayer in the schools. Still, to have left rape and child abuse and genocide and slavery out of the account is to have been negligent to some degree, even by the lax standards of the time. I wonder what would happen if secularists were now to insist that the verses of the Bible that actually recommend enslavement, mutilation, stoning, and mass murder of civilians be incised on the walls of, say, public libraries? There are many more than 10 commandments in the Old Testament, and I live for the day when Americans are obliged to observe all of them, including the ox-goring and witch-burning ones. (Who is Judge Moore to pick and choose?) Too many editorialists have described the recent flap as a silly confrontation with exhibitionist fundamentalism, when the true problem is our failure to recognize that religion is not just incongruent with
morality but in essential ways incompatible with it.


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« Reply #14 on: September 08, 2003, 01:11:39 PM »

The Post-Modern President
Deception, Denial, and Relativism: what the Bush administration learned from the French.

By Joshua Micah Marshall

Every president deceives. But each has his own style of deceit. Ronald Reagan was a master of baseless stories -- trees cause more pollution than cars -- that captured his vision of how the world should be. George H.W. Bush, generally conceded to be a decent fellow, tended to lie only in two circumstances: When running for president, or to save his own skin, as in Iran-Contra. Bill Clinton famously lied about embarrassing details of his private life, and his smooth, slippery rhetorical style made some people suspect he was lying even when he was telling the truth.

George W. Bush has a forthright speaking style which convinces many people that he's telling the truth even when he's lying. But in under three years, Bush has told at least as many impressive untruths as each of his three predecessors. (See The Mendacity Index, p.27) His style of deception is also unique. When Reagan said he didn't trade arms for hostages, or Clinton insisted he didn't have sex with "that woman," the falsity of the claims was readily provable--by an Oliver North memo or a stained blue dress. Bush and his administration, however, specialize in a particular form of deception: The confidently expressed, but currently undisprovable assertion. In his State of the Union address last January, the president claimed that Saddam Hussein had ties to al Qaeda and a robust nuclear weapons program, and that therefore we needed to invade Iraq. Even at the time, many military and intelligence experts said that the president's assertions probably weren't true and were based on at best fragmentary evidence. But there was no way to know for sure unless we did what Bush wanted. When the president said on numerous occasions that his tax cuts--which were essentially long-term rate reductions for the wealthy--would spur growth without causing structural deficits, most experts, again, cried foul, pointing out that both past experience and accepted economic theory said otherwise. But in point of fact nobody could say for sure that maybe this time the cuts might not work.

This summer, when it became clear that Iraq had no active nuclear weapons program--indeed showed no apparent evidence of any weapons of mass destruction at all--that the economy was still losing jobs, and that the administration's own budget office predicted deficits as far as it dared project, Bush's reputation for honesty took a turn for the worse. By the middle of July, only 47 percent of adults surveyed by Time/CNN said they felt they could trust the president, down from 56 percent in March. The president's response to all this was to make yet more confidently expressed, undisprovable assertions. He simply insisted that his tax cuts would create jobs--and who knows? Perhaps someday they will--and that American forces would eventually turn up evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. But by then, the press was beginning to pick up on deceptions in other policy areas--the redaction of evidence of global warming in EPA reports, the administration's refusal to provide Congress with any estimates whatsoever about the costs of the occupation of Iraq. The White House seemed guilty of what might be called persistent, chronic up-is-downism, the tendency to ridicule the possibility that a given policy might actually have its predictable adverse consequences, to deny those consequences once they have already occurred, or--failing that--to insist against all evidence that those consequences were part of the plan all along. By late July, even a paragon of establishment conservatism like Barron's columnist Alan Abelson was lamenting the president's "regrettable aversion to the truth and reality when the truth and reality aren't lovely or convenient."

The president and his aides don't speak untruths because they are necessarily people of bad character. They do so because their politics and policies demand it. As astute observers such as National Journal's Jonathan Rauch have recently noted, George W. Bush campaigned as a moderate, but has governed with the most radical agenda of any president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Indeed, the aim of most of Bush's policies has been to overturn what FDR created three generations ago. On the domestic front, that has meant major tax cuts forcing sharp reductions in resources for future government activism, combined with privatization of as many government functions as possible. Abroad, Bush has pursued an expansive and militarized unilateralism aimed at cutting the U.S. free from entangling alliances and international treaty obligations so as to maximize freedom of maneuver for American power in a Hobbesian world.

Yet this is not an agenda that the bulk of the American electorate ever endorsed. Indeed, poll after poll suggest that Bush's policy agenda is not particularly popular. What the public wants is its problems solved: terrorists thwarted, jobs created, prescription drugs made affordable, the environment protected. Almost all of Bush's deceptions have been deployed when he has tried to pass off his preexisting agenda items as solutions to particular problems with which, for the most part, they have no real connection. That's when the unverifiable assertion comes in handy. Many of the administration's policy arguments have amounted to predictions--tax cuts will promote job growth, Saddam is close to having nukes, Iraq can be occupied with a minimum of U.S. manpower--that most experts believed to be wrong, but which couldn't be definitely disproven until events played out in the future. In the midst of getting those policies passed, the administration's main obstacle has been the experts themselves--the economists who didn't trust the budget projections, the generals who didn't buy the troop estimates, intelligence analysts who questioned the existence of an active nuclear weapons program in Iraq. That has created a strong incentive to delegitimize the experts--a task that comes particularly easy to the revisionists who drive Bush administration policy. They tend to see experts as guardians of the status quo, who seek to block any and all change, no matter how necessary, and whose views are influenced and corrupted by the agendas and mindsets of their agencies. Like orthodox Marxists who pick apart mainstream economics and anthropology as the creations of 'bourgeois ideology' or Frenchified academic post-modernists who 'deconstruct' knowledge in a similar fashion, revisionist ideologues seek to expose "the facts" as nothing more than the spin of experts blinded by their own unacknowledged biases. The Bush administration's betes noir aren't patriarchy, racism, and homophobia, but establishmentarianism, big-government liberalism, and what they see as pervasive foreign policy namby-pambyism. For them, ignoring the experts and their 'facts' is not only necessary to advance their agenda, but a virtuous effort in the service of a higher cause.

Tinker Beltway

To understand the Bush administration's need and propensity for deception one must go back to the ideological warfare of the 1990s, which pitted Bill Clinton's New Democratic agenda against Newt Gingrich's Contract for America Republicanism. Clinton's politics were an updated version of early 20th century Progressivism, with its suspicion of ideology and heavy reliance on technocratic expertise. He argued that while government agencies or our relations with the international community might need reform, they were basically sound, and their proper use was to solve discrete problems. Crime on the rise? Put more cops on the street. Federal budget deficits out of control? Trim federal spending and nudge up taxes on the wealthy. Many in Washington debated whether Clinton's policies would work; some still argue that they didn't. But few ever questioned that their intent was to solve these specific problems.

Newt Gingrich and the House Republicans who came to power in 1995 held a very different, neo-Reaganite view. Deriding the whole notion of a federal response for every crisis, they argued that society's problems could be solved only through a radical reordering, both of government in Washington and of America's relationship with the world. This required tax cuts to drain money out of the Beltway; radically scaling back regulation on business; pulling America out of many international agreements; and cutting funding to the United Nations. The Gingrichites were not pragmatists but visionaries and revolutionaries. They wanted to overthrow the existing structure of American governance, not tinker with it.

The contest between these two worldviews played out during the middle 1990s, and eventually the public rendered its verdict at the ballot box. In 1996, Clinton decisively won re-election and Gingrich's GOP lost seats in the House. Then in 1998, at the height of impeachment, the House GOP lost even more seats ? marking the first time since 1934 that the party in the White House won seats during a mid-term election--and Clinton's job approval rating soared as high as it ever would during his eight years in office.

Voters had chosen problem-solving moderation over radical revisionism--and perceptive GOP leaders knew it. Following the 1998 electoral setback, they quieted their talk of revolution and mulled over how to soften their image. More and more of them gravitated towards the son of former president George H.W. Bush, the kindler, gentler Republican. Texas governor George W. Bush had a reputation as a pragmatist who made common cause with Democratic leaders in the Texas legislature. He launched his campaign for president not as an ideologue, but as a "compassionate conservative," who spoke the language of progressive problem-solving on issues such as education, and was perfectly willing to use the powers of the federal government to get results. Even when Bush proposed a massive tax cut during the Republican primaries, most commentators dismissed it as a campaign ploy to fend off his more conservative GOP rival, Steve Forbes. After ascending to the presidency without winning the popular vote, Bush was widely expected to compromise on the size of the tax cut.

It soon became clear, however, that Bush would govern very differently from how he ran. Instead of abandoning the tax cut, for instance, he became more determined to pass it, for rather than being a mere ploy, cutting taxes was a fundamental goal of his agenda. Politically, it was a policy on which each part of the once-fractious conservative base could agree on. It also rewarded the party's biggest donors. But most importantly, tax cuts would help shift the very premises of American governance. Republicans had come to view progressive federal taxation as the linchpin of Democrat strength. As Rep. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), an up-and-coming conservative, told The New Yorker's Nicholas Lemann during the 2001 tax debate, "[t]oday fewer and fewer people pay taxes, and more and more are dependent on government, so the politician who promises the most from government is likely to win. Every day, the Republican Party is losing constituents, because every day more people can vote themselves more benefits without paying for it." By this theory, the more the tax burden shifted from upper-middle-class and wealthy voters to those of the middle class, the more average voters would feel the sting of each new government program, and the less likely they would be to support the Democrats who call for such programs. To put it another way, it was a policy designed to turn more voters into Republicans, particularly the middle class. Without massive upper-bracket tax cuts, DeMint worried, "The Reagan message"--smaller government--"won't work anymore."

But telling the majority of voters that your tax policies are designed to shift more of the burden of paying for federal government onto them is not a very effective way of eliciting their support. So, instead, Bush pitched his tax cuts as the solution to whatever problems were most in the news at the time. During the election, he argued that tax cuts were a way to refund to voters part of a budget surplus that people like Alan Greenspan worried was growing too big. By early 2001, it became clear that those surpluses were never going to materialize. So the administration cooked up an entirely new rationale: The tax cut was needed as fiscal stimulus to pull the economy out of an impending recession. In other words, the tax cut that was tailor-made for a booming economy made equally good sense in a tanking one. When the economy eventually began to grow again but only at feeble levels, the administration insisted that things would have been worse without the tax cuts (another assertion impossible to prove or disprove). And when, because of that anemic growth, coupled with gains in productivity, the unemployment rate continued to rise, the administration had yet another excuse: A new round of tax cuts, they said, would generate jobs.

The same technique--invoking the problem of the moment to sell a predetermined policy agenda--came to characterize just about everything the administration would do. Take energy policy. Oilmen like the president and vice-president have wanted to drill in places like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) for years because of their generalized belief that U.S. energy supplies should be exploited as fully and rapidly as possible. But for a public increasingly enamored of the idea of protecting pristine wilderness areas, this rationale was insufficient to get the derricks pumping. Then, while the Bush administration was formulating their energy policy during the spring and summer of 2001, California had an "energy crisis." Suddenly, there was a big problem, and the administration had what it said was the perfect solution: Drilling in ANWR and giving free reign to energy producers. But California's shortage had nothing to do with marginal supplies of oil, and we now know it had everything to do with companies like Enron gaming an ill-conceived energy privatization regime in that state. When that became apparent, the administration didn't skip a beat. 9/11 came soon after, and instead of heading off an energy crisis, the administration pitched drilling in ANWR as a way to safeguard national security by weaning ourselves off from foreign oil supplies. Many pundits have mocked these constantly-shifting rationales as though the administration is somehow confused. But they only seem confused if you assume that the problem needing to be solved actually called forth the policy solution aimed at solving it. Once you realize that the desire for the policy is the parent of the rationale, and not the other way around, everything falls into place.

Trickle Down Deception

Iraq was the most telling example. Many neoconservatives from the first Bush administration had long regretted the decision to leave Saddam Hussein in power in 1991. During their years out of power, as these neocons hashed out a doctrine of post-Cold War American military primacy, Saddam's removal moved higher and higher up their list of priorities. He was, after all, the prime obstacle to U.S. dominance of the Middle East. And holding him in check was generating serious diplomatic and military damage in the region. Those plans to remove Saddam shot to the top of the White House's agenda within hours of the 9/11 attacks. The neocons believed that the threat of catastrophic terror required not just taking down al Qaeda but solving the root problem of Islamic terrorism by remaking the entire Middle East. And ousting Saddam was at the center of the plan. Outrage over the presence of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia--put there to contain Saddam--had helped Osama bin Laden recruit his jihadists. And installing a US-backed regime in Baghdad could, the neocons believed, help trigger a domino effect against the old order which would spread secular, democratic regimes throughout the region.

But that was just a theory. In practice, Saddam and al Qaeda were largely unconnected. In fact, the two goals were often at odds with each other. When the Pentagon needed its top special forces to lead the search for Saddam Hussein, Michael Duffy and Massimo Calabresi of Time reported, it simply reassigned the soldiers who had been on the hunt for Osama Bin Laden. Again, a newly apparent problem ? the al Qaeda terrorist threat ? was being used to advance an existing and largely unrelated policy goal.

The effort to make the Iraq-al Qaeda connection stick gave rise to the administration's grandest deception: The charge that Saddam was rapidly reconstituting his nuclear weapons program and might slip a nuclear bomb--or the chemical and biological weapons he was thought to have already--to bin Laden's terrorists. "We know he's got ties with al Qaeda," Bush said at an election rally in November 2002. "A nightmare scenario, of course, is that he becomes the arsenal of a terrorist network, where he could attack America and he'd leave no fingerprints behind." To make that scenario seem plausible, the administration had to muscle all manner of analysts at the CIA, the State Department, and elsewhere. These analysts knew the Middle East best and doubted the existence of any Saddam-al Qaeda link. Nor did they believe that Saddam's efforts to acquire nuclear weapons justified the crisis atmosphere the White House whipped up in the leadup to war.

The clash spilled into public view this summer, after American forces failed to find any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq at all. The media began to press White House officials on how false nuclear weapons claims had made their way into Bush's State of the Union address and other speeches. Administration officials have given shifting accounts, and tried to frame the story as a matter of procedural breakdown. But one former official of Bush's White House has suggested a more compelling psychological explanation. Writing in National Review Online this past July, former Bush speechwriter David Frum argued that "[t]he CIA's warnings on Iraq matters had lost some of their credibility in the 1990s. The agency was regarded by many in the Bush administration as reflexively and implacably hostile to any activist policy in Iraq. Those skeptics had come to believe that the agency was slanting its information on Iraq in order to maneuver the administration into supporting the agency's own soft-line policies."

We have since learned that it wasn't just mid-level aides who knew about and discounted the CIA's warnings, though we still don't know exactly how far up this dismissive attitude went. But Frum's point rings very true for those who followed the infighting between Bush appointees and the Agency over the last two years. Within the White House, the opinions of whole groups of agency experts were routinely dismissed as not credible, and unhelpful facts were dismissed as the obstructionist maneuverings of bureaucrats seeking to undermine needed change.

Indeed, this same tendency to dismiss expertise shaped the whole war effort. Just before the U.S. invaded Iraq, Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki--who had focused his tenure on peacekeeping and nation building--said that hundreds of thousands of soldiers would be needed to pacify and control Iraq. Days later, Paul Wolfowitz told another committee that Shinseki didn't know what he was talking about; the occupation, Wolfowitz said, would require far fewer troops. At the time, many took Wolfowitz's evident self-assurance as a sign that he knew something the general didn't. Now, it's clear that it was the other way around, and Wolfowitz was engaging in a typical undisprovable assertion. Senior officials like Wolfowitz set an example that trickled down the bureaucratic ladder. One Pentagon civil servant specializing in Middle East policy described to me how, a few months after 9/11, he was chastised by a superior, a political appointee, for delivering a negative assessment of a proposed policy in a briefing memo to the Secretary of Defense. The civil servant changed his assessment as instructed but still included a list of potential pros and cons. But that wasn't good enough either. The senior official told him, "'It's still not acceptable. Take out all the discussion of the cons and basically write there's no reason why we shouldn't [do this].' I just thought this was intellectually dishonest."

Hide the Baloney

That cavalier dismissal of expert analysis isn't limited to the national security arena. In the summer of 2001, the Bush administration was looking for a decision the President could make on the use of embryonic stem cells for medical research. His Christian conservative base wanted an outright prohibition. But such a ban would have alienated swing voters eager for the therapies that could come from that research, such as cures for Parkinson's disease. As Nicholas Thompson explained in these pages ("Science Friction," July/August 2003), Bush's advisors came up with a scheme they thought would pass muster with both the core and the swing voters: the President would limit research to only those stem cell lines which existed already. But before the decision was announced, federal scientists warned the administration that there simply weren't enough reliable existing lines to be useful to researchers. The White House ignored the warnings, which have subsequently proved all too accurate, and went ahead with the decision, thereby setting back crucial medical research for years.

Look at just about any policy or department of government and you're likely to see the same pattern. In July, Slate's Russ Baker reported that the Bush administration "muzzles routine economic information that's unfavorable." Last year, the administration simply stopped issuing a report that tracks factory closings throughout the country, the better to hide evidence of mass layoffs. The report was reinstated only after The Washington Post happened to notice the cancellation, disclosed only in a footnote to the Department of Labor's final report for 2002, issued on Christmas Eve.

The sidelining of in-house expertise is nowhere more apparent than on the environmental front. This Bush administration came into office just as the consensus was solidifying among scientists that human activity contributes to climate change. That consensus, however, ran counter to key administration goals, such as loosening regulations on coal-burning power plants and scuttling international agreements aimed at limiting fossil fuel emissions. Rather than change its agenda, the administration chose to discredit the experts. As GOP pollster Frank Luntz wrote in a memo just before the 2002 election: "The scientific debate [on global warming] is closing against us but is not yet closed. There is still an opportunity to challenge the science." The idea that global warming was a reality that actually had to be grappled with simply didn't occur to Luntz. Indeed, when questioned about whether administration policies might contribute to global warming, White House spokesmen direct reporters to the small, and rapidly diminishing, group of scientists who still doubt that humans contribute to the problem. In June, when the EPA released an Environmental Progress report, the administration edited out passages that described scientific concerns about global warming.

In any White House, there is usually a tension between the political agenda and disinterested experts who might question it. But what's remarkable about this White House is how little tension there seems to be. Expert analysis that isn't politically helpful simply gets ignored.

The Boys in Striped Pants

Educated, liberal-leaning professionals are apt to see this conflict as an open-and-shut case: Expertise should always trump ideology. This has been the case for over a century, ever since Progressive Era reformers took on corrupt city machines and elevated technocratic expertise above politics. Those early Progressives restructured government by turning functions hitherto run by elected officials over to appointed, credentialed experts. And many of the ways they refashioned government now seem beyond question. Few would challenge, for instance, our practice of assigning decisions at the FDA or CDC to panels of qualified scientists rather than political appointees.

On the other hand, anyone who's worked as a political appointee at the higher levels of government and tried to get anything new done has been frustrated by the myriad ways in which bureaucrats manipulate numbers and information in ways intended to thwart the new agenda and maintain the status quo. There is a long tradition in American politics of finessing policy initiatives past stubborn bureaucrats. Franklin Roosevelt, for instance, routinely used amateur diplomats and personal intermediaries to sidestep the professionals at Foggy Bottom ? the "boys in striped pants," he called them ? for fear that they would slow-roll, walk back or generally meddle in his chosen course in international affairs. As the historian Warren Kimball aptly notes, Roosevelt shared the conviction that foreign service officers believed that they had a "priestly monopoly against intervention by members of Congress, journalists, professors, voters and other lesser breeds."

All of this is to say that the Bush administration's unwillingness to be pushed around by the bureaucratic experts or to have their ideas hemmed in by establishment opinion isn't by itself a bad thing. Nor is this administration the first to ignore or suppress unhelpful data or analyses from experts that runs contrary to its agenda-?foolish as such conduct usually proves. But in this administration the mindset of deception runs deeper. If you're a revisionist?someone pushing for radically changing the status quo?you're apt to see "the experts" not just as people who may be standing in your way, but whose minds have been corrupted by a wrongheaded ideology whose arguments can therefore be ignored. To many in the Bush administration, 'the experts' look like so many liberals wedded to a philosophy of big government, the welfare state, over-regulation and a pussyfooting role for the nation abroad. The Pentagon civil servant quoted above told me that the standard response to warnings from the Joint Staff about potential difficulties was simply to say: "That's just the Joint Staff being obstructionist." Even if the experts are right in the particulars--the size of the deficit, the number of troops needed in Iraq--their real goal is to get in the way of necessary changes that have to be made.

Apr?s nous, le d?luge

In that simple, totalizing assumption we find the kernel of almost every problem the administration has faced over recent months--and a foretaste of the troubles the nation may confront in coming years. By disregarding the advice of experts, by shunting aside the cadres of career professionals with on-the-ground experience in these various countries, the administration's hawks cut themselves off from the practical know-how which would have given them some chance of implementing their plans successfully. In a real sense, they cut themselves off from reality. When they went into Iraq they were essentially flying blind, having disengaged from almost everyone who had real-world experience in how effective occupation, reconstruction and nation-building was done. And much the same can be said of the administration's take on economic policy, environmental policy, and in almost every sort of policy question involving science. Muzzling the experts helped the White House muscle its revisionist plans through. But in numerous cases it prevented them from implementing even their own plans effectively.

Everyone is compromised by bias, agendas, and ideology. But at the heart of the revisionist mindset is the belief that there is really nothing more than that. Ideology isn't just the prism through which we see world, or a pervasive tilt in the way a person understands a given set of facts. Ideology is really all there is. For an administration that has been awfully hard on the French, that mindset is...well, rather French. They are like deconstructionists and post-modernists who say that everything is political or that everything is ideology. That mindset makes it easy to ignore the facts or brush them aside because "the facts" aren't really facts, at least not as most of us understand them. If they come from people who don't agree with you, they're just the other side's argument dressed up in a mantle of facticity. And if that's all the facts are, it's really not so difficult to go out and find a new set of them. The fruitful and dynamic tension between political goals and disinterested expert analysis becomes impossible.

Doctrinaire as they may be in the realm of policy, the president's advisors are the most hard-boiled sort of pragmatists when it comes to gaining and holding on to political power. And there's no way they planned to head into their reelection campaign with a half-trillion-dollar deficit looming over their heads and an unpredictable, bleeding guerrilla war in Iraq on their hands. At the level of tactics and execution, the administration's war on expertise has already yielded some very disappointing, indeed dangerous results. And if that gets you worried, just remember that the same folks are in charge of the grand strategy too.

Joshua Micah Marshall is a Washington Monthly contributing writer and editor of


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« Reply #15 on: September 12, 2003, 10:24:12 PM »
I see a lot of people yelling for peace but I have not  heard of a
plan for peace. So, here's one plan:

1. The US will apologize to the world for our "interference" in their
affairs, past &present. You know, Hitler, Mussolini, Tojo, Noriega,
Milosovich and the rest of those 'good ole boys.' We will never "interfere"

2. We will withdraw our troops from all over the world, starting with
Germany, South Korea and the Philippines. They don't want us there.   We would station troops at our borders. No one sneaking through holes in the fence.

3. All illegal aliens have 90 days to get their affairs together and
leave. We'll give them a free trip home. After 90 days  the remainder will
be gathered up and deported immediately, regardless of who or where they are. France would welcome them.

4. All future visitors will be thoroughly checked and limited to 90
days unless given a special permit. No one from a terrorist nation would be allowed in. If you don't like it there, change it yourself and don't hide
here. Asylum would never be available to anyone.   We don't need any more cab drivers or 7-11 cashiers.

5. No "students" over age 21. The older ones are the  bombers.  If
they don't attend classes, they get a "D" and it's back home ,baby.

6. The US will make a strong effort to become self-sufficient energy
wise. This will include developing non-polluting sources of energy  ,but
will require a temporary drilling of oil in the Alaskan wilderness.  The
caribou will have to cope for a while.

7. Offer Saudi Arabia and other oil producing countries  $10 a barrel
for their oil. If they don't like it, we go some place else.  They can go
somewhere else to sell their production. (About a week of the wells filling
up the storage sites would be enough.)

8. If there is a famine or other natural catastrophe in the world,
we will not "interfere." They can pray to Allah or whomever, for seeds,
rain, cement or  whatever they need. Besides most of what we give them is stolen or given to the army. The people who need it most get very little, if anything.

9. Ship the UN Headquarters to an isolated island some  place.  We
don't need the spies and fair weather friends here. Besides,the building
would make a good homeless shelter or lockup for illegal aliens.

10. All Americans must go to charm and beauty school. That way, no
one can call us "Ugly Americans" any longer.

The Language we speak is ENGLISH.....learn it...or LEAVE...

Attributed to Robin Williams


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« Reply #16 on: September 13, 2003, 03:46:40 AM »
hmm, now thats a possibilty!


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great thread
« Reply #17 on: September 13, 2003, 09:56:48 AM »

1. We saved hundreds of thousands of Kuwaiti Muslims in Gulf War I, and just as many Muslims during our Kosovo Operations (where the UN dropped the ball and we had to paint our planes in NATO colors to get the job done) and brought freedom to the nation of afganistan and Iraq (afganistan you could kill my daughter legally to punish me and Iraq had prisons for little kids whose parents didnt tow the line for the baath party).  Does the U.S.A we get any credit for this? No. I would love to blame poor public relations on our part, but that aint it. We are hated. We cannot make friends with extremists or with extremist governments. I am sure that everyone in Iran doesnt think we are the great Satan. We need to prove it by doing a serious cleanup in Afghanistan and Iraq.

2. If can tell me the last 100 things I have purchased, recommend product to me (table saws because I bought some woodworking books) and let me know when an author I have purchased has a new book out then why the hell cant we track everyone coming over our border through _legal_ channels (ports and airports). "Here is your tourist VISA m'am. You have to call the 1800 number on the back every 7 days or a warrant will be issued for your arrest and immediate deportation. Welcome to America." "Hello University/tech school/.etc... if you want us to issue an education visa we need to check the name and papers against the terrorist watch list. Have the individual go to the embassy in their home country or the immigration office here in the US for fingerprinting and to receive their passcode and 800 number to call in order to avoid arrest and deportation."

3. We have foreign nationals in the universities around this country studying 'nuculur' physics, bioengineering, cryptography, etc. We are teaching future bad guys. How about nothin but Liberal Arts for all foreign nationals? How about we start protecting some of our expensive and hard won knowledge (which is more valuable than oil or bombs).

4. The USA is exporting (outsourcing) thousands of tech and customer support jobs to India. We have issued and still issue thousands of work visas to foreigners. There are schools in India where they teach English with accent training (midwest, southern, etc.) so that Customer Service reps sound like americans. We have the highest unemployment rate in the last 25 years. We make it legal for them to work here. We take advantage of low cost of living and slave wages there (cost and efficiency). Oh, yeah, it is illegal for a foreigner to work in India and almost impossible to get a work visa. Trade deficit? How about a talent deficit. Nice.

5. You dont see a lot of legal immigrants saying "Gee, I cant wait to go back to <insert third world country here>. Before anyone gets there panties ina bunch, I am a citizen thanks to legal immigration 90 years ago (thanks grandma).

6. THere are police chiefs and sherrifs in this country who are announcing their cities as "safe for illegal immigrants". We are rewarding people who are breaking our laws. Gray "I never met a constituent I didnt pay off" Davis just signed a law making it legal for illegal (ILLEGAL AS IN NOT LEGAL AS IN CRIMINAL ACT OF BREAKING INTO THIS COUNTRY) immigrants to get drivers licenses.  "I know you broke the law, and use a lot of resources we are paying for in our sales, personal income and property taxes, but you seem like a nice guy so here is a drivers license". LEts reward them. The democrats in Cali call anyone who opposes the law "Anti Immigrant".

We need more common sense.


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« Reply #18 on: September 24, 2003, 09:52:02 AM »
From Neal Boortz to all of the bedwetting Liberals:
Please answer as many of the following questions as you can, and as many with a straight face as possible. Please answer quickly as you already have all of the answers.

1. Since George W. Bush is evil, and thought by some to be far more dangerous than Saddam Hussein, could you please list the instances you are aware of where George W. Bush has ordered the murder, torture and rape of American citizens, like yourself, who oppose his presidency.

2. Could you list any sites of mass graves of American citizens ordered to be killed by the Bush administration?

3. Further, could you please list the instances you are aware of when George W. Bush has ordered the murder of members of his own family.

4. Do you feel that Saddam Hussein possessed no weapons he was specifically forbidden to have by the UN; for example, the Scud missiles he fired into Kuwait during the first two weeks of the war?

5. How do you think Saddam was able to fire weapons that he didn't have?

6. Are inspectors inspectors, or are inspectors detectives?

7. How many more months would you have given Saddam Hussein to comply with the 17 UN resolutions, passed over 12 years?

8. If you owned an apartment building, for how many months would you allow a tenant to defy you to kick him out for not paying the rent he owes?

9. If the UN, and the previous administration, were convinced Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, and used that as a basis for their actions against Iraq, how do those reasons evaporate when applied by the Bush administration?

10. If the Bush administration, led by the evil GWB, lied about weapons of mass destruction in order to go to war, why haven't we found any WMD secretly planted by the Bush administration?

11. If you feel it would be too difficult to plant WMD in Iraq, because there are too many people watching, such that no one can do anything sneaky in Iraq, then why can't we find Saddam?

12. Do you disagree with the statement..."The weapons of mass destruction used in the 9/11 attacks were box-cutters"?

13. Do you think finding an airplane fuselage in a terrorist training camp in northern Iraq means terrorists were practicing hijackings? If not, for what purpose do you think they were using the airplane?

14. Knowing what little you may know about spy satellites, what do you think Iraq was hiding using the tunnel-digging equipment they bought from the French some 5 years ago?

15. Why do you think Iraq had a 'Higher Committee for Monitoring the Inspection Teams' headed by Hussein's Vice-President, and son, Qusay?

16. The fact that Iraq trained experts to foil UN weapons inspectors is documented not just by U.S. intelligence organizations, but by those of many other countries. Why do you think Iraq needed to use these tactics, if George W. Bush is lying?

17. In 1995, Iraq admitted it had biological weapons. They declared they had, for example, 8500 liters of anthrax. Where did they all go? If Iraq destroyed them, why would there be any need for more UN resolutions after that?

18. When do you think Iraq abandoned their existing Weapons of Mass Destruction program? What do you think was their motivation for abandoning it- the 17th time the UN said 'pretty please', or the fact that it was spending too much money that could used for social programs to improve the lives of Iraqi citizens?

19. Do you think the bio-weapons lab vehicles found in Iraq were being used as lunch wagons, or as mobile auto detail trucks?

20. If a terrorist organization attacked America tomorrow by spraying anthrax over a large city, would you blame George W. Bush for not doing enough?

21. Would Hillary?

22. How many minutes after the attack do you think it would take for Hillary to appear on CNN?

23. If an illegal U.S. president declares an illegal war, wouldn't the two cancel each other out?

Bonus Question: Do you think O.J. killed Ron and Nicole, or was he the victim of a massive conspiracy to plant evidence by many separate divisions of the LAPD?


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« Reply #19 on: October 10, 2003, 12:18:03 PM »
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October 10, 2003, 8:42 a.m.
Legends of the Fall
More myths about the current war.

?The war is against 'terror'." As a number of astute observers have reminded us, terror is a method, not an enemy. And we are no more in a war against it than we were once fighting the scourge of Zeros or the plague of Soviet MiGs.


Such vague, loose nomenclature is reassuring, of course, in our therapeutic society. It ensures that we are not really angry at any one person or nation, but rather at an abstraction ? as if somewhere there were soldiers with caps embroidered, " Republic of Terror," or crowds chanting "Up with Terror, Down with the USA," or perhaps thuggish leaders in sunglasses and khaki who beat their shoes at the U.N. and warn, "Terrorism will bury you."

In fact, those who employ terror of the type that culminated (rather than began) on September 11 are real people with real government backing. They cannot operate without money, havens, and at least passive complicity. Who are they? Aside from the deposed Taliban, al Qaeda, of course; but also Hezbollah and its sponsors in Iran ? as well as Islamofascist groups funded and abetted by Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. After 9/11, any autocratic country in the Middle East that had recently gone to war with the United States and cumulatively required 350,000 American air sorties, twelve years, $20 billion of policing, and occupation of two-thirds of its airspace to prevent genocide was an enemy, both de facto and ? given Iraq's violation of the armistice accords of 1991 ? de jure. That Abu Abbas and Abu Nidal were in Baghdad before the war, and al Qaeda afterward, is the expected calculus of the Hussein regime and its noxious fumes.

While we may be in various stages of bellicosity with differing states, the fact is that after September 11 we will either accept defeat and stay within our borders to fight a defensive war of hosing down fires, bulldozing rubble, arresting terrorist cells, and hoping to appease or buy off our enemies abroad ? or we will eventually have to confront Syria, Lebanon's Bekka Valley, Saudi Arabia, and Iran with a clear request to change and come over to civilization, or join the Taliban and Saddam Hussein.

Of course, a single dead American soldier is a tragedy, both for the nation and for the aggrieved family. But, by any historical measure, what strikes students of this war so far in its first two years is the amazing degree to which the United States has hurt its enemies without incurring enormous casualties and costs. So far there have been five theaters of conflict: Washington, New York, Pennsylvania, Afghanistan, and Iraq. After suffering about 3,000 dead, $100 billion in direct material damage in Manhattan and D.C., and perhaps another $1 trillion hit to the economy at large in areas as diverse as airline losses, increased security expenditures, and tourist and travel drop-offs, the United States has lost under 400 soldiers in defeating the Taliban and Saddam Hussein, and probably spent roughly $100 billion in direct military expenditures, with another $100 billion in slated reconstruction costs.

In terms of American military history, this is a staggering paradox. Usually the initial attacks that have prompted past American wars were relatively mild, while the subsequent reaction was costly ? in the manner that Fort Sumter paled in comparison with Shiloh, or Tonkin was not Hue, or Pearl Harbor was nothing like Iwo Jima. But 9/11 itself was much more deadly than all of the subsequent campaigns that have followed in the last two years. Unlike other wars, our present offensives going into the third year of fighting have cost far fewer lives than the first 25 months of any major conflict in American history ? the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, World War I, or World War II. But then, to see the logic of this anomaly, one must first accept the initial premise that we are currently in a war ? and millions of Americans apparently do not.

Of course, we cringe in despair at Americans killed and billions of dollars in costs to rebuild Iraq. But what is truly strange about the opposition to military efforts since 9/11 is the absence of a serious alternative strategy. It is easy to quibble about going into Iraq or the problems of sniping, bombing, or power and water in Baghdad; but so far the opponents of the war have not advocated any of the measures that their spiritual forerunners in Vietnam found so successful in ending hostilities ? from sit-ins, daily demonstrations, and teach-ins, to military resistance and the cut-off of funding.

The Senate, which voted overwhelming to give President Bush the authority to fight in Iraq, has few voices who wish either to rescind that legal prerogative or to deny funds for it. Our supposed European enemies have organized no real counterbalance to pressure us to leave; even Sweden has not yet recalled its ambassador. French newspapers may blare, "The slowly rotting situation in Iraq, the Mideast and Afghanistan has destroyed the myth American omnipotence," but they don't tell us how removing the Taliban and Saddam Hussein is worse than selling weapons to them ? or why and how France lost 30 times more of its own citizens to heat in a month than we lost soldiers in battle in two years. Apparently French apartments are far more deadly places than the Pakistani border or the Sunni Triangle.

Here at home, the campuses are relatively quiet. The most recently announced Democratic presidential candidate, Gen. Clark, is on record praising the present administration for arresting the drift of prior years. And for all of Howard Dean's invective, he is no Eugene McCarthy, and thus has offered no proposals to end the appropriations for Iraq in lieu of empty slurs and smug criticisms.

Why? Besides the obvious fact that fewer American soldiers have been killed in two years of fighting than often were lost in one week in Vietnam, it is hard to rescind a war that has made the United States more secure and 26 million people freer ? and taken out the most odious fascist in the Middle East, who was once bombed by Bill Clinton without either Senate or U.N. approval. So when Wesley Clark in May 2001 applauded the Bush team for its efforts to restore deterrence, and most of the serious Democratic candidates supported the Clinton administration in its past bombing to prevent the spread of Saddam's WMDs, it is tricky now simply to convince anyone that the entire thing was cooked up in Texas.

Americans may be angry, but most of them are irritated with the Iraqis, for not assuming responsibility for their own fate and showing some gratitude for their liberation ? as well as the Arab world in general, whose "moderate" journalists and intellectuals are more critical of the new democratic council in Baghdad than the corrupt autocracies in Cairo, Damascus, and on the West Bank.

Which countries have become hostile to the United States in the wake of the Iraqi war? The United Kingdom? Australia? Spain? Italy? Have even India, Russia, or China turned away or threatened us? Have Jordan and Egypt thrown up their hands and joined the enemy?

Besides North Korea, Syria, and Iran, those states peeved at recent events are, in fact, a handful of countries ? Germany, France, Belgium, Sweden, Greece, Syria, Palestine, Algeria, and a few other Arab states. Many of them, as we speak, are still engaged in some sort of military relationship with the United States ? NATO coordination, Mediterranean patrolling, hosting of United States troops ? joint operations all subject to sudden cancellation at the pleasure of any of these governments. European elites might harp at GPS bombs, but the masses quietly at home, far away from the coffeehouses, acknowledge that the use of such precision weapons during the last decade ? whether in Belgrade, Kabul, or Baghdad ? hinged on one salient characteristic: They were intended to distinguish fascists from the victims of their state-sanctioned murder.

Ex post facto, all presidents are blamed for getting Americans into wars ? from Wilson in World War I to Reagan in Grenada, as incidents like Pearl Harbor, Tonkin, and the captive students in Grenada were all said to have been concocted. Did Lincoln, Wilson, Roosevelt, Johnson, and Reagan all lie, misjudge, or overreact to draw us into wars?

But, in contrast, this war was predicated on a variety of immediate reasons ? so much so that antebellum critics complained that the Bush administration was using a shot-gun approach in advancing too many causes for war: the broken agreements of 1991; twelve years of no-fly zones that were legal acts of war; Saddam's past invasions or attacks against four countries; genocide against the Kurds; violation of U.N. accords; the harboring of terrorists in a post-9/11 world; and a host of others. The WMD charge was also predicated on the Clinton administration's bombing and perhaps killing 1,000 Iraqis to take out Saddam's WMD capability; thus, according to popular belief here and abroad, these weapons once existed, and yet the bombing offered no proof of their destruction.

There is, however, a political crisis. Critics of the near-flawless military campaign of three weeks were stymied when none of their bleak scenarios came to pass: thousands killed; millions of refugees; governments toppled; terrorist attacks in the United States; mass starvation; and hundreds of U.N. camps. Thus in a frenzied election year they have turned to two backup positions: reconstruction as "quagmire" and WMDs as the sole (and fraudulent) reason for war. Both strategies are risky because they presuppose that a year from now Iraq will be worse, not better, and that there will be no forthcoming textual or eyewitness reports that such weapons in fact were hidden, exported, or secretly dismantled as some goofy gambit of an unhinged dictator.

Finally, rogue states like Iran and North Korea will soon emulate the strategy of Saddam Hussein ? but learning the critical lesson of first finishing their bombs before invading neighbors or confronting the United States. Thus the irony of this phony debate is that, in the future, an exasperated United States, in an act of unilateral defense, will reluctantly shy away from the thankless task of policing such regimes, and instead press on with its own military preparedness and missile defense ? allowing the more circumspect and purportedly sober EU and U.N. to pay blackmail or pass empty resolutions to deal with these new rogue nuclear states.

Good luck to them both.


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« Reply #20 on: October 15, 2003, 07:44:36 PM »
Quote from: Crafty_Dog
I see a lot of people yelling for peace but I have not  heard of a
plan for peace. So, here's one plan:


Attributed to Robin Williams

Actually written by some guy on a Harley Davidson USENET group.

Hermann Goering

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« Reply #21 on: October 16, 2003, 12:34:00 AM »
"Why of course the people don't want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don't want war neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."

--Hermann Goering (Nuremberg, 1946)

Gilbert, G.M. Nuremberg Diary. New York: Farrar, Straus and Company, 1947 (pp. 278-279)


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« Reply #22 on: November 01, 2003, 09:00:09 AM »
"Those Jews"

If only Israel and its supporters would disappear.

There are certain predictable symptoms to watch when a widespread amorality begins to infect a postmodern society: cultural relativism, atheism, socialism, utopian pacifism. Another sign, of course, is fashionable anti-Semitism among the educated, or the idea that some imaginary cabal, or some stealthy agenda - certainly not our own weakness - is conspiring to threaten our good life.

Well apart from the spooky placards (stars of David juxtaposed with
swastikas, posters calling for the West Bank to be expanded to "the sea")
that we are accustomed to seeing at the marches of the supposedly ethical antiwar movement, we have also heard some examples of Jew-baiting and hissing in the last two weeks that had nothing to do with the old crazies. Indeed, such is the nature of the new anti-Semitism that everyone can now play at it - as long as it is cloaked in third-world chauvinism, progressive thinking, and identity politics.

The latest lunatic rantings from Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad are nothing new, and we should not be surprised by his mindless blabbering about Jews and his fourth-grade understanding of World War II and the present Middle East. But what was fascinating was the reaction to his madness: silence from the Arab intelligentsia, praise from Middle Eastern leaders ("A brilliant speech," gushed Iran's "president" Mohammad Khatami), and worry from France and Greece about an EU proclamation against the slander. Most American pundits were far more concerned about the private, over-the-top comments of Gen. Boykin than about the public viciousness of a
head of state. Paul Krugman, for example, expressed the general mushiness of the Left when he wrote a column trying to put Mahathir Mohamad's hatred in a sympathetic context, something he would never do for a Christian zealot who slurred Muslims.

Much has been written about the usually circumspect Greg Easterbrook's
bizarre ranting about "Jewish executives" who profit from Quentin
Tarantino's latest bloody production. But, again, the problem is not so much the initial slips and slurs as it is the more calculated and measured
"explanation." Easterbrook's mea culpa cited his prior criticism of Mel
Gibson, as if the supposed hypocrisy of a devout and public Christian's
having trafficked in filmed violence were commensurate with the dealings of two ordinary businessmen who do not publicly embrace religion. Michael Eisner and Harvey Weinstein simply happen to be movie executives, with no stake in producing Jewish movies or public-morality films, but - like most in Hollywood - with a stake in making money from films. That they are Jewish has absolutely no bearing on their purported lack of morality - unless, of course, one seeks to invent some wider pathology, evoking historical paranoia about profiteering, cabals, and "the Jews."

Recently, Joseph Lieberman was hissed by an Arab-American audience in
Dearborn, Mich. when he briefly explained Israel's defensive wall in terms not unlike those used by Howard Dean and other candidates. What earned him the special public rebuke not accorded to others was apparently nothing other than being Jewish - the problem was not what he said, but who he was. No real apology followed, and the usually judicious and sober David Broder wrote an interesting column praising the new political acumen of the Arab-American community.

Tony Judt, writing in The New York Review of Books, has published one of the most valuable and revealing articles about the Middle East to appear in the last 20 years. There has always been the suspicion that European intellectuals favored the dismantling of Israel as we know it through the merging of this uniquely democratic and liberal state with West Bank neighbors who have a horrific record of human-rights abuses, autocracy, and mass murder. After all, for all too many Europeans, how else but with the end of present-day Israel will the messy Middle East and its attendant problems - oil, terrorism, anti-Semitism, worries over unassimilated Muslim populations in Europe, anti-Americanism, and postcolonial guilt - become less bothersome? Moreover, who now knows or cares much about what happened to Jews residing under Arab governments - the over half-million or so who, in the last half-century, have been ethnically cleansed from (and sometimes murdered in) Baghdad, Cairo, Damascus, and almost every Jewish community in
the Arab Middle East?

And what is the value of the only democratic government in a sea of
autocracy if its existence butts up against notions of third-world
victimhood and causes so much difficulty for the Western intelligentsia?
Still, few intellectuals were silly enough to dress up that insane idea
under the pretext of a serious argument (an unhinged Vidal, Chomsky, or Said does not count). Judt did, and now he has confirmed what most of us knew for years - namely, that there is an entrenched and ever-bolder school of European thought that favors the de facto elimination of what is now a democratic Jewish state.

What links all these people - a Muslim head of state, a rude crowd in
Michigan, an experienced magazine contributor, and a European public
intellectual - besides their having articulated a spreading anger against
the "Jews"? Perhaps a growing unease with hard questions that won't go away and thus beg for easy, cheap answers.

A Malaysian official and his apologists must realize that gender apartheid,
statism, tribalism, and the anti-democratic tendencies of the Middle East
cause its poverty and frustration despite a plethora of natural resources
(far more impressive assets than the non-petroleum-bearing rocks beneath parched Israel). But why call for introspection when the one-syllable slur "Jews" suffices instead?

And why would an Arab-American audience - itself composed of many who fled the tyranny and economic stagnation of Arab societies for the freedom and opportunity of a liberal United States - wish to hear a reasoned explanation of the complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian war when it was so much easier to hiss and moan, especially when mainstream observers would ignore their anti-Semitism and be impressed instead with the cadre of candidates who flock to Michigan?

How do you explain to an audience that Quentin Tarantino appeals both to teens and to empty-headed critics precisely because something is terribly amiss in America, when affluent and leisured suburbanites are drawn to scenes of raw killing as long as it is dressed up with "art" and "meaning"?

How could a Tony Judt write a reasoned and balanced account of the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict when to do so would either alienate or bore the

So they all, whether by design or laxity, take the easier way out -
especially when slurring "Israel" or "the Jews" involves none of the risks
of incurring progressive odium that similarly clumsy attacks against blacks, women, Palestinians, or homosexuals might draw, requires no real thinking, and seems to find an increasingly receptive audience.

You see, in our mixed-up world those Jewish are not a "people of color." And if there really is such a mythical monolithic entity in America as the
"Jews," they (much like the Cubans) are not easily stereotyped as
impoverished victims needing largesse or condescension, and much less are they eligible under any of the current myriad of rubrics that count for
public support. Israel is a successful Western state, not a failed
third-world despotism. Against terrible oppression and overt anti-Semitism, the Jewish community here and abroad found success - proof that hard work, character, education, and personal discipline can trump both natural and human adversity. In short, the story of American Jewry and Israel resonates not at all with the heartstrings of a modern therapeutic society, which is quick to show envy for the successful and cheap concern for the struggling.

This fashionable anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism - especially among
purported intellectuals of the Left - reveals a deep-seated, scary pathology that is growing geometrically both in and outside the West. For a Europe that is disarmed, plagued by a demographic nightmare of negative population growth and unsustainable entitlements, filled with unassimilated immigrants, and deeply angry about the power and presence of the United States, the Jews and their Israel provide momentary relief on the cheap. So expect that more crazy thoughts of Israel's destruction dressed up as peace plans will be as common as gravestone and synagogue smashing.

For the Muslim world that must confront the power of the patriarch, mullah, tribe, and autocrat if it is ever to share the freedom and prosperity of the rest of the world, the Jews offer a much easier target. So expect even more raving madness as the misery of Islamic society grows and its state-run media hunker down amid widespread unrest. Anticipate, also, more sick posters at C-SPAN broadcast marches, more slips by reasonable writers, and more anti-Israeli denunciations from the "liberals."

These are weird, weird times, and before we win this messy war against
Islamic fascism and its sponsors, count on things to get even uglier. Don't expect any reasoned military analysis that puts the post-9/11 destruction of the Taliban and Saddam Hussein's evil regime, along with the liberation of 50 million at the cost of 300 American lives, in any sort of historical context. After all, in the current presidential race, a retired general now caricatures U.S. efforts in Iraq and quotes Al Sharpton.

Do not look for the Islamic community here to acknowledge that the United States, in little over a decade, freed Kuwait, saved most of the Bosnians and Kosovars, tried to feed Somalis, urged the Russians not to kill Chechnyans, belatedly ensured that no longer were Shiites and Kurds to be slaughtered in Iraq, spoke out against Kuwait's ethnic cleansing of a third of a million Palestinians - and now is spending $87 billion to make Iraqis free.

That the Arab world would appreciate billions of dollars in past American
aid to Jordan, Egypt, and the Palestinian Authority, or thank America for
its help in Kuwait and Kosovo, or be grateful to America for freeing Iraq -
all this is about as plausible as the idea that Western Europeans would
acknowledge their past salvation from Nazism and Soviet Communism, or be grateful for the role the United States plays to promote democracy in Panama, Haiti, the Balkans, or the Middle East.

No, in this depressing age, the real problem is apparently our support for
democratic Israel and all those pesky Jews worldwide, who seem to crop up everywhere as sly war makers, grasping film executives, conspiratorial politicians, and greedy colonialists, and thus make life so difficult for the rest of us.



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« Reply #23 on: November 28, 2003, 12:17:49 AM »
Waiting for Allah
(some new additions and corrections)

< Bush's war has been the greatest thing that ever happened to Al Qaeda. If Bush were making progress in the war on terror, we wouldn't be seeing vastly more Al Qaeda attacks now than we saw before the Iraq war..Carl>

Conspiracy theories, as in the 1001 Arabian Nights stories, abound in the 21st century for the aged logic that the crackdown on the war on terror had increased as a result of crack down on terror. This wearied argument from the Arab street further stresses that because of the new crusade by the Bush administration there is a new holy war! These mushrooming sleepers cells and wide spread convoluted sympathies on the fringes of Islamic world exists because they need to heap the reasons of their failures on some one else, in the recent century it happened to be US, and last century it was colonialism.

Islam today is faced with new questions that need to be answered by the main body politic of Islam not Bush; that is how Muslim blood became the collateral damage in the jihad against infidels. For when guns are turned on one?s own as a result of an inability to act in the west, it has led to the failure of AlQaeda sympathizers and led to their implosion within their own confines, the fallout of which is now affecting Muslims at large. In an effort to bring total chaos they have waged war against their own people, in the month of Ramadan where even in times before the Prophet, the spilling of blood was prohibited. The blood orgies of AlQaeda have opened a lot of unopened eyes; the questions that were missed post 911 (as most of the blood was those of ?infidels?) are now being asked such why and what for. When Western blood is spilled, there is a gleeful silence, when Western interests are hurt, there is a universal sense of accomplishment in the fringe Islamic communities. This perverse pleasure taken in the miseries of the West is not what Islam preaches as its very message is peace and creation of the abode.

Wasted excess of squabble against US imperialism cannot be more exemplified by the life of a fringe youth within the Islamic world. He, who wakes up with a Proctor & Gamble mouthwash, a breakfast of Kellogg?s frosted wheats, wears Gap jeans, works on a Cisco-Intel-Microsoft based technology to connect to the internet whilst sipping Starbucks coffee lashes out at American way of life. The envy towards America, for it?s accomplishment through hard won freedoms, is nothing more than passive-aggressive aggression egged on by the sense of abject failure and underachievement of the leadership that failed them. A madrassa product can not be compared to an Oxbridge grad and this is the result of centuries of accumulated failure where ?innovation of thought? was denounced by Imam Al-Ghazali as heresy. Khuldoon, Sina, Ibn Ishaq, Khayyam, Biruni or Farabi you name it, for one or other reasons were declared heretics or were condemned as revisionaries by the clergy of the time, the efforts to arrest Islamic free thought in cocoon of time have been always triumphant as clergy took the front seat in championship of Islam. The silent majority spirit has always been trampled by determination and ?insight? of clergy to keep the masses in check, the inability to move with times and be a part of change left Islamic world directionless.

Clerical leadership has been the cause of decay, had it not been for the foresight of leaders like Sir Syed, the South Asian region would be as backward as those north in Asia. It is not an accident that Afghanistan does not have institutions like King Edward Medical College or the rail and canal systems. The continuous battles to refuse supremacy and struggle for false sovereignty have resulted into a country that has limbless thousands and still unable to connect to the world. Connect tribalism with a virulent form of extremist ideology and an explosive combination will lead to a self destruction of the societies, AlQaeda today is in on the forefront to achieve this ?failure? of a society like Afghanistan for places that are connecting to the world. Turkey is the target since it represents the ability of Islam to co-exist with democracy and freedom. In the Islamic world, the concept of pre-destination and born with the will of Allah overtook struggle for betterment, the idea of pre-destination became the vial of the Islamic world.

Palestinians feel aggrieved by Israeli aggression but their leadership have failed them during the course of this century by aligning themselves with losers. The issue of Palestine would not have risen had the Ottomans not aligned itself with the Germans in the First World War. The break up of the Ottoman Empire was the result of realignments within the world and the mufti Al Hussieni went to Hitler in World War 2 to produce Muslim recruits for the German army. Why should Islam become aligned with losers, why can?t we have the vision to connect with the winners? The Palestinian issue is at the core of the Islamic world but defeatism has become a currency and self-inflicted pain has become pleasure.

The war against civilized world was hatched by the loonies of the world when the icons of 'Democrats' were busy having flings in the sacred office of the White House; the appeasers after Cole incident had fired some misguided missiles on a Sudanese factories and some mud rubble in Afghanistan was destroyed but no consistent policy was followed since the hornets nest was considered to be far too sensitive. These vandals on the doors need men with resolve; the left with its self serving agenda does not have what it takes to face the criminals.

The ??lan? of global jihad against US and her citizens was carried out by the likes of Osama under an administration who never took it seriously. If taking the battle from streets of US to far flung areas of the world is not success what else should succeed! These extremists are and will be in constant hibernation and the challenge was to deny them sanctuaries in hinterlands of terror production factories that existed under Global Jihad Inc under the tutelage of countries like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and others. Even Iran?s recent cooperation with IAEA represents how the threat of big sticks works across the board so comprehensively. Iran is ready today to open up its facilities of enrichment and that is one other success of areas that are benefiting from global containment of terror regimes.

US has today exactly done that, freedom of action that allows us to speak and differ is now a new coinage in the Arab world which is of historic magnitude. The very reason that an ?Iraqi can call Bush a usurper? is a success of war on terror, war on terror is a freedom from the shackles of primitiveness, and that is the big picture post 911 strategy that I understand it is not neoconism or a new crusade it is for the collective good of the world freeing Islam from people who want to hijack it in the name of blood orgies, from Bali to Istanbul the fight remains single minded resolve to free our world from influence of cave man who want to rob us our freedoms. The challenge to bring the Arab world out from the cave age and from the cradle of conspiracy theories to a giant step to incorporate a free press where ?expression of dissent? is guaranteed is an era of new self-determination for the medieval world; we the free people of the world are all united and the previous weak administration postponed reckoning with the ground realities that existed in our part of the world.

This administration sees it and hence its ability to convert the most hardened on its side, the likes of Musharraf, Prince Abdullah and Erdogan are ex-hardliners within the context of Islamic freedom movements however they are now the staunchest of the US allies. US needed the pivotal countries in Muslim world to carry its fight to the enemy, how strange that the left in US is unable to appreciate the alliance of the most unwilling that this administration have been able to sew. If this is not success of diplomacy, the carrying of a big stick and dangling of big carrots, what else is success? The fight against Al Qaeda mercenaries in the northern most lands of Pakistan and in the hinterland of Qasim province could have not been possible. The sleeper cells of Turks would have one day created havoc in the west as part of the EU and freedom of movement that would have come, now all this coming on surface is helping the cause in two ways. One is that the cancer is clear and presents itself as a defined target that can be confronted. Every suicide bombers leaves a trail that closes door for other 100 possible bombers. Turks in Istanbul or Saudis in Jeddah blowing themselves up are not in retaliation to US actions but as a result and inability of Al Qaeda to destroy western homes.

In a last ditch attempt, they are now on the path of self destruction. The streets that had gleefully expressed smiling adulations to the suicide bombers in Israel today find how horrendous these bombers can be. Saudis who complained that Israel should take no action against Palestinians even if they keep blowing the Israelis with these bombs are now on a crack down, the realization that this is ferocious beast out to take anyone who opposes their brand of medievalism. The Bush doctrine has set a whole region freed from the chains of the past. Yes, it will be upheaval and a mounting task to face but the street in the Arab lands fails to see how come Muslims is killing Muslims in a vendetta that is directed against west. The concept of collateral damages of the Islamic blood is now too difficult to handle for appeasers and naysayers in our part of the world. The reasoning that all this would have passed if no action would have been taken is the biggest fallacy. There is and was no sympathy to the western philosophy, according to the extremists. Islam promised the 1 billion faithful the rule of the world and what they have discovered is that they are at the bottom most wrung of the ladder as a result of their own failure. The rage of impotence combined with the blind craving to manage the human race through the 'will of Allah? is what propels hatred within the fringe elements.

It is dreams of rediscovering history of the golden age and the re-conquest of the world, like old Spain, propels many a lunatics to impose the will of 'Allah' on the unwilling. This is not about terror, rather this is about imposing a way of life through a 'regime of terror'. Appeasment only makes their work easier. Throwing a gauntlet like what Bush did makes it harder but it takes a very big man to do it. History has put this burden on a Texan who looked quite ordinary and for the left even stupid but he has taken this burden better than many a Sagittarius.

Just to be clear, I am not the author of this. I merely found it floating on the seas of the Internet.-- Crafty Dog


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« Reply #24 on: November 28, 2003, 03:17:15 PM »
I would agree that America is a great country and it is only one of a few countries in the whole world where "freedom" is being enjoyed by most citizens.

However, the American educational system should educate the citizenry at what cost this freedom and economic benefits that the citizens are fighting for to retain.

Lest, most Americans do not even know about their imperialistic past.  Only a few even know that the Philippines was a former US colony.

The Filipinos backed the US during their fight with Spain with the thought that the US would pass on the power to them. But what happened? The US invaded the Philippines.

People always talk about Hitler and the Holocaust, but only a select few know about what the US military did in Balangiga Town in Southern Philippines when a US officer ordered all male Filipinos over ten years old should be killed in retaliation for the death of approximately 50 US soldiers.

How about the US policy with the dictator Ferdinand Marcos? The US had to please Marcos for 20 years to be assured of tenure for the US military bases. But at what cost? The death of political prisoners, death of the citizenry from hunger.  The Philipines was the 2nd biggest economic power in East Asia next to Japan. Marcos plundered all of the money.
and who helped Marcos flee to Hawaii when the citizenry revolted? A US helicopter and plane flew his whole family for an escape. He and his family would have been tried and executed( as what happened in Romania), which would have served as a warning to all corrupt citizens. and what do we have today? A Philippine society that is in an economic standstill where a great number of the people live in poverty because of the actions of a corrupt few who continue on with their actions, unafraid.

I do not discount the fact that there have been a great protest from certain groups from different times in different places in the US against US policy in the whole world. And this is what makes America great. But to keep it great, the citizens must be informed of the wrong of the past so that it may not be repeated.

Do not get me wrong. I support the US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and I do admire the democratic system of the United States.

Happy Thanksgiving to all :P


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« Reply #25 on: December 02, 2003, 12:31:43 AM »
The Chant Not Heard

Published: November 30, 2003

I stood on the sidewalk in London the other day and watched thousands of antiwar, anti-George Bush, anti-Tony Blair protesters pass by. They chanted every antiwar slogan you could imagine and many you couldn't print. It was entertaining ? but also depressing, because it was so disconnected from the day's other news.
Just a few hours earlier, terrorists in Istanbul had blown up a British-owned bank and the British consulate, killing or wounding scores of British and Turkish civilians. Yet nowhere could I find a single sign in London reading, "Osama, How Many Innocents Did You Kill Today?" or "Baathists ? Hands Off the U.N. and the Red Cross in Iraq." Hey, I would have settled for "Bush and Blair Equal Bin Laden and Saddam" ? something, anything, that acknowledged that the threats to global peace today weren't just coming from the White House and Downing Street.

Sorry, but there is something morally obtuse about holding an antiwar rally on a day when your own people have been murdered ? and not even mentioning it or those who perpetrated it. Watching this scene, I couldn't help but wonder whether George Bush had made the liberal left crazy. It can't see anything else in the world today, other than the Bush-Blair original sin of launching the Iraq war, without U.N. approval or proof of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

Believe me, being a liberal on every issue other than this war, I have great sympathy for where the left is coming from. And if I didn't, my wife would remind me. It would be a lot easier for the left to engage in a little postwar reconsideration if it saw even an ounce of reflection, contrition or self-criticism coming from the conservatives, such as Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld, who drove this war, yet so bungled its aftermath and so misjudged the complexity of postwar Iraq. Moreover, the Bush team is such a partisan, ideological, nonhealing administration that many liberals just want to punch its lights out ? which is what the Howard Dean phenomenon is all about.

But here's why the left needs to get beyond its opposition to the war and start pitching in with its own ideas and moral support to try to make lemons into lemonade in Baghdad:

First, even though the Bush team came to this theme late in the day, this war is the most important liberal, revolutionary U.S. democracy-building project since the Marshall Plan. The primary focus of U.S. forces in Iraq today is erecting a decent, legitimate, tolerant, pluralistic representative government from the ground up. I don't know if we can pull this off. We got off to an unnecessarily bad start. But it is one of the noblest things this country has ever attempted abroad and it is a moral and strategic imperative that we give it our best shot.

Unless we begin the long process of partnering with the Arab world to dig it out of the developmental hole it's in, this angry, frustrated region is going to spew out threats to world peace forever. The next six months in Iraq ? which will determine the prospects for democracy-building there ? are the most important six months in U.S. foreign policy in a long, long time. And it is way too important to leave it to the Bush team alone.

On Iraq, there has to be more to the left than anti-Bushism. The senior Democrat who understands that best is the one not running for president ? Senator Joe Biden. He understands that the liberal opposition to the Bush team should be from the right ? to demand that we send more troops to Iraq, and more committed democracy builders, to do the job better and smarter than the Bush team has.

Second, we are seeing ? from Bali to Istanbul ? the birth of a virulent, nihilistic form of terrorism that seeks to kill any advocates of modernism and pluralism, be they Muslims, Christians or Jews. This terrorism started even before 9/11, and is growing in the darkest corners of the Muslim world. It is the most serious threat to open societies, because one more 9/11 and we'll really see an erosion of our civil liberties. Ultimately, only Arabs and Muslims can root out this threat, but they will do that only when they have ownership over their own lives and societies. Nurturing that is our real goal in Iraq.

"In general," says Robert Wright, author of "Nonzero," "too few who opposed the war understand the gravity of the terrorism problem, and too few who favored it understand the subtlety of the problem."

For my money, the right liberal approach to Iraq is to say: We can do it better. Which is why the sign I most hungered to see in London was, "Thanks, Mr. Bush. We'll take it from here."


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« Reply #26 on: December 12, 2003, 05:15:26 AM »
When Does Politics Become Treason?
By J. Michael Waller

"Congressmen who willfully take actions during wartime that damage morale and undermine the military are saboteurs and should be arrested, exiled or hanged" - that's what President Abraham Lincoln said during the War Between the States. While none have suggested such extreme measures in the midst of the war on terrorism, Lincoln's approach illustrates the deadly seriousness of political responsibility in wartime and draws a fine line between legitimate political dissent and aiding the enemy. The Supreme Court eventually stopped Lincoln's policy of having treasonous lawmakers arrested and tried before military tribunals, but for decades after the war the late president's Republican Party successfully tagged the Democrats as the "party of treason."

Today's very different Democratic Party is said to be playing with treason - even by outraged leaders within its ranks - to destroy the nation's wartime Republican president. Critics aren't using that word lightly. But with many liberal politicians having cut their teeth in the protest movement against the war in Vietnam - a movement characterized by militant displays of support for the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese enemy - treason is something to be taken lightly. But two important political commentators with large national audiences recently have compiled damning indictments: Mona Charen in her best-selling Useful Idiots: How Liberals Got It Wrong in the Cold War and Still Blame America First (Regnery), and Ann Coulter in her blockbuster Treason: Liberal Treachery From the Cold War to the War on Terrorism (Crown/Forum). The main difference from Lincoln's day is that the president's enemies are attacking him in the name of "supporting our troops."

It started shortly after the liberation of Iraq when Senate Democrats asked the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to examine whether faulty intelligence might have led President George W. Bush to mislead Congress and the public about the urgency of toppling Saddam Hussein. The committee chairman, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), agreed to a probe in light of the panel's nonpartisan tradition since its founding in the 1970s. But in a sharp break with tradition, the Democrats on the committee, led by Vice Chairman Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and pushed behind the scenes by Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), decided to turn the probe into a savage and bitterly partisan weapon against the White House.

Proof of the Democrats' intent came in early November when Fox News received a leaked memo authored by a Rockefeller staffer on the committee. According to the memo, the Democrats' strategy was to "pull the majority as far along as we can on issues that may lead to major new disclosures regarding improper or questionable conduct by administration officials. For example, in addition to the president's State of the Union speech, the chairman [Roberts] has agreed to look at the activities of the Office of the Secretary of Defense as well as [Under] Secretary [John] Bolton's office at the State Department. The fact that the chairman supports our investigations into these offices and cosigns our requests for information is helpful and potentially crucial." In other words: exploit the unique bipartisanship of the Intelligence Committee by launching fishing expeditions in the offices of the conservative policymakers at the Pentagon and the State Department, using the Republican committee chairman's signature as a fig leaf.

The plan ordered up by Rockefeller took the partisanship even further: "Assiduously prepare Democratic 'additional views' to attach to any interim or final reports the committee may release. Committee rules provide this opportunity and we intend to take full advantage."

Once the Republicans caught on and stopped cooperating, the plan called for Democrats to "prepare to launch an independent investigation when it becomes clear that we have exhausted the opportunity to usefully collaborate with the majority. We can pull the trigger on an independent investigation at any time - but we can only do so once." The timing, according to the memo, would involve pulling that trigger during the heated campaign season of 2004.

The plan was a gross breach of the committee's practices and, even as Americans were being killed in ambushes, it was aimed at hamstringing, in the words of the memo, "the senior administration officials who made the case for a unilateral, pre-emptive war."

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) was outraged. "For a quarter-century there has been a consensus in the Senate that the committee's nonpartisan tradition must be carefully safeguarded. Nothing else is acceptable. Why? Because this committee deals with information that is unique, that is privileged information, because of the dangerous and sensitive nature of the subject matter for which the Intelligence Committee ... has unique oversight.

"I came to the [Senate] floor because that critical tradition has now been willfully attacked. How can I say that? By this memo," Frist roared. "The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has been harmed by a blatant partisan attack. I have no earthly idea who wrote the memo. I do know why. I don't know who it was intended for, but I do know why. If you read the memo [available online at,2933,102258,00.html], you can look. It is a sequence of steps spelled out. The sequence of steps proposed in this partisan battle plan for the committee itself is without question intended to sow doubt, to abuse the fairness of the committee chairman, Sen. Pat Roberts, to undermine the standing of the commander in chief at a time of war and to launch a partisan investigation through next year into the elections."

Intelligence professionals agree that the plan was a grave breach during time of war, showing reckless disregard for national security and national war aims. Frist, an ex-officio member of the committee, made three demands: that the author or authors of the memo step forward and identify themselves, that "the author or authors and the designated recipient or recipients disavow once and for all this partisan attack in its entirety" and for the perpetrators to make "a personal apology" to the committee chairman.

Almost incredibly to national-security specialists, that was all. No further sanctions. No nothing.

"Frist has emboldened the Democrats," warned a senior administration official at the time. And indeed, he did. For rather than repent, confess and seek forgiveness, Rockefeller openly admitted that his staff had done it with his full support and he accused Republicans of "stealing" the proof of the Democratic scheme to undermine the war effort from his staff computers. He and other Democrats demanded and received an official investigation of the "theft."

It was classical Clintonism. "When [Bill] Clinton got a [sexual favor] in the White House, he unleashed a thousand Lanny Davises and he won," says a senior Bush aide, referring to the former president's extremely aggressive and partisan lawyer. "The handling of the Rockefeller memorandum follows the same strategy."

A top figure in the national-security community fumes, "Some Democrat leaders are flirting with treason while the Republicans are acting like a bunch of sissies." But it isn't just Senate Republicans, the official concedes. "Where's the fight back from the White House?" Senators and congressmen have been reprimanded, censured, expelled, even put on trial for less. In some of Capitol Hill's pubs wags are urging, tongue in cheek, for Republicans to play hardball the way President Lincoln did. Shortly after signing the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, Lincoln spoke forcefully of the need to arrest, convict and, if necessary, execute congressmen who by word or deed undermined the war effort. At least one congressman was exiled and another awaited the gallows.

"Must I shoot a simple-minded soldier-boy who deserts, while I must not touch a hair of a wily agitator who induces him to desert? This is none the less injurious when effected by getting a father, or brother, or friend, into a public meeting, and there working upon his feelings till he is persuaded to write the soldier-boy that he is fighting in a bad cause, for a wicked Administration of a contemptible Government, too weak to arrest and punish him if he shall desert. I think that in such a case to silence the agitator and save the boy is not only constitutional, but withal a great mercy," Lincoln wrote in June 1863, after the arrest of Rep. Clement L. Vallandigham (D-Ohio).

The congressman's arrest was military, not political, Lincoln insisted: "His arrest was made because he was laboring, with some effect, to prevent the raising of troops; to encourage desertions from the Army; and to leave the rebellion without an adequate military force to suppress it. He was not arrested because he was damaging the political prospects of the Administration, or the personal interests of the commanding general, but because he was damaging the Army, upon the existence and vigor of which the life of the nation depends. He was warring upon the military, and this gave the military constitutional jurisdiction to lay hands on him."

Warring upon the military: Lincoln's words apply to some lawmakers today, but even the most bitter of them insist that they're doing it to "support the troops." The law might allow the U.S. military to arrest lawmakers who undermine military effectiveness or morale while in a theater of war. In considering the Lincoln-era arrests of treasonous congressmen, the Supreme Court ruled the arrests illegal because the politicians in question lived outside the war zone at the time of their actions.

Rhode Island Chief Justice Frank J. Williams, a scholar of the Lincoln era, has been mulling the question of such arrests and their applicability today. He studied the case of Rep. Lambdin P. Milligan (D-Ind.), a Copperhead who had tried, in solidarity with the Confederacy, to discourage enlistments after Lincoln called for raising troops in 1862. The Army arrested Milligan in October 1864. A military commission found him guilty of inciting insurrection and giving aid and comfort to the enemy in time of war, and sentenced him to be hanged on May 19, 1865.

"Condemned to hang, he invoked the habeas corpus writ," says Williams in a recent essay. "But by then the war was over, and the Court was prepared to act boldly. It ruled that Indiana, where Milligan resided and spoke, was not part of the 'theater of war' and that the civil courts there were 'open' and therefore available to conduct his trial. Under such a combination of circumstances, the writ could not be constitutionally suspended. The Milligan case, needless to say, has become the source of permanent consternation to the friends of presidential power."

Nearly a century later, Chief Justice Earl Warren called the Milligan case a "landmark" that "firmly established the principle that when civil courts are open and operating, resort to military tribunals for the prosecution of civilians is impermissible."

Modern scholars express little doubt about the legitimacy of the Milligan conviction. The issue is the authority of the military to do the arresting and prosecuting. According to Williams, the Milligan case "establishes the principle that the courts shall determine, even to the point of overriding the executive, what is the area of war and public danger, a principle that could well cause havoc with presidential effectiveness in an actual emergency."

Politicians feel freer to use more extreme rhetoric against the war on terrorism now that they have political cover from elders such as Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) and left-wing moneybags such as George Soros, who calls Bush more dangerous than the terrorists and has pledged millions to bring him down. As the war debate deteriorates from principle and practicality to partisanship, the once-important intolerance toward uttering words that comfort the enemy also is deteriorating. Combine that with the by-any-means-necessary approach to using the Senate Intelligence Committee as a partisan bludgeon and the question arises as to whether lawmakers can be trusted to police their own behavior.

Public censure long has been a tool that responsible legislators have wielded to punish or deter bad behavior from within their own ranks. The House and Senate have censured and expelled some of their more wayward colleagues, even invalidating their elections, but apart from the Civil War period such measures generally were reserved for financial corruption and sex crimes. In the 20th century, no lawmakers had action taken against them for behavior that may have lent aid and comfort to the enemy, according to Herbert Romerstein, a veteran congressional investigator and a historian of subversion in the United States. "Vietnam is the only time it comes to mind, and though there was widespread support for the enemy nobody was punished." Probably because the war had not formally been declared.

However, there were and are established precedents to punish lawmakers who reveal classified information. The most prominent, though largely forgotten, case is that of Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who was accused repeatedly of revealing sensitive secrets in interviews with reporters, including leaking stories about U.S. intelligence intercepts of conversations of foreign leaders. In 1986, Leahy, then vice chairman of the Intelligence Committee, let an NBC reporter read a secret draft report on the emerging Iran-Contra scandal. The committee spent a half-year investigating and forced Leahy to resign from the panel.

It was perhaps the most serious breach in the committee's decadelong history, and it wasn't Leahy's only offense. He was long a suspected leaker of national-security secrets as part of his effort to discredit the Reagan administration and its policy of rolling back Soviet communism. The problem was the Senate Intelligence Committee leadership had no proof. Insight has learned that staffers on the committee set up a sting operation against Leahy to catch him in the act. In compiling documents for each senator on the committee, staff members made small alterations in the numbered copies reserved for Leahy, marking the text in small ways that would, if leaked, prove the identity of the leaker. The sting worked, hastening Leahy's exposure and resulting in his being forced to leave the committee in disgrace.

Like the United Nations, the current Senate appears unwilling to enforce its own rules and resolutions on security matters. The Republican response to the Intelligence Committee memorandum is proof of that, critics say, even though the committee's Rules of Procedure require immediate action in such cases. According to section 10.8, "The Committee shall immediately consider action to be taken in the case of any member of the Committee staff who fails to conform" to committee rules. "Such disciplinary action may include, but shall not be limited to, immediate dismissal from the Committee staff."

Meanwhile, of course, the Democrats are trying to make a criminal case of the GOP "theft" of the memorandum proving their plot against the war effort.


Note on sources: Given the recent controversy about the authenticity of quotations attributed to President Abraham Lincoln, Insight went directly to the primary source for the presidential statements about how to deal with congressmen who sabotage the war effort. This reporter found the quotes in a June 1863 letter that President Lincoln wrote, published that year in pamphlet form as "The Truth from an Honest Man: The Letter of the President," by King & Baird Printers in Philadelphia and distributed by the Union League. Insight thanks Herbert Romerstein for providing the original pamphlet from his collection.


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« Reply #27 on: December 12, 2003, 06:13:59 PM »

5. No "students" over age 21. The older ones are the bombers. If
they don't attend classes, they get a "D" and it's back home ,baby.

Are you sure Robin Williams wrote this thing? I don't think he's that stu$%d. The writer shows too much ignorance. Foreign graduate students contribute alot of funds to US Universities just to keep these esteemed American educational institutions afloat or at par with world standards.

The whole write-up shows much arrogance. I doubt that Robin Williams would ever write something like that. Moreso that that he married his children's Filipina nanny.


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« Reply #28 on: January 29, 2004, 10:15:15 AM »
A Friendly Drink in a Time of War
by Paul Berman


A friend leaned across a bar and said, "You call the war in Iraq an antifascist war. You even call it a left-wing war-a war of liberation. That language of yours! And yet, on the left, not too many people agree with you."


"Not true!" I said. "Apart from X, Y, and Z, whose left-wing names you know very well, what do you think of Adam Michnik in Poland? And doesn't Vaclav Havel count for something in your eyes? These are among the heroes of our time. Anyway, who is fighting in Iraq right now? The coalition is led by a Texas right-winger, which is a pity; but, in the second rank, by the prime minister of Britain, who is a socialist, sort of; and, in the third rank, by the president of Poland-a Communist! An ex-Communist, anyway. One Texas right-winger and two Europeans who are more or less on the left. Anyway, these categories, right and left, are disintegrating by the minute. And who do you regard as the leader of the worldwide left? Jacques Chirac?-a conservative, I hate to tell you."


My friend persisted.


"Still, most people don't seem to agree with you. You do have to see that. And why do you suppose that is?"


That was an aggressive question. And I answered in kind.


"Why don't people on the left see it my way? Except for the ones who do? I'll give you six reasons. People on the left have been unable to see the antifascist nature of the war because . . . "-and my hand hovered over the bar, ready to thump six times, demonstrating the powerful force of my argument.


"The left doesn't see because -" thump!-"George W. Bush is an unusually repulsive politician, except to his own followers, and people are blinded by the revulsion they feel. And, in their blindness, they cannot identify the main contours of reality right now. They peer at Iraq and see the smirking face of George W. Bush. They even feel a kind of schadenfreude or satisfaction at his errors and failures. This is a modern, television-age example of what used to be called 'false consciousness.'"


Thump! "The left doesn't see because a lot of otherwise intelligent people have decided, a priori, that all the big problems around the world stem from America. Even the problems that don't. This is an attitude that, sixty years ago, would have prevented those same people from making sense of the fascists of Europe, too."

Thump! "Another reason: a lot of people suppose that any sort of anticolonial movement must be admirable or, at least, acceptable. Or they think that, at minimum, we shouldn't do more than tut-tut-even in the case of a movement that, like the Baath Party, was founded under a Nazi influence. In 1943, no less!"


Thump! "The left doesn't see because a lot of people, in their good-hearted effort to respect cultural differences, have concluded that Arabs must for inscrutable reasons of their own like to live under grotesque dictatorships and are not really capable of anything else, or won't be ready to do so for another five hundred years, and Arab liberals should be regarded as somehow inauthentic. Which is to say, a lot of people, swept along by their own high-minded principles of cultural tolerance, have ended up clinging to attitudes that can only be regarded as racist against Arabs.


"The old-fashioned left used to be universalist-used to think that everyone, all over the world, would some day want to live according to the same fundamental values, and ought to be helped to do so. They thought this was especially true for people in reasonably modern societies with universities, industries, and a sophisticated bureaucracy-societies like the one in Iraq. But no more! Today, people say, out of a spirit of egalitarian tolerance: Social democracy for Swedes! Tyranny for Arabs! And this is supposed to be a left-wing attitude? By the way, you don't hear much from the left about the non-Arabs in countries like Iraq, do you? The left, the real left, used to be the champion of minority populations-of people like the Kurds. No more! The left, my friend, has abandoned the values of the left-except for a few of us, of course."


Thump! "Another reason: A lot of people honestly believe that Israel's problems with the Palestinians represent something more than a miserable dispute over borders and recognition-that Israel's problems represent something huger, a uniquely diabolical aspect of Zionism, which explains the rage and humiliation felt by Muslims from Morocco to Indonesia. Which is to say, a lot of people have succumbed to anti-Semitic fantasies about the cosmic quality of Jewish crime and cannot get their minds to think about anything else.

"I mean, look at the discussions that go on even among people who call themselves the democratic left, the good left-a relentless harping on the sins of Israel, an obsessive harping, with very little said about the fascist-influenced movements that have caused hundreds of thousands and even millions of deaths in other parts of the Muslim world. The distortions are wild, if you stop to think about them. Look at some of our big, influential liberal magazines-one article after another about Israeli crimes and stupidities, and even a few statements in favor of abolishing Israel, and hardly anything about the sufferings of the Arabs in the rest of the world. And even less is said about the Arab liberals-our own comrades, who have been pretty much abandoned. What do you make of that, my friend? There's a name for that, a systematic distortion-what we Marxists, when we were Marxists, used to call ideology."


Thump! "The left doesn't see because a lot of people are, in any case, willfully blind to anti-Semitism in other cultures. They cannot get themselves to recognize the degree to which Nazi-like doctrines about the supernatural quality of Jewish evil have influenced mass political movements across large swaths of the world. It is 1943 right now in huge portions of the world-and people don't see it. And so, people simply cannot detect the fascist nature of all kinds of mass movements and political parties. In the Muslim world, especially."

Six thumps. I was done. My friend looked incredulous. His incredulity drove me to continue.


"And yet," I insisted, "if good-hearted people like you would only open your left-wing eyes, you would see clearly enough that the Baath Party is very nearly a classic fascist movement, and so is the radical Islamist movement, in a somewhat different fashion-two strands of a single impulse, which happens to be Europe's fascist and totalitarian legacy to the modern Muslim world. If only people like you would wake up, you would see that war against the radical Islamist and Baathist movements, in Afghanistan exactly as in Iraq, is war against fascism."


I grew still more heated.


"What a tragedy that you don't see this! It's a tragedy for the Afghanis and the Iraqis, who need more help than they are receiving. A tragedy for the genuine liberals all over the Muslim world! A tragedy for the American soldiers, the British, the Poles and every one else who has gone to Iraq lately, the nongovernmental organization volunteers and the occupying forces from abroad, who have to struggle on bitterly against the worst kind of nihilists, and have been getting damn little support or even moral solidarity from people who describe themselves as antifascists in the world's richest and fattest neighborhoods.


"What a tragedy for the left-the worldwide left, this left of ours which, in failing to play much of a role in the antifascism of our own era, is right now committing a gigantic historic error. Not for the first time, my friend! And yet, if the left all over the world took up this particular struggle as its own, the whole nature of events in Iraq and throughout the region could be influenced in a very useful way, and Bush's many blunders could be rectified, and the struggle could be advanced."


My friend's eyes widened, maybe in astonishment, maybe in pity.


He said, "And so, the United Nations and international law mean nothing to you, not a thing? You think it's all right for America to go do whatever it wants, and ignore the rest of the world?"


I answered, "The United Nations and international law are fine by me, and more than fine. I am their supporter. Or, rather, would like to support them. It would be better to fight an antifascist war with more than a begrudging UN approval. It would be better to fight with the approving sanction of international law-better in a million ways. Better politically, therefore militarily. Better for the precedents that would be set. Better for the purpose of expressing the liberal principles at stake. If I had my druthers, that is how we would have gone about fighting the war. But my druthers don't count for much. We have had to choose between supporting the war, or opposing it-supporting the war in the name of antifascism, or opposing it in the name of some kind of concept of international law. Antifascism without international law; or international law without antifascism. A miserable choice-but one does have to choose, unfortunately."


My friend said, "I'm for the UN and international law, and I think you've become a traitor to the left. A neocon!"


I said, "I'm for overthrowing tyrants, and since when did overthrowing fascism become treason to the left?"


"But isn't George Bush himself a fascist, more or less? I mean-admit it!"


My own eyes widened. "You haven't the foggiest idea what fascism is," I said. "I always figured that a keen awareness of extreme oppression was the deepest trait of a left-wing heart. Mass graves, three hundred thousand missing Iraqis, a population crushed by thirty-five years of Baathist boots stomping on their faces-that is what fascism means! And you think that a few corrupt insider contracts with Bush's cronies at Halliburton and a bit of retrograde Bible-thumping and Bush's ridiculous tax cuts and his bonanzas for the super-rich are indistinguishable from that?-indistinguishable from fascism? From a politics of slaughter? Leftism is supposed to be a reality principle. Leftism is supposed to embody an ability to take in the big picture. The traitor to the left is you, my friend . . ."


But this made not the slightest sense to him, and there was nothing left to do but to hit each other over the head with our respective drinks.


Paul Berman is the author of Terror and Liberalism. His book The Passion of Joschka Fischer will come out in the spring.


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« Reply #29 on: March 09, 2004, 11:23:49 PM »
The Threat of Global Terrorism
Why Sept. 11 made Iraq's liberation necessary.

Saturday, March 6, 2004 12:01 a.m. EST

(Editor's note: Mr. Blair delivered this speech in his constituency yesterday morning.)

No decision I have ever made in politics has been as divisive as the decision to go to war to in Iraq. It remains deeply divisive today. I know a large part of the public want to move on. Rightly they say the government should concentrate on the issues that elected us in 1997: the economy, jobs, living standards, health, education, crime. I share that view, and we are.

But I know too that the nature of this issue over Iraq, stirring such bitter emotions as it does, can't just be swept away as ill-fitting the preoccupations of the man and woman on the street. This is not simply because of the gravity of war; or the continued engagement of British troops and civilians in Iraq; or even because of reflections made on the integrity of the Prime Minister. It is because it was in March 2003 and remains my fervent view that the nature of the global threat we face in Britain and round the world is real and existential, and it is the task of leadership to expose it and fight it, whatever the political cost; and that the true danger is not to any single politician's reputation, but to our country if we now ignore this threat or erase it from the agenda in embarrassment at the difficulties it causes.

In truth, the fundamental source of division over Iraq is not over issues of trust or integrity, though some insist on trying to translate it into that. Each week brings a fresh attempt to get a new angle that can prove it was all a gigantic conspiracy. We have had three inquiries, including the one by Lord Hutton conducted over six months, with more openness by government than any such inquiry in history, that have affirmed there was no attempt to falsify intelligence in the dossier of September 2002, but rather that it was indeed an accurate summary of that intelligence.
We have seen one element--intelligence about some WMD being ready for use in 45 minutes--elevated into virtually the one fact that persuaded the nation into war. This intelligence was mentioned by me once in my statement to the House of Commons on 24 September and not mentioned by me again in any debate. It was mentioned by no one in the crucial debate on 18 March 2003. In the period from 24 September to 29 May, the date of the BBC broadcast on it, it was raised twice in almost 40,000 written parliamentary questions in the House of Commons; and not once in almost 5,000 oral questions. Neither was it remotely the basis for the claim that Saddam had strategic as well as battlefield WMD. That was dealt with in a different part of the dossier; and though the Iraq Survey Group have indeed not found stockpiles of weapons, they have uncovered much evidence about Saddam's program to develop long-range strategic missiles in breach of U.N. rules.

It is said we claimed Iraq was an imminent threat to Britain and was preparing to attack us. In fact this is what I said prior to the war on 24 September 2002: "Why now? People ask. I agree I cannot say that this month or next, even this year or next he will use his weapons."

Then, for example, in January 2003 in my press conference I said: "And I tell you honestly what my fear is, my fear is that we wake up one day and we find either that one of these dictatorial states has used weapons of mass destruction--and Iraq has done so in the past--and we get sucked into a conflict, with all the devastation that would cause; or alternatively these weapons, which are being traded right round the world at the moment, fall into the hands of these terrorist groups, these fanatics who will stop at absolutely nothing to cause death and destruction on a mass scale. Now that is what I have to worry about. And I understand of course why people think it is a very remote threat and it is far away and why does it bother us. Now I simply say to you, it is a matter of time unless we act and take a stand before terrorism and weapons of mass destruction come together, and I regard them as two sides of the same coin."

The truth is, as was abundantly plain in the motion before the House of Commons on 18 March, we went to war to enforce compliance with U.N. resolutions. Had we believed Iraq was an imminent direct threat to Britain, we would have taken action in September 2002; we would not have gone to the U.N. Instead, we spent October and November in the U.N. negotiating U.N. Resolution 1441. We then spent almost four months trying to implement it.
Actually, it is now apparent from the Survey Group that Iraq was indeed in breach of U.N. Resolution 1441. It did not disclose laboratories and facilities it should have; nor the teams of scientists kept together to retain their WMD, including nuclear expertise; nor its continuing research relevant to CW and BW [chemical and biological weapons]. As Dr Kay, the former head of the ISG [International Survey Group] who is now quoted as a critic of the war, has said: "Iraq was in clear violation of the terms of Resolution 1441". And "I actually think this [Iraq] may be one of those cases where it was even more dangerous than we thought."

Then, most recently is the attempt to cast doubt on the attorney general's legal opinion. He said the war was lawful. He published a statement on the legal advice. It is said this opinion is disputed. Of course it is. It was disputed in March 2003. It is today. The lawyers continue to divide over it--with their legal opinions bearing a remarkable similarity to their political view of the war.

But let's be clear. Once this row dies down, another will take its place and then another and then another.

All of it in the end is an elaborate smokescreen to prevent us seeing the real issue: which is not a matter of trust but of judgment.

The real point is that those who disagree with the war, disagree fundamentally with the judgment that led to war. What is more, their alternative judgment is both entirely rational and arguable. Kosovo, with ethnic cleansing of ethnic Albanians, was not a hard decision for most people; nor was Afghanistan after the shock of September 11; nor was Sierra Leone.
Iraq in March 2003 was an immensely difficult judgment. It was divisive because it was difficult. I have never disrespected those who disagreed with the decision. Sure, some were anti-American; some against all wars. But there was a core of sensible people who faced with this decision would have gone the other way, for sensible reasons. Their argument is one I understand totally. It is that Iraq posed no direct, immediate threat to Britain; and that Iraq's WMD, even on our own case, was not serious enough to warrant war, certainly without a specific U.N. resolution mandating military action. And they argue: Saddam could, in any event, be contained.

In other words, they disagreed then and disagree now fundamentally with the characterization of the threat. We were saying this is urgent; we have to act; the opponents of war thought it wasn't. And I accept, incidentally, that however abhorrent and foul the regime and however relevant that was for the reasons I set out before the war, for example in Glasgow in February 2003, regime change alone could not be and was not our justification for war. Our primary purpose was to enforce U.N. resolutions over Iraq and WMD.

Of course the opponents are boosted by the fact that though we know Saddam had WMD, we haven't found the physical evidence of them in the 11 months since the war. But in fact, everyone thought he had them. That was the basis of U.N. Resolution 1441.

It's just worth pointing out that the search is being conducted in a country twice the land mass of the U.K., which David Kay's interim report in October 2003 noted, contains 130 ammunition storage areas, some covering an area of 50 square miles, including some 600,000 tons of artillery shells, rockets and other ordnance, of which only a small proportion have as yet been searched in the difficult security environment that exists.

But the key point is that it is the threat that is the issue.
The characterization of the threat is where the difference lies. Here is where I feel so passionately that we are in mortal danger of mistaking the nature of the new world in which we live. Everything about our world is changing: its economy, its technology, its culture, its way of living. If the 20th century scripted our conventional way of thinking, the 21st century is unconventional in almost every respect.

This is true also of our security.

The threat we face is not conventional. It is a challenge of a different nature from anything the world has faced before. It is to the world's security, what globalization is to the world's economy.

It was defined not by Iraq but by September 11th. September 11th did not create the threat Saddam posed. But it altered crucially the balance of risk as to whether to deal with it or simply carry on, however imperfectly, trying to contain it.

Let me attempt an explanation of how my own thinking, as a political leader, has evolved during these past few years. Already, before September 11th the world's view of the justification of military action had been changing. The only clear case in international relations for armed intervention had been self-defense, response to aggression. But the notion of intervening on humanitarian grounds had been gaining currency. I set this out, following the Kosovo war, in a speech in Chicago in 1999, where I called for a doctrine of international community, where in certain clear circumstances we do intervene, even though we are not directly threatened. I said this was not just to correct injustice, but also because in an increasingly interdependent world, our self-interest was allied to the interests of others; and seldom did conflict in one region of the world not contaminate another. We acted in Sierra Leone for similar reasons, though frankly even if that country had become run by gangsters and murderers and its democracy crushed, it would have been a long time before it impacted on us. But we were able to act to help them and we did.

So, for me, before September 11th, I was already reaching for a different philosophy in international relations from a traditional one that has held sway since the treaty of Westphalia in 1648; namely that a country's internal affairs are for it and you don't interfere unless it threatens you, or breaches a treaty, or triggers an obligation of alliance. I did not consider Iraq fitted into this philosophy, though I could see the horrible injustice done to its people by Saddam.

However, I had started to become concerned about two other phenomena.

The first was the increasing amount of information about Islamic extremism and terrorism that was crossing my desk. Chechnya was blighted by it. So was Kashmir. Afghanistan was its training ground. Some 300 people had been killed in the attacks on the U.S.S Cole and U.S. embassies in East Africa. The extremism seemed remarkably well financed. It was very active. And it was driven not by a set of negotiable political demands, but by religious fanaticism.

The second was the attempts by states--some of them highly unstable and repressive--to develop nuclear weapons programs, CW and BW materiel and long-range missiles. What is more, it was obvious that there was a considerable network of individuals and companies with expertise in this area, prepared to sell it.

All this was before September 11th. I discussed the issue of WMD with President Bush at our first meeting in Camp David in February 2001. But it's in the nature of things that other issues intervene--I was about to fight for re-election--and though it was raised, it was a troubling specter in the background, not something to arrest our whole attention.
President Bush told me that on September 9th, 2001, he had a meeting about Iraq in the White House when he discussed "smart" sanctions, changes to the sanctions regime. There was no talk of military action.

September 11th was for me a revelation. What had seemed inchoate came together. The point about September 11th was not its detailed planning; not its devilish execution; not even, simply, that it happened in America, on the streets of New York. All of this made it an astonishing, terrible and wicked tragedy, a barbaric murder of innocent people. But what galvanized me was that it was a declaration of war by religious fanatics who were prepared to wage that war without limit. They killed 3,000. But if they could have killed 30,000 or 300,000, they would have rejoiced in it. The purpose was to cause such hatred between Muslims and the West that a religious jihad became reality; and the world engulfed by it.

When I spoke to the House of Commons on 14 September 2001 I said: "We know, that they [the terrorists] would, if they could, go further and use chemical, biological, or even nuclear weapons of mass destruction. We know, also, that there are groups of people, occasionally states, who will trade the technology and capability of such weapons. It is time that this trade was exposed, disrupted, and stamped out. We have been warned by the events of 11 September, and we should act on the warning."

From September 11th on, I could see the threat plainly. Here were terrorists prepared to bring about Armageddon. Here were states whose leadership cared for no one but themselves; were often cruel and tyrannical towards their own people; and who saw WMD as a means of defending themselves against any attempt external or internal to remove them and who, in their chaotic and corrupt state, were in any event porous and irresponsible with neither the will nor capability to prevent terrorists who also hated the West, from exploiting their chaos and corruption.

I became aware of the activities of A.Q, Khan, former Pakistani nuclear scientist, and of an organization developing nuclear weapons technology to sell secretly to states wanting to acquire it. I started to hear of plants to manufacture nuclear weapons equipment in Malaysia, in the Near East and Africa, companies in the Gulf and Europe to finance it; training and know-how provided--all without any or much international action to stop it. It was a murky, dangerous trade, done with much sophistication and it was rapidly shortening the timeframe of countries like North Korea and Iran in acquiring serviceable nuclear weapons capability.

I asked for more intelligence on the issue not just of terrorism but also of WMD. The scale of it became clear. It didn't matter that the Islamic extremists often hated some of these regimes. Their mutual enmity toward the West would in the end triumph over any scruples of that nature, as we see graphically in Iraq today.

We knew that al Qaeda sought the capability to use WMD in their attacks. Bin Laden has called it a "duty" to obtain nuclear weapons. His networks have experimented with chemicals and toxins for use in attacks. He received advice from at least two Pakistani scientists on the design of nuclear weapons. In Afghanistan al Qaeda trained its recruits in the use of poisons and chemicals. An al Qaeda terrorist ran a training camp developing these techniques. Terrorist training manuals giving step-by-step instructions for the manufacture of deadly substances such as botulinum and ricin were widely distributed in Afghanistan and elsewhere and via the internet. Terrorists in Russia have actually deployed radiological material. The sarin attack on the Tokyo Metro showed how serious an impact even a relatively small attack can have.
The global threat to our security was clear. So was our duty: to act to eliminate it.

First we dealt with al Qaeda in Afghanistan, removing the Taliban that succored them.

But then we had to confront the states with WMD. We had to take a stand. We had to force conformity with international obligations that for years had been breached with the world turning a blind eye. For 12 years Saddam had defied calls to disarm. In 1998, he had effectively driven out the U.N. inspectors and we had bombed his military infrastructure; but we had only weakened him, not removed the threat. Saddam alone had used CW against Iran and against his own people.

We had had an international coalition blessed by the U.N. in Afghanistan. I wanted the same now. President Bush agreed to go the U.N. route. We secured U.N. Resolution 1441. Saddam had one final chance to comply fully. Compliance had to start with a full and honest declaration of WMD programs and activities.

The truth is disarming a country, other than with its consent, is a perilous exercise. On 8 December 2002, Saddam sent his declaration. It was obviously false. The U.N. inspectors were in Iraq, but progress was slow and the vital cooperation of Iraqi scientists withheld. In March we went back to the U.N. to make a final ultimatum. We strove hard for agreement. We very nearly achieved it.

So we came to the point of decision. Prime ministers don't have the luxury of maintaining both sides of the argument. They can see both sides. But ultimately, leadership is about deciding. My view was and is that if the U.N. had come together and delivered a tough ultimatum to Saddam, listing clearly what he had to do, benchmarking it, he may have folded and events set in train that might just and eventually have led to his departure from power.

But the Security Council didn't agree.

Suppose at that point we had backed away. Inspectors would have stayed but only the utterly naive would believe that following such a public climb-down by the U.S. and its partners, Saddam would have cooperated more. He would have strung the inspectors out and returned emboldened to his plans. The will to act on the issue of rogue states and WMD would have been shown to be hollow. The terrorists, watching and analyzing every move in our psychology as they do, would have taken heart. All this without counting the fact that the appalling brutalization of the Iraqi people would have continued unabated and reinforced.
Here is the crux. It is possible that even with all of this, nothing would have happened. Possible that Saddam would change his ambitions; possible he would develop the WMD but never use it; possible that the terrorists would never get their hands on WMD, whether from Iraq or elsewhere. We cannot be certain. Perhaps we would have found different ways of reducing it. Perhaps this Islamic terrorism would ebb of its own accord.

But do we want to take the risk? That is the judgment. And my judgment then and now is that the risk of this new global terrorism and its interaction with states or organizations or individuals proliferating WMD, is one I simply am not prepared to run.

This is not a time to err on the side of caution; not a time to weigh the risks to an infinite balance; not a time for the cynicism of the worldly wise who favor playing it long. Their worldly wise cynicism is actually at best naivet? and at worst dereliction. When they talk, as they do now, of diplomacy coming back into fashion in respect of Iran or North Korea or Libya, do they seriously think that diplomacy alone has brought about this change? Since the war in Iraq, Libya has taken the courageous step of owning up not just to a nuclear weapons program but to having chemical weapons, which are now being destroyed. Iran is back in the reach of the IAEA. North Korea in talks with China over its WMD. The A.Q. Khan network is being shut down, its trade slowly but surely being eliminated.

Yet it is monstrously premature to think the threat has passed. The risk remains in the balance here and abroad.

These days decisions about it come thick and fast, and while they are not always of the same magnitude they are hardly trivial. Let me give you an example. A short while ago, during the war, we received specific intelligence warning of a major attack on Heathrow. To this day, we don't know if it was correct and we foiled it or if it was wrong. But we received the intelligence. We immediately heightened the police presence. At the time it was much criticized as political hype or an attempt to frighten the public. Actually at each stage we followed rigidly the advice of the police and Security Service.
But sit in my seat. Here is the intelligence. Here is the advice. Do you ignore it? But, of course intelligence is precisely that: intelligence. It is not hard fact. It has its limitations. On each occasion the most careful judgment has to be made taking account of everything we know and the best assessment and advice available. But in making that judgment, would you prefer us to act, even if it turns out to be wrong? Or not to act and hope it's OK? And suppose we don't act and the intelligence turns out to be right, how forgiving will people be?

And to those who think that these things are all disconnected, random acts, disparate threats with no common thread to bind them, look at what is happening in Iraq today. The terrorists pouring into Iraq, know full well the importance of destroying not just the nascent progress of Iraq toward stability, prosperity and democracy, but of destroying our confidence, of defeating our will to persevere.

I have no doubt Iraq is better without Saddam; but no doubt either, that as a result of his removal, the dangers of the threat we face will be diminished. That is not to say the terrorists won't redouble their efforts. They will. This war is not ended. It may only be at the end of its first phase. They are in Iraq, murdering innocent Iraqis who want to worship or join a police force that upholds the law not a brutal dictatorship; they carry on killing in Afghanistan. They do it for a reason. The terrorists know that if Iraq and Afghanistan survive their assault, come through their travails, seize the opportunity the future offers, then those countries will stand not just as nations liberated from oppression, but as a lesson to humankind everywhere and a profound antidote to the poison of religious extremism. That is precisely why the terrorists are trying to foment hatred and division in Iraq. They know full well, a stable democratic Iraq, under the sovereign rule of the Iraqi people, is a mortal blow to their fanaticism.

That is why our duty is to rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan as stable and democratic nations.

Here is the irony. For all the fighting, this threat cannot be defeated by security means alone. Taking strong action is a necessary but insufficient condition for defeating. Its final defeat is only assured by the triumph of the values of the human spirit.

Which brings me to the final point. It may well be that under international law as presently constituted, a regime can systematically brutalize and oppress its people and there is nothing anyone can do, when dialogue, diplomacy and even sanctions fail, unless it comes within the definition of a humanitarian catastrophe (though the 300,000 remains in mass graves already found in Iraq might be thought by some to be something of a catastrophe). This may be the law, but should it be?
We know now, if we didn't before, that our own self-interest is ultimately bound up with the fate of other nations. The doctrine of international community is no longer a vision of idealism. It is a practical recognition that just as within a country, citizens who are free, well educated and prosperous tend to be responsible, to feel solidarity with a society in which they have a stake; so do nations that are free, democratic and benefiting from economic progress, tend to be stable and solid partners in the advance of humankind. The best defense of our security lies in the spread of our values.

But we cannot advance these values except within a framework that recognizes their universality. If it is a global threat, it needs a global response, based on global rules.

The essence of a community is common rights and responsibilities. We have obligations in relation to each other. If we are threatened, we have a right to act. And we do not accept in a community that others have a right to oppress and brutalize their people. We value the freedom and dignity of the human race and each individual in it.

Containment will not work in the face of the global threat that confronts us. The terrorists have no intention of being contained. The states that proliferate or acquire WMD illegally are doing so precisely to avoid containment. Emphatically I am not saying that every situation leads to military action. But we surely have a duty and a right to prevent the threat materializing; and we surely have a responsibility to act when a nation's people are subjected to a regime such as Saddam's. Otherwise, we are powerless to fight the aggression and injustice which over time puts at risk our security and way of life.

Which brings us to how you make the rules and how you decide what is right or wrong in enforcing them. The U.N. Universal Declaration on Human Rights is a fine document. But it is strange the United Nations is so reluctant to enforce them.

I understand the worry the international community has over Iraq. It worries that the U.S. and its allies will by sheer force of their military might, do whatever they want, unilaterally and without recourse to any rule-based code or doctrine. But our worry is that if the U.N.--because of a political disagreement in its Councils--is paralyzed, then a threat we believe is real will go unchallenged.

This dilemma is at the heart of many people's anguished indecision over the wisdom of our action in Iraq. It explains the confusion of normal politics that has part of the right liberating a people from oppression and a part of the left disdaining the action that led to it. It is partly why the conspiracy theories or claims of deceit have such purchase. How much simpler to debate those than to analyze and resolve the conundrum of our world's present state.
Britain's role is try to find a way through this: to construct a consensus behind a broad agenda of justice and security and means of enforcing it.

This agenda must be robust in tackling the security threat that this Islamic extremism poses; and fair to all peoples by promoting their human rights, wherever they are. It means tackling poverty in Africa and justice in Palestine as well as being utterly resolute in opposition to terrorism as a way of achieving political goals. It means an entirely different, more just and more modern view of self-interest.

It means reforming the United Nations so its Security Council represents 21st century reality; and giving the U.N. the capability to act effectively as well as debate. It means getting the U.N. to understand that faced with the threats we have, we should do all we can to spread the values of freedom, democracy, the rule of law, religious tolerance and justice for the oppressed, however painful for some nations that may be; but that at the same time, we wage war relentlessly on those who would exploit racial and religious division to bring catastrophe to the world.

But in the meantime, the threat is there and demands our attention.

That is the struggle which engages us. It is a new type of war. It will rest on intelligence to a greater degree than ever before. It demands a difference attitude to our own interests. It forces us to act even when so many comforts seem unaffected, and the threat so far off, if not illusory. In the end, believe your political leaders or not, as you will. But do so, at least having understood their minds.

Mr. Blair is the British prime minister.


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Political Rants
« Reply #30 on: March 12, 2004, 10:19:00 AM »
*  (no subject)  wontondon  3/12/04 09:52  
  Thicker than Oil
Putting to rest the Left's Iraq deceptions.
By Victor David Hanson

It has now been almost a year since the liberation of Iraq, the fury
of the antiwar rallies, and the publicized hectoring of Michael Moore,
Noam Chomsky, Sean Penn, and other assorted conspiracy freaks ? and we have enough evidence to lay some of their myths to rest.

I just filled up and paid $2.19 a gallon. How can that be, when the
war was undertaken to help us get our hands on "cheap" oil? Where is
the mythical Afghan pipeline when we need it?

"No Blood for Oil" (never mind the people who drove upscale
gas-guzzlers to the rallies at which they chanted such slogans) was
supposed to respond to one of two possibilities: American oil
companies were either simply going to steal the Iraqi fields, or
indirectly prime the pumps to such an extent that the world would be
awash with petroleum and the price for profligate Western consumers
would crash.

Neither came true. Iraqis themselves control their natural resources;
the price of gasoline, despite heroic restoration of much of Iraqi
prewar petroleum output, is at an all-time high.

So did Shell and Exxon want too much ? or too little ? pumping? Was
the Iraq conspiracy a messy crisis to disrupt production as an excuse
to jack up prices, or a surgical strike to garner Third-World
resources on the cheap to power wasteful American SUVs?

The truth is, as usual, far more simple. The United States never did
intend to steal or manipulate the oil market ? not necessarily because
we are always above such chicanery, but because it is nearly
impossible in a fungible market under constant global scrutiny, and
suicidal in the Byzantine politics of the Middle East.

Instead we have pledged $87 billion to secure and rebuild Iraq ? one
of the largest direct-aid programs since the Marshall Plan. Tens of
thousands of brave Americans risked their lives ? and hundreds have
died ? to end the genocide of Saddam Hussein, alter the pathological
calculus of the Middle East, and cease the three-decade support of
terrorism by Arab dictators.

The only credible critics on the left are those who make the argument
that Iraq never made any sense economically and "took away" money from health care, education, aid to poor, transportation, etc. (the litany
is familiar) at home ? although even this is a hard argument when
domestic spending has increased 8 percent per annum under the Bush

A year ago, almost no one claimed that we were far too na?ve,
idealistic, or stupid. No, Americans were forever conniving and
larcenous. Remember the invective about perpetual American
intervention? Tens of thousands of our troops poured into the Middle
East after the "excuse" of September 11. Right-wingers alleged that we
had turned from republic to a garrison empire in a new global ego
trip. Leftists assured us that we were greedy colonialists replicating
the British raj ? perhaps keen to corner the Iraqi date market or
exploit at slave wages the skilled workforce around Tikrit. Arab
fundamentalists prattled on about the American Crusaders and Zionists
out to steal holy lands and desecrate shrines ? no doubt convinced
that Billy Grahamites, if not blowing up ancient Buddhist statuary,
would soon be attaching crosses to minarets.

Yet since the very day the war started, the reality has been just the
opposite ? a constant desire for the bare-minimum amount of troops
abroad in as brief a deployment as possible. More sober military
observers have always fathomed that the dangers of the American
campaign were never that we were overrunning the Middle East in hope
of perennial occupation. Instead we ? as amateur interventionists who
have always had a very short attention span ? had too few troops to
fight the war, and fewer still to rebuild the country.

Even the chief, albeit private, worry of most Iraqis was mostly that
there were not enough American infidels to provide them security and
that we would leave too soon ? hardly the response one would expect to
old-style, foreign, pith-helmeted imperialists who had stayed too long.
Then there was the third-world exploited-peoples angle. At least, I
think that was one of the favorite themes of the peace rallies where
various groups ? from supporters of cop-killers to Puerto Rican
independence zealots ? spouted off about their shared racism,
victimhood, and oppression.

Surely one of the most astounding intellectual trends in our lifetime
has been this transmogrification of religious fascists and Middle East
autocrats ? the minions of Saddam, Arafat, Khaddafi, or the Iranian
mullahs ? into some sort of exploited peoples worthy of Western
forbearance for quite horrific dictatorships, theocracies, and all the
assorted pathologies that we have to come to associate with the modern
Middle East. The way things were going, belonging to Hamas or
Hezbollah soon might have earned one affirmative-action status on an
American campus.

Let's examine, instead, what really happened. While fellow Arabs did
little or nothing to free the Iraqi people ? but apparently both
cheated on and profited from the U.N. embargoes ? Americans set up a
consensual government. And for our part, American casualties so far
mirror roughly the racial make-up of our general population. So much
for the old Vietnam-era myth that people of color always die in
disproportionate numbers fighting rich people's wars. Our three top
officers most visible the last year in Iraq ? Generals Abizaid,
Sanchez, and Brooks ? are an Arab American, Mexican American, and
African American. The national-security adviser and the secretary of
state are minorities as well. And so on. This was a war about values ?
not race, class, or ethnicity.

Another myth was that of the "noble European" ? promulgated here at
home by American shysters like Michael Moore, who cashed in overseas,
fawning over the likes of Jacques Chirac (the guy who sealed the
French nuclear-reactor deal with Saddam) and Dominique de Villepin
(who wept over the Christ-like Napoleon's demise at Waterloo).
The truth again is very different; and John Kerry should be wary about
bragging that unnamed European leaders ? if true ? tell him that they
favor his election. Each week we learn how European companies were
knee-deep in the foul stream of forbidden supplies that flowed to
Saddam in violation of their hallowed U.N. statutes. And the most
recent European tired chorus ? "We support the needed Afghan
multilateral operation, but not the Iraq aggression" ? is proven false
by the fact that there are about ten times more American troops right
now in Europe than there are NATO soldiers in Afghanistan.

Sorry, a few thousand troops in Afghanistan doesn't cut it from a
continent with a larger population than that of the United States,
which in turn does the dirty work to ensure Europe's security.
Unilateral, multilateral, U.N., no U.N., Balkans, Iraq ? it doesn't
matter: The Europeans are never going to risk lives and treasure for
much of anything. The predictable NATO rule: The stationing of troops
is to be determined in direct proportion to the absence of both need
and danger.

But what about WMDs? Wasn't that a Bush fable? Forget that most ? from
Bill Clinton to John Kerry ? believed that they were there, and that
all the evidence about Saddam's arsenal is not yet in.

The truth is that almost everybody in the world believes that the war
had something to do with WMDs and nothing to do with Halliburton ?
except Western leftists. By going into Iraq we probably will find more
dangerous weapons in Libya than were stockpiled in Baghdad. The
president argued that we must depose Saddam Hussein to prevent scary
weapons from being used by rogue regimes. He did so, and suddenly Dr.
Khan, Khaddafi, and even a few mullahs seemed to wish to come clean.
The danger of promulgating the old mistruths about sacrificing blood
for oil, reviving colonialism, and suggesting the operation in Iraq
has led to disaster are manifold. First, ever-so-steadily, such
invective wears away support for an action that, by any historical
yardstick, was as successful as it was noble. The only peril to the
United States in Iraq would be a unilateral withdrawal before
stability and constitutional government are achieved. And the only
chance of that disaster happening would arise from our own continual
harping that wears down the will of the American people ? and those
asked to fight for us in the field.

The other worry is that there were, in fact, real concerns about the
entire campaign that have scarcely been addressed. While the media
hold conferences on university campuses about the morality of using
embedded reporters, they have simply refused to discuss the real
ethical crisis of the reporting of the war: that dozens of Western
journalists sent censored news accounts from Baghdad in the months
preceding the conflict and in fact during the actual fighting.

Unbeknownst to us, their dispatches always were monitored carefully by
"minders" and transmitted only through pay-offs and blackmail. None of
this was known at the time ? leading to the absurdity that on the day
Baghdad fell journalists suddenly came clean over uncensored mikes, as
if to say, "Oh, by the way, everything I sent out to you the last two
months was sort of censored by the Iraqi Ministry of Information."
So here we are a year later. We fuss about the WMD "myth"; enemies
scramble over its reality. We talk of our theft of third-world
resources ? and pay more for gas than ever before while the price of
Iraq's national treasure soars. We worry that we are too involved
abroad; those in Europe, Afghanistan, and Iraq claim there are not
enough of us over there. And we scream at each other that we are not
liked, even as those overseas express new respect for us.

No wonder, when asked for specific follow-ups about his general
criticisms of the Iraqi war in a recent Time magazine interview, a
resolute Kerry variously prevaricated, "I didn't say that," "I can't
tell you," "It's possible," "It's not a certainty," "If I had known,"
"No, I think you can still ? wait, no. You can't ? that's not a fair
question and I'll tell you why," ? employing the entire idiom and
vocabulary of those who are angry about Bush's removal of Saddam, but
neither know quite why nor what they would do differently.


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"Mobile phones ringing in the pockets of the bodies....
« Reply #31 on: March 14, 2004, 08:17:06 PM »
March 14, 2004
      Origin of Species

      andan Nilekani, C.E.O. of the Indian software giant Infosys, gave me a
tour the other day of his company's wood-paneled global conference room in
Bangalore. It looks a lot like a beautiful tiered classroom, with a massive
wall-size screen at one end and cameras in the ceiling so that Infosys can
hold a simultaneous global teleconference with its U.S. innovators, its
Indian software designers and its Asian manufacturers. "We can have our
whole global supply chain on the screen at the same time," holding a virtual
meeting, explained Mr. Nilekani. The room's eight clocks tell the story:
U.S. West, U.S. East, G.M.T., India, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia.

      As I looked at this, a thought popped into my head: Who else has such
a global supply chain today? Of course: Al Qaeda. Indeed, these are the two
basic responses to globalization: Infosys and Al Qaeda.

      Infosys said all the walls have been blown away in the world, so now
we, an Indian software company, can use the Internet, fiber optic
telecommunications and e-mail to get superempowered and compete anywhere
that our smarts and energy can take us. And we can be part of a global
supply chain that produces profit for Indians, Americans and Asians.

      Al Qaeda said all the walls have been blown away in the world, thereby
threatening our Islamic culture and religious norms and humiliating some of
our people, who feel left behind. But we can use the Internet, fiber optic
telecommunications and e-mail to develop a global supply chain of angry
people that will superempower us and allow us to hit back at the Western
civilization that's now right in our face.

      "From the primordial swamps of globalization have emerged two genetic
variants," said Mr. Nilekani. "Our focus therefore has to be how we can
encourage more of the good mutations and keep out the bad."

      Indeed, it is worth asking what are the spawning grounds for each.
Infosys was spawned in India, a country with few natural resources and a
terrible climate. But India has a free market, a flawed but functioning
democracy and a culture that prizes education, science and rationality,
where women are empowered. The Indian spawning ground rewards anyone with a
good idea, which is why the richest man in India is a Muslim software
innovator, Azim Premji, the thoughtful chairman of Wipro.

      Al Qaeda was spawned in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Afghanistan,
societies where there was no democracy and where fundamentalists have often
suffocated women and intellectuals who crave science, free thinking and
rationality. Indeed, all three countries produced strains of Al Qaeda,
despite Pakistan's having received billions in U.S. aid and Saudi Arabia's
having earned billions from oil. But without a context encouraging freedom
of thought, women's empowerment and innovation, neither society can tap and
nurture its people's creative potential ? so their biggest emotional export
today is anger.

      India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan each spontaneously
generated centers for their young people's energies. In India they're called
"call centers," where young men and women get their first jobs and technical
skills servicing the global economy and calling the world. In Pakistan,
Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia they're called "madrassas," where young men,
and only young men, spend their days memorizing the Koran and calling only
God. Ironically, U.S. consumers help to finance both. We finance the
madrassas by driving big cars and sending the money to Saudi Arabia, which
uses it to build the madrassas that are central to Al Qaeda's global supply
chain. And we finance the call centers by consuming modern technologies that
need backup support, which is the role Infosys plays in the global supply

      Both Infosys and Al Qaeda challenge America: Infosys by competing for
U.S. jobs through outsourcing, and Al Qaeda by threatening U.S. lives
through terrorism. As Michael Mandelbaum, the Johns Hopkins foreign policy
professor, put it: "Our next election will be about these two challenges ?
with the Republicans focused on how we respond to Al Qaeda, and the losers
from globalization, and the Democrats focused on how we respond to Infosys,
and the winners from globalization."

      Every once in a while the technology and terrorist supply chains
intersect ? like last week. Reuters quoted a Spanish official as saying
after the Madrid train bombings: "The hardest thing [for the rescue workers]
was hearing mobile phones ringing in the pockets of the bodies. They
couldn't get that out of their heads."

adam smith

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Re: "Mobile phones ringing in the pockets of the bodies
« Reply #32 on: March 15, 2004, 12:37:55 AM »
wrong analogy.

Infosys - brought about by democratic capitalism
            - free market economy being promoted by Western countries  
              like the US and the UK
            - promotes concept of comparative advantage - whoever does
              something better produces and exports it for trade with other
              goods that other countries can
            - India has a comparative advantage of providing cheaper labor
              of equivalent US quality, US has comparative advantages in
              other things
            - ironic backlash --- US promoting democratic capitalism ---but
               can not provide IT labor with competitive wages that can not
               compet with India
            - solution --- develop on other resources that US has a better
              competitive potential to reap better economic benefits for US

Al Qaeda terrorism---- does not equal Infosys economic advantage that also favors US firms by making US companies more cost effective and benefits US economy in some ways by increasing profitability to US firms.

 US citizen's lives would be better served by politicians/public personalities searching for solutions --rather than finding blame or searching for others to blame to divert attention from their ineffective economic policies.  

Quote from: LG RUSS
March 14, 2004
      Origin of Species

      andan Nilekani, C.E.O. of the Indian software giant Infosys, gave me a
tour the other day of his company's wood-paneled global conference room in
Bangalore. It looks a lot like a beautiful tiered classroom, with a massive
wall-size screen at one end and cameras in the ceiling so that Infosys can
hold a simultaneous global teleconference with its U.S. innovators, its
Indian software designers and its Asian manufacturers. "We can have our
whole global supply chain on the screen at the same time," holding a virtual
meeting, explained Mr. Nilekani. The room's eight clocks tell the story:
U.S. West, U.S. East, G.M.T., India, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia.

      As I looked at this, a thought popped into my head: Who else has such
a global supply chain today? Of course: Al Qaeda. Indeed, these are the two
basic responses to globalization: Infosys and Al Qaeda.

      Infosys said all the walls have been blown away in the world, so now
we, an Indian software company, can use the Internet, fiber optic
telecommunications and e-mail to get superempowered and compete anywhere
that our smarts and energy can take us. And we can be part of a global
supply chain that produces profit for Indians, Americans and Asians.

      Al Qaeda said all the walls have been blown away in the world, thereby
threatening our Islamic culture and religious norms and humiliating some of
our people, who feel left behind. But we can use the Internet, fiber optic
telecommunications and e-mail to develop a global supply chain of angry
people that will superempower us and allow us to hit back at the Western
civilization that's now right in our face.

      "From the primordial swamps of globalization have emerged two genetic
variants," said Mr. Nilekani. "Our focus therefore has to be how we can
encourage more of the good mutations and keep out the bad."

      Indeed, it is worth asking what are the spawning grounds for each.
Infosys was spawned in India, a country with few natural resources and a
terrible climate. But India has a free market, a flawed but functioning
democracy and a culture that prizes education, science and rationality,
where women are empowered. The Indian spawning ground rewards anyone with a
good idea, which is why the richest man in India is a Muslim software
innovator, Azim Premji, the thoughtful chairman of Wipro.

      Al Qaeda was spawned in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Afghanistan,
societies where there was no democracy and where fundamentalists have often
suffocated women and intellectuals who crave science, free thinking and
rationality. Indeed, all three countries produced strains of Al Qaeda,
despite Pakistan's having received billions in U.S. aid and Saudi Arabia's
having earned billions from oil. But without a context encouraging freedom
of thought, women's empowerment and innovation, neither society can tap and
nurture its people's creative potential ? so their biggest emotional export
today is anger.

      India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan each spontaneously
generated centers for their young people's energies. In India they're called
"call centers," where young men and women get their first jobs and technical
skills servicing the global economy and calling the world. In Pakistan,
Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia they're called "madrassas," where young men,
and only young men, spend their days memorizing the Koran and calling only
God. Ironically, U.S. consumers help to finance both. We finance the
madrassas by driving big cars and sending the money to Saudi Arabia, which
uses it to build the madrassas that are central to Al Qaeda's global supply
chain. And we finance the call centers by consuming modern technologies that
need backup support, which is the role Infosys plays in the global supply

      Both Infosys and Al Qaeda challenge America: Infosys by competing for
U.S. jobs through outsourcing, and Al Qaeda by threatening U.S. lives
through terrorism. As Michael Mandelbaum, the Johns Hopkins foreign policy
professor, put it: "Our next election will be about these two challenges ?
with the Republicans focused on how we respond to Al Qaeda, and the losers
from globalization, and the Democrats focused on how we respond to Infosys,
and the winners from globalization."

      Every once in a while the technology and terrorist supply chains
intersect ? like last week. Reuters quoted a Spanish official as saying
after the Madrid train bombings: "The hardest thing [for the rescue workers]
was hearing mobile phones ringing in the pockets of the bodies. They
couldn't get that out of their heads."


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« Reply #33 on: March 16, 2004, 02:10:22 PM »
"US citizen's lives would be better served by politicians/public personalities searching for solutions --rather than finding blame or searching for others to blame to divert attention from their ineffective economic policies."

Agreed...., however, this is a structural comparison, not an economic comparison (as in, how these two organizations use modern technology to operate efficiently).

Therefore, based on this structural comparison, THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN's analogy is quite sound, whether or not you agree with his political opinion.

Leave the comparative advantage debate for the US versus Indian jobmarkets.   :)



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« Reply #34 on: March 17, 2004, 07:01:29 AM »
BANGKOK, Feb 17 (Reuters) - Flick open the menu at the "Barbara" in central Bangkok and a picture of a blonde woman unwrapping her dressing gown beside a picture of fried garlic prawns tells you it is no ordinary restaurant.

"Truth is often stranger than fiction," the menu reads -- a better description of Chuwit Kamolvisit, owner of the coffee shop and adjoining massage parlour, than of the dishes on offer.

An accountant who graduated from one of Thailand's most prestigious universities, Chuwit has made millions since hopping a decade ago from the property business to the sex industry, one of the few areas unscathed by Asia's 1997-1998 economic crisis.

After a series of publicity stunts to expose corruption, a short jail term and a kidnapping he blames on bent policemen, the self-styled "massage parlour king" is plotting to become Bangkok governor in August elections likely to centre on morals.

Alarmed that nearly a third of Thais lose their virginity before they are 18, the government is ratcheting up a social order crusade popular with the middle class. It is considering a 10 p.m. curfew for teenagers and whether to shut nightclubs two hours earlier at midnight.

Chuwit has led sex industry employees on protests against the plans, which he says will ruin Bangkok as a tourist magnet. He dismisses establishment politicians as hypocrites.

"We don't need dinosaurs," Chuwit said. "And I know secrets about them no one else knows. They used to come here all the time before, but then suddenly they became family men overnight."

A musty office in a warren of bedrooms at the Copacabana, one of Chuwit's six massage parlours, serves as campaign headquarters for his First Thai Nation Party.

A golden Buddha image sits on one shelf and on another is a photograph of five women in evening dress draped over a portly, moustached Chuwit sporting a flowered Hawaiian shirt.

Windows are plastered with "We love Chuwit" stickers that will take an anti-corruption message to voters in the hope of upsetting candidates put up by the governing and main opposition parties.

The central plank of Chuwit's policy is to cut police numbers drastically to keep the men in uniform busy fighting crime rather than pushing paper.

He is undeterred by polls giving him just under five per cent of public support. Chuwit's nemesis, Deputy Prime Minister Purachai Piumsombun, who heads the government's social order drive, leads with 36.7 per cent.


"I'm in the massage parlour industry. I clean bodies," Chuwit said. "And in politics, I'm going to clean some dirty people. I want to make Bangkok a city of happiness, a city of joy."

But Chuwit now wants to get out of the lucrative massage business because he has fallen foul of the police and they are making life difficult.

Undercover police had sex with five masseuses at a club last September and arrested them for prostitution -- dubbed the "get laid and raid" sting by Thai newspapers. Another club was shut down because it had more rooms than its licence allowed.

A bribe would have done the trick in the past, but the police now only take them from others and shun him, Chuwit said.

Chuwit's relations with the police began to deteriorate at the beginning of last year, when they arrested him for sending men to bulldoze bars on land he owns in central Bangkok.

He argues a company that sublet the land evicted the out-of-contract tenants. The case is still pending in court.

Angry at his treatment, Chuwit told reporters he had been paying high-ranking officers 12 million baht ($300,000) a month to keep his massage parlours up and running -- an accusation the police have denied vehemently.

Thais were stunned, but only because the claims were so open. Surveys showed 60 per cent of the public lost their already low levels of confidence in the police but many believed Chuwit's comments would shame them into reducing corruption.

Then Chuwit disappeared, to be found staggering but unharmed by a truck driver two days later. He insists he was drugged and abducted, but police say it was just another publicity stunt.

"I was kidnapped by four guys. They said 'stay cool, don't talk anymore'," Chuwit said. "It was absolutely the police. They didn't ask for money, they just wanted me to stop talking."


The publicity caused a 70 per cent fall in Thai clientele at Chuwit-owned Victoria's Secret, Emanuelle and Honolulu, but Hong Kong and Singapore businessmen still flock there, he said.

In the "good old days" Chuwit was making 30 million baht profit a month from each massage parlour, which all gave a full return on investment within two years.

But Chuwit's clubs, in a busy area of Bangkok housing embassies and investment banks, still receive dozens of job applications a day from budding masseuses.

Next to the account books on Chuwit's desk, one form marked "approved", came with the comments: "Average body, yellowish skin, good-looking, nice manner, beautiful breasts".

At 2,000 baht for a basic jacuzzi and massage, a masseuse could make around 80,000 baht a month before tips for "extras", if she had three clients a day, Chuwit said.

A police sergeant's monthly salary is around 10,000 baht.

"You have to face the fact that Thailand's still a poor country. If people could earn enough, no one would sleep with someone they didn't know," Chuwit said.

"I tell the girls to save, but they have to send money to parents, aunts and uncles because they are the only earners."

With business down, only a dozen women with numbered tags sit on the red velvet steps in the "gold fish bowl", waiting for men to appear on the otherside of the glass wall to make a choice.

One offers a tour of Copacabana's suites, some with three bedrooms with jacuzzis and saunas, that open onto a living room with large-screen television and a dining table.

She opened a door to a "special" room, with two giant four-poster beds and two adjacent bath tubs, and giggled: "I don't know why, but this room is really popular with policemen."
C-Bad Dog, Lakan Guro DBMA


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« Reply #35 on: March 24, 2004, 04:07:11 AM »
Somewhere along the way, the Federal Courts and the Supreme Court have misinterpreted the U. S. Constitution. How could fifty States be wrong?

THIS IS VERY INTERESTING! Be sure to read the last two paragraphs.
America's founders did not intend for there to be a separation of God and state, as shown by the fact that all 50 states acknowledge God in their state constitutions:

Alabama 1901, Preamble. We the people of the State of Alabama, invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish the following Constitution ...

Alaska 1956, Preamble. We, the people of Alaska, grateful to God and to those who founded our nation and pioneered this great land ....

Arizona 1911, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Arizona, grateful to Almighty God for our liberties, do ordain this Constitution...

Arkansas 1874, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Arkansas, grateful to Almighty God for the privilege of choosing our own form of government...

California 1879, Preamble. We, the People of the State of California, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom .....

Colorado 1876, Preamble. We, the people of Colorado, with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of Universe.

Connecticut 1818, Preamble. The People of Connecticut, acknowledging with gratitude the good Providence of God in permitting them to enjoy ...

Delaware 1897, Preamble. Through Divine Goodness all men have, by nature, the rights of worshipping and serving their Creator according to the dictates of their consciences ...

Florida 1885, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Florida, grateful to Almighty God for our constitutional liberty establish this Constitution...

Georgia 1777, Preamble. We, the people of Georgia, relying upon protection and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish this Constitution...

Hawaii 1959, Preamble. We, the people of Hawaii, Grateful for Divine Guidance .. establish this Constitution.

Idaho 1889, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Idaho, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings ...

Illinois 1870, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Illinois, grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy and looking to Him for a blessing on our endeavors.

Indiana 1851, Preamble. We, the People of the State of Indiana, grateful to Almighty God for the free exercise of the right to chose our form of government.

Iowa 1857, Preamble. We, the People of the State of Iowa, grateful to the Supreme Being for the blessings hitherto enjoyed, and feeling our dependence on Him for a continuation of these blessings . establish this
Kansas 1859, Preamble. We, the people of Kansas, grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious privileges . establish this Constitution.

Kentucky 1891, Preamble. We, the people of the Commonwealth of Kentucky grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberties...

Louisiana 1921, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Louisiana, grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberties we enjoy.

Maine 1820, Preamble. We the People of Maine .. acknowledging with grateful hearts the goodness of the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe in affording us an opportunity ... and imploring His aid and direction.

Maryland 1776, Preamble. We, the people of the state of Maryland, grateful to Almighty God or our civil and religious liberty...

Massachusetts 1780, Preamble. We...the people of Massachusetts, acknowledging with grateful hearts, the goodness of the Great Legislator of the Universe ... in the course of His Providence, an opportunity ..and devoutly imploring His direction ..

Michigan 1908, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Michigan, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of freedom ... establish this Constitution.

Minnesota 1857, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Minnesota, grateful to God for our civil and religious liberty, and desiring to perpetuate its blessings.

Mississippi 1890, Preamble. We, the people of Mississippi in convention assembled, grateful to Almighty God, and invoking His blessing on our work.

Missouri 1845, Preamble. We, the people of Missouri, with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, and grateful for His goodness ... establish this Constitution .

Montana 1889, Preamble. We, the people of Montana, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of liberty. establish this Constitution ...

Nebraska 1875, Preamble. We, the people, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom .. establish this Constitution ..

Nevada 1864, Preamble. We the people of the State of Nevada, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom establish this Constitution...

New Hampshire 1792, Part I. Art. I. Sec. V. Every individual has a natural and unalienable right to worship God according to the dictates of his own

New Jersey 1844, Preamble. We, the people of the State of New Jersey, grateful to Almighty God for civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing on our
endeavors ...

New Mexico 1911, Preamble. We, the People of New Mexico, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of liberty .

New York 1846, Preamble. We, the people of the State of New York, grateful to Almighty God for
our freedom, in order to secure its blessings.

North Carolina 1868, Preamble. We the people of the State of North Carolina, grateful to Almighty God, the Sovereign Ruler of Nations, for our civil, political, and religious liberties, and acknowledging our dependence upon Him for the continuance of those ...

North Dakota 1889, Preamble. We, the people of North Dakota, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, do ordain...

Ohio 1852, Preamble. We the people of the state of Ohio, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings and to promote our common ....

Oklahoma 1907, Preamble. Invoking the guidance of Almighty God, in order to secure and perpetuate the blessings of liberty ... establish this ..

Oregon 1857, Bill of Rights, Article I. Section 2. All men shall be secure in the Natural right, to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their consciences..

Pennsylvania 1776, Preamble. We, the people of Pennsylvania, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, and humbly
invoking His guidance.

Rhode Island 1842, Preamble. We the People of the State of Rhode Island grateful to Almighty God for the civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing...

South Carolina, 1778, Preamble. We, the people of he State of South Carolina, grateful to God for our liberties, do ordain and establish this Constitution.

South Dakota 1889, Preamble. We, the people of South Dakota, grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious liberties ... establish this

Tennessee 1796, Art. XI. III. That all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their conscience...

Texas 1845, Preamble. We the People of the Republic of Texas, acknowledging, with gratitude, the grace and beneficence of God.

Utah 1896, Preamble. Grateful to Almighty God for life and liberty, we establish this Constitution ....

Vermont 1777, Preamble. Whereas all government ought to ... enable the individuals who compose it to enjoy their natural rights, and other blessings which the Author of Existence has bestowed on man...

Virginia 1776, Bill of Rights, XVI ... Religion, or the Duty which we owe our Creator ... can be directed only by Reason ... and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian Forbearance, Love and Charity
towards each other ..

Washington 1889, Preamble. We the People of the State of Washington, grateful! to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe for our liberties, do ordain this Constitution .....

West Virginia 1872, Preamble. Since through Divine Providence we enjoy the blessings of civil, political and religious liberty, we, the people of West Virginia .. reaffirm our faith in and constant reliance upon God...

Wisconsin 1848, Preamble. We, the people of Wisconsin, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, domestic tranquility ..

Wyoming 1890, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Wyoming, grateful to God for our civil, political, and religious liberties ... establish this Constitution...

After reviewing acknowledgments of God from all 50 state constitutions, one is faced with the prospect that maybe, just maybe, the ACLU and the out-of-control Federal Courts are wrong!

"Those people who will not be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants."
William Penn


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« Reply #36 on: April 07, 2004, 10:18:30 AM »

In defense of the Stars and Stripes
Anti-Americanism by Jean-Francois Revel, French-English translation by Diarmid Cammell

Reviewed by John Parker

All across the globe, from Sydney to Siberia, from Quebec to Patagonia, there is one sporting obsession that unifies the entire human race. Young and old, male and female, black, white and every shade in between, there is one pleasurable activity that unifies them all.


I'm speaking, of course, about America-bashing. (Why, did you think I was talking about something else?) By 2004, any remaining wisps of sympathy for the Americans who were forced to choose between jumping and burning alive in 2001 had long since dissipated, and the globe had returned to its former habit of treating the United States as the official whipping boy for all the world's ills.

Indeed, anti-Americanism has ascended from its former status as the preoccupation of a relative handful of Jurassic Marxists, professional victims, Third World whiners, and Islamo-fascist troglodytes to the level of a major new global religion. Like any religion, it has its saints (which include the likes of Che Guevara and Ho Chi Minh), its martyrs (the Rosenbergs, the Guantanamo Bay detainees and Saddam Hussein's sons), its high priests (Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore and Abu Bakar Ba'asyir), and its desperately over-eager wanna-bes (eg, Asia Times Online's very own Pepe Escobar, whose viewpoint on any issue can be predicted with absolute accuracy by simply asking "what interpretation of this situation will put the United States in the worst light?").

Curiously, however, while the religion has a hell (America), and a devil (George W Bush), it lacks both a heaven (the collectivist pipe dream having been found wanting) and a god (since the anti-Americans consider themselves as having evolved beyond the need for a deity - save their Islamist faction, which wants to impose its religion forcibly on everyone else). Still, the anti-American cult provides its legions of drooling adherents with the crucial element of any faith: the illusion of meaning in an otherwise meaningless existence. That priceless psychological salve, in this case, is the comforting delusion that, no matter how hypocritical, backward, bigoted, ignorant, corrupt or cowardly the cult's followers might otherwise be, at least they are better than those awful Americans.

Jean-Francois Revel is a distinguished French writer who has, for nearly all his working life, chosen the rockiest path any intellectual can choose: the path of true non-conformity (as distinct from the ersatz, self-described non-conformists one finds on any university campus in the Western world). Specifically, Revel has chosen to confront directly - not only in this volume, but in several earlier books that touched on the issue - the entrenched anti-Americanism of an entire generation of European intellectuals, particularly French ones. Like his countryman Emile Zola (whose explosive article "J'accuse" attacked French society's handling of the Alfred Dreyfus affair), he has dared to defend an unpopular scapegoat and, in so doing, has probably done more to earn the gratitude of Americans than any Frenchman since General Lafayette, who came to the aid of the American revolutionary cause.

The reason that Revel's attitude toward the US is so strikingly different from most of his compatriots is not difficult to find: indeed, one finds it on the very first page of this book, when the author reveals that he lived and traveled frequently in the US between 1970 and 1990. During this time, he had conversations with "a wide range of Americans - politicians, journalists, businessmen, students and university professors, Democrats and Republicans, conservatives, liberals and radicals, and people I met in passing from every walk of life". This simple action - talking to actual Americans and asking them what they think, as opposed to blindly regurgitating European conventional wisdom about what Americans think - was obviously the critical step in separating Revel from the smug, chauvinistic sheep who predominate in his intellectual class. It was a step that the vast majority of this class, then and now, have been unwilling to take: they simply cherish their prejudice against Americans too greatly to face the possibility that real, live examples might not conform to it.

In Monsieur Revel's case, these conversations led to his first book, Without Marx or Jesus, published in 1970. Thirty-four years ago, Revel was "astonished by evidence that everything Europeans were saying about the US was false"; sadly, this situation has not changed in the slightest in the intervening time. Indeed, if anything, the conventional wisdom about the United States is even more wrong today than it was then. Without Marx or Jesus made two main points: first, that major social/political developments taking place in the US in the late 1960s, such as the Vietnam War protests, the American Free Speech movement, and the sexual revolution, constituted a new type of revolution, distinct from the working-class uprising predicted by the Marxist theories then in fashion. Second, Revel predicted that the great revolution of the 20th century would turn out to be the "liberal revolution" - ie, the spread of multiparty democracy and market economics - rather than the "socialist revolution". The latter point may appear to be almost conventional wisdom today, but it was a bold assertion in 1970. Most of the book consisted of a point-by-point rebuttal of the reflexive anti-Americanism of the day, and correctly identified its main psychological wellspring: envious resentment due to Europe's loss of leadership status in Western civilization during the postwar era.

In this first book, Revel also described the definitive proof of the irrational origins of anti-American arguments: "reproaching the United States for some shortcoming, and then for its opposite ... a convincing sign that we are in the presence not of rational analysis, but of obsession". In the 1960s, the best example of this behavior was European attitudes toward US involvement in Vietnam. A startling number of French commentators developed a sudden amnesia about their country's own involvement in Indochina, and the fact that France, while embroiled in its ugly war with the Viet Minh, "frequently pleaded for and sometimes obtained American help". Thus the same French political class that begged president Dwight Eisenhower to send B-29s to save the Foreign Legion at Dien Bien Phu was only too quick to label the United States a "neo-imperialist", or worse, for subsequently intervening in the unholy mess that the preceding decades of French colonial misrule had largely created.

In Anti-Americanism, which is basically a sequel to Without Marx or Jesus, a more contemporary example of the same phenomenon is given: the nearly simultaneous criticism of the US for "arrogant unilateralism" and "isolationism". As Revel dryly observes, "the same spiteful bad temper inspired both indictments, though of course they were diametrically opposed".

Examples of this psychopathology are almost endless, but the Iraq crisis has certainly provided a profusion of new cases. For example, during the 12 years after 1991, the anti-American press was filled with self-righteous hand-wringing over what was billed as the terrible suffering of the Iraqi people under UN sanctions. But when the administration of President George W Bush abandoned the sanctions policy (a policy that, incidentally, had been considered the cautious, moderate course of action when it was originally adopted) in favor of a policy of regime change by military force - which was obviously the only realistic way to end the sanctions - did these dyspeptic howler monkeys praise the United States for trying to alleviate Iraqis' suffering? No, of course not - instead, without batting an eyelash, they simply began criticizing the United States for the "terrible civilian casualties" caused by bombing.

Innumerable cases like this have made it perfectly clear to Americans that they will automatically be despised no matter what policy option they select. Furthermore, the only rational reaction Americans could have to this situation is to keep their own counsel when it comes to foreign policy, and leave their fair-weather friends - or, more accurately, no-weather friends - at arm's length. Predictably, however, the anti-American cult has a third accusation pre-packaged and ready to go for this very reaction: the inexplicable reluctance of Americans to listen attentively to their perpetually peeved critics is the result of their "arrogant unilateralism"! (Naturally, the possibility that the anti-American cultists' own statements might have played a role in promoting this behavior is never even considered.)

The most notable characteristic of Anti-Americanism, as a text, is the blistering, take-no-prisoners quality of its prose. Even those diametrically opposed to Revel's views would be forced to acknowledge his skills as a pugnacious rhetorician who does not eschew sarcasm as a weapon.

A few examples will suffice: referring to anti-war banners that proclaimed "No to terrorism. No to war", Revel scoffs that this "is about as intelligent as 'No to illness. No to medicine'." Responding to the indictment of the United States as a "materialistic civilization", he says: "Everyone knows that the purest unselfishness reigns in Africa and Asia, especially in the Muslim nations, and that the universal corruption that is ravaging them is the expression of a high spirituality."

Addressing the claim of the Japanese philosopher Yujiro Nakamura that "American culture ignores [the] dark dimension" of human beings, the author observes: "Evidently, Nakamura has never read Melville, Poe, Hawthorne, Henry James, Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, [etc], to mention only a few explorers of the depths." And he is positively withering in his contempt for Japanese intellectuals who, in the wake of September 11, opined that America's wealth disqualifies it from speaking in the name of human rights: "Everyone knows that Japan has always been deeply respectful towards [human rights], as Koreans, Chinese and Filipinos can amply confirm." Revel opens his sixth chapter, "Being Simplistic", by recalling the "pitying, contemptuous sneers" that greeted president Ronald Reagan's characterization of the Soviet Union as an "evil empire", then retorts, "it is not apparent that subsequent progress in Soviet studies gives us grounds to call it the 'Benevolent Empire'." And he responds to the claim of conservative British writer Andrew Alexander that "the Cold War was an American plot" by saying: "Following a similar logic, one might build a case that the Hundred Years' War was a complete fabrication by Joan of Arc, who wanted star billing in a pseudo-resistance against the conciliatory, peace-loving English."

In general, Revel's barbs strike most accurately when aimed at his own country. For example, responding to the tired claim that the US is "not a democracy" because it has supported dictatorships in Third World countries, Revel notes: "The history of Africa and Asia swarms with dictatorships of every type ... supported by the French and the British ... But it would very much surprise French living [in that period] if you told them that they didn't live in a democratic country."

Another telling denunciation arises from the statements of Olivier Duhamel, a Socialist deputy in the European Union, who responded to the electoral success of French ultra-rightist Jean-Marie Le Pen by complaining that France was "catching up with the degenerate democracies [such as] the US, Austria and Italy". First, Revel comments on the idiocy of Duhamel's insinuation that the United States is degenerate because Frenchmen voted for an ultra-rightist, then concludes: "The strange thing is that it is always in Europe that dictatorships and totalitarian governments spring up, yet it is always America that is 'fascist'."

Of course, the danger of the author's biting approach is that it could alienate, rather than convince, his readers. But given that the hypocrisy of the anti-Americans has piled up so thickly in recent years that one practically needs a chainsaw to cut through it, there may be no other choice.

Many of Revel's observations about the anti-Americans, such as their amazingly recent advocacy (in many cases) of totalitarian communism, or the fact that many intellectuals in failed societies have sought to blame the US scapegoat instead of engaging in self-criticism, have been made before by other writers. He is at his most original, however, when analyzing the cultists' psychological motivations; for example, contrasting the motives of the anti-American left with the anti-American right. To wit, the left essentially regards the United States as a devil figure, one that it has clung to all the more tightly in the years since its former deity, Marxist collectivism, collapsed in an abyss of poverty and repression. The right, by contrast, resents the United States as a pretender to the throne of global leadership that rightfully belongs to Europe - conveniently ignoring the fact that World Wars I and II, communist ideology, and socialist-influenced economic policies, which are, in actuality, the main factors that resulted in US ascension, all originated entirely in Europe.

Revel also breaks new ground when he discusses the striking tendency of other countries to ascribe their own worst faults to the United States, in a curious "reversal of culpability". Thus the famously peace-loving Japanese and Germans excoriate the US for "militarism"; the Mexicans attack it for "electoral corruption" in the wake of the 2000 election; the British accuse it of "imperialism"; Arab writers condemn it after September 11 for "abridging press freedom" (of course, the Arab states have always been shining beacons of that freedom). The gold medal for jaw-dropping hypocrisy, however, goes to the mainland Chinese, whose unelected dictatorship routinely accuses the United States of "hegemonism". Having been the chief hegemon of Asia for most of the past 5,000 years, the Chinese are in a singularly weak position to condemn the practice. What they actually oppose, of course, is not "hegemonism" itself, but the possibility that any power other than China would dare to practice it.

France has been no exception to this universal rule. Former minister of foreign affairs Hubert Vedrine, in his book Les Mondes de Francois Mitterrand, wrote: "The foremost characteristic of the United States ... is that it has regarded itself ever since its birth as a chosen nation, charged with the task of enlightening the rest of the world." Of course, this was a wholly conventional allegation of US "arrogance", delivered to an adoring choir. But then, a discordant note - Revel alone has the temerity to observe: "What is immediately striking about this pronouncement, the obvious fact that jumps right out, is how perfectly it applies to France herself." The Gallic emperor proves embarrassingly unclothed, for virtually every "arrogant" assertion of uniqueness made by Americans has its uncannily similar counterpart made by Frenchmen: if Thomas Jefferson once said "the United States is the empire of liberty", then countless French politicians have asserted with equal megalomania, "France is the birthplace of the Rights of Man." If anything, Revel does not develop this point highly enough. For, to an American observer of countless anti-American diatribes, the most striking aspect of the United States they describe is how little it resembles the actual, physical United States, and how uncannily it resembles a doppelganger of the writer's own society.

Not every psychological trait of the anti-Americans is discussed by Revel. He does not go far enough, for example, in delineating the fundamentally onanistic character of their rhetoric; it is difficult to explain the obsessive, droning, almost pornographic quality of the criticism, and its deliberate ignorance of easily obtained contrary facts, without understanding that the primary motive of the critics is to obtain pleasure. After all, hasn't the main purpose of bigots and bullies since time immemorial been to build themselves up by tearing down their victims?

Another unmentioned aspect is the sheer adolescent pettiness of the criticism. This can be seen most clearly in international press coverage of the United States, which scarcely ever misses an opportunity to America-bash, even when reporting on areas that are in essence non-political, such as economic statistics and scientific discovery. Revel discusses the typical example of a story in the economics journal La Tribune, which gleefully announced "The End of Full Employment in the USA" when the US unemployment rate climbed to 5.5 percent in early 2001 (at the time, the French government was congratulating itself for reducing French unemployment to only twice this level). More recently, the British Broadcasting Corp gave exhaustive coverage to a technical problem with the US Mars Spirit Rover, but barely mentioned the successful effort to solve the problem. This spiteful editorial decision, and countless others like it, was typical of an organization in which balanced, accurate news coverage has become secondary to the holy task of denouncing Uncle Sam.

Finally, one must mention the increasingly ill-disguised anti-Semitism of many America-bashers. Of course, such toxic ideas are to be expected of reactionary Islamist fanatics, who are so profoundly ignorant that they practically regard Americans and Jews as synonymous. But one increasingly hears grumbling about "neo-conservatives" from non-Muslim critics who really want to say "scheming Jews", but dimly sense that this choice of words is not permissible. How delicious the human comedy is - that European elites, whose greatest crime, the Holocaust, has not even passed from living memory, should begin to re-enact that demagogic crime in their increasingly poisonous anti-American rhetoric, as though absolutely nothing had been learned in almost 60 years of postwar struggle to advance freedom, human rights and democracy! It may be that those who don't learn from the past are doomed to repeat it; but the apparent inability of Europeans, and others, to avoid such self-destructive cultural patterns raises the question of whether learning from the past is even possible.

Without a doubt, however, the defining trait of the cultists is their moral (if not physical) cowardice. While using Latin Americans as an examplar of this quality, Revel quotes the Venezuelan writer Carlos Rangel: "For Latin Americans, it is an unbearable thought that a handful of Anglo-Saxons, arriving much later than the Spanish and in such a harsh climate that they barely survived the first few winters, would become the foremost power in the world. It would require an inconceivable effort of collective self-analysis [emphasis mine] for Latin Americans to face up to the fundamental causes of this disparity. This is why, though aware of the falsity of what they are saying, every Latin American politician and intellectual must repeat that all our troubles stem from North American imperialism." In fact, the Latins are hardly unique in cowering tremulously at the prospect of "collective self-analysis": with minor changes in specifics, Rangel's fundamental point could apply equally well to most of Africa, the Slavic societies of Eastern Europe, the nations of the South Asian sub-continent, and last (but definitely not least) the benighted Arab world, which has repeatedly shown itself to be the global champion of finger-pointing and denial (as if that could make up for its glaring backwardness in virtually every other respect).

It is ironic, however, that so many East Asians would be drawn to the cult, since they, out of all the regions of the developing world, have the least reason to feel inferior to the United States (after all, many societies in the region have already surpassed the US by various objective criteria). It may be that in the Asian "school" of anti-Americanism, a different psychological dynamic is at work: since Asians are as convinced of their innate cultural superiority as all the other critics (though with infinitely more justification than most), it must make them very uncomfortable that, in almost every case, their societies' escape from thousands of years of static, inward-looking despotism only began when US, or British, influence arrived. In addition, of course, need one really point out the massive, obvious US influence on the postwar economic development, political evolution, and even the popular cultures of Asian societies? Or the fact that virtually the entire governing class of the most successful Asian economies was educated in the United States? It appears that some Asians feel subconsciously belittled by how much they owe the US, and respond by petulantly attacking their historic benefactor.

So is anti-Americanism just an exercise in onanistic hypocrisy, or does it have a real-world cost? It does, but the cost is not primarily the hurt feelings, or terrorist-caused deaths, of Americans - even if this was the main consequence, no one would care, since most of the world (to judge by their own words) already regards Americans as a non-human species, somehow introduced, one assumes, to North America by alien spacecraft. (Of course, this calculated, malicious demonization of Americans as "the other" is hugely ironic, since the US, due to its diverse ethnic composition and immigrant origins, arguably represents the entire human race more fully than any other single nation-state.) For decades, the anti-Americans have compared the US to the Roman Empire in the fond hope that a similar "decline and fall" would someday materialize (given that what followed the Roman collapse was centuries of war, ignorance, and barbarism, one questions their motives). Regrettably for the cultists, though, the US is large enough, is self-assured enough, and its political stability and economic momentum are great enough, that it will only continue to prosper regardless of their actions. To illustrate, countless commentators have parroted the cliche that the "war on terrorism" is unwinnable, but how many have noted the obvious, undeniable corollary that Osama bin Laden's self-declared war on the United States is equally unwinnable?

Therein lies another exquisite irony: the costs of anti-Americanism will be borne not by Americans, but by others. And their numbers are vast: Cubans, North Koreans, Zimbabweans, and countless others suffer and starve under their respective tyrannies because the democratic world's chattering classes, obsessed with denouncing the United States, can't be bothered with holding their criminal regimes to account. Meanwhile, in Iraq, fascist rabble, with no discernible political program save a pledge to kill more Americans, try desperately to extinguish the slightest hope of democracy, economic growth, and stability for that long-suffering land; but the world, instead of helping to beat back the wolves at the door, basks in anti-American schadenfreude. How countless are the political problems, cultural pathologies, and humanitarian disasters that fester unnoticed, all over the globe, as the anti-American cult, wallowing in ecstatic bigotry, desperately scrutinizes every utterance of the Bush administration for new critical fodder.

Indeed, it is not the slightest exaggeration to say that in 2004, anti-American sentiment has become the biggest single obstacle to human progress. It sustains repressive dictatorships everywhere; excuses corruption, torture, the oppression of women, and mass murder; provides ideological oxygen for vile, stupid "revolutionary movements" like the Maoist insurgents in Nepal; and has even promoted the spread of disease (as when, for example, Europeans haughtily dismissed Bush's AIDS initiative as insincere - God forbid that they should concur with any policy of the wicked Bush, even at the cost of a few million more African lives). By focusing monomaniacally on "why America is wrong", instead of asking "what is right", the global anti-American elite has massively failed to fulfill the most fundamental responsibility of the intellectual class: to provide dispassionate, truthful analysis that can guide society to make proper decisions. And it has contemptuously cast aside the irreplaceable, post-Cold War opportunity to irreversibly consolidate the "liberal revolution" praised by Revel - in which inheres the only true hope of lasting, global peace and development - all in the name of redressing the gaping psychological insecurities of its members.

None of this is to say that criticism of specific US policies, or aspects of US culture, is not entirely legitimate (and of course, inside the US, the ability to speak out publicly against such things is a cherished, constitutionally guaranteed, and frequently exercised right). Indeed, one is struck, when reading this book, by Revel's repeated emphasis of this very point. The author is hardly a universal apologist for US actions; in fact, he gives many examples of areas in which he disagrees with US government policies. However, Revel's critiques of the US, especially for American readers, can be easily differentiated from those of the anti-American cultists: his criticisms are reasonable, fair-minded, and based on accurate information; whereas those of the professional anti-Americans are unreasonable, unfair, and based on the willful disgregard of all contrary evidence. Rather than legitimate criticism, what Monsieur Revel, and I, deplore is the quasi-religious, obsessive, fanatical brand of anti-Americanism: the kind that blames the United States for every problem, everywhere, first, always, and forever; the kind that automatically identifies with, and supports, any criminal political thug anywhere on the globe, just because he happens to declare himself opposed to the United States; the kind that in essence has no other values or priorities at all, save the insatiable need to denounce the United States; the kind that is congenitally incapable of self-criticism, but searches endlessly, with inexhaustible creativity, for additional evidence that it can use for its interminable, tendentious show trial of the US.

I am reluctant to point out the weaknesses of Anti-Americanism, since I am in such profound agreement with its basic thesis. Nonetheless, in the interests of balance, there are some weak points.

First, the book is somewhat repetitive. The chapters are largely devoted to rebutting particular claims of the anti-Americanists - eg, that the United States promotes the allegedly nefarious globalization process (Chapter 2), that US culture is "extinguishing" others (Chapter 5), that US government policy is "simplistic" (Chapter 6), or that the United States is just about the worst society that has ever existed anywhere (Chapter 4). Partly as a by-product of this organizational scheme, similar types of material, eg denunciations of Islamic extremism, reappear in several different chapters.

Another problem is that, since the book was written in French primarily for a French audience, many of its specific examples refer to domestic French political figures and situations, which may not be familiar to international readers.

Finally, this reviewer noted at least one factual error. In a discussion of European reaction to the contested US presidential election of 2000, Revel asserts that no presidential elector has selected the minority candidate in its state since the beginning of the 19th century. (The US constitution provides for an indirect "electoral college" system for presidential elections, such that when an individual voter selects, say, the Democratic candidate for president, he or she is not actually voting for that candidate directly, but rather for a slate of "democratic electors" who, if the candidate wins a plurality in that state, are supposed to cast all the state's "electoral votes" for the Democrats.) In fact, there have been seven cases of "faithless electors" since 1948, most recently in 1988, when a Democratic elector in West Virginia selected vice presidential nominee Lloyd Bentsen for president, and presidential nominee Michael Dukakis for vice president (presumably, he thought Bentsen would make a better president). However, this error does not contradict the author's point, which is that incidents of this type have been rare. Also, European critics of the electoral-college system are somewhat tardy: Americans have been arguing for electoral-college reform for at least 200 years, and recently, 75 percent of Americans, or more, have expressed in polls a desire to elect the president directly.

These admitted flaws do not reduce the importance, and value, of Anti-Americanism as a necessary antidote to the poisonous torrent of crude, atavistic anti-US hatred that spews forth daily from newspapers, magazines, and websites around the world. In the introduction, Revel recalls how Without Marx or Jesus, 34 years ago, was also greeted with strident denunciations from the baying jackals of the anti-American cult. But predictably, this hysterical response (Revel's Italian translator even attempted to rebut the book's arguments in his footnotes) only served to pique the public's interest: ordinary readers were quick to sense that any writer who had struck such a nerve obviously had something important to say, and Without Marx or Jesus became a smash hit.

It is hardly surprising that this pattern was repeated with Anti-Americanism, which has topped the French best-seller list. (Curiously, and completely contrary to what foreign stereotypes would lead one to expect, the book has been much less successful in the US - this is primarily because the anti-American obsession is entirely one-way; most Americans are barely even aware the cult exists.) The book's success shows conclusively that at least some Europeans sense the hypocrisy and intellectual vacuity of the anti-Americanists, and are once again developing an appetite for a balanced, truthful depiction of the US, as opposed to the spurious fiction they have largely been spoon-fed thus far.

Clearly, this book will not reach the committed fanatics. However, one hopes that at least a handful of fair-minded, reasonable people in Asia, Europe and elsewhere, who have the requisite moral courage to consider contrary views, will read it. I have really only scratched the surface of I>Anti-Americanism's virtues in this review: for example, Chapter 2, which critiques the anti-globalization movement, is probably the most devastating indictment of that incoherent, infantile crusade ever committed to paper.

In our time, anti-Americanism has become a crushing, Stalinist orthodoxy, an ossified system of bigoted dogmas that ruthlessly ostracizes all who would question it. It has become boring, even to the French. In this atmosphere, Monsieur Revel's book is truly a breath of fresh air. I only wish I had written it.

Anti-Americanism by Jean-Francois Revel, French-English translation by Diarmid Cammell. English edition copyright 2003 by Encounter Books. ISBN: 1893554856, 176 pages, price US$25.95.


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Re: "Mobile phones ringing in the pockets of the bodies
« Reply #37 on: April 08, 2004, 11:18:44 AM »
Quote from: LG RUSS
March 14, 2004
      Origin of Species

      andan Nilekani, C.E.O. of the Indian software giant Infosys, gave me a
tour the other day of his company's wood-paneled global conference room in
Bangalore. It looks a lot like a beautiful tiered classroom, with a massive
wall-size screen at one end and cameras in the ceiling so that Infosys can
hold a simultaneous global teleconference with its U.S. innovators, its
Indian software designers and its Asian manufacturers. "We can have our
whole global supply chain on the screen at the same time," holding a virtual
meeting, explained Mr. Nilekani. The room's eight clocks tell the story:
U.S. West, U.S. East, G.M.T., India, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia.

      As I looked at this, a thought popped into my head: Who else has such
a global supply chain today? Of course: Al Qaeda. Indeed, these are the two
basic responses to globalization: Infosys and Al Qaeda.

      Infosys said all the walls have been blown away in the world, so now
we, an Indian software company, can use the Internet, fiber optic
telecommunications and e-mail to get superempowered and compete anywhere
that our smarts and energy can take us. And we can be part of a global
supply chain that produces profit for Indians, Americans and Asians.

      Al Qaeda said all the walls have been blown away in the world, thereby
threatening our Islamic culture and religious norms and humiliating some of
our people, who feel left behind. But we can use the Internet, fiber optic
telecommunications and e-mail to develop a global supply chain of angry
people that will superempower us and allow us to hit back at the Western
civilization that's now right in our face.

      "From the primordial swamps of globalization have emerged two genetic
variants," said Mr. Nilekani. "Our focus therefore has to be how we can
encourage more of the good mutations and keep out the bad."

      Indeed, it is worth asking what are the spawning grounds for each.
Infosys was spawned in India, a country with few natural resources and a
terrible climate. But India has a free market, a flawed but functioning
democracy and a culture that prizes education, science and rationality,
where women are empowered. The Indian spawning ground rewards anyone with a
good idea, which is why the richest man in India is a Muslim software
innovator, Azim Premji, the thoughtful chairman of Wipro.

      Al Qaeda was spawned in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Afghanistan,
societies where there was no democracy and where fundamentalists have often
suffocated women and intellectuals who crave science, free thinking and
rationality. Indeed, all three countries produced strains of Al Qaeda,
despite Pakistan's having received billions in U.S. aid and Saudi Arabia's
having earned billions from oil. But without a context encouraging freedom
of thought, women's empowerment and innovation, neither society can tap and
nurture its people's creative potential ? so their biggest emotional export
today is anger.

      India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan each spontaneously
generated centers for their young people's energies. In India they're called
"call centers," where young men and women get their first jobs and technical
skills servicing the global economy and calling the world. In Pakistan,
Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia they're called "madrassas," where young men,
and only young men, spend their days memorizing the Koran and calling only
God. Ironically, U.S. consumers help to finance both. We finance the
madrassas by driving big cars and sending the money to Saudi Arabia, which
uses it to build the madrassas that are central to Al Qaeda's global supply
chain. And we finance the call centers by consuming modern technologies that
need backup support, which is the role Infosys plays in the global supply

      Both Infosys and Al Qaeda challenge America: Infosys by competing for
U.S. jobs through outsourcing, and Al Qaeda by threatening U.S. lives
through terrorism. As Michael Mandelbaum, the Johns Hopkins foreign policy
professor, put it: "Our next election will be about these two challenges ?
with the Republicans focused on how we respond to Al Qaeda, and the losers
from globalization, and the Democrats focused on how we respond to Infosys,
and the winners from globalization."

      Every once in a while the technology and terrorist supply chains
intersect ? like last week. Reuters quoted a Spanish official as saying
after the Madrid train bombings: "The hardest thing [for the rescue workers]
was hearing mobile phones ringing in the pockets of the bodies. They
couldn't get that out of their heads."

BANGALORE, India - Infosys Technologies Ltd., which has become India's second-largest software maker thanks largely to outsourced work from the West, is investing $20 million to create nearly 500 consulting jobs in the United States.


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Political Rants
« Reply #38 on: April 09, 2004, 10:58:01 PM »
  March 31, 2004
Response to Readership

I recently heard someone make a prediction that within the next fifty years there will likely be a civil war in Europe between "old" Europe and Muslims. That currently there is (at least) an ideological war being waged between European Socialism/Secularism vs. American Capitalism/Judeo-Christian-ism, with Muslims fighting both European and American concepts. Do you agree with this assessment? If so, could you speculate as to how you feel it will likely play itself out?

Hanson: I agree with your diagnosis, but believe that Europe already is aware that the old rules must change if it is to survive?witness immigration reform in Holland and Scandinavia. It is one thing to triangulate between the United States and the Arab world for short-term advantage; quite another to find oneself alienated from the heretofore supportive Americans without finding commesnurate  gratitude from the Middle East. Sensible people in Europe grasp this and are in a race with demagogues to change before it?s too late.
More "Response to Readership March 31"
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April 2: Public Lecture - UC Berkeley  - Military Power & Empire - 12 noon  
April 17: Book Signing - Fresno, CA Fig Garden Bookstore - 1 - 3pm - Between War & Peace
Click to view calendar
 March 26, 2004, 8:36 a.m.
We Are Finishing the War
Anatomy of our struggle against the Islamicists.

Across the globe we watch the terrible drama play out. Car and suicide bombings in Baghdad are aimed at American aid givers, U.S. peacekeepers, Iraqi civilians, and provisional government workers. Spanish civilians are indiscriminately murdered ? as are Turks, Moroccans, Saudis, and Afghans.

President Musharraf is targeted by assassins. Synagogues are blown apart. Suicide murderers try to reach a chemical dump in Ashdod in hopes of gassing Jews to the pleasure of much of the Arab world and the indifference of Europe. Indeed, Palestinian murderers apologize for gunning down an Arab jogger in Jerusalem . . .

Read more "We are finishing the war"
Read more from the NRO
 April 4, 2004

The Mirror of Fallujah

No more passes and excuses for the Middle East

Victor Davis Hanson

What are we to make of scenes from the eighth-century in Fallujah? Random murder, mutilation of the dead, dismemberment, televised gore, and pride in stringing up the charred corpses of those who sought to bring food to the hungry? Perhaps we can shrug and say all this is the wage of Saddam Hussein and the thirty years of brutality of his Baathists that institutionalized such barbarity? Or was the carnage the dying scream of Baathist hold-outs intent on shocking the Western world at home watching it live? We could speculate for hours.

Yet I fear that we have not seen anything new. Flip through the newspaper and the stories are as depressing as they are monotonous: bombs in Spain; fiery clerics promising death in England, even as explosive devices are uncovered in France. In-between accounts of bombings in Iraq, we get the normal murdering in Israel, and daily assassination in Pakistan, Turkey, Morocco, and Chechnya. Murder, dismemberment, torture?these all seem to be the acceptable tools of Islamic fundamentalism and condoned as part of justifiable Middle East rage. Sheik Yassin is called a poor crippled ?holy man? who ordered the deaths of hundreds, as revered in the Arab World for his mass murder as Jerry Falwell is condemned in the West for his occasional slipshod slur about Muslims.
Yet the hourly killing is perhaps not merely the wages of autocracy, but part of a larger grotesquery of Islamic fundamentalism on display. The Taliban strung up infidels from construction cranes and watched, like Romans of old, gory stoning and decapitations in soccer stadiums built with UN largess. In the last two years, Palestinian mobs have torn apart Israeli soldiers, lynched their own, wired children with suicide bombing vests, and machine-gunned down women and children?between sickening scenes of smearing themselves with the blood of ?martyrs.? Very few Arab intellectuals or holy men have condemned such viciousness.

Daniel Pearl had his head cut off on tape; an American diplomat was riddled with bullets in Jordan. Or should we turn to Lebanon and gaze at the work of Hezbollah?its posters of decapitated Israeli soldiers proudly on display? Some will interject that the Saudis are not to be forgotten?whose religious police recently allowed trapped school girls to be incinerated rather than have them leave the flaming building unescorted, engage in public amputations, and behead adulteresses. But Mr. Assad erased from memory the entire town of Hama. And why pick on Saddam Hussein, when earlier Mr. Nasser, heartthrob to the Arab masses, gassed Yemenis? The Middle-East coffee houses cry about the creation of Israel and the refugees on the West Bank only to snicker that almost 1,000,000 Jews were ethnically cleansed from the Arab world.

And then there is the rhetoric. Where else in the world do mainstream newspapers talk of Jews as the children of pigs and apes? And how many wacky Christian or Hindu fundamentalists advocate about the mass murder of Jews or promise death to the infidel? Does a Western leader begin his peroration with ?O evil infidel? or does Mr. Sharon talk of ?virgins? and ?blood-stained martyrs??
Conspiracy theory in the West is the domain of Montana survivalists and Chomsky-like wackos; in the Arab world it is the staple of the state-run media. This tired strophe and antistrophe of threats and retractions, and braggadocio and obsequiousness grates on the world at large. So Hamas threatens to bring the war to the United States, and then back peddles and says not really. So the Palestinians warn American diplomats that they are not welcome on the soil of the West Bank?as if any wish to return when last there they were murdered trying to extend scholarships to Palestinian students.

I am sorry, but these toxic fumes of the Dark-Ages permeate everywhere. It won?t do any more simply to repeat quite logical exegeses. Without consensual government, the poor Arab Middle East is caught in the throes of rampant unemployment, illiteracy, statism, and corruption. Thus in frustration it vents through its state-run media invective against Jews and Americans to assuage the shame and pain. Whatever.

But at some point the world is asking: ?Is Mr. Assad or Hussein, the Saudi Royal Family, or a Khadafy really an aberration?all rogues who hijacked Arab countries?or are they the logical expression of a tribal patriarchal society whose frequent tolerance of barbarism is in fact reflected in its leadership? Are the citizens of Fallujah the victims of Saddam, or did folk like this find their natural identity expressed in Saddam? Postcolonial theory and victimology argue that European colonialism, Zionism, and petrodollars wrecked the Middle East. But to believe that one must see India in shambles, Latin America under blanket autocracy, and an array of suicide bombers pouring out of Mexico or Nigeria. South Korea was a moonscape of war when oil began gushing out of Iraq and Saudi Arabia; why is it now exporting cars while the latter are exporting death? Apartheid was far worse than the Shah?s modernization program; yet why did South Africa renounce nuclear weapons while the Mullahs cheated on every UN protocol they could?

No, there is something peculiar to the Middle East that worries the world. The Arab world for years has promulgated a quite successful media image as perennial victims?proud folks, suffering under a series of foreign burdens, while nobly maintaining their grace and hospitality. Middle-Eastern Studies programs in the United States and Europe published an array of mostly dishonest accounts of Western culpability, sometimes Marxist, sometimes anti-Semitic that were found to be useful intellectual architecture for the edifice of panArabism, as if Palestinians or Iraqis shared the same oppressions, the same hopes, and the same ideals as downtrodden American people of color?part of a universal ?other? deserving victim status and its attendant blanket moral exculpation. But the curtain has been lifted since 9-11 and the picture we see hourly now is not pretty.

Imagine an Olympics in Cairo? Or an international beauty pageant in Riyadh? Perhaps an interfaith world religious congress would like to meet in Teheran? Surely we could have the World Cup in Beirut? Is there a chance to have a World Bank conference in Ramallah or Tripoli? Maybe Damascus could host a conference of the world?s neurosurgeons?

And then there is the asymmetry of it all. Walk in hushed tones by a mosque in Iraq, yet storm and desecrate the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank with impunity. Blow up and assassinate Westerners with unconcern; yet scream that Muslims are being questioned about immigration status in New York. Damn the West as you try to immigrate there; try to give the Middle East a fair shake while you prefer never to visit such a place. Threaten with death and fatwa any speaker or writer who ?impugns? Islam, demand from Western intellectuals condemnation of any Christians who speak blasphemously of the Koran.

I have purchased Israeli agricultural implements, computer parts, and read books translated from the Hebrew; so far, nothing in the contemporary Arab world has been of much value in offering help to the people of the world in science, agriculture, or medicine. When there is news of 200 murdered in Madrid or Islamic mass-murdering of Christians in the Sudan, or suicide bombing in Israel, we no longer look for moderate mullahs and clerics to come forward in London or New York to condemn it. They rarely do. And if we might hear a word of reproof, it is always qualified by the ubiquitous ?but??followed by a litany of qualifiers about Western colonialism, Zionism, racism, and hegemony that have the effects of making the condemnation either meaningless or in fact a sort of approval.

Yet it is not just the violence, the boring threats, the constant televised hatred, the temper-tantrums of fake intellectuals on televisions, the hypocrisy of anti-Western Arabs haranguing America and Europe from London or Boston, or even the pathetic shouting and fist-shaking of the ubiquitous Arab street. Rather the global village is beginning to see that the violence of the Middle East is not aberrant, but logical. Its misery is not a result of exploitation or colonialism, but self-induced. Its fundamentalism is not akin to that of reactionary Hinduism, Buddhism, or Christianity, but of an altogether different and much fouler brand.

The enemy of the Middle East is not the West so much as modernism itself and the humiliation that accrues when millions themselves are nursed by fantasies, hypocrisies, and conspiracies to explain their own failures. Quite simply, any society in which citizens owe their allegiance to the tribe rather than the nation, do not believe in democracy enough to institute it, shun female intellectual contributions, allow polygamy, insist on patriarchy, institutionalize religious persecution, ignore family planning, expect endemic corruption, tolerate honor killings, see no need to vote, and define knowledge as mastery of the Koran is deeply pathological.

When one adds to this depressing calculus that for all the protestations of Arab nationalism, Islamic purity and superiority, and whining about a decadent West, the entire region is infected with a burning desire for things Western?from cell phones and computers to videos and dialysis, you have all the ingredients for utter disaster and chaos. How after all in polite conversation can you explain to an Arab intellectual that the GDP of Jordan or Morocco has something to do with an array of men in the early afternoon stuffed into coffee shops spinning conspiracy tales, drinking coffee, and playing board games while Japanese, Germans, Chinese, and American women and men are into their sixth hour on the job? Or how do you explain that while Taiwanese are studying logarithms, Pakistanis are chanting from the Koran in Dark-Age madrassas? And how do you politely point out that while the New York Times and Guardian chastise their own elected officials, the Arab news in Damascus or Cairo is free only to do the same to us?

I support the bold efforts of the United States to make a start in cleaning up this mess, in hopes that a Fallujah might one day exorcize its demons. But in the meantime, we should have no illusions about the enormity of our task, where every positive effort will be met with violence, fury, hypocrisy, and ingratitude.

If we are to try to bring some good to the Middle East, then we must first have the intellectual courage to confess that for the most part the pathologies embedded there are not merely the work of corrupt leaders but often the very people who put them in place and allowed them to continue their ruin.

So the question remains did Saddam create Fallujah or Fallujah Saddam?


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« Reply #39 on: April 15, 2004, 09:24:30 AM »
Wed Apr 14, 8:02 PM ET  Add Op/Ed - Ann Coulter to My Yahoo!

By Ann Coulter

Last week, 9/11 commissioner John Lehman revealed that "it was the policy (before 9/11) and I believe remains the policy today to fine airlines if they have more than two young Arab males in secondary questioning because that's discriminatory." Hmmm ... Is 19 more than two? Why, yes, I believe it is. So if two Jordanian cab drivers are searched before boarding a flight out of Newark, Osama bin Laden (news - web sites) could then board that plane without being questioned. I'm no security expert, but I'm pretty sure this gives terrorists an opening for an attack.



In a sane world, Lehman's statement would have made headlines across the country the next day. But not one newspaper, magazine or TV show has mentioned that it is official government policy to prohibit searching more than two Arabs per flight.

Meanwhile, another 9/11 commissioner, the greasy Richard Ben-Veniste, claimed to be outraged that the CIA (news - web sites) did not immediately give intelligence on 9/11 hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar to the FBI (news - web sites). As we now know -- or rather, I alone know because I'm the only person in America watching the 9/11 hearings -- Ben-Veniste should have asked his fellow commissioner Jamie Gorelick about that.

In his testimony this week, John Ashcroft (news - web sites) explained that the FBI wasn't even told Almihdhar and Alhazmi were in the country until weeks before the 9/11 attack -- because of Justice Department (news - web sites) guidelines put into place in 1995. The FBI wasn't allowed to put al-Qaida specialists on the hunt for Almihdhar and Alhazmi -- because of Justice Department guidelines put into place in 1995. Indeed, the FBI couldn't get a warrant to search Zacarias Moussaoui's computer -- because of Justice Department guidelines put into place in 1995.

The famed 1995 guidelines were set forth in a classified memorandum written by the then-deputy attorney general titled "Instructions for Separation of Certain Foreign Counterintelligence and Criminal Investigations," which imposed a "draconian" wall between counterintelligence and criminal investigations.

What Ashcroft said next was breathtaking. Prohibited from mounting a serious search for Almihdhar and Alhazmi, an irritated FBI investigator wrote to FBI headquarters, warning that someone would die because of these policies -- "since the biggest threat to us, OBL (Osama bin Laden), is getting the most protection."

FBI headquarters responded: "We're all frustrated with this issue. These are the rules. NSLU (National Security Law Unit) does not make them up. But somebody did make these rules. Somebody built this wall."

The person who built that wall described in the infamous 1995 memo, Ashcroft said, "is a member of the commission." If this were an episode of "Matlock," the camera would slowly pan away from Ashcroft's face at this point and then quickly jump to an extreme close-up of Jamie Gorelick's horrified expression. Armed marshals would then escort the kicking, screaming Gorelick away in leg irons as the closing credits rolled. Gorelick was the deputy attorney general in 1995.

The 9/11 commission has finally uncovered the proverbial "smoking gun"! But it was fired by one of the 9/11 commissioners. Maybe between happy reminiscences about the good old days of Ruby Ridge, Waco and the Elian Gonzales raid, Ben-Veniste could ask Gorelick about those guidelines. Democrats think it's a conflict of interest for Justice Scalia to have his name in the same phonebook as Dick Cheney (news - web sites). But there is no conflict of interest having Gorelick sit on a commission that should be investigating her.

Bill O'Reilly's entire summary of Ashcroft's testimony was to accuse Ashcroft of throwing sheets over naked statues rather than fighting terrorism. No mention of the damning Gorelick memo. No one knows about the FAA (news - web sites)'s No-Searching-Arabs counterterrorism policy. Predictions that conservatives have finally broken through the wall of sound coming from the mainstream media may have been premature.

When Democrats make an accusation against Republicans, newspaper headlines repeat the accusation as a fact: "U.S. Law Chief 'Failed to Heed Terror Warnings,'" "Bush Was Told of Qaida Steps Pre-9/11; Secret Memo Released," "Bush White House Said to Have Failed to Make al-Qaida an Early Priority."

But when Republicans make accusations against Democrats -- even accusations backed up by the hard fact of a declassified Jamie Gorelick memo -- the headlines note only that Republicans are making accusations: "Ashcroft Lays Blame at Clinton's Feet," "Ashcroft: Blame Bubba for 9/11," "Ashcroft Faults Clinton in 9/11 Failures."

It's amazing how consistent it is. A classic of the genre was the Chicago Tribune headline, which managed to use both constructs in a single headline: "Ashcroft Ignored Terrorism, Panel Told; Attorney General Denies Charges, Blames Clinton." Why not: "Reno Ignored Terrorism, Panel Told; Former Deputy Attorney General Denies Charges, Blames Bush"?

Democrats actively created policies that were designed to hamstring terrorism investigations. The only rap against the Bush administration is that it failed to unravel the entire 9/11 terrorism plot based on a memo titled: "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States."

I have news for liberals: Bin Laden is still determined to attack inside the United States! Could they please tell us when and where the next attack will be? Because unless we know that, it's going to be difficult to stop it if we can't search Arabs.


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« Reply #40 on: May 30, 2004, 05:57:24 AM »
It is amazing how the facts are unimportant to so many, and how soon they
forget! (Please read through to the bottom!)

"One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to
develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them. That
is our bottom line." - President Clinton, Feb. 4, 1998

"If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We
want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass
destruction program." - President Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998

Iraq is a long way from [here], but what happens there matters a great deal
here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear,
chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest
security threat we face." - Madeline Albright, Feb 18, 1998

"He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times
since 1983." - Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb

"[W]e urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the US
Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if
appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond
effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of
mass destruction programs." - Letter to President Clinton, signed by Sens.
Carl Levin (D-MI), Tom Daschle (D-SD), John Kerry (D - MA), and others Oct.

"Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass
destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he
has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process." - Rep. Nancy Pelosi
(D, CA), Dec. 16, 1998

"Hussein has chosen to spend his money on building weapons of mass
destruction and palaces for his cronies." > - Madeline Albright, Clinton
Secretary of State, Nov. 10, 1999

"There is no doubt that ... Saddam Hussein has invigorated his weapons
programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs
continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status. In addition, Saddam
continues to redefine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of
a licit missile program to develop longer-range missiles that will threaten
the United States and our allies." - Letter to President Bush, Signed by
Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL,) and others, December 5, 2001

"We begin with the common belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and threat
to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandated of
the United Nations and is building weapons of mass destruction and the
means of delivering them." - Sen. Carl Levin (D, MI), Sept. 19, 2002

"We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical
weapons throughout his country." - Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

"Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to
deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is
in power." - Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

"We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing
weapons of mass destruction." - Sen. Ted Kennedy (D, MA), Sept. 27, 2002

"The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are
confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and
biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to
build up his chemical and biological warfare capabilities. Intelligence
reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons..." - Sen. Robert Byrd
(D, WV), Oct. 3, 2002

"I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority
to use force-- if necessary-- to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe
that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real
and grave threat to our security." - Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Oct.

"There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively
to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the
next five years .. We also should remember we have always underestimated
the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass
destruction."- Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D, WV), Oct 10, 2002

"He has systematically violated, over the course of the past 11 years,
every significant UN resolution that has demanded that he disarm and
destroy his chemical and biological weapons, and any nuclear capacity. This
he has refused to do" - Rep. Henry Waxman (D, CA), Oct 10, 2002

"In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show
that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological
weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He
has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al
Qaeda members.. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam
Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and
chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons." - Sen.
Hillary Clinton (D, NY), Oct 10, 2002

"We are in possession of what I think to be compelling evidence that Saddam
Hussein has, and has had for a number of years, a developing capacity for
the production and storage of weapons of mass destruction." - Sen. Bob
Graham (D, FL), Dec. 8, 2002

"Without question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal,
murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime ... He presents a
particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to
miscalculation ... And now he is miscalculating America's response to his
continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction
. So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real"
- Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Jan. 23. 2003


Yes I know the saying goes, "Much Ado About Nothing" and unlike that Shakespearean play the Iraqi prisoner abuse is no comedy but it does involve politics of a sort.  It IS something.  For good and ill it will remain an issue.  On the one hand, right thinking Americans will abhor the stupidity of the actions, while on the other hand political glee will take control and fashion this minor event into some modern day My Lai massacre.

Some Arabs are asking for an apology.  I offer mine here, as stated below .

I am sorry that the last seven times the Americans took up arms and sacrificed the blood of our youth it was in the defense of Muslims (Bosnia, Kosovo, Gulf War 1, Kuwait, etc.)

I am sorry that no such call for an apology from the extremists came after 9/11.

I am sorry that all of the murderers on 9/11 were Arabs.

I am sorry that Arabs have to live in squalor under savage dictatorships.

I am sorry that their leaders squander their wealth.

I am sorry that their governments breed hate for the US in their religious schools.

I am sorry that Yasir Arafat was kicked out of every Arab country and highjacked the  Palestinian "cause."

I am sorry that no other Arab country will take in or offer more than a token amount of financial help to those same Palestinians.

I am sorry that the USA has to step in and be the biggest financial supporters of poverty stricken Arabs while the insanely wealthy Arabs blame the USA.

I am sorry that our own left wing elite and our media can't understand any of this.

I am sorry the United Nations scammed the poor people of Iraq out of the "food for oil" money so they could get rich while the common folk suffered.

I am sorry that some Arab governments pay the families of homicide bombers upon their death.

I am sorry that those same bombers are seeking 72 virgins. They can't seem to find one here on Earth.

I am sorry that the homicide bombers think babies are a legitimate target.

I am sorry that our troops died to free Arabs.

I am sorry they show so much restraint when their brothers in arms are killed.

I am sorry that Muslim extremists have killed more Arabs than any other group.

I am sorry that foreign trained terrorists are trying to seize control of Iraq and return it to a terrorist state.

I am sorry we don't drop a few dozen Daisy Cutters on Fallujah.

I am sorry that every time terrorists hide they find a convenient "Holy Site."

I am sorry they didn't apologize for flying a jet into the World Trade Center that collapsed and severely damaged St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church - one of OUR Holy Sites.

I am sorry they didn't apologize for flight 93 and 175, the USS Cole, the embassy bombings, and others.

I am sorry Michael Moore is American; he could feed a medium sized village in Africa.

I am sorry the French act like French.

America will get past this latest absurdity. We will punish those responsible because that's what we do.  We hang out our dirty laundry for all the world to see.  We move on. That's  why we are hated so much. We don't hide this stuff like all those Arab countries that are now demanding an apology.

Deep down inside when most Americans saw this in the news we were like...  so what?  We lost hundreds and then made fun of a few prisoners.
Sure it was wrong, sure it dramatically hurts our cause, but until captured we were trying to kill these same prisoners.  Now we're supposed to wring our hands because a few were humiliated?  Come on.  Our compassion is tempered with the vivid memories of our own people killed, mutilated and burnt amongst a joyous crowd of celebrating Fallujans.

If you want an apology from this American your gonna have a long wait. You have a better chance of finding those 72 virgins.


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« Reply #41 on: June 16, 2004, 01:07:28 PM »
Feeding the Minotaur
Our strange relationship with the terrorists continues.

As long as the mythical Athenians were willing to send, every nine years, seven maidens and seven young men down to King Minos's monster in the labyrinth, Athens was left alone by the Cretan fleet. The king rightly figured that harvesting just enough Athenians would remind them of their subservience without leading to open rebellion ? as long as somebody impetuous like a Theseus didn't show up to wreck the arrangement.

Ever since the storming of the Tehran embassy in November 1979 we Americans have been paying the same sort of human tribute to grotesque Islamofascists. Over the last 25 years a few hundred of our own were cut down in Lebanon, East Africa, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Yemen, and New York on a semi-annual basis, even as the rules of the tribute to be paid ? never spoken, but always understood ? were rigorously followed.

In exchange for our not retaliating in any meaningful way against the killers ? addressing their sanctuaries in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, or Syria, or severing their financial links in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia ? Hezbollah, al Qaeda, and their various state-sanctioned kindred operatives agreed to keep the number killed to reasonable levels. They were to reap their lethal harvests abroad and confine them mostly to professional diplomats, soldiers, or bumbling tourists, whose disappearance we distracted Americans would predictably chalk up to the perils of foreign service and exotic travel.

Despite the occasional fiery rhetoric, both sides found the informal Minoan arrangement mutually beneficial. The terrorists believed that they were ever so incrementally, ever so insidiously eroding America's commitment to a pro-Western Middle East. We offered our annual tribute so that over the decades we could go from Dallas to Extreme Makeover and Madonna to Britney without too much distraction or inconvenience.

But then a greedy, over-reaching bin Laden wrecked the agreement on September 11. Or did he?

Murdering 3,000 Americans, destroying a city block in Manhattan, and setting fire to the Pentagon were all pretty tough stuff. And for a while it won fascists and their state sponsors an even tougher response in Afghanistan and Iraq that sent hundreds to caves and thousands more to paradise. And when we have gotten serious in the postbellum reconstruction, thugs like Mr. Sadr have backed down. But before we gloat and think that we've overcome our prior laxity and proclivity for appeasement, let us first make sure we are not still captives to the Minotaur's logic.

True, al Qaeda is now scattered, the Taliban and Saddam gone. But the calculus of a quarter century ? threaten, hit, pause, wait; threaten, hit, pause, wait ? is now entrenched in the minds of Middle Eastern murderers. Indeed, the modus operandi that cynically plays on Western hopes, liberalism, and fair play is gospel now to all sorts of bin Laden epigones ? as we have seen in Madrid, Fallujah, and Najaf.

Much has been written about our problems with this postmodern war and why we find it so difficult to fully mobilize our formidable military and economic clout to crush the terrorists and their patrons. Of course, we have no identifiable conventional enemy such as Hitler's Panzers; we are not battling a fearsome nation that defiantly declared war on us, such as Tojo's Japan; and we are no longer a depression-era, disarmed, impoverished United States at risk for our very survival. But then, neither Hitler nor Mussolini nor Tojo nor Stalin ever reached Manhattan and Washington.

So al Qaeda is both worse and not worse than the German Nazis: It is hardly the identifiable threat of Hitler's Wehrmacht, but in this age of technology and weapons of mass destruction it is more able to kill more Americans inside the United States. Whereas we think our fascist enemies of old were logical and conniving, too many of us deem bin Laden's new fascists unhinged ? their fatwas, their mythology about strong and weak horses, and their babble about the Reconquista and the often evoked "holy shrines" are to us dreamlike.

But I beg to differ somewhat.

I think the Islamists and their supporters do not live in an alternate universe, but instead are no more crazy in their goals than Hitler was in thinking he could hijack the hallowed country of Beethoven and Goethe and turn it over to buffoons like Goering, prancing in a medieval castle in reindeer horns and babbling about mythical Aryans with flunkies like Goebbels and Rosenberg. Nor was Hitler's fatwa ? Mein Kampf ? any more irrational than bin Laden's 1998 screed and his subsequent grainy infomercials. Indeed, I think Islamofascism is brilliant in its reading of the postmodern West and precisely for that reason it is dangerous beyond all description ? in the manner that a blood-sucking, stealthy, and nocturnal Dracula was always spookier than a massive, clunky Frankenstein.

Like Hitler's creed, bin Ladenism trumpets contempt for bourgeois Western society. If once we were a "mongrel" race of "cowboys" who could not take casualties against the supermen of the Third Reich, now we are indolent infidels, channel surfers who eat, screw, and talk too much amid worthless gadgetry, godless skyscrapers, and, of course, once again, the conniving Jews.

Like Hitler, bin Ladenism has an agenda: the end of the liberal West. Its supposedly crackpot vision is actually a petrol-rich Middle East free of Jews, Christians, and Westerners, free to rekindle spiritual purity under Sharia. Bin Laden's al Reich is a vast pan-Arabic, Taliban-like caliphate run out of Mecca by new prophets like him, metering out oil to a greedy West in order to purchase the weapons of its destruction; there is, after all, an Israel to be nuked, a Europe to be out-peopled and cowered, and an America to be bombed and terrorized into isolation. This time we are to lose not through blood and iron, but through terror and intimidation: televised beheadings, mass murders, occasional bombings, the disruption of commerce, travel, and the oil supply.

In and of itself, our enemies' ambitions would lead to failure, given the vast economic and military advantages of the West. So to prevent an all out, terrible response to these predictable cycles of killing Westerners, there had to be some finesse to the terrorists' methods. The trick was in preventing some modern Theseus from going into the heart of the Labyrinth to slay the beast and end the nonsense for good.

It was hard for the Islamic fascists to find ideological support in the West, given their agenda of gender apartheid, homophobia, religious persecution, racial hatred, fundamentalism, polygamy, and primordial barbarism. But they sensed that there has always been a current of self-loathing among the comfortable Western elite, a perennial search for victims of racism, economic oppression, colonialism, and Christianity. Bin Laden's followers weren't white; they were sometimes poor; they inhabited of former British and French colonies; and they weren't exactly followers of the no-nonsense Pope or Jerry Falwell. If anyone doubts the nexus between right-wing Middle Eastern fascism and left-wing academic faddishness, go to booths in the Free Speech area at Berkeley or see what European elites have said and done for Hamas. Middle Eastern fascist killers enshrined as victims alongside our own oppressed? That has been gospel in our universities for the last three decades.

Like Hitler, bin Ladenism grasped the advantages of hating the Jews. It has been 60 years since the Holocaust; memories dim. Israel is not poor and invaded but strong, prosperous, and unapologetic. It is high time, in other words, to unleash the old anti-Semitic infectious bacillus. Thus Zionists caused the latest Saudi bombings, just as they have poisoned Arab-American relations, just as neo-conservatives hijacked American policy, just as Feith, Perle, and Wolfowitz cooked up this war.

Finally, bin Laden understood the importance of splitting the West, just like the sultan of old knew that a Europe trisected into Orthodoxy, Catholicism, and Protestantism would fight among itself rather than unite against a pan-Islamic foe. Hit the Spanish and bring in an anti-American government. Leave France and Germany alone for a time so they can blame the United States for mobilizing against a "nonexistent" threat, unleashing the age-old envy and jealously of the American upstart.

If after four years of careful planning, al Qaedists hit the Olympics in August, the terrorists know better than we do that most Europeans will do nothing ? but quickly point to the U.S. and scream "Iraq!" And they know that the upscale crowds in Athens are far more likely to boo a democratic America than they are a fascist Syria or theocratic Iran. Just watch.

In the European mind, and that of its aping American elite, the terrorists lived, slept, and walked in the upper aether ? never the streets of Kabul, the mosques of Damascus, the palaces of Baghdad, the madrassas of Saudi Arabia, or the camps of Iran. To assume that the latter were true would mean a real war, real sacrifice, and a real choice between the liberal bourgeois West and a Dark-Age Islamofascist utopia.

While all Westerners prefer the bounty of capitalism, the delights of personal freedom, and the security of modern technological progress, saying so and not apologizing for it ? let alone defending it ? is, well, asking a little too much from the hyper sophisticated and cynical. Such retrograde clarity could cost you, after all, a university deanship, a correspondent billet in Paris or London, a good book review, or an invitation to a Georgetown or Malibu A-list party.

Nearly three years after 9/11 we are in the strangest of all paradoxes: a war against fascists that we can easily win but are clearly not ready to fully wage. We have the best 500,000 soldiers in the history of civilization, a resolute president, and an informed citizenry that has already received a terrible preemptive blow that killed thousands.

Yet what a human comedy it has now all become.

The billionaire capitalist George Soros ? who grew fabulously wealthy through cold and calculating currency speculation, helping to break many a bank and its poor depositors ? now makes the moral equation between 9/11 and Abu Ghraib. For this ethicist and meticulous accountant, 3,000 murdered in a time of peace are the same as some prisoners abused by renegade soldiers in a time of war.

Recently in the New York Times I read two articles about the supposedly new irrational insensitivity toward Muslims and saw an ad for a book detailing how the West "constructed" and exaggerated the Islamic menace ? even as the same paper ran a quieter story about a state-sponsored cleric in Saudi Arabia's carefully expounding on the conditions under which Muslims can desecrate the bodies of murdered infidels.

Aristocratic and very wealthy Democrats ? Al Gore, Ted Kennedy, Howard Dean, and John Kerry ? employ the language of conspiracy to assure us that we had no reason to fight Saddam Hussein. "Lies," "worst," and " betrayed" are the vocabulary of their daily attacks. A jester in stripes like Michael Moore, who cannot tell the truth, is now an artistic icon ? precisely and only because of his own hatred of the president and the inconvenient idea that we are really at war. Our diplomats court the Arab League, which snores when Russians and Sudanese kill hundreds of thousands of Muslims but shrieks when we remove those who kill even more of their own. And a depopulating, entitlement-expanding Europe believes an American president, not bin Laden, is the greatest threat to world peace. Russia, the slayer of tens of thousands of Muslim Chechans and a big-time profiteer from Baathist loot, lectures the United States on its insensitivity to the new democracy in Baghdad.

Meanwhile, in Europe, Iraq, and the rest of the Middle East, we see the same old bloodcurdling threats, the horrific videos, the bombings, the obligatory pause, the faux negotiations, the lies ? and then, of course, the bloodcurdling threats, the horrific videos, the bombings...

No, bin Laden is quite sane ? but lately I have grown more worried that we are not.


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« Reply #42 on: September 02, 2004, 10:40:41 PM »
Author unknown

I am John Kerry.

I was against the first Iraq war, I am against the second Iraq war, but I voted for it. Now I'm against it but I was for it. I support the UN.  I'm against terrorism and against the Iraq war. But I voted for the Iraq war.

So, I voted against the first war and supported the second war, wait...

I'm against gay marriage but for gay unions. I support gays but think the San Francisco mayor is wrong. I support gay marriages. No, wait, gay unions.

I'm Catholic. Wait, I'm Jewish. My granddad was Jewish. But I was raised
Catholic. What am I? I don't want to confuse people.

I am for abortions, but wait, I'm Catholic, and Catholics are pro-life. But I
might consider putting pro-life judges in office, but I'm not sure. I do know I voted for a pro-life judge once, but I stated that it was a mistake.

I hate the evil drug companies, and dub them like Frankenstein when I am hanging around Robert Kennedy, Jr. and the Natural Resources Defence Council. But when I am with Ron Reagan Jr. and Sarah Brady I say drug companies do too little R&D, because I favor tax-payer supported stem cell research and responsible cloning. But if Archbishop McCarren sees, or worse yet can hear me; then I am morally opposed to stem-cell research "on demand," and don't believe in cloning of non-consenting adults. I have never said that I believe that Canadians have the inalienable right to clone, but prefer that this whole matter be left up to the United Nations.

I went to Vietnam. But I was against Vietnam. I testified against fellow US
troops in Vietnam, threw my medals away and led others to do the same.  But I am a war hero.  Against the war.  I stated I threw my medals away then I threw my ribbons away.  I then revealed that I threw my ribbons away but not my medals, then lately I stated that I threw someone else's medals away and never threw anything of mine away. I believe ribbons and medals aren't the same thing.  Medals come with ribbons, so now I believe that ribbons and medals are the same thing besides the fact that ribbons are cloth and  medals are metal.

I wrote a book that pictured the US flag upside-down on its cover.  But now I fly and campaign in a plane with a large flag right-side up on it.  But
sometimes, we fly upside-down for fun.

I am for the common man, unlike Bush. I am against the rich. But my family is worth 700 million dollars has a jet and many SUVs. I am the common man.  I am against sending jobs overseas. My wife is a Heinz heir. Heinz has most of its factories offshore. I am against rewarding companies for exporting jobs as long as it is not Heinz.

I own $1 million in Wal-Mart stock. I believe Wal-Mart is evil by driving small business owners out of town. I am a capitalist and I own part of Wal-Mart but I am a good guy for small corporate America.

I own SUVs when I talk to my followers in Detroit, MI.  Teresa owns SUVs, I don't, when I talk to tree hugging followers. I have a campaign jet that gets .003 mpg, which is great fuel efficiency.

I am against making military service an issue in Presidential elections.  I
defended a draft dodger Clinton and stated that all serve in their own capacity whether they draft dodge or not. Did I mention, I served in Vietnam and am a hero?  Are you questioning my patriotism?  I served in Vietnam.  My opponent didn't.  I have three purple hearts!  I am a hero. I am qualified to run this country since I served.

I spent Christmas of 1968 in Cambodia, being shot at by the drunken
South Vietnamese and the Khmer Rouge, while President Nixon was lying to the country and saying that there were no troops in Cambodia. What's that you say, Nixon wasn't president in 1968, well it must have been some other President then. Who was that President with the a phony  Silver star [LBJ], it was probably him.  Are you sure the Khmer Rouge were not active until 1970, well I guess I must not have been there then. That's right I was actually in my base camp in Vietnam at least 55 miles from the Cambodian border and I spent the evening writing in my journal about being in Cambodia. I got confused after I said it so many times between 1968 and 1986. You can see now what living under Nixon did to all of us. When I went to Paris three times with Jane Fonda between 1970 and 1972  to meet with Lee Duc Tho, North Vietnam's foreign minister, we actually did not talk about politics. And also, that was probably not me but rather Roger Vadim who like me speaks fluent French and you can see why reporters for the Associated Press could get so confused.  But if it was me, I there on other business.

I am a real hero though, you just spend three minutes with the people who served with me and they will tell you. No, not those 200 plus veterans who served with me and say I lied, and not all those veterans that signed affadavits that say I am a phony, I mean just these 8 people that travel around with me as my band of brothers.

I am John Kerry.  I want to be your President.


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« Reply #43 on: September 03, 2004, 10:17:14 AM »
LMFAO! That's good stuff.

After watching both conventions, I have to admit that I am more disillusioned with the state of our political system than ever. It's become a matter of which circus would you like to join? For the first time ever, I am actually considering a write-in vote for my cat.

The one thing that bugs me the most is the idea that either candidate is for "the common man". Folks, let's wake up and smell the coffee. NEITHER candidate even knows what the "common man" wants, needs, or worries about.

John Kerry is known to be the richest Senator in government with a personal fortune (or his wife's however you choose to look at it) in the area of $165 million to $626 million dollars. Hell, he dumped $850,000 of his own cash into his campaign. George Bush's net worth is somewhere in the area of $9 million to $26 million. Sounds pretty "common" to me. I guess you could argue that when compared to Kerry, Bush is just a "common" millionaire.

Neither candidate has ever held a "common man's" job (i.e. minimum wage). Owning a baseball team, working on your father's presidential campaign, being a district attorney, and becoming 4 term Governor (both candidates) are not "common man" jobs. Both went to Ivy League schools (not on scholarship), and I can pretty much guarantee that if either of them loses their "job" they don't have to worry about unemployment. And upon their retirement, neither has to worry about that Soc. Security check arriving on time.

The "common man" is not driven around by a chaffeur, does not own a ranch, a jet, a beach house, a winter home, nor can afford to send their offspring to private schools and universities (and again I am speaking about both candidates).

The "common man" does not attend $1000-$5000 a plate dinners unless he is serving tables. The "common man" can't take a paid vacation wherever, whenever 'cause he needs a break from a tough schedule of campaigning or making policy decisions.

The "common man" worries about his children's education, his mortgage payment, his monthly bills, getting food on the table, the rising cost of gas, getting healthcare (affordable or otherwise), and basically making it to the end of the year without going into debt. Again neither candidate has these concerns.

Having worked in the press covering campaigns, speeches, and appearances by mayors, governors, vice-presidents and presidents of both parties, I can tell you that the most time any candidate spends with "the common man" is limited to 5 minutes at best. Usually meeting "the common man" consists of a handshake and a "Thanks for coming out/your support".

"The common man" whose name is dropped by candidates while on the road (i.e. 'I met a man named Bob Hakenworth in Iowa the other day') are carefully screened individuals who are handpicked by assistants to the press secretary or candidate's "advance team". Your chances as "the common man" of just walking up to a candidate or president and voicing your concerns (and actually having them addressed) are slim to none.

Now, if anyone can explain to me how either candidate can relate to "the common man's" everyday problems (without the use of political rhetoric, either liberal or conservative) then I may start believing what they say. Either that, or find me a dishwasher who has run a successful presidential campaign.


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Along those lines...
« Reply #44 on: September 03, 2004, 10:22:57 AM »
Here's a bit of information from

Dear Jack:

We knew the presidential salary had been $200,000 for a number of years -- a relatively paltry sum considering the state of executive compensation these days -- but we were unsure of the salary our current president is drawing. We seem to recall hearing something a few months ago about a raise for our country's commander in chief.
We searched on "presidential salary," and on the first page of search results we received several relevant web sites and one amusing anomaly.

According to a CNN article dated July 16, 1999, the House voted earlier that week to increase the next president's salary to $400,000, which means George W. Bush, our 43rd president, makes twice as much as his predecessor, President Clinton.

After a little more research, we found a table that should put to rest any doubts that our country's former presidents are struggling to make ends meet. The National Taxpayers Union provides a Presidential Pension Graph that shows estimated pension benefits of former presidents. Bill Clinton stands to collect $7.29 million, the most of any living ex-president, while Ronald Reagan's pension is just over $2.5 million.

...and these aren't updated figures. Sounds pretty "common" to me!  :wink:


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« Reply #45 on: September 03, 2004, 05:18:18 PM »
Cindy "Pretty Kitty" Denny.
Dog Brothers, Inc.


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« Reply #46 on: September 07, 2004, 11:20:57 PM »
From | Original article available at:

They're Terrorists - Not Activists
by Daniel Pipes
New York Sun
September 7, 2004

"I know it when I see it" was the famous response by a U.S. Supreme Court justice to the vexed problem of defining pornography. Terrorism may be no less difficult to define, but the wanton killing of schoolchildren, of mourners at a funeral, or workers at their desks in skyscrapers surely fits the know-it-when-I-see-it definition.

The press, however, generally shies away from the word terrorist, preferring euphemisms. Take the assault that led to the deaths of some 400 people, many of them children, in Beslan, Russia, on September 3. Journalists have delved deep into their thesauruses, finding at least twenty euphemisms for terrorists:

Assailants - National Public Radio.
Attackers ? the Economist.
Bombers ? the Guardian.
Captors ? the Associated Press.
Commandos ? Agence France-Presse refers to the terrorists both as "membres du commando" and "commando."
Criminals - the Times (London).
Extremists ? United Press International.
Fighters ? the Washington Post.
Group ? the Australian.
Guerrillas: in a New York Post editorial.
Gunmen ? Reuters.
Hostage-takers - the Los Angeles Times.
Insurgents ? in a New York Times headline.
Kidnappers ? the Observer (London).
Militants ? the Chicago Tribune.
Perpetrators ? the New York Times.
Radicals ? the BBC.
Rebels ? in a Sydney Morning Herald headline.
Separatists ? the Christian Science Monitor.
And my favorite:

Activists ? the Pakistan Times.
The origins of this unwillingness to name terrorists seems to lie in the Arab-Israeli conflict, prompted by an odd combination of sympathy in the press for the Palestinian Arabs and intimidation by them. The sympathy is well known; the intimidation less so. Reuters' Nidal al-Mughrabi made the latter explicit in advice for fellow reporters in Gaza to avoid trouble on the Web site, where one tip reads: "Never use the word terrorist or terrorism in describing Palestinian gunmen and militants; people consider them heroes of the conflict."

The reluctance to call terrorists by their rightful name can reach absurd lengths of inaccuracy and apologetics. For example, National Public Radio's Morning Edition announced on April 1, 2004, that "Israeli troops have arrested 12 men they say were wanted militants." But CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, pointed out the inaccuracy here and NPR issued an on-air correction on April 26: "Israeli military officials were quoted as saying they had arrested 12 men who were ?wanted militants.' But the actual phrase used by the Israeli military was ?wanted terrorists.'"

(At least NPR corrected itself. When the Los Angeles Times made the same error, writing that "Israel staged a series of raids in the West Bank that the army described as hunts for wanted Palestinian militants," its editors refused CAMERA's request for a correction on the grounds that its change in terminology did not occur in a direct quotation.)

Metro, a Dutch paper, ran a picture on May 3, 2004, of two gloved hands belonging to a person taking fingerprints off a dead terrorist. The caption read: "An Israeli police officer takes fingerprints of a dead Palestinian. He is one of the victims (slachtoffers) who fell in the Gaza strip yesterday." One of the victims!

Euphemistic usage then spread from the Arab-Israeli conflict to other theaters. As terrorism picked up in Saudi Arabia such press outlets as The Times (London) and the Associated Press began routinely using militants in reference to Saudi terrorists. Reuters uses it with reference to Kashmir and Algeria.

Thus has militants become the press's default term for terrorists.

These self-imposed language limitations sometimes cause journalists to tie themselves into knots. In reporting the murder of one of its own cameraman, the BBC, which normally avoids the word terrorist, found itself using that term. In another instance, the search engine on the BBC website includes the word terrorist but the page linked to has had that word expurgated.

Politically-correct news organizations undermine their credibility with such subterfuges. How can one trust what one reads, hears, or sees when the self-evident fact of terrorism is being semi-denied?

Worse, the multiple euphemisms for terrorist obstruct a clear understanding of the violent threats confronting the civilized world. It is bad enough that only one of five articles discussing the Beslan atrocity mentions its Islamist origins; worse is the miasma of words that insulates the public from the evil of terrorism.

From | Original article available at:


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« Reply #47 on: September 08, 2004, 10:34:21 AM »
How's about some military service records since everyone is up in arms about them?


* Richard Gephardt: Air National Guard, 1965-71.
* David Bonior: Staff Sgt., Air Force 1968-72.
* Tom Daschle: 1st Lt., Air Force SAC 1969-72.

* Al Gore: enlisted Aug. 1969; sent to Vietnam Jan. 1971 as an army
journalist in 20th Engineer Brigade.

* Bob Kerrey: Lt. j.g. Navy 1966-69; Medal of Honor, Vietnam.

* Daniel Inouye: Army 1943-'47; Medal of Honor, WWII.
* John Kerry: Lt., Navy 1966-70; Silver Star, Bronze Star with Combat V,

* Charles Rangel: Staff Sgt., Army 1948-52; Bronze Star, Korea.

* Max Cleland: Captain, Army 1965-68; Silver Star & Bronze Star,

* Ted Kennedy: Army, 1951-1953.

* Tom Harkin: Lt., Navy, 1962-67; Naval Reserve, 1968-74.

* Jack Reed: Army Ranger, 1971-1979; Captain, Army Reserve 1979-91.

* Fritz Hollings: Army officer in WWII, receiving the Bronze Star and
seven campaign ribbons.

* Leonard Boswell: Lt. Col., Army 1956-76; Vietnam, DFCs, Bronze Stars,
and Soldier's Medal.

* Pete Peterson: Air Force Captain, POW. Purple Heart, Silver Star and
Legion of

* Mike Thompson: Staff sergeant, 173rd Airborne, Purple Heart.

* Bill McBride: Candidate for Fla. Governor. Marine in Vietnam; Bronze
Star with Combat V.

* Gray Davis: Army Captain in Vietnam, Bronze Star.

* Pete Stark: Air Force 1955-57

* Chuck Robb: Vietnam

* Howell Heflin: Silver Star

* George McGovern: Silver Star & DFC during WWII.

* Bill Clinton: Did not serve. Student deferments. Entered draft but
received 311.
* Jimmy Carter: Seven years in the Navy.

* Walter Mondale: Army 1951-1953

* John Glenn: WWII and Korea; six DFCs and Air Medal with 18 Clusters.

* Tom Lantos: Served in Hungarian underground in WWII. Saved by Raoul

* Dennis Hastert: did not serve.
* Tom Delay: did not serve.
* Roy Blunt: did not serve.  
* Bill Frist: did not serve.
* Mitch McConnell: did not serve.
* Rick Santorum: did not serve.
* Trent Lott: did not serve.

* Dick Cheney: did not serve. Several deferments, the last by marriage.

* John Ashcroft: did not serve. Seven deferments to teach business.

* Jeb Bush: did not serve.
* Karl Rove: did not serve.

* Saxby Chambliss (The man who attacked Max Cleland's patriotism) did not serve  

* Paul Wolfowitz: did not serve.
* Vin Weber: did not serve.
* Richard Perle: did not serve.
* Douglas Feith: did not serve.
* Eliot Abrams: did not serve.
* Richard Shelby: did not serve.
* Jon Kyl: did not serve.
* Tim Hutchison: did not serve.
* Christopher Cox: did not serve.
* Newt Gingrich: did not serve.

* Don Rumsfeld: served in Navy (1954-57) as aviator and flight

* G.W. Bush: six-year Nat'l Guard commitment (in four).  

* Ronald Reagan: due to poor eyesight, served in a non-combat role
making movies.

* B-1 Bob Dornan: Consciously enlisted after fighting was over in Korea.

* Phil Gramm: did not serve.

* John McCain: Silver Star, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart
and Distinguished Flying Cross.

* Bob Dole: an honorable veteran.

* Chuck Hagel: two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star, Vietnam.

* Duke Cunningham: nominated for Medal of Honor, Navy Cross, Silver
Stars, Air Medals, Purple Hearts.

* Jeff Sessions: Army Reserves, 1973-1986

* Colin Powell: Long career in military.

* Wayne Gilchrest: USMC in Vietnam; wounded in action.

* Don Nickles: Biography does not list military service.

* Dana Rohrabacher: did not serve.  
* John M. McHugh: did not serve.
* JC Watts: did not serve.

* Jack Kemp: did not serve. Knee, although continued in NFL for 8 years.

* Dan Quayle: Journalism unit of the Indiana National Guard.

* Rudy Giuliani: did not serve.
* George Pataki: did not serve.
* Spencer Abraham: did not serve.
* John Engler: did not serve.
* Lindsey Graham: National Guard lawyer.

* Arnold Schwarzenegger: AWOL from Austrian army base.  

* G.H.W. Bush: Pilot in WWII. Shot down by the Japanese.

* Tom Ridge: Bronze Star for Valor in Vietnam.

* Sam Johnson: Combat in Korea and Vietnam, POW in Hanoi.

* Ted Stevens: WWII pilot, DFCs, two Air Medals.

* John Warner: Served in the Navy during WWII as a RM3

* Heather Wilson: Air Force 1978-1989
* Gerald Ford: Navy, WWII

Pundits & Preachers
* Sean Hannity: did not serve.
* Rush Limbaugh: did not serve (4-F with a pilonidal cyst in the crack
of his buttocks)
* Bill O'Reilly: did not serve.
* Michael Savage: did not serve.
* George Will: did not serve.
* Chris Matthews: did not serve.
* Paul Gigot: did not serve.
* Bill Bennett: did not serve.
* Pat Buchanan: did not serve.
* John Wayne: did not serve.
* Pat Robertson: not, as claimed, a "combat veteran." A "Liquor
* Bill Kristol: did not serve.
* Kenneth Starr: did not serve.
* Antonin Scalia: did not serve.
* Clarence Thomas: did not serve.
* Ralph Reed: did not serve.
* Michael Medved: did not serve.
* Charlie Daniels: did not serve.
* Ted Nugent: did not serve.
* Ollie North: At least he served.


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« Reply #48 on: September 08, 2004, 10:46:51 AM »
So, the debate among my friends is this:

Which action is more reprehensible, supporting a war but not willing to fight in it OR not supporting a war, going to fight, and returning to discredit those still fighting?

My military friends give me one of two responses:

1) If you were ever in uniform you have the right to say whatever you want. And if you weren't, shut your piehole.


2) If you were ever in uniform, you support your comrades no matter what.

Anyone else got 2 cents on this?


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« Reply #49 on: September 08, 2004, 04:32:50 PM »
Against my better judgment I'll respond, though experience suggests these sorts of discussions devolve into a circular mishmash.

Serving your country does not automatically qualify you for elected office.

Not serving your country does not automatically disqualify you from elected office.

Lots of National Guard, Cost Guard, Air Force Reserve, etc. units end up in shooting wars; witness Korea and current deployments. For much of US history, reserve service doesn't mean you're in the rear with the gear.

Regardless of service, US citizens get to say what they want to, when they want to. Vets can choose not to dis other vets, and they can get their undies in a bunch when non-vets talk about vet issues, but the First Amendment to the constitution--the same constitution vets swore to uphold--guarantees the rights of everyone to say what they please.

In the context of the current presidential race, I think Bush's military record, or lack thereof, has been picked over pretty well. Think what you want of it, but there have been plenty of people who wish him ill in the strongest of terms eyeballing every available aspect of his service. Their findings have been reported extensively.

Where Kerry's concerned there's still a lot to be examined. The few things he has been pinned down on--Christmas in Cambodia, self-inflicted Purple Heart wounds--have demonstrated more than a degree of equivocation. My guess is there is plenty more to be found.

Bottom line for me is that framing the issue in an either/or manner isn't particularly constructive. But hey, I'm a non-vet discussing vet issues who believes American citizens should be able to say what they damn well please. Feel free to dismiss my opinion as it doesn?t adhere to the linear constructs as posed.