WASHINGTON, Aug. 16 — James W. Ziglar, the commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, said today that he would resign by the end of the year, concluding an embattled tenure at an agency that has suffered sharp criticism since the Sept. 11 attacks.
Mr. Ziglar, a former managing director of Paine Webber with no previous experience in immigration matters, follows several other high-level officials with antiterrorism responsibilities who have left the Justice Department, the immigration service's parent.
But the I.N.S. soon suffered a string of humiliating setbacks, including the disclosure in March that a service contractor for the agency mailed visa extensions that month for two of the hijackers who had died in the Sept. 11 attacks. After that debacle, one of the agency's port inspectors in Norfolk, Va., ignoring new security guidelines, allowed four Pakistani seamen to come ashore, where they disappeared.
Ziglar's record was abysmal. It's hard to imagine any replacement doing worse. What INS and State Department need to do is stop issuing visas to Muslims in general, and Arabs, in particular; at least until they have set up procedures to properly check every visa applicant thoroughly. And absolutely no educational visas for flight schools.
:: Riyadh Delenda Est 11:37:00 PM Link ...
MOSCOW (AP) - Iraq and Russia are close to signing a $40 billion economic cooperation plan, Iraq's ambassador said Saturday, a deal that could put Moscow at odds with the United States as it considers a military attack against Baghdad.
I don't know what constitutes a good credit risk in Moscow, but I wouldn't loan Saddam a pair of worn-out socks. I wouldn't invest in Iraqi real estate, either.
:: Riyadh Delenda Est 3:22:00 PM Link ...
Egypt’s Grand Mufti Supports Martyr Attacks Against Israel
Martyr bombings are "the sole means of struggle which the Palestinians have in current circumstances" and should not be condemned, the Grand Mufti of Egypt, Sheikh Mohammed Ahmed al-Tayeb, said today.
"We have a strong [Israeli] army and a very weak people, and this people has not found another means of defending itself ... thus we should not say that it should not be done," Egypt’s leading Muslim scholar told Agence France-Presse (AFP).
"Islam bans fighting civilians, women, children, but on condition that there are two armies present," but this is not the case in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, said Egypt’s Mufti, an appointee of President Hosni Mubarak.
"If the Palestinian people had an army, than these attacks would be forbidden," he added.
If Islam requires that two armies be present for the ban on killing civilians to be in effect, then it follows that, by Islamic standards, the Israelis should be permitted to kill as many civilians as they like. History is full of examples of Muslim armies responding to guerilla resistance movements by slaughtering civilians. Turkey's slaughter of Armenians in 1915 is one case, Saddam's use of poison gas on Kurdish villages during the Iraq-Iran War, another.
What the Mufti said is just a variation of "the end justifies the means". If it is morally acceptable to slaughter civilians to achieve one's goals, then let the Ummah tremble, for a B-52 loaded with napalm if far deadlier than a truck bomb. And the same B-52 loaded with 20 ACM-129As is deadlier than a few pounds of homemade sarin.
The deliberate slaughter of civilians is unacceptable. We have tried to teach the Arabs that is is immoral. We have tried to teach them that it is counterproductive. If they continue to refuse to learn, we will have to teach them that it is suicidal.
:: Riyadh Delenda Est 12:51:00 PM Link ...
MUMBAI: The Bombay high court has held that by not allowing a Muslim student to wear a scarf, her school is not infringing on the student’s fundamental right to practice her religion.
A division bench comprising Justice R.M. Lodha and Justice D.B. Bhosale recently dismissed a petition filed by a student of standard VI studying in Karthika English School run by Bharat Education Society at Kurla challenging the principal’s direction asking her to stop attending school if she wore a scarf.
Good for the judge! When a woman wears hijab in a non-Muslim society, she implicitly insults all women who go bareheaded. She is saying, "I am a modest, moral, woman. You are a slut and/or a whore." Yes, there are Christian groups whose women adopt distinctive modes of dress (Mennonites, Amish). But these groups have not acted as if they believe their piety entitles them to slaughter "infidels". Cato is willing to tolerate most forms of religious eccentricity, if the eccentric's sect is nonviolent. Muslims have, by their violent intolerance, forfeited any right to toleration .
:: Riyadh Delenda Est 10:50:00 PM Link ...
The eleven months that have passed since barbarians demolished the Twin Towers have not diminished the sense of amputation one feels when absorbing lower Manhattan's skyline. Across West Street from Ground Zero, the World Financial Center's buildings look slight, stocky and inadequate at barely half the height of the late pair of tall, 28-year-old twins.
This longing for the majestic structures increasingly has New Yorkers asking: Why not rebuild them, at least as breathtaking as they were? Until recently, one rarely discussed the return of the Twin Towers. That idea disturbs many survivors of the 2,823 people murdered there last September 11. Others fear that reconstructing the Towers might invite future attacks. So far, the public has debated several memorial concepts and six coolly received redevelopment proposals.
Yes! Rebuild them, and put a memorial/museum in the top floor of each tower, one for the workers, one for the rescuers. And at the center of each tower's memorial, a plaque, made of the most durable materials available, which reads:
In memory of those who were lost, In honor of those who gave aid, These proud towers rise, like the phoenix, from the ashes of the old, A tribute to the spirit of the people of New York City and the United States of America. Destroy these towers a hundred times, and they will be rebuilt.
How will we pay for this, you ask? With Arab oil money, after we take the barbarians down.
:: Riyadh Delenda Est 1:28:00 PM Link ...
WASHINGTON, Aug. 14 — More than 300 family members of victims of the Sept. 11 terror attacks are preparing to file suit against various "interests" associated with the government of Saudi Arabia, alleging that they helped finance Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network, a Washington lawyer representing the families said today.
The lawyer, Allan Gerson, said in an interview that he expected the lawsuit to be filed on Thursday and that it would resemble a suit he had helped bring against the Libyan government over its role in the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988.
Mr. Gerson, who has been associated with the law school at George Washington University, said 300 to 400 relatives of Sept. 11 victims had signed on to the lawsuit "and we hope to have it up to 1,000 soon."
He said the suit would seek $300 billion in damages from "various Saudi interests" that he said he could not identify until the suit was filed.
Yes! Sic the lawyers on 'em. That'll fix 'em. By the time the lawyers get through with the Saudis, they won't have a pot to piss in. And if they don't pay up, send Uncle Sam's Misguided Children to collect.
:: Riyadh Delenda Est 11:33:00 PM Link ...
The New Victor Davis Hanson Book is Here!
Victor Davis Hanson's new book An Autumn of War is in the stores, now. I didn't expect it until September, but I guess the publishers finished ahead of schedule, and the local Borders Books had some copies in. I've just started reading it, and I thought I'd post the Table of Contents.
Chronology of Events
Introduction: Why September 11 Won't Go Away
1. What Are We Made Of?
2. Western Nations Are Slow to Anger, but Lethal in Their Fury
4. Great Leaders Are Forged in War
5. War Myths
6. Pseudo-Military History
7. General Sherman, the Western Way of War, and September 11
If you know of anyone else fisking Scowcroft, leave me a comment, and I'll add them to the list.
:: Riyadh Delenda Est 3:07:00 PM Link ...
Return of the Fisk
Brent Scowcroft, National Security Adviser to Presidents Ford and Bush I, has an article on OpinionJournal opposing military action against Iraq. As a member of the Bush I foreign policy team that let Saddam off the hook, Scowcroft has an incentive to make excuses for the worst foreign policy failure of Bush's entire term.
Don't Attack Saddam. It would undermine our antiterror efforts.
Our nation is presently engaged in a debate about whether to launch a war against Iraq. Leaks of various strategies for an attack on Iraq appear with regularity. The Bush administration vows regime change, but states that no decision has been made whether, much less when, to launch an invasion.
Why tell Saddam any more than necessary?
It is beyond dispute that Saddam Hussein is a menace. He terrorizes and brutalizes his own people. He has launched war on two of his neighbors. He devotes enormous effort to rebuilding his military forces and equipping them with weapons of mass destruction. We will all be better off when he is gone.
That's what I've been saying, only I'm willing to see us speed that process along. Like now. Before he gets nuclear weapons.
That said, we need to think through this issue very carefully. We need to analyze the relationship between Iraq and our other pressing priorities--notably the war on terrorism--as well as the best strategy and tactics available were we to move to change the regime in Baghdad.
Even if Saddam truly had no connection with any terrorist groups (Bwahahahahaha!), occupying Iraq would position us perfectly to strike at any of the three most notorious terrorist sponsors in the world, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Syria. We didn't invade France in WWII because were mad at France, we invaded France because it was between where we were (England) and where we needed to go (Berlin). The same logic applies to Iraq. Fighting terrorism and invading Iraq are not mutually exclusive, they are complimentary.
Saddam's strategic objective appears to be to dominate the Persian Gulf, to control oil from the region, or both.
That clearly poses a real threat to key U.S. interests. But there is scant evidence to tie Saddam to terrorist organizations, and even less to the Sept. 11 attacks. Indeed Saddam's goals have little in common with the terrorists who threaten us, and there is little incentive for him to make common cause with them.
Ever hear that "The enemy of my enemy is my friend."? That's one reason for Saddam to help terrorist groups. Saddam wants the US to be as weak as possible, and out of the Middle East, if possible. To whatever extent terrorist groups advance either of those objectives, they help Saddam, and he might help them, in return.
He is unlikely to risk his investment in weapons of mass destruction, much less his country, by handing such weapons to terrorists who would use them for their own purposes and leave Baghdad as the return address. Threatening to use these weapons for blackmail--much less their actual use--would open him and his entire regime to a devastating response by the U.S. While Saddam is thoroughly evil, he is above all a power-hungry survivor.
The world will not be made safer by trusting in the rationality of a man who started two wars and used chemical weapons on his own people. That's what Scowcroft is asking us to do, Trust Saddam. Am I the only person who has a problem trusting Saddam?
Saddam is a familiar dictatorial aggressor, with traditional goals for his aggression. There is little evidence to indicate that the United States itself is an object of his aggression. Rather, Saddam's problem with the U.S. appears to be that we stand in the way of his ambitions. He seeks weapons of mass destruction not to arm terrorists, but to deter us from intervening to block his aggressive designs.
This last sentence is actually a very good reason to strike now, before Saddam has the means to deter us. Unless Mr. Scowcroft has joined the Noam Choamsky crowd, who think that the US should be deterred from taking any action against anyone.
Given Saddam's aggressive regional ambitions, as well as his ruthlessness and unpredictability, it may at some point be wise to remove him from power. Whether and when that point should come ought to depend on overall U.S. national security priorities. Our pre-eminent security priority--underscored repeatedly by the president--is the war on terrorism. An attack on Iraq at this time would seriously jeopardize, if not destroy, the global counterterrorist campaign we have undertaken.
On the contrary, by placing American troops where they could strike directly at the three most notorious terrorism sponsors, occupying Iraq would be a devastating blow to the terrorists.
The United States could certainly defeat the Iraqi military and destroy Saddam's regime. But it would not be a cakewalk. On the contrary, it undoubtedly would be very expensive--with serious consequences for the U.S. and global economy--and could as well be bloody. In fact, Saddam would be likely to conclude he had nothing left to lose, leading him to unleash whatever weapons of mass destruction he possesses.
Here comes the quagmire argument. Remember the quagmire argument? That if we invaded Afghanistan, it would be a great quagmire that we couldn't escape. Turned out to be a crock. As for the Iraqi Army - been there, done them. Anybody who thinks they're tougher now than they were ten years ago, has been smoking funny cigarrettes.
Israel would have to expect to be the first casualty, as in 1991 when Saddam sought to bring Israel into the Gulf conflict. This time, using weapons of mass destruction, he might succeed, provoking Israel to respond, perhaps with nuclear weapons, unleashing an Armageddon in the Middle East. Finally, if we are to achieve our strategic objectives in Iraq, a military campaign very likely would have to be followed by a large-scale, long-term military occupation.
Israel has been beefing up its missile defenses, and can cope with chemical attacks. We need to hurry and take Saddam out before he gets a usable nuclear capability. The military occupation is one of the best parts of the deal, because it places our troops where they can strike at our other enemies in the region.
But the central point is that any campaign against Iraq, whatever the strategy, cost and risks, is certain to divert us for some indefinite period from our war on terrorism. Worse, there is a virtual consensus in the world against an attack on Iraq at this time. So long as that sentiment persists, it would require the U.S. to pursue a virtual go-it-alone strategy against Iraq, making any military operations correspondingly more difficult and expensive. The most serious cost, however, would be to the war on terrorism. Ignoring that clear sentiment would result in a serious degradation in international cooperation with us against terrorism. And make no mistake, we simply cannot win that war without enthusiastic international cooperation, especially on intelligence.
Occupying Iraq and fighting terrorism are not mutually exclusive. Occupying Iraq places us in a position to cut off the funding for Islamic terrorism at the source, the oil wealth of the Persian Gulf states. Islam has always produced fanatics willing to die killing "infidels". It is the oil money which has made today's terrorists so dangerous. Cut that money off, and the major terrorist groups will wither. As for the notion that the French might not share their "intelligence" with us, "French intelligence" is an oxymoron. These people eat snails and frog legs, and think Jerry Lewis is funny.
Possibly the most dire consequences would be the effect in the region. The shared view in the region is that Iraq is principally an obsession of the U.S. The obsession of the region, however, is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If we were seen to be turning our backs on that bitter conflict--which the region, rightly or wrongly, perceives to be clearly within our power to resolve--in order to go after Iraq, there would be an explosion of outrage against us. We would be seen as ignoring a key interest of the Muslim world in order to satisfy what is seen to be a narrow American interest.
Quite the contrary, occupying Iraq is a step toward cutting off Hamas and the Al-Aqsa Brigade from their oil money. This will help force a settlement between Israel and the Palestinians, because the Palestinians won't have the resources to keep fighting. Of course, that's not the kind of settlement the Arab states want, but it's an imperfect world.
Even without Israeli involvement, the results could well destabilize Arab regimes in the region, ironically facilitating one of Saddam's strategic objectives. At a minimum, it would stifle any cooperation on terrorism, and could even swell the ranks of the terrorists. Conversely, the more progress we make in the war on terrorism, and the more we are seen to be committed to resolving the Israel-Palestinian issue, the greater will be the international support for going after Saddam.
The Arabs aren't interested in any settlement that leaves Israel as a viable state. Their apparent obsession with settling the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is nothing but a ruse to distract us from dealing with the major sponsors of Islamic terrorism. As to stifling Arab cooperation against the terrorists - what cooperation? The Saudis have obstructed us in every way they possibly could.
If we are truly serious about the war on terrorism, it must remain our top priority. However, should Saddam Hussein be found to be clearly implicated in the events of Sept. 11, that could make him a key counterterrorist target, rather than a competing priority, and significantly shift world opinion toward support for regime change.
Seriously, we need to cut off the oil money that supports the terrorists. Occupying Iraq is a vital step toward that goal. If there is evidence linking him with Sept 11, fine, let's tell the world about it, but a "smoking gun" is not necessary. Saddam has violated international law so many times, in so many ways, that he has forfeited any protection it might offer.
In any event, we should be pressing the United Nations Security Council to insist on an effective no-notice inspection regime for Iraq--any time, anywhere, no permission required. On this point, senior administration officials have opined that Saddam Hussein would never agree to such an inspection regime. But if he did, inspections would serve to keep him off balance and under close observation, even if all his weapons of mass destruction capabilities were not uncovered. And if he refused, his rejection could provide the persuasive casus belli which many claim we do not now have. Compelling evidence that Saddam had acquired nuclear-weapons capability could have a similar effect.
I suppose that would give State Department something to do while the rest of the country gets ready to kick Saddam's sorry ass.
In sum, if we will act in full awareness of the intimate interrelationship of the key issues in the region, keeping counterterrorism as our foremost priority, there is much potential for success across the entire range of our security interests--including Iraq. If we reject a comprehensive perspective, however, we put at risk our campaign against terrorism as well as stability and security in a vital region of the world.
I'm all for a comprehensive policy of taking down every significant sponsor of Islamic terrorists - including Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Syria. Do that, and the terrorist threat will wither into insignificance.
:: Riyadh Delenda Est 12:42:00 AM Link ...
:: Wednesday, August 14, 2002 ::
Awright, You Maggots, Drop and Conjugate 50 Verbs!
MONTEREY, Calif., Aug. 6 — Petty Officer Third Class Julie Sheil spent most of the past year learning Farsi, which seemed to put her on the fast track as a budding military linguist when President Bush identified Iran as one of the "axis of evil" countries.
But in April, the Pentagon's huge language school here began a new class in Dari, a language similar to Farsi that is spoken in Afghanistan, and Petty Officer Sheil found herself thrown into the eight-hour-a-day, 16-week crash course with instructors fresh from the region who rarely spoke English in class.
"It's been grueling," said Petty Officer Sheil, 28, a former eighth-grade teacher who joined the Navy nearly three years ago to become a linguist. "But people are calling from the field saying, `We need Dari speakers now!' "
The Pentagon's school, the Defense Language Institute, is a barometer of hot spots and American interests worldwide. The campaign against terror has exposed a shortage of linguists in the military and in government who can speak languages like Dari, Urdu and Hindi, and instructors here are rushing to fill the void.
Hindi? Sounds like relations may be warming up with the Indians. Excellent! We'll find few allies in this world with more reason to hate the Muslims.
:: Riyadh Delenda Est 9:59:00 PM Link ...
Israeli forces have killed a local leader of the Hamas militant group during what they say was an operation to arrest him in the West Bank village of Tubas.
Nasser Jarrar, 44, died when Israeli tanks bombarded a house in the village after a demand for his surrender set off a gun battle.
A young Palestinian was killed in the gunfire and his relatives are accusing the Israeli army of using him as a human shield - a charge they deny.
The Israeli Army spokesman told BBC News that the objective of the operation was to capture Jarrar, not kill him. "These people have more value alive than dead because you can talk to them and find out information "
It's an imperfect world, but any op which leaves the terrorist dead can't be all bad.
:: Riyadh Delenda Est 9:51:00 PM Link ...
RIYADH, 14 August ? Saudi Arabia has reported a rise in gold demand, which exceeded 228 tons in 2001, making the Kingdom a top world market in terms of consumption, according to a report released by the World Gold Council (WGC).
Referring to the growth of local gold market, the report said the market has shown upward trends in terms of consumption. A substantial number of nearly seven million foreigners working in Saudi Arabia have been traditional buyers of gold. Also, a survey conducted by the Riyadh-based Saudi Gold Factory reveals that on average a Saudi lady possesses one kilogram of gold, which can be considered one of the main indicators of the booming gold business in the Kingdom.
I wonder how much of this is hedging against the day we give them the butt-kicking they have earned?
:: Riyadh Delenda Est 9:32:00 PM Link ...
Israeli military intelligence claims Yasser Arafat has amassed a personal fortune of €1.3bn.
But the claim is being dismissed by Palestinian Authority officials as an attempt to discredit their leader.
Mr Arafat allegedly lives frugally, but there have been reports in recent years he has funnelled hundreds of millions of pounds into bank accounts overseas.
It has been suggested Mr Arafat would use the money if forced to flee Palestinian areas.
In a report to international donors last year, Mr Arafat acknowledged the existence of a multimillion-dollar slush fund. For years, he directly controlled income from Palestinian Authority monopolies over cement and gasoline.
Major General Aharon Zeevi, Israel's chief of military intelligence, told parliament's Defence and Foreign Affairs Committee the Palestinian leader was worth about $1.3bn (€1.31bn).
The figure is based on estimates by military intelligence.
Now Israeli Military Intelligence is not what I'd call an unbiased source, but when you consider the billions that Saudi Arabia and other countries have poured into the Palestinian Authority, and that Arafat himself admits a multimillion dollar slush fund, I'm sure that it's at least a billion. This is one more reason to shut down the flow of Arab oil money into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The way to shut down that flow is to shut down the flow of oil money into the Arab regimes, and the way to shut down that flow is to invade and occupy the oil fields. Invade, crush the various Arab armies, establish a cordon sanitaire around the oil fields, and direct the oil money to the victims of terrorism, for a change. If we do this we get:
Vengance on the supporters of terrorism
Restitution for the victims of terrorism
Degradation of terrorist capabilities
Removal of the "oil weapon" from the Arabs' political arsenal
Additional resources to use against the terrorists.
Why haven't we done this already? Oops, I forgot, we have Head-up-his-Colon Powell making excuses for the Saudis. Hopefully, Bush the Younger will stop listening to Powell, and find the guts to finish the job his father didn't.
:: Riyadh Delenda Est 6:37:00 PM Link ...
:: Tuesday, August 13, 2002 ::
Fighting Corruption in the Arab World is like Fighting Capitalism in America or Fighting Catholicism in the Vatican
In an interview published on MEMRI, Dr. Abd Al-Wahhab Al-Effendi, a Sudanese author and researcher who resides in London had this to say:
When you hear – and these days you frequently do – that a senior Arab official is standing trial on charges of corruption - it is reasonable to assume that this wretched official was not corrupt enough. This is because charges of corruption have no meaning unless they take place in an open and transparent regime, with known and fixed rules and regulations, clear foundations for accountability, and independent and neutral apparatuses to deal with it.
In contrast, in the Arab [world], where there are absolute autocratic regimes, the concept of corruption loses all meaning, as the law is the ruler's will; he decides what is permitted and what is forbidden, and his bonuses and gifts are a legitimate livelihood.
Since it is inconceivable that the courts with which we are familiar in the [Arab] countries will sentence the sons of the president and the top ministers, cleaning hands will have to wait until the changing of the regime... Under the existing regimes, the fight against corruption is like a fighting capitalism in the U.S. or Catholicism in the Vatican – that is, destruction of the foundations of the existing order. If only it would happen!
Expecting Arab regimes to clean up their own corruption is like expecting Pope John Paul II to convert to Mormonism. The only way to clean up these regimes is for outsiders to do it. The Brits used to be pretty good at running colonial governments, and they've historically been sympathetic to the Arabs. I wonder if we could get them to provide some bureaucrats to run things after we clean up Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. Give them a percentage of the take from the oil fields to make it worth their while. We get friendly governments in the region, the Brits get a nice piece of change, and the Arabs get the best government they've ever had. Sounds like a win-win-win scenario to me.
:: Riyadh Delenda Est 6:58:00 PM Link ...
Two people were killed and six others wounded today during infighting at Lebanon's largest refugee camp.
Security sources said Lebanese Muslim fundamentalists sprayed automatic gunfire and threw grenades at members of the Palestinian Fatah faction which effectively runs the Ain al-Hilweh camp south of Beirut which is home to 75,000 Palestinians.
Tension has been high at the camp since last month after Palestinian factions brokered the arrest of a Lebanese man accused of killing three security officers. Islamic groups in the camp, where the Lebanese army confines its presence to checkpoints outside entrances, have threatened to attack any group that hands other suspected militants over to Lebanese authorities.
Whenever the Muslims fight among themselves, its a good thing.
:: Riyadh Delenda Est 10:29:00 AM Link ...
:: Monday, August 12, 2002 ::
It's Fiskin' Time!
Doug Bandow, a senior fellow (old guy?) at the Cato Institute (which is no relation to Cato the Youngest, and often a disgrace to the good name of Cato) has managed to con National Review Online into publishing the following drivel: The case against war with Iraq. Since Cato the Elder is not alive to defend his good name, Cato the Youngest will step into the breach.
President George W. Bush says that he hasn't made up his mind about "any of our policies in regard to Iraq," but he obviously has. To not attack after spending months talking about the need for regime change is inconceivable. Unfortunately, war is not likely to be the simple and certain procedure that he and many others seem to think.
It will probably be simpler and more certain than you think, Doug. Remember all the predictions that Afghanistan would be a hopeless quagmire? That the Afghan winter would make it impossible to dig Osama and the Tali-bums out of their holes? Cato does, and he remembers what a crock they turned out to be. Iraq isn't half as tough, in terms of terrain, or logistics, and the less said about the ferocity of the Iraqi Army, the better.
Lots of arguments have been offered on behalf of striking Baghdad that are not reasons at all. For instance, that Saddam Hussein is an evil man who has brutalized his own people.
The fact that Saddam is an evil SOB is not, in and of itself, a complete argument for hunting him down. It does, however, completely remove any moral standing he and his supporters might have, to protest that invasion as a violation of international law. Saddam and Co. have defied international law so many times, and so heinously, that he is an outlaw. He has, by his own contempt for international law, placed himself outside its protection.
Certainly true. But the world is full of brutal regimes that have murdered their own people. Indeed, Washington ally Turkey's treatment of its Kurds is scarcely more gentle than Iraq's Kurdish policies.
True, but irrelevant. If a cop nabs you for driving 85 MPH in a 65 MPH speed zone, the fact that someone just passed you going 95 MPH will not get you out of a ticket.
Moreover, the U.S. warmly supports the royal kleptocracy next door in Saudi Arabia, fully as totalitarian, if not quite as violent, as Saddam's government. Any non-Muslim and most women would probably prefer living in Iraq.
Cato, as his readers know, has no problem with doing in the House of Sods. In fact, I don't have a problem with doing the Sods first, but I think that occupying Iraq positions us nicely to strike at any of our enemies in the region, including the Sods, and is probably a more effective strategy.
Also cited is Baghdad's conquest of Kuwait a dozen years ago. It is a bit late to drag that out as a justification for invading Iraq and overthrowing Saddam. He is far weaker today and has remained firmly contained.
Richard Butler, former head of the U.N. Commission on Iraq, complained to the Senate Foreign Relations that Iraq had violated international law by tossing out arms inspectors. In fact, there are often as many reasons to flout as to obey U.N. rules. Washington shouldn't go to war in some abstract pursuit of "international law."
We aren't going to war in pursuit of "international law", we are going to war in pursuit of an international outlaw. Saddam has made international law irrelevant in his case.
Slightly more plausible, at least, is the argument that creating a democratic system in Iraq would provide a useful model for the rest of the Mideast. But that presupposes democracy can be easily planted, and that it can survive once the U.S. departs.
Practically anything would be better than Saddam. In fact, Saddam is so bad, he makes Bill Clinton look good! (I never thought I'd ever say that.)
Iraq suffers from significant internal stresses. Convenient professions of unity in pursuit of democracy from an opposition once dismissed by Mideast special envoy and retired Gen. Anthony Zinni as "silk-suited, Rolex-wearing guys in London" offer little comfort and are likely to last no longer than have similar promises in Afghanistan.
Again, anything beats Saddam.
Also problematic are Kurdish demands for autonomy and Shiite Muslim resistance to the central government. One defense official told the Washington Post: "I think it is almost a certainty that we'd wind up doing a campaign against the Kurds and Shiites." Wouldn't that be pretty?
Not likely, because any government we put in place will be so much better to them than Saddam was. However, if they should decide to fight, I doubt they would be any more effective that the Tali-bums were.
There are external threats as well. Particularly worrisome would be covert and possibly overt action by Iran, with which Baghdad fought a decade-long war and which might see intervention against a weakened Iraq as an antidote to serious political unrest at home.
An Iranian Wag the Dog? Wag the Dog only works when you can declare victory and quit after the crisis is over. The mullahs don't have the popular support for a anti-American action, and their military isn't dumb enough to go along with it, anyway.
Indeed, the U.S. backed Baghdad in its conflict with Iran and decided not to depose Saddam in 1991, in part out of fear of Iranian aggression throughout the Gulf should Iraq no longer provide a blocking role. Keeping the Iraqi Humpty Dumpty together after a war might not be easy.
Sure it is. Just take out all the external threats (Iran, Syria), and keep enough troops in the country to deal with internal troublemakers.
Moreover, while Americans might see America's war on Iraq as a war for democracy, most Arabs would likely see it as a war for Washington. If the U.S. deposes Saddam, but leaves in place friendly but despotic regimes elsewhere — such as Egypt, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia — few Arabs would take America's democracy rhetoric seriously. Nor should they. Yet to go to war against everyone, including presumably Iran, Syria, and maybe others, would have incalculable consequences.
Who said anything about letting the House of Sods off the hook? Pakistan has been genuinely helpful, and we should take that into account in our dealings with the Pakistanis.
Saddam's complicity in September 11 would present a good argument for devastating retaliation for an act of war, but there's no evidence that he was involved. All that exists is a disputed meeting, which might not have occurred, in the Czech Republic between hijacker Mohammed Atta and an Iraqi official.
Saddam is an outlaw, no further legal justification is required to take him out. He is fair game for anyone who wants to go after him.
Certainly Saddam shed no tears over the thousands who died on that tragic day, but he has never been known to promote groups which he does not control. In contrast to Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein is no Muslim fanatic looking forward to his heavenly rewards; moreover, he heads a government and nation against which retaliation is simple.
At least Doug is right about retaliation being simple.
Probably the best, at least the most fearsome, argument for overthrowing Saddam is the prospect of Baghdad developing weapons of mass destruction. Yet if nonproliferation should be enforced by war, Washington will be very busy in the coming years.
One always weighs risks and benefits before committing to any military action. However, taking out Saddam does not, by itself, oblige us to take action against any other government. Each case must be judged on its merits.
The problem is not just countries like Iran and North Korea, which seem to have or have had serious interest in developing atomic weapons. It is China, which could use them in any conflict with the U.S. over, say, Taiwan. And India, Pakistan, and Russia, which face unpredictable nationalist and theological currents, enjoy governments of varying instability, and offer uncertain security over technical know-how as well as weapons.
These nations are certainly genuine objects of concern, but would we be better off adding Iraq to the list of unfriendly countries with nukes? I don't think so.
Potentially most dangerous is Pakistan's arsenal. The government of Pervez Musharraf is none too steady; Islamabad long supported the Taliban and its military and intelligence forces almost certainly contain al Qaeda sympathizers. It is easy to imagine nuclear technology falling into terrorist hands.
All the more reason to make it clear to the world what we will do to hostile nations which threaten us with nukes.
An Iraqi nuclear capability seems less frightening in comparison. Saddam would not use them against America, since to do so would guarantee his incineration. Israel possesses a similarly overbearing deterrent.
And what if a nuclear-armed Saddam decides to reclaim Kuwait? Would we be the ones who were deterred?
Would Baghdad turn atomic weapons over to al Qaeda or similarly motivated terrorists? Not likely.
Not more than once, but once is enough.
First, it would be extraordinary for Saddam to give up a technology purchased at such a high price. Second, Baghdad would be the immediate suspect and likely target of retaliation should any terrorist deploy nuclear weapons, and Saddam knows this.
Unless he thought he could blame it on Pakistan, or Russia.
Third, Saddam would be risking his own life. Al Qaeda holds secular Arab dictators in contempt and would not be above attempting to destroy them as well as America.
Doug, if you think Al Qaeda hates Saddam as much as it hates the US, you've been smoking funny cigarretes.
Of course, the world would be a better place without Saddam's dictatorship. But there are a lot of regimes that should, and eventually will, end up in history's dustbin. That's not a good reason to initiate war against a state which poses no direct, ongoing threat.
If WMDs in the hands of a SOB who uses them on his own people, who has started two wars with his neighbors, one of which required American intervention isn't a direct, ongoing, threat, I'd like to know what a "direct, ongoing threat" is.
Especially since war often creates unpredictable consequences. Without domestic opposition military forces to do America's dirty work, Washington will have to bear most of the burden. The task will be more difficult and expensive without European support and Saudi staging grounds.
True, and one more item to add to the House of Sods' account.
If Iraq's forces don't quickly crumble, the U.S. might find itself involved in urban conflict that will be costly in human and political terms. If Baghdad possesses any weapons of mass destruction, Saddam will have an incentive to use them — against America, Israel, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia — since Washington would be dedicated to his overthrow.
Then he gets dead for sure. If he surrenders, there is a chance we might cut him a deal to leave. If he uses WMDs, he's dead, period.
Further, the U.S. would be sloshing gasoline over a combustible political situation in friendly but undemocratic Arab regimes stretching from North Africa to Southeast Asia. Israelis and Palestinians are at war, America continues to fight Taliban and al Qaeda forces in Afghanistan as the pro-western government teeters on chaos, fundamentalist Muslims rule western Pakistan, and Muslim extremists are active a dozen other countries. Yet the administration wants to invade Iraq. Riots in Egypt, a fundamentalist rising in Pakistan, a spurt of sectarian violence in Indonesia, and who knows what else could pose a high price for any success in Iraq.
Ah, stability! The last refuge of a conservative who's losing an argument. Stability is good only when one's situation is good. When one's situation is bad, instability can be good, because it makes it easier to change things.
War is a serious business. Making war on a country which does not threaten the U.S. is particularly serious. Even if the optimists who think a campaign against Iraq would be easy are right, and we can only hope they are, war should be a last resort. As House Majority Leader Richard Armey warned, an unprovoked attack "would not be consistent with what we have been as a nation or what we should be as a nation."
"Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace -- but there is no peace. The war is actually begun!" The question is whether we have the spine to fight it.
There's certainly no hurry to go to war. Nothing is different today from September 10, 2001, or any time since Iraq was ousted from Kuwait. Observes Jim Cornette, formerly an expert in biological warfare with the Air Force: "We've bottled [Saddam] up for 11 years, so we're doing okay."
"Nothing is different today from September 10, 2001"??? What planet are you living on, Doug.
There are times when Washington has no choice but to fight. Iraq is not such a place and now is not such a time.
If not now, when? If not Iraq, where?
— Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and a former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan.
And just, plain wrong.
:: Riyadh Delenda Est 5:21:00 PM Link ...
:: Sunday, August 11, 2002 ::
America Must Go It Alone
" We're not like the rest of the world--luckily for the world.", says Victor Davis Hanson in this article on OpinionJournal.
The world suddenly appears a very strange place. Our friends act as if they were enemies, our allies pose as neutrals, and our foes claim they are poor victims. In the present lull before the storm, pundits and experts advise us what we cannot do rather than what we can and should, and what we are told is so often not at all what we perceive.
Just last week five Americans were blown apart in Jerusalem amid scenes of mass death and mayhem at Hebrew University. Palestinians reacted with glee as 10,000 poured into the streets to rejoice at news of the murders, leaving some doubt about past denials that earlier they had similarly celebrated on hearing that thousands of us were vaporized on Sept. 11.
Meanwhile, Jordan's King Abdullah II politely lectures us about everything from the West Bank to Iraq. The recipient of nearly a half-billion dollars in annual American largesse, he has all but closed his borders to those from the West Bank, a humane stance in comparison to Kuwait's decision in 1991 to ethnically cleanse its Palestinian residents. For all his criticism of our support for Israel, the young king, like his father, wants no part of the extremists' pan-Islamic revolutionary fervor.
Saudi Arabia, the womb of Sept. 11, is considered equally restrained because it subsidizes terrorists covertly rather than publicly, and relegates its government-sanctioned anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism to zany clerics and unimaginative bureaucrats. Thousands of our troops stationed in the desert there are prevented from venturing into Iraq, and are not to fly out to hunt down the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Instead our female soldiers remain veiled as our guns and planes protect the sheiks--but from whom and what?
France and Germany have both announced that they will not support American efforts to topple Saddam Hussein without a clear mandate from the United Nations. They have more faith in a body in which Chinese autocrats sit on the Security Council, and rogue states like Syria, Libya, Iraq, Iran, North Korea and Zimbabwe vote on such resolutions in the General Assembly. St. Mihiel, Normandy Beach, an American-led NATO resistance to the Soviets, and the ghosts of six million gassed who flit still over the European countryside--the great graveyard of the Jews--are not so much rarely mentioned as utterly forgotten.
The reason that we so often must stand by ourselves is that the United States really is different. Our Constitution singularly preserves the sanctity of the individual; American culture is truly a revolutionary society that has empowered millions of free and freed peoples without regard for religion, race, or background--and so unleashed economic and military power never before seen. The common anti-American slurs of "exceptionalism" and "unilateralism" are, in fact, compliments of the highest order.
Amen and Amen. There is no other country on the globe with the moral standing to judge us in our campaign against Islamic terror. No other country in history has spent a quarter of the blood and treasure the United States has in the defense of liberty and the restraint of aggression. No other country has done as much to put and end to genocides. It will be a cold day in Hell before any of our precious "allies" ever do. The fact that we are criticized by dung-eating cowards like the French and Germans, and terrorist sponsors like Sudan, Saudi Arabia, and Iran ought to tell us that we are finally doing something right. No international policy that is opposed by such a coalition of cowards and criminals can be all bad.
:: Riyadh Delenda Est 10:19:00 PM Link ...
Iraqi Opposition Gets U.S. Pledge to Oust Hussein for a Democracy
WASHINGTON, Aug. 10 — Vice President Dick Cheney told Iraqi opposition leaders today that the Bush administration was determined to oust Saddam Hussein from power and replace him with a democratic government, Iraqi resistance leaders said today.
While Mr. Cheney and Mr. Rumsfeld's statement that the United States wants a democratic government in Iraq may not appear surprising, it has important implications. It indicates that Washington would not accept an outcome in which Mr. Hussein was toppled in a coup and replaced by another authoritarian figure, even one more amenable to American interests. It suggests that Washington is committed to bring about sweeping changes in Iraq and depose not just Mr. Hussein but the entire ruling structure.
This is good news! Simply replacing Saddam with a friendler thug is not a long-term answer. What is needed is to utterly break Iraq's military, and pauperize the Baath Party elites. Once we have 300,000-400,000 troops stationed in Iraq, we can pass the word to the Iranians that it would be a Bad Idea for the Iranian Army to fire on the Iranian People. Suggest that they might like to go to France, like Ruhollah Khomeini did (The term "ayatollah" means "Reflection of God". There is no way I will apply that title to Khomeini.). We could also give the House of Al-Saud their walking papers, too. Yes, crushing the Baathist regime in Iraq definately comes under the heading of Very Good Things.
Utterly destroying the hostile regimes in the region is necessary, if we are to have any sort of long-term peace. In WWI, Germany was allowed to sue for peace without being completely defeated. Less than twenty years later, Hitler started WWII. In WWII, we crushed Germany, and they've caused no further trouble.
:: Riyadh Delenda Est 9:27:00 PM Link ...
My thoughts are very simple: get these guys! It doesn't take a genius to figure out that Saudi Arabia will have an "exit plan" for as many of Saddam's scientists as it can lay its hands on. Which will make them similarly dangerous in short order, especially since they feel themselves to be in Washington's sights, and are becoming more and more obviously hostile. We can wait until after Iraq, but they have to go - preferably sooner rather than later.
As the President is fond of noting, time is not on our side for stuff like this. Saudi Arabia has essentially declared war on the West, as their press makes clear every day. Fine. Let them reap the whirlwind they have sown.
Joe is on the right track, but I think he's being a bit too easy on the Saudis. I think that we should keep the Iraqi and Saudi oil fields, and use the money to pay for, in order:
The cost of the occupation
Reparations for every terrorist attack by any terrorist group, including Palestinian attacks against Israel
Eliminate our budget deficit
Mecca and Medina would go the the Hashemites.
Money is what makes the Muslims dangerous. They've always been able to find nut jobs willing to die killing "infidels". It's the oil money which pays for the weapons, training, recruitment, and bribes necessary to pull off large-scale terrorist ops. Take away the oil money, and all we have to worry about are shit-balls like the asshole who shot up LAX.
What I would do, in essence, is dust off and update the WWII-era Morgenthau Plan. The Morgenthau Plan was a proposal to insure that Germany would never be able to threaten its neighbors, by de-industrializing it. Factories were to be stripped for reparations, mines were to be flooded, etc. If I had my way, Saudis and Iraqis would travel as their ancestors did a hundred years ago - by camel.
If they try to start some sort of guerilla campaign, start breaking wells. You cannot hide water sources in a desert from recon satellites.
:: Riyadh Delenda Est 7:48:00 PM Link ...