Friday, June 16, 2006

P. David Hornik: The West's Denial of Evil

P. David Hornik
June 16, 2006

“Zarqawi felt my son’s breath on his hand as he held the knife against his throat. Zarqawi had to look in his eyes as he did it. George Bush sits there glassy-eyed in his office with pieces of paper and condemns people to death. That to me is a real terrorist.”

Thus spake Michael Berg, father of jihad victim Nick Berg and Green Party candidate for Congress in Delaware, in reaction to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s death. “These words are insane,” wrote former New York City mayor Ed Koch, and of course he’s right. But, however insane, Michael Berg’s words are also a fine distillation of a mentality found among many millions of people in Western countries, particularly the elites.

The mentality was well evident over the past week in reaction to Israel’s alleged accidental killing of a Palestinian family on a Gaza beach.

For months, the deliberate firing of hundreds of rockets at Israeli civilians in the town of Sderot and other Gaza-bordering communities had hardly elicited a yawn anywhere but Israel. The fact that most Sderot residents are working-class, dark-skinned Sephardic Jews, many of them (or their forebears) refugees from Arab countries that brutally expelled them some decades ago, did nothing to stir sympathy for them. There is simply no cachet and no romance here, no “Save Sderot” marches on campus, not a whiff of censure of the Palestinian Authority. The Sderot people might as well be George Bush.

Then came an image of a tragically decimated Palestinian family on a beach, and the West sprang into action. The UK Foreign Office said it was “deeply concerned by reports of the deaths from Israeli shelling of civilians”; France’s Foreign Ministry thundered that it “deplores the Israeli bombing on a beach in the Gaza Strip.” The State Department chimed in with only slightly more circumspect language, expressing “regret for the killing and wounding of innocent Palestinians in Gaza today as a result of artillery fire by the Israeli Defense Forces.” UN Secretary-General Koffi Annan called on Israel to “respect human life and international law.”

Gone were the vaunted Western principles of a fair hearing and innocent until proven guilty; the condemnations poured in well before Israel had a chance to investigate the incident and found that an IDF shell could not possibly have been responsible (even then Annan, of course, did not accept the finding). Something else was in the air, something too exciting—an Abu Ghraib, a Haditha, a chance to show, a la Michael Berg, that it is really the Western side who are the brutal abusers and killers. The hunger is so great that even a (supposed) accident, a misfired shell, will do.

If, after all, it is really America and Israel—the only countries (except Britain in Iraq) substantially fighting the jihad—who are the aggressors, then one gets off easy, one only needs to curb these two rogues to continue with one’s luxurious life. Michael Berg, running for office in Delaware, knows in his heart that George Bush is nothing to fear, that he can publicly call him a terrorist, try to wrest power from his political party, and remain perfectly safe. Whether or not a touch crazy, Berg is, though, like the widespread Western mindset he represents, a coward who cannot look evil in the face. He would rather—with words like “felt my son’s breath on his hand . . . had to look in his eyes . . . ” —turn his son’s sadistic killing almost into an act of tenderness than do that.

Almost five years after 9-11, after Madrid, London, the terror war on Israel, and so on, the cowardice—the lunging to pin blame on one’s own side, the eager abandonment of logic and fairness while rushing to embrace moral inversion and idiocy—all this is still so strong as to suggest that the West’s survival is anything but certain.

P. David Hornik is a freelance writer and translator living in Jerusalem. He can be reached at

Janet Levy: More Evidence of Saddam Hussein's WMDs and al-Qaeda Connections

I am no fan of how the Bush administration has conducted the war in Iraq but the evidence of Hussein's WMD stockpiles and his support of terror organizations throughout the Middle East (inlcuding al-Qaeda) has been thoroughly documented. For much more on this subject I highly recommend Yossef Bodansky's books "bin Laden: The Man Who Targeted America", "The High Cost of Peace" and "The Secret History of the Iraq War".

Bush Did Not Lie
Janet Levy
June 16, 2006

In the days leading up to the war in Iraq, the two most critical reasons cited for toppling Saddam’s regime were the existence of weapons of mass destruction (WMD’s) and then-Iraqi president Saddam Hussein’s connection to the international terrorist organization, Al Qaeda. The Bush Administration confidently cited these as factual and clear justifications for the attack against the terrorist-sponsoring, Baathist government. At the time, a Gallup poll indicated that 67% of the American public supported the war against Saddam because of his non-compliance with weapons inspectors and his ties to Islamic terrorists.

In June 2004, the 9-11 Commission’s report cast doubt on the existence of WMD’s and denied a "collaborative relationship" between Iraq and Al Qaeda. Almost immediately, the Administration proceeded to dismiss its initial claims of WMD’s and an Al Qaeda connection, blaming faulty intelligence. By April 2006, according to a CBS poll, only 44% of the public agreed with the decision to invade Iraq.

Since the invasion of Iraq, a great deal of evidence has accumulated about Saddam’s possession of WMD’s and his close ties to Al Qaeda. Many such reports have not been covered by the mainstream media and have been available primarily from talk radio, conservative publications and online sources. The evidence is substantive and warrants careful study and wide exposure.

Supporting the contention of the existence of WMD’s in Iraq, General Al-Tikriti, a former commander for Saddam, confirmed in an interview with author Ryan Mauro in May 2006, that arrangements were made between Baghdad and Damascus for Iraqi WMD’s to be stored in Syria under Russian oversight prior to the invasion by Coalition forces. Al-Tikriti, who defected prior to the Gulf War, continued to maintain contact with weapons scientists in Iraq. In addition, statements by former Under Secretary of Defense John Shaw corroborate, through British and Ukrainian sources, the involvement of Russian special forces in Iraq in moving WMD’s to Syria.
Further confirmation has been obtained from retired Iraqi General Georges Sada, as well as from former chief of Romanian intelligence, Ion Pacepa; Israeli intelligence; Chinese communications to Germany and the reports of a Syrian journalist who defected to France.

During the weapons inspection operation prior to the Iraq invasion, Dave Gaubatz, a former special investigator for the Pentagon, unsuccessfully attempted to obtain permission to examine four, sealed underground bunkers in Iraq, which he believed contained WMD stockpiles.
Gaubatz has since battled three years of resistance from politicians in Washington and requests to shut down his website for his continued efforts to examine the bunkers. Gaubatz is scheduled to meet with representatives from the U.S. government on June 15 to pursue authorization for a through investigation of the sites. These obstacles to Gaubatz’ efforts are especially troubling considering the March 2004 admission by Charles Duelfer, Director of Central Intelligence Special Advisor for Strategy regarding Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Programs, that ISG inspected only a small percentage of suspected WMD sites in Iraq.

In light of the preponderance of information from corroborating sources about the existence of WMD’s in Iraq, it is baffling why no statement has been forthcoming from an Administration whose much maligned "rush to war" would be exonerated by these findings. It is difficult to understand why this important data is being kept from the American public when support for U.S. military actions in the region is at an all time low. Astoundingly, early this week, U.S. Representative Curt Weldon (R-PA) was asked to acknowledge, for the sake of "honoring the service and sacrifice" of those who served in Iraq, that no Iraqi weapons of mass destruction existed. He was pressured in the interests of "moving forward with the facts, not spin."
However, recent findings support the idea that reporting on the existence of substantial evidence of WMD’s would indeed bring us closer to the facts and away from the spin. The press, which is hardly a champion of President George W. Bush and has consistently accused him of misleading the country, has ignored the new developments. Instead, it has conveniently turned to criticisms of war conduct and treatment of incarcerated terrorists. In the current media climate, it is inconceivable that the American public will be properly apprised of these new, WMD findings.

On the issue of Saddam’s ties to Al Qaeda, newly released documents captured in Iraq and Afghanistan corroborate a strong connection between Iraq, Al Qaeda and the Taliban, the Sunni Islamic nationalist movement that formerly ruled Afghanistan. These documents include a recently translated notebook kept by an Iraqi intelligence officer and a four-page, typed letter from Afghanistan, dated July 26, 2002, apparently written by Al Qaeda or Taliban operatives and used by the U.S. Army in a report about Al Qaeda. The letter has subsequently been posted by the West Point Combating Terrorism Center. The notebook contains minutes from meetings among Taha Yassin Ramadan, former vice president of Iraq, and other high-level Iraqi officials with Al Qaeda and Taliban supporters. (Interestingly, a 2002 BBC report claimed that Ramadan hosted in Baghdad in 1998 Ayman al-Zawahri, a deputy to Al Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden.).

Further, the notebook mentions Maulana Fazlur Rahman, often described as the godfather of the Taliban, and his connection to Al Qaeda through a friend, Mullah Omar. Rahman is believed to have organized the Taliban under Omar and to have sheltered bin Laden in Pakistan following the Coalition’s invasion of Afghanistan. The notebook contains a statement by Rahman that he met with Omar, requested a meeting with Saddam and invited Iraqi officials to Afghanistan. It indicates that Rahman welcomed the establishment of relations with Iraq and hoped that Saddam could be instrumental in garnering Russian support for the Taliban.

The four-page, July 2002 letter examined by the U.S. Army corroborates the link between Rahman and Saddam’s regime. It also implies a connection and the coordination of activities among Pakistan, Libya, Iraq and the Taliban.

These two, newly released private documents located in different countries lend credibility to the existence of a well-established. cooperative relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda. Yet, no response to this new, startling information has come from the media or the politicians who censured Bush for "overplaying" the Al Qaeda-Saddam alliance to justify the Iraq war. The Administration has also remained silent about these new developments.

Instead, what continues to prevail is an attitude expressed in an August 2003 speech by former Vice President Al Gore who said, "The evidence now shows clearly that Saddam did not want to work with Osama bin Laden at all, much less give him weapons of mass destruction."

Administration critics including U.S. senators John Kerry (D–MA), Carl Levin (D-MI), Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), as well as U.S. Rep. Jane Harmon (D-Venice, CA), have decried any meaningful connection between Saddam and Al Qaeda. Further, the CIA has maintained, with the exception of former director George Tenet, that the secular regime of Saddam Hussein would never cooperate with Islamic fundamentalists like bin Laden.

But the new documents appear to counter these assertions and support Tenet, who said in October 2002: "We have solid reporting of senior level contacts between Iraq and Al Qaeda going back a decade."

"Credible information indicates that Iraq and Al Qaeda have discussed safe haven and reciprocal non-aggression," Tenet added, further stating, "We have credible reporting that al Qaeda leaders sought contacts in Iraq who could help them acquire WMD capabilities."

Information from detainees held in the military prison camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, further confirmed the Al Qaeda-Saddam connection, specifically reports of meetings between Al Qaeda leaders, including al-Zawahiri, in Baghdad since the early 1990’s and a visit by one of bin Laden’s WMD specialists to Iraq for WMD training.

As the translations continue of documents captured during the war in Iraq, more information will become available to support Bush’s initial justification for the invasion. Will the Administration, its detractors and the press fulfill their responsibility to inform the American public or will Americans remain in the dark about these critical, new discoveries?

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Janet Levy is the founder of ESG Consulting, an organization that offers project management, fundraising, promotion, event organizing and planning services for conservative political causes and issues related to terrorism and national security.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

George Will: The End of the World -- According to Gore

Al and Tipper do their part to heat things up

Jun 11, 2006
The Washington Post
George Will ( bio archive contact )

WASHINGTON -- A few years ago, a Los Angeles television anchor said: "Dodgers and Angels highlights at 11. Please watch anyway.'' Some viewers probably thought ABC should have said something like that when announcing Al Gore's extended interview on "This Week'' last Sunday. But the interview signaled an important alteration of the competition for the Democrats' 2008 presidential nomination -- that is, if Gore means what he is saying, and he seems painfully sincere.

"Less than 10 years.'' That, Gore warns, is all the time that "leading scientists'' say we may have "before we cross a point of no return'' -- unless we make a "really good start toward dramatic changes'' to combat global warming. Ten years from now will be the last year of the second term of the next president, if he or she is re-elected. Surely Gore should strive to be that president, if he means these four things he says or implies:

First, so grave is the "planetary emergency,'' decisions made in the next few years will determine the fate of civilization. Second, he understands this better than any other national leader. (When the Kyoto Protocol, which distributes nations' obligations regarding reduction of global warming, was created in 1997, Gore could find only "one senator out of all 100 who was willing to say that he or she would definitely'' vote to ratify it.) Third, he aims "to move our country'' and "change the minds of the American people'' and instill "the sense of urgency that is appropriate,'' because "the political environment has to be changed'' before solutions are possible. Fourth, "I'm under no illusions that there's any position in the world with as much influence'' as the presidency.

So much for his silly dichotomy -- his assertion that global warming "is not a political issue. It is a moral issue.'' Any large policy issue is a political issue and it is large because it is morally significant. So, having come within 537 Florida votes, or perhaps a 5-4 Supreme Court decision, of becoming president, why not try again, particularly with, he says, "earth in the balance"?

If he does, he will have to tweak his Cassandra persona. For example, when he said on "This Week'' that the Kyoto Protocol "has become the binding law in most of the world,'' he adopted a, shall we say, broad understanding of "binding'': Rapidly developing China and India, with more than a third of the planet's population, are exempt from emission limits, and of the 15 European Union countries committed to hitting certain Kyoto targets, only two are on a path to do so.

Minutes after Gore said that "the debate in the science community is over,'' he said "there is a debate between the American ice science community and ice scientists elsewhere'' about whether the less than extremely remote danger is a rise in sea level of a few inches or 20 feet. And he said scientists "don't know what is happening'' in west Antarctic or Greenland. So when Gore says the scientific debate is "over'' he must mean merely that there is consensus that we are in a period of warming.

But this is not where debate ends, but where it begins, given that at any moment in its 4.5 billion years, the planet has been cooling or warming. The serious debate is about two other matters: The contribution of human activity to the current episode of warming and the degree to which this or that remedial measure (e.g., the Kyoto Protocol) would make a difference commensurate with its costs.

Nevertheless, the likelihood that Gore will seek the presidency is suggested not only by the logic of what he says, but also by what he does not say. Given how clear and present he says the danger is, he should be more specific and radical regarding the economic, indeed civilizational changes he considers necessary. He should be -- unless he is trimming his sails and biding his time in the hope that he can acquire the presidential pulpit from which to move the nation.

There is nothing wrong with that. The nobility of politics, when it is noble, often consists in prudent maneuvering and persuading until an issue is, in terms of public opinion, ripe. A luminous example of the nobility of indirection is Lincoln's protracted and incremental progress toward abolishing slavery. Dismayed by the Kansas-Nebraska Act and then the Dred Scott decision, Lincoln did not exclaim: "That does it! Instead of running for president, I am going to prepare a PowerPoint presentation.''

George F. Will is a 1976 Pulitzer Prize winner, whose columns are syndicated in more than 400 magazines and newspapers worldwide.

Mark Steyn- 'Warmongers' Have a Point: It's a War

June 11, 2006
Chicago Sun-Times

Here are four news stories from the last week:

Baghdad: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi found himself on the receiving end of 500 pounds of U.S. ordnance.

London: Scotland Yard arrested a cell of East End Muslims allegedly plotting a sarin attack in Britain.

Toronto: The Mounties busted a cell of Ontario Muslims planning a bombing three times more powerful than Oklahoma City.

Mogadishu: An al-Qaida affiliate, the "Joint Islamic Courts," took control of the Somali capital, displacing "U.S.-backed warlords."

The world divides into those who think the above are all part of the same story and those who figure they're strictly local items of no wider significance deriving from various regional factors:
In Baghdad and London, fury at Bush-Blair neocon-Zionist-Halliburton warmongering;
In Toronto, fury at Canadian multiculti-liberal-pantywaist warmongering -- no, wait, that can't be right. It must be frustration among certain, ah, ethno-cultural communities at insufficiently lavish levels of massive government social programs, to judge from the surreal conversation on NPR's "Morning Edition" between Renee Montagne and the city's mayor;
And in Mogadishu, well, that's just one bunch of crazy Africans killing another bunch of crazy Africans -- who the hell can figure that out? If Bono holds a celebrity fund-raising gala, we'll all be glad to chip in 20 bucks.

If you choose to believe that, as Tip bin Neill might have put it, "all jihad is local," so be it. You can listen to NPR discussions on whether Canada's jihadist health- care programs are inadequately funded, and I'm sure you'll be very happy. But out in the real world it seems the true globalization success story of the 1990s was the export of ideology from a relatively obscure part of the planet to the heart of every Western city.

Take the subject of, say, decapitation. There's a lot of it about in the Muslim world. These Somali Islamists, in the course of their seizure of Mogadishu, captured troops from the warlords' side and beheaded them. Zarqawi made beheading his signature act, cutting the throats of the American hostage Nick Berg and the British hostage Ken Bigley and then releasing the footage as boffo snuff videos over the Internet.

But it's not just guerrillas and insurgents who are hot for decapitation. The Saudis, who are famously "our friends," behead folks on a daily basis. Last year, the kingdom beheaded six Somalis for auto theft. They'd been convicted and served five-year sentences but at the end thereof the Saudi courts decided to upgrade their crime to a capital offense. Some two-thirds of those beheaded in Saudi Arabia are foreign nationals, which would be an unlikely criminal profile in any civilized state and suggests that the justice "system" is driven by the Saudis' contempt for non-Saudis as much as anything else.

Which brings us to Toronto. In court last week, it was alleged that the conspirators planned to storm the Canadian Parliament and behead the prime minister. On the face of it, that sounds ridiculous. As ridiculous as it must have seemed to Ken Bigley, a British contractor in Iraq with no illusions about the world: He'd spent most of his adult life grubbing around the seedier outposts of empire and thought he knew the way the native chappies did things. He never imagined the last sounds he'd ever hear were delirious cries of "Allahu Akhbar" and the man behind him reaching for his blade. And he never imagined that back in his native land his fellow British subjects -- young Muslim men -- would boast to the London Times about downloading the video of his execution and watching it on their cellphones.

Writing about the collapse of nations such as Somalia, the Atlantic Monthly's Robert D. Kaplan referred to the "citizens" of such "states" as "re-primitivized man." When lifelong Torontonians are hot for decapitation, when Yorkshiremen born and bred and into fish 'n' chips and cricket and lousy English pop music self-detonate on the London Tube, it would seem that the phenomenon of "re-primitivized man" has been successfully exported around the planet. It's reverse globalization: The pathologies of the remotest backwaters now have franchise outlets in every Western city. You don't have to be a loser Ontario welfare recipient like Steven Chand, the 25-year-old Muslim convert named in the thwarted prime ministerial beheading. Omar Sheikh, the man behind the beheading of the Wall Street Journal's Daniel Pearl, was an English "public" (i.e., private) schoolboy and graduate of the London School of Economics.

Five years after 9/11, some strategists say we can't win this thing "militarily," which is true in the sense that you can't send the Third Infantry Division to Brampton, Ontario. But nor is it something we can win through "law enforcement" -- by letting the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the FBI and MI5 and every gendarmerie on the planet deal with every little plot on the map as a self-contained criminal investigation. We need to throttle the ideology and roll up the networks. These fellows barely qualify as "fifth columnists": Their shingles hang on Main Street. And, even though the number of Ontarians prepared actively to participate in the beheading of the prime minister is undoubtedly minimal, the informal support of the jihad's aims by many Western Muslims and the quiescence of too many of the remainder and the ethnic squeamishness of the modern multicultural state provide a big comfort zone.

This week the jihad lost its top field general, but in Somalia it may have gained a nation -- a new state base after the loss of Afghanistan. And in Toronto and London the picture isn't so clear: The forensic and surveillance successes were almost instantly undercut by the usual multicultural dissembling of the authorities. If you think the idea of some kook beheading prime ministers on video is nutty, maybe you're looking at things back to front. What's nutty is that, half a decade on from Sept. 11, the Saudis are still allowed to bankroll schools and mosques and think tanks and fast-track imam chaplaincy programs in prisons and armed forces around the world. Oil isn't the principal Saudi export, ideology is; petroleum merely bankrolls it. In Britain, Canada, France, the Netherlands, Scandinavia and elsewhere, second- and third-generation Muslims recognize the vapidity of the modern multicultural state for what it is -- a nullity, a national non-identity -- and so, for their own identity, they look elsewhere. To carry on letting Islamism fill it is to invite the re-primitivization of the world.