politics, history and the war on terror
Friday, April 30, 2004
UNSCAM – Oil for What? 

The United Nation’s Oil for Food program was designed to provide humanitarian assistance for the Iraqi people using the monitored sale of Iraqi oil. Over the past few months, a mountain of evidence has surfaced concerning the corruption of this program, now dubbed UNSCAM in the blogsphere (in fact, and entire blog called Friends of Saddam is devoted to this subject).

The Wall Street Journal provides the most comprehensive picture of this ongoing scandal, from the disclosure of the list of ‘the Friends of Saddam’ ,the United Nations’ complicity, including that of Benon Sevan, director of the U.N.'s Oil-for-Food Program, the internal investigation by the UN and stonewalling from Kofi Annan & Mr. Sevan, the beginning of the investigation by the United States, the attempt to block the probe by Russia, up to the latest installment: the possible links between the Oil for Food program & al Qaeda. In Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal, Claudia Rosett, states unaccounted moneys may have fueled all sorts of illegal activities in the international arena:

In tallying various leaked lists, disturbing leads and appalling exposés to date, what becomes ever more clear is that Oil-for-Food quickly became a global maze of middlemen, shell companies, fronts and shadowy connections, all blessed by the U.N. From this labyrinth, via kickbacks on underpriced oil and overpriced goods, Saddam extracted, by conservative estimates of the General Accounting Office, at least $4.4 billion in graft, plus an additional $5.7 billion on oil smuggled out of Iraq. Meanwhile, Mr. Annan's Secretariat shrugged and rang up its $1.4 billion in Iraqi oil commissions for supervising the program. Worse, the GAO notes that anywhere from $10 billion to as much as $40 billion may have been socked away in secret by Saddam's regime. The assumption so far has been that most of the illicit money flowed back to Saddam in the form of fancy goods and illicit arms.

But no one really knows right now just how much of those billions went where--or what portion of that kickback cash Saddam might have forwarded to whatever he deemed a worthy cause. A look at one of the secret U.N. lists of clients authorized by the U.N. to buy from Saddam is not reassuring. It includes more than 1,000 companies, scattered from Liberia to South Africa to oil-rich Russia. And though the U.N. was supposed to ensure that oil was sold to end-users at market price--thus minimizing the graft potential for Saddam and maximizing the funds for relief--there is an extraordinary confetti of clients in locations known less for their oil consumption than for their shell companies and financial secrecy.


Some of these moneys may have wound up in the pockets of al Qaeda:

In Oil-for-Food, "Every contract tells a story," says John Fawcett, a financial investigator with the New York law firm of Kreindler & Kreindler LLP, which has sued the financial sponsors of Sept. 11 on behalf of the victims and their families. In an interview, Mr. Fawcett and his colleague, Christine Negroni, run down the lists of Oil-for-Food authorized oil buyers and relief suppliers, pointing out likely terrorist connections. One authorized oil buyer, they note, was a remnant of the defunct global criminal bank, BCCI. Another was close to the Taliban while Osama bin Laden was on the rise in Afghanistan; a third was linked to a bank in the Bahamas involved in al Qaeda's financial network; a fourth had a close connection to one of Saddam's would-be nuclear-bomb makers.

Whether you love, hate or are indifferent to the United Nations, it is important the truth be told. If the United Nations cannot provide simple humanitarian assistance without lining its pockets, supporting murderous dictators and possibly financing our mortal enemies, what gives it the legitimacy to determine the future of Iraq or any other nation?

Additional information:

Spoons, of The Spoons Experience blog, provides a humorous chart of who benefits and who suffers from the Martha Stewart, Enron and UNSCAM scandals.

Posted by bill roggio @ 1:13 PM

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Thursday, April 29, 2004
The Two Americas. Which Is Yours? 

Blogger Blackfive (The Paratrooper of Love) posts a poignant letter from a Marine Lt. Colonel who was tasked to escort the remains of a fallen Marine, Lance Corporal Chance Phelps, to his home. The letter describes numerous acts of kindness, generosity, community and fellowship the escort encountered while returning home with the remains of this hero. They are too numerous to mention here, and the letter should be read by all who truly wish to understand the depth of feelings our nation has for its fallen heroes.

Meanwhile, Michael Moore, darling of the left and supporter of Senator Kerry’s presidential bid, writes about another America, the America he sees as lying, thieving, corrupt and evil:

Those are not “contractors” in Iraq. They are not there to fix a roof or to pour concrete in a driveway. They are MERCENARIES and SOLDIERS OF FORTUNE. They are there for the money, and the money is very good if you live long enough to spend it.

Halliburton is not a "company" doing business in Iraq. It is a WAR PROFITEER, bilking millions from the pockets of average Americans. In past wars they would have been arrested -- or worse.

The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not "insurgents" or "terrorists" or "The Enemy." They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow -- and they will win. Get it, Mr. Bush? You closed down a friggin' weekly newspaper, you great giver of freedom and democracy! Then all hell broke loose. The paper only had 10,000 readers! Why are you smirking?


And later in his hateful post:

[T]he majority of Americans supported this war once it began and, sadly, that majority must now sacrifice their children until enough blood has been let that maybe -- just maybe -- God and the Iraqi people will forgive us in the end.

He describes Iraqi terrorist as “freedom fighters” and “minutemen”, and Americans as “mercenaries” and “soldiers of fortune”. He advocates the killing of Americans to punish us for our sins, so we can be forgiven. His hatred for this country is there for all to see, a country that afforded him the opportunity to become a millionaire by distorting history and spouting hate. Americans, both soldiers and civilians, sacrifice their lives for the freedom of the Iraqi people and a chance for a better world, and Mr. Moore only sees an evil capitalist American plot to rule the world, a nation worthy of scorn and punishment

Which America do you live in? Is it Lance Corporal Chance Phelps' America, or Michael Moore’s America?

Disclaimer: The this post was inspired from InstaPundit’s quick reference to the letter on Blackfive site and a mention of Michael Moore.


Posted by bill roggio @ 10:04 AM

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Wednesday, April 28, 2004
Specter Defeats Toomey 

Senator Arlen Specter has defeated conservative challenger Rep. Patrick Toomey in Pennsylvania's Republican primary, by a narrow margin of victory. Conservatives will view this as a defeat for their movement, as Senator Specter frequently sides with Democrats in the Senate, and is in line to chair the Senate Judicial Committee, the body that decides if presidential judicial appointments will be considered for a vote.

Lost in the conservative's disappoint over Mr. Toomey's defeat is the price Senator Specter had to pay in order to receive support from the Republican party. While it is customary for incumbents to receive the support of their party in a primary election, the support Senator Specter received from Republicans was extraordinary, considering how far he strayed from party votes in the past (the Clinton impeachment, tax cuts, and the Bork confirmation, among many). As anyone who lives in the Philadelphia area can attest, Senator Specter bombarded the airwaves with commercials, including endorsements from President Bush and Pennsylvania's conservative junior Senator Rick Santorum.

This is politics to the core: pragmatic, scheming, and calculating. The GOP and President Bush can expect vigorous support from Senator Specter during November's election. Pennsylvania is a battleground state in the presidential election, and as Senator Specter appeals to moderate and liberal Republicans and Democrats, the GOP is hoping to pick up a segment of this vote. There was also concern that Mr. Toomey would not fair well in the general election versus Democrat challenger Rep. Joe Hoeffel, so the party backed Mr. Specter in order to retain the Republican Senate seat. President Bush should expect some measure of support from him in the Senate Judicial Committee. And finally, the Republican Party gets to demonstrate that its tent is large enough to accommodate a member with liberal views.

Update:

Timothy Carney of The National Review is livid about Republican Party backing of Senator Spector.
Posted by bill roggio @ 7:26 AM

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Tuesday, April 27, 2004
Eyes Wide Shut 

While the major media outlets attempt to ignore the attempted suicide-chemical attack on the U.S. Embassy and Jordanian intelligence services, the perpetrators confess on television:

[Jordanian] State television aired a videotape of four men admitting they were part of an Al Qaeda plot to attack the U.S. Embassy and other targets in Jordan using a combination of conventional and chemical weapons. A commentator on the tape aired Monday said the suspects had prepared enough explosives to kill 80,000 people.

One of the alleged conspirators, Azmi Al-Jayousi, said that he was acting on the orders of Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian wanted by the United States for allegedly organizing terrorists to fight U.S. troops in Iraq on behalf of Al Qaeda.

By now, the media should drop the ‘alleged connections’ disclaimer when discussing Zarqawi and al Qaeda. Even the ‘militants’ confirm this:

Al-Jayousi, identified as the head of a Jordanian terror cell, said he first met al-Zarqawi in Afghanistan, where al-Jayousi said he studied explosives, "before Afghanistan fell."

As Afghanistan controlled by the Taliban prior to Operation Enduring Freedom, it is highly unlikely he was a guest without the knowledge of al Qaeda. And it is extremely unlikely he was a guest of the Northern Alliance, a group fiercely opposed to al Qaeda involvement in Afghani affairs.

Jordanian officials have said the plotters entered the country from neighboring Syria in at least three vehicles filled with explosives, detonators and raw material to be used in bomb-making. Syria has denied the claims. In the videotape, however, the militants said they acquired the vehicles in Jordan.

Syria denies involvement, as it would make it complicit in the organized terror attack on its neighbor, Jordan. It is unlikely an attack such as this can be planned and executed without the knowledge and assistance of an organized police state such as Syria. The ‘militants’ state they acquired the cars in Jordan, but this does not mean the cars did not cross the Syrian border laden with the munitions.

In a related story, Sudan has ordered Syria to remove stockpiled WMD from its country:

Arab diplomatic and Sudanese government sources said the regime of Sudanese President Omar Bashir has ordered that Syria remove its Scud C and Scud D medium-range ballistic missiles as well as components for chemical weapons stored in warehouses in Khartoum. The sources said the Sudanese demand was issued after the Defense Ministry and Interior Ministry confirmed a report published earlier this month that Syria has been secretly flying Scud-class missiles and WMD components to Khartoum.

The established media has drawn the conclusions that WMD do not exist in Iraq, Syria, Iran or elsewhere and al-Zarqawi is not affiliated with al Qaeda. News that contradicts these conclusions is buried to support their worldview. It seems that no amount of evidence, short of the use of WMD, will convince the media to ask deeper questions about this attempted chemical attack, as well as Syria and al Qaeda's involvement.

Update: April 29th, 2004

The Wall Street Journal Editorial Page agrees.

Posted by bill roggio @ 1:30 PM

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Monday, April 26, 2004
Defining al Qaeda 

Jason Burke of Foreign Policy magazine provides an excellent overview of al Qaeda, its setup, goals and ideology. This is highly recommended reading for a concise look at our enemy. Mr. Burke’s description of Al Qaeda's organization is particularly interesting as it helps define the threat which we face:

Although bin Laden and his partners were able to create a structure in Afghanistan that attracted new recruits and forged links among preexisting Islamic militant groups, they never created a coherent terrorist network in the way commonly conceived. Instead, al Qaeda functioned like a venture capital firm—providing funding, contacts, and expert advice to many different militant groups and individuals from all over the Islamic world.

Today, the structure that was built in Afghanistan has been destroyed, and bin Laden and his associates have scattered or been arrested or killed. There is no longer a central hub for Islamic militancy. But the al Qaeda worldview, or “al Qaedaism,” is growing stronger every day. This radical internationalist ideology—sustained by anti-Western, anti-Zionist, and anti-Semitic rhetoric—has adherents among many individuals and groups, few of whom are currently linked in any substantial way to bin Laden or those around him. They merely follow his precepts, models, and methods. They act in the style of al Qaeda, but they are only part of al Qaeda in the very loosest sense.


Dan Darling of Regnum Crucis has been making a very similar argument about al Qaeda for some time, however he states that bin Laden is instrumental in the setup, financing, training and support of these local jihadi organizations.

The points which I disagree with Mr. Burke are the downplaying of the WMD threat and the claim Zarqawi is not affiliated with al Qaeda. Just recently two WMD plots were exposed: an attempted chemical attack in Jordan on the U.S. embassy and Jordanian intelligence services in Jordan, and a planned attack in England, which was in its infancy. Over one year ago, a planned ricin attack was discovered in England. While these attempts may be crude by the author's standard, they show a willingness to use WMD. Concerning Zarqawi and his ties to al Qaeda, the evidence points to his involvement with al Qaeda, as his famous memo to bin Laden documents.

The War on Terror is not just against al Qaeda in its strictest sense (bin Laden and his immediate associates), but against all jihadis who adhere to the ideology of radical Islam. The fight must be taken to every group willing to use terrorism to achieve the goals of radical Islam.


Posted by bill roggio @ 12:36 PM

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Sunday, April 25, 2004
Another Pledge Worth Breaking 

Several readers ask why the Bush administration opposes the removal of Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat. At first glance the statement of disapproval can be viewed as an obstacle against Israeli action, but a deeper look at the statements do not support this conclusion:

"The president reiterated his opposition to such an action," a third U.S. official told CNN. That official, who is involved in national security matters, said Sharon's new comments were brought to the attention of the White House, and, "we have made it entirely clear to the Israeli government that we would oppose any such action and we have done so again in the wake of these remarks. We consider a pledge a pledge."

President Bush did not explicitly voice the opposition, as he did for the support of Israel's plan to withdraw from Gaza and the West Bank. The statement was made by one of the numerous "unnamed administration officials." There was no threat of reprisals if Arafat is removed, such as halting military and economic aid to Israel. All the administration said was it opposed Arafat's removal, just as it was opposed to the removal of former Hamas leaders Rantisi and Yassin. Israel Prime Minister Ariel Sharon points out the difficult political situation concerning the removal of Chairman Arafat, as other nations have invested plenty of political capital in him:

”I released myself from the commitment in regard to Arafat," he said. "I was very clear. I was committed then, and it was a different situation. When I started, Arafat was marching on red carpets laid for him by different governments in the past. Then, I accepted the commitment." Now, Sharon said, the "commitment does not stand anymore."

Israel is proceeding according to plan. It may not intend to kill Arafat, but statements such as Sharon's only further isolate Arafat and perhaps force him to act in a way that will make it politically acceptable to remove him from power. Or create the conditions for the Palestinians themselves to remove him. Statements from Palestinian leaders further confirms how the removal of Arafat will impact the political situation:

Reacting to Sharon's television interview, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat accused the Israeli government of trying to destroy the peace process and the Palestinian Authority, and to kill Arafat. "This will only create more chaos anarchy and bloodshed," he said. "It was the strongest signal yet that Israel could target Arafat."

The Palestinian Authority is not interested in peace, as the sponsorship of the Intifada and terror organizations demonstrates. During the1990's, Europe and America (under the Clinton Administration) negotiated with Arafat, the known terrorist leader of the PLO, and established the Palestinian Authority. After a decade of failure, many nations still live under the illusion that a negotiated peace can be reached with Arafat's Palestinian Authority. While the Bush administration no longer believes this is possible, it must deal with allies that do, such as Britain. The statement of disapproval from the Bush administration is most likely political cover for these allies as well as an attempt to appear even handed in the conflict.

Posted by bill roggio @ 7:54 AM

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Friday, April 23, 2004
Withdrawal Syndrome, American Style 

Ralph Nader, independent candidate for President of the United States, supports a complete withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. While making the case for the reasons the US should withdraw from Iraq, Mr. Nader makes the following statement:

Announcing a definite withdrawal and ending the U.S. corporate takeover of the Iraqi economy and oil will separate mainstream Iraqis from the insurgents and give the vast majority of people there a stake in replacing the occupation with independence.

He truly believes the invasion of Iraq was purely a corporate takeover of Iraq. And a small but vocal minority of Americans believes this as well.

His three point plan to withdraw from Iraq is as follows:

1) Develop an appropriate peacekeeping force under United Nations auspices from neutral nations with such experience and from Islamic countries.

The U.N. myth lives on. It has no interest in restoring Iraq as a democratic nation, nor is it willing to make the commitment to do the dirty work. The U.N. propped up Saddam Hussein for 12 years, and is complicit in the murder of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and the looting of the Oil for Food program. Advocating Islamic nations to act as peacekeepers is the death of Iraqi freedom. These Islamic countries are threatened by a democratic nation on their borders, as democracy exposes their corrupt regimes for what they are.

2) Free and fair elections should be held as soon as possible under international supervision so democratic self-rule can be put in place in Iraq and allow Iraq to provide for its own security.

How this will be accomplished by the withdrawal of American troops is not explained, as elections are not possible under the current atmosphere of violence. The phantom U.N. peacekeepers are known to cut and run at the first sign of danger, and cannot be relied upon to provide the necessary security for an election.

3) The U.S. and others should provide interim humanitarian aid to Iraq. Economic sanctions and war have caused tremendous damage to the people, their children and the Iraqi infrastructure.

Note to Mr. Nader: the U.S. and coalition are currently providing humanitarian aid to Iraq. The interesting thing about this quote is his implication that America is responsible for the current state of Iraq, as he directly references economic sanctions. The fact is Saddam Hussein is responsible for the current state of affairs in Iraq, not America.

Mr. Nader’s willingness to fault America for the problems facing Iraq, and all of the ills of the world, is startling. He has become the de facto antiwar candidate for president, and will siphon votes from Senator Kerry, as Senator Kerry’s position on Iraq pleases neither antiwar Americans nor those who see Iraq as crucial in the War on Terror. It is sad that a noticeable percentage of Americans are willing to believe the very worst of this country and its motivations. Mr. Nader is their standard bearer.

Posted by bill roggio @ 12:12 PM

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Thursday, April 22, 2004
Under Pressure 

Yassar Arafat is feeling the pressure of the Israeli offensive directed at the terror leadership:

Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat early Thursday expelled 21 Fatah Tanzim fugitives from his Mukata headquarters in Ramallah, fearing that the IDF was about to raid the compound and arrest the wanted men. The fugitives, all members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, have been hiding in the compound these past three months. Israel has repeatedly demanded they be kicked out.

The rifts between the Palestinian Authority and leadership of the numerous Palestinian terror groups are beginning to show.

Among those expelled was Ali Barghouti, nephew of imprisoned West Bank Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, who expressed outrage at Arafat's decision. "Arafat has deserted the Fatah activists," he said, adding that the expulsion was a crime, because the men "needed protection."

Chairman Arafat risks making some very dangerous enemies playing his double game of legitimate leader of the Palestinian people and supporter of terror. He cannot do this indefinitely. It is unlikely Chairman Arafat renounces terror after all of these years, nor is it likely he openly sides with Hamas and company. This leads to half measures that satisfies neither the Israelis or the terrorists, and likely enrages both. If the Israelis do not finish him off, the task is left to one of the monsters he has nurtured for all of these years.

Posted by bill roggio @ 12:48 PM

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Wednesday, April 21, 2004
Palestinian Statehood? 

Do the Palestinians deserve a state in Gaza and the West Bank?

The Israeli – Palestinian conflict and the question of Palestinian statehood are perhaps the most controversial issues when discussing the problems of the Middle East. Most of the problems concerning the question of Palestinian statehood arise from the distortion of the facts in relation to the establishment of Israel, the acquisition of Gaza and the West Bank during the Six Days War, how the territories have been administered since 1967 and the status of the negotiations between the Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The Jewish Virtual Library provides an excellent Myths and Facts section which addresses the issues of this conflict, and the Boundaries segment explains the issues stated above. The relevant U.N. resolutions, peace treaties and histories are all documented. It is highly recommended reading for those interested in the history of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

By their nature, democracies do not function well when administering external territories for extended periods of time. For Israel to remain a successful democracy it must decide how to address the status of Gaza and the West Bank, as the uncertain status of the Palestinians cannot exist indefinitely. Israel has two options concerning the outcome of the status of Gaza and the West Bank:

-Annex the Gaza and the West Bank and give those living there full citizenship.
-Allow the Palestinians to create the state of Palestine from Gaza and the West Bank.

Annexing the Gaza and the West Bank is not an option. This would cause multiple problems for Israel, as it would destroy the uniqueness of the Jewish state and lead to civil war as a large segment of the population of Palestinians would outright reject living under Israeli rule. Therefore, the only realistic option is to allow for the creation of the state of Palestine. The establishment of a viable Palestinian state is not possible at this time as Palestinian Authority has been unwilling to act in good faith on its agreements to reign in terrorists (the Oslo Peace Process & the Road Map) or walked away from the negotiating table (Camp David, 2000). As the PA has demonstrated it is uninterested in finding a peaceful solution with Israel (unwilling to compromise on the right of return and borders of a new Palestinian State, sponsoring the Intifada & supporting terror organizations), Israel has embarked on a project to unilaterally create its own conditions for peace. Israel has decided to build a security fence (wall) between Israel and the Palestinian territories, with the lines drawn of their own choosing, started to withdraw from Gaza and the West Bank (while leaving several settlements in the West Bank) and targeted Hamas leadership in the Palestinian territories. These are measures which President Bush has recently decided to support, a radical change in U.S. policy. The effects of this strategy are as follows:

-Removes PA from bargaining process
-Creates chaos in terror organizations by removing leadership
-Shows Palestinians they will get less than they want without negotiating

The best result of this strategy would be to promote moderate Palestinian leadership to step forward and negotiate the final settlement. The obstacles to peace (the PA, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terror groups) must be removed before a moderate Palestinian voice can step forward. The Palestinians should be given their own state, but not until they renounce terror as a tool of negotiation, arrest and prosecute Palestinian terrorists, and demonstrate a commitment to live peacefully side by side with their Israeli neighbor.

Additional Links:

Daniel Pipes, the director of the Middle East Forum, believes the Palestinians are becoming disillusioned with the Intifada.

Tony Blankley of the Washington Times further documents how the Palestinians are losing by refusing to negotiate a settlement.

Posted by bill roggio @ 12:17 PM

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Tuesday, April 20, 2004
Proper Criticism 

While the antiwar left and the isolationist right scream of lies, conspiracies, wars for empire and wars for oil, it appears the neoconservatives are one of the only groups in America which is capable of voicing coherent criticism of President Bush's implementation of the Iraq war and its reconstruction. Robert Kagan and William Kristol of The Weekly Standard (the premier voice of neoconservatives) argue troop deployments in Iraq are insufficient to meet the goals for securing Iraq and establishing democracy, and this is the result of poor planning by the Pentagon:

The shortage of troops in Iraq is the product of a string of bad calculations and a hefty dose of wishful thinking. Above all, it is the product of Rumsfeld's fixation on high-tech military "transformation," his hostility to manpower-intensive nation-building in places like Afghanistan and Iraq, and his refusal to increase the overall size of the military in the first place. The results are plain to see: We are trying to carry out Bush's post-9/11 foreign policy with Clinton's pre-9/11 military. It is a wonderful military, but it is too small for our responsibilities in the post-9/11 world. As a result, it will not be easy to find the additional brigades to send to Iraq. Troubling reductions in our deployments elsewhere will be required, and an already stressed military will be asked to do more still. Unfortunately, there is no choice.

The criticism of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is harsh yet respectful:

The question is whether Rumsfeld and his generals have learned from past mistakes. Or rather, perhaps, the question is whether George W. Bush has learned from Rumsfeld's past mistakes. After all, at the end of the day, it is up to the president to ensure that the success he demands in Iraq will in fact be accomplished. If his current secretary of defense cannot make the adjustments that are necessary, the president should find one who will.

Robert Kagan and William Kristol argue that troop deployments in Iraq should be increased by about 30,000 to provide for proper security and reconstruction. In light of recent evens in Iraq, they may be right. This is the type of constructive criticism that helps improve the war effort and does not further the goals of our enemy.

Posted by bill roggio @ 1:00 PM

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Monday, April 19, 2004
Withdrawal Syndrome: The International Community, Take Two (More) 

Honduras & the Dominican Republic also want to leave Iraq:

Honduran sources told CNN that the Central American nation also intends to pull its contingent, which serves with the Spaniards, out of Iraq early. The Dominican Republic said earlier this month that its contingent would not be replaced when it rotates out. Neither nation gave a timetable for the actions

Of course, this brings nothing but smiles to the face of al-Sadr:

The news pleased Muqtada al-Sadr, the influential Shiite cleric who is hiding in the holy city of Najaf, where the Spanish troops are deployed. "We have noticed that the coalition has pulled back," al-Sadr spokesman Sheikh Qais al-Khazaali said Monday. "Muqtada al-Sadr has ordered the Mehdi Army to stop all attacks on the Spanish troops after they decided to pull out of Iraq."

Congratulations, Honduras, Dominican Republic and Spain, you have just given the enemies of civilization another victory. You have also provided further proof that nations can be picked off from the coalition by using selective violence. We can expect even more violence directed against coalition members in further efforts to fracture the coalition. Oh, and Honduras, thanks for repaying the United States’ sacrifice to halt the spread of communism which threatened to overtake your nation last century.

Senator Kerry believes the internationals would cooperate if only they did not have to deal with the arrogant Bush Administration. The nations that are leaving have committed to rebuilding Iraq but have now backed out as they do not have the fortitude to do the serious work of restoring peace.

It is said the Bush Administration's plan to establish democracy in Iraq is idealistic, that the peoples of the Middle East are incapable of living under a democratic form of government. Why has Senator Kerry's plan to involve the international community in Iraq not come under more scrutiny by the American media? What makes him believe he can get uncooperative nations on board in Iraq? Isn’t blind faith in the United Nations and other international organizations, which have failed so many times in the past, a form of idealism?

Posted by bill roggio @ 1:31 PM

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Sunday, April 18, 2004
The Ever Reliable International Community 

In the spirit of internationalism, Spain is withdrawing its troops prior to the June 30th date of the Iraqi transfer of power.

In an announcement from the Moncloa Palace, [Spanish Prime Minister] Zapatero said he had ordered the defense minister to "do what is necessary for the Spanish troops stationed in Iraq return home in the shortest time possible." Zapatero spoke just hours after the new Socialist government was sworn in.

After an unprecedented amount of time spent deliberating over the implications of sticking a knife in the back of its former American ally and the Iraqi people, Prime Minister Zapatero decided there is no time like the present to act .

"With the information we have, and which we have gathered over the past few weeks, it is not foreseeable that the United Nations will adopt a resolution" that satisfies Spain's terms, Zapatero said.

This disgusting act of cowardice and lack of commitment should be remembered when Spain suffers further terrorist attacks on its soil. How this immediate withdraw will promote stability in Iraq is still not clear. The current government of Spain is unhappy that the United Nations is not in command of the peacekeeping and transition efforts in Iraq. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice correctly sums up the impact of the U.N. controlling operations in Iraq:

"The idea that somehow if there were a U.N. flag instead of a coalition flag, that these thugs would not be attacking, is, frankly, I think, just a little bit naive."

Former Spanish Prime Minister Aznar neatly describes the consequences of the immediate retreat:

"That will not be good for Spain, not a good day for the coalition, and a very good day for those who don't want stability and democracy in Iraq."

The good news is this is a victory for the international community.

Updates:

Portugal may withdraw its 128 peacekeeping police officers from Iraq if the violence increases. The Philippines considered withdrawing its peacekeeping troops from Iraq, but changed its mind:

About 50 troops in central Iraq were operating in a safe area, but as a precaution, they were being restricted to their camps.

Isn't the purpose of peacekeeping to keep the peace? How can this be done when the soldiers cannot even leave their base camps, or when nations can break their commitments so casually? This is how the international community operates in dangerous conflicts; Rwanda is the perfect example of how the peace is kept by the U.N.

Posted by bill roggio @ 12:44 PM

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Saturday, April 17, 2004
Rantisi's Demise 

"By God, we will not leave one Jew in Palestine. We will fight them with all the strength we have. This is our land, not the Jews." - Abdel Aziz Rantisi, Former Leader of Hamas

Associate Press has reported that that Abdel Aziz Rantisi, the new leader of Hamas, has been targeted by the Israeli military. Fox News Channel has reported that Rantisi is dead (The BBC has just confirmed this). Rantisi meets the same fate as former Hamas leader Sheik Yassin, who was assassinated by the IDF last month in a missile strike. We can only hope future leaders of Hamas follow in their footsteps. Few tears should be shed for this monster, a 'man' that authorized and encouraged children to detonate themselves amongst civilians.

Israel is serious about eliminating the leadership of Hamas; this killing leaves no doubt about their intentions. The forth rail predicted last month that these actions will place pressure on the Palestinian Authority to negotiate with Israel or perish. The attacks on Palestinian leadership coupled with Israel's unilateral plan to withdraw from Gaza and the West Bank on its own terms, including leaving five settlements, and the construction of the security fence, certainly has be to causing panic in the Palestinian Authority.

Posted by bill roggio @ 2:18 PM

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Iranian Involvement 

The establishment of democracy in Iraq threatens the viability of the dictatorships, kingdoms and theocracies in the Middle East. Iran in particular has a vested interest in preventing a democratic Iraq. Iran is a nation that has endured 25 years of a corrupt and oppressive government after the establishment of the Islamic Republic. There is widespread dislike of the Islamic government and a popular and active reform movement that advocates democracy. Because of these circumstances, a successful democratic state on its border is a direct threat to Iran's theocratic rulers. Michael Ledeen states that Iran has a large role in advocating, supporting and financing violence against the coalition by both Sadr's Mahdi Army and Ba'athists:

The Italians knew that these actions were not just part of an Iraqi civil war, nor a response to recent actions taken by the Coalition Provisional Authority against the forces of Sadr. According to Italian intelligence, the actions were used as a pretext by local leaders of the factions tied to an Iran-based ayatollah, Kazem al-Haeri, who was "guided in his political and strategic choices by ultraconservative Iranian ayatollahs in order to unleash a long planned general revolt." The strategic goal of this revolt, says Sismi, was "the establishment of an Islamic government of Khomeinist inspiration." The Italian intelligence agency noted that "the presence of Iranian agents of influence and military instructors has been reported for some time." Our own government will not say as much publicly, but Donald Rumsfeld and Gen. John Abizaid, the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, have recently spoken of "unhelpful actions" by Iran (and Syria).

Mr. Ledeen advocates regime change in Iran, however he does not wish to accomplish this with military force, but by supporting Iranian inside and outside the country who oppose the Iranian governemnt:

We have an excellent opportunity to achieve this objective, without the direct use of military power against Iran. There is a critical mass of pro-democracy citizens there, who would like nothing more than to rid themselves of their oppressors. They need help, but they neither need nor desire to be liberated by force of arms.

[T]hey want to hear our leaders state clearly and repeatedly--as Ronald Reagan did with the "Evil Empire"--that regime change in Iran is the goal of American policy.

[W]e can reach the Iranian people by providing support to the several Farsi-language radio and TV stations in this country, all currently scrambling for funds to broadcast a couple of hours a day. We can encourage private foundations and individuals to support the Iranian democracy movement. The current leadership of the AFL-CIO has regrettably abandoned that organization's traditional role of supporting free trade unions inside tyrannical countries, but there are some individual unions that could do it.


A similar strategy was employed during the Cold War, and led to the successful liberation of Eastern Europe. As the Iranians are already opposing us in Iraq, it is worth the effort to work for non-military regime change in Iran as Mr. Ledeen advocates. Iran's unique nature as a manufacturer of WMD, state sponsor of Hezbollah and terror sanctuary designates it as a problem that must be dealt with.


Posted by bill roggio @ 12:57 AM

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Friday, April 16, 2004
Peace Offerings 

Osama bin Laden's latest audio tape (can't he afford a video camera?) offers peace and goodwill to any nation that wishes to lay down their arms and subjugate itself to radical Islam. Al Qaeda's psychological operations are in full force in this latest attempt to fracture America and Israel from the rest of the Western nations.

"[I]n order to thwart opportunities for the merchants of war, and in response to the positive developments that were expressed in recent events and in the public opinion polls, which determined that most European peoples want peace, I urge ... the establishment of a permanent commission to nurture awareness among Europeans regarding the justness of our causes, particularly the cause of Palestine, and that use be made of the vast media resources to this end."

Positive developments? You mean the murder of 191 innocents in Madrid? Osama follows the polls now? What's next, focus group? Town hall meetings? He has said the magic word to the Europeans: establishment of a permanent commission. How beautiful the siren call of permanent commissions must sound. Concerning the justness of the cause of Palestine, Europe and Osama are in total agreement, so why even bother mentioning it?

"I hereby offer them a peace treaty, the essence of which is our commitment to halt actions against any country that commits itself to refraining from attacking Muslims or intervening in their affairs, including the American conspiracy against the larger Islamic world."

If I were a European head of state, I would want the details on the "intervening in their [Muslim's] affairs" part of the agreement. I suspect there is plenty of room for interpretation: trade, Muslims in country, television and radio programming, music, freedom of religion…

"This peace treaty can be renewed at the end of the term of a government and the rise of another, with the agreement of both sides."

Spain's timing is impeccable. Didn't Osama just cause a change of government over there?

"The peace treaty will be in force upon the exit of the last soldier of any given [European] country from our land."

Does that include al-Andulus? Will Spain have to withdraw its soldiers from its own territory? Better read the fine print.

"The door of peace will remain open for three months from the broadcast of this statement. Whoever rejects the peace and wants war should know that we are the men [of war], and whoever wants a peace treaty and signs it, we hereby allow this peace treaty with him."

If there are no European takers after three months, they are automatically at war with al Qaeda? Osama really should leave some wiggle room for surrender, he would not want to take away certain European nations' foreign policy ace in the hole.

"Stop shedding our blood in order to protect your own blood."

Translation: Just let us kill you; it's easier for both of us this way.

"The solution to this easy-difficult equation is in your own hands. You should know that the longer you delay, the worse the situation will become, and when that happens, do not blame us, blame yourselves..."

Always blaming the victim.

"As for those who lie to people and say that we hate freedom and kill for the sake of killing - reality proves that we are the speakers of truth and they lie, because the killing of the Russians took place only after their invasion of Afghanistan and Chechnya; the killing of the Europeans took place only after the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan; the killing of the Americans in the Battle of New York took place only after their support for the Jews in Palestine and their invasion of the Arabian Peninsula; their killing in Somalia happened only after Operation Restore Hope. We restored [i.e. repelled] them without hope, by the grace of Allah."

Any rational person can see that slamming aircraft into buildings, asking children to detonate themselves among civilians and using women and children as human shields for the sake of jihad is a perfectly reasonable response to political grievances. How can you argue with this logic?

In Europe's defense, the reaction to Osama's offer of peace was overwhelmingly negative. Europe should be commended for not falling for such a craven attempt to divide America from its allies. Perhaps this will wake up the nations which are unwilling to recognize they are targets of Islamic terror, whether they participate in the war or not. This is highly unlikely, as the 3/11 attacks in Madrid have demonstrated, be we can always hope.

Spain, on the other hand, appears to be leaving its options open:

Spain's incoming foreign minister, Miguel Angel Moratinos, told his nation's parliament that "we don't have to listen to or answer" the tape.

Spain executes the classic ostrich maneuver, otherwise known as the three monkeys gambit. Perhaps they should look North and ask Belgium and Holland how well that worked for them at the opening of WWII.

Posted by bill roggio @ 12:37 AM

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Thursday, April 15, 2004
Speaking Like the Enemy 

Can you tell which statements a leader of a terrorist group made and which statements a United States Senator made? The answers are given below.

1. “You are being enslaved by those who have the most money, the most influential ones, and those who have the strongest news media, particularly the Jews, who are dragging you behind them under the trick of democracy in order to support the Israelis and their schemes and hostility to our religion and at the expense of our blood and land, as well as at the expense of your blood and economy.”

2. "There was no imminent threat. This was made up in Texas, announced in January to the Republican leadership that [the war] was going to take place and was going to be good politically. This whole thing was a fraud."

3. “I tell Bush that appealing for help from the world around you and begging for mercenary soldiers from everywhere, even from the small countries, has shattered your pride, insulted your prestige, and exposed your powerlessness after you used to defend the world in its entirety.”

4. "My belief is this money is being shuffled all around to these political leaders in all parts of the world, bribing them to send in troops”.

5. “They did not care about you, went behind your backs, invaded Iraq once again, and lied to you and the whole world.”

6. “This gang is a huge evil on all humanity, its blood, money, environment, and morality. They came to deal strong and consecutive blows to honesty that is the basis of morality, each from the position he holds, until they professionally rendered it dead before the world.”

7. "This is the pattern and the record of the Bush administration [on] Iraq, jobs, Medicare, schools, issue after issue -- mislead, deceive, make up the needed facts, smear the character of any critics…..Again and again, we see this cynical, despicable strategy playing out."

8. "[President Bush] has broken the basic bond of trust with the American people. He's the problem, not the solution. Iraq is George Bush's Vietnam, and this country needs a new president."

9. "This war makes millions of dollars for big corporations, either weapons manufacturers or those working in the reconstruction [of Iraq], such as Halliburton and its sister companies..."

Answers 1, 3, 5, 6 & 9 - Osama bin Laden, Leader of al Qaeda
Answers 2, 4, 7 & 8- Senator Edward Kennedy, Massachusetts

When American politicians criticize the motivations of the Bush Administration, they should be careful in how they voice their opposition. One major tactic of terror organizations is manipulation of the media to spread its message and sow confusion and dissent within their enemy’s ranks. It is clear al Qaeda has been monitoring the public statements by American opponents of the war, and using this to create a divide among the American public. Some of the statements between Osama bin Laden and Senator Kennedy are indistinguishable, and some of the statements by Senator Kennedy were made after bin Laden's speech (7 & 8). Constructive dissent does not include rhetoric that supports the goals of the enemy, including discrediting American policy and leadership within the world community. Senator Kennedy's rhetoric can impact America's ability to successfully prosecute the war by weakening American resolve to fight. As a senior U.S. Senator and leader of the Democrat party, he should take care when making such inflammatory accusations so as not to sound so much like our enemy.

Read Osama's Speech and Senator Kennedy’s Statements.

Posted by bill roggio @ 12:22 AM

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Wednesday, April 14, 2004
The Press Conference 

President Bush's press conference was long overdue. His defense of the War on Terror and Iraq's place in this war was simple and forthright; there was very little nuance. He was clear on the purpose and motivations for fighting the war in Iraq, described the challenges and sacrifices being made, explained why we must succeed and the implications of failure. The need for democratic reform in the Middle East was also clearly articulated, as was Iraq's role as the first free nation in the region. President Bush understands that the oppressive governments of the Middle East provide a fertile breading ground for terrorist organizations and also pose a threat by proliferating WMD.

The portion of the speech which proved interesting was the veiled threats leveled at Hezbollah, Iran and Syria's terror organization of choice. When President Bush discussed the overall war on terror, Hezbollah was referenced several times

In the south of Iraq, coalition forces face riots and attacks that are being incited by a radical cleric named al-Sadr. He has assembled some of his supporters into an illegal militia and publicly supported the terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah.

We've seen the same ideology of murder in the killing of 241 Marines in Beirut, the first attack on the World Trade Center, in the destruction of two embassies in Africa, in the attack on the USS Cole, and in the merciless horror inflicted upon thousands of innocent men and women and children on September the 11th, 2001. None of these acts is the work of a religion. All are the work of a fanatical political ideology. The servants of this ideology seek tyranny in the Middle East and beyond. They seek to oppress and persecute women. They seek the death of Jews and Christians and every Muslim who desires peace over theocratic terror. They seek to intimidate America into panic and retreat, and to set free nations against each other. And they seek weapons of mass destruction, to blackmail and murder on a massive scale.


The fanatical political ideology President Bush refers is practiced by al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, and many other Islamic terror organizations. President Bush understands this war is bigger than just al Qaeda and realizes that Hezbollah, among others, must be dealt with in the future. The War on Terror cannot and will not be won without addressing these terror organizations and their state sponsors; this is a point that is consistently lost on the domestic and foreign opposition of the war.

Note: for comprehensive coverage of the president's press conference, please visit InstaPundit.

Posted by bill roggio @ 12:12 AM

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Tuesday, April 13, 2004
Internationalize This! 

Senator Kerry, in today's Washington Post, outlines his plan to deal with the reconstruction and transformation of Iraq to a liberal democracy. First and foremost, he states that the mission in Iraq must be completed.

The extremists attacking our forces [in Iraq] should know they will not succeed in dividing America, or in sapping American resolve, or in forcing the premature withdrawal of U.S. troops. Our country is committed to help the Iraqis build a stable, peaceful and pluralistic society. No matter who is elected president in November, we will persevere in that mission.

It is reassuring that Mr. Kerry will continue the current policy of creating a democracy in Iraq, as a failure to do this would be an enormous victory for the Islamic extremists and dictatortships throughout the world. Perhaps Mr. Kerry should speak to the senior senator from Massachusetts, Senator Kennedy, about his attempts to discredit the war effort. Statements such as Senator Kennedy's are instrumental in dividing American opinion & sapping the resolve to fight.

Mr. Kerry's solution to Iraq, which should come as no surprise, is to internationalize the efforts to restore Iraq. He believes that ceding authority to the United Nations and NATO will increase the amount of troops available for peacekeeping and provide legitimacy to this endeavor.

We should urge NATO to create a new out-of-area operation for Iraq under the lead of a U.S. commander. This would help us obtain more troops from major powers. The events of the past week will make foreign governments extremely reluctant to put their citizens at risk. That is why international acceptance of responsibility for stabilizing Iraq must be matched by international authority for managing the remainder of the Iraqi transition. The United Nations, not the United States, should be the primary civilian partner in working with Iraqi leaders to hold elections, restore government services, rebuild the economy, and re-create a sense of hope and optimism among the Iraqi people. The primary responsibility for security must remain with the U.S. military, preferably helped by NATO until we have an Iraqi security force fully prepared to take responsibility.

The only problem is this has already been tried. The United States has requested NATO assistance in Iraq, only to be rebuffed by Germany, France and Belgium. Assistance from the United Nations was also requested, several times, however it was opposed by Russia, France Germany and many other nations. The United Nations withdrew from Iraq at the first sign of danger, after its office in Iraq was destroyed in a car bomb attack. Many countries in the United Nations opposed the invasion of Iraq for political or financial reasons, and have no inclination to support the reconstruction.

Past events, such as the conflicts in the U.N. and NATO over the policies towards Bosnia, Rwanda and Kosovo, demonstrate the inability of the international community to put aside their own interests for the good of a nation in peril. President Clinton, perhaps the most loved of American presidents in the international community, could not build a consensus amongst the U.N. to resolve these problems. Perhaps Senator Kerry believes he will have more success in convincing foreign governments unwilling to cooperate in the stabilization of Iraq. He should outline his plan to create this international harmony. And he also should outline his plan in case his effort to internationalize Iraq fails.

Posted by bill roggio @ 10:47 AM

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Monday, April 12, 2004
Pakistani Pressure 

While the U.S. Army prepares its assault on Sadr's Madhi Army, Pakistan continues the hunt for al Qaeda in the tribal regions. The last round of combat between Pakistani forces and elements of Uzbeki and Chechen al Qaeda was a bloody fight, and the lesson has been learned by the Waziri tribal elders:

"The government has put a huge number of troops on our land, and they tell us they are searching for al-Qaida, but we want to make clear that there are no al-Qaida in Shawal," said Said Khan, one of 35 elders in the 30,000-strong Jani Khel tribe. "If there are foreigners, we will turn them over. We cannot afford to punish all of our people to protect one or two outsiders."

Pakistan appears to be serious about the crackdown in Waziristan, and is prepared to mount a long campaign to rid itself of al Qaeda sanctuaries on the borders of Afghanistan.

Brig. Mahmood Shah, chief of security for the tribal regions, said military action is a possibility. "We prefer a political solution, but at the same time, the threat of force is there and that is extremely important in the tribal areas," he told AP from his office in Peshawar. "Negotiations, threats and military action all go hand-in-hand."

Negotiations, threats and military action are the three pillars of diplomacy. Without allowing for military action, diplomacy is just talk. The Waziri tribal leaders will consider the Pakistani military operations last month when deciding how to handle foreign jihadis in their care.

Posted by bill roggio @ 11:58 PM

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The War's Spokesman 

America and the free world have no greater friend than British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Mr. Blair understands the treat we face, and despite opposition from his New Labor party and a significant number of British voters, he continues to articulate the nature of our enemy and the importance of Iraq on the War on Terror.

The terrorists prey on ethnic or religious discord. From Kashmir to Chechnya, to Palestine and Israel, they foment hatred, they deter reconciliation. In Europe, they conducted the massacre in Madrid. They threaten France. They forced the cancellation of the President of Germany's visit to Djibouti. They have been foiled in Britain, but only for now.

Of course they use Iraq. It is vital to them. As each attack brings about American attempts to restore order, so they then characterise it as American brutality. As each piece of chaos menaces the very path toward peace and democracy along which most Iraqis want to travel, they use it to try to make the coalition lose heart, and bring about the retreat that is the fanatics' victory.

They know it is a historic struggle. They know their victory would do far more than defeat America or Britain. It would defeat civilisation and democracy everywhere. They know it, but do we? The truth is, faced with this struggle, on which our own fate hangs, a significant part of Western opinion is sitting back, if not half-hoping we fail, certainly replete with schadenfreude at the difficulty we find.


He describes the progress within Iraq and addresses the question of the Iraqi public’s willingness to stand up for freedom.

People in the West ask: why don't they speak up, these standard-bearers of the new Iraq? Why don't the Shia clerics denounce al-Sadr more strongly? I understand why the question is asked. But the answer is simple: they are worried. They remember 1991, when the West left them to their fate. They know their own street, unused to democratic debate, rife with every rumour, and know its volatility. They read the Western papers and hear its media. And they ask, as the terrorists do: have we the stomach to see it through?

The abandonment of Iraqi Shiites and Kurds after the First Gulf War and Saddam’s brutal repression of these groups cannot be overstated when considering the mentality of the Iraqi public.

Mr. Blair recognizes another threat that all democracies face in fighting a war of this nature: the threat of complacency, appeasement, unwillingness to recognize the threat of radical Islam and the lack of will to fight among the peoples of democratic nations.

But our greatest threat, apart from the immediate one of terrorism, is our complacency. When some ascribe, as they do, the upsurge in Islamic extremism to Iraq, do they really forget who killed whom on 11 September 2001? When they call on us to bring the troops home, do they seriously think that this would slake the thirst of these extremists, to say nothing of what it would do to the Iraqis?

Or if we scorned our American allies and told them to go and fight on their own, that somehow we would be spared? If we withdraw from Iraq, they will tell us to withdraw from Afghanistan and, after that, to withdraw from the Middle East completely and, after that, who knows? But one thing is for sure: they have faith in our weakness just as they have faith in their own religious fanaticism. And the weaker we are, the more they will come after us.

It is not easy to persuade people of all this; to say that terrorism and unstable states with WMD are just two sides of the same coin; to tell people what they don't want to hear; that, in a world in which we in the West enjoy all the pleasures, profound and trivial, of modern existence, we are in grave danger.


There is no better spokesman for the free world than Prime Minister Tony Blair.


Posted by bill roggio @ 1:11 PM

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Sunday, April 11, 2004
An Old Enemy Resurfaces  

The suspension of offensive operations in Fallujah, Najaf and other cities and the ongoing talks between the IGC and Sadr highlights the complexity of the situation in Iraq and the difficult decisions faced by the coalition. Reasons given for the suspension of operations include the current Shiite holiday of al-Arbaeen, which means hundreds of thousands of religious pilgrims are currently inside the city of Najaf and other Shia holy cites, political pressure inside the IGC to work a solution to the fighting and to allow humanitarian aid to be distributed to the non combatants involved.

This decision can hurt the coalition as it allows militants groups to adapt to the tactics of collation, rearm and regroup. It also gives Sadr some measure of legitimacy and stature among sympathetic Iraqis and demonstrates weakness to both Iraqis and the enemy.

To further complicate the situation in Iraq, reports of active Hezbollah (and by association Iran) involvement in with Sadr's Mahdi militia are beginning to appear. This should come as no surprise as Sadr has openly proclaimed "I am the beating arm for Hezbollah and Hamas here in Iraq" and travels to Iran several times a year for consultations. Hezbollah is the varsity of the international terror organizations; its state support from Iran, vast network of recruitment, political and financial support and operational expertise makes it a formidable enemy.

Hezbollah's involvement in Iraq leads to the following conclusions:
-The Sadr related violence was inspired by Iran.
-The violence in Iraq will only increase in the coming months as transition to the interim Iraqi government approaches.
-The establishment of democracy in Iraq is a mortal threat to Iran.
-Iran is so threatened by the progress towards democracy in Iraq that Iran feels it must actively engage the U.S., a dangerous proposition.
-Iraq is indeed the prime front in the War on Terror, as this is a war against global terror and not just al Qaeda (despite the objections of many internationalist and liberals). Iran's willingness to use state sponsored terror in Iraq and pursue nuclear weapons proves the battle is far greater than the pursuit of al Qaeda.

Those who do not see Iraq as a vital front in the war are not looking at the big picture. As stated from day one, the War on Terror is a war against the nexus of terrorist organizations, states that condone or sponsor terrorism, and the distribution network of weapons of mass destruction. Iran is guilty of being a prominent player in all three areas. Our blood debt with Hezbollah stretches back to the Marines barracks bombing in Beirut in 1983 and the Khobar Towers bombing in Dhahran in 1996. To win the war this debt must be settled. Just as Sadr and the Ba'ath resistance in Iraq had to be addressed at some point, so too must Hezbollah.

Posted by bill roggio @ 8:00 PM

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Saturday, April 10, 2004
A Quagmire in Every Pot 

According to the media, a sky falls every day:

The Jenin "massacre", Comical Ali's valiant defense of Saddam International and The Million Iraqi Refugee March.

Sadly, no American casualty projection for the Iraq invasion could be found. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

Here is an attempt to make up for the failure to find the casualty figures: the collapse of the Global Economy due to the invasion of Iraq and the war will stop the world from fighting AIDS.


Posted by bill roggio @ 7:35 PM

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For the Quagmirists 

Mark Steyn provides a humorous rebuttle to past & present quagmire statements from around the globe.

The next time the media screams quagmire or Vietnam, take the time to remember how wrong they were about reaction of the Arab Street, the Quagmire of Afghanistan, The Quagmire in the Mesopotamian Sandstorms, the invincibility of the Special Republican Guards, or the looting of Iraqi museums.

Posted by bill roggio @ 12:28 AM

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Friday, April 09, 2004
A House Divided 

Victor David Hanson's latest article titled Western Cannibalism should be required reading for all Americans. Of particular interest:

Over the last two years, each time a U.S. senator in panicked and wild-eyed passion screamed that we could not win in Afghanistan, she [the United States] proved resolute and confident. On every occasion that an ex-general, a dissatisfied bureaucrat, or a wannabe journalist-strategist pontificated about what the United States could not do, she was unwavering in her determination to take the war to rogue regimes in the Middle East with a history of hostility against Americans and a record of providing easy sanctuary for terrorists. This present charade would be like holding public hearings on the eve of the 1944 election about the breakdown of intelligence and missed opportunities before Pearl Harbor and then blaming Harry Hopkins and Secretary Stimson for laxity even while the country was in the very midst of a two-front war.

Then we have the creepy outbursts from commentators and screams from Democratic senators. We are told by Senator Graham that we smashed al Qaeda only to discover that we had hit a mercury-like substance that now has hopelessly scattered. Well, yes, that is what happens when you strike back in war. The alternative? Allow this elemental terrorism to remain cohesive and united? War is not a decision between good and bad choices, but almost always between something bad and something worse and so it really is preferable to have toxic mercury scattered than to have it concentrated and pure.

Another pundit assures us that terrorists after American action in Iraq are more active now than before. Well, again yes — in the sense that Germany was messier in 1944 than in 1933, or that Japan was more dangerous for Americans in 1943 than in 1935. Danger, chaos, and death are what transpire for a time when you finally decide to strike back at confident and smug enemies.

Senator Kennedy, the past exemplar of sober and judicious behavior in times of personal and national crisis, has gone beyond his once-wild charges of Texas conspiracies to slur Iraq as Bush's Vietnam — his apparently appropriate moral boosting for the young Marines, who, even as he spoke, were entering Fallujah to hunt down murderers and mutilators.


Mr. Hanson asks if Americans understand that we are still at war. I suspect many Americans refuse to believe we were at war, even after 9/11. That most decided 9/11 was aberration instead of an attack; an isolated event from a singular terrorist entity which can be tracked down and placed on trial. Those that choose to believe this underestimate the nature of our enemy, for they have declared war on us. This war is bigger than al Qaeda, it is against all of the forces that breed terrorism and oppose freedom. The sooner Americans understand this, the sooner we will unite to fight the darkness that wants to overtake the light of liberty.

Posted by bill roggio @ 12:13 PM

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Iraq, 2004 

The news from Iraq would lead you to belief that the democratic and reconstruction efforts are on the brink of failure. While the current fighting with al-Sadr’s Mahdi militia, remnants of the Ba’ath regime and al Qaeda and foreign jihadis is a serious challenge to the future of democracy in Iraq, these threats have been present since the fall of Saddam’s regime, and had to be addressed at some point. Sadr was given the opportunity to work within the framework of the emerging government and he chose to fight it, so he will have to account for his actions. The Ba’ath and al Qaeda remnants have increased their attacks as the eve of transition approaches, but by fighting openly they have exposed themselves to our military. These are tough challenges to the military and administration, but the only way we will lose is if we lose the will to fight.

Iraq has made enormous progress in the one year since its liberation, including:

-Established of military, police and border guards.
-Created of an independent judiciary.
-Ratified interim constitution with a Bill of Rights.
-Established free press.
-Created new currency.
-Established independent central bank.
-Improved energy output, which is now greater that prior to Saddam’s rule.
-Exported $7.9 in oil, which was placed in a fund for reconstruction.
-Approved plan for transition to interim government by June 30, with scheduled elections in January 2005.
-Conducted successful local elections in many cities.
-Extensive infrastructure repairs (roads, utilities, schools, hospitals).
-Opened schools with new textbooks.
-Created business friendly environment.

The progress in Iraq one year after the invasion is unprecedented. To put this in perspective, the Marshall Plan, which rebuilt Europe after WWII, was not implemented until March of 1948, almost three years after the war ended. Crime, violence against occupation troops and profiteering were prevalent in Germany in the postwar years. There is still much work to be completed before Iraq can transition to a functioning democracy, including:

-The removal of the threat of Ba’ath resistance, local militias, radical Islamists and al Qaeda.
-Tighten border security to prevent influx of foreign support
-Increase the size of Iraqi security services and improve training.
-Speed up the release of funds for reconstruction to promote further growth & jobs.
-Increase oil output to peak levels.
-Create fund for Iraqi citizens to share the oil profits (perhaps on the Alaska model).
-Continue the privatization of state owned industries
-Complete transition to interim government and conduct successful election.

Iraq is a nation which has suffered for thirty years under the corrupt, brutal and dysfunctional Ba’ath party. Many mistakes have been made since Iraq was freed from Saddam’s perverted government. To expect perfection in the reconstruction of Iraq is unrealistic. There is no plan for occupation and reconstruction which is fail proof; this endeavor requires flexibility, imagination, effort and the will to succeed. The successes outlined above show that these characteristics are present in those responsible for rebuilding Iraq. The challenges we face today and in the future demonstrate that even more flexibility, imagination, effort and the will to succeed is needed to overcome these obstacles.

Posted by bill roggio @ 9:59 AM

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Thursday, April 08, 2004
Winds of War 

The Winds of Change website provides a biweekly Winds of War briefing on Mondays & Thursdays. This is an excellent portal for the latest information on the War on Terror. The articles are from across the world, and all regions are covered. Each item links to the news source, but reading the summaries alone is highly informative. For those interested in the details, progress and setbacks in the war, the Winds of War briefing is a must read.

Posted by bill roggio @ 11:42 AM

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Never Again, Maybe  

This is the 10 year anniversary of the massacres in Rwanda, which claimed the lives of approximately 500,000. The United Nations was deployed in a peacekeeping posture, and failed miserably in this mission:

When the 100-day slaughter began, the U.N. had 2,519 peacekeepers in Rwanda. The most heavily armed U.N. contingent was a 450-member Belgian battalion, but Brussels withdrew days after Hutus killed 10 Belgian soldiers on April 7, 1994.

Other U.N. troops were busy "tanning at the pool" in neighboring Uganda and monitoring its border to ensure that weapons did not reach Kagame's rebels, who were fighting to end the slaughter, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said during the ceremony. U.N. troops at the time had been withdrawn from Rwanda and were staying at hotels in Uganda.

On April 21, as the killing raged, the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution to reduce the U.N. force in Rwanda to a token 270 troops. On May 16, the Security Council passed another resolution to send some 5,500 troops, but they didn't begin to arrive until after the genocide had ended.


Remember this the next time you hear the United Nations has the moral authority, stature, personnel and experience to handle the occupation of Iraq.

In Geneva, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan called on the international community to stay alert to prevent massacres like that in Rwanda.

"We cannot afford to wait until the worst has happened, or is already happening, or end up with little more than futile hand-wringing or callous indifference," Annan told the U.N. Human Rights Commission.


Isn't this exactly what the United Stated prevented by intervening in Iraq? Why was the U.N. and Kofi Annan in particular opposed to the Iraq War? Saddam's record of internal and external aggression clearly qualifies him for preventative action by the U.N., according to Mr. Annan's standards.

In New York, U.N. Undersecretary-General Catherine Bertini rang the Japanese peace bell in front of the United Nations headquarters, and about 500 U.N. staffers observed a minute of silence. Similar ceremonies were held in cities worldwide; in Rome, the lights at the Colosseum turned from white to gold Wednesday night in remembrance of the genocide victims.

That about says it all concerning the U.N. "We failed you Rwanda because of our indecision, value of process over action, unwillingness to confront evil, poor military command structure, military weakness and tanning Belgians. But we do excel at silence. And didn't our peace bell sound so nice? How about the pretty lights? Sorry, we'll be there for you next time."

Probably not.

Posted by bill roggio @ 12:06 AM

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Wednesday, April 07, 2004
I Believe The Children Are Our Future Bombs (But Not My Children) 

The leaders of Palestinian terrorist organizations are willing to recruit any child to die for the cause. Even prepubescent and mentally ill children are given the chance martyr themselves. Make that almost any child, as the leaders' own children have not been asked to make the ultimate sacrifice. Why? Let's see what the late leader of Hamas, Sheik Yassin, had to say.

''We don't choose martyrs to die; Allah chooses them. So far, he hasn't chosen any of my children.''

There's always tomorrow, Mr. Yassin. As recent events have shown, you never know when Allah will come a knockin'.

What does new Hamas chief Abdel Aziz Rantisi and his wife think about asking the chillins to strap on a freedom belt?

[Rantisi], then the group's spokesman, told Victor that he wouldn't object if one of his children were selected. However, on an audiotape that she says was discovered in the rubble of Jenin in 2002, Rantisi's wife reacted violently, warning, ''over my dead body,'' will she ever ``let one of my sons blow himself up.''

Perhaps they should get counseling to work this out. Over her dead body? That's a great idea. Other children's dead bodies do not seem to bother her; she has profitted greatly from the immoliation of Israeli children at the hands of Palestinian children sent by her pediatrician husband. Come to think of it, throw in Mr. Rantisi's dead body and you've got a deal.

Where are these un-chosen children these days?

To escape trauma and danger, their children, along with those of most Hamas honchos, were safely dispatched long ago to the United States, Europe or Arab countries.

Their own children living among the Infidel? The horror. The horror. How about the leaders whose children
couldn't escape to live with the Great Satan and the not-so-great Satans?

Marwan Barghouti of the rival Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade isn't so lucky. His offspring remain in the combat zone. Victor asserts that after Barghouti was arrested by Israeli agents, he instructed his lawyer to ``tell my wife to watch our sons and daughters so they don't go on a suicide operation.''

Now that's commitment. The willingness to pay any price for victory is inspiring.

This looks like a classic labor dispute, with the un-chosen children being denied their afterlife virgin benefits by Big Terror. It appears the Palestinian terrorist are not advocates of equal opportunity suicide bombers. Depriving their own children of their right to 72 virgins is highly unfair, and everyone involved with these discriminatory practices should be reprimanded. Think of how their poor children will be humiliated in the afterlife, forced to look upon the heroes and martyrs of Palestine in envy. Perhaps this may become a root cause of terrorism in the afterlife...........

Posted by bill roggio @ 12:39 AM

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Tuesday, April 06, 2004
Sadr & Spain (Again) 

Sadr:

InstaPundit (here and here ), Andrew Sullivan and, as always, Belmont Club provide comprehensive coverage of the Sadr inspired violence in Baghdad.

Here is a quick summary.

Muqtada al-Sadr is a 30 year old Shiite cleric backed by the Iranian government who advocates an Islamic government based on the Iran model. He has a very small following in Iraq; his supporters are estimated to be less than one percent of the population. The Al-Mahdi militia, his private army, is estimated at about 3,000 men. Sadr was known to be a problem since the beginning of the liberation, but he was given the chance to show he could work within the rules of the newly forming government. He gave sermons that advocated violence against American soldiers and sanctioned the murder of rival clerics, which has led to an Iraqi judge to issue a warrant for his arrest. This led to the arrest of one of his deputies, the closing of a newspaper owned by Sadr, followed shortly by violent protests in Baghdad neighborhoods which support Sadr.

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani and other moderate Shiite leaders do not support Sadr and his policies, and have approved the action taken against him. These leaders represent an overwhelming majority of Shiite Iraqis.

This is not a mass insurrection, revolt, rebellion, coup, or revolution. Sadr has sorely miscalculated the timing of his violence, as the US military is in the middle of a troop rotation. We will have the maximum number of soldiers available since the invasion of Iraq. Also, Sadr could have had a greater impact had he timed the violence closer to the elections. Instead, he has played his hand early, his militia is now fair game, and the US, with Iraqi assistance, has the resources available to liquidate this problem.

Spain update:

From the “we hate it when we’re right” department. More threats from Islamist, this time demanding Spain withdraw from both Iraq and Afghanistan. Wasn’t this all about Spain’s involvement in Iraq? That’s what Prime Minister Zapatero claimed, anyway.

“If these demands are not met, we will declare war on you and ... convert your country into an inferno and your blood will flow like rivers,” the letter said.

Isn’t the bombing conducted on 3/11 in Madrid considered an act of war? Not if you’re Spain. Note to al Qaeda: stop trying to declare war, Spain will not come out to play.

On a brighter note, Spain has decided to increase the size of its troop contingent in Afghanistan to show they are committed to fighting terrorism. Nothing like a symbolic gesture to strike fear in the heart of your enemy.

Posted by bill roggio @ 9:15 AM

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Monday, April 05, 2004
Mog No More  

Mark Bowden recognizes the need to show resolve and strength after the horrific mutilation of four American security contractors in Fallujah. Mr. Bowden is the author of Black Hawk Down, the account of the battle between the US Rangers and Special Forces and the fighters of Somali warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid in the Fall of 1993. The bodies of American soldiers were mutilated and displayed in Mogadishu, just as the security contractors in Fallujah were, and the reaction of the Clinton Administration was to withdraw from Somalia. This gave Aidid and al Qaeda an opening:

The worst answer the U.S. can make to such a message--which is precisely what we did in Mogadishu--is back down. By most indications, Aidid's supporters were decimated and demoralized the day after the Battle of Mogadishu. Some, appalled by the indecency of their countrymen, were certain the U.S. would violently respond to such an insult and challenge. They contacted U.N. authorities offering to negotiate, or simply packed their things and fled. These are the ones who miscalculated. Instead the U.S. did nothing, effectively abandoning the field to Aidid and his henchmen. Somalia today remains a nation struggling in anarchy, and the America-haters around the world learned what they thought was a essential truth about the United States: Kill a few Americans and the most powerful nation on Earth will run away. This, in a nutshell, is the strategy of Osama bin Laden.

Al Qaeda observed the US military’s tactics in Mogadishu, and assisted and trained Aidid’s forces to shoot down American helicopters, with the hope that the military would be drawn into a fierce fight inside the city. This was all planned with the intention of forcing the US to withdraw from Somalia, as it was believed the US public would not tolerate the loss of life. Al Qaeda was correct, and because of the withdraw from Somalia, it was emboldened to attack American interests elsewhere, culminating in the attacks of 9/11. The demonstration of weakness and lack of resolve in the face of hardship only encourages the enemy to strike further.

The Battle of Fallujah has begun. It will not be bloodless and we can expect many casualties, but in light of what has led to the destruction in September of 2001, we must show we are willing to fight.

Note: For those interested in the strategy & tactics that will be employed by the US Marines and Special Forces in Fallujah, visit Belmont Club.


Posted by bill roggio @ 2:24 PM

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Some Promises Were Made To Be Broken 

While keeping a promise is admirable, sometimes it is more admirable to break it. A good example of this would have been if Spain's incoming Prime Minister Zapatero backed off of his election pledge to withdraw from Iraq, especially in light of the 3/11 bombings in Madrid. Here is another great example of when it is acceptable to break a promise:

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said his pledge to the United States not to harm Yasser Arafat no longer holds, declaring that the Palestinian leader and the head of Lebanon's Hezbollah are potential targets for assassination.

Based on Arafat's history and his unwillingness to prevent terrorist attacks against Israel, the only question is why did this decision take so long? Arafat and his Fatah movement have played the double game of negotiating with Israel while sanctioning and supporting the actions of terror organizations. The game is now over, and Arafat must account for the nightmare he helped create.

The fourth rail stands by its prediction:

Expect frantic attempts to negotiate from the Palestinian Authority, along with heavy diplomatic pressure from the European nations. If this fails, expect a mass exodus of Palestinian leadership.

The mass exodus of Palestinian leadership will accomplished by foot, car, rail, plane or pine box.

Posted by bill roggio @ 1:12 AM

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Sunday, April 04, 2004
Is This Dissent?  

Dissent

Main Entry: 1dis·sent
Pronunciation: di-'sent
Function: intransitive verb
Etymology: Middle English, from Latin dissentire, from dis- + sentire to feel -- more at SENSE
1 : to withhold assent
2 : to differ in opinion

"He betrayed this country! He played on our fears. He took America on an ill-conceived foreign adventure dangerous to our troops, an adventure preordained and planned before 9/11 ever took place." - Former Vice President and Presidential Candidate Al Gore

"There was no imminent threat. This was made up in Texas, announced in January to the Republican leadership that war was going to take place and was going to be good politically. This whole thing was a fraud." - Senator Edward Kennedy, Massachusetts

"The most interesting theory that I’ve heard so far—which is nothing more than a theory, it can’t be proved—is that he was warned ahead of time by the Saudis.… Now, who knows what the real situation is?" - Former Democrat Presidential Candidate Howard Dean

Debate is essential to our political process. Healthy debate allows differing viewpoints to be aired, and gives the public the opportunity to choose their leaders. Party leaders have a responsibility to keep the debate civil. There is no more serious decision an administration faces than to commit the American military to fight in foreign lands. At a time of war, the responsibility of the loyal opposition is to provide reasonable criticism and suggestions to improve the course of the nation's policy.

The nation does not benefit when the debate is poisoned by pure partisan hatred, rumor mongering and unsubstantiated conspiracy theories. Trust in government is shattered, and a nation that should be united in its efforts to fight a common enemy instead turns inward to fight amongst itself. Only our enemies benefit when this happens.

Posted by bill roggio @ 10:37 AM

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Friday, April 02, 2004
The Wane in Spain 

As stated here at the fourth rail:

The peace in Spain will be temporary; al Qaeda will be back with more demands.

It seems terrorist are a very impatient breed; they cannot wait four weeks between attacks on a nation that has already surrendered.

A bomb found under high-speed rail tracks in Spain appears to be made of the same explosives used in last month's deadly Madrid train attacks, Interior Minister Angel Acebes said. [Friday, April 2, 2004]

How's that appeasement thing working out?

Update: April 3, 2004

It obviously isn't going well. Another explosion in the suburbs of Madrid. Perhaps Spain should consider surrendering. After appeasing the Nazis for all of those years, France finally surrendered. Why waste all of this precious time?

Posted by bill roggio @ 11:04 PM

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Fallujah  

Visit Belmont Club for unmatched analysis of the situation in Fallujah and a taste of things to come for the residents of this city:

The Marines have long studied Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT). They will put snipers in dominant overwatch; use the road network to divide up the town into zones by posting the intersections; they will build EPW [Enemy Prisoner of War] cages outside the town; they will put persistent aerial surveillance aloft; there will be a blanket of electronic surveillance and electronic jamming over the town; they will map out the operation to a room-by-room detail. Then they will lop off bits of Fallujah one slice at a time.

The biggest danger, as Kimmitt knows, is that the Anti-coalition Forces will use civilians, particularly children, as human shields by sheltering and firing from houses. Unfortunately for the enemy, the cordon ensures that Kimmitt will be in no particular hurry. The enemy can shoot it out with Marine snipers who have plenty of match grade ammunition. The presence of Iraqi policemen will allow Kimmitt to direct civilians into processing areas. Then the evacuated houses will be searched individually until the entire leadership structure is taken apart.

The deliberate, even cold-blooded approach by the Marines makes this incident the anti-Mogadishu.


As the repsonse to the 9/11 attack in Afghanistan was well thought out and executed, so will be the response to the barbarity in Fallujah.

Posted by bill roggio @ 1:49 PM

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Beyond Fallujah 

In today’s WSJ, Christopher Hitchens asks broader questions about the nature of the gruesome murders in Fallujah of the four US citizens working for a private security firm. He notes that the conditions in Iraq were leading towards the creation of not only a depraved state, but a depraved population.

But this "Heart of Darkness" element is part of the case for regime-change to begin with. A few more years of Saddam Hussein, or perhaps the succession of his charming sons Uday and Qusay, and whole swathes of Iraq would have looked like Fallujah. The Baathists, by playing off tribe against tribe, Arab against Kurd and Sunni against Shiite, were preparing the conditions for a Hobbesian state of affairs. Their looting and beggaring of the state and the society--something about which we now possess even more painfully exact information--was having the same effect. A broken and maimed and traumatized Iraq was in our future no matter what.

Fallujah is a reminder, not just of what Saddamism looks like, or of what the future might look like if we fail, but of what the future held before the Coalition took a hand.


He also asks questions of the opponents of the Iraq War, and encounters the same response as has been experienced by many defenders of the war: silence, evasion and misdirection.

I debate with the opponents of the Iraq intervention almost every day. I always have the same questions for them, which never seem to get answered. Do you believe that a confrontation with Saddam Hussein's regime was inevitable or not? Do you believe that a confrontation with an Uday/Qusay regime would have been better? Do you know that Saddam's envoys were trying to buy a weapons production line off the shelf from North Korea (vide the Kay report) as late as last March? Why do you think Saddam offered "succor" (Mr. Clarke's word) to the man most wanted in the 1993 bombings in New York? Would you have been in favor of lifting the "no fly zones" over northern and southern Iraq; a 10-year prolongation of the original "Gulf War"? Were you content to have Kurdish and Shiite resistance fighters do all the fighting for us? Do you think that the timing of a confrontation should have been left, as it was in the past, for Baghdad to choose?

The last question raises an interesting point. Iraq’s unique position in the Middle East guaranteed that we would have to address this problem at some point in the future. As al Qaeda has shown, the mentality and brutality of violent ideologies will eventually butt heads with America, as we are their natural enemy. America was stuck on 9/11 because we fought al Qaeda on its terms. The decision to fight Iraq now rather than later was prudent. We already know the consequences of fighting an enemy on his terms.

Posted by bill roggio @ 11:01 AM

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