Skip to comments.Iranian Alert - January 18, 2005 - Statement from Pentagon on Latest Seymour Hersh Article & others
Posted on 01/17/2005 11:00:43 PM PST by DoctorZIn
Top News Story
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
On the Web:
Media contact: +1 (703) 697-5131
or +1 (703) 428-0711
January 17, 2005
Statement from Pentagon Spokesman Lawrence DiRita on Latest Seymour Hersh Article
The Iranian regimes apparent nuclear ambitions and its demonstrated support for terrorist organizations is a global challenge that deserves much more serious treatment than Seymour Hersh provides in the New Yorker article titled The Coming Wars.
Mr. Hershs article is so riddled with errors of fundamental fact that the credibility of his entire piece is destroyed.
Mr. Hershs source(s) feed him with rumor, innuendo, and assertions about meetings that never happened, programs that do not exist, and statements by officials that were never made.
A sampling from this article alone includes:
- The post-election meeting he describes between the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff did not happen.
- The only civilians in the chain-of-command are the President and the Secretary of Defense, despite Mr. Hershs confident assertion that the chain of command now includes two Department policy officials. His assertion is outrageous, and constitutionally specious.
- Arrangements Mr. Hersh alleges between Under Secretary Douglas Feith and Israel, government or non-government, do not exist. Here, Mr. Hersh is building on links created by the soft bigotry of some conspiracy theorists. This reflects poorly on Mr. Hersh and the New Yorker.
- Mr. Hersh cannot even keep track of his own wanderings. At one point in his article, he makes the outlandish assertion that the military operations he describes are so secret that the operations are being kept secret even from U.S. military Combatant Commanders. Mr. Hersh later states, though, that the locus of this super-secret activity is at the U.S. Central Command headquarters, evidently without the knowledge of the commander if Mr. Hersh is to be believed.
By his own admission, Mr. Hersh evidently is working on an alternative history novel. He is well along in that work, given the high quality of alternative present that he has developed in several recent articles.
Mr. Hershs preference for single, anonymous, unofficial sources for his most fantastic claims makes it difficult to parse his discussion of Defense Department operations.
Finally, the views and policies Mr. Hersh ascribes to Secretary Rumsfeld, Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz, Under Secretary Feith, and other Department of Defense officials do not reflect their public or private comments or administration policy.
"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail DoctorZin
That sounds good!
Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread The Most Underreported Story Of The Year!
"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail DoctorZin
Is Seymour Hersh Being Played?
Sometimes it seems as if Seymour Hersh -- the seeming bete noire of the Bush administration -- has an open "leak line" from disgruntled CIA agents and surly State Department officials permanently plugged into his ear. When I heard about his latest infusion of goo in The New Yorker this morning, to wit that the US is spying on Iranian nuclear installations and trying to figure out what to do about them (planning special ops, air raids, etc.), I thought "Here he goes again, leaking top secret information!" But then I thought - duh, what top secret information? Is it possible that any US administration, Democrat or Republican, at this juncture in history would not be directing its intelligence agencies to take a long hard look at Iranian nukes and game plan how to deal with them? Of course not. In fact it would be at the very top of anybody's agenda.
So then why The Big Leak? Well, if I were someone in the government who wanted to announce that we were taking a tough line and had some nasty surprises for the mullahs (to scare them, of course), but didn't want to make this an official public policy statement, what would I do? I'd leak it to Seymour Hersh and count to five.
Am I wrong? The President of the United States has now essentially corroborated Hersh.
Monday, January 17, 2005
It's not often the Pentagon calls a reporter a liar...
... but that's what Rumsfeld's spokesman-type people did to Seymour Hersh today.
Hersh penned a piece in the New Yorker, summarized in the in NY Daily News. Hersh claimed his anonymous, well-informed sources told him thatIraq is just one campaign, the official told investigative reporter Seymour Hersh. The Bush administration is looking at this as a huge war zone. Next, were going to have the Iranian campaign."And, says Hersh, a "Pentagon advisor" told him that the fight against terrorism has turned the world into "a global free-fire zone."Hersh told CNN that if targets are lined up by this summer, U.S. attacks could soon follow.Rummy's folks responded fiercely:
They "want to go into Iran and destroy as much of the military infrastructure as possible," a Pentagon consultant told Hersh.The Iranian regimes apparent nuclear ambitions and its demonstrated support for terrorist organizations is a global challenge that deserves much more serious treatment than Seymour Hersh provides in the New Yorker article titled The Coming Wars.Which is to say, "Seymour Hersh is a lightweight and a liar." The message couldn't be clearer.
Mr. Hershs article is so riddled with errors of fundamental fact that the credibility of his entire piece is destroyed. ...
By his own admission, Mr. Hersh evidently is working on an alternative history novel. He is well along in that work, given the high quality of alternative present that he has developed in several recent articles.
Update: Doug Petch has more history of Hersh's apparent fabrications.
by Donald Sensing, 5:12 PM. Permalink |
Seymour Hersh: "Next stop: Iran"
From the New York Daily News:9 OTHER military secrets intelligence officials have recently entrusted to Seymour Hersh
U.S. commandos are hunting for secret nuclear and chemical weapons sites and other targets in Iran, and have a plan to turn the hard-line Islamic country into the next front in the war on terrorism.
Its not if were going to do anything against Iran. Theyre doing it, an ex-intelligence official tells this weeks issue of The New Yorker.
Since at least last summer, the U.S. teams have penetrated eastern Iran, reportedly with Pakistans help, the magazine said.
Iraq is just one campaign, the official told investigative reporter Seymour Hersh. The Bush administration is looking at this as a huge war zone. Next, were going to have the Iranian campaign."
- By 2009, Syria will be a super big Wal-Mart with some really great deals on chick peas"
- Once the US has puppet control over Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, and Syria, the next move is to instigate a velvet revolution in Pakistanculminating in a pro-Democratic Islamic country that will gratefully change its name to Margaritaville"
- Israels so-called atomic capabilities? Nothing but lava lamps wrapped in tin foil
- Natural" disasters in the coastal areas of Southern California and New York will ensure Republican control of the White House and Congress for at least a generation. Trust us on this
- Todd Beamer? A CIA plant. Lets Roll? Code for scramble the fighter jets and shoot this puppy down. But make it look like we did it, okay?"
- Usama bin Laden has been dead for years, his remains kept in a shoebox at Langley; his recent appearances were actually staged using an actor whose previous credits included Goofy and Hillbilly Bear at Disney World, Orlando
- "John Ashcroft is actually an animatronic unit completed in 1983 by Lockheed Martin; modeled after The Robot Gunslinger character in Michael Crichtons Westworld, Ashcroft was modified to fit then-President Reagans request to make the thing more Christiany"
- Ayman Al Zarqawis birth name is actually Schlomo Edelstein, born Yonkers, NY, 1963, and up until 1991 a social studies teacher in Fairlawn, New Jersey.
- The real reason for the breakup of Ellen Degeneres and Anne Heche? Two words: Condi Rice
update 2: I would say that its quite likely we have (or have had) special forces units poking around in Iran. At least, I hope thats the case. What I find humorous is Hershs hyperbole and his ubiquitous use of the unnamed military intelligence source. For the record.
Open Sy Hersh thread
Feel free to comment on the veracity and implications of Sy Hersh's latest New Yorker essay here. This is how it opens:
George W. Bushs reëlection was not his only victory last fall. The President and his national-security advisers have consolidated control over the military and intelligence communities strategic analyses and covert operations to a degree unmatched since the rise of the post-Second World War national-security state. Bush has an aggressive and ambitious agenda for using that controlagainst the mullahs in Iran and against targets in the ongoing war on terrorismduring his second term. The C.I.A. will continue to be downgraded, and the agency will increasingly serve, as one government consultant with close ties to the Pentagon put it, as facilitators of policy emanating from President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney. This process is well under way.
Despite the deteriorating security situation in Iraq, the Bush Administration has not reconsidered its basic long-range policy goal in the Middle East: the establishment of democracy throughout the region. Bushs reëlection is regarded within the Administration as evidence of Americas support for his decision to go to war. It has reaffirmed the position of the neoconservatives in the Pentagons civilian leadership who advocated the invasion, including Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, and Douglas Feith, the Under-secretary for Policy. According to a former high-level intelligence official, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld met with the Joint Chiefs of Staff shortly after the election and told them, in essence, that the naysayers had been heard and the American people did not accept their message. Rumsfeld added that America was committed to staying in Iraq and that there would be no second-guessing.
This is a war against terrorism, and Iraq is just one campaign. The Bush Administration is looking at this as a huge war zone, the former high-level intelligence official told me. Next, were going to have the Iranian campaign. Weve declared war and the bad guys, wherever they are, are the enemy. This is the last hurrahweve got four years, and want to come out of this saying we won the war on terrorism.
This paragraph is the one that -- if true -- disturbs me the most:
The former high-level intelligence official told me, They dont want to make any W.M.D. intelligence mistakes, as in Iraq. The Republicans cant have two of those. Theres no education in the second kick of a mule. The official added that the government of Pervez Musharraf, the Pakistani President, has won a high price for its coöperationAmerican assurance that Pakistan will not have to hand over A. Q. Khan, known as the father of Pakistans nuclear bomb, to the I.A.E.A. or to any other international authorities for questioning. For two decades, Khan has been linked to a vast consortium of nuclear-black-market activities. Last year, Musharraf professed to be shocked when Khan, in the face of overwhelming evidence, confessed to his activities. A few days later, Musharraf pardoned him, and so far he has refused to allow the I.A.E.A. or American intelligence to interview him. Khan is now said to be living under house arrest in a villa in Islamabad. Its a deala trade-off, the former high-level intelligence official explained. Tell us what you know about Iran and we will let your A. Q. Khan guys go. Its the neoconservatives version of short-term gain at long-term cost. They want to prove that Bush is the anti-terrorism guy who can handle Iran and the nuclear threat, against the long-term goal of eliminating the black market for nuclear proliferation.
If this is true, it suggests the administration really believes that the threat posed by nuclear-armed states is greater than the threat posed by a black market proliferation network that could sell to states and non-state actors alike.
That said, here's the paragraph that makes me wonder just how much Hersh's sources are speaking without knowing:
The new rules will enable the Special Forces community to set up what it calls action teams in the target countries overseas which can be used to find and eliminate terrorist organizations. Do you remember the right-wing execution squads in El Salvador? the former high-level intelligence official asked me, referring to the military-led gangs that committed atrocities in the early nineteen-eighties. We founded them and we financed them, he said. The objective now is to recruit locals in any area we want. And we arent going to tell Congress about it. A former military officer, who has knowledge of the Pentagons commando capabilities, said, Were going to be riding with the bad boys.
One obvious dynamic at work is that some of Hersh's intelligence sources have to be victims of the Porter Goss regime at Langley. On the one hand, that probably gives these officials a strong incentive to spll their guts. On the other hand, it also gives them an incentive to stick it to the Bush administration by any means necessary.
For the record, here is the Defense Department's press release in response to the Hersh essay -- in which precise facts contained in Hersh's piece are challenged; for interpretation of the DoD's statement, check out CNN's take.
Monday, January 17, 2005
Logic tells us that these operations are going on. There is a gap between logic and confirmation that Hersh has chosen to bridge. More precisely, if Hersh is to be believed, a former U.S. intelligence officer allowed him to bridge this gap by providing him with information so sensitive that its disclosure would put in danger the lives of the members of the reconnaissance team, as well as the lives of Pakistani scientists cooperating with the United States.
... It comes down to this: On the broadest level, Hersh's story simply restates what is known or logical. On a deeper level, it reveals details that, if true, could cripple U.S. intelligence collection in Iran. That Hersh would publish this is a given. That he could get hold of information like this from the CIA is a crisis. Or, Hersh could simply have been the victim of U. S. information operations.
According to Hersh the operations are defective because they are an extension of current Bush policies by a new and more extreme means and can only lead to further and worse disasters. The Washington Post has carried an interview with President Bush which they argued showed he regarded the election as blanket absolution over any mistakes it may have made. But Hersh is making a subtly different point: he is suggesting that President Bush regardes the election as having given him a hunting license.
Despite the deteriorating security situation in Iraq, the Bush Administration has not reconsidered its basic long-range policy goal in the Middle East: the establishment of democracy throughout the region. Bushs reëlection is regarded within the Administration as evidence of Americas support for his decision to go to war. ... Rumsfeld met with the Joint Chiefs of Staff shortly after the election and told them, in essence, that the naysayers had been heard and the American people did not accept their message. Rumsfeld added that America was committed to staying in Iraq and that there would be no second-guessing. This is a war against terrorism, and Iraq is just one campaign. The Bush Administration is looking at this as a huge war zone, the former high-level intelligence official told me. Next, were going to have the Iranian campaign. Weve declared war and the bad guys, wherever they are, are the enemy. This is the last hurrahweve got four years, and want to come out of this saying we won the war on terrorism.
The key to the plan is a secret warfighting arm whose job is to undertake operations "off the books", a prospect that Hersh finds chilling.
Rumsfeld planned and lobbied for more than two years before getting Presidential authority, in a series of findings and executive orders, to use military commandos for covert operations. One of his first steps was bureaucratic: to shift control of an undercover unit, known then as the Gray Fox ... The order specifically authorized the military to find and finish terrorist targets, the consultant said. It included a target list that cited Al Qaeda network members, Al Qaeda senior leadership, and other high-value targets. ... If a confused young man from Marin County can join up with Al Qaeda, Arquilla wrote, referring to John Walker Lindh, the twenty-year-old Californian who was seized in Afghanistan, think what professional operatives might do.
As the earlier post on the supposed "blanket absolution" argued, the dialogue over a war now going into it's fourth year shows no closure or consensus at all. The argument between liberals and conservatives over the War on Terror is not limited to the specifics of Iraq policy, as is often alleged, but extends to the very issue of whether terrorism should be fought at all. From the outset many liberals believed, often sincerely, that a conciliatory rather than a combative approach should have been adopted towards radical Islamism. Any admiration professed for American efforts to destroy Al Qaeda in Afghanistan was articulated for the sole purpose of comparing it to the more difficult conditions in Iraq. The idea of appeasement never died. Hersh practically pitches for it in his article in the New Yorker:
For more than a year, France, Germany, Britain, and other countries in the European Union have seen preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon as a race against timeand against the Bush Administration. They have been negotiating with the Iranian leadership to give up its nuclear-weapons ambitions in exchange for economic aid and trade benefits. ... The Europeans have been urging the Bush Administration to join in these negotiations. The Administration has refused to do so.
There are many military and diplomatic experts who dispute the notion that military action, on whatever scale, is the right approach. Shahram Chubin, an Iranian scholar who is the director of research at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, told me, Its a fantasy to think that theres a good American or Israeli military option in Iran.
Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita has gone on the record attacking Hersh's piece, ripping its specifics to pieces, while remaining silent on the key issue of whether there is in fact an unseen component to the Global War on Terror.
Mr. Hershs article is so riddled with errors of fundamental fact that the credibility of his entire piece is destroyed. Mr. Hershs source(s) feed him with rumor, innuendo, and assertions about meetings that never happened, programs that do not exist, and statements by officials that were never made. A sampling from this article alone includes:
- The post-election meeting he describes between the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff did not happen.
- The only civilians in the chain-of-command are the President and the Secretary of Defense, despite Mr. Hershs confident assertion that the chain of command now includes two Department policy officials. His assertion is outrageous, and constitutionally specious.
- Arrangements Mr. Hersh alleges between Under Secretary Douglas Feith and Israel, government or non-government, do not exist. Here, Mr. Hersh is building on links created by the soft bigotry of some conspiracy theorists. This reflects poorly on Mr. Hersh and the New Yorker.
- Mr. Hersh cannot even keep track of his own wanderings. At one point in his article, he makes the outlandish assertion that the military operations he describes are so secret that the operations are being kept secret even from U.S. military Combatant Commanders. Mr. Hersh later states, though, that the locus of this super-secret activity is at the U.S. Central Command headquarters, evidently without the knowledge of the commander if Mr. Hersh is to be believed.
By his own admission, Mr. Hersh evidently is working on an alternative history novel. He is well along in that work, given the high quality of alternative present that he has developed in several recent articles.
DoctorZin Note: More disinformation?
Now US ponders attack on IranHardliners in Pentagon ready to neutralise 'nuclear threat' posed by Tehran
Julian Borger in Washington and Ian Traynor
Tuesday January 18, 2005
President Bush's second inauguration on Thursday will provide the signal for an intense and urgent debate in Washington over whether or when to extend the "global war on terror" to Iran, according to officials and foreign policy analysts in Washington.
That debate is being driven by "neo-conservatives" at the Pentagon who emerged from the post-election Bush reshuffle unscathed, despite their involvement in collecting misleading intelligence on Iraq's weapons in the run-up to the 2003 invasion.
Washington has stood aside from recent European negotiations with Iran and Pentagon hardliners are convinced that the current European-brokered deal suspending nuclear enrichment and intensifying weapons inspections is unenforceable and will collapse in months.
Only the credible threat, and if necessary the use, of air and special operations attacks against Iran's suspected nuclear facilities will stop the ruling clerics in Tehran acquiring warheads, many in the administration argue.
Moderates, who are far fewer in the second Bush administration than the first, insist that if Iran does have a secret weapons programme, it is likely to be dispersed and buried in places almost certainly unknown to US intelligence. The potential for Iranian retaliation inside Iraq and elsewhere is so great, the argument runs, that there is in effect no military option.
A senior administration official involved in developing Iran policy rejected that argument. "It is not as simple as that," he told the Guardian at a recent foreign policy forum in Washington. "It is not a straightforward problem but at some point the costs of doing nothing may just become too high. In Iran you have the intersection of nuclear weapons and proven ties to terrorism. That is what we are looking at now."
The New Yorker reported this week that the Pentagon has already sent special operations teams into Iran to locate possible nuclear weapons sites. The report by Seymour Hersh, a veteran investigative journalist, was played down by the White House and the Pentagon, with comments that stopped short of an outright denial.
"The Iranian regime's apparent nuclear ambitions and its demonstrated support for terrorist organisations is a global challenge that deserves much more serious treatment than Seymour Hersh provides," Lawrence DiRita, the chief Pentagon spokesman, said yesterday: "Mr Hersh's article is so riddled with errors of fundamental fact that the credibility of his entire piece is destroyed."
However, the Guardian has learned the Pentagon was recently contemplating the infiltration of members of the Iranian rebel group, Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK) over the Iraq-Iran border, to collect intelligence. The group, based at Camp Ashraf, near Baghdad, was under the protection of Saddam Hussein, and is under US guard while Washington decides on its strategy.
The MEK has been declared a terrorist group by the state department, but a former Farsi-speaking CIA officer said he had been asked by neo-conservatives in the Pentagon to travel to Iraq to oversee "MEK cross-border operations". He refused, and does not know if those operations have begun.
"They are bringing a lot of the old war-horses from the Reagan and Iran-contra days into a sort of kitchen cabinet outside the government to write up policy papers on Iran," the former officer said.
He said the policy discussion was being overseen by Douglas Feith, the under secretary of defence for policy who was one of the principal advocates of the Iraq war. The Pentagon did not return calls for comment on the issue yesterday. In the run-up to the Iraq invasion, Mr Feith's Office of Special Plans also used like-minded experts on contract from outside the government, to serve as consultants helping the Pentagon counter the more cautious positions of the state department and the CIA.
"They think in Iran you can just go in and hit the facilities and destabilise the government. They believe they can get rid of a few crazy mullahs and bring in the young guys who like Gap jeans, all the world's problems are solved. I think it's delusional," the former CIA officer said.
However, others believe that at a minimum military strikes could set back Iran's nuclear programme several years. Reuel Marc Gerecht, another former CIA officer who is now a leading neo-conservative voice on Iran at the American Enterprise Institute, said: "It would certainly delay [the programme] and it can be done again. It's not a one-time affair. I would be shocked if a military strike could not delay the programme." Mr Gerecht said the internal debate in the administration was only just beginning.
"This administration does not really have an Iran policy," he said. "Iraq has been a fairly consuming endeavour, but it's getting now towards the point where people are going to focus on [Iran] hard and have a great debate."
That debate could be brought to a head in the next few months. Diplomats and officials in Vienna following the Iranian nuclear saga at the International Atomic Energy Agency expect the Iran dispute to re-erupt by the middle of this year, predicting a breakdown of the diplomatic track the EU troika of Britain, Germany and France are pursuing with Tehran. The Iran-EU agreement, reached in November, was aimed at getting Iran to abandon the manufacture of nuclear fuel which can be further refined to bomb-grade.
Now the Iranians are feeding suspicion by continuing to process uranium concentrate into gaseous form, a breach "not of the letter but of the spirit of the agreement," said one European diplomat.
Opinions differ widely over how long it would take Iran to produce a deliverable nuclear warhead, and some analysts believe that Iranian scientists have encountered serious technical difficulties.
"The Israelis believe that by 2007, the Iranians could enrich enough uranium for a bomb. Some of us believe it could be the end of this decade," said David Albright, a nuclear weapons expert at the Institute for Science and International Security. A recent war-game carried out by retired military officers, intelligence officials and diplomats for the Atlantic Monthly, came to the conclusion that there were no feasible military options and if negotiations and the threat of sanctions fail, the US might have to accept Iran as a nuclear power.
However, Sam Gardiner, a retired air force colonel who led the war-game, acknowledged that the Bush administration might not come to the same conclusion.
"Everything you hear about the planning for Iraq suggests logic may not be the basis for the decision," he said.
Mr Gerecht, who took part in the war-game but dissented from the conclusion, believes the Bush White House, still mired in Iraq, has yet to make up its mind.
"The bureaucracy will come down on the side of doing nothing. The real issue is: will the president and the vice president disagree with them? If I were a betting man, I'd bet the US will not use pre-emptive force. However, I would not want to bet a lot."
US Congress targets Iran for regime changeBy Guy Dinmore in Washington
Published: January 17 2005 22:05 | Last updated: January 17 2005 22:05
Support for regime change in Iran is growing in Congress, encouraging new exiled opposition groups supported by Washington's neoconservatives to spring up in the hope of receiving US funding.
Having adopted legislation in the past aimed at Cuba and Iraq, Republicans and Democrats in both houses are starting to champion political reform in Tehran.
The activity comes amid a magazine report that the US has been carrying out secret reconnaissance missions inside Iran in preparation for possible military strikes.
However, Dan Bartlett, a counsellor to George W. Bush, US president, said the article by Seymour Hersh in The New Yorker magazine was riddled with inaccuracies.
Lawrence DiRita, Pentagon spokesman, said Mr Hersh had been fed with rumour, innuendo and assertions about meetings that never happened, programmes that do not exist, and statements by officials that were never made.
One Washington exile group the Alliance for Democracy in Iran describes itself as an opposition umbrella group that would act as a clearing house for US taxpayers' money dedicated to advancing the cause of democracy.
Our true purpose is to empower the Iranian people, to change the regime to become more democratic, said Kamal Azari, the alliance president. He stressed that the group renounced violence.
In Congress, the proposed Iran Freedom and Support Act calls on the Bush administration to back regime change and promote alliances with opposition groups that renounce terrorism.
A similar bill in the House does not mention regime change but would back pro-democracy groups.
Bush won't rule out action vs Iran over nukes
WASHINGTON - US President George W. Bush said on Monday he would not rule out military action against Iran if that country was not more forthcoming about its suspected nuclear weapons program.
I hope we can solve it diplomatically, but I will never take any option off the table," Bush said in an interview with NBC News when asked if he would rule out the potential for military action against Iran "if it continues to stonewall the international community about the existence of its nuclear weapons program."
Iran denies it has been trying to make nuclear weapons and says its nuclear program is geared solely to producing electricity.
Bush's comments followed Pentagon criticism on Monday of a published report that it was mounting reconnaissance missions inside Iran to identify potential nuclear and other targets.
Pakistan denies report it helps US on Iran nukesIslamabad, Jan 17 (Reuters) Pakistan today denied a U S magazine report that it was providing information to help the United States conduct secret reconnaissance missions in Iran to identify potential nuclear, chemical and missile targets.
The New Yorker magazine, in an article yesterday by award-winning reporter Seymour Hersh, said the secret missions had been going on since at least last summer to identify target information for three dozen or more suspected sites.
The report said an American commando task force in South Asia was working closely with a group of Pakistani scientists who had dealt with their Iranian counterparts.
Pakistan's foreign ministry spokesman Masood Khan strongly denied the report and said it was pure conjecture.
''There is no such collaboration,'' Khan told a weekly news conference.
''We do not have much information about Iran's nuclear programme, so I think this report is far-fetched and it exaggerates facts which do not exist in the first place.'' The New Yorker reported that the task force, aided by information from Pakistan, has been penetrating into eastern Iran in a hunt for underground nuclear-weapons installations.
In exchange for this cooperation, an intelligence official told Hersh, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf received assurances that his government would not have to turn over Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan's atomic bomb, to face questioning about his role in selling nuclear secrets to Iran, Libya and North Korea.
Masood Khan said Pakistan was not providing any information on Iran's nuclear facilities to Washington, or to any international agency, because Islamabad was not privy to such information.
''Our contacts in the past were between some individuals and some shady characters. There has been no government-to-government contact in the field of nuclear energy,'' he said.
Nuclear-armed Pakistan has been under the international spotlight since early 2004 when a scandal broke that some of its scientists, led by Khan, were involved in nuclear proliferation to Iran, Libya and North Korea.
Unless, of course, he actually is CIA, in which case I should be happy to apologize to him.
No Sticks, No Carrots[Excerpt] January 17, 2005
Review & Outlook
Where the European Union's revived trade talks with Iran will lead is anyone's guess. What's more certain is that the process shouldn't inspire confidence in the union's ability to defuse international crises.
Negotiations resumed last week, 18 months after the EU broke off earlier talks and two months after Britain, France and Germany struck a bargain in which Tehran agreed to suspend its uranium enrichment activities while the two parties discussed a new trade accord. ...
All the back-slapping -- if not the trade talks themselves -- should have ended Wednesday when Hasan Rowhani, Tehran's top nuclear negotiator, said, "Suspension of enrichment is for a limited period to win the confidence of the international community." In other words, as soon as Tehran has secured more-favorable trade terms, it sees no reason to continue with its cooperative charade. Tehran has made no bones about its nuclear intentions in the past, but this might have been its most brazen avowal yet.
The negotiations, of course, went on -- not least because the EU has gone to great lengths to explain that the trade talks are not linked to developments in the nuclear deal. If the EU-3 become dissatisfied with progress on the uranium-enrichment front, they'll have to petition the entire bloc to have the trade talks halted.
The EU -- having removed the sticks from the Americans' and Israelis' hands -- has started feeding the carrots to Tehran before the mullahs have offered any real concessions. This is not a low-stakes diplomatic polka. Maj. Gen. Aharon Ze'evi, head of Israeli military intelligence, said last week that Iran could be able to enrich uranium within six months; within two years, he said, Tehran could have atomic weapons that "can reach Portugal." "This doesn't worry the Europeans," the Haaretz newspaper quoted Gen. Ze'evi as saying in a lecture at Haifa University. "They tell me that during the Soviet regime as well they were under a nuclear threat, and I try to explain to them that Iran is a different story."
That's the problem with the EU's diplomacy-always-works philosophy. Détente and the doctrine of mutually assured destruction (MAD) might have deterred the Soviets. But Iran is a different story. For starters, MAD was enforced by American might, which ultimately convinced the Soviets that they would lose the arms race and brought their downfall. Perhaps Europe has forgotten about the rather important role the U.S. played in this affair.
We're no fans of economic sanctions for reasons both philosophical and pragmatic. But neither do we favor trade concessions to rogue states that promote terrorism and have nuclear ambitions. Whatever Europe thinks it is doing, we can only guess. But whatever it is, the problem of Iran is coming no closer to a solution. And it is important for everyone to know that the penalty for failure could be very high, a nuclear-armed radical regime making big trouble for both Europe and the U.S.
No country dares to attack Iran due to its deterrent military capabilities: ShamkhaniTEHRAN, Jan. 17 (MNA) -- Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani said on Monday that due to the power of its flexible strategy, Iran has attained military strength such that no country dares to attack it because no country has been able to determine Irans military might.
We are able to say that we have strength such that no country can attack us because they do not have precise information about our military capabilities due to our ability to implement flexible strategies, Shamkhani told reporters on the sidelines of a ceremony to present awards for the best military equipment.
We can claim that we have rapidly produced equipment that has resulted in the greatest deterrent, the defense minister added.
He also stressed the need to make use of talented people to upgrade Irans defense capabilities.
In production power, we should be the pioneer, otherwise we lose.
He also said that the main duty of the Defense Ministry is devising flexible military strategies meant to deter enemies.
The capabilities of the opponent are not static and they are shaped by the prevailing political, economic, and technical conditions. Therefore, we can not counter them with static power.
One can only have deterrent power vis-à-vis an opponent by identifying the opponents weaknesses and strengths, he said in conclusion.
Iran spent over $1 billion on meddling in Iraq: Defence MinisterMon. 17 Jan 2005
Baghdad, Jan. 17 - The Iraqi Defence Minister, Hazem al-Shaalan today accused Iran of interference, saying, "Iran has spent more than $1 billion on meddling in the internal affairs of Iraq".
In a telephone interview with the Arab language Ilaf website, al-Shaalan also accused candidates on the opposition list of Shiite figures led by Abdol Aziz Hakim as a group trying to invite sectarian and religious strife among the people of Iraq.
He blasted Ahmad Chalabi, the disgraced Iraqi opposition candidate who was discovered to be secretly passing on U.S. intelligence to the Iranian regime.
Al-Shaalan has repeatedly called Iran "Iraq's number one enemy" and consistently accused the clerical state of funding insurgent attacks against the Iraqi people.
Al-Shaalan had previously said that the reason Iraqs interim deputy-Prime Minister, Barham Saleh, had been dispatched to Iran was to warn Irans leaders to halt their actions.
Over the past year, a string of Iraqi officials, including Iraqs interim-Prime Minister, Ayad Allawi, and the interim-President Ghazi al-Yawar, have accused Iran of meddling in Iraq. In December al-Yawar accused Iran of pouring huge amounts of money into fundamentalist Shiite parties hoping to create an Iraqi Islamic Republic.
Separately, sources within the Iranian opposition yesterday confirmed to Iran Focus that they were able to obtain a classified document from within Iran's intelligence and security apparatus showing Iran's connections to insurgents carrying out attacks in Iraq.
The document is a report written by an Iraqi group mounting armed attacks on Iraqi civilians and U.S. and Coalition troops in Iraq. It was addressed to Revolutionary Guards Brigadier General Obeydavi, a senior commander of the Qods (Jerusalem) Force.
The Qods Force is the extra-territorial arm of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and oversees the Iranian regime's external military activities in Iraq.
The report described how attacks were "successfully carried out". It acknowledged that the Iraqi group was primarily mounting attacks in Baghdad and provinces to its west.
That report mentioned that the fatwa calling for the group to carry out operation in Iraq was issued in Iran's holy city of Qom.
Neocons turn their attention to IranBy Guy Dinmore in Washington
Published: January 18 2005 00:07 | Last updated: January 18 2005 00:07
Having adopted legislation in the past aimed at Cuba and Iraq, similar groups of Republicans and Democrats in Congress are currently setting their sights on promoting regime change in Iran.
As a result, new exiled Iranian opposition groups backed by some of Washington's neoconservatives are springing up in the hope of seeing large doses of US funding.
One such group the Alliance for Democracy in Iran is taking shape, strategically located in the heart of the capital's think-tank quarter. Activists described it as an opposition umbrella group that would act as a clearing house for US taxpayers' money dedicated to advancing the cause of democracy.
Our true purpose is to empower the Iranian people, to change the regime to become more democratic, explained Kamal Azari, its president, stressing that the group renounced violence. Its aim is a referendum on whether to restore the monarchy under the ousted Shah's son, Reza Pahlavi, who lives in Virginia.
Its board members are relatively obscure; some of them are monarchists. Its Oxford-educated chairman, Bahman Batmanghelidj, (known as Batman), opened a ski resort near Tehran before the 1979 Islamic revolution. A property magnate in Virginia, he filed for personal bankruptcy protection in 1996.
The group has an Accountability Project to identify friends and foes in the US. Alix Boucher, spokeswoman, fires off letters to editors and academic institutions to denounce advocates of engagement with the Islamic regime.
The Alliance says it is in partnership with the rightwing Hudson Institute. Alliance members are also inspired by Michael Ledeen of the American Enterprise Institute, an influential neoconservative policy group, who is a veteran campaigner for regime change.
Mr Ledeen said he had not advised the group. Change in Iran depends on people inside the country and on western government policies, he commented.
A prominent backer of the Alliance is Jerome Corsi, well known for his role in the Swift Boat Veterans and POWs for Truth campaign against John Kerry, the Democratic presidential candidate. He believes the freeze on nuclear development agreed between Iran and the European Union will collapse by March and that Israel, supported by the US, will then launch military strikes.
In Congress, the proposed Iran Freedom and Support Act, sponsored by senators Rick Santorum and John Cornyn, calls on the administration to back regime change and promote and fund the transition to a democratic government through alliances with opposition groups that renounce terrorism.
Some exiles believe around $100m (75m, £55m) will be laid out. Others say this figure is too high.
A similar bill in the House is proposed by Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Florida republican and fierce anti-Castro campaigner. Regime change is not in the language, but the bill would back pro-democracy groups. It also seeks to strengthen existing legislation that would penalise foreign companies investing in Iran's energy sector.
The proposed act draws on experience gained from the 1998 Iraq Liberation Act which enshrined regime change and the 1996 Helms-Burton law on sanctions on Cuba. It has the backing of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a powerful pro-Israel lobby group.
Funding of $3m for Iranian opposition activities has already been inserted by Congress in the 2005 budget on the initiative of Senator Sam Brownback, a Kansas Republican.
Despite these efforts, neoconservatives as a whole are divided over the merits of promoting the exiled opposition, recognising that the parties are torn by internal rivalries and enjoy little support inside Iran.
The administration is not very enthusiastic about the legislation either, despite the president's oft cited support for the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people.
One official said present policy was not to embrace the regime change option. But there was interest in supporting groups that would help to modify Iran's behaviour through promoting democracy. Patrick Clawson of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy doubts regime change will make it through Congress, and says the exiles' funding hopes are just dreams.
The State Department's Middle East Partnership Initiative has sought to identify pro-democracy groups inside Iran for funding, but has not found any. Officials are also aware that any group known to receive US money would be targeted by the regime immediately. Congress says their identities would be kept secret.
Some analysts say the proposed legislation, whether explicit about regime change or not, is a foolish waste of feel-good money that will only undermine diplomatic efforts by the EU to negotiate a way out of the nuclear crisis.
I think this defence minister needs a psychologist to cure him.
He sounds like Rafsanjani as he said the US spends 100 milions dollars a week in Iraq to spoil the people.
Bush blocks Euro plan to woo Iran over nuclear freezeBy Anton La Guardia, Diplomatic Editor
America has hobbled an effort by Britain and other European countries to persuade Iran to freeze its nuclear programme.
Senior officials said privately that the US would not offer economic or political concessions to woo Teheran.
President George W Bush is trying to improve relations with Europe and will visit London and Brussels next month.
But in private, American officials are furious at the European Union's "engagement" with Teheran. They say they will not co-operate with what they see as the dangerous policy of giving the regime "rewards for bad behaviour".
The New Yorker magazine reported yesterday that teams of US special forces had infiltrated Iran to scout suspected weapons sites that would be targeted in future air strikes.
Seymour Hersh, the magazine's award-winning journalist, quoted a US official as saying that after Afghanistan and Iraq "we're going to have the Iranian campaign".
However, a senior US administration source said Mr Bush was unlikely to take any decisions on dealing with Iran for the next six months, while the issue was "blocked" by the European diplomatic initiative.
Another well-placed US source said "military action is only the last resort after other options have been exhausted".
He said Washington wanted first to exert pressure on Iran to halt its nuclear programme through an escalating series of diplomatic and economic sanctions at the United Nations Security Council.
Iran is widely believed to be pursuing a secret programme to build a nuclear bomb. The nation says it only seeks to develop nuclear power to save its oil reserves.
Under an agreement in November between Iran and Britain, France and Germany, Teheran was spared a referral to the security council after it agreed to suspend "voluntarily" the most sensitive parts of its nuclear programme: the enrichment of uranium and the reprocessing of plutonium. In return, the Europeans made a commitment to improve relations.
Working groups met in Geneva yesterday to discuss three issues: Iran's nuclear programme; improved technological and economic co-operation; and "firm commitments on security issues".
The EU has agreed to move ahead with co-operation even before an overall agreement is reached and has resumed talks on a trade pact with Iran.
But many of the benefits that Teheran seeks - advanced technology, investment in its oil industry and greater international acceptance - can be provided only with US agreement.
The Europeans hoped to entice the new Bush administration into the diplomatic process.
American officials dismiss the idea out of hand. One said the European effort was "comical". Another said the Iranians would break out of whatever constraints the Europeans imposed.
Washington believes that any concessions made by Teheran are temporary, and often imposed by their own technical problems. British officials admit their initiative is running into the sand.
Without US support, the Europeans believe their initiative is doomed and it will be only a matter of time before the Iranians resume their nuclear activities.
The US will not publicly denounce the initiative but appears content to watch it collapse.
It then hopes to bring the issue to the security council. Britain says such a move would be pointless because any sanctions would be blocked by Russia and China.
Iran judges back off from Ebadi arrestBy Najmeh Bozorgmehr
Published: January 18 2005 02:00 | Last updated: January 18 2005 02:00
Iran's judiciary retreated yesterday from its threat to arrest Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Peace Prize winner and human rights activist, for failing to obey a summons to appear before the country's Revolutionary Court.
The head of Tehran Province Justice Department, Abbas-Ali Alizadeh, told reporters that "most probably" the case would not be pursued.
Mrs Ebadi was summoned last Wednesday to appear before the court or face arrest. She refused, saying the summons was "illegal".
President Mohammad Khatami said last week that he had guaranteed Ms Ebadi's security in her human rights activities in Iran.Najmeh Bozorgmehr, Tehran.
Rice reshapes the foreign policy apparatus
Last year I wrote in TNR Online:
[T]here are good reasons to believe that realists would trump the neocons during a second term. None of the neocons hold Cabinet-level positions (the most prominent is Paul Wolfowitz) and the rumored shift at the State Department from Colin Powell to Condoleezza Rice will probably strengthen the hand of the realists. (Yes, Powell opposed the neocons, but he also proved rather inept at winning influence with the president; Rice, by contrast, is a realist who will have Bush's attention.)
Continuing that vein of thinking, Guy Dinmore has a great story in the Financial Times on how Condi Rice is staffing both the State Department and the NSC:
A shake-up of the US foreign policy team under Condoleezza Rice will see the emergence of younger rising stars as well as seasoned negotiators, bringing together a combination of pragmatists and "hawks".
While analysts and diplomats are focusing on whether the second Bush administration will see a loss of influence for the ideologically driven neoconservatives, Ms Rice appears to be choosing a mix of career professionals and experts noted primarily for their loyalty and commitment, as well as a willingness to challenge conventional wisdoms...
One of the young climbers cultivated by Ms Rice in the council is Meghan O'Sullivan, senior director for strategic planning with responsibility for Iraq and Iran. "She is rising quickly through the ranks," said one official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Ms O'Sullivan, who is in her 30s, in effect replaces Robert Blackwill, a veteran diplomat who ran the Iraq Stabilisation Group as deputy national security adviser. He has joined a lobbying firm after resigning last year following colourful press reports about his personal life and an altercation with a State Department employee....
Stephen Krasner, a professor of international relations at Stanford University, where Ms Rice was previously provost, is tipped as the new head of policy planning. In 2001 he spent a year in the State Department, working on the Millennium Challenge Account, an aid programme for developing nations that meet criteria of good governance.
At a time when the future of the United Nations is under scrutiny, it is interesting that Ms Rice is believed to have chosen a specialist on the shape of future institutional forums. Mr Krasner has challenged conventional notions of sovereignty. He is also strongly opposed to the International Criminal Court as lacking in democratic accountability.
In an interview a week after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Mr Krasner said prudence was what counted in international relations. "The notion that you can create an ideal world is what walked us into Mao's China, Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Russia. If you want a decent life, what you need is a political system which is prudent and limited. I think that the United States has actually done pretty well in that regard."
What O'Sullivan and Krasner have in common with each other -- as well as with Robert Zoellick, the new no. 2 at State -- is that they are really smart, and they are realists.
Full disclosure: I've known O'Sullivan for some time and am a big fan of her book, Shrewd Sanctions. And Krasner was my dissertation advisor, so you cam pretty much throw any claim to objectivity out the window on him.
US Punishing 8 Chinese Firms for Aiding Iran -- NYTTue Jan 18, 2005 12:29 AM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Bush administration imposed penalties this month against some of China's largest companies for aiding Iran's efforts to improve its ballistic missiles, The New York Times reported on Monday.
The action is part of an effort by the White House and American intelligence agencies to identify and slow important elements of Iran's weapons programs, the newspaper said.
The White House made no public announcement of the penalties, and the State Department placed a one-page notice on page 133 of the Federal Register early this month listing eight Chinese companies affected. The notice kept classified the nature of the technology they had exported, the newspaper said on its Web site.
The penalties bar the companies from doing business with the U.S. government, and prevent them from obtaining export licenses allowing them to buy controlled technologies from American companies. U.S. officials said the exports to Iran included high performance metals and other banned components, the Times said.
Since the Federal Register announcement, the penalties have been noted on some Web sites that concentrate on China and proliferation issues, according to the paper.
President Bush has praised China for its help in seeking a diplomatic end to the North Korean nuclear standoff.
The newspaper said some officials in the administration speculated in the past week that the decision not to publicize the penalties might have been part of an effort not to jeopardize Chinese cooperation at a critical moment in the administration's effort to bring North Korea back to the negotiating table.
The newspaper said two of the largest companies cited in the State Department's list, China Great Wall Industry Corp. and China North Industry Corp., known as Norinco, have been repeatedly penalized for more than a decade; each is closely linked to the Chinese military.
A third company on the penalties list, the China Aero-Technology Import and Export Corp., or Catic, is one of the country's largest producers of military aircraft. The other five companies were not listed in the article.
Violent clashes rock Pars AbadSMCCDI (Information Service)
Jan 17, 2005
Violent clashes between Pars Abad civilians and the Islamic regime's savage and inhumane militiamen occurred near the western town of Ardabil. Reports have been received stating that tens have been injured and possibly some deaths occurred when angry civilians retaliated against unwarranted brutal attacks by the Islamic regime's militiamen.
Oppressed and physically abused, civilians despising the Islamic regime and anything that it represents damaged several public buildings and burned security patrol cars. Shouting and chanting slogans against the regime's leaders, disobedient civilians infuriated the Islamic regime's militiamen with their insolence and impertinency.
The brutal fascist tactics the Islamic regime encourages their militiamen to use to suppress any regime disapproval, or individualism is the usual reason behind Iranian civil disobedience. A steady escalation of Iranians demonstrating against the Iranian Mullah's injustices, in spite the real possibility of losing their lives continues across the country.
Many different groups of young people are also forming anti-regime organizations across Iran with various names, intent upon retaliating against the Islamic regime's brutal policies.
The War Against World War IV
A Second-Term Retreat?
Will George W. Bush spend the next few years backing down from the ambitious strategy he outlined in the Bush Doctrine for fighting and winning World War IV?
To be sure, Bush himself still calls it the "war on terrorism," and has shied away from giving the name World War IV to the great conflict into which we were plunged by 9/11. (World War III, in this accounting, was the cold war.) Yet he has never hesitated to compare the fight against radical Islamism, and the forces nurturing and arming it, with those earlier struggles against Nazism and Communism. Nor has he flinched from suggesting that achieving victory as the Bush Doctrine defines it may take as long as it took to win World War III (which lasted more than four decadesfrom the promulgation of the Truman Doctrine in 1947 until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989).
Even more than the Truman Doctrine in its time, the Bush Doctrine was subjected to a ferocious assault by domestic opponents from the moment it was enunciated. Then, when Bush actually started acting on it, the ferocity grew even more intense, finally reaching record levels of vituperation during the presidential campaign. But in defiance of everything that was being thrown at him, and in spite of setbacks in Iraq that posed a serious threat to his reelection, Bush never yielded an inch. Instead of scurrying for protective cover from the assault, he stood out in the open and countered by reaffirming his belief in the soundness of the doctrine as well as his firm intention to stick with it in the years ahead.
Thus, over and over again he said that he would stay the course in Iraq; that he would go on working for the spread of liberty throughout the greater Middle East (and democratic reform as a condition for the establishment of a Palestinian state); that he would continue reserving the right to take preemptive military action against what in his best judgment were gathering dangers to the security of this country; and that he would if necessary do so unilaterally.
Why then, given that he was reelected on this pledge, should a question now be raised about whether he will keep it? And whymore strangely stillshould the answer most often be that he is indeed about to renege?
Because, comes the response, whether he likes it or not, and whether he intends to or not, he will simply have no other choice. Either his resolve will be sapped by the knowledge that he lacks the necessary political support to push any further ahead with the Bush Doctrine; or he will be prevented by a certain "law" of democratic politics governing Presidents who win a second term; or he will (as Irving Kristol famously said of liberals who turned into neoconservatives) be mugged by reality.
War and Moral Values
The notion that the Bush Doctrine lacks solid political backing derives from the widely publicized National Election Pool (NEP) exit poll. According to this poll, more voters (22 percent of the sample) were motivated primarily by a concern with moral values than by anything else, and it was among these voters that Bush did best against his Democratic opponent John F. Kerry; and while he also won overwhelmingly among the smaller group (19 percent) who were mainly worried about terrorism, he lost by a correspondingly large margin with the still smaller proportion (15 percent) who chose Iraq as their paramount concern.
Not surprisingly, the Presidents liberal opponents have interpreted this poll to mean that the election did not constitute a ratification of the Bush Doctrine. This is why they have been only too happy to second the claim pressed by spokesmen for various groups on the religious Right that Bush won because of the "faith factor" and the mobilization of the faithful around "family issues, including marriage [and] life."
As it happens, a few commentators associated with the religious Right are themselves opposed to the Bush Doctrine, which gives them, too, an incentive for minimizing its role in the Presidents victory. But even those religious conservatives who support the Bush Doctrine have inadvertently played into the hands of his antagonists, both domestic and foreign. That is, by claiming the lions share of credit for November 2, they have made it a little easier for the antiwar forces to deny that the election held on that day was a referendum on the Bush Doctrine, and that it has the wind of a solid majority of the American people behind it.
Yet for all its intensity, this entire debate over the relative importance of moral values and the Bush Doctrine may stem from a complete misreading of the polls. For it is not in the least self-evident that the vague category of moral values was taken by the people who participated in the NEP survey merely as embracing abortion and gay marriage alone. On the contrary: in all probability they understood it more broadly to mean the traditionalist culture in general.
Recently the novelist (and former Secretary of the Navy) James Webb has been arguing, convincingly, that this traditionalist culture is rooted in and still fed by the Scots-Irish ethnic group that comprises a very large proportion of the population of the "red" states. It is a group, he writes, whose members are "family-oriented"; they "measure leaders by their personal strength and values"; they "have a 2,000-year-old military tradition"; and they "are deeply patriotic, having consistently supported every war America has fought, and [are] intensely opposed to gun control."
Looked at in this light, what the NEP poll reveals is that the "moral values" voters were in effect endorsing the very qualities needed in a wartime leader. Bush would therefore be justified in concluding (as I strongly suspect he has done) that these voters should be added to, and not posed against, the big percentage that supported him on the issue of terrorism. He would be equally justified in inferring that antiwar zealots must have been heavily represented among the 15 percent for whom Iraq was the burning issue, and that this (along with the relentlessly negative media coverage of the battle there) explained why he lost out by a great margin to John Kerry with that group of voters.1
In 2000, Bush surprised everyone by proceeding to act boldly even after losing the popular vote to Al Gore. Why then would he become less forceful in pursuing his own policy after besting John Kerry in 2004 by three-and-a-half million votes, and after receiving such vivid evidence that the American people consider him the right man for the job of commander-in-chief in fighting the war on terrorismwhich is to say, World War IV?
Which, climbing up the ladder of plausibility, brings us to the second reason that has been advanced for speculating that, willy-nilly, the President will back away from the Bush Doctrine in his new term. In a piece entitled "Governing Against Type," Edward N. Luttwak of the Center for Strategic and International Studies assures us thatreelected Presidents tend to disappoint their most enthusiastic followers by changing direction: they go Right if they started on the Left (or vice versa); become active when they were passive; turn dovish if they were hawkish; and in all cases converge toward the center of gravity of American politics, as well as toward the mainstream foreign-policy traditions.
In backing up this thesis, Luttwak notes that Ronald Reagan became less rather than more hawkish in his second term, while Bill Clinton, after neglecting foreign policy in his first term, immersed himself in it with a vengeance once he was reelected.
Unlike other commentators, Luttwak does not attribute such turnabouts to "a desire on the part of the President to be more widely loved, or to court the approval of future historians." In his view, the driving force is instead "entropy," or the "natural tendency of democracies to revert to the moderate mean rather than go off the rails." Therefore, even if Bush tries to "go off the rails" (that is, if he insists on sticking with the Bush Doctrine), a kind of natural law of American politics will prevent him from doing so.
What we see here is yet another of those famous "misunderestimations" of George W. Bush. In common with almost every pundit and every inhabitant of every foreign ministry on the face of the earth, Luttwak fails to recognize the exceptionally strong leader America has found in this President, or to take the measure of his boldness, his determination, and his stamina. The poll-driven Bill Clinton may have reverted to "the moderate mean," but Bush, although an immensely skillful politician, is not nearly so poll-driven. And while the Bush Doctrine was certainly inspired and influenced by Ronald Reagan, Bush will just as certainly travel a different road from the one Reagan took in his second term.
During the campaign, at the very moment when things seemed to be going so badly in Iraq that even some previously enthusiastic supporters of the war were jumping ship, and when the abuse being hurled at him was reaching hurricane force, Bush was heard to say, "Im just gettin started." That he meant every word of it became clear almost the minute he was reelected.
For openers, having dismayed his more hawkish supporters (myself included) by pulling back from Falluja in April, he now ordered a full-fledged assault on that terrorist stronghold. He also gave the go-ahead to similar operations against other pockets of the insurgency struggling to drive us out of Iraq and to prevent any further progress in the process of democratization.
At the same time, Bush moved with comparable forcefulness against the insurgency within his own administration. First he sent Porter Goss to the CIA with a mandate to clean out the officials there who (apart from providing faulty intelligence) had been hell-bent on sabotaging the Bush Doctrine. And then he turned his attention to the State Department. Under Colin Powell, it, too, had been actively undermining the Presidents policy to the point where it came to be described by those in a position to know as the "most insubordinate" State Department in American history.
Lawrence Kaplan of the New Republic provides a number of blatant examples, of which the most outrageous concerns the very essence of the Bush Doctrine. When, he writes, the President "proposed an ambitious and concrete plan to promote democracy in the Middle East," the State Department bureaucracy,responding to the objections of Arab leaders, watered down the eventual proposals beyond recognition. . . . And when, on the eve of the war in Iraq, Washington distributed talking points in defense of its position to U.S. embassies abroad, several ambassadors in the Middle East cabled back to Foggy Bottom protesting that they would not make the case for war.2
In replacing Powell with Condoleezza Rice, Bush was putting Foggy Bottom on notice that such activities would no longer be tolerated. As his National Security Adviser throughout the first term, Rice was a fierce loyalist, and she can now be counted upon to push the State Department bureaucracy into supporting the policies of the President it is supposed to serve instead of setting its face against them.
Or can she? Some "experts" think not. In fact, Kaplan reports that several of her former colleagues were spreading the word that Rice, "far from purging the State Departments ranks," will try to mollify them. Other observers, mindful that Rice cut her teeth in government under Brent Scowcrofta leading member of the "realist" school (about which more in a moment) and one of the most relentless critics of the Bush Doctrinehave raised doubts about how firmly committed she may be to Bushs "own bent toward idealistic and assertive American missions." Concurring, Edward Luttwak points to "early signals that Ms. Rice will devote serious attention to the Europeans who did not support the Iraq war," and he takes this as additional evidence of an impending drift away from the Bush Doctrine.
These signals, however, such as they are, surely amount to nothing more than diplomatic politesse, no more portending a second-term retreat than the President did when, late last November, he declared that "A new term in office is an important opportunity to reach out to our friends," or announced that the first "great goal" of his second term was to build "effective multinational and multilateral institutions" and to support "effective multilateral action." That Bush was here practicing a little diplomatic politesse of his own was acknowledged by Dana Milbank of the Washington Post. The President, Milbank reported, "made clear that such cooperation must occur on his terms, and he did not retreat from the first-term policies that angered some allies." What is more, Bushs bow to "multinational and multilateral institutions" carried a sting in the tail:With Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin sharing the stage, Bush . . . implicitly rebuked Canada and the United Nations for not supporting the invasion of Iraq. "The objective of the UN and other institutions must be collective security, not endless debate," he said. "For the sake of peace, when those bodies promise serious consequences, serious consequences must follow."
Mr. Blair Goes to Washington
An even more telling indication that there will be no retreat from the Bush Doctrine in the second termand also that Rice is no longer, if she ever truly was, under the influence of Brent Scowcroftinvolves policy toward Israel.
During the campaign, it was widely rumored that if Bush were reelected, he would change course on Israel. The thinking here was that he owed a debt to the British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who had risked his own political career by supporting him on Iraq, and that the currency in which Blair needed this debt to be paid was greater pressure on Israel and more indulgence toward the Palestinians on the part of the United States. Then came the death of the Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat in November. In the eyes of Blair and just about everyone else in the world, this event opened up an exciting new opportunity to restart the stalled "peace process." So off Blair went to Washington on a post-election trip whose purpose, as he himself announced in advance, was to get Bush to do just that.
On several earlier occasions when Bush, after seeming to tilt toward Israel, had then turned on the Jewish state for taking this or that action, it was assumed that he was trying to accommodate Blair (repaying the debt by installments, so to speak). But whether or not this was the case on such occasions, the situation changed dramatically after June 24, 2002. Having realized that, under the terms of his own doctrine, there could be no meaningful peace process so long as the Palestinians were living under the tyrannical, kleptocratic, and murderous regime led by Arafat, Bush now made American support of a Palestinian state contingent upon the emergence of new leaders who would devote themselves to building "entirely new political and economic institutions based on democracy, market economics, and action against terrorism." In the meantime, Israel was justified in defending itself by military and other means, including through the security fence beginning to be built by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
Under this new dispensation, Bush or one of his spokesmen might from time to time still chide the Israelis for going too far. But there would be an end to the zigzagging from green light to red that had characterized his position before he found his footing on this issue.
In an effort to get Bush to reverse course again, Blair came in November bearing two proposals designed to resume the old pressures on Israel while relaxing the demands the President was making on the Palestinians. One of these proposals was that Bush dispatch a special envoy to the area, and the other was that he convene an international conference. Contrary to Blairs evident expectations, however, Bush rejected both proposals. He did so politely and gently, but reject them he did. The upshot was that, far from being "paid back" in the currency of pressure on Israel, Blair returned home empty-handed except for Bushs fervent praise of him for participating in the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.
Much as I hate to agree with anything the President of France says, Jacques Chirac was right for once when he sneered that Bush had given Blair nothing for his pains.
Then, sending out a very different signal from the one Edward Luttwak imagined he was hearing, Condoleezza Rice followed suit. In a meeting with Jewish leaders held about a week after Blairs departure, she enthusiastically underlined the Presidents rejection of the two Blair proposals. Immediately after this, the President once again picked up and ran with the ball: in his speech in Canada, he reiterated in the most unequivocal terms that he was, if anything, more firmly committed than ever to the conditions he had attached on June 24, 2002 to American support for the establishment of a Palestinian state:Achieving peace in the Holy Land is not just a matter of pressuring one side or the other on the shape of a border or the site of a settlement. This approach has been tried before without success. As we negotiate the details of peace, we must look to the heart of the matter, which is the need for a Palestinian democracy.
So much for "entropy"; and so much, too, for the idea that once Rice is installed in her new office, she will dependably revert to the tutelage of Brent Scowcroft or morph into another Colin Powell.
Mr. Rumsfeld Stays in Washington
Finally, we come to the most plausible of all the reasons that have been given for predicting (or rather hoping) that Bush will spend his second term backing away from his own doctrine. This one can be summed up in a single word: Iraq.
The idea here is that Iraq represents the first great test to which the Bush Doctrine has been put, and that the count is now in on its miserable failure. The retrograde "red-state voters" may have been hoodwinked by the lies emanating from the White House and the Pentagon and amplified by Rush Limbaugh and the Fox News Channel, but everyone who knows anything knows that Bushs entire foreign policy now lies buried under the rubble of Baghdad and the smaller cities of the Sunni triangle.
Apart from all its other faults, this analysis is vitiated by the implicit assumption that, in his heart of hearts, Bush himself has come to agree with its take on Iraq in particular and the Bush Doctrine in general, and that he will now bow to reality and act accordingly. Yet if Bush believes that Iraq has been a disaster, why would he have decided to keep Donald Rumsfeld as his Secretary of Defense?
As the architect of the battle for Iraq, Rumsfeld has been blamed for almost everything that opponents of the invasion (and even some of its vocal supporters) tell us has gone wrong there. He has been accused of underestimating the number of boots that would be needed on the ground; of doing nothing to prevent the looting and the general breakdown of law and order that followed upon the capture of Baghdad; of failing to anticipate, and therefore to deal effectively with, the insurgency that developed; of creating a climate that fostered the mistreatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and other such crimes. In short, "having ignored the State Departments postwar planning" (as the Washington Post delicately put the conventional wisdom in its story on Rumsfelds reappointment), he led this country into a great debacle that has discredited the very policy whose viability it was intended to prove.
But if Bush accepted this version of how and why the battle for Iraq has gone and is going, it is unthinkable that he would have come down on the side of the adviser supposedly responsible for all the "mistakes" and "crimes" instead of embracing Powell, the putatively wise counselor whose spurned advice could have averted the whole disaster.
All things considered, then, I feel safe in predicting that Bush will not reverse course in his second term, and that he will continue striving to implement the doctrine bearing his name throughout the greater Middle Eastthat, in short, he will go on "sticking to his guns, literally and figuratively," as Time put it in naming him "Person of the Year." But I feel equally safe in predicting that the forces opposing him, both in the region and at home, will persist in their struggle to nip this immense enterprise in the bud.
In Iraq, the insurgentsa coalition of diehard Saddamists, domestic Islamofascists, and foreign jihadistshave a simple objective. They are trying to drive us out before the seeds of democratization that we are helping to sow have taken firm root and begun to flower. Only thus can the native insurgents hope to recapture the power they lost when we toppled Saddam; and only thus can the Iranians, the Syrians, and the Saudis, who have been dispatching and/or financing the foreign jihadists, escape becoming the next regimes to go the way of Saddams under the logic of the Bush Doctrine.
The despots tyrannizing these countries all know perfectly well that an American failure in Iraq would rule out the use of military force against them. They know that it would rob other, non-military measures of any real effectiveness. And they know that it would put a halt to the wave of reformist talk that has been sweeping through the region since the promulgation of the Bush Doctrine and that poses an unprecedented threat to their own hold on political power, just as it does to the religious and cultural power of the radical Islamists.
But the most important thing the insurgents and their backers in the neighboring despotisms know is that the battle for Iraq will not be won or lost in Iraq; it will be won or lost in the United States of America. On this they agree entirely with General John Abizaid, the commander of the U.S. Central Command, who recently told reporters touring Iraq: "It is all about staying the course. No military effort that anyone can make against us is going to be able to throw us out of this region." Is it any wonder, then, that the insurgents were praying for the victory of John F. Kerrywhich they all assumed would mean an American withdrawalor that the reelection of Bushwhich they were not fooled by any exit polls into interpreting as anything other than a ratification of the Bush Doctrinecame as such a great blow to them?
But too much is at stake in Iraq for them to give up now, especially as they are confident that they still have an excellent shot at getting the American public to conclude that the game is not worth the candle. General Abizaid again: "We have nothing to fear from this enemy except its ability to create panic . . . and gain a media victory." To achieve this species of victoryand perhaps inspired by the strategy that worked so well for the North Vietnamese3they are counting on the forces opposing the Bush Doctrine at home. These forces comprise just as motley a coalition as the one fighting in Iraq, and they are, after their own fashion, just as desperate. For they too understand how much they for their own part stand to lose if the Bush Doctrine is ever generally judged to have passed the great test to which it has been put in Iraq.
Isolationism, Right and Left
Considerto begin once more on the lowest rung of the ladderthe isolationists of the paleoconservative Right. Their line is that a conspiracy of "neoconservative" (i.e., Jewish) officials holed up in the White House and the Pentagon is dragging this country, against its own interests, into one conflict after another with the sole purpose of "making the Middle East safe for Israel."
The words come from the pen of this groups leading spokesman, Patrick J. Buchanan, who expatiates in characteristically pungent terms:Cui bono? For whose benefit these endless wars in a region that holds nothing vital to America save oil, which the Arabs must sell us to survive" Who would benefit from a war of civilizations between the West and Islam" Answer: one nation, one leader, one party. Israel, Sharon, Likud.
Buchanan also claims, on the basis of one of Osama bin Ladens fatwas, that a major cause of 9/11 was "the United States uncritical support of the Ariel Sharon regime in Israel."
This screed has elicited a trenchant comment from James Taranto of the Wall Street Journals website OpinionJournal:Sharon was elected prime minister of Israel in 2001, three years after the fatwa that, according to Buchanan, condemned his "regime." . . . Labors Ehud Barak won election in 1999, and that didnt stop al Qaeda from attacking the USS Cole in October 2000, even as President Clinton was struggling to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.
In addition,Al Qaedas first attacks on American targets were in Yemen in 1992 and at the World Trade Center in 1993at a time when Labors Yitzhak Rabin was Israels prime minister. Rabin later reached an accommodation with Arafat. . . . Bin Laden does not appear to have been appeased.
Buchanans writings, emitting as they do an unmistakable whiff of anti-Semitism, have already marginalized the paleoconservative isolationists. If the Bush Doctrine passes its test in Iraq, there will be fewer and fewer ears to hear what will more and more sound like the crackpot talk it always was.
So, too, with the isolationists of the hard Left. Theseexactly like their forebears in the late 1930s who fought against Americas entry into World War IIhave made common cause with the paleoconservatives at the other end of the political spectrum. True, the isolationism of the Left stems from the conviction that America is bad for the rest of the world, whereas the isolationism of the Right is based on the belief that the rest of the world is bad for America. Nevertheless, the two streams have converged, flowing smoothly into the same channel of fierce opposition to everything Bush has done in response to 9/11.
In the years before 9/11, Noam Chomsky, Buchanans counterpart on the Left, was very largely forgotten. After achieving great prominence in the 1960s, he had come to seem too extremeor perhaps too naked in his hatred of Americato serve the purposes of the New York Review of Books, through whose pages he had first made his political mark. But after 9/11 he found a newly receptive audience for his contention that this country had brought the terrorist attacks down upon its own head, and for his denunciations of our response to those attacks as nothing more than the latest stage in the malignant imperialism of which he had long since been accusing the United States.
Like Buchanan, Chomsky will go on railing against the Bush Doctrine for as long as his lungs hold out. So will Michael Moore and all the other hard leftists holed up in Hollywood, the universities, and in the intellectual community at large. Fixated as they are on the idea that America is the greatest force for evil in the world, they will always apologize for or side withsometimes openly, sometimes only tacitlyany totalitarian despot, no matter how murderous, provided only that he is ranged against the United States. To these people, as they themselves cannot but recognize, an American success in Iraq will mean the loss of their mass audience and a return to the narrow sectarian ghetto from which they were able to break out after 9/11.
With no mass audience to lose, no such worry bothers the exponents of another line of attack on the Bush Doctrine that has emanated from a neighborhood on the Right where utter ruthlessness is considered the only way to wage war, and where the idea of exporting democracy is thought to conflict with conservative political wisdom. On the Right though it obviously is, this neighborhood of superhawks is as distant from the precincts of paleoconservatism as it is from the redoubts of the anti-American Left.
The most prolific member of the group is Angelo M. Codevilla who, in a series of essays in the Claremont Review of Books, has accused the Bush administration of "eschewing victory" by shying away from "energetic policies that might actually produce" it, and who makes no bones about his belief that we are losing the war as a result. In the same vein, and in the same magazine, Mark Helprin writes that we have failedadequately to prepare for war, to declare war, rigorously to define the enemy, to decide upon disciplines and intelligent war aims, to subjugate the economy to the common defense, or even to endorse the most elemental responsibilities of government.
In then piling a commensurate heap of scorn on the idea of transforming "the entire Islamic world into a group of peaceful democratic states" (Helprin), these two eloquent and fiery polemicists are joined by the more temperate Charles R. Kesler, the editor of the Claremont Review. If democratization is to succeed in the regimes of the Islamic world, a necessary precondition is to beat these regimes into "complete submission" and then occupy them "for decadesnot just for months or years, but for decades" (Kesler). Even then, our troops may have to "stay and die . . . indefinitely on behalf of a mission . . . concerning the accomplishment of which there is little knowledge and less agreement" (Codevilla).
Of all the attacks on the Bush Doctrine, this set of arguments is the only one that resonates with me, at least on the issue of how to wage war. I have no objection in principle to the ruthlessness the superhawks advocate, and I agree that it would likely be very effective. The trouble is that the more closely I look at their position, the more clearly does it emerge as fatally infected by the disease of utopianismthe very disease that usually fills critics of this stripe with revulsion and fear.
When these critics prescribe all-out wartotal mobilization at home, total ruthlessness on the battlefieldthey posit a world that does not exist, at least not in America or in any other democratic country. To the extent that they bother taking account of the America that actually does exist, it is only its imperfections and deficiencies they notice; and these, along with the constraints imposed by the character of the nation on its elected leaders, they wave off with derisive language, as when Codevilla refers sarcastically to "the lowest common denominator among domestic American political forces."
Yet while Codevilla, writing in his study, is free to advise ruthless suppression of these limiting conditions, no one sitting in the Oval Office can possibly do so. And even so, the wonder is not, contrary to Mark Helprin, how "irresolute" and "inept" Bush has been but how far he has managed to go and how much he has already accomplished while working within those constraints and around those imperfections.
As for democratization, Kesler is of course right: it is a hard thing to do, and it cannot be done overnight. But recognizing this truth is a very far cry from suggesting that it cannot be done at all unless the most stringent conditions are met. The conservative skepticism Kesler preaches on texts from Montesquieu and John Adams is all very well in the abstract; in practice, decades need not be required to get a process under wayto clear the ground and sow the seeds and help to water them as they flower and grow.
Unlike all other opponents of the Bush Doctrine, the superhawks are not driven by the fear that they will be discredited if the Bush Doctrine should succeed, if only because none of them imagines that a strategy based on so many false premises, and so much timidity and weakness, ever can or ever will succeed. Therefore they can be depended upon to go on excoriating those policies no matter what.
Moving now away from the margins and closer to the center, we come to one of the neighborhoods inhabited by the foreign-policy establishment.
Herehoused in bodies like the Council on Foreign Relations, the Brookings Institution, and the Carnegie Endowment, and surrounded by the populous community of non-governmental organizations (NGOs)live the liberal internationalists, with their virtually religious commitment to negotiations as the best, or indeed the only, way to resolve conflicts; their relentless faith in the UN (which they stubbornly persist in seeing as the great instrument of collective security even though its record is marked by "an unwillingness to get serious about preventing deadly violence"4); and their corresponding squeamishness about military force. Among their most sophisticated spokesmen are Stanley Hoffmann of Harvard, Charles A. Kupchan of the Council on Foreign Relations, and G. John Ikenberry of Georgetown.
Under Jimmy Carter (whose Secretary of State, Cyrus R. Vance, was a devout member of this school) and to a lesser extent under Bill Clinton, the liberal internationalists were at the very heart of American foreign policy. But while George W. Bush has thrown a rhetorical bone or two in their direction, and has even done them the kindness of making a few ceremonial bows to the UN, he has for all practical purposes written off the liberal-internationalist school. Nor has he been coy about this. As he declared in a speech at West Point on June 1, 2002:We cannot defend America and our friends by hoping for the best. We cannot put our faith in the word of tyrants, who solemnly sign non-proliferation treaties, and then systematically break them.
The liberal internationalists were not slow to pick up on what statements like this held in store for them. While Kupchan thought that a number of other forces had already weakened their position before, it was, he said flatly, "the election of George W. Bush [that] sounded the death-knell for liberal internationalism" (defined by him as "a moderate, centrist internationalism that manages the international system through compromise, consensus, and international institutions"). Ikenberry, on the other hand, blamed Bush alone:[A] set of hard-line, fundamentalist ideas have taken Washington by storm and provided the intellectual rationale for a radical post-11 September reorientation of American foreign policy. . . . [This] is not leadership but a geostrategic wrecking ball that will destroy Americas own half-century-old international architecture.
What Ikenberry does not say is that, thanks to the workings of this "wrecking ball," the liberal internationalists have been reduced to a domestic echo chamber for the French and the Germans. All they seem able to do is count the ways in which the "unilateral" invasion of Iraq has done "damage to the countrys international positionits prestige, credibility, security partnerships, and the goodwill of other countries" (Ikenberry). Since they refuse even to consider whether 9/11 demanded a "reorientation"whether, that is, it demonstrated that "the tools and doctrines of the [old] system had outlived their utility" and had to be replaced with a "new set of rules for managing the emerging threats to international security"5they can hope for nothing better than a reversion to the status quo ante.
This dream, thinks Stanley Hoffmann, could yet be realized by a scuttling of the Bush Doctrine through a withdrawal from Iraq thatwould bring about a reconciliation with friends and allies shocked by Washingtons recent unilateralism and repudiation of international obligations, and thus do much to restore . . . American credibility and "soft power" in the world.
As against Hoffmann, neither Ikenberry nor Kupchan envisages so rosy a future for their common creed, even in the exceedingly unlikely event that the Bush Doctrine is abandoned. If, however, the doctrine should be vindicated by Iraq, they all fearand rightly sothat it will be almost impossible, in Kupchans words, to "bring the U.S. back to a liberal brand of internationalism." Or, I would add, to bring its exponents back to the center of the foreign-policy establishment.
But of all the groups making up the coalition against the Bush Doctrine, the one with the most to lose is the realists.6
The realist perspective is shaped by two related precepts. The first is that in international affairs the great desideratum is stability, which can be achieved only through a proper balance of power. Following from this is a very old principle, going all the way back to the arrangements of the 16th century that allowed for more or less peaceful coexistence among perennially warring Catholic and Protestant principalities. In its original form this principle was expressed in the Latin motto "cuius regio eius religio" (the religion of the ruler is the religion of the region). Translated into secular terms, it holds that the internal character of a sovereign state is strictly its own affair, and only the actions it takes beyond its own borders are the business of any other state.
In contrast to the liberal internationalists, the realists are not in the least squeamish about the use of force. But under the dictates of their basic principles, force is justified only in repelling another states aggressive effort to upset a previously stable balance of power, while to make war in order to institute "regime change" is almost always both wrong and foolish. A good example of these dictates at work was the first Gulf war, when George W. Bushs father, with Brent Scowcroft as his National Security Adviser, used force to undo Saddam Husseins invasion of Kuwait but stopped short of removing him from power in Iraq.
Until 9/11, the realists undoubtedly represented the single most influential school of thought in the world of foreign policy, with all others considered naïve or dangerous or both (though a patronizing pass might occasionally be given to liberal internationalists). It would not be going too far to say that for everyone of any great importance in that world, whether as a theorist or a practitioner, the realist perspective was axiomatic. And being, as it were, the default position, it was almost automatically adopted by George W. Bush, too, in his pre-9/11 incarnation. But on 9/11, Bushs more or less reflexive realism took so great a hit that it collapsed in flames just as surely as did the Twin Towers.
Bush made no secret of his repudiation of realism, and he did not pussyfoot around it:For decades, free nations tolerated oppression in the Middle East for the sake of stability. In practice, this approach brought little stability and much oppression, so I have changed this policy.
That took care of the first guiding precept of the realist perspective. And Bush was equally forthrightalmost brutalin giving the back of his hand to the realist prohibition against using force to transform the internal character of other states:Some who call themselves realists question whether the spread of democracy in the Middle East should be any concern of ours. But the realists in this case have lost contact with a fundamental reality: America has always been less secure when freedom is in retreat; America is always more secure when freedom is on the march.
Farewell, then, to cuius regio eius religio as well.
What Bush was declaring here was a revolutionary change in the rules of the international game. If we are to grasp the full significance of this change, we have to start by recognizing that the invasion of Afghanistan was only a partial application of the new doctrine. Because the terrorists who had attacked us were based in Afghanistan, and were protected and supported by the Taliban regime ruling that country, going after it did not constitute a preemptive strike. It represented, rather, a conventional retaliation against an unconventional aggression: they hit us and we hit back.
Being nothing new, the invasion itself was not opposed in principle by the realists (even though some of them considered it crazy to think that we could win where so many other armiesmost recently the Russianshad come a cropper). But the operation in Afghanistan did begin to conflict in principle with the realist perspective when it went beyond toppling the Taliban regime to sponsoring a replacement government pledged to democratization.
Still, the main criticism leveled by the realists at this point took a prudential form: our political objective, they said, was even more foolhardy than our military effort. This suggests that they were slower than the liberal internationalists in fully grasping what Bush was throwing at them. Probably unable to imagine that he could possibly be serious when he talked about reshaping the political character of the entire region, they seem to have consoled themselves with the notion that Afghanistan was just a one-shot overreaction to 9/11.
If so, they were soon to be stripped of this cold comfort by the invasion of Iraq. And even then, it still took another while before the realists felt the full force of the gale being whipped up by George W. Bush. What caused the additional delay was the almost exclusive focus of the debate over Iraq on weapons of mass destruction.
WMD vs. Draining the Swamps
When Bush charged Saddam Hussein with refusing to give up his weapons of mass destruction, he was relying in good faith on what the CIAand every other intelligence agency in the worldassured him was the case. He was also acting in good faith when he warned that Saddam might put such weapons into the hands of terrorists, and when he then invoked this danger in an advance justification of the new policy of preemption ("If we wait for threats to fully materialize, we will have waited too long").
But there would be a heavy price to pay for placing so much stress on the issue of WMD. Not only did the failure to find them severely injure the case for invading Iraq; perhaps even more injurious was that the emphasis on WMD obscured the long-range strategic rationale for the invasion. For while the immediate objective was indeed to disarm Saddam Hussein, the larger one was to press on with "draining the swamps"whether created by religious despots, as in Afghanistan, or by secular tyrants, as in Iraqthat were in Bushs view the breeding-grounds of terrorism in the greater Middle East. Nor could those swamps be drained only by strong-arming the regimes under which they had been festering. It was also necessary in this view to replace these regimes with elected governments that would work to fulfill the hopes of "the peoples of the Islamic nations [who] who want and deserve the same freedoms and opportunities as people in every nation."
All this pretty much disappeared from the debate over Iraq in the months before the invasion. Nevertheless, it gradually sank in among the realists that they had been wrong in dismissing Afghanistan as a one-shot affair, and that disarming Saddam was not the be-all or the end-all of the invasion of Iraq. Hard though it was for them, they finally had to face up to the incredible fact that Bush had not just been making rhetorical noises when he said that his ultimate strategic aim was to push all the states in the greater Middle Eastevery last one of themtoward democracy.
Worse yet, there was no dissuading him by argument, not even when close advisers of his father like Brent Scowcroft and James Baker were telling him that it was a mistake to invade Iraq. Brainwashed (as the realists along with many others had concluded) by the neoconservative ideologues who had wormed their way into his mind, he refused to recognize that by far the most important obstacle to solving all our problems in the Middle East was not Saddam Hussein but Ariel Sharon. And he remained calmly impervious to the objection that pursuing his new doctrine of democratization would destabilize the region (maddeningly, he even responded that this was exactly what he wanted to do) and would also increase rather than lessen the danger of terrorism.
An interesting wrinkle in the story of the realist offensive against the Bush Doctrine is that it did not enlist the services of Henry Kissinger, the universally acknowledged leader of that school. Most of his disciplesincluding such prominent former assistants of his in the Nixon and Ford administrations as Scowcroft and Lawrence Eagleburger (later to become Secretary of State himself under the first George Bush)lined up against the invasion of Iraq. But Kissinger himself, after hesitating a bit, came out in favor of using force against Saddam; and once the battle had begun, he was adamant about the need to stay the course and win. In sharp contrast to his less flexible students, Kissinger understood that what was at stake in the greater Middle East was American credibility, and that the loss of this credibility would constitute the worst imaginable threat to the very stability that realists were supposed to pursue.
Given his special take on Iraqand even though he remained deeply skeptical about the short- or even medium-term prospects for democracy there and in the region at largeKissinger did not and would not add his voice to the campaign against the Bush Doctrine mounted by other realists in the innumerable articles and books that came pouring out of them.7 These polemics, like those of the liberal internationalists, were on the whole more restrained in tone than the ravings of the isolationistsmore patronizing than hystericalbut in substance and underneath the surface they were no less apocalyptic.
Rooting for Defeat
This comes through with great clarity in a long and highly sympathetic survey of books attacking the Bush Doctrine that were produced before the election by a mixed bag of realists and liberal internationalists who mostly reside in the academy.8 Entitled "A Dissenters Guide to Foreign Policy" and published in World Policy Journal, the survey was written by David C. Hendrickson, a professor of political science at Colorado College and a member of the Coalition for a Realistic Foreign Policy.
Hendrickson begins by implicitly placing the things America has done under George W. Bush on a par with the "iniquities" of the Soviet Union under Stalin, from "the horrors of collectivization, the show trials, the devouring of the children of the Revolution in purges and assassinations" and up through "the Nazi-Soviet pact of 1939." For just as all this caused many Communists elsewhere to lose their faith in the benevolence of the Soviet Union, so, to the realists and the liberal internationalists surveyed by Hendrickson,the sheer enormity of what the Bush administration was attempting provoked a fundamental reevaluation of the belief that the United States was essentially, and despite imperfections, a tremendous force for good in the world. For them, as indeed for this reviewer, that proposition is now in grave doubt.
To which all one can say is that if, because of the "unholy propensities" of the Bush Doctrine, the end of America as a force for good is about to descend upon us, it will arrive in the form of an attack by terrorists armed with weapons of mass destruction, and that such an attack is far more likely to occur if these "unholy propensities" are prevented from working themselves out than if they are allowed to take their course. But what is certainly true is that if these same "unholy propensities" succeed, the realists (like the liberal internationalists) will be confronted with the impending end of their world. In the unkindest cut of all, their ideas will come to be dismissed as, precisely, unrealistic, and their standing will suffer a possibly fatal blow.
Before November 2, some realists had feared that Bushs reelection would, in Hendricksons words, "confirm and ratify the revolutionary changes he has introduced to U.S. strategy." Having calmed down a bit since then, they are now hoping to avert the apocalypse through another possible outcome that some of them envisaged before November 2: namely, that "once revolutionary zeal collides with hard reality, . . . the Bush policies . . . will end in tears."
One can only admire Hendricksons candor in admitting what is usually hotly denied: that even many leading realists, along with many liberal internationalists, are rooting for an American defeat. Direct action not being their style, they will not participate in the "mass demonstrations and civil disobedience" advocated by Tom Hayden, who advises following the playbook of the "peace" movement of the 60s (of which he was one of the chief organizers) as the way to get us out of Iraq. But neither will they sit back passively and wait for "hard reality" to ensure that the Bush Doctrine "ends in tears."
Instead of taking to the streets, the realists and the liberal internationalists will go back to their word processors and redouble their ongoing efforts to turn public opinion against the Bush Doctrine. Mainly they will try to do so by demonstrating over and over again that the doctrine is already failing its first great encounter with "hard reality" in Iraq.
"All the News That Fits Their Spin"9
Along the way, they will get more than a little help from their de-facto allies on both political flanks and from acolytes in the media like Chris Hedges of the New York Times (writing on this occasion in the New York Review of Books a few weeks after Bushs reelection):We are losing the war in Iraq. There has been a steady increase in the assaults carried out by the insurgents against coalition forces. . . . We are an isolated and reviled nation. We are tyrants to others weaker than ourselves. We have lost sight of our democratic ideals.
Like Hedges, the various groups within the anti-Bush coalition will continue to pronounce topsy-turvy judgments of this kind (the most startling being Hedgess claim that a policy whose heart and soul is the spread of democracy signifies that "we have lost sight of our democratic ideals"). Like Hedges, too, they will make the most of every piece of bad news, every kidnapping, beheading, and bombing, coming out of Iraq. And if by some unhappy chance the news is not bad enough or sufficiently plentiful in its own right, they will exaggerate its dimensions or misrepresent its significance.
This is exactly the game they have been playing since we first went into Iraq. For instance, when looting broke out in Baghdad shortly after the city had fallen to American troops in April 2003, opponents of the war blamed the Pentagon. But as hardly anyone bothered to notice, this may well have been the first time in the history of warfare that looting was carried out not by the invading army but by the local populaceacting, moreover, against the wishes of the invading army itself.10
An even more egregious case of how bad news has been exaggerated and distorted was the scandal of Abu Ghraib, where a half-dozen or so American guards had inflicted humiliationsmostly of a sexual natureon a few Iraqi prisoners. And yet Senator Edward M. Kennedy equated Abu Ghraib with Saddams jails, where untold numbers were physically tortured and murdered; former Vice President Al Gore compared it to Stalins Gulag, where literally millions died of starvation and disease; and the financier George Soros said that it was as bad as the attacks of 9/11.
A more recent example of exaggeration and distortion turned up in a piece in the Washington Post by Brian Gifford, a research fellow at the University of California. According to Gifford,the focus on how "light" casualties have been so far . . . serves to rationalize the continued conduct of the war and prevents us as a nation from confronting the realities of conditions in Iraq.
This claimthat American casualties in Iraq have not been proportionately light by historical standardswas ridiculous on its face (compare the 6,600 men who died on D-Day alone in World War II with the approximately 1,000 killed in combat over the entire span of the battle of Iraq), and it was soon shown to rest on faulty statistics and mathematical miscalculations.11
Then, at the crest of the latest wave of distortion and defeatism, came two classified and rather gloomy documents that were leaked by the CIA to the New York Times. Never mind that the agency had all along been leaking similarly morbid assessments of the situation in Iraq and even authorizing direct attacks on the Bush Doctrine from within.12 Never mind that the agencys new director, Porter Goss, had just distributed a memorandum in which he had to instruct CIA employees not to "identify with, support, or champion opposition to the administration and its policies." Never mind that these latest reports amounted to nothing more than the personal opinions of officials with whom other officials on the scene strongly disagreed. Never mind that the CIA has been wrong about almost everything connected with Iraq, from the question of whether Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction to the role of Ahmad Chalabi.13
In spite of all this, the two new reports were still reverently touted as "an unvarnished assessment" on "matters of politics, economics, and security" that was self-evidently more credible than the optimistic "public picture being offered by the Bush administration."
As the anti-Bush coalition goes on exaggerating the bad news through such distortions and overstatements,14 it will simultaneously go on ignoring the good news coming out of Iraq. Nothing will be heard from these quarters about the progress being made in getting a free political system going, in reconstructing the economy, and in establishing law and order throughout most of the country, even as the more aggressive measures being taken against the insurgency are having an effect within the Sunni triangle.15 Since such news does not jibe with the antiwar coalitions take on Iraq, it does not qualify as "hard reality."
As I write these words, about a month before elections are scheduled to be held in Iraq, the insurgency is stepping up its murderous campaign to frighten people away from the polls and to force a postponement. My guess is that these terrorist attacks (which took the lives of more than 60 Iraqi civilians on a single day in December) will not succeed, and that even if they do, the postponement will not be indefinite and elections will take place sooner rather than later.16
Suppose, then (as I do), that in a year or so, a duly elected coalition government is in place in Baghdad; that it is guided by a constitution guaranteeing political freedom and minority rights; that the economy is improving; that Iraqi soldiers and policemen have taken over most of the responsibility for dealing with a severely weakened insurgency; that the number of American troops has been reduced to the size of a backup force; and that fewer and fewer Americans are being killed or wounded. What then? Will the realists and their liberal allies bow to this reality? Will they be mugged by reality?
I think not. I think they will do unto a success in Iraq what they did when Hamid Karzai was sworn in as the president of Afghanistan this past December. In a powerful report on how the press chose to cover that story, Peter H. Wehner of the White House Office of Strategic Initiatives reminds us of what the realists always said about Afghanistan: that it "was too backward; too fractious; too medieval and religiously fanatical; and too ungovernable to ever move toward democracy." Yet only three years after the war to liberate Afghanistan from the horrific Taliban regime, "a free election was held and a civilized, modern, pro-American president was sworn in." Wehner then describes how the press treated what he calls "this momentous event":The New York Times carried the story on page A8. The Washington Post carried the story on page A13. USA Today had the briefest mention possible on page A5. The Los Angeles Times carried the story on page A3.
But merely burying the story was not good enough for the news pages of the Wall Street Journal (whose point of view is much closer to that of the New York Times and the Washington Post than to the conservative position of the Journals own editorial page). The papers coverage, carried in the "Whats News" column, consisted entirely of a one-sentence mention that "Karzai was sworn in as Afghanistans president," immediately followed by this: "Taliban rebels attacked a military base near the Pakistani borders, killing four soldiers. U.S. troops killed two assailants." And the Los Angeles Times went the Journal one better by taking the occasion to dwell on how much opium is still being produced in Afghanistan.
The syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer summed it up pithily:What has happened in Afghanistan is nothing short of a miracle. . . . [A]nd what do liberals have to say about this singular achievement by the Bush administration? That Afghanistan is growing poppies. Good grief. This is news? "Afghanistan grows poppies" is the sun rising in the east. "Afghanistan inaugurates democratically elected president" is the sun rising in the west. Afghanistan has always grown poppies. What is President Bush supposed to do? Send 100,000 GIs to eradicate the crop and incite a popular rebellion?
Concluding that "Afghanistan is the first graduate of the Bush Doctrine of spreading democracy in rather hostile places," Krauthammer laments that instead of being greeted with so much as a moment of celebration, it has been either denigrated or sent down the memory hole.
Not, however, by Hamid Karzai himself, who had the following largely unreported words to say on "graduation day":Whatever we have achieved in Afghanistanthe peace, the election, the reconstruction, the life that the Afghans are living today in peace, the children going to school, the businesses, the fact that Afghanistan is again a respected member of the international communityis from the help that the United States of America gave us. Without that help Afghanistan would be in the hands of terroristsdestroyed, poverty-stricken, and without its children going to school or getting an education. We are very, very grateful, to put it in the simple words that we know, to the people of the United States of America for bringing us this day.
Long before "graduation day," of course, enemies of the Bush Doctrine who were banking on it to crash and burn had already begun shifting most of their chips from Afghanistan to Iraq, which was looking like a much more promising bet. Now, with so much riding on a failure in Iraq, no effort will be spared to make sure that even a victory there ends up being defined as a defeat.
Impossible? Take a look at the story of the Tet offensive mounted by the Communists in Vietnam in 1968.
The Lesson of Tet
At the time, American officials assertedand the evidence was there to back them upthat the offensive had ended in military defeat for the North Vietnamese and their Vietcong surrogates. But the almost universal impression created by press and television coverage was of a defeat instead for the Americans and the South Vietnamese. On every point the situation was misrepresented by misleading stories and pictures and even by outright falsehood.
Thus the media continued to harp on the successes of Hanoi even after the Norths assault on South Vietnamese cities had been blunted; they spoke of rural areas having fallen under Communist control that were in fact being held by American and South Vietnamese forces; they said that the South Vietnamese troops in the provinces were refusing to fight when in fact they were refusing to cave in; and so forth and so on. To top it all off, when the American commander, General William Westmoreland, or President Lyndon Johnson, or any of their spokesmen tried to counter these false impressions, they were ridiculed for "singing the same old song" of progress and optimism that had already exposed them as a pack of liars.17
The same triumph of spin over reality is what the enemies of the Bush Doctrine will desperately try to achieve if (or when) Iraq proves to be a success. Of course, things are a little different now. In 1968, when Walter Cronkite, speaking in his characteristically solemn tones from the anchor chair of the CBS Evening News, endorsed the view that Tet had been a defeat for us, Johnson realized that there was nothing further he could do to counter this blatant falsehood, and that he himself was for all practical purposes finished. But with the rise of alternatives to the mainstream media like talk radio, Fox News, and the blogosphere, when in 2004 Cronkites successor, Dan Rather, tried to palm off a falsehood about George W. Bush, it was he and not Bush who was for all practical purposes finished.
Even this does not necessarily mean that a success in Iraq will be invulnerable to a Tet-like treatment by the anti-Bush Doctrine forces. There will inevitably be more than enough Iraqi counterparts of the "poppies" and "Taliban rebels" of Afghanistan for them to harp upon. Still, under the circumstances of today, they will have a harder time than their forebears of 1968 did with Tet. It may even come to pass that, like Dan Rather as against Walter Cronkite, they and not Bush will end up being discredited.
If so, will they then throw in the towel? Not on your life. To admit that they were wrong about the Bush Doctrine would be tantamount to declaring intellectual and political bankruptcyto acknowledge that all their ideas about the international order, and about the role the United States should properly play in world affairs, had become as worthless as Confederate currency.
Which brings us full circle to the predictions of a second-term retreat by the administration. If there is in fact to be no retreat on Iraq, realists and others will have to fall back on different ground. It is already on that groundwhere stands the threat represented by North Korea and Iran, the other two members of the Axis of Evilthat the realists in particular are preparing to open a new front in their war against World War IV.
Enter Iran and North Korea
We get an inkling of how this polemical redeployment is being executed from a piece by David E. Sanger of the New York Times early last December under the headline "Hawk Sightings Could be Premature." It would, writes Sanger, berisky to race to the certainty . . . that a second Bush administration, unrestrained by the caution of Colin Powell, will lead the United States into an unending series of confrontations with the world, starting with bellicose approaches to controlling the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea. . . . It has been quite a while since the words "Axis of Evil" sprang from the Presidents lips. And during the election campaign, it was clear from the Presidents words and actions that the limits on American power had begun to sink in on this White House.
Neatly tying everything together, Sanger and his sources attribute this newfound caution to our experience in Iraq:Iraq has made it harder to be hawkish in this White House . . . because it has tied down American combat troops and magnified the need to juggle scarce military resources. . . . The result is that "we may have maxed out on hawkishness for a while," said Daniel Benjamin, who served on the National Security Council under President Clinton. . . . There will be "many opportunities to sound hawkish" on North Korea and Iran, said Mr. Benjamin, but Mr. Bush has limited options in both places.
Seconding Benjamin is Ivo H. Daalder of the Brookings Institution, whom Sanger quotes as asserting that there is no way Bush can stop Iran from acquiring and North Korea from deploying nuclear weapons:"Instead, we may just do less in a second term, and learn to live with our limits," Mr. Daalder said, even if that means silently tolerating a nuclear capability that Mr. Bush has said would be unacceptable in either North Korea or Iran.
Even Pat Buchanan, suddenly cross-dressing18 as a realist, gets into this particular act:What appears to be happening is this: While there is no shortage of neocon war plans for a Pax Americana, President Bush is bumping up against realitya U.S. Army tied down and bleeding in Iraq, the rising costs of war, soaring deficits, a sinking dollar, and an absence of allies willing to fight beside us or even help. He is facing the Vietnam dilemma.
But like Edward Luttwaks theory of "entropy," these forecasts "misunderestimate" Bushs resolve and seriousness of purpose. They also take no account whatsoever of how far the Bush Doctrine has already gone beyond the "limits" they were so sure would prevent the implanting of a democratic process in Afghanistan, and how far the same alleged limits are being pushed in Iraq. If Bush remains true to form, he will not be put off by this kind of talk in connection with Iran and North Korea.
But is it only talk, or is it indeed a "hard reality" that we are facing in connection with those two countries" With respect to North Korea, the barrier that most realists see is less military than political (that is, the use or even the threat of force would stir up all kinds of trouble with the South Koreans, who "want a more conciliatory approach"). With respect to Iran, on the other hand, the consensusembracing even many (most") enthusiasts of the Bush Doctrine along with all of its opponentsis that no good military option exists. For unlike the nuclear plant at Osirak in Iraq, which presented a single juicy target for the Israelis to bomb in 1981, Iranian nuclear facilities have been dispersed all over the place; and to make matters even more difficult, either they have been "hardened" by being buried deep in the earth or they are out in the open and "shielded" by the civilian population surrounding them.
But can it, I wonder, really be true that no "viable military options" exist for preventing Iran from getting its evil hands on nuclear weapons, and North Korea from deploying or threatening to deploy the ones it evidently already has? Can it really be true that it is beyond the wit and the capabilities of the most powerful nation in the history of the world to devise and execute a strategy for averting something very close to a mortal danger?
Not being a general or the son of a general, I do not know how to design such a strategy. Nor do I deny that it would be better all around if we could achieve our objective without firing a shot. But as the old saying goes, I have a bridge to sell to anyone who thinks that we can rely on the farcical agreements recently negotiated with the North Korean madmen and the mullocracy in Tehran, or on the impotent blusterings of the UN Security Council.
From the way George W. Bush has been talking lately, one might conclude that he wishes to make a bid for my bridge, and that he has forgotten the statement I quoted earlier that so dismayed the liberal internationalists and that is worth quoting again in this context:We cannot defend America and our friends by hoping for the best. We cannot put our faith in the word of tyrants, who solemnly sign non-proliferation treaties, and then systematically break them.
Yet I strongly doubt that Bush has suddenly discovered that there is wisdom in "hoping for the best" and putting "our faith in the word of tyrants." To me, it seems much more likely that in backing the European approach to Iran and the six-power negotiations with North Korea, he is once again walking the last diplomatic mile, exactly as when he spent so many months and so much energy working to get the UN to endorse an invasion of Iraq. Simultaneously, in going through this exercise, he is also trying to buy time until the situation in Iraq settles down.
In North Korea, it appears that there is no diplomatic or political way out. But in Iran, there may be an alternative in the internal opposition aspiring to overthrow the mullocracy and replace it with a democratic government. Admittedly, these opponents are also Iranian nationalists, and they could in their turn also claim the right to develop a nuclear capability. But if Iran were no longer a sponsor of terrorism and an enemy of the United States, its possession of a nuclear arsenal would pose no imminent danger. Hence it is in our interest to encourage an internal uprising if the opposition is strong enough and if we can find effective ways to speed it up.
That there is no doubting either the strength of the opposition or our ability to aid it has been the constant refrain of Michael Ledeen of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), whose innumerable articles on the subject in National Review Online always end with the mantra "Faster, please." Here, in a nutshell, is his case:In Iran today, upward of 70 percent of the population is openly hostile to the regime, vocally desirous of freedom and democracy, and bravely supportive of the Bush Doctrine to bring democratic revolution to the entire region. If we could bring down the Soviet Union by inspiring and supporting a small percentage of the people, surely the chances of successful revolution in Iran are more likely. By orders of magnitude.
Some of Ledeens colleagues at AEI, together with many other fellow supporters of the Bush Doctrine, strongly disagree. The regime in Tehran, they argue, is not nearly so weak as he judges it to be, and the opposition is no longer as promising as it once looked. But even if they are right, it is hard to see what harm would follow from taking Ledeens advice, on the chance that we might be as pleasantly surprised in the case of Iran as we were when the Soviet Empire began to implode from within.19
If an uprising is not in the cards, we will be left with only one alternative to preemptive military action: standing by (while kidding ourselves with empty motions of diplomacy) and watching the worlds leading sponsor of terrorism acquire nuclear weapons that it could then pass on to its terrorist protégés for use against the "Great Satan."
There are, indeed, those who have already begun reconciling themselves to this eventuality, and against that terrible day have been resurrecting the old doctrine of Mutual Assured Destruction (usually referred to during World War III by the wonderfully apt acronym "MAD"). No need, they purr, to lose sleep over the remote possibility that the Iranians might equip their favored terrorists with nuclear weapons; the mullahs would surely be deterred from doing so by the fear that, if such weapons were actually used, they themselves would become vulnerable to a retaliatory nuclear strike by us.
The obvious problem with this soothing argument is that the Iranian regime would hotly deny any connection to a terrorist attack on us. Nor would our intelligence agencies, burned once over Saddam, likely be so quick to fix the responsibility on them. Under that all-too-plausible scenario, it would, yes, be mad to place our faith in MAD.
The Wind at Bushs Back
During the presidential campaign, George W. Bush vowed that he would never hesitate to take preemptive action when he deemed such action necessary in order to protect and defend this country. He also promised that he would not subject his decision to the "global test" John Kerry announced that he himself would seek; and he further suggested that he would not be swayed by public-opinion polls or the pressures coming at him from enemies of the Bush Doctrine whether at home or abroad.
From this, as I see it, four things follow. The first is that Bush will do everything in his power to abide by his vow and to keep its ancillary promise by moving in due course and with all deliberate speed from Iraq to North Korea and Iran (with, it is to be hoped, a pit stop in Syria, which has been dispatching jihadi terrorists and weapons across the border into Iraq and which presents many fewer obstacles to military action). The second is that, with Iran as with Iraq before it, the issue of WMD is only the proximate or immediate casus belli. The strategic objective, as defined and mandated by the Bush Doctrines prescription for the greater Middle East, is to drain yet another of the swamps in which Islamist terrorists are bred and nourished.
Is Bush ready to proceed in this way and for these purposes? I believe, thirdly, that he isbut, fourthly, that the obstacles he will have to overcome at home are more formidable than those confronting him across the seas and in the field. After a brief period of sulking, the coalition of forces arrayed against him on November 2 has picked itself up off the ground and is now as dangerous as a wounded tiger. So determined is it to dispose of the Bush Doctrine that it could still defeat even a foe as commensurately determined as George W. Bush.
Nor are the odds necessarily in the Presidents favor, if only because he hasfor the moment, at any ratemany fewer defenders and supporters in the world of ideas than are still active in the coalition against him. But we also have to bring into the equation the more than 61 million Americans who swept him back into office on November 2. I began this discussion by arguing that in voting for him, these many millionsmaking up a clear majority of the American peoplewere expressing their confidence in the author of the Bush Doctrine as the right man to lead us in a new time of war. Now I want to conclude by considering something Harry Truman, a leader with whom Bush has much in common, said at a point in World War III analogous in certain respects to the one we have reached in World War IV: "What a nation can do or must do begins with the willingness and the ability of its people to shoulder the burden."
True, the burden of fighting World War IV differs from the one Americans were asked to shoulder in World War III. But so did the burden of World War II differ from that of World War III. In some ways we today have it easier than the Americans who lived through those two wars. This time there is no draft, there are no shortages or rationing, and taxes have not been raised. But on the other hand, we have more cause to be anxious over the safety and security of our continental homeland, which none of our enemies in those earlier wars ever managed to strike.
Furthermore, facing a conflict that may well go on for three or four decades, Americans of this generation are called upon to be more patient than "the greatest generation" needed to be in World War II, which for us lasted only four years; and facing an enemy even more elusive than the Communists, the American people of today are required to summon at least as much perseverance as the American people of those days didfor all their bitching and moaningover the 47 long years of World War III. Indeed, in this area the generation of World War IV has an even more difficult row to hoe than its predecessors in World War II and World War III.
During World War II there was scarcely any defeatist sentiment in the air, not even in response to actual defeatsand we suffered many, especially in the early years. Nor was there a fixation on the mistakes made by Roosevelt and Churchilland, great men though they indubitably were, they made many. What is more, some of their mistakes were so large and consequential that by comparison those of which Bush and Rumsfeld stand accused seem insignificant, even if we stipulate for the sake of argument that the critics of today are right on every single point. Just thinkto cite only one exampleof the incredible blunders that cost some 20,000 American lives in the Battle of the Bulge. Yet the main thing everyone knew and remembered about that terrible episode was that the American commander responded to a German demand for surrender with the word "Nuts."20
In World War III, by contrast, great bouts of defeatist sentiment did get aroused by critics of the Left and the Right alike. Defeatism was also reinforced by angry recriminations over whether and/or how this or that battle should have been fought. And the battles in dispute were not only military, as in Korea and (to a much larger extent) Vietnam; they were also political, as in the passionate debates over arms control and détente; and they were in addition ideological, as over the question of whether the enemy was Soviet expansionism in particular, or Communism in general, or our own paranoid delusions.
World War IV is already marked by its own version of all these features ("Why are we in Iraq?"; "Who, exactly, is the enemy?"; "Is there really a terrorist threat?"). But in the 24-hour-a-day TV coverage that now exists, the forces promoting defeatism have a far more potent weapon for magnifying everything that goes wrong, or only appears to have gone wrong. We who support World War IV can complain all we like about these conditions, but they are the ones under which it will have to be fought if it is to be fought at all. The bottom line is that we are up against even more defeatism in this war than there was in World War III.
Before we entered World War II, serious doubts were raised as to whether we were a match for such disciplined and fanatical enemies as Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. And in World War III, leading anti-Communists like Whittaker Chambers and James Burnham were sure that we lacked the stomach, the heart, the will, and the wit to stand effectively against the Soviet Union and its allies and sympathizers: to Chambers we were "the losing side," and to Burnham we were veritably suicidal in our weakness and folly. They turned out to be wrong because, as Charles Horner of the Hudson Institute once put it in speaking of Chambers, they, and not they alone, failed "to anticipate the resiliency of the American citizenry and its leadership."21 Today similar doubts and fears are once again all over the place, with even some of my fellow supporters of the Bush Doctrine murmuring that we have all grown too soft, too self-indulgent, and too self-absorbed to meet yet another daunting challenge.
Except for an occasional twinge brought on by paying too much attention to the antiwar forces, and to certain aspects of our culture, both low and high, I did not share these doubts and fears before the verdict of November 2, and they have been quite banished by what I am persuaded the American people were saying when they voted to keep George W. Bush in the White House for another four years.
Which is why I think (to say it one last time) that the amazing leader this President has amazingly turned out to be willlike the comparably amazing Harry Truman before him when he took on the Communist worldhave the wind at his back as he continues the struggle against Islamist radicalism and its vicious terrorist armory: a struggle whose objective is the spread of liberty and whose success will bring greater security and greater prosperity not only to the people of this country, and not only to the people of the greater Middle East, but also to the people of Europe and beyond, in spite of the sorry fact that so many of them do not wish to know it yet.
NORMAN PODHORETZ is the editor-at-large of COMMENTARY and the author of ten books. His essay, "World War IV: How It Started, What It Means, and Why We Have to Win," appeared in our September 2004 issue.
1 The same divergence showed up in a Washington Post-ABC News poll taken in December. On the one hand, the Post reported, "The Presidents core political asset, public confidence in his leadership on terrorism, remains intact," and "a slight majority" of the sample also said that the Iraq war had contributed to the long-term security of the United States. On the other hand, a much larger proportion thought that these gains had come at an "unacceptable cost in military casualties." And yet, "A strong majority of Americans . . . support keeping military forces in Iraq until civil order is restored, even in the face of continued U.S. causalities." Even more significantly, the day after 22 people, including 13 American servicemen, were killed in a suicide-bomb attack on their base in Mosul, a headline in the New York Times read: "Fighting On Is the Only Option, Americans Say."
2 Evidently it is a not uncommon trick of the bureaucracy to draft such cables in Washington. They are then put into the hands of ambassadors abroad who sign and send them back to Washington as though they were reports from the local scene. It would not be surprising if that is what happened in these cases.
3 Bui Tin, who served on the general staff of the North Vietnamese army, told the Wall Street Journal after his retirement that the antiwar movement in the United States was "essential to our strategy."
4 This, surprisingly, is from the report of "The High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges, and Changes" recently issued by the UN itself.
5 The quotation is from a very interesting piece in the Wall Street Journal by Raja Mohan, professor of South Asian studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, who explains why India, unlike Germany and France, and the liberal internationalists in the United States, is an enthusiastic supporter of the Bush Doctrine.
6 The term derives, of course, from the German Realpolitik, which does not in itself convey the impression, as the English name "realism" does, that it is necessarily more realistic than other perspectives. Under certain circumstances, it may well be; under others, as we will soon see below, it most definitely is not.
7 It is interesting to note that Hans J. Morgenthau, who was the leading academic realist of the 1950s, violently assailed the Truman Doctrine for refusing to recognize the limits of American power. Morgenthau denounced Truman as a liar and a demagogue, and predicted that he would end up in disgrace. Kissinger is making no such mistake about Bush.
8 They include, among several others, America Unbound: The Bush Revolution in American Foreign Policy by Ivo Daalder and James M. Lindsay; Fears Empire: War, Terrorism, and Democracy by Benjamin R. Barber; and Rogue Nation: American Unilateralism and the Failure of Good Intentions by Clyde Prestowitz.
9 I owe this quip to Chris Weiskopf of the American Enterprise, who coined it in a play on the famous motto of the New York Times ("All the News That's Fit to Print").
10 It also turned out that the number of archeological treasures stolen from the Iraqi National Museum was not, as repeated over and over again, 17,000 but well under 1,000, and that many of these were reproductions.
11 The exposure was the work of a blogger named Donald Sensing, and his article was posted on the website RealClearPolitics.com.
12 The most notorious was a book written under the pseudonym "Anonymous" by a CIA analyst named Michael Scheuer and then cleared for publication by his superiors.
13 Commenting on his experience as a member of the 9/11 Commission, former Secretary of the Navy John Lehman wrote that he was surprised by many things its investigation discovered, but not by what it learned about the CIA: "Those of us who had served in the government knew that you could pretty well count on our intelligence community to be wrong in assessing many potential threats."
14 Not to mention fabrications, a striking instance of which is cited by Gabriel Schoenfeld in the December 2004 COMMENTARY. Schoenfeld tells us that Seymour Hersh has lectured about an atrocity reminiscent of the massacre at My Lai (which Hersh uncovered as a reporter in Vietnam and from which he made his reputation). No evidence whatsoever exists to corroborate this allegation.
15 I refer anyone interested in detailed documentation to the Australian blogger Arthur Chrenkoff, who has regularly been posting a "roundup of the past two weeks good news from Iraq" on chrenkoff.blogspot.com. The Wall Street Journals editorial department has also been posting these reports on its own website. There are now a large number of bloggers in Iraq itself, who collectively convey a sense of life thereof people working and building and arguing and playingthat is entirely different from the one painted by our own media. Iraqthemodel.blogspot.com is a good place to start.
16 When asked in a poll of 5,000 Iraqis taken on December 15 in and around Baghdad, "Do you support postponing the election?," 80 percent said no, and only 18 percent said yes. When asked "Do you think the elections will take place as scheduled?," 83 percent said yes, and only 13 percent said no.The Washington Post-ABC News poll cited above found that a smaller majority of Americans, though skeptical about what the elections might accomplish, also wanted them to go forward on schedule.
17 Many more such gory details can be found in Big Story, Peter Braestrups massive two-volume study of how the media covered Tet.
18 I have borrowed this image from Buchanan himself, who used it in his notorious speech at the Republican National Convention of 1992.
19 A practical strategy was recently proposed by the Committee on the Present Danger, of which I am a member.
20 Tim Cavanaugh, in a posting on the website of Reason magazine, offers a partial summary of other such blunders: "American Marines were slaughtered at Tarawa because the pre-invasion bombardment of the island was woefully deficient. Hundreds of American paratroopers were killed by American anti-aircraft fire during landings in Italyfor that matter the entire campaign up the Italian boot was an obvious waste of time, resources, and lives that prevented the western Allies from getting seriously into the war until the middle of 1944. (If anybody deserved impeachment, it was Winston Churchill, whose imperial obsession with the Mediterranean underbelly led to disasters in both world wars.) In late 1944, Allied commanders failed to anticipate that the Germans would attack through Belgium despite their having done so in 1914 and 1940. Abuse and murder of prisoners, targeting of civilians, and indiscriminate bombing all were common. On any given week, World War II offered more [foul-ups] and catastrophes than anything that has been seen in postwar Iraq."
21 "Why Whittaker Chambers Was Wrong," COMMENTARY, April 19
By Marc C. Johnson Published 01/17/2005
To understand one reason America's foreign policy toward Iran has been such a failure for so long, take a hard look at the website for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs. NDI, which trumpets successes in Georgia, Ukraine, South Africa, Yemen and other countries, does not have any programs whatsoever for Iran.
Look at the International Republican Institute's Middle East page. IRI is hard at work in Afghanistan, Iraq, Morocco, Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan and Oman - but not Iran.
Surf on over to the Agency for International Development's 2005 Congressional Budget Justification for Asia and the Near East. Find out about USAID's development programs for Burma, Mongolia, Pakistan, Iraq and others. It's as if Iran isn't even on the map.
Finally, read the National Endowment for Democracy's Middle East and North Africa grant page for 2003. NED receives money from Congress and others to parcel out to groups like NDI, IRI, and a host of smaller non-governmental organizations. Programs for democracy building activities in Lebanon received $673,000 in 2003; for Morocco, the number was nearly $370,000; the West Bank and Gaza got at least $636,000. Programs for Iran totaled a paltry $55,000.
Why don't these organizations provide the type of service for Iran - basic campaigning, fundraising, voter outreach, message communication - that they render elsewhere in the world? The unavoidable answer is that Congress and the White House haven't provided the money or signaled any interest.
While the media fawns over Viktor Yushchenko and the marvelous work of America's democracy building policies in Kiev, mention the mere idea in the same sentence as Iran and you're labeled a wild-eyed, rabid Neocon.
Mainstream arguments against aid of this type for Iran range from misguided to specious to insulting.
Islam and Democracy Don't Mix. The most insulting refrain is that Iran, a country with no democratic tradition - and an Islamic one at that - is not ready for democracy. Setting aside the point that we continue to promote democracy in countries such as Egypt (which is nominally democratic but has strong authoritarian tendencies), 2004 heralded the first time Indonesia, the world's most populous Islamic country, held a direct vote for president and vice president. And while it has a long way to go, Iran's neighbor Turkey provides a strong argument that Islam and democracy can coexist.
The Opposition Isn't Ready. Most of the oppositionists themselves would have to admit this is true; it can hardly, however, be an argument against preparing them for the future. Bumbling opposition parties, and groups that are so disparate that they can't even be called parties, often rise to the occasion and lead the way in bringing about change in authoritarian states. People said the same thing about Serbia, Ukraine and Georgia. Today, though, these countries forge ahead with the dirty and divisive business of democracy.
It Might Not Work. Democracy building efforts in locales such as Burma, Belarus, Pakistan, Cuba and China appear to be stalled or, worse, regressing. But it is instructive to view such efforts in the longer term; civil societies take constant, sustained effort and careful planning. And nonviolently toppling a dictatorial regime through nothing more than people power is several orders of magnitude more difficult. IRI's Serbia program began in the early 90s, ultimately culminating in Milosevic's ouster in 2000; NDI and IRI have been in Ukraine since 1992 and 1993, respectively. To assume that preparing for democracy is anything other than a long term endeavor is folly.
It's Not a Panacea. Critics complain that simply training people in how to run elections, political marketing, and the like won't solve all Iran's problems, even the minor ones. While it's true that the country will, the day after a free and fair election, remain an economic basket case, the most cynical policy wonk can agree that a poor free country must be preferable to a poor dictatorship, particularly in the Middle East. While Iran will almost certainly remain to some extent a haven for terrorists and demagogues, the marketplace of ideas will ensure that their stock drops precipitously. And once the world is able to once again fully engage Iran, other measures - aid, debt relief, trade - can improve the lives of average Iranians.
It Won't Solve Our Core Security Issue in the Middle East. Assuming that core security problem is nuclear proliferation, true enough. Unchecked, Iran will almost certainly develop a nuclear capability before oppositionists will have enough support to bring down the mullahs. And many Iran-watchers contend that going as far back as the Shah's regime, getting a nuclear weapon has been a matter of national pride for Iranians. Supporting democracy-building groups, though, is not mutually exclusive with (indeed, it's more likely complementary to) prosecuting a robust sanctions policy through international organizations, which is what the Bush administration is already doing. And the need for democratic institutions will get more acute once the atomic genie gets out of the bottle. But the democracy deficit throughout the Middle East may ultimately have longer-term ramifications than a nuclear Iran. Surely, then, the democratic experiment in Iraq must - almost by definition - have to include a parallel effort in Iran. The job in Iraq is already under way, and it has been messy, costly, and, some say, ham-fisted; if we want to avoid similar entanglements down the road (and save American lives), a small investment in democratic path-preparation is in order.
Iran is a Locked-Down Society. Iran is a police state; this makes getting the democratic message to the would-be voters a massive undertaking. But democracy training groups encounter all manner of government intervention and obstruction around the world - in Burma, China, Ukraine (formerly) and elsewhere. Milosevic's Serbia barred groups such as IRI from entering the country, yet somehow they continued - and, more importantly, the Serbs themselves persevered. This is neither a new nor an intractable problem.
We May Not Like What a New Iran Looks Like. Freedom doesn't mean that we expect everyone to fall in line behind us. Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica is hardly America's lapdog, and even those new democracies traditionally close to America (Poland, Romania, and the Czech Republic, to name three) still disagree with America on a regular basis. But it is a disagreement among equal democratic societies. Whatever short-term losses we may have policy-wise, a democratic Iran - even one that allies itself with others to Washington's short-term detriment - has to be a net improvement in US national security terms if the end result means diplomatic relations and renewed trade.
We Don't Have the Money. With our overextension in Iraq and looming deficits, there are some who contend that we can't afford an uncertain democracy-building project in Iran. This must certainly be the most ridiculous of all arguments. NED reported that for 2003, just under $1.4 million was spent on democracy programs in Iraq. And the much-vaunted Ukraine program, the fruits of which we see now, cost just over $1.5 million for 2003. By any measure, these sums are a drop in the ocean of taxpayer money being poured into foreign policy, whether of the guns or the butter variety.
* * *
At his year-end press conference, President Bush made a startling admission. According to the Washington Post, he said, "We're relying on others, because we've sanctioned ourselves out of influence with Iran. " In other words, the White House outsourced our Iran policy to Europe, which subcontracted it to the International Atomic Energy Agency. There are a few relatively simple steps the White House can take now - right now - to signal that a real change is afoot and get some of that lost influence back:
· Provide sufficient start-up funds for NED and other organizations to begin work in Iran.
· Contact opposition leaders, inside Iran and elsewhere, to invite them to a conference to discuss the opportunities for democratic regime change.
· Let the president declare - clearly, at a major, televised speech - that America stands resolutely with those who wish to nonviolently bring about a truly free Iran. Iranian Presidential elections are scheduled for June 17. Several hardliners have already announced their candidacies. Iran is poised to continue the dark path it has followed for the last quarter century. Can we really afford to miss this opportunity?
Marc C. Johnson (www.marcjohnson.info) is a consultant and freelance writer. In addition to Tech Central Station, his work has also appeared in Reason magazine, GlobalPolitician.com, and eTalkinghead.com.
Today thread is among the best threads I have seen so far!
Protest Against Another Planned Mass Execution Set For 1/19SMCCDI (Urgent Action)
Jan 17, 2005
" To sin by silence, when we should protest, makes cowards out of men. The human race has climbed on protest. Had no voice been raised against injustice, ignorance and lust, the inquisition yet would serve the law, and guillotines decide our least disputes. The few who dare, must speak and speak again, to right the wrongs of many..." - ( Ella Wheeler Wilcox )
Dear Freedom Lovers, Dear Human Rights Activists,
Once again the Islamic republic has planned another mass execution, in Iran, set for Wednesday January 19, 2005.
The sentences of 5 more political prisoners, all around 20 years old, have been confirmed in another masquerade of Islamist 'Justice' process. They're to die in a cold dawn by being lifted, a robe around their necks, by an industrial truck.
Their names are:
- Khalid Hardani
- Farhang Pour-Mansoori
- Shahram Pour-Mansoori
- Ali-Reza Karami-Khirabadi
- Ali-Reza Hojabri
Their only crime is to love Freedom and reject Islamism. Some of them had even sized a plane in order to escape from the forced bloody 'Paradise' created by the fanatic Mullahs ruling in Iran.
Please to intervene, by contacting your country's officials, the UN and any NGO, in order to request for their immediate intervention for putting a stop to this new wave of massacre.
A) Amnesty International:
1) In UK:
2) In US:
Fax: +1/212/463 9193
B) Human Rights Watch:
1) In UK:
2) In US:
C) United Nations Commission on Human Rights:
D) Your local officials and Statesmen
The World must intervene against the persistent genocide of Iranian people and rescue these young Iranians!
Make the difference!!!
You're their only and last hope!!!
The "Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran" (SMCCDI)
"By his own admission, Mr. Hersh evidently is working on an alternative history novel. He is well along in that work, given the high quality of alternative present that he has developed in several recent articles."
Sure seems like the world is waking up to Iran
Is Alliance for Democracy in Iran the same as Coalition for Democracy in Iran ?
It appears Alliance for Democracy in Iran may own the undeveloped website:
The following is their internet registration information:
Registrant: Iran Leslie
Street Rich-Hill, Ontario L4B 3 Canada
Registered through: GoDaddy.com (http://www.godaddy.com)
Domain Name: AFDII.COM Created on: 24-Sep-03
Expires on: 24-Sep-05 Last Updated on: 23-Mar-04
Administrative Contact: Meli, Peyman firstname.lastname@example.org
Iran Leslie Street Rich-Hill, Ontario L4B 3 Canada 4165557264
Technical Contact: Meli, Peyman email@example.com
Iran Leslie Street Rich-Hill, Ontario L4B 3 Canada 4165557264
Domain servers in listed order:
Iran admits Ebadi summons 'error'
Tuesday, 18 January, 2005
Iran's hard-line judiciary has made a rare admission of error over a case involving Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi.
Last week, Mrs Ebadi defied an order to appear before a Revolutionary Court to explain her activities, or face arrest.
A spokesman now says the court should not have handled the human rights lawyer's case, as it did not involve national security.
She was accused by a private citizen of insulting him, spokesman Jamal Karimirad added.
Set up after the Islamic revolution in 1979, the Revolutionary Court has jailed many political prisoners for offences against national security.
Mrs Ebadi said she hoped other legal cases would be rectified with the same speed and attention in future.
"This was not a personal issue, it covers many cases," Mrs Ebadi said in an interview with Reuters news agency.
"As a human rights lawyer, I have fulfilled my duty to fight against illegalities."
In October 2003, she became the first Muslim woman and first Iranian to win the Nobel Peace Prize.
Mr Karimirad said human errors by a court clerk were to blame, including not specifying the charges against Mrs Ebadi in the summons.
"According to the law, the reason for the summons should be clarified," he told a news conference.
Mr Karimirad also rejected a call by Mrs Ebadi to abolish solitary confinement imposed on political prisoners.
Mr Karimirad said there were no longer any solitary confinement cells in Iran following an order by the head of the judiciary in 2004.
But he added that "comfortable suites" had been built "to keep some accused people separate from each other for a limited time".
At a news conference on Monday, former prisoners including Mrs Ebadi spoke of being kept alone in tiny, hot cells with dirty blankets, exposed to continuous light or darkness - in some cases for many months at a stretch.
Iran: Judiciary chief saves four youngsters from death sentence
Payvand Iran News
Tehran, Jan 18, IRNA -- Iran's Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi on Tuesday saved four youngsters from going to the gallows for hijacking an Iranian airliner on a domestic flight in 2001.
The Supreme Court had confirmed the death sentence and the four hijackers were expected to be hanged on Wednesday.
Overpowered by the security officers on board of Yak-140 flight from Ahvaz to Bandar Abbas, the hijackers had been arrested in January 2001.
Judiciary spokesman Jamal Karimi-rad said that two of the hijackers were below 18. The Iranian law prohibits death sentence on the minors.
Good News on Iran
New York Sun Staff Editorial
January 18, 2005
After the long dirge from the 9/11 commission about America's failure to act on early warnings about the threat from Islamic terror, the news out of the war front suddenly contains an encouraging dispatch. It was brought in this week by the New Yorker magazine, whose Seymour Hersh reports that President Bush has signed a series of findings and executive orders authorizing secret commando groups and other Special Forces to "conduct covert operations against suspected terrorist targets in as many as ten nations in the Middle East and South Asia." Mr. Hersh reports that the administration has been conducting secret reconnaissance missions inside Iran at least since last summer, with, he reports, the focus being "on the accumulation of intelligence and targeting information on Iranian nuclear, chemical, and missile sites, both declared and suspected."
There's a tone to Mr. Hersh's report suggesting that he and some of his sources might not be entirely happy about this discovery and the secrecy surrounding it. The Pentagon rushed out a blunt statement denouncing Mr. Hersh's report, questioning its accuracy and even Mr. Hersh's motives. But we're happy to leave all that aside. Going back to before the Battle of Iraq, the New Yorker has published some of the most important and admirable war reporting out of the Middle East. Our interest here is the Bush administration's policy. We're confident that as the disclosures in Mr. Hersh's dispatch are sorted out, American voters will feel reassured that Mr. Bush and his war Cabinet are not going to repeat the mistakes of an earlier time.
Here we speak not only of the years when, as cataloged by the Kean commission, the government failed to act on all sorts of warnings and chatter in respect of the problem of Islamist terror and the impending attacks of September 11. We also speak of 1981, when Israel came down out of the skies over Baghdad and dropped into Saddam Hussein's nuclear reactor sophisticated bombs that devastated his capacity to build an atomic weapon. All too many rushed to condemn the attack. For those of us of a certain age, the episode was one of the formative moments, and there are many who will never forget the chagrin of picking up the New York Times to read its denunciation of Israel - and will always savor Menachem Begin's famous retort, "never again."
It is good to read that we have a president who understands that episode and is taking steps against the contingency that diplomatic efforts with Iran will not be successful. To many of us, the New Yorker article will be encouraging in this respect. Mr. Hersh reports that despite the "deteriorating security situation" in Iraq, the Bush administration has not reconsidered its basic long-range policy of establishing democracy throughout the Middle East. He suggests that the administration is reaffirming the position of the neoconservatives in the Pentagon's civilian leadership. "This is a war against terrorism, and Iraq is just one campaign," he quotes a former high-level intelligence official as telling him. "The Bush Administration is looking at this as a huge war zone."
Mr. Hersh quotes the former official as predicting that there is going to be an Iranian campaign, with the goal of being able to say, in four years, that the war on terrorism has been won. It seems the president has taken to heart the criticism he received from Senator Kerry's camp for saying, during the campaign, that the war couldn't be won. It reminds us of all the talk during the Cold War about peaceful co-existence. The very concept was a recipe for slavery in one half of the world and fear and cowardice in the other. It will not be possible to have peace in the Middle East, let alone democracy, with the mullahs in power in Iran and in possession of nuclear weapons - or even working toward them. And efforts at a diplomatic solution will be barren absent the availability of the kind of military solution for which the Bush administration is now reportedly preparing.
IAEA has Iran site it'd like to checkAssociated Press Writer, The Associated Press
Posted: Tuesday January 18th, 2005, 8:24 AM
Last Updated: Tuesday January 18th, 2005, 9:49 AM
VIENNA, Austria (AP) - The U.N. nuclear watchdog agency is pushing for a fresh look at an Iranian military complex linked by the United States to possible atomic arms research just days after being granted limited access, diplomats said Tuesday.
The International Atomic Energy Agency is interested in testing another part of the sprawling Parchin complex just outside Tehran in its search for radiation that could point to such research, the diplomats said.
The Bush administration has accused Iran of being part of an "axis of evil" with North Korea and prewar Iraq. The United States alleges Iran may be testing high-explosive components for nuclear weapons, using an inert core of depleted uranium at Parchin as a dry run for a bomb that would use fissile material.
The request by the Vienna-based IAEA comes just days after its inspectors were given partial access to the site and were allowed to take environmental samples for analysis in the agency's European laboratories.
The diplomats, who are familiar with the agency's investigation of Iran's nuclear programs, said that as far as they knew the IAEA experts were not impeded beyond the limitations placed on where they could take their samples.
But one of the diplomats said the fact that the agency had requested fresh access to another part of the site suggested there are continued open questions about the nature of the work conducted at Parchin.
"The inspectors want to go back to another explosives bunker" that they apparently were not granted access to last week, the diplomat said on condition of anonymity.
In leaks to media last year, U.S. intelligence officials said a specially secured site at Parchin may be used in research for high-explosive components of nuclear weapons.
Iran asserts its military is not involved in nuclear activities, and the IAEA has found no firm evidence to the contrary. The agency also has not been able to support U.S. assertions that nearly two decades of covert nuclear programs discovered 2 1/2 years ago were aimed at making nuclear weapons and not at generating electricity, as Tehran claims.
But an IAEA report in October expressed concern about published intelligence and media reports relating to equipment and materials that could serve military purposes.
At the time, diplomats said the phrasing alluded to Parchin.
As part of his investigation into Iran's nuclear activities, IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei has produced a series of reports for guidance by the IAEA board on what to do about Iran's nuclear activities.
His refusal to declare Iran in breach of the Nonproliferation Treaty has angered U.S. officials by derailing their drive to have the U.N. Security Council examine Iran's nuclear dossier.
1/14/2005 Clip No. 492
Commander of Saddam Hussein's "The Army of Muhammad" Confesses: We Received Aid in Money and Arms from Syria and Iran
The following are excerpts from the televised confessions of Muayed Al-Nasseri, who commanded Saddam Hussein's "the Army of Muhammad" throughout 2004. The confessions were aired by the Iraqi TV channel that operated from the UAE, Al-Fayhaa TV, on January 14, 2005.
Interrogator: What is your name?
Muayed Al-Nasseri: Colonel Muayed Yassin 'Aziz 'Abd Al-Razaq Al-Nasseri, commander of the Army of Muhammad, one of the resistance factions in Iraq. The Army of Muhammad was founded by Saddam Hussein after the fall of the regime, on April 9, 2003. At first, Yasser Al-Shab'awi was put in charge, until his captured in July 2003. Then Sa'd Hammad Hisham was in charge until December 2003. Then I was put in charge from January 2004 until now. The Army of Muhammad has some 800 armed fighters.
Interrogator: What operations did you carry out? How many operations did you carry out?
Muayed Al-Nasseri: We carried out many armed operations against the coalition forces in all the districts. The operations included bombarding their military posts, their camps, and their bases, fighting these forces, and planting explosive devices against their patrols and convoys.
Interrogator: What was the nature of your organization?
Muayed Al-Nasseri: The organization was a military armed one, which operated according to a method of non-centralized command.
Interrogator: How is the Army of Muhammad related to the Ba'th party?
Muayed Al-Nasseri: The Army of Muhammad is militarily independent. After Saddam Hussein's capture in December 2003, for a period four months, the Army of Muhammad had no connections with the party, but after April 2003, there was a meeting with the party and we are currently coordinating with them.
In addition, Saddam Hussein distributed a communique via the party, back then, instructing all his supporters or whoever wants to fight the Jihad for the sake of Allah, to join the Army of Muhammad because it is the army of the leadership.
Interrogator: Who are the leaders of the Ba'th Party in Iraq?
Muayed Al-Nasseri: Today, the leader of the party is 'Izzat Ibrahim. He is the leader of the party in Iraq. Next in line is Fadhl Al-Mashhadani, who is responsible for the local organizations within Iraq. Then, there is Muhammad Yunis Al-Ahamd, who is responsible for the organization outside Iraq. He is currently in Syria.
Interrogator: Did you get support from the countries of the region?
Muayed Al-Nasseri: Yes, sir... Many factions of the resistance are receiving aid from the neighboring countries. We in the Army of Muhammad The fighting has been going on for almost two years now, and there must be aid, and this aid came from the neighboring countries. We got aid primarily from Iran. The truth is that Iran has played a significant role in supporting the Army of Muhammad and many factions of the resistance. I have some units, especially in southern Iraq, which receive Iranian aid in the form of arms and equipment.
Interrogator: You're referring to units of the Army of Muhammad?
Muayed Al-Nasseri: Yes. They received money and weapons. As for other factions of the resistance, I have reliable information regarding the National Islamic resistance, which is one of the factions of resistance, led by Colonel 'Asi Al Hadithi. He sent a delegation to Iran from among the people of the faction, including General Halaf and General Khdayyer. They were sent to Iran in April or May and met with Iranian intelligence and with a number of Iranian leaders and even with Khamenei.
Interrogator: You mean they personally met with Khamenei?
Muayed Al-Nasseri: According to my information, they met with him personally, and they were given one million dollars and two cars full of weapons. They still have a very close relationship with Iran. They receive money, cars, weapons, and many things. According to my information, they even got car bombs.
In addition, as I've told you, Syria... Cooperation with Syria began in October 2003, when a Syrian intelligence officer contacted me. S'ad Hamad Hisham and later Saddam Hussein himself authorized me to go to Syria. So I was sent to Syria. I crossed the border illegally. then I went to Damascus and met with an intelligence officer, Lieutenant-Colonel "Abu Naji" through a mediator called "Abu Saud." I raised the issues that preocupied Saddam Hussein and the leadership. There were four issues: First, the issue of the media; second, political support in international forums; [third], aid in the form of weapons, and [fourth], material aid, whether it is considered a debt or is taken from the frozen Iraqi funds in Syria.
Through the Ba'th party- The Arab Socialist Ba'th Party operates in Syria with complete freedom. It maintains its relations and organizes the Ba'th members outside Iraq. The Syrian government is fully aware of this, and the Syrian intelligence cooperates fully, as well as the Ba'th Party, in Syria.
As for the Ba'th Party, after we contacted them, they organized a meeting for me with a man named Fawzi Al-Rawi, who is a member of the national leadership and an important figure in Syria. The Syrian government authorized him to meet with me. We met twice. In the first meeting, I explained to him what the Army of Muhammad is, what kind of operations we carry out, and many other things. In the second meeting he told me that Syrian government officials were very pleased with our first meeting. He informed me that the Army of Muhammad would receive material aid in the form of goods, given to us for free or for a very low price, for us to sell in Iraq, in order to support the Army of Muhammad. This was done this way due to Syria's current circumstances, international pressure, and accusations of supporting the terrorism and resistance in Iraq.
Interrogator: During your investigation we found a picture of a Syrian man. What is this picture?
Muayed Al-Nasseri: This is the picture of an Islamic preacher called "Abu Al-Qa'qa'," whose [real] name is Mahmoud Al-Agassi. He lives in Aleppo, Syria. I have met with him twice. He supported me and gave me $3,000. He also sent a sum of money with me for someone in the resistance here in Iraq.
Also, I forgot to mention that Fawzi Al-Rawi told me he had close connections with many factions of the resistance. He mentioned his Hareth Al-Dhari [leader of Iraqi Sunni Clerics Association], Mahdi Al-Sumayda'I, and other factions.
HOPING SY'S RIGHT[Excerpt]
January 18, 2005 -- The Pentagon yesterday quickly splashed cold water on the latest sensational "revelations" by Sey mour Hersh terming his article in the current New Yorker "so riddled with errors of fundamental fact that the credibility of the entire piece is destroyed."
Hersh alleges that the Bush administration now has its sights on Iran and sees military intervention there, to thwart the mullahs' nuclear- and biological-warfare ambitions, as inevitable.
To that end, claims Hersh, U.S. forces have "been conducting secret reconnaissance missions inside Iran since last summer." The aim is to collect intelligence on three dozen potential targets "that could be destroyed by precision strikes and short-term commando raids."
To which we say: Here's hoping that Hersh got that part right, anyway. Iran poses a real, and growing, threat to regional peace and America must be prepared for anything and everything.
Still, the Pentagon insists otherwise. It flatly denies many of the specific assertions in the piece, calling them "outrageous" and "fantastic."
The Hersh record would support the skeptics.
And many on the Left who've been applauding his Bush-bashing pieces have felt differently about Hersh in the past.
Most notably, historian Arthur Schlesinger once called Hersh "the most gullible investigative reporter I've ever encountered" one whose "capacity to exaggerate is unparalleled."
And even Sen. Ted Kennedy called Hersh's work "scurrilous . . . maliciousness and innuendo." (Of course, that's back when Hersh was skewering John F. Kennedy in his 1997 book, "The Dark Side of Camelot" which was based, in part, on forged documents.)
Moreover, Hersh himself, in an interview with The Progressive, once admitted that: "If the standard for being fired was being wrong on a story, I would have been fired long ago." ...
And yet . . . well, this is one time we hope Hersh's reporting is correct.
Certainly, Bush's critics can have little with which to disagree; didn't they complain that Bush went to war in Iraq while ignoring more serious nuclear threats like Iran and North Korea the rest of the Axis of Evil?
Well, Hersh says the administration is now getting serious about Iran.
This time, he says, there'll be no going to war on the basis of seriously deficient intelligence. The covert operations are designed to ensure that there not be "any WMD intelligence mistakes."
We second that motion.
It would be preferred that Iran be persuaded through diplomacy to abandon its WMD ambitions. But such efforts have shown little, if any, public success.
Thus it would be foolish not to be prepared for a more aggressive course of action, if that proves to be necessary.
And even Hersh concedes that talks stand a better chance if the United States provides "a credible threat of military action" especially since Western Europe sees "preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon as a race against time."
(Hersh also claims that there has been close coordination of U.S. efforts with Israel though the Pentagon says flatly that such cooperation "does not exist."
(Again, though, we hope that Hersh is correct because the Israelis, who have been tracking Iran's nuclear threat since long before the rest of the world took it seriously, certainly has some expertise in this regard.)
Whether Hersh's reporting is right or whether, even if right, it's part of a huge strategic bluff by Washington remains to be seen.
But there's no denying that this president takes seriously the War on Terror and that he realizes that a nuclear-armed Iran cannot be allowed.
"We've got four years and want to come out of this saying we won the war on terrorism," one former high-level intelligence official is quoted anonymously as saying.
Actually winning would be even better and pulling Iran's nuclear teeth, one way or another, would be a giant step in the right direction.
EU defends Iran diplomacy after Bush remarks18 Jan 2005 12:17:51 GMTSource: Reuters
BRUSSELS, Jan 18 (Reuters) - The European Union insisted on Tuesday diplomacy was the right approach with Iran after U.S. President George W. Bush said he would not rule out military action if Iran was not forthcoming about its nuclear programme.
Britain, Germany and France have sought to persuade Tehran to give up technology that can be used to make nuclear warheads in return for incentives such as trade deals and help with a civilian nuclear programme.
"We are working with our Iranian partners in good faith as I trust they are working with us in good faith. We will pursue that path as long as it's possible and fruitful to do so," said Commission external affairs spokeswoman Emma Udwin.
"We hope there will be no need to consider any other options," she told a news briefing.
The EU last week resumed negotiations with Iran on a trade and cooperation agreement after Tehran agreed to freeze uranium enrichment, a process which can be useful in bomb-making.
Washington has accused Tehran of secretly trying to make the atom bomb and has distanced itself from the EU effort, insisting Iran must be brought before the U.N. Security Council and face economic sanctions unless it proves the suspicions unfounded.
Bush went further on Monday, saying Washington would not rule out military action against Iran if it was not more forthcoming about the suspected nuclear weapons programme.
Iran denies its nuclear facilities are to be used to make nuclear weapons.
Russia Defends Iran Nuke Stance After Bush ThreatTue Jan 18, 2005 10:15 AM ET
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia defended its nuclear partner Iran Tuesday, saying Tehran's nuclear program was entirely peaceful, a day after Washington said it would not rule out military force against the Islamic Republic.
Russia and the United States are at odds over Moscow's construction of a nuclear power plant in southern Iran. Washington believes Tehran is seeking nuclear weapons and could use Russian technology to acquire an atom bomb.
President Bush said Monday he would not rule out military action against Iran if it was not more forthcoming about its suspected nuclear arms program.
But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov dismissed worries that Iran -- a key nuclear energy market for Russia in the Middle East -- had a secret nuclear arms program.
"I have no grounds to believe that the situation will get out of control and that the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program will be changed," he was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency Tuesday.
"Russia and Iran have a specific dialogue going on to make sure Iran's nuclear program stays entirely peaceful and raises no questions," he said.
Russia started building the Bushehr nuclear reactor for Iran in the early 1990s but the $1-billion project has dragged on for more than a decade for technical and political reasons.
Jan. 18, 2005, 9:05AM
Opening statement by secretary of state nominee Condoleezza RiceAssociated Press
Following is the opening statement that Condoleezza Rice, President Bush's nominee to be secretary of state, gave today at her confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee:
Thank you Chairman Lugar, Senator Biden, and Members of the Committee. And let me also thank Senator Dianne Feinstein who, as a fellow Californian, I have long admired as a leader on behalf of our state and our nation. Mr. Chairman, members of the Committee, it is an honor to be nominated to lead the State Department at this critical time a time of challenge and hope and opportunity for America, and for the entire world.
September 11, 2001 was a defining moment for our nation and the world. Under the vision and leadership of President Bush, our nation has risen to meet the challenges of our time: fighting tyranny and terror, and securing the blessings of freedom and prosperity for a new generation. The work that America and our allies have undertaken, and the sacrifices we have made, have been difficult and necessary and right. Now is the time to build on these achievements to make the world safer, and to make the world more free. We must use American diplomacy to help create a balance of power in the world that favors freedom. And the time for diplomacy is now.
I am humbled by President Bushs confidence in me to undertake the great work of leading American diplomacy at such a moment in history. If confirmed, I will work with members of Congress, from both sides of the aisle, to build a strong bipartisan consensus behind Americas foreign policy. I will seek to strengthen our alliances, to support our friends, and to make the world safer, and better. I will enlist the great talents of the men and women of the State Department, the Foreign and Civil Services and our Foreign Service Nationals. And if I am confirmed, I will be especially honored to succeed a man I so admire my friend and mentor, Colin Powell.
Four years ago, Secretary Powell addressed this committee for the same purpose I do now. Then as now, it was the same week that America celebrates the life and legacy of Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. It is a time to reflect on the legacy of that great man, on the sacrifices he made, on the courage of the people he led, and on the progress our nation has made in the decades since. I am especially indebted to those who fought and sacrificed in the Civil Rights movement so that I could be here today.
For me, this is a time to remember other heroes as well. I grew up in Birmingham, Alabama the old Birmingham of Bull Connor, church bombings, and voter intimidation the Birmingham where Dr. King was thrown in jail for demonstrating without a permit. Yet there was another Birmingham, the city where my parents John and Angelena Rice and their friends built a thriving community in the midst of the most terrible segregation in the country. It would have been so easy for them to give in to despair, and to send that message of hopelessness to their children. But they refused to allow the limits and injustices of their time to limit our horizons. My friends and I were raised to believe that we could do or become anything that the only limits to our aspirations came from within. We were taught not to listen to those who said to us, "No, you cant."
The story of Birminghams parents and teachers and children is a story of the triumph of universal values over adversity. And those values a belief in democracy, and liberty, and the dignity of every life, and the rights of every individual unite Americans of all backgrounds, all faiths, and all colors.
They provide us a common cause in all times, a rallying point in difficult times, and a source of hope to men and women across the globe who cherish freedom and work to advance freedoms cause. And in these extraordinary times, it is the duty of all of us legislators, diplomats, civil servants, and citizens to uphold and advance the values that are the core of the American identity, and that have lifted the lives of millions around the world.
One of historys clearest lessons is that America is safer, and the world is more secure, whenever and wherever freedom prevails. It is neither an accident nor a coincidence that the greatest threats of the last century emerged from totalitarian movements. Fascism and Communism differed in many ways, but they shared an implacable hatred of freedom, a fanatical assurance that their way was the only way, and a supreme confidence that history was on their side.
At certain moments, it almost seemed to be so. During the first half of the 20th century much of the democratic and economic progress of earlier decades looked to be swept away by the march of ruthless ideologies armed with terrible military and technological power. Even after the allied victory in World War II, many feared that Europe, and perhaps the world, would be forced to permanently endure half enslaved and half free.
The cause of freedom suffered a series of major strategic setbacks: Communism imposed in Eastern Europe Soviet power dominant in East Germany the coup in Czechoslovakia ... the victory of the Chinese Communists ... the Soviet nuclear test five years before we predicted ... to name just a few. In those early years, the prospect of a united democratic Germany and a democratic Japan seemed far-fetched.
Yet America and our allies were blessed with visionary leaders who did not lose their way. They created the great NATO alliance to contain and eventually erode Soviet power. They helped to establish the United Nations and created the international legal framework for this and other institutions that have served the world well for more than 50 years. They provided billions in aid to rebuild Europe and much of Asia. They built an international economic system based on free trade and free markets to spread prosperity to every corner of the globe. And they confronted the ideology and propaganda of our enemies with a message of hope, and with the truth. And in the end though the end was long in coming their vision prevailed.
The challenges we face today are no less daunting. America and the free world are once again engaged in a long-term struggle against an ideology of tyranny and terror, and against hatred and hopelessness. And we must confront these challenges with the same vision, courage and boldness of thought demonstrated by our post-World War Two leaders.
In these momentous times, American diplomacy has three great tasks. First, we will unite the community of democracies in building an international system that is based on our shared values and the rule of law. Second, we will strengthen the community of democracies to fight the threats to our common security and alleviate the hopelessness that feeds terror. And third, we will spread freedom and democracy throughout the globe. That is the mission that President Bush has set for America in the world ... and the great mission of American diplomacy today.
Let me address each of the three tasks I just mentioned. Every nation that benefits from living on the right side of the freedom divide has an obligation to share freedoms blessings. Our first challenge, then, is to inspire the American people, and the people of all free nations, to unite in common cause to solve common problems.
NATO and the European Union and our democratic allies in East Asia and around the world will be our strongest partners in this vital work. The United States will also continue to work to support and uphold the system of international rules and treaties that allow us to take advantage of our freedom, to build our economies, and to keep us safe and secure.
We must remain united in insisting that Iran and North Korea abandon their nuclear weapons ambitions, and choose instead the path of peace. New forums that emerge from the Broader Middle East and North Africa Initiative offer the ideal venues to encourage economic, social and democratic reform in the Islamic world.
Implementing the Doha Development Agenda and reducing trade barriers will create jobs and reduce poverty in dozens of nations. And by standing with the free peoples of Iraq and Afghanistan, we will continue to bring hope to millions, and democracy to a part of the world where it is sorely lacking.
As President Bush said in our National Security Strategy, America "is guided by the conviction that no nation can build a safer, better world alone. Alliances and multilateral institutions can multiply the strength of freedom-loving nations." If I am confirmed, that core conviction will guide my actions. Yet when judging a course of action, I will never forget that the true measure of its worth is whether it is effective.
Our second great task is to strengthen the community of democracies, so that all free nations are equal to the work before us. Free peoples everywhere are heartened by the success of democracy around the globe. Together, we must build on that success.
We face many challenges. In some parts of the world, an extremist few threaten the very existence of political liberty. Disease and poverty have the potential to destabilize whole nations and regions. Corruption can sap the foundations of democracy. And some elected leaders have taken illiberal steps that, if not corrected, could undermine hard-won democratic progress.
We must do all we can to ensure that nations which make the hard choices and do the hard work to join the free world deliver on the high hopes of their citizens for a better life. From the Philippines to Colombia to the nations of Africa, we are strengthening counterterrorism cooperation with nations that have the will to fight terror, but need help with the means. We are spending billions to fight AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other diseases, to alleviate suffering for millions and help end public health crises.
America has always been generous in helping countries recover from natural disasters and today we are providing money and personnel to ease the suffering of millions afflicted by the tsunami, and to help nations rebuild their infrastructure. We are joining with developing nations to fight corruption, instill the rule of law, and create a culture of transparency. In much of Africa and Latin America, we face the twin challenges of helping to bolster democratic ideals and institutions, and alleviating poverty.
We will work with reformers in those regions who are committed to increasing opportunity for their peoples. And we will insist that leaders who are elected democratically have an obligation to govern democratically.
Our third great task is to spread democracy and freedom throughout the world. I spoke earlier of the grave setbacks to democracy in the first half of the 20th century. The second half of the century saw an advance of democracy that was far more dramatic. In the last quarter of that century, the number of democracies in the world tripled. And in the last six months of this new century alone, we have witnessed the peaceful, democratic transfer of power in Malaysia, a majority Muslim nation, and in Indonesia, the country with the world's largest Muslim population. We have seen men and women wait in line for hours to vote in Afghanistan's first ever free and fair presidential election.
We and I know you Mr. Chairman -- were heartened by the refusal of the people of Ukraine to accept a flawed election, and their insistence that their democratic will be honored. We have watched as the people of the Palestinian Territories turned out to vote in an orderly and fair election. And soon the people of Iraq will exercise their right to choose their leaders, and set the course of their nation's future. No less than were the last decades of the 20th century, the first decades of this new century can be an era of liberty. And we in America must do everything we can to make it so.
To be sure, in our world there remain outposts of tyranny and America stands with oppressed people on every continent ... in Cuba, and Burma, and North Korea, and Iran, and Belarus, and Zimbabwe. The world should apply what Natan Sharansky calls the "town square test": if a person cannot walk into the middle of the town square and express his or her views without fear of arrest, imprisonment, or physical harm, then that person is living in a fear society, not a free society. We cannot rest until every person living in a "fear society" has finally won their freedom.
In the Middle East, President Bush has broken with six decades of excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the hope of purchasing stability at the price of liberty. The stakes could not be higher. As long as the broader Middle East remains a region of tyranny and despair and anger, it will produce extremists and movements that threaten the safety of Americans and our friends.
But there are hopeful signs that freedom is on the march. Afghanistan and Iraq are struggling to put dark and terrible pasts behind them and are choosing the path of progress. Just months ago, Afghanistan held a free and fair election, and chose a president who is committed to the success of democracy and to the fight against terror. In Iraq, the people will soon take the next step in their journey toward full, genuine democracy. All Iraqis, whatever their faith or ethnicity from Shias to Sunnis to Kurds must build a common future together. The election later this month will be an important first step as the people of Iraq prepare to draft a constitution and hold the next round of elections elections that will create a permanent government.
The success of freedom in Afghanistan and Iraq will give strength and hope to reformers throughout the region, and accelerate the pace of reforms already under way. From Morocco to Jordan to Bahrain, we are seeing elections and new protections for women and minorities, and the beginnings of political pluralism. Political, civil, and business leaders have issued stirring calls for political, economic and social change. Increasingly, the people are speaking, and their message is clear: the future of the region is to live in liberty.
And the establishment of a Palestinian democracy will help to bring an end to the conflict in the Holy Land. Much has changed since June 24th, 2002, when President Bush outlined a new approach for America in the quest for peace in the Middle East, and spoke the truth about what will be required to end this conflict. Now we have reached a moment of opportunity and we must seize it.
We take great encouragement from the elections just held for a new Palestinian leader. And Senators Biden and Sununu, I want to thank you for representing the United States at these historic elections. America seeks justice and dignity and a viable, independent, and democratic state for the Palestinian people. We seek security and peace for the State of Israel. Israel must do its part to improve the conditions under which Palestinians live and seek to build a better future. Arab states must join to help and deny any help or solace to those who take the path of violence.
I look forward to personally working with the Palestinian and Israeli leaders, and bringing American diplomacy to bear on this difficult but crucial issue. Peace can only come if all parties choose to do the difficult work, and choose to meet their responsibilities. And the time to choose peace is now.
Building a world of hope, prosperity and peace is difficult. As we move forward, America's relations with the world's global powers will be critical. In Russia, we see that the path to democracy is uneven and that its success is not yet assured. Yet recent history shows that we can work closely with Russia on common problems. And as we do so, we will continue to press the case for democracy, and we will continue to make clear that the protection of democracy in Russia is vital to the future of US-Russia relations.
In Asia, we have moved beyond the false assumption that it is impossible to have good relations with all of Asia's powers. Our Asian alliances have never been stronger and we will use that strength to help secure the peace and prosperity of the region. Japan, South Korea, and Australia are key partners in our efforts to deter common threats and spur economic growth. We are building a candid, cooperative and constructive relationship with China that embraces our common interests but still recognizes our considerable differences about values. The United States is cooperating with India, the world's largest democracy, across a range of economic and security issues. This, even as we embrace Pakistan as a vital ally in the war on terror, and a state in transition towards a more moderate and democratic future.
In our own neighborhood, we are cooperating closely with Canada and Mexico, and working to realize the vision of a fully democratic hemisphere, bound by common values and free trade.
We also must realize that America and all free nations are facing a generational struggle against a new and deadly ideology of hatred that we cannot ignore. We need to do much more to confront hateful propaganda, dispel dangerous myths, and get out the truth. We will increase our exchanges with the rest of the world. And Americans should make a serious effort to understand other cultures and learn foreign languages.
Our interaction with the rest of the world must be a conversation, not a monologue. And America must remain open to visitors and workers and students from around the world, without compromising our security standards. If our public diplomacy efforts are to succeed, we cannot close ourselves off from the world. And if I am confirmed, public diplomacy will be a top priority for me and for the professionals I lead.
In all that lies ahead, the primary instrument of American diplomacy will be the Department of State, and the men and women of its Foreign and Civil Services and Foreign Service Nationals. The time for diplomacy is now and the President and I will expect great things from America's diplomatic corps.
We know from experience how hard they work, the risks they and their families take, and the hardships they endure. We will be asking even more of them, in the service of their country, and of a great cause. They will need to develop new skills, and rise to new challenges. This time of global transformation calls for transformational diplomacy. More than ever, Americas diplomats will need to be active in spreading democracy, fighting terror, reducing poverty, and doing our part to protect the American homeland. I will personally work to ensure that America's diplomats have all the tools they need to do their jobs from training to budgets to mentoring to embassy security.
I also intend to strengthen the recruitment of new personnel, because American diplomacy needs to constantly hire and develop top talent. And I will seek to further diversify the State Department's workforce. This is not just a good cause; it is a necessity. A great strength of our country is our diversity. And the signal sent to the rest of the world when America is represented abroad by people of all cultures, races, and religions is an unsurpassed statement about who we are and what our values mean in practice.
Let me close with a personal recollection. I was in government in Washington in 1989 to 1991. I was the Soviet specialist in the White House at the end of the Cold War. I was lucky to be there, and I knew it. I got to participate in the liberation of Eastern Europe. I got to participate in the unification of Germany and to see the Soviet Union collapse. It was a heady time for us all. But, when I look back, I know that we were merely harvesting the good decisions that had been made in 1947, in 1948, and in 1949, when Truman and Acheson and Vandenberg and Kennan and so many wise and farsighted statesmen in the Executive and Legislative branches recognized that we were not in a limited engagement with communism, we were in the defining struggle of our times.
Democrats and Republicans united around a vision and policies that won the Cold War. The road was not always smooth, but the basic unity of purpose and values was there and that unity was essential to our eventual success. No President, and no Secretary of State, could have effectively protected American interests in such momentous times without strong support from the Congress, and from this Committee. And the same is true today. Our task, and our duty is to unite around a vision and policies that will spread freedom and prosperity around the globe. I have worked directly with many of you. And in this time of great challenge and opportunity, Americas co-equal branches of government must work together to advance freedom and prosperity.
In the preface to his memoirs, published in 1969, Dean Acheson wrote of the post-war period that "those who acted in this drama did not know, nor do any of us yet know, the end." Senators, now we know and many of us here bore witness to that end. The end was a victory for freedom, the liberation of half a continent, the passing of a despotic empire and vindication for the wise and brave decisions made at the beginning. It is my greatest hope and my deepest conviction that the struggle we face today will some day end in a similar triumph of the human spirit. And working together, we can make it so. Thank you.
"Mr Karimirad said there were no longer any solitary confinement cells in Iran following an order by the head of the judiciary in 2004.
But he added that "comfortable suites" had been built "to keep some accused people separate from each other for a limited time". "
LOL! Oh Brother!! That's a Good One! LOL
This thread is now closed.
Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread The Most Underreported Story Of The Year!
"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail DoctorZin
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.