Do The Freakin Math

Liberals and conservatives alike frequently rely on limited evidence, personal experience, religious beliefs or gut emotions to determine solutions for complex problems. From immigration to global warming - taxes to terrorism - or health care to free trade - analytical study is rare. Science based policy making isn’t the way of Washington. And the consequences are catastrophic. Change is urgently needed. Just do the freakin’ math.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Bush didn't lie about WMD

There is one question I really want answered honestly by the Bush Administration. That may be asking for the impossible…an honest answer…but it should be far more easy than winning the war in Iraq.

After reading Terence Jeffrey’s “McCain vs. Rumsfeld” in Sunday’s commentary section today it is clear we should be somewhere else, instead of Iraq.

Mr Jeffrey quotes “then-Director of the National Intelligence John Negropounte from last months release of the Annual Threat Assessment from our most credible National Intelligence Agency. In the report Negroponte claims, "Al Qaeda's core elements are resilient... They continue to plot attacks against our homeland and other targets with the objective of inflicting mass casualties. And they continue to maintain active connections and relationships that radiate outward from their leaders' secure hideout in Pakistan to affiliates throughout the Middle East, Northern Africa and Europe."

Jeffrey then states that “no leader of either party has called for invading Pakistan to shut down this ‘secure hideout’”. The ‘hideout’ of those who planned the mass murder of Americans on 9-11.

So, why haven’t we invaded Pakistan?

Not a single Presidential Candidate, not even Senator McCain, is now calling for sending U.S. forces into Pakistan or bombing suspected al Qaeda camps there. Why?

Why? Because we no longer have the forces necessary to accomplish such a worthy task? Who’s fault is that? Does this make us safer? Is that what Bush promised?

Is it because Pakistan is “a nuclear-armed Islamic country”? If the answer is yes, that only encourages other nations that might harbor terrorists (Iran?) to seek the immediate acquisition of nuclear weapons to prevent any US preemptive attacks.

Is it because Pakistan is run by a pro-American general who originally took power in a coup and he has promised he will allow his nation to become a democracy but only if there is no US invasion? I don’t think so.

I don’t believe Bush lied about WMD in Iraq. I do believe it was stupid to invade Iraq if we believed they had them. If in Saddam’s certain fear of defeat he decided to lash back, his release of Weaponized small pox (which was one of our fears if you remember the national smallpox vaccination campaign just prior to our invasion) would have devastated our nation and our world with the death toll in the hundreds of millions. Some things simply don’t add up. Why?



Washington Times
February 25, 2007
Pg. B4

McCain Vs. Rumsfeld

By Terence P. Jeffrey

When then-Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte published his Annual Threat Assessment last month, he admitted a startling fact. We know where al Qaeda's leaders are hiding.

"Al Qaeda's core elements are resilient," he wrote. "They continue to plot attacks against our homeland and other targets with the objective of inflicting mass casualties. And they continue to maintain active connections and relationships that radiate outward from their leaders' secure hideout in Pakistan to affiliates throughout the Middle East, Northern Africa and Europe."

Interestingly, no leader of either party has called for invading Pakistan to shut down this "secure hideout" for the people who attacked America on September 11, 2001.

Keeping that in mind, consider something Sen. John McCain said Monday about former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

"We are paying a very heavy price for the mismanagement, that's the kindest word I can give you, of Donald Rumsfeld, of this war," said Mr. McCain, Arizona Republican. "I think Donald Rumsfeld will go down in history as one of the worst secretaries of defense in history."

But which is more responsible for the tough situation we face in Iraq today: Donald Rumsfeld's management of the military or the assignment of that military to an impractical political mission promoted by John McCain and President Bush?

Under Mr. Rumsfeld, our armed forces swiftly accomplished the core military mission in Iraq. They removed the perceived threat posed by Saddam Hussein's regime. After that, the U.S. mission in Iraq was essentially political, not military -- and in Mr. McCain's view that meant a U.S. "commitment to revolutionary democratic change."

This was central to the moral case for the war, Mr. McCain argued in a March 2003 op-ed in The Washington Post: "The true test of our power, and much of the moral basis for its use, lies not simply in ending dictatorship but in helping the Iraqi people construct a democratic future. This is what sets us aside from empire builders: the use of power for moral purpose." As nice as this may sound, it is wrong.

There is only one moral justification for war: self-defense. And self-defense alone is not sufficient. A war of self-defense must also be a last resort, have a reasonable chance of success and cannot be anticipated to cause more damage than it prevents.

For this reason, the virtue that ought to govern in war, as in all areas of foreign policy, is prudence, which means knowing the facts as well as they can be known, accurately foreseeing the consequences of alternative courses of action and then choosing the course that leads to the best result.

Famously, the CIA got the facts wrong about Saddam's weapons of mass destruction. That caused the national debate on whether to use force against Iraq to be based on an inaccurate assessment of the threat Iraq posed. But Mr. McCain also based his case for war on an inaccurate assessment of the chances the United States could create a democracy in Iraq.

" 'Experts' who dismiss hopes for Iraqi democracy as naive and the campaign to liberate Iraq's people as dangerously destabilizing do not explain why they believe Iraqis or Arabs are uniquely unsuited to representative government, and they betray a cultural bigotry that ill serves our interests and values," Mr. McCain wrote.

In fact, there were serious reasons before the war to conclude it would be difficult to establish a stable government in Iraq, let alone a democracy, if Saddam were removed. One reason was Iraq's well-known ethnic-sectarian divisions -- Sunni, Shi'ite and Kurd -- and the historic tensions between them. Another was that Iraq was the birthplace of Shi'ite Islamism, and that many of Saddam's tyrannical acts had been aimed at suppressing leading Shi'ite Islamists, some of whom had fled to Iran where they plotted an Islamic revolution for their homeland.

It was one thing to conclude the threat posed by Saddam was great enough to run the risks of destabilizing Iraq. It was another to accuse of "cultural bigotry" those who did not discount that risk.

So back to the question: Should the failure thus far to establish a stable democracy in Iraq be blamed on the management of U.S. troops, or was the concept of using U.S. troops to create an Iraqi democracy flawed?

The fact that not even John McCain is now calling for sending U.S. forces into Pakistan -- a nuclear-armed Islamic country run by a pro-American general who originally took power in a coup -- to shut down a sanctuary for the leaders of al Qaeda points to an answer.

Sometimes the pursuit of a just cause, no matter how well managed, can cause more problems than it solves.

Terence P. Jeffrey is a nationally syndicated columnist.


Fear Russian Iranian cooperation

Oliver North’s reasonably fears Russian and Iranian cooperation (Lions, Bears and Birds. Commentary 2-25-07) in WMD proliferation and their exchange of smaller high-tech weapons likely being used in Iraq to kill American soldiers. But what is his solution? Armageddon?

The US has often used this same ‘the enemy, of my enemy, is my friend’ tactic when its perceived self interests were threatened or our leaders thought we could achieve political gains by arming others. Our gift of Stinger Missiles to the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan resulted in the killing of thousands of Russian soldiers and helping to bankrupt the USSR. Our gift of chemical weapons precursors and helpful intelligence for Saddam Hussein’s targeting of Iranian forces during his war against Iran was responsible for killing tens of thousands of Iranian soldiers. Even though Saddam started the war we didn’t want Iran winning it. Payback’s a bitch.

Now it sounds like North’s solution to stopping the Russian/Iranian arms exchange is with some threat or actual use of more military force. That would be as stupid as thinking an eagle can defeat a bear or a lion. We are not dealing with animals. We are dealing with highly capable nations/civilizations that have access to the most powerful technologies, educated engineers and committed warriors the world has ever seen.

In this era of ubiquitous and affordable WMD any nation, and increasingly any radical group, is capable of acquiring or developing genocidal weapons of mass destruction for which there is no defense. Is that really the path that Mr. North wants the US to lead the world down?

The other option would be to give the “United Nation’s toothless ‘nuclear watchdog’’ real teeth. International law enforcement needs real teeth. If the US had been willing to give the UN’s International Criminal Court real teeth years ago, Saddam Hussein would have been indicted for war crimes and genocide for his mass murder gassing of the Kurds in the late 1980s. Going down this path, Saddam would have been tried and hanged before his invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and US forces wouldn’t have been mass mobilized in Saudi Arabia (on Islamic Holy land) that strongly motivated Osama Bin Laden planning for 9-11. And, if we had gone town the ICC path, the path of international law instead of war, we wouldn’t now have brave US soldiers dying in Iraq by the thousands and involved in an occupation that only increased the ranks of Islamic terrorists, increases the risk to our homeland, and reduces the resources we have for dealing with our own domestic problems.

Yes, I’m concerned about Iran’s access to WMD, but I’m far more concerned about US leaders who don’t understand what motivates others to acquire and possibly use such unstoppable weapons.

Felix Rosenthal?

Success in Anbar suggests US leave Iraq.

James Zumwalt details a small but exciting and extremely important success in Iraq (“The awakening” Commentary 2-25-07), but his good news from Anbar province that Oliver North originally reported, fails to properly identify the source of success, or the vital importance of US policy makers acknowledging the real source.

Anbar Province Sunnis “condemnation of al Qaeda’s actions”, their “declaration” of “solidarity with the coalition” and their “declaration of war against al Qaeda” is not a result of anything US forces have done. This sliver of progress is solely a result of al Qaeda’s actions. Their “taking control” of the province and “turning” their “brutality against the [Anbar] tribes created an Iraqi backlash that was as inevitable as a backlash against our own taking control of Iraq and the brutality of a ‘shock and awe’ invasion and Abu Grebe detentions.

This turn around in Anbar is a benefit to our forces but it is also a predicable outcome that should put to rest the fears that withdraw of US forces from Iraq will result in al Qaeda taking over Iraq as a new base of terrorist training and outreach operations. It appears that even Sunni Iraqi’s have a different plan for their nation that what Osama Bin Laden has planned. It’s time for us to get out of the way and allow both Sunni’s and Shiites to see who their real enemy is.

David Firshein.

War not winnable. War of ideas is.

‘War of ideas’ not winnable with war.

Clifford May’s “Clash of perceptions” (Sunday commentary 2-25-07) is correct in that the so-called ‘war’ in Iraq is really “a war of ideas”. Unfortunately, he still believes that more warriors will ‘wage a more effective war of ideas’. Not even under the new leadership of General Petraeus can ‘war’ be considered a winning idea. Petraeus may be a great general, but he is no miracle worker. Any ‘idea’ that continues to justify the killing of innocent people, which war certainly does as collateral damage, cannot ‘win’ anything in Iraq, except more converts to radical Islam.

The “Arab street” failed to “erupt over the slaughter of fellow Arabs” because the streets were occupied by US military forces with only a limited regard for Iraqi collateral damage. American forces do try to avoid the killing innocent Iraqi’s. But, US forces are responsible for at least a fourth of all innocent Iraqi casualties now somewhere between 100,000 and 600,000 souls. They and the Bush Administration are also responsible for the war itself. And all Arabs know that more ‘war’ won’t win Iraqi hearts and minds. It’s lethally unfortunate that Mr. May isn’t warm to this irrefutable idea.

The European’s lack of outrage over the “mass murder of innocents” in Iraq isn’t because they see the war as “a force of nature, like a hurricane or tornado.” They see the mass murder as a predictable outcome of any nation’s use of war, the law of force, to achieve it’s mission. Our ‘war in Iraq’ was an avoidable war. A war of our choice.

“The truthful case” is that our choosing war full well condoned the killing of innocent lives as collateral damage by the tens of thousands. That is hardly a “principled” Bush administration. We used our ‘grievances’ to justify Iraqi collateral damage. At home it’s classified as third degree murder -- like driving while drunk. Drunks may avoid killing innocent people but wars never do.

There are two barriers to ‘winning the war in Iraq. The first is that we keep calling our presence there a “war”. It is not. It is an occupation that has permitted the sparking, exacerbation, and evolution of a unique civil war. Essentially we are trying to conduct a ‘peace keeping/nation building’ operation with a military that is trained and equipped to kill and blow stuff up. We are experts at the killing part. And, Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” banner was correct at that point in time. With the capture of Baghdad the Iraq ‘war’ really ended. From that point on it has been a forceful occupation.

Second, most conservative and even many liberal policy makers believe we can achieve “victory” in this “war” without significant outside assistance or leadership.

By maintaining that it is a ‘war’ the Bush Administration and aligned conservatives must insist on “victory’ -- and anyone against the ‘war’ then becomes a ‘defeatist’. As a ‘war’ the only logical solution is more troops. The only problem is there is no way of achieving a military victory in Iraq – and even if there was – 20,000 troops couldn’t do it. Even some conservatives are starting to agree that Iraq requires a political solution…and that dealing with non American/Iraqi/Al Qaeda players will be essential to ending the violence.

Once we admit that an effective ‘police force’ is needed in Iraq to put the protection of Iraqi people ahead of our need for a ‘perceived’ victory, the sooner we will see a light at the end of this mass murderous tunnel. And once we admit that US military forces cannot be that ‘police force’, the sooner we, the UN or the world will be able to mobilize an army of Muslim police from inside Iraq and nations not bordering Iraq to bring real protection to the Iraqi people without regard for their religious affiliation.

Mr. May’s perception that more war will solve the problem in Iraq is wrong. The only victory in Iraq that will achieve progress in the greater ‘war’ on terrorism is the perception that we replace war, the law of force, the non-kinetic force of law. An increase in US troops ‘warring’ in Iraq only makes the real war of ideas unwinnable by us.

Warming Delirium Delirious

William Rusher’s opinion in Sundays Commentary was correctly titled “Warming delirium”. Each of Rusher’s “three mighty engines” that are powering the global-warming controversy is deliriously wrong.

First Rusher said “the media can be depended on to ferret out and wildly over hype any potential negative development any so-called scientist is willing to predict and deplore”… and thus easy to awaken “the natural human impulse to fear allegedly forthcoming disasters, especially if they are clothed in the raiments of scientific certitude”. If either of these assertions were true, the threat of infectious diseases would be the primary driving force of all local, state, federal and foreign policy. The Bird Flu or a release of weaponized smallpox will dwarf any impact of global warming. There is virtually no scientist that covers these inevitable catastrophic threats that believes the media or the public has had adequate exposure, reception or reaction. And it was so called ‘hype’ by both the media and scientific communities that can be credited with the reduction of the very real former environmental problems of “acid Rain” and the “Ozone hole”. If Mr. Rusher would prefer religious ideology over science in determining public policy he should consider the problems this approach creates in the Middle East.

Rusher’s second engine “traditional liberal hatred of ‘American corporations’” misses the fact that it is liberal love of the environment that propels them to seek the source of pollutants. God created the world for our stewardship. Corporations were created by humans and to the degree they put profit over serving human needs and protecting God’s creation, their actions deserve the wrath of harsh critics. The source of global warming however isn’t primarily cows or corporations. It’s our dependence on oil -- a dependence that funds terrorists -- which is a far greater threat than global warming. I’ve never heard any liberals say “Stop the corporations” but I’m confident we can all agree that the funding terrorists must be stopped.

Rusher’s last engine “money” that pays scientists and funds university research is far less than the money engine related to oil that prevents us from finding affordable alternative fuels that could help keep God’s creation clean and peaceful. If US corporations invested their windfall profits in clean alternative energy sources they would spark economic growth that would make liberals love corporations and provide breakthroughs in science that would help us improve other aspects of our health and nations prosperity.

Tauna Rose

Rockville, MD

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Terrorism and rocket science

Dear Editor,

Fred Reed exposes the most powerful force driving terrorism in “Terrorism is not rocket science” (Technology section, 2-24-07). Most people associate extremist religion as the most powerful destructive force impacting on our lives. Reed’s details about the “dual-use” nature of all technologies however shows a different picture. As long as there is anyone of any extremist religious, environmental or political ideology that wants to do great harm they can wield great death and destruction upon any civilization with little trouble and little cost…and more importantly …with virtually nothing we can do to prevent them from acquiring technology with increasingly powerful capacity to do either unprecedented good or unimaginable harm.

This may be bad news for those working or hoping that non-proliferation or disarmament will bring peace and security. They won’t because the capacity to kill on a mass scale can never be controlled.

This should actually be good news for those focused on changing human software (our thinking) as a means to peace and security. That is the final frontier. Religion like technology will always be abused by those who lack inadequate software. When we learn to apply what technology we have to ensuring universal education and the protection of all human rights…the sooner we will be able to defeat terrorism. That’s not rocket science. That’s just good old fashion common sense.

Chuck Woolery


By Fred Reed, Technology section. Washington Times
February 24, 2007

I see in an ABC News story that the FBI is concerned about weapons, such as peroxide-based bombs that can be made from chemicals found in the home. You don't need TNT. You can make your own explosives.
Here we encounter a disturbing truth about terrorism: While the level of technological expertise needed is often quite low, the level of such knowledge spread through the general population is quite high, and most of it is available on the Internet.
I don't like to use anonymous sources, but here I'm going to do it. A friend of mine is an organic chemist who has, for legitimate reasons, an interest in terrorism and weaponry. Years ago he told me of the various "kitchen-sink" explosives and how to make them. They go well beyond those mentioned by ABC and include nasty stuff that can be made, if not literally from things in the kitchen, at least from chemicals readily available.
He says, "You can't control access to dangerous ingredients. It's not doable. Modern countries are chemistry-intensive. All sorts of businesses depend on them, fertilizers, plastics, paint, pharmaceuticals, printing, insecticides.
"All use lots of processing agents. University labs have anything you would need to do just about anything at all," he said, giving a list of examples, which I told him I wasn't going to publish. He responded, "Probably a good idea. No point in encouraging amateurs. But anybody good would know it anyway."
He asserted that any decent graduate student in organic chemistry could make nerve agents (usually called "nerve gases," though many aren't gases).
"The syntheses aren't that difficult. You can find them on the Internet. Of course, you'd have to be careful if you wanted to survive the synthesis," he said. I don't think most people realize how much technical knowledge is readily available on improvised explosives, poisons, remote detonators and such.
Militaries have detailed manuals on such things. A problem is that much of this involves "dual use" technology. For example, cell phones with a little tinkering make good detonators. You can't outlaw cell phones. Ammonium nitrate, an explosive, is a fertilizer, used by the ton.
Search on "sarin" (a deadly nerve agent) and "synthesis." You find, for example, a site that gives a rotatable 3-D model of the simple molecule.
Bioterrorism is almost as easy for anyone of reasonable IQ. Remember that a terrorist doesn't have to kill people, just terrify them. Most Washingtonians remember when in 1997 some practical joker put a package of phony anthrax outside B'nai B'rith and shut the city for a day.
Years ago I talked to bioresearcher Steve Hatfill, the fellow on whom the FBI keeps trying to pin the deaths from the mailings of anthrax. He was worried because the United States, he said, didn't have the medical infrastructure to deal with a large number of people dying from diseases used as weapons by terrorists.
He pointed out that various dangerous pathogens, most of which we won't list here, are easily found in certain places. Anthrax for example is common in the ground around stables. Any competent microbiologist, he said, could grow most of these things in culture.
For instance, in plastic milk bottles in a basement.
One case of plague in an office building would probably shut it down for weeks.
Given that microbiologists, chemists, electronic engineers and so on are common, and particularly in the advanced world, one wonders why there is so little terrorism. I don't know. I do know that sophomore science majors could figure out a dozen ways to go about it.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Total victory in Iraq: Dream or nightmare?

John McFarlane is a brave but foolish warrior in his plea for “victory” in for our ‘occupation’ of Iraq (Nothing less than total victory, 2-17-07). My answer to his question “Why can’t you support that victory?” is quite simple.

There is no US ‘military’ victory in Iraq that is possible without us willingly participating in mass murder against either the Sunni or Shite factions (or both).

We have three basic options:
Continue to try and stop the sectarian violence without picking a side and get caught in a thousand year crossfire that even 200,000 more US troops can’t stop.
Pick one side and force the other to capitulate. This would require either direct or indirect support for genocidal activities by the side we pick.
Withdraw US military forces and allow any genocidal activities to burn themselves out, or, replace ourselves with a Muslim army mobilized from nations not neighboring Iraq…and then fully fund their capacity to effectively police a ceasefire and federate the current Iraqi madness.

There is no US ‘military’ victory for Iraq. Not without our soldiers killing more innocent Iraqi's. The dozens of US soldiers interviewed for the documentary movie "Ground Truth" make it painfully clear that US warriors sometimes murder innocent Iraqi's in the fog of war. With already somewhere between 100,000 and 600,000 innocent Iraqis slaughtered by both radical Islamists and as ‘collateral damage’ by coalition forces, any future direct US military involvement in Iraq must stop. Our soldiers performed bravely and brilliantly in defeating Saddam’s army. They have failed in securing the Iraqi peace. Only the Iraqi’s can do that. Leaving Iraq is not ‘defeat’ in the larger war on terrorism if our willing departure inspired more moderate Muslims to join with us in defeating murderous Islamic jihadists world wide. If we force a military ‘victory’ in Iraq…we will only create more terrorists and reduce our capacity to defeat them globally.

Our soldiers were never defeated in Iraq. They were handed orders to conduct an impossible occupation. Someone needs to be held accountable for that murderous tactical and strategic mistake. Bringing the troops back home is the only real way to support them and their greater mission of defending this country against the global spread of terrorism. This will require more allies in the world. Our lethal military occupation of Iraq is only making us more enemies.


Friday, February 16, 2007

Ground Truth - War is hell. Iraq is worse.

Words would be useless in conveying to any non-combat individual the reality of being a US soldier on the ground in Iraq. Any language description would be as enlightening as relaying the experience of skydiving to someone who has never even been in a plane.

Watching a movie isn’t going to be that much more helpful in relaying such a visceral experience but I suggest watching the war documentary “Ground Truth” will get you as close as you ever really want to be.

In the DVD nearly two dozen US soldiers talk about their experiences of combat in Iraq and in returning back home. After an hour and 20 minutes no one could seriously doubt that war is hell. And, war in Iraq is worse.

In a real ‘war’ there is far greater clarity about the purpose of killing. About who is being killed and the importance of it. There is no such luxury in Iraq. This profound truth of war on the ground in Iraq is that it is both psychologically transforming and life destroying for both our troops behind the weapons and lives of Iraqis on the receiving end.

These former soldiers do not advocate any solution for the crisis in Iraq but any viewer will conclude that the war dictated ‘rules of engagement’ are more than failing. They are murderous. Both to innocent Iraqi’s and to the psyches of our brave soldiers who were following the murderous orders of our commander in chief.

Just before the movie tonight I got a phone call from the a Republican Student campus organization surveying me about the “brain washing” of American students by the liberal professors populating most American college campuses (I’m also on a few GOP mailing lists as well). They were fundraising to combat professor’s claims that are president should be tried for war crimes.

One of our guests tonight shared her insight about the need to overcome the ‘culture of war’ that is ingrained in our society all the way down to our children. How right she is. The guttural real world language in this film may keep it from being shown on campuses. It shouldn’t. The obscenity of the Iraq war is infinitely more corrupting of our youth and the future security of our nation and world harmony.

This is a film everyone must watch. Another movie guest suggested showing it at Army recruiting offices. Many chuckled…including myself. We shouldn’t have. That was a hellish good idea. War is hell. The war in Iraq is worse.

A non-MoveOn movie guest asked what we wanted him to include in his letter to his Congress persons. I didn’t have a good answer. I don’t believe MoveOn did either.

There is no doubt, the war was a mistake (another male guest noted that he and many others predicted early on the outcome of the US invasion. Now, there is no shortage of people predicting the failure of sending in more US troops. I’m convinced that US involvement in Iraq is making our global security situation worse. I even believe our military approach to the global war on terrorism is making things worse.

The MoveOn staff requested movie night participants fill out a survey to evaluate the night. The most difficult question for me was “What one word best describes” your feelings after watching the movie. I wrote “ashamed”. Outrage, sorrow, sick…were also contenders…but ‘ashamed’ is what every American should be until all this ‘war’ madness ends. For me, the only other alternative is world law. In the closing lyrics of a old war protest song…’When will they ever learn” When, will we ever learn”. Maybe when we finally get hit with a nuke or weaponized smallpox. Maybe then we will learn. War is not the way. Give world law a chance.


Thursday, February 15, 2007

Fighting them 'over there' will fail

On Thursday Bush said he was sure all Americans can agree that we need to “fight” terrorists “over there, so we don’t have to fight them here.” I’m hopeful most Americans see through this misunderstanding of the threat we face.

The fact is, the more we militarily intervene in their affairs in the Middle East the more likely we will try to hurt us here. And, they don’t have to kill us here to severely cripple our nation. They can create hell for us by destroying the global infrastructure that serves our oil dependent economy. The Washington Times reported just such Al Qaeda plans on the same day of Bush’s speech (Al Qaeda threatens US oil suppliers, 2-15-07).

The only way we can defeat them over there and reduce their recruiting incentive of US military intervention in their lands is to find and fund others to stop them.

An international Muslim police force made up of volunteers from Muslim majority or minority nations not on Iraqi borders should be rapidly mobilized and funded to replace US forces in Iraq. US military assets can be lent to this international police force to help stop sectarian violence in Iraq but no level of direct US military intervention can do so. Our being ‘over there’ will only make our security here worse.

We must make friends with moderate Muslims who will arrest would be terrorists in their own nations. Our ‘shock and awe pre-emptive doctrine’ doesn’t make us friends with anyone. Not even our traditional non-Muslim allies. Our innate respect for the protection of inalienable human rights, no matter whom or where they are, is our most powerful weapon against the terrorists here and the spread of terrorism globally.

Our questionably necessary invasion of Iraq and our incompetent occupation has so far resulted in the death of somewhere between 100,000 and 600,000 innocent Iraqis, and displaced well over a million more. We did this not out of our largess but to find WMDs there that might hurt us here. That emboldened our enemy and helped Al Qaeda recruiting efforts. A 20,000 force surge of US troop strength in Baghdad will only worsen the situation.

If President Bush said ‘we make friends who will arrest them there so we won’t have to arrest them here’ he would have had my support and likely the support of a super majority of Americans and most of the world.


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Stopping Genocide doesn't require war

In “For or against the next war?” (Washington Times 2-6-07) columnist Tod Lindberg abuses statistics to suggest that a significant portion of American’s would support our nation starting yet another war.

Mr. Lindberg doesn’t seem to fathom the reality that there is a world of difference between launching a preemptive strike against Iran and stopping genocide in Darfur.

An unprovoked unilateral US military attack on yet another Muslim nation would spark wildly unpredictable negative global consequences and fuel the global war on terrorism, likely bringing the war to own shore.

A unilateral US military intervention in Darfur to stop mass murder may go against the will of the majority of Americans but it would be a globally approved police operation to protect innocent lives. Such action would contribute positively to global stability acting both to deter future genocidal regimes and by reducing chaotic global conditions that facilitate terrorism.

As a result of Iran’s president’s irresponsible statements about eliminating Israel and the US Mr. Lindberg and others believe that an attack on Iraq’s nuclear capabilities would be ‘preventing’ a future genocide. Nothing could be farther from reality. At best we would postpone their nuclear program while possibly sparking Armageddon. Neither would beneficial to Israel or the US given that Iran could certainly develop genetically targeted biological weapons capable of inflicting genocide on Jews or mass murder of Americans on a far greater scale than a limited nuclear strike.

Lindberg’s statistics only demonstrate the fallibility of democratic objectives. The use of force should not be subject to the passions of any majority. It should be limited to the global enforcement of inalienable human rights outlined within the most important document in human history – the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Polls on American opinions should have nothing to do with waging future wars. Use of force in policing the world’s pledge of “Never Again” does not require war.

Boycott of Shell oil won't hurt terrorists

Dear Editor,

Frank Gaffney Jr. falls into the same old fundamentally flawed mental fog in suggesting that “American investors and consumers” will significantly reduce funding for our “Islamofascist” Iranian “enemies” and make us safer. (With us, or Else. 2-6-07)

First, even if all US citizens boycotted Shell gasoline not all other “Americans” living in sovereign states to the north and south of us can economically afford to be picky about the source of their oil. Particularly to the south of us, poverty is a far greater threat than terrorism. And Gaffney appears to ignore the reality that China, India and other increasingly oil dependent nations friendly or unfriendly to the US would be increasingly likely to invest in Iranian oil and gas as global demand for oil inevitably soars.

The wisest investment US tax payers could make would be a ‘Manhattan project’ like effort to create multiple and affordable, clean and renewable energy sources that would make us, our allies and even our enemies free from the petroleum fascist addiction we now have. Until then, every gallon of gasoline anyone buys from anywhere helps fund our enemies and fuel their capacity to do us great harm.

Second, it doesn’t take much money to do us harm and oil isn’t the only source of funding. Blood diamonds in Africa, loose nukes in Russia, illegal narcotics in Afghanistan, cigarette tax differences here in our own country or gambling on the internet, can easily provide the level of financing needed to fund another 9-11 attack using biological, chemical or even conventional weapons. Even a limited attack on oil infrastructure not in our nation could cause a world wide shortage of oil that could bring all the Americas and Americans to our knees.

It’s not a matter, as Bush proclaimed, that “You’re either with us or against us”. It’s a matter of ‘you’re either dependent on oil or independent of it’ and ‘you either have enough friends in the world to help prevent terrorism, or you continue to make enemies.

Expecting oil dependent entities to go out of their way to buy oil isn’t going to make us more friends.