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.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Kill all Muslims?

Diana West ( seems to think that we are mortally threatened by Islam and that our trying to win their “hearts and minds” is “suicidal”.

She seems to imply that Muslims will never be receptive to a peaceful approach to coexistence. Ms. West doesn’t come right out and say it but might as well call for the killing of all Muslims. Western civilization isn’t beyond committing genocide. We’ve done it a few times before even when we weren’t threatened.

Before admitting to her final summation that “we” may be “just too dumb to live” let us consider at least two other rational approaches.

First, we could get Congressional agreement to indict President Bush before a United Nations Tribunal for war crimes for his invasion of Iraq and it’s lethal consequences for tens of thousands of Iraqis -- in exchange for their cooperation...wait... Let me rephrase that....

Have Congress do something that will convince other Muslim majority or minority nations that are not bordering Iraq to provide an all Muslim peace keeping force that we will fund for the purpose of ensuring the security of all Iraqis -- including the Kurds. Then we fund a summit of Muslim leaders to work with Iraqi factional leaders to work out a federation of limited power, oil revenue sharing, and the promise to protect all Iraqi citizens. Or allow them to follow Senator Biden’s plan of breaking the country up into three manageable states.

The other option is to pull all US forces (military and private contractors) out of Iraq and let the civil war burn itself out with the surrounding Arab/Persian countries suffering the inevitable consequences. Better we sit back and watch Muslims killing each other than have US soldiers in the middle being killed and being responsible for the occasional killing of innocent Iraqi's – and permanently imprisoning far more. Before leaving we could promise US funding for Iraq reconstruction equivalent to what we are currently spending on our hostile occupation. But, only if they can establish a peaceful resources sharing solution on their own. If they chose to take the mass murderous route then we will take our money and invest it in becoming immediately energy independent.

Ms. West was right about one thing. It is an incredibly stupid mistake to think that we can occupy and “nation build” a Muslim country using US armed forces. What was Bush thinking? That he had God on his side? Could there really be someone in the US that is just too dumb to live?

Blankley's belief is existencial threat to our civilization.

Tony Blankley’s “great divide” between people like him who “believe that the rise of radical Islam poses an existential threat to Western Civilization; and those who believe it is a nuisance, if episodically a very dangerous nuisance” cleanly reflects the two predominant views on the global threat of terrorism ("Is there writing on the wall" 4-25-07). His simplistic dichotomy however, misses a third view that more accurately reflects our reality.

Blankley’s main thesis is partially correct. Radical Islam is a growing threat and the unstoppable growing capacity of individuals or radicalized groups to easily acquire enormously power technology means they will inevitably get their hands on nuclear or biological weapons. Technology they can use for unprecedented national or even global catastrophic destruction. Extinction of our civilization however, will only occur from a cataclysmic celestial event … unless we make a decision from within to abandon the foundations of our civilization (democracy, justice and the protection of basic inalienable rights) the rule of law, by launching a global jihad of our own.

Maintaining our civilizing methodologies in the face of any terrorizing chaos will require true national strength and civilian courage. Military power won’t help. In fact, by abandoning our highest ideals our unbeatable military power will become our greatest threat. Morally weak we will depend on military power and then demand a military state.

Those committed to mass murdering Americans are no doubt extreme, but they are also extremely few in numbers. Their only chance of wiping out western civilization is if we increase their numbers by insisting on war as a means of defeating them. These mass murderers thrive on chaos. The chaos of poverty, ignorance, and injustice that is perpetually fertilized by war.

The only way to stop terrorists is to make enough friends in the world (and good enough friends) who will help us detect and detain these criminals before they kill. Global warring without clear lines of combat will make us few friends and even fewer good friends in the places we need them most. It’s not “a few thousand terrorists using small explosives” as Mr. Blankley states that is “radicalizing the minds of increasing numbers of the world's 1.4 billion Muslims”. It is our warring in their territories and our past and current immoral support for their oil rich repressive rulers that does.

Blankly and others are rightfully alarmist. But it is they who are ignorant, morally cowardice, and even treasonous to reject our ‘lawful’ approach to human progress and our civilized approach to a truly terrifying global reality. Terrorist’s murderous efforts aren’t “funded by Saudi petro-dollars”. They are funded by American petro-dollars. Dollars we gave the Saudi’s because we were too weak to wean ourselves from dependence on their oil.

Blankly and his believers won’t be “false predictors of doom”. They could however, be doom’s instigators. We must insist world law, not world war. That’s what real civilizations do. That’s where Rome fell. In the long run, it will be the global application of our ideal of law that will prove to be the most devastating force against the rise of terrorism. And real courage, not competing foresights, is the only missing ingredient.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Neocons letter to Clinton RE Iraq's WMD 1998

Below is a letter from a band of Neocons to President Clinton dated Jan. 26, 1998. It explains their thinking regarding invading Iraq. It was printed on March 8th, 2001 in the Washington Times Oped pages. The comments within the brackets are mine. Most were written wtih insights already acknowledged in 1998 ... others with insights gained only after Bush's invastion of Iraq. Not much has changed.


“Have hawks become doves?”

Editor's note: The following letter was sent to then-President Clinton on Jan. 26, 1998. A number of the signatories below have been appointed or nominated for posts in the Bush administration. The letter is reprinted here for the sake of the record.

Dear President Clinton:
We are writing you because we are convinced that current American policy toward Iraq is not succeeding, and that we may soon face a threat in the Middle East more serious than any we have known since the end of the Cold War. [Prophetic! …]

You have an opportunity to chart a clear and determined course for meeting this threat. We urge you to seize that opportunity, and to enunciate a new strategy that would secure the interests of the United States and our friends and allies around the world. That strategy should aim, above all, at the removal of Saddam Hussein's regime from power. We stand ready to offer our full support in this difficult but necessary endeavor. [Noble but, problematic…]

The policy of "containment" of Saddam Hussein has been steadily eroding over the past several months. As recent events have demonstrated, we can no longer depend on our partners in the Gulf War coalition to continue to uphold the sanctions or to punish Saddam when he blocks or evades U.N. inspections. Our ability to ensure that Saddam
Hussein is not producing weapons of mass destruction, therefore, has substantially diminished. Even if full inspections were eventually to resume, which now seems highly unlikely, experience has shown that it is difficult if not impossible to monitor Iraq's chemical and biological weapons production. [True!] The lengthy period during which the inspectors will have been unable to enter many Iraqi facilities has made it even less
likely that they will be able to uncover all of Saddam's secrets. [True!] As a result, in the not-too-distant future we will be unable to determine with any reasonable level of confidence whether Iraq does or does not possess such weapons. [False! There was never a time we could determine ‘with any reasonable level of confidence’ such a reality and any hopes or intentions of doing so in the future are even less credible—even insane.]

Such uncertainty will, by itself, have a seriously destabilizing effect on the entire Middle East. [Yes, but not as much as a preemptive US military invasion and occupation of Iraq] It hardly needs to be added that if Saddam does acquire the capability to deliver weapons of mass destruction, as he is almost certain to do if we continue along the present course, the safety of American troops in the region, of our friends and allies like Israel and the moderate Arab states, and a significant portion of the world's supply of oil will all be put at hazard. [Ah. We finally come to the real issue… our nation’s economic need for their oil] As has been rightly pointed out, the security of the world in the first part of the 21st century will be determined largely by how we handle this threat. [True! And the Bush administration has failed this miserably!]

Given the magnitude of the threat, the current policy, which depends for its success upon the steadfastness of our coalition partners and upon the cooperation of Saddam Hussein, is dangerously inadequate. [Gain cooperation of Hussein? We had his cooperation when he invaded Iran and gassed the Kurds.]

The only acceptable strategy is one that eliminates the possibility that Iraq will be able to use or threaten to use weapons of mass destruction. [False. Any strategy to ‘eliminate the possiblity’ is doomed to fail. Elimination of a possibility IS NOT POSSILBE!!! Not even with a Nazi like occupation of the entire nation. We still haven’t found the guy who launched an Anthrax attack against our own capital -- with the largest FBI man hunt in our nations history]
In the near term, this means a willingness to undertake military action as diplomacy is clearly failing. [And military action has failed also.] In the long term, it means removing
Saddam Hussein and his regime from power. That now needs to become the aim of American foreign policy. [This could have been done with a real international coalition if we had gone after Saddam for his mass murder of Kurds, Iraqi’s and Iranians with chemical weapons. The US support for the International Criminal Court would have been the best venue for this…but this group of war advocates were at the forefront of blocking any US acquisition of such diplomatic powers].

We urge you to articulate this aim, and to turn your administration's attention to implementing a strategy for removing Saddam's regime from power. [Clinton started this with his signature to the ICC statue…which Bush then unsigned.] This will require a full complement of diplomatic, political and military efforts. [Including support for the ICC!]

Although we are [NOT] fully aware of the dangers and difficulties in implementing this policy, we believe [Wrongly] the dangers of failing to do so are far greater. We believe [Wrongly] the United States has the authority under existing U.N. resolutions to take the
necessary steps, including military steps, to protect our vital interests in the Gulf [While ignoring the genocidal interests if the Sudanese Government]. In any case, American policy cannot continue to be crippled by a misguided insistence on unanimity in the U.N. Security Council. [They prefer to have American Policy crippled by its’ military overextension in an unnecessary war.]
We urge you to act decisively. If you act now to end the threat of weapons of mass destruction against the United States or its allies, you will be acting in the most fundamental national security interests of the country. If we accept a course of weakness and drift, we put our interests and our future at risk. [Choosing a belligerent course and drift toward Armageddon has also put our interests and our future at risk. There is a wiser path called the rule of law. And extension of our nation’s second amendment to the world should play a vital role. That means our effort to disarm any nation or group is a violation of inalienable human rights. Their abuse of that right by murdering any innocent individual or mass murdering any group of innocent people should be held accountable. Any other attempt to secure our own security without doing the same for others is doomed to failure]

Signed by,

Elliott Abrams, Richard L. Armitage, William J. Bennett, Jeffrey
Bergner, John Bolton, Paula Dobriansky, Francis Fukuyama, Robert
Kagan,Zalmay Khalilzad, William Kristol, Richard Perle, Peter W. Rodman,
Donald Rumsfeld, William Schneider Jr., Vin Weber, Paul Wolfowitz, R.
James Woolsey, Robert B. Zoellick.


Preemption is murderous act. Not prevention.

Louis Rene Beres clearly frames the American predicament by stating “We might now be perfectly capable of warding off any tangible defeat of our military forces and perhaps even of winning identifiable victories, but we still may have to face extraordinary harms.” (Deterrence and modern aggressors: Transforming developments in military strategy. 4-13-07).

Unfortunately, his logic fails murderously in concluding that ‘in the absence of enemy rationality, we would have no practical alternative to expanding assorted plans for pre-emption”

Any pre-emptive military strike is an act of war. And, war by its very nature is murderous of innocent lives. Pre-emption is not a recipe for prevention. It is a provocation of yet more violence in the future. If you have any doubt of this reality look no further than Iraq…or the inevitable global lethal consequences of any US pre-emptive strike against Iran.

Mr. Beres just doesn’t get it. We need to be making more friends in the world, not making more enemies with unilateral bombing or invasions that inevitably kill hundreds if not thousands of innocent people -- even when all attempts are made to avoid such deaths. Just two months ago in another Washington Time opinion piece Mr. Beres correctly stated “There is no more sacred principle of law and justice than the imperative to protect the innocent’ (“Just cause, just means.” Feb. 15, 2007 ). Thus preemptive strikes by his own definition would be a violation of this most sacred principle. Such murderous acts of war won’t gain us favor in any nation’s capital or rural village.

Our best hope for improving our future security and reducing the growing risks we face is by advancing our military’s current counter-terrorism measures now being implemented in the Horn of African and elsewhere on that troubled continent. Our nation’s best intelligence and military minds have finally realized that we can get out ahead of the Al Qaida curve of mass murder by occupying the chaotic and impoverished lethal conditions in advance of their arrival. Digging water wells, building non-jihadist schools, assisting local farmers, and arresting local bandits -- in other words – making friends with the locals – is the most effective means of earning the friendships we now need to help us find and bring to justice those who mean us harm…harm that they can now deliver by the truck load.

Our increasing vulnerability is, as Beres says “the natural consequence of constantly evolving military and terrorists technologies” a "frightful evolution" that can never "be stopped or reversed”. This is the reality of a world of ever increasingly powerful, affordable, ubiquitous, stealth, and anonymous technologies. And it is by the transformation of our military into a development machine that we will ensure our greatest future security. It is this new ‘peace corps’ that now deserves the American public’s attention and tax payer funding instead of additional war making capabilities for preemption.

Pre-emption is the path to Armageddon. Global development is the path improving our own security and maintaining our most valued freedoms and ideals.
It's not too late to take the civilized path.


Liberty and justice for all? Not yet under Iraq law.

Austin Bay writes about the most important concept for maintaining human freedoms and security in his “Quiet step for rule of law” (4-13-07) in detailing the value of this civilized idea in bringing peace to Iraq. It’s unfortunate that he missed one the most important details that makes the ‘rule of law’ effective.

Mr. Bay said ‘The Sunni terrorist accused of mass murder…and the Shia cop nabbed for abuse and torture…are symbolic of Iraq’s sectarian strife…They are dreadful men who have committed vicious crimes.” Reading further it appears “Col. Martins” said ‘this was just an investigation” and “It’s still the early days [in this process].

This may have been “a measured approach” but it does not measure up to justice. Accusations don’t make anyone a criminal or a terrorist. Applying the ‘rule of law’ requires a thorough investigation, a fair trial, and proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Without these the Iraqi ‘law’ system is no better than a lynch mob and Iraq “a prison state in the Stalinist mold”… just the illusion of law that Mr. Bay was arguing against.

But, the most important point Mr Bay missed altogether in his promotion of the ‘rule of law’ is the profound violation of this concept by our nation’s own pre-emptive war and criminally managed occupation of Iraq. President Bush’s accusations and policies were outside the ‘rule of law’ and created the conditions for the mass murders, torture and abuses now occurring within that chaotic nation state. This potential ‘criminal proceeding’ didn’t get any headlines. But it should have.

Until we as a civilization learn to apply the rule of law to all in this increasingly interdependent world, we will not be able to achieve the global justice that is a prerequisite to establishing real peace everywhere. The kind of peace we all dream about when we pledge to our flag ‘liberty and justice for all’.