Friday [November 8], Interpol
Secretary General Ronald Noble said in an interview with
Le Figaro that he thought Osama bin Laden is not only
alive, but also plotting new terrorist attacks: "Something
worrying is going on," he said. What's worrying is that
the Bush administration has been ignoring all indications
that the terrorist mastermind might still be around: indeed,
they haven't mentioned his name in many months, and have assiduously
the rumor far and
wide that he
died at Tora Bora. But that
tack may become completely untenable – even for them –
now that a
new tape of Bin Laden has surfaced on Al Jazeera, with
the voice of the Monster Himself taking credit for the attacks
in Moscow, Yemen, and Bali. He also mentioned "killing
our people in Iraq," but here, as they say, is the
we get bombed, you get bombed.
we get killed, you get killed."
we're over there, they are coming over here. It's as simple
as that. Now, please ask yourself: are you safer now than
you were since the day after 9/11?
timing of the Muslim Pimpernel's return couldn't have been
more telling: as the U.S. ratchets up the campaign to go after
Iraq, our real enemy rears his ugly head. Nothing could have
dramatized more starkly the need for an authentic war on terrorism,
not this enormous diversion into Iraq. As the Interpol chief
intelligence experts are agreed that al Qaeda is preparing
a major terrorist operation, simultaneous attacks that would
not target the United States alone but several countries at
the same time. The field of battle now stretches to all countries
and mobilizes several terrorist groups."
are we preparing to conquer and occupy Iraq, a state Bin Laden
despises and volunteered to fight against in the first
Gulf war, when the man responsible for 9/11 is taunting us
and threatening more attacks?
Americans bombs burst over Baghdad, will the same fate await
the Golden Gate Bridge, Chicago's Sears Tower, or some other
target of opportunity, either here or abroad?
the purpose and strategy of the "war on terrorism"
is to make Americans safer, to secure and protect the homeland,
then why-oh-why are we embarking on a foreign adventure
against a nation that has never attacked us? This is not merely
an ill-considered war – it is crazy, suicidal, an act
of ritualized hara kiri carried out by our rulers on
the world stage.
long as Osama bin Laden is around, and a single member of
Al Qaeda is alive, American officials – from Bush and Rumsfeld,
on down to the lowliest gofer – should be forbidden by law
from so much as uttering the Iraqi dictator's name. Saddam's
demise has become an unhealthy and clearly irrelevant obsession
on the part of this administration to the point where the
security of the nation is now seriously endangered. It is
a demented policy, this rush to war, and the invasion of Iraq
– if it occurs – will go down in history as a colossal blunder,
the twenty-first century reenactment of Napoleon's march into
W. Bush has declared a "war on terrorism," but this
war is just as phony as Republican promises of a tax cut and
the abolition of the estate tax. He is still living in a pre-9/11
world if he thinks that he can fight Bin Laden by moving armies
around on the global chessboard and bombing the pile of rubble
that is Iraq. This same assessment is essentially the basis
of widespread opposition to Bush's war policy in the U.S.
military, best expressed by former Secretary of the Navy James
Webb. Speaking at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey,
California, Webb came out foursquare against attacking Iraq:
am very concerned with the direction this country may be going.
Are we going to reshape American foreign policy to put (soldiers)
on the ground in the Middle East? I think it's a mistake.
There are a lot of recently retired officers with experience
who are concerned."
to mention the concern by those on active duty. It
is interesting to read
this news account of Webb's speech, which underscores
a point I've been emphasizing in this space all along, and
that is the rising opposition to this war in the ranks of
former Secretary of the Navy James Webb gave a speech last
Thursday at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey slamming
the Bush administration's threatened war with Iraq, an outsider
might have expected the officers assembled there to give him
a frosty reception. In fact, the opposite occurred. The respectful,
admiring welcome he received gave an unusual, somewhat counterintuitive
glimpse into the often-closed world of the U.S. military.
Among the Naval Postgraduate School's students and faculty,
at least, it seems that independent, critical thinking is
alive and well."
thinking is indeed far more alive and well among experienced
military leaders like Webb and General
Anthony Zinni than it is among our laptop bombardiers,
such Vanity Fair columnist and socialist
socialite Christopher Hitchens, who completely and willfully
misses the point of the
"chickenhawk" argument made by our Pentagon
peaceniks. Hitchens pretends to believe that their critique
is all about him, i.e. that
who wants intervention in, say, Iraq ought to be prepared
to go and fight there. An occasional corollary is that those
who have actually seen war are not so keen to urge it."
clearly the significance of the military's opposition is that
whose who actually know something about winning a war
have not been so keen to urge this one. Now, why do
you suppose that is? Are these "Islamofascists"
in our midst, "appeasers" and "fifth columnists"
who "blame America first"? Has Noam Chomsky infiltrated
the U.S. military and will "patriots" like David
Horowitz soon be calling for a purge of the Pentagon?
argument, which reflects the views of the majority of America's
military leaders – albeit not the civilian leadership of the
Defense Department – was made in a recent Washington Post
ed piece and reflects the views of a number of retired
high-ranking officers, who have been outspoken in their opposition
to Bush's war plans:
military leaders have been trying to bring a wider focus to
the band of neoconservatives that began beating the war drums
on Iraq before the dust had even settled on the World Trade
Center. Despite the efforts of the neocons to shut them up
or to dismiss them as unqualified to deal in policy issues,
these leaders, both active-duty and retired, have been nearly
unanimous in their concerns. Is there an absolutely vital
national interest that should lead us from containment to
unilateral war and a long-term occupation of Iraq? And would
such a war and its aftermath actually increase our ability
to win the war against international terrorism?"
answer is no, and this new uptick in Al Qaeda's visibility
surely underscores his key point: that a war on Iraq is a
distraction – and perhaps a fatal one. Yet, Hitchens avers:
wife is not of military age, and there is little chance of
a draft for mothers. Are her views on Iraq therefore disqualified
all socialists, Hitchens is an egalitarian, who clearly believes
that his wife's opinions are on a par with those of the best
military minds in the country. To this one can only shrug,
and ask why anyone takes the War Party's court jester seriously.
the United States is at war – against Al Qaeda. Remember
them? Now that the
CIA has verified that it is indeed the voice of Bin Laden
on the latest Al Jazeera tape, perhaps Hitchens dimly recalls
the man Dubya called "the
Evil One" – and what he and his crazed followers
did one bright September morning. Is it all coming back now?
this context, it is clearer than ever that the focus on Iraq,
and our Israeli-centric stance in the Middle East, has undermined
our fight and played into Bin Laden's hands. As
Webb put it at the Naval School:
don't think we have clean hands' in the Palestinian issue,
he said, and have failed 'to effect a Palestinian state. Without
that happening, anything we do in that region can be misconstrued
to our detriment.'"
is heresy to the neocons, naturally, whose fealty to Israel
trumps anything and everything, even the national security
interests of their own country. But Webb, and other patriotic
officers, retired and otherwise, have a different view, one
that puts America's national interest above all other considerations.
One can only wonder how long before Webb is accused of "anti-Semitism."
look at it this way: on the one hand, we have opposition to
this war expressed by military and political leaders ranging
from James Webb, Brent Scowcroft, General Zinni, and retired
Marine colonel Larry Williams, among many others. On the
other hand we have fulsome support from … the wife of Christopher
Hitchens, Hitchens himself, Andrew Sullivan – who has recently
denounced the U.S. Army's alleged "bigotry and stupidity"
– and a bunch of pasty-faced policy wonks whose closest contact
with the military has been watching "M*A*S*H" reruns.
side are you on? For me, the choice couldn't be clearer.
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