A Simple Test

From a Vietnam vet who knows first-hand the cost of war.

    As a disabled combat veteran who frequents a coffee shop near my home, I hear more angry debate over the Iraq War than I will ever need. In such conversations, unless asked, I usually say nothing at all.

    Caught in a time warp of sorrow and loss separating me from the others at the cafe table, there seems no point. At times, however — probably because of my history — I am asked to comment on some aspect of this war, or war in general. When I am foolish enough to take the bait, what I say usually goes something like this.

    I’m no pacifist, but I do have a rigorous standard for sending human beings to war. I call it the “Mike MacParlane Taste Test.”…. read more


‘Decapitation strike’ was aimed at Saddam

The decision to launch a “decapitation strike” aimed at Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was made by President Bush during an urgently called meeting Wednesday evening in which the CIA director voiced concern that a prime opportunity could be lost, U.S. officials said.
Bush gave the go-ahead at 6:30 p.m. — 50 minutes before that meeting broke up, the officials said. In addition to Tenet, those on hand for the meeting included Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice.
At the White House, officials said that just before Bush addressed the nation, he pumped his fist, winked, and said “I feel good.”

The Jerusalem NewsWire, in an ecstatic, exultant editorial titled Got him! – Israel kills Yassin asks,

World leaders have begun to express their condemnation of the killing, with British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw – whose own nation tried last year to assassinate Iraqi head of state Saddam Hussein in a “decapitation” attack – saying what Israel had done was “unlawful, unacceptable [and] unjustified.”

What exactly, one observer in Israel wondered, would a “lawful” reaction by Israel be?

Indeed, what is the difference here? The American and British States joined the ranks of rogue and pariah states with their “decapitation” strikes, as the Israelis so gleefully point out. Once the statist logic of collectivism is accepted, the assassination of so-called “leaders” and “heads of state” follows. No longer is it necessary to prosecute individuals for individual crimes. Crimes of individuals are imputed to the collective who is represented by the “head” who can then be punished or killed by other heads of other collectives invoking state war.

Of course, this doesn’t work as exemplified by the Israelis’ past 30 years of bloodshed and violence or as the Americans are discovering in Iraq and Afghanistan. Setting aside the morality of assassination, the statist worldview of “toppling governments” or “decapitation strikes” errs in assuming that people have no individual will and that they do not act on their own volition from their own individual motivations. Continue reading “Decapitation”

Preserved in Amber, Blind to Terror

Turning a Blind Eye to Ayman. Overshadowed by former US “terror czar” Richard Clarke’s terrific interview on 60 Minutes, was the show’s short piece on Al Qaeda mastermind Ayman Zawahiri. Egypt’s former terror czar is interviewed and says that he warned the US about aiding the jihadis but the US didn’t listen. Zawahiri himself visited the USA on fundraising trips in the ’90s – after he had co-founded al Qaeda, and while he was a wanted man charged with terrorism in Egypt – either “many” times, or at least 3 times, according to an interviewed terror expert and show’s talking head, respectively.

Zawahiri met bin Laden during the Afghan jihad, in which they were aided by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency, the CIA, and Saudi intelligence, and the same players keep reappearing. In a story released this week, Pakistani journalist Hamad Mir describes Zawahiri bragging about al Qaeda buying a nuke (“Journalist says al-Qaeda has black market nuclear bombs“). A number of news reports suggested that Pakistan’s army had Zawahiri trapped in a semi-autonomous border region but now that seems unlikely. Pakistan’s military has promised a group of international Afghan war vets /al Qaeda suspects there that if they surrender they won’t be turned over to any foreign power (“Peace Deal Sought With Pakistan Militants“) – such as the foreigners who are directing the attack (“US directing operations in Pakistan border battle“).

Blind Eye to Khan. Someone else who Pakistan is protecting from an interview with Americans is Islamist scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan – pardoned by Pakistan’s dictator Pervez Musharraf after confessing to dealing nukes to dictators. This week, UPI editor Arnaud de Borchgrave “exposed” an alleged plot to replace Musharraf with Khan (“Exclusive: Pakistani Plot Exposed“). The alleged mastermind of the alleged coup plot is Gen. Hamid Gul, who was head of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency (of jihad- and Taliban-supporting fame) and is now “strategic adviser” to MMA, a coalition of Muslim Pakistani political parties.

Also according to press reports this week (“Malaysian company in nuclear parts scandal to sell businesses“), Dr. Khan’s nuke network included a company run by the only son of Malaysia’s Prime Minister. Former Malaysian PM Mahathir claimed that the US knew about this company’s nuke shipments years ago (“Mahathir: US asked Malaysia to stop nuclear shipment once before“). So the nuke network shouldn’t have been much of a surprise. In any event, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists scooped the world’s governments by re-publishing Khan’s centrifuge sales brochure last May. Six months later Khan confessed to what we can only hope isn’t a lesser charge. The see-no-evil Pakistan “surprise,” right after the invasion of WMD-free Iraq would seem to support the BBC’s claim that the Bushies spiked the investigation of Khan’s nuke program in order to protect its alleged Saudi financial backers.

Teflon Terrorists. Then there’s the wacky charity, Benevolence International, that was set up by Saudi sheik Adil Abdul Galil Batargy, a bin Laden associate, during the Afghan war. In the early ’90s, when US and Saudi intelligence were moving the jihad to the Balkans, BI moved its headquarters to Illinois. While in Illinois, according to the FBI, its leaders lied about connections to terrorists, while supporting people who tried to obtain nuclear weapons for Osama bin Laden starting in the early ’90s (“Islamic charity tied to al-Qaida“). Until nearly a decade later, after the 9/11 attacks, BI received corporate matching funds (“‘TERROR’ CHARITY GOT FORTUNE 500 CASH“), while the corporate donors got US tax breaks. What’s a little al Qaeda nuke when you have Slavic competitors to undermine?

Rise of the Vulcans. This week, the Denver Post published an excerpt from the book Rise of the Vulcans by James Mann. Mann explains how post-WWII the government recruited experts among business leaders, and in the Vietnam era the experts came from the universities.

“The Vulcans were the military generation. Their wellspring, the common institution in their careers, was the Pentagon. The top levels of the foreign policy team that took office in 2001 included two former secretaries of defense (Cheney and Rumsfeld), one former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Powell), one former undersecretary of defense (Wolfowitz) and one former assistant secretary of defense (Armitage). Even Rice had started her career in Washington with a stint at the Pentagon, working for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. … The story of the Vulcans serves as a reminder that this bifurcation of history into cold war and post-cold war is ultimately artificial. In their careers, the Vulcans worked on both sides of the arbitrary divide. ‘While working in government, they confronted firsthand both the world of the Berlin Wall and the world without it.”

Richard Clarke on 60 Minutes:

“I blame the entire Bush leadership for continuing to work on Cold War issues when they back in power in 2001. It was as though they were preserved in amber from when they left office eight years earlier. They came back. They wanted to work on the same issues right away: Iraq, Star Wars. Not new issues, the new threats that had developed over the preceding eight years.”

Tomorrow’s Blowback Today. One of the Afghan jihad era Cold Warriors, California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, was in the New York Times this week – staying ahead of the curve, his new cause is supporting Cambodian terrorists (defined as such by the US government) who are organizing in Long Beach (“The Strip-Mall Revolutionaries”). (Last time the government turned a blind eye to terrorists in California things didn’t turn out too well for most Americans not part of the military industrial espionage complex.)

But Someone is Planning Ahead. And to end on a creepy note, this week SF Chronicle writer David Lazarus reported that there are 3 companies licensed to manufacture over-the-counter potassium iodide pills, used to treat radiation poisoning. One of them is tiny, one is foreign, and the third is the Bushie-Saudi influence-peddling investment company, the Carlyle Group (“A firm in position to profit“).

David Kay piles on

With the Bush administration reeling from the revelations of Richard Clarke exposing its complete incompetence in handling the al Qaeda threat and the Man of PeaceTM assassinating Muslim Sheiks along with whoever else is nearby, David Kay’s speech at Harvard today really kicked the Bushies while they were down. Not that they don’t deserve it.

The former chief U.S. weapons inspector in Iraq warned on Monday that the United States is in “grave danger” of destroying its credibility at home and abroad if it does not own up to its mistakes in Iraq.

“The cost of our mistakes … with regard to the explanation of why we went to war in Iraq are far greater than Iraq itself,” David Kay said in a speech at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

“We are in grave danger of having destroyed our credibility internationally and domestically with regard to warning about future events,” he said. “The answer is to admit you were wrong, and what I find most disturbing around Washington … is the belief … you can never admit you’re wrong.”

The comments by Kay came as the White House sought to fend off accusations from its former anti-terrorism czar, Richard Clarke, who said President Bush ignored the al Qaeda threat before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and focused on Iraq rather than the Islamic militant group afterward.

OK, who’s next?

Re: Sheikh Yassin

As for the death of this old bat, let’s just say it ain’t gonna ruin my birthday or the high I’m still on after my alma mater shocked #1 Stanford. But it raises a question some folks will call me an anti-Semite for asking: What in the hell are we doing in the middle of this? I’m not anti-Israel or pro-Palestinian; I’m an American who owes neither side anything. I usually try to be more optimistic and constructive, but if these quarrelsome cousins must exterminate each other over this miserable piece of real estate, why must Americans of any race or ethnicity be parties to the slaughter and targets ourselves? And if Likudniks want to play the race card, perhaps they should explain why we owe Israel more than we owed the more melanin-rich Tutsis.

(Before Professor Horwitz rips into me, he should post a response to this Liberty & Power item.)