Nir Rosen describes the remarkable progress U.S. social workers are making in Iraq:
In the beginning of the occupation I entered a taxi and asked the driver what he thought of the events in Iraq. He looked away and started crying. I asked him if somebody in his family had died. “We all died,” he told me. Now taxi drivers talk only of the latest explosion and how much they hate the Americans and want to kill them. One taxi driver drove by a mosque and saw Americans in the courtyard. “Look what they’re doing!” he shouted hysterically. “They even enter inside mosques! They are dirty Jews, I swear if I had an RPG now I would shoot them!”
Now tell me which of the two arguments from this earlier post sounds more plausible.
Can anyone read Juan Cole’s posts for today and not wonder if the civil war in Iraq has already begun?
Did the Republicans try to kill the 9/11 commission to prevent Richard Clarke from testifying? Is that why his book was in “security review” at the White House for three months?
Hashim Taqi, the former KLA fuehrer “affectionately” known as Snake, has laid his cards on the table in a screed published (not surprisingly) by the London-based IWPR (a.k.a. Institute for War Propaganda Reporting).
In it, Taqi claims his “Kosova” would be:
“a multi-ethnic society, in which people of different races lived and worked together peacefully with equal rights and with tolerance and respect for different religions.”
Brilliant reading of the script, Hash. And if no one knew you used to be (still are?) in charge of the KLA – something the IWPR emphatically does not mention anywhere – it might even sound plausible. Continue reading “Taqi Speaks, IWPR Unmasked”
He said it:
Israel may be the Jewish state, but as American Jews, it is not our country. It belongs to us only insofar as we share a spiritual connection to it with Jews the world over. If you’re planning to make aliyah in the near future, go ahead and make Israel your flagship issue come November. On the other hand, if you’re like the vast majority of American Jews who have no intention of moving to Jerusalem, stop pretending domestic policy matters less to our communal future than Israel.
They used to say Jews were a Democratic bulwark to be taken for granted. Now we’ve become something worse, a single-issue voting bloc devoid of nuance. While we cling to feel good rhetoric and praise a hands-off approach that has produced only diplomatic stagnation and three years of bloodshed, traditional Jewish positions on a host of domestic issues have been undermined.
It’s time we reshuffle our political priorities, and move Israel down the list.
Gutsy essay by Bradford Pilcher. Here’s his new-to-me blog.
Thomas Schaller in the Gadflyer has been kind enough to put up a transcript of Richard Clarke’s interview by Terry Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air program. Clarke distills his argument for why invading Iraq has increased the problem of terrorism into 3 major points.
- First of all, it’s costing us $180 billion in the first two years, and may be even more than that. That money could have been used to reduce our vulnerabilities here at home. In the wake of the Madrid bombing of the trains recently, people have realized what’s been true all along, that our railroads in the United States – our subways, our commuter rails – are not protected. Well, many things in the United States are not protected. There’s a long list of vulnerabilities which we could reduce. It would cost money. We’re not spending that money reducing those vulnerabilities very much. There are some token efforts. There should have been an all-out national effort akin to the Apollo Project, or the Manhattan Project.
But we didn’t do that. And in large part we didn’t do that because the money that would have been necessary is being spent on Iraq. So that’s the first thing: It’s costing us the alternative of reducing our vulnerabilities.
- Second, actual military and intelligence assets that were in Afghanistan – looking for al Qaeda, looking for bin Laden – were removed and sent to Iraq. Now, in the last few weeks, they’ve been returned. But that’s two years too late. Two years during which al Qaeda has morphed into a hydra-headed organization with independent organizations and independent cells, and likely the group in Madrid. So we didn’t go after al Qaeda the way that we should have. And we didn’t secure Afghanistan.
We went into Afghanistan in a very slow way after September 11th. A few special forces troops were put up north with the Northern Alliance to fight the Taliban. We did not send people into where we thought bin Laden was for almost two months – during which, of course, he escaped. And then, we only deployed 11,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
Now let’s compare that. There are more police in Manhattan – not the city of New York, but just Manhattan – there are more police in Manhattan than the United States put troops into Afghanistan. And yet we were supposed to secure and stabilize the country so that never again would it be a base for terrorism. We were supposed to be draining the swamp.
Well, we haven’t. And one of the reasons we haven’t is that we withheld forces that should have been going into Afghanistan. We withheld them for the war in Iraq.
- The third way is that, al Qaeda had been saying, bin Laden had been saying, that the United States is the “new crusader,” the new westerner come to occupy an Arab country, an oil-rich Arab country. And we did exactly that. We did exactly what bin Laden said we would do: We invaded and occupied an oil-rich Arab country that had not been threatening us. And the sights on Arab television of American troops fighting in Iraq, and now occupying Iraq, have infuriated Arab opinion.
The Pew Charitable Trust does opinion polling, very reliable opinion polling in countries such as Morocco and Jordan and Turkey, Indonesia, Pakistan. Many of those countries – the government, at least – is our friend. We consider them allies, and we consider them moderates. And yet the opinion polls now show that up to 90 percent of people in those countries either hate the United States or have a very negative opinion of the United States. Osama bin Laden is a very popular figure in some of those countries. The most-often given name to new children in Pakistan after 9/11 was Osama.
So, we played right into their hands by invading and occupying, without any provocation, a Muslim country, and at the very time when we should have been doing the opposite. We should have been embracing our Islamic friends and saying, “work with us to have a counterweight, an ideological counterweight to al Qaeda.”
They won’t do that now with us, because many of these governments don’t want to be seen to be working too closely with us now in the Islamic world.
We can’t just arrest and kill terrorists. Even Donald Rumsfeld figured that out. In his internal memo in the Pentagon, which leaked, he said it may be the case that we’re turning out new terrorists faster than we’re killing and arresting them. He’s right; we are. And we have to win the war for ideas. And we can’t do that so long as we are reviled by occupying a country like Iraq.
Of course, many of us have been trying to point these same things out since 9/11 and have been branded “America-hating peacenik Osama lovers” for our troubles by the War Party cheerleaders.
Thanks to Swopa at needlenose for the link.
Last night, President Bush made his presentation at the Radio and Television Correspondents’ Association dinner, where he made some pretty funny jokes about looking for WMDs in the Oval Office, showing pictures of Rumsfeld looking under carpets.
Today, TV is full of people outraged by how unfunny such a display was, considering the fact that his “errors” led to the deaths of so many people.
But it was funny. And it was funny because here was this liar, everyone listening knows he’s a liar, and he is joking about lying to everyone. And most of the media thought it was hilarious too, even though the joke was really on them.
It was so funny I cried.