Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Old Fashioned Semper-Fi!

This article was sent to me by a friend and certainly I have no way of questioning its veracity or conclusion. All I can say is that the Post has been a nay-Sayer with respect to almost everything this Administration has done. I spent a brief period of time in the Marines and do not believe they are incapable of winning given the opportunity and support it would take. All it takes is tolerance for Marine and Iraq casualties, no political second guessing, a willingness to stand against feckless European opinion, a biased media that would mis-report and a certain amount of old fashioned Semper Fi.


Anbar Picture Grows Clearer, and Bleaker
By Dafna Linzer and Thomas E. Ricks
Washington Post Staff Writers

The U.S. military is no longer able to defeat a bloody insurgency in western Iraq or counter al-Qaeda's rising popularity there, according to newly disclosed details from a classified Marine Corps intelligence report that set off debate in recent months about the military's mission in Anbar province.

The Marines recently filed an updated version of that assessment that stood by its conclusions and stated that, as of mid-November, the problems in troubled Anbar province have not improved, a senior U.S. intelligence official said yesterday. "The fundamental questions of lack of control, growth of the insurgency and criminality" remain the same, the official said.

The Marines' August memo, a copy of which was shared with The Washington Post, is far bleaker than some officials suggested when they described it in late summer. The report describes Iraq's Sunni minority as "embroiled in a daily fight for survival," fearful of "pogroms" by the Shiite majority and increasingly dependent on al-Qaeda in Iraq as its only hope against growing Iranian dominance across the capital.

True or not, the memo says, "from the Sunni perspective, their greatest fears have been realized: Iran controls Baghdad and Anbaris have been marginalized." Moreover, most Sunnis now believe it would be unwise to count on or help U.S. forces because they are seen as likely to leave the country before imposing stability.

Between al-Qaeda's violence, Iran's influence and an expected U.S. drawdown, "the social and political situation has deteriorated to a point" that U.S. and Iraqi troops "are no longer capable of militarily defeating the insurgency in al-Anbar," the assessment found. In Anbar province alone, at least 90 U.S. troops have died since Sept. 1.

The Post first reported on the memo's existence in September, as it was being circulated among military and national security officials. Several officials who read the report described its conclusions as grim.

But the contents have not previously been made public. Read as a complete assessment, it paints a stark portrait of a failed province and of the country's Sunnis -- once dominant under Saddam Hussein -- now desperate, fearful and impoverished. They have been increasingly abandoned by religious and political leaders who have fled to neighboring countries, and other leaders have been assassinated. And unlike Iraq's Shiite majority, or Kurdish groups in the north, the Sunnis are without oil and other natural resources. The report notes that illicit oil trading is providing millions of dollars to al-Qaeda while "official profits appear to feed Shiite cronyism in Baghdad."

As a result, "the potential for economic revival appears to be nonexistent" in Anbar, the report says. The Iraqi government, dominated by Iranian-backed Shiites, has not paid salaries for Anbar officials and Iraqi forces stationed there. Anbar's resources and its ability to impose order are depicted as limited at best.

"Despite the success of the December elections, nearly all government institutions from the village to provincial levels have disintegrated or have been thoroughly corrupted and infiltrated by Al Qaeda in Iraq," or a smattering of other insurgent groups, the report says.

The five-page report -- written by Col. Peter Devlin, a senior and seasoned military intelligence officer with the Marine Expeditionary Force -- is marked secret, for dissemination to U.S. and allied troops in Iraq only. It does not appear to have been made available to Iraqi national forces fighting alongside Americans.

The report, "State of the Insurgency in Al-Anbar," focuses on conditions in the province that is home to 1.25 million Iraqis, most of whom live in violence-ridden towns such as Fallujah, Haditha, Hit, Qaim and Ramadi.

Devlin wrote that attacks on civilians rose 57 percent between February and August of this year. "Although it is likely that attack levels have peaked, the steady rise in attacks from mid-2003 to 2006 indicates a clear failure to defeat the insurgency in al-Anbar."

Devlin suggested that without the deployment of an additional U.S. military division -- 15,000 to 20,000 troops -- plus billions of dollars in aid to the province, "there is nothing" U.S. troops "can do to influence" the insurgency.

He described al-Qaeda in Iraq as the "dominate organization of influence in al-Anbar," surpassing all other groups, the Iraqi government and U.S. troops "in its ability to control the day-to-day life of the average Sunni."

VIDEO | The Washington Post's Thomas Ricks discusses the Pentagon's view on the current state of Iraq and Moqtada al-Sadr's growing power.
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Al-Qaeda itself, now an "integral part of the social fabric of western Iraq," has become so entrenched, autonomous and financially independent that U.S. forces no longer have the option "for a decapitating strike that would cripple the organization," the report says. That is why, it says, the death of al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in June "had so little impact on the structure and capabilities of al-Qaeda," especially in Anbar province.

The senior intelligence official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of his work, said yesterday that he largely agrees with Devlin's assessment, except that he thinks it overstates the role of al-Qaeda in the province. "We argue that it is a major element in Anbar, but it is not the largest or most dominant group," he said.

In a final section of the report, titled "Way Ahead," Devlin outlined several possibilities for bringing stability to the area, including establishing a Sunni state in Anbar, creating a local paramilitary force to protect Sunnis and to offset Iranian influence, shifting local budget controls, and strengthening a committed Iraqi police force that has "proven remarkably resilient in most areas."

Devlin ended the assessment by saying that while violence has surged, the presence of U.S. troops in Anbar has had "a real suppressive effect on the insurgency." He said the suffering of "Anbar's citizens undoubtedly would be far worse now if it was not for the very effective efforts" of U.S. forces.

The Marine Corps headquarters had no comment on the August report or the updated assessment, Lt. Col. Scott J. Fazekas, a spokesman, said yesterday.

Staff researcher Julie Tate contributed to this report.

All It Takes Is The Will!

The last two days of WSJ editorials validate so much of what I have been stating and what any casual observer of the scene, domestic and foreign, should have noticed as well - eerie. For example:

I believe Sec. Rice is a pacifist at heart and though her piano playing may be superb and on key, her diplomatic decisions ring a sour note with me. The WSJ's Monday Editorial, entitled The New Middle East, reviews how we have gotten to where we are in Lebanon and beyond and how we have copped out on our own decisions vis a vis the Hariri investigation and how the Gemayel assassination is the fruit of our misbegotten labor. (Also see Ne'eman's article below.)

Then, I have been a continued critic of GW's eyesight and have stated that before he looks into another world leader's eyes he should go to an optometrist and get his own checked. Lo and behold David Satter's op ed piece, "Who Killed Litvinenko?" appeared in the same WSJ. Satter makes the case that we continue to give Putin a pass and overlook the constant number of assassinations and "blindly" persist in treating Putin as a friend.

No sooner had I written a piece questioning whether we had become too PC to ever win, Tuesday's Editorial "NATO and the Taliban" highlights how various NATO countries send troops to Afghanistan but prevent them from engaging the enemy. The editorial ends by asking;"...If NATO can't muster the forces to defeat the remnants of al Qaeda's original state sponsor, what is it good for?"

I have consistently railed against pork and political prostitution by another name, ie. "earmarks." Up comes a WSJ editorial entitled Republican Rehab in Tuesday's WSJ. The editorial lays out how two Republican Senators, DeMint and Coburn, have rallied enough members of their party to block any omnibus bill containing earmarks. The Republicans seemingly refuse to get the message the voters sent them and have stuffed current legislation with 12,000 earmarks totaling some $17 billion according to The Journal.

Finally, only yesterday I printed the article by Prof Sowell who reviewed Arthur Brook's book on charitable giving broken down along political lines, ie conservatives versus liberals. In today's Journal, Brooks op eds his own review of his finding.

I am troubled constantly by:

The decline in our family structure and family values.

The decline in our education system and its unwillingness to insist on a rigorous core of studies. We are failing to teach our young to reason.

I Pods and listening to stupifying music takes precedence over reading great books. How can a society continue to compete in an increasingly technological world if our idols are air heads and boorish athletes?

As we shrink our minds we expand our waistlines. Are our brains falling into our stomachs?

It is appropriate that a blow hard like Rep. Rangel would call for the draft. The biggest draft is between his ears.

Finally, "our something for nothing society" has turned class action law suits into the legal profession full employment act. Specious science has become the basis for billion dollar recoveries. It is little wonder more and more corporations have decided to go private in order to escape the onus of legal attacks and over-reaching federal regulation.

Where does all of this lead?

Ne'eman a partner of my friend, Ellot Chodoff, writes what I have been saying for months. Chodoff has agreed to come and speak at the JEA lecture forum next year. (see 1 below.)

If you believe GW he is standing firm as a result of comments made at the NATO meeting vis a vis our talking with Iraq. Time will tell.

Meanwhile, Abbas has given up on a unity government because of Hamas' Meshaal's continued insistence on unacceptable terms and demands. So we are back to square one where I though we would be. Bring Arabs together for unity and create dis-unity. Qassam rockets continue to fall on Sderot and launchings probably will intensify.

Finally, Jonathan Ariel has written what I have been advocating all along. Ariel does not mention anything about a naval blockade of Iran which, if effective, would cripple the nation's economy and should it not produce the desired economic angst the next step could be as Ariel has suggested. (see 4 below.)


1) Dismembering Iraq
By Yisrael Ne’eman

Over the past month both Iraq and Lebanon moved closer to disintegration. In Lebanon the situation is more complex and has not yet reached the boiling point while in Iraq it is a straight forward civil conflict moving into a civil war. The Sunni – Shi’ite slaughter continues and can be expected to grow worse. Neither the Anglo-American presence nor attempts by PM Nuri Kamal al-Maliki’s government and the Iraqi security forces will glue that country back together. Both Syria and Iran intend to be part of the “solution” in the post Anglo-American era. As far as they are concerned, the more violent the conflict, the better, as Washington and London are the big losers groping for a way out while the Damascus-Tehran axis waits for a invitation to take their place.

The newly established “Iraq Study Group” led by former Sec. of State James Baker (under Pres. George Bush Sr.) is expected to recommend engaging in a dialogue with the Syrians and Iranians to reduce tensions in the Middle East. Both will make demands of the US; Syria will expect American pressure on Israel to relinquish the Golan and Iran will make it clear that its nuclear program will continue. The two can also be expected to line up to demand a Syrian influenced, Shi’ite – Hezbollah dominated Lebanon. As for Iraq, the Iranian dream of unifying a revolutionary Shi’ite empire certainly begins with the annexation or at least the recognition of its manifest rights to overall influence in eastern, Shi’ite dominated Iraq. Syria would certainly like to follow suit by dominating western Sunni Iraq in one form or another. It will make little difference whether America negotiates or not, since Washington wants “out” while Assad and Ahmedinejad want “in”. It is here that the “sacred” borders of the Iraqi nation state will collapse under Middle Eastern realities.

It is only a question of time, which is in direct relation to the level of violence. The more violence, the quicker the Allies will be forced to leave. Syria and Iran will support the insurgencies (yes – all of them) to guarantee maximum chaos, until they will be invited in or decide on a pretext to send their armies to “restore law and order”. This can be expected to be done with the maximum of force necessary and all can rest assured that few in the West will have a word of criticism. Hence Iraq may very well be dismembered and quite possibly so to the satisfaction of many in the Arab/Moslem world. Certainly should the violence be snuffed out and some sort of stability restored, the Iranian-Syrian alliance will be hailed by many as the best alternative to both Saddam Hussein and/or the Anglo-American experiment in democracy.

Once digesting their acquisitions, logic dictates that Damascus and Tehran turn to more interesting prey such as Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States in their quest for oil and regional dominance.

2) The New York Times leaks like a sieve but nothing like the Gaza border which Egypt pledged to guard on Israel's behalf after it voluntarily withdrew.

What incentives do Palestinians offer Israel? Land for more land, land for more rocket attacks, land for more lies and unfulfilled promises. Land for continued teaching of Palestinian children to hate. What nonsense!

Palestinian FM enters Gaza Strip carrying case with $20M in cash
By Haaretz Service

Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud al-Zahar on Tuesday entered the Gaza Strip carrying a suitcase containing $20 million in cash.

Al-Zahar raised the funds, which he brought in through the border with Egypt, over the past two weeks during a series of visits to several Arab countries.

Various Palestinian officials, using their VIP status, have brought millions in Arab-donated dollars into Gaza in recent months, despite international sanctions against the group. In June, al-Zahar brought 20 million euros across the border, stuffed in 12 suitcases.

Palestinian law permits cash to be carried over the border as long as it is declared.

The international community has said it will not lift the sanctions unless Hamas recognizes Israel, accepts past peace deals and renounces violence, conditions Hamas has rejected.

The sanctions have crippled the government, making it largely unable to pay salaries to its 165,000 employees. The efforts by Hamas to bring cash into Gaza have enabled the government to make small payments periodically, but have done little to ease widespread hardship.

Negotiations between the feuding Fatah and Hamas factions to create a cabinet of technocrats to free the government of the international restrictions placed on it are ongoing.

3) Even Jumblatt comes to the same conclusion about Assad as I did above about the Palestinians.

The following are excerpts from an interview with Lebanese Druze leader
Walid Jumblatt, which aired on Future TV on November 16, 2006.

Walid Jumblatt: How can you live in peace and stability, when you have a
neighbor... when you have a neighbor like Bashar Al-Assad, who is full of

Interviewer: Is the war with Bashar Al-Assad one of life and death?

Walid Jumblatt: He is irresponsible. Yes, it is a battle of life or death.
To be or not to be. Samir Qassir was right to say that Lebanon will have no
peace as long as there is no democracy in Syria. We will have no peace.


Interviewer: Maybe that's one of the problems. Let's open up the Syrian
issue, if it is a question of existence. It's either you or the Syrian
regime? This is a weighty question.

Walid Jumblatt: The only thing [Bashar] has in store for his own people, and
for the neighboring peoples, is hatred. The arrests of the intellectuals and
the members of civil society... They were arrested, and nobody was left.
Yesterday, they found the body of Ghazi Kanaan's brother, who was killed in
suspicious circumstances. Why?

Interviewer: Maybe he committed suicide, like someone mentally unstable...

Walid Jumblatt: [Bashar] sents to Iraq hundreds and thousands of so-called
martyrdom-seekers, or suicide bombers, in order to kill Shiites and Sunnis.
Most of those killed were Shiites. Why? In order to divide Iraq? And
eventually, according to an Al-Qaeda communiqué, Bashar sent death squads to
us as well. He sent us death squads of the so-called martyrdom-seekers or
suicide bombers.

4) The 'no-military option' fallacy

Over the past two or three years, as the full scope of Iran's overt and covert nuclear weapons programs has been disclosed, the possibility of preventive military action by either the US, Israel, or both, periodically comes up.

Every time it does, a chorus of naysayers emerges. They tell us that Iran is not Iraq, and that military option to preempt or at least significantly delay Iran's nuclear timetable does not exist, or is too expensive to be viable.

It is true that, unlike Saddam Hussein, the ayatollahs of Teheran have dispersed their nuclear facilities in heavily fortified underground facilities across their nation. This makes the kind of air strike Israel employed in 1981 to take out Saddam's nuclear reactor impractical.

THIS DOES not mean, however, that a military option does not exist. Several possible military viable military options do exist. The problem is not a lack of means or capabilities, but a lack of will and fortitude.

• One option is a sustained assault lasting several days. Iran's air force has been third-rate ever since Khomeini came to power, when it was purged due to the fact that all its pilots had been Western-trained and were considered pro-royalist by the Islamic regime.

Even though Iran has upgraded its air defense systems they are not capable of dealing with state-of-the art Western avionics and would soon collapse under a sustained air assault. Bottom line: A surgical missile strike against Iran's few advanced air defense facilities would dismantle them, neutralizing the country's entire air defense system.

Attacking air forces equipped with the most advanced technological capabilities would enjoy total air superiority, enabling the launching of a sustained prolonged strategic bombing attack.

Such an assault, in addition to causing significant damage to at least some of the facilities, could also jump-start regime change. The sight of US and perhaps also Israeli aircraft flying unopposed over Iran would be highly demoralizing for the regime. Dictatorships, which survive solely on the perception of power and fear, have difficulty surviving such humiliations.

Air strikes could also be used to carry out Israeli-style targeted eliminations, disrupting and destroying the battalions of the Bajilis and other similar groups of pro-government goon squad militias who crushed the student protests a few years ago.

# Another military option would be the targeting of the country's clerical, political and military leadership. The only factor preventing such an attack is the current American doctrine, which prohibits the targeting of an enemy state's political leaders. All that is needed is the political will and wisdom to change the doctrine. Iran's leaders may aid, abet and provide comfort to terrorists, but they do not live and work underground.

An air assault could eliminate most of the political leadership, neutralizing the revolutionary guard's (Pasderan) field officer corps and rank and file, creating a catalyst for anti-government forces to coalesce and hit the streets in force, bringing the government down.

Members of the leadership surviving the initial surprise strikes would be forced to go underground. Leadership has to be visible to be effective, especially dictatorial coercive leadership, which rules by fear. The very fact that the leadership would be known to be cowering underground, cut off and unable to muster or implement any kind of effective command and control would be sufficiently demoralizing for pro-regime forces, encouraging and empowering the legions of disaffected youth to hit the streets and effect regime change.

The biggest obstacle to a military option is not a shortage of capabilities or weapons systems, but a surfeit of conventional and outmoded thinking. This is the same kind of thinking that appeased Hitler from 1936 to 1939.

IRAN HAS been waging an undeclared war against Israel, world Jewry and the US for over 30 years. It has constantly and systematically attacked Israel, world Jewry and the US by proxy, arming, training and financing terrorist operations. In Argentina it went a step further, bribing the then head of state, former president Carlos Menem, to enable and cover up a massive terrorist assault against that country's Jewish community. It is financing Syria's attempt to assassinate the Lebanese leadership out of existence or into submission.

One thing Iran's leadership has shown is an ability to think out of the box and take risks. It's time we did the same. No country can afford to stand by and do nothing when another one wages an undeclared, yet very real and palpable war against it.

Not only are there several viable military options regarding Iran, ultimately they are the only options available, unless we want to see Iran achieve superpower status.


Monday, November 27, 2006

Are We A Rock At Rest?

Former PM Netanyahu, made a speech in California recently and told his audience he does not believe the West, has gotten the message, ie. Iran must be stopped from becoming a nuclear power. I believe Netanyahu is correct but I also do not believe we will get it until we get it in the neck.

Democracy's just don't respond until the hour is past. GW has talked till he is blue in the face and I am sure he gets it but he has not been able to convince anyone else because they blame him for fighting the wrong war and doing it poorly. Though that may be true, their argument, I believe, is a cover behind which they can hide from the truth, the reality which they refuse to get and won't until it is too late. That is the general history of the world's response to serious and credible threats. That's the story of The Titanic,WW 2 and other avoidable disasters!

First don't believe, then even if you believe then believe it will go away. Then deny what you heard because no one in his right mind would say or do such a thing and finally respond to the event which you never thought would happen. That is the sequence of history, the evolution of man when confronted by dire threats. That is the story of why preventative care comes after the heart attack.

This is what I truly believe we are facing today and all the haranguing, I and others do, will fall mostly on deaf ears and this I believe as well. Why? Because the threat is so ominous it is unthinkable and the unthinkable is more likely to paralyze than motivate. Furthermore, stopping the unthinkable means overcoming inertia. Inertia is so difficult to move. It is as if we are a rock at rest!

Therefore, we plead and delude ourselves and buy time by stating we have no "rock certain" proof when Iran will actually have a bomb and thus take comfort in resting on the mistaken belief something will happen to deter them. Why? Because they don't want to start something that would result in their country being destroyed. Yes, that would be a reasonable response if we were dealing with sane and rational leaders but we are not. That too is something hard for us to grasp - that radical Islamists are driven by a demoniacal belief in their cause and are willing to die for it. Nevertheless, we see it happening every day Yet, I find many of my Democrat friends believing that about Christian Evangelicals without batting an eye. In fact, I truly believe liberals, certainly Jewish liberals, are more frightened by the Christian Right than Radical Islamists seeking nuclear bombs.

I recently had a discussion with a Democrat friend of mine who believes GW's going to war in Iraq was a mistake, was falsely premised and that we will never bring "democracy" to the region. He says economic prosperity is what the Middle East needs and then points to Viet Nam and China and says: "They do not have democracy and they are doing well economically." He argues the Middle East needs capitalism and the work it will bring to the people and forget the idea of democratization.

My response: it is hard to bring capitalism to peoples living under the heel of totalitarianism unless the leaders permit it as they have, for whatever reason, in China and Viet Nam. Furthermore, it is hard to bring capitalism where terrorism exists and stands in opposition with weapons and a willingness to kill their own. One day, should the leadership of China and Viet Nam feel threatened enough, by all the freedom and prosperity capitalism brings their people, they may well feel compelled to clamp down in order to retain control. They may fail but they will try as did the former leader in China, Mao, when, in the process, he set back his nation literally decades. I was there in China. I heard the stories and was at the Square where it happened. I was in Viet Nam and heard the people talk of the Communist yolk under which they still live and the fact they cannot vote though they are slowly being allowed to embrace religion.

To compare China and Viet Nam to Iran and N Korea, however, is either a blind mistake or simply a purposeful ruse my friend plays on himself in order to live in denial, as I believe, he is so he can continue to blame GW for matters that, in many instances, are justified.

Netanyahu is correct, in my opinion, to warn about Iran and to make the analogy "it is 1938 all over again but this time with a nation seeking nuclear weapons before they go to war whereas with Hitler, he sought them after he began the war."

The problem is Netanyahu and GW, for that matter, will not be heard because believing what they have to say is too painful and disturbing and it is so easy to be a rock at rest while the TV is on, the couch is comfortable and the football season is in full gear, soon to be followed by basketball and then the boys of summer with baseball and in between there are vacations and hunting season and all that beer yet to be drunk.

Goldwater tried to arouse with a mushroom cloud ad and he was years before his time. If that ad were used today it probably might not evoke the same public reaction but it would still not play well in Peoria - the press and media would see to that. No one likes the undertaker and black crepe at a cocktail party. Eat drink and be happy and let the Iran nuclear rock rest, for it is sure to go away. After all, we had a season without another Katrina type hurricane that everyone was so worried about and predicted.

In the final analysis, when push comes to shove ,we can always lay the blame for the world's ills on Israel as the UN, Kofi Annan, all of Europe and Georgia's Jimmy Carter have been doing for years.


Have We Become Too PC to Win?

Have we so succumbed to political correctness we no longer understand that it is acceptable to defend oneself and one's country? Has political correctness so numbed our sense of right and wrong we equate protecting our very freedom with incivility? Have we become so embattled and accepting of radical Islamist propaganda that we believe they are the victims of our actions rather than the other way around?

The recent vote over terrorist interrogation would suggest many amongst have. Only a hand full of Democrats in tight races voted for the legislation. An overwhelming number of Democrats voted against it on the mistaken premise stateless Islamic terrorists are due the same 14th Amendments Rights as our own citizens or military combatants.

Terrorists have learned well how to manipulate us to the point that we believe we must apologize when they attack our way of life as they seek to spread their brand of Muslim chaos throughout the world. Certainly Europeans, it would appear, have virtually given up defending Western Civilization and values on their turf. If the recent Danish Cartoon experience and the more recent radical Muslim reaction to Pope Benedict's speech did not send a chilling message of intolerance then I do not know what it will take to shake us out of our torpor. And what was the response? Boundless apologies to those Muslims who were offended and demonstrated their displeasure by murdering, burning , destroying and pillaging. It is time for the West to get real, to grow up for the hour is late and the sands of our fate are swiftly running downhill.

Then, there is the matter of misplaced proportionality. This concept seems to find applicability whenever Israel defends itself. Commentary about Palestinian attacks begins when Israel responds. Israel's defense is seen as an Israeli offense. Time and again the Western World has pulled Arab chestnuts out of the fire because of the fear of threats to Western commercial interests or because the West has bought into maudlin Palestinian claims of victim hood.

Assuredly, there is blame enough to go round but whenever the Palestinians have been offered a chance to live in peace they have rejected it. Why? Because they want it all and are led to believe time is on their side whenever they detect continual evidence of Western weakness. We fear allowing Arabs to reap the consequences of their unfortunate decisions and retrogressive totalitarian regimes because of our energy dependence. Yet, we remain unwilling to break this dependency. Pay something now or far more later!

Our own president makes threats that mostly turn out to be empty when it comes to those who support and/or harbour terrorists. Those in the Middle East learn quickly how to discern bluffers, after all they have made a handsome living doing the same. What is more disconcerting and dangerous is that we find ourselves trapped and on the verge of allowing Iran to achieve nuclear status. Again why? Because having turned the matter over to the Germans, French, Brits and the U.N.efforts at endless talk, we have been backed into a corner. Furthermore, we know China and Russia are ready to block any proposed Security Council sanction worth its weight.

Then there is the matter of surrogates. China and Russia know they benefit when Iran and other radical Arab nations challenge us through Hamas, Hezballah et al. China and Russia understand our apparent willingness to bleed without retribution enures to their benefit and saps our national resources and resolve. We should never say what we mean unless we mean what we say. GW seems not to have learned and consequently, Iran, Syria and N Korea have no fear of being taught there is a price to pay.

We have become victims of our own belief we are too civilized to bring death and destruction to others who have repeatedly demonstrated not a moment's concern or apprehension doing worse to ourselves. We so fear civilian casualties, we no longer conceive it legitimate to attack terrorists who use their own as shields; worse, we have exported this inane attitude to others - most recently the Israelis during the Lebanese War.

Lastly, the media plays a vital role in shaping our guilt attitudes and perceptions of ourselves. Starting from an already weakened national stance of comfort and acceptability over losing the Viet Nam War, the media has gone beyond to exploit our steady over-indulgence of a political correct diet. We are constantly portrayed as the "evil doers" because we are reachable and the media has demonstrated, time and again, a gullibility that transcends professionalism.

The terrorists know how to feed the lead and the media are willing supplicants because of competitive pressures to be first. Furthermore, many in the media embrace that specious terrorist line - radical Islamists are only "freedom fighters" who have a legitimate historical score to settle because of the Crusades, Colonialism, Western aggression, technological advances and other trumped up charges of justification.

Time is not on our side. The terrorists are winning, not because we lack the means but because we lack the will. We have embraced the self-defeating concept of relativism and thus, have become too civilized. Our own civilization rests in the balance and we had better get our act together and do whatever it takes to win because our enemy has already proven more than willing to pursue their winning goal and do so for however long it takes.