Gingrich's Speech in New Hampshire has apparently caused a firestorm with many calling him a racist. You decide, (See 1 below.)
Democrats may be hell bent on raising taxes because the "filthy" rich need to become dirt poor!
Who is the turkey? (See 2 below.)
And what of Syria. Barry Rubin is interviewed. (See 3 below.)
Another Rubin, Michael, blasts GW for failures and broken promises. (See 4 below.)
Something is beginning to work in Iraq. (See 5 below.)
I have repeatedly said I do not understand why we continually pull Muslim/Arab chestnuts out of the fire. (See 6 below.)
Dennis Praeger hails forth on Islamophobia and considers it a good term. (See 7 below)
More from Sen. Lieberman. (See 8 below.)
1) "While the West Sleeps"
Speech by Newt Gingrich
We better start talking about the shape of the table now because this country doesn't have the stomach to face what is coming!
Gingrich's Speech in New Hampshire has apparently caused a firestorm, with many calling Gingrich a racist. You decide……..
“...I want to talk about ...briefly ... the genuine danger of terrorism, in particular terrorists using weapons of mass destruction and weapons of mass murder, nuclear and biological weapons. And I want to suggest to you that right now we should be impaneling people to look seriously at a level of supervision and leadership that we would never dream of if it weren't for the scale of threat.
Let me give you two examples.
When the British this summer arrested people who were planning to blow up ten airliners in one day, they arrested a Muslim couple who were going to use their six month old baby in order to hide the bomb as baby milk.
Now, if I come to you tonight and say that there are people on the planet who hate you, and they are 15-25 year old males who are willing to die as long as they get to kill you, I've simply described the warrior culture which has been true historically for 6 or 7 thousand years.
But, if I come to you and say that there is a couple that hates you so
much that they will kill their six month old baby in order to kill you, I
am describing a level of ferocity, and a level of savagery beyond anything
we have tried to deal with.
And, what is truly frightening about the British experience is they
are arresting British citizens, born in Britain , speaking English, who went
to British schools, live in British housing, and have good jobs. Those
arrested represent a religious extremist culture that hates the Anglo Saxon
and western cultures.
This is a serious long term war, and it will inevitably lead us to
want to know what is said in every suspect place in the country, that will
lead us to learn how to close down every website that is dangerous, and it
will lead us to a very severe approach to people who advocate the killing
of Americans and advocate the use of nuclear or biological weapons.
And, my prediction to you is that either before we lose a city, or if
we are truly stupid, after we lose a city, we will adopt rules of
engagement that uses every technology we can find to break up their
capacity to use the Internet, to break up their capacity to use free
speech, and to go after people who want to kill us to stop them from
recruiting people before they get to reach out and convince young people to
destroy their lives while destroying us.
This is a serious problem that will lead to a serious debate about the first amendment, but I think that the national security threat of losing an American city to a nuclear weapon, or losing several million Americans to a biological attack is so real that we need to pro actively... develop the appropriate rules of engagement.
And, I further think that we should propose a Geneva convention for
fighting terrorism which makes very clear that those who would fight
outside the rules of law, those who would use weapons of mass destruction,
and those who would target civilians are in fact subject to a totally
different set of rules that allow us to protect civilization by defeating
barbarism before it gains so much strength that it is truly horrendous.
This is a sober topic, but I think it is a topic we need a national
dialogue about, and we need to get ahead of the curve rather than wait
until actually we...lose a city which could literally happen within
the next decade if we are unfortunate.
So this is a very sober description of the Islamic terrorist threat
facing us. We are NOW at war with a culture that wants not to take over
our land, but to KILL us... all-non Muslims, especially Americans and
Britons, and eventually ELIMINATE WESTERN CIVILIZATION
We must not put our heads in the sand and hope this is not true.
It is true and we cannot allow it to happen.
Maybe this is why Pres. Bush is so bull headed about the War?
Could it be so many people see Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan as the
trees but miss seeing the Islamic Movement as the Forest ?
I hope Bush is wrong, but I am afraid he is right.”
2) Nancy Pelosi condemned the new record highs of the stock market as
"just another example of Bush policies helping the rich get richer".
"First Bush cut taxes for the rich and the economy has rebounded with
new record low unemployment rates, which only means wealthy employers
are getting even wealthier at the expense of the underpaid working class".
She went on to say "Despite the billions of dollars being spent in
Iraq our economy is still strong and government tax revenues are at
all time highs. What this really means is that business is exploiting
the war effort and working Americans, just to put money in their own pockets".
When questioned about recent stock market highs she responded "Only
the rich benefit from these record highs. Working Americans, welfare
recipients, the unemployed and minorities are not sharing in these
obscene record highs". "There is no question these windfall profits
and income created by the Bush administration need to be taxed at 100%
rate and those dollars redistributed to the poor and working class".
"Profits from the stock market do not reward the hard work of our
working class who, by their hard work, are responsible for generating
these corporate profits that create stock market profits for the rich.
We in congress will need to address this issue to either tax these
profits or to control the stock market to prevent this unearned income
to flow to the rich."
When asked about the fact that over 80% of all Americans have
investments in mutual funds, retirement funds, 401K's, and the stock
market she replied "That may be true, but probably only 5% account for
90% of all these investment dollars. That's just more "trickle down"
economics claiming that if a corporation is successful that everyone
from the CEO to the floor sweeper benefit from higher wages and job
security which is ridiculous". "How much of this 'trickle down' ever
get to the unemployed and minorities in our county? None, and that's
the tragedy of these stock market highs."
"We democrats are going to address this issue after the election when
we take control of the congress. We will return to the 60% to 80% tax
rates on the rich and we will be able to take at least 30% of all
current lower Federal Income Tax tax payers off the roles and increase
government income substantially. We need to work toward the goal of
equalizing income in our country and at the same time limiting the amount the rich can invest."
When asked how these new tax dollars would be spent, she replied: "We
need to raise the standard of living of our poor, unemployed and
minorities. For example, we have an estimated 12 million illegal
immigrants in our country who need our help along with millions of
unemployed minorities. Stock market windfall profits taxes could go a
long ways to guarantee these people the standard of living they would
like to have as "Americans".
2)The Geopolitics of Turkey
By George Friedman
Rumors are floating in Washington and elsewhere that Turkey is preparing to move against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), an anti-Turkish group seeking an independent Kurdistan in Turkey. One report, by Robert Novak in the Washington Post, says the United States is planning to collaborate with Turkey in suppressing the PKK in northern Iraq, an area the PKK has used as a safe-haven and launch pad to carry out attacks in Turkey.
The broader issue is not the PKK, but Kurdish independence. The Kurds are a distinct ethnic group divided among Turkey, Iran, Iraq and, to a small extent, Syria. The one thing all of these countries have agreed on historically is they have no desire to see an independent Kurdistan. Even though each has, on occasion, used Kurdish dissidents in other countries as levers against those countries, there always has been a regional consensus against a Kurdish state.
Therefore, the news that Turkey is considering targeting the PKK is part of the broader issue. The evolution of events in Iraq has created an area that is now under the effective governance of the Iraqi Kurds. Under most scenarios, the Iraqi Kurds will retain a high degree of autonomy. Under some scenarios, the Kurds in Iraq could become formally independent, creating a Kurdish state. Besides facing serious opposition from Iraq's Sunni and Shiite factions, that state would be a direct threat to Turkey and Iran, since it would become, by definition, the nucleus of a Kurdish state that would lay claim to other lands the Kurds regard as theirs.
This is one of the reasons Turkey was unwilling to participate in the U.S. invasion of Iraq. The Americans grew close to the Kurds in Iraq during Operation Desert Storm, helping augment the power of an independent militia, the peshmerga, that allowed the Iraqi Kurds to carve out a surprising degree of independence within Saddam Hussein's Iraq. The Turks were never comfortable with this policy and sent troops into Iraq in the 1990s to strike against the PKK and pre-empt any moves toward more extensive autonomy. Before the war started in 2003, however, the Turks turned down a U.S. offer to send troops into northern Iraq in exchange for allowing the United States to use Turkish territory to launch into Iraq. This refusal caused Turkey to lose a great deal of its mobility in the region.
The Turks, therefore, are tremendously concerned by the evolution of events in Iraq. Whether northern Iraq simply evolves into an autonomous region in a federal Iraq or becomes an independent state as Iraq disintegrates is almost immaterial. It will become a Kurdish homeland and it will exist on the Turkish border. And that, from the Turkish point of view, represents a strategic threat to Turkey.
Turkey, then, is flexing its muscles along the Iraqi border. Given that Turkey did not participate in the 2003 invasion, the American attitude toward Ankara has been complex, to say the least. On one hand, there was a sense of being let down by an old ally. On the other hand, given events in Iraq and U.S. relations with Iran and Syria, the United States was not in a position to completely alienate a Muslim neighbor of Iraq.
As time passed and the situation in Iraq worsened, the Americans became even less able to isolate Turkey. That is partly because its neutrality was important and partly because the United States was extremely concerned about Turkish reactions to growing Kurdish autonomy. For the Turks, this was a fundamental national security issue. If they felt the situation were getting out of hand in the Kurdish regions, they might well intervene militarily. At a time when the Kurds comprised the only group in Iraq that was generally pro-American, the United States could hardly let the Turks mangle them.
On the other hand, the United States was hardly in a position to stop the Turks. The last thing the United States wanted was a confrontation with the Turks in the North, for military as well as political reasons. Yet, the other last thing it wanted was for other Iraqis to see that the United States would not protect them.
Stated differently, the United States had no solution to the Turkish-Kurdish equation. So what the United States did was a tap dance -- by negotiating a series of very temporary solutions that kept the Turks from crossing the line and kept the Kurds intact. The current crisis is over the status of the PKK in northern Iraq and, to a great degree, over Turkish concerns that Iraqi Kurds will gain too much autonomy, not to mention over concerns about the future status of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk. The United States may well be ready to support the Turks in rooting out PKK separatists, but it is not prepared to force the Iraqi Kurds to give them up. So it will try to persuade them to give them up voluntarily. This negotiating process will buy time, though at this point the American strategy in Iraq generally has been reduced to buying time.
All of this goes beyond the question of Iraq or an independent Kurdistan. The real question concerns the position of Turkey as a regional power in the wake of the Iraq war. This is a vital question because of Iran. The assumption we have consistently made is that, absent the United States, Iran would become the dominant regional power and would be in a position, in the long term, to dominate the Arabian Peninsula, shifting not only the regional balance of power but also potentially the global balance as well.
That analysis assumes that Turkey will play the role it has played since World War I -- an insular, defensive power that is cautious about making alliances and then cautious within alliances. In that role, Turkey is capable of limited assertiveness, as against the Greeks in Cyprus, but is not inclined to become too deeply entangled in the chaos of the Middle Eastern equation -- and when it does become involved, it is in the context of its alliance with the United States.
That is not Turkey's traditional role. Until the fall of the Ottomans at the end of World War I, and for centuries before then, Turkey was both the dominant Muslim power and a major power in North Africa, Southeastern Europe and the Middle East. Turkey was the hub of a multinational empire that as far back as the 15th century dominated the Mediterranean and Black seas. It was the economic pivot of three continents, facilitating and controlling the trading system of much of the Eastern Hemisphere.
Turkey's contraction over the past 90 years or so is not the normal pattern in the region, and had to do with the internal crisis in Turkey since the fall of the Ottomans, the emergence of French and British power in the Middle East, followed by American power and the Cold War, which locked Turkey into place. During the Cold War, Turkey was trapped between the Americans and Soviets, and expansion of its power was unthinkable. Since then, Turkey has been slowly emerging as a key power.
One of the main drivers in this has been the significant growth of the Turkish economy. In 2006, Turkey had the 18th highest gross domestic product (GDP) in the world, and it has been growing at between 5 percent and 8 percent a year for more than five years. It ranks just behind Belgium and ahead of Sweden in GDP. It has the largest economy of any Muslim country -- including Saudi Arabia. And it has done this in spite of, or perhaps because of, not having been admitted to the European Union. While per capita GDP lags, it is total GDP that measures weight in the international system. China, for example, is 109th in per capita GDP. Its international power rests on it being fourth in total GDP.
Turkey is not China, but in becoming the largest Muslim economy, as well as the largest economy in the eastern Mediterranean, Southeastern Europe, the Middle East, the Caucasus and east to the Hindu Kush, Turkey is moving to regain its traditional position of primacy in the region. Its growth is still fragile and can be disrupted, but there is no question that it has become the leading regional economy, as well as one of the most dynamic. Additionally, Turkey's geographic position greatly enables it to become Europe's primary transit hub for energy supplies, especially at a time when Europe is trying to reduce its dependence on Russia.
This obviously has increased its regional influence. In the Balkans, for example, where Turkey historically has been a dominant power, the Turks have again emerged as a major influence over the region's two Muslim states -- and have managed to carve out for themselves a prominent position as regards other countries in the region as well. The country's economic dynamism has helped reorient some of the region away from Europe, toward Turkey. Similarly, Turkish economic influence can be felt elsewhere in the region, particularly as a supplement to its strategic relationship with Israel.
Turkey's problem is that in every direction it faces, its economic expansion is blocked by politico-military friction. So, for example, its influence in the Balkans is blocked by its long-standing friction with Greece. In the Caucasus, its friction with Armenia limits its ability to influence events. Tensions with Syria and Iraq block Syrian influence to the south. To the east, a wary Iran that is ideologically opposed to Turkey blocks Ankara's influence.
As Turkey grows, an interesting imbalance has to develop. The ability of Greece, Armenia, Syria, Iraq and Iran to remain hostile to Turkey decreases as the Turkish economy grows. Ideology and history are very real things, but so is the economic power of a dynamic economy. As important, Turkey's willingness to accept its highly constrained role indefinitely, while its economic -- and therefore political -- influence grows, is limited. Turkey's economic power, coupled with its substantial regional military power, will over time change the balance of power in each of the regions Turkey faces.
Not only does Turkey interface with an extraordinary number of regions, but its economy also is the major one in each of those regions, while Turkish military power usually is pre-eminent as well. When Turkey develops economically, it develops militarily. It then becomes the leading power -- in many regions. That is what it means to be a pivotal power.
In 2003, the United States was cautious with Turkey, though in the final analysis it was indifferent. It no longer can be indifferent. The United States is now in the process of planning the post-Iraq war era, and even if it does retain permanent bases in Iraq -- dubious for a number of reasons -- it will have to have a regional power to counterbalance Iran. Iran has always been aware of and cautious with Turkey, but never as much as now -- while Turkey is growing economically and doing the heavy lifting on the Kurds. Iran does not want to antagonize the Turks.
The United States and Iran have been talking -- just recently engaging in seven hours of formal discussions. But Iran, betting that the United States will withdraw from Iraq, is not taking the talks as seriously as it might. The United States has few levers to use against Iran. It is therefore not surprising that it has reached out to the biggest lever.
In the short run, Turkey, if it works with the United States, represents a counterweight to Iran, not only in general, but also specifically in Iraq. From the American point of view, a Turkish invasion of northern Iraq would introduce a major force native to the region that certainly would give Iran pause in its behavior in Iraq. This would mean the destruction of Kurdish hopes for independence, though the United States has on several past occasions raised and then dashed Kurdish hopes. In this sense, Novak's article makes a great deal of sense. The PKK would provide a reasonable excuse for a Turkish intervention in Iraq, both in the region and in Turkey. Anything that blocks the Kurds will be acceptable to the Turkish public, and even to Iran.
It is the longer run that is becoming interesting, however. If the United States is not going to continue counterbalancing Iran in the region, then it is in Turkey's interest to do so. It also is increasingly within Turkey's reach. But it must be understood that, given geography, the growth of Turkish power will not be confined to one direction. A powerful and self-confident Turkey has a geographical position that inevitably reflects all the regions that pivot around it.
For the past 90 years, Turkey has not played its historic role. Now, however, economic and politico-military indicators point to Turkey's slow reclamation of that role. The rumors about Turkish action against the PKK have much broader significance. They point to a changing role for Turkey -- and that will mean massive regional changes over time.
3) Barry Rubin is the Director of Global Research for International Affairs Center of The Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel. His latest book is entitled "The Truth About Syria"
Rubin was recently interviewed and here is a brief overview.
Question: How has Assad managed to survive?
Answer: It has failed to provide a better life for its citizens, to defeat Israel and to unify the Arab world but yes, it has survived. It has done so through ruthless ideology, authoritarianism, building of hatred and scapegoating. It need Israel to survive - conflict is its main asset.
Question: Golan is not a priority?
Answer: If Syria were given the Golan back the next day its situation would not change and then the people would begin to ask questions about their plight about their lack of democracy, lack of free speech and why so much money is spent on the military.
Peace in the region makes Israel a normal player and enhances the influence of America. This is not in Syria's best interest as Assad sees it.
Question Why does Syria matter so much?
Answer: Because it can and is causing trouble in Lebanon. Its threats and violence is paying off as the Western World offers concessions etc.
Question: Is there a benefit to engaging Syria?
Answer: No, because they know how to play the game and though they talk they want to engage they are simply trying to avoid the Hariri Trial because it will expose some of their most senior leaders to examination and possible conviction for criminal acts etc.
Question" Can Syria be drawn away from Iran?
Answer: Probably not because Syria needs what they receive from Iran and they also continually bleed Lebanon. Syria produces nothing and sells even less. It also gets Iranian protection from the U.S. and Israel. Finally, it receives Islamist cover from its own population. All the West can offer is commercial investment but that means opening up the Syrian economy and that would probably bring down Assad and for sure loosen his control over the nation.
Question: How should America approach Syria?
Answer: Through touch diplomacy and be told the U.S. will not engage until it changes its policy and Israel will not engage either until Assad does something to stop terrorism.
4) Michael Rubin on Bush's soft policy towards PKK, Palestinians: Kicking diplomatic problems down the road is not a strategy: President Bush's Broken Promises
by Michael Rubin
During his last 18 months in office, President Bush confronts a broader set
of international crises than in his first 18 months. While pundits blame
unilateralism and the Iraq war, the deterioration of Washington's relations
with once-staunch allies has less to do with a lack of diplomacy and more to
do with its kind.
Too often, the administration has sacrificed long-term credibility for
short-term calm. Take Turkey. At the June 2004 NATO summit in Istanbul,
President Bush promised Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that the
U.S. military would shut down Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) terrorists in
Iraq. He did not. Three years later, the Turks no longer trust U.S. promises
and may send their army into Iraqi Kurdistan.
Already the damage to U.S. prestige is severe. Once among America's closest
allies, Turkey, according to a Pew Global Attitudes Project poll last month,
is the most anti-American country in the world. Only 9% of Turks have a
favorable impression of the U.S.; 83% hold the opposite view. Most blame
U.S. inaction against the PKK.
On June 24, 2002, Mr. Bush declared, "The United States will not support the
establishment of a Palestinian state until its leaders engage in a sustained
fight against the terrorists and dismantle their infrastructure." Less than
a year later the State Department reversed course, eliminating the cessation
of terror as a precondition for engagement. Palestinian terrorism grew.
While the White House condemns Hamas terrorism, Palestinian President
Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement, to which Mr. Bush promised a half billion
dollars in July, is equally culpable. A year ago Fatah's military wing
threatened to "strike at the economic and civilian interests of these
countries [the U.S. and Israel], here and abroad," and it claimed
responsibility for a rocket attack on the Israeli town of Sderot in June.
Empty promises of accountability encourage terror by diminishing the costs
of its embrace.
While terrorists benefit, Arab liberals pay the price for the president's
rhetorical reversals. His promise in the second inaugural speech to "support
the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and
culture" rings hollow as Egyptian police beat, arrest and sodomize
protestors rallying to demand the rule of law.
Mr. Bush has yet to act on his promise to resolve the case of Palestinian
banker Issam Abu Issa, whose visa the State Department revoked in February
2004 as he prepared to testify before the House Financial Services Committee
on Palestinian Authority corruption. Nor has the president fulfilled a
promise to demand the release of Libyan dissident Fathi Eljahmi, imprisoned
by Moammar Ghadafi since March 2004. State Department officials say
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will visit the Libyan dictator this
autumn, regardless of Mr. Jahmi's fate.
On June 5, 2007, Mr. Bush endorsed the Prague Declaration, which calls upon
governments to instruct diplomats "to actively and openly seek out meetings
with political prisoners and dissidents committed to building free societies
through non-violence," and announced that he'd tasked Secretary Rice to
implement it. U.S. embassies in the Middle East have yet to reach out to any
dissident or political prisoner.
Increasingly, friends view Washington as an unreliable ally; foes conclude
the U.S. is a paper tiger. This latter conclusion may transform broken
promises into a national security nightmare.
Way back in April 2001, the president established a moral redline when he
declared that the U.S. would do "whatever it took to help Taiwan defend
herself" in the face of Chinese aggression. But amid Beijing's steady
military build-up, Mr. Bush stood in the Oval Office beside Chinese Premier
Wen Jiabao and condemned Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian for holding a
referendum on missile defense. Unlike his predecessors, Mr. Bush has yet to
send a single cabinet-level official to demonstrate commitment to the island
nation. Such contradictions may raise doubt in Beijing and encourage Chinese
officials to test U.S. resolve.
After promising Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in May 2003 that
Washington would "not settle for anything less than the complete, verifiable
and irreversible dismantlement of nuclear weapons program," Mr. Bush
directed his administration to do just that. Despite the administration's
self-congratulations over its ephemeral deal with North Korea in February of
this year, the fact remains that, against its allies' wishes, Washington
acquiesced to Pyongyang's continued custody of its reactor and nuclear
weapons. This broken promise is guaranteed to haunt the next U.S.
Kicking diplomatic problems down the road is not a strategy. Addressing
crises with insincere promises is as counterproductive as treating a
hemorrhagic fever with a band-aid. Empty promises exacerbate crises. They do
not solve them. While farsighted in his vision, it is the president's
failure to abide by his word that will most shape his foreign policy legacy.
It would be ironic if he justifies the "Bush lied, people died" rhetoric of
protestors across the White House lawn in Lafayette Park, though not for the
reasons they believe.
5) Methods That Work in Iraq
By Frederick J. Chiaventone
The United States is now employing our former enemies to fight Al-Qaeda. This new approach, especially noticeable in the provinces of Anbar and Diyala, is paying off. We shouldn't be surprised. History has ample precedent.
A number of former enemies - Sunni and Shi'a groups - of the American presence in Iraq have already signed on and are guided by three simple rules: they must promise to stop fighting American forces; agree to attack Al-Qaeda forces; and finally, begin a gradual rapprochement and cooperation with Iraqi military and police forces.
Bringing former insurgents into the fold is a mark not only of progress but of sound, practical thinking, a good grasp of historical precedent, and a much better understanding of local politics. Pols everywhere agree: all politics is local.
U.S. commanders have in fact realized that the best weapon against a guerrilla is frequently a former guerrilla. Except to the political naifs who get their history lessons from Showtime this is not a new concept, but one which has been used by the U.S. Army -- indeed by a number of armies -- in the past, and frequently with remarkable success.
When the fascist government in Italy finally collapsed, some of the fiercest fighters on the Allied side were Italian soldiers who but weeks before had fought alongside their German counterparts. The Italians, however, had come to fear and loathe their Nazi allies. It hadn't taken too long for them to realize who their real enemies were. Eager to come to blows with their former oppressors they sought to fight alongside Allied forces. Allied leadership was practical enough to recognize the potential contributions of Italian fighters. Rather than disarm these former enemies or shift them to the sidelines, we took strategic and tactical advantage of our new allies' hard won experience, their intimate knowledge of Wehrmacht operations, and their enthusiasm to pay back their Nazi overlords.
Payback is by no means a new concept. When Hernando Cortez conquered what is now Mexico he never had more than 500 Spanish soldiers under his command. Certainly the horses, steel swords and primitive muskets gave the Spaniards a limited advantage, but even these would have been fairly useless in confronting an enemy numbering literally in the tens of thousands. Instead, Cortez quickly realized that while the Aztecs were the big dog on the block, they had not made any friends in the region. Arrogant to a fault, rapacious and brutal to neighboring tribes, the Aztec Empire looted and murdered its neighbors without compunction. They herded thousands of captured subjects back to Tenotchtitlan for the sole purpose of butchering them to appease bloodthirsty gods. (Does the behavioral pattern sound familiar?) When the Spaniards arrived they were delighted to welcome the thousands upon thousands of local tribesmen who flocked to their banners in the hope of getting back at their Aztec overlords. This approach worked to a fault. In record time the vaunted and vicious Aztec Empire ceased to exist.
American soldiers in the field were quick to recognize the potential of the disenchanted and yet fierce members of Native American warrior sects. The majority of scouts for the US Army during the extensive Sioux Wars of the 1870's through 1890's for example were not, as Hollywood might have us believe, United States soldiers. Instead they were largely Arikara, Shoshone, Pawnee, Winnebago, and Crow scouts. All of these indigenous people knew and hated the Sioux. The Sioux were fellow Indians to be sure, but not well loved by those who by necessity or tradition lived near them. It was a group of Shoshone and Crow scouts who in June of 1876 first discovered and then blunted a massive assault by Crazy Horse's warriors on Brigadier General George Crook's encampment along the Rosebud. A week later, George Custer would use Crow and Arikara scouts to discover a large encampment of Sioux led by Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse. Unfortunately for him and many of his men Custer would dismiss the Crow's declaration that the camp contained "...more warriors than you have bullets." A cavalier disregard of his scouts' advice proved disastrous in this event.
The following year the Sioux themselves would actually volunteer to track and fight the Nez Perces. And in later years General George Crook would be faced with the task of bringing to bay Geronimo's fierce marauding Apaches. No pushovers, Crook described the Apaches as "the tigers of the human species." Knowing the difficulties facing him Crook quickly enlisted the aid of other Apache warriors as scouts. It was the Apache scouts who finally located and brought Geronimo to bay. They knew the enemy and the terrain intimately. Apaches would continue to serve as scouts for the Army as a separate unit until as late as 1942. In almost every significant case, throughout the Indian wars it was the Indian Scouts who led American forces to the enemy in question.
We should keep this in mind when congressmen and news commentators begin to question a military use of former guerrillas against Al-Qaeda or the Mahdi Army. Perhaps it has taken us some time to relearn the lessons of history but this may just be the approach that our commitment to Iraq requires. Our newly acquired allies have learned their lessons the hard way. They have come to realize that the true enemies of Iraq and the Iraqi people are not American GIs -- instead they are fanatical Saudis, Syrians, Egyptians, Chechens, Palestinians and Iranians who have come to feed their blood thirsty gods with the bodies of Iraqis. Or they are criminals and murderers who thrive on the chaos of war at the expense of those who would work and live in peace rather than raise their children in a climate of fear and death.
What we must now strive to do is to not repeat our past grievous errors. Most Native American Indian scouts were woefully treated after they had served honorably and well. Disarmed, abused, returned to reservations, their treatment amounts to nothing less than a national disgrace. In our own history General Crook, in a rare display of integrity, resigned his commission when his promises to his Apache scouts were broken by a duplicitous government in Washington.
But I don't worry about the generals, it's the politicians who bear careful watching.
6) 'Our men would surrender if the war lasted 10 more days'
"The cease-fire acted as a life jacket for the organization [at the end of the Second Lebanon War]," a Hizbullah officer said in an interview aired by Channel 10 on Tuesday.
In the interview, the unnamed officer said Hizbullah gunmen would have surrendered if the fighting last summer had continued for another 10 days.
His statement sharply contrasted with those made by Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah on several occasions since the monthlong war.
At the end of the war, Nasrallah said his organization had gained a "divine victory."
The officer shown on Channel 10 said the organization's gunmen had been running low on food and water and facing rapidly diminishing arms supplies.
The officer also said that many Hizbullah commanders were ordered to hide before the war started, and that the gunmen who remained were forced to fire Katyusha rockets from inside urban populations because of the IDF's efficiency in destroying launchers minutes after a launch had been detected.
He said that when the gunmen relocated to cities and villages, they knew innocent civilians would be hurt as a consequence.
The quick arrival of IAF jets at rocket-launch sites, sometimes only four to five minutes after a Katyusha was fired, "surprised" Hizbullah, the officer said.
7) Why ‘Islamophobia’ is a brilliant term
By Dennis Prager
What do anti-Semitism, racism and Islamophobia have in common?
In fact, nothing.
But according to Islamist groups, Western media and the United Nations, they have everything in common. Anti-Semites hate all Jews, racists hate all members of another race, and Islamophobes hates all Muslims.
Whoever coined the term "Islamophobia" was quite shrewd. Notice the intellectual sleight of hand here. The term is not "Muslim-phobia" or "anti-Muslimist," it is Islam-ophobia — fear of Islam — yet fear of Islam is in no way the same as hatred of all Muslims. One can rightly or wrongly fear Islam, or more usually, aspects of Islam, and have absolutely no bias against all Muslims, let alone be a racist.
The equation of Islamophobia with racism is particularly dishonest. Muslims come in every racial group, and Islam has nothing to do with race. Nevertheless, mainstream Western media, Islamist groups calling themselves Muslim civil liberties groups and various Western organizations repeatedly declare that Islamophobia is racism.
To cite three of innumerable examples: The Guardian published an opinion piece titled, "Islamophobia should be as unacceptable as racism"; the European Union has established the European Monitoring Center for Racism and Xenophobia; and the B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation Commission of Australia notes that "Muslims have also been the target of racism in Australia, often referred to as Islamophobia."
Even granting that there are people who fear Islam, how does that in any way correlate with racism? If fear of an ideology rendered one racist, all those who fear conservatism or liberalism should be considered racist.
Of course, some may argue that whereas conservatism and liberalism are ideas, Islam is a religion, and while one can attack ideas, one must not attack religions. It is, however, quite insulting to religions to deny that they are ideas. Religions are certainly more than ideas — they are theological belief systems — but they are also ideas about how society should be run just as much as liberalism and conservatism are. Therefore, Islam, or Christianity, or Judaism, or Buddhism should be just as subject to criticism as conservatism or liberalism.
However, the only religion the West permits criticism of is Christianity. People write books, give lectures and conduct seminars on the falsity of Christian claims, or on the immoral record of Christianity, and no one attacks them for racism or bigotry, let alone attacks them physically. The head of the Anti-Defamation League announces that conservative Christians are the greatest threat to America today, and no one charges him with racism or Christianophobia.
The statement may be an expression of hysteria and of ignorance, but not of racism. But if one says that Islam does not appear compatible with democracy or that the Islamic treatment of women is inferior to the West's, he or she is labeled a racist Islamophobe.
One might counter that maligning people for criticism is not only true of those who criticize Islam, it is also true of critics of Israel and of America — the former, it is said, are immediately labeled "anti-Semitic" and the latter are immediately labeled "unpatriotic." Neither is true at all. Both are, and I use this word rarely, lies.
No one is labeled anti-Semitic for merely criticizing Israel. People are labeled anti-Semitic for denying Israel's right to exist, for siding with those who wish to exterminate it or for singling out the Jewish state alone among all the nations of the world for attacks that most other countries deserve far more.
And no one in any responsible capacity has called anyone "unpatriotic" just for criticizing America. Sen. Hillary Clinton claimed during the last Democratic presidential debate that the Defense Department called her "unpatriotic" for asking whether the Defense Department has a plan to withdraw American troops from Iraq. Yet the term "unpatriotic" was not only not used in the response to the senator, it was not even hinted at.
The fact remains that the term "Islamophobia" has one purpose — to suppress any criticism, legitimate or not, of Islam. And given the cowardice of the Western media, and the collusion of the left in banning any such criticism (while piling it on Christianity and Christians), it is working.
Latest proof: This past week a man in New York was charged with two felonies for what is being labeled the hate crime of putting a Koran in a toilet at Pace College. Not misdemeanors, mind you, felonies. Meanwhile, the man who put a crucifix in a jar of urine continues to have his artwork — "Piss Christ" — displayed at galleries and museums. A Koran in a toilet is a hate crime; a crucifix in pee is a work of art. Thanks in part to that brilliant term, "Islamophobia."
9) Lieberman escalates attack on Iraq critics
By Manu Raju
Ever since Connecticut Democrats refused to back him for a fourth term in Congress, Joe Lieberman has been burnishing his independent credentials in the narrowly divided Senate while becoming increasingly critical of the Democratic Party on the war in Iraq.
Lieberman, the Democrats’ 2000 vice presidential nominee, insists he is not actively considering joining the Republican Party. But he is keeping that possibility wide open as his disenchantment grows with Democratic leaders. The main sticking points are their attempts to end the war in Iraq and their hesitation to take a harder line against Iran.
“I think either [Democrats] are, in my opinion, respectfully, naïve in thinking we can somehow defeat this enemy with talk, or they’re simply hesitant to use American power, including military power,” Lieberman said in a wide-ranging interview with The Hill.
“There is a very strong group within the party that I think doesn’t take the threat of Islamist terrorism seriously enough.”
Lieberman says he is annoyed by the mudslinging on Capitol Hill and Democrats’ unwillingness to work with President Bush. But his critics say he has contributed to that polarization by his rhetoric and refusal to compel Bush to find a new way forward in Iraq.
As Lieberman sees it, however, the Democratic Party has slipped away from its “most important and successful times” of the middle of last century, where it was tough on Communism and progressive on domestic policy.
“I fear that some people take this position also because anything President Bush is for, they’ll be against, and that’s wrong,” said Lieberman, a staunch advocate of the war. “There’s a great tradition in our history of partisanship generally receding when it comes to foreign policy. But for the moment we’ve lost that.”
Even though he did not reclaim his Senate seat as a Democrat, Lieberman has been instrumental in two bills this Congress central to the 2006 Democratic campaign platform: an ethics and lobbying overhaul bill and a measure to implement recommendations of the bipartisan 9/11 Commission. The 9/11 bill cleared Congress last week, and the ethics bill could win final approval this week before lawmakers adjourn for August recess.
But if Lieberman seems blunt about the direction of the Democratic Party, it may stem from his loss last August in the primaries to businessman Ned Lamont, who wooed Democratic voters with his anti-war platform. Lieberman calls his ensuing victory in the general election as an independent “inspiring.” And remaining an independent has freed him to repeatedly buck the Democratic leadership on foreign policy and other legislative issues.
“Now that he knows he can win as an independent, he doesn’t need the Democrats at all,” said Kenneth Dautrich, a professor of public policy at the University of Connecticut. “I think it’s absolutely emboldened him.”
Lieberman was the only non-Republican in June to vote against Democratic efforts to pass a resolution expressing no confidence on embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. He has no plans to endorse a Democrat for president, including the senior senator from his home state, Christopher Dodd, and is open to backing a Republican candidate for president. Lieberman also startled Democrats when he lent his support to the re-election bid of Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, a top target of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
During this month’s Iraq debate, Lieberman was working behind the scenes strategizing with Republicans and was front-and-center in several GOP press conferences denouncing Democratic tactics to push for an end to the war.
Lieberman was the lone non-Republican to vote against Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) efforts to shut down debate on an amendment to bring troops home by next April. (Reid voted against the cloture motion to file a similar motion at a later time.) Lieberman was also alone when he joined 40 Republicans in voting to kill an amendment by Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) to extend the time between troop deployments in Iraq.
“I’m disappointed that I am in so small a minority among Senate Democrats in taking the position that I have,” Lieberman said.
But even as he has played a key role on some of their top domestic initiatives, Democrats have at times kept their distance from Lieberman. Last week, for instance, Reid held a press conference with several Democrats to tout their efforts to pass the 9/11 Commission bill and a homeland-security spending plan. Lieberman, the lead Senate negotiator on the measure and chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, was conspicuously absent.
Reid said it was not intentional to leave Lieberman out of the press conference, but Lieberman said not being invited was “surprising.”
The distance that Democratic leaders appear to be keeping from Lieberman could result from the animosity that the Democrats’ anti-war base has directed toward him. That criticism intensified even more last month, when he suggested military intervention against the Iranian government.
“He used to have a heart and soul, and he used to care about people,” said Leslie Angeline, an activist with the anti-war group Code Pink, who held a 24-day hunger strike until she could meet with Lieberman about his position on Iran.
Angeline is facing an unlawful entry charge after she refused to leave Lieberman’s office during her strike.
Even though Lieberman has become a lightning rod on the left, his prominent chairmanship and influence within the Democratic caucus is safe, for now, given the Democrats’ razor-thin majority. Analysts say if Democrats increase their Senate majority from the 2008 elections, Lieberman’s influence and role could be marginalized within the caucus.
Still, Lieberman is unfazed and says he has no intention of formally rejoining the Democratic Party.
“For now, I find being an independent more fun,” Lieberman said. “The partisanship in this place is out of control. As an independent I’ve got the opportunity to speak out against that.”
Excerpts from The Hill’s interview with Sen. Lieberman
The Hill: How long do you see U.S. troops staying in Iraq?
Lieberman: I think some troops will be there for quite a while to secure the country, particularly from external threats. Look, I hope that this surge, which has always intended to be temporary, gets to a point sometime next year where it has succeeded enough in quelling the sectarian violence, particularly so that some of the troops that were part of the surge begin to come home. But my direct answer is that there is no explicit answer. The answer is that the troops will come home when the mission is completed.
The Hill: Obviously, a lot of Democrats don’t feel that way.
Lieberman: I’ve noticed that.
The Hill: How dissatisfied are you with you right now with the way this debate has been handled in the Senate, especially during the defense authorization bill debate?
Lieberman: I’m disappointed that I am in so small a minority among Senate Democrats in taking the position that I have. While I obviously understand and respect that Iraq is a difficult issue, and people take different points of views, I’m surprised and disappointed that the split has followed partisan lines so much. It shouldn’t be.
The Hill: Some of this criticism might seem surprising from someone who was the vice presidential nominee seven years ago. How far away from the Democratic Party do you see yourself right now?
Lieberman: Right now, certainly on Iraq, to some extent on some other foreign policy issues, like how do we confront Iran, how do we contain Iran, how do we deal with what that threat represents in the Middle East. To some extent on some defense issues, I have disagreements with most Democrats. But I agree with most Democrats on a lot of other issues, and a lot of domestic issues particularly.
The Hill: Are you open to switching parties and becoming a Republican?
Lieberman: I have no interest or desire in doing that. I wouldn’t foreclose it as a possibility, but I hope that I don’t reach that point.
The Hill: What would drive you over to that point?
Lieberman: Well, I guess I’d know it. It’s like Justice [Potter] Stewart and his definition of obscenity: he couldn’t define it but he’d know when he saw it. I think I’ll know it when I feel it, but I hope I never get to that point.