Elliot Abrams reports on Gates and Netanyahu and having been there at the time concurs with V.P. Cheney's view that Israel should have bombed the Syrian nuclear facility before it went hot. Gates was opposed. Second, Abrams points out, Gates was not in favor of this action when Olmert was PM and prior to Netanyahu becoming PM and that Gates' view is not new as now claimed.
After setting the record straight, Abrams goes on to praise subsequent events that strengthened the U.S. relationship and gives credit to those involved. One of whom was Gates.
There are those in D.C. who have spent their entire career disseminating disinformation and particularly is this so when it comes to Israel. They have their own axe to grind and generally fear self-interest actions on the part of Israel are always to America's detriment because they believe the U.S. constantly must bow to Muslim interests over the actions of a democracy and one of our nation's closest allies.
The approach of kowtowing to adversaries or questionable allies gains us nothing but weakness and contempt in the long run. I have more to say on this when I present my thoughts about Cheney's new book. (See 1 below.)
Khaled is a friend and, as I have written many times before, one of the most courageous and informed reporters in the region.
This article is about how Palestinians feel betrayed by Obama's lying and duplicity when it comes to U.S. support regardiing their establishing a state of their own.
As a result of Obama's bumbling, Palestinians continue drumming up anti-American sentiment.
One more example of this president out of his element and in over his head and what he has been doing exacerbates matters, not that were ever good.
The worst is yet to come as America's prestige drops and our power and influence continues to be challenged.
Anyone who believes the Arab Spring bodes well and Obama's policies will win the day are in for more rude shocks.
We gave in to Iran, we are giving in to Syria. We now are being challenged by Turkey's Erdogan. And to add icing to this rancid cake Obama is sanctioning the pulling out of Afghanistan and Iraq and thus, creating bigger vacuums radical Islamists will gladly fill. (See 2 and 2a below.)
Should Erdogan choose to stare Israel down, Turkish ships will have to contend with Israel's submarine force.
Members of the IDF are among Israel's most elite but little is known and/or said about Israel's Naval Corps. All of the lighting in our home was planned by a former Israeli engineer, now an American citizen, whose service was aboard an Israeli sub.
He knows the ins and out of technology. That I can attest to.(See 2b below.)
Muslim influence in Britain hearkens back to Brown Shirts in Hitler's Germany. There will be consequences beyond Britain's Jewish population because when a democratic nation's leadership fails to stand against prejudice it is akin to termites attacking wood.
I witnessed it in the South during segregation and the South, and in fact our entire nation, continues paying the price.
Maybe Indiana's 7th District Rep. Andre Carson belongs in Britain representing the Muslims? (See 3 and 3a below.)
American education continues to sink.
There is no greater crime being perpetrated upon our nation than the willingness to dumb down our youth. (See 4 below.)
Though Obama waxes poetic he offers nothing new. (See 5 and 5a below.)
I have finished Dick Cheney's: "In My Time" and there are plenty of reviews so I would like to write a few paragraphs about what I thought about as I read it.
First of all Dick Cheney is the John Wayne of politics. A man who is true grit, hawkish, honest , loyal and steadfast in his convictions.
To his detractors he is a Darth Vader/ Halliburton Pinata.
Television and the Internet serve to heighten contentiousness and bi-partisanship because they afford an available and effective stage for instant challenge by the uninformed and those with anti- agendas.
Yes, we did not find WMD in Iraq but there was plenty evidence that Saddam had used such, was working to obtain and/or rebuild his nuclear capability and was in violation of 16 U.N. resolutions and yes, he harbored terrorists and yes, al Qaeda operatives were shielded by him, and yes, he continued to kill his own against other U.N. sanctions. All of this was incontrovertible but because Saddam did not have an active and robust nuclear program GW and Cheney became liars and their effectiveness at protecting our nation was increasingly challenged.
Democrats who signed off on attacking Iraq based their conclusions on the same intelligence reports GW and Cheney relied upon, however, they were later allowed to duck out - both Clintons, Perry and Rockefeller to name a few. Cheney cites verbatim their expressed comments which have been forgotten because the liberal press and media would lose their sensational story if they highlighted these obvious facts.
Feeding and/or creating controversy has become synonymous with what is taken to be legitimate reporting.
TV and the Internet has proven effective technology allowing manipulators to throw doubt and smoke in the eyes of those who can be easily swayed because they do not take the trouble and/or are incapable of becoming sufficiently informed and, probably more importantly, fail to connect the dots and tend to erase what they once knew with what they last hear.
I am not suggesting mistakes were not made in handling our post invasion of Iraq but invading Iraq was, in my mind, totally justified based on the above facts which rested on solid information, events that had already taken place and continued ongoing and yes, credible intelligence.
The first and foremost obligation of any president is to protect the nation. GW and Cheney were committed to this beyond all other considerations. They succeeded
Second, if Obama and subsequent presidents do not cave, as Obama already has, Iraq could become an Arab-beacon of democracy but I doubt it will because we will walk away and allow Iran to fill the vacuum our failure to stick around will create.
The political agenda of Democrats was to recapture Congress and the best way to do that was to throw more doubt on the murky waters once WMD were not found.
The gum shoe prosecution by the special prosecutor, the failure by Sec. Powell to come forth with the fact that his own associate was responsible for the leak of the CIA agent's name and Powell's public disagreement with GW's Iraq policies, though never stated directly, all served to undercut the Administration's efforts. Then we have Nay saying Democrats like Murtha, Kerry and others advocating The Surge would not be successful when, in fact, it proved otherwise.
Cheney then turns to N Korea and relates how Rice and Hill lost sight of GW's goal and became fixated on characterizing any N Korean agreement as believable. Consequently, even GW caved and went against his own previous pronouncements and strategy on restricting the spread of WMD, which, heretofore, had proven successful. Rice and Hill placed themselves in the ridiculous position of seeking to obtain a verbal commitment from N Korea not to do what we ignored they had already done and were continuing to do. American weakness and concessions simply begot more N Korean violations.
Cheney concludes with 6 lessons to be learned by future presidents and State Department operatives on where we go wrong in dealing with rogue nations and leaders. All too often senior officials believe the unbelievable because they want to show accomplishment. They fear proceeding from strength and willingly display weakness thinking it will achieve some unobtainable goal.
The Israelis pleaded with us to destroy Syria's nuclear facilities which were built with N Korean assistance but the weak knees in t Bush Administration abdicated so Israel took on the job.
The same thing is happening with respect to Iran and once again Assad thumbs his nose at Obama. We never learn weakness does not convince nor even gain us an advantage. Feed a bully and you increase his appetite.
The State Department's reason detre is to avoid conflict. Diplomats are expert at appeasement and believe diplomacy is the chosen and correct way and often it proves to be the case but they fail to acknowledge that, at some point, it's continuance undercuts the other key message of possessing strength and the willingness to use it. You never gain an advantage proving you are a patsy.
Another tragic consequence of Iraq is that it made our intelligence personnel reticent and this was insured when Obama's Justice Department brought suit against CIA members for doing what they thought was their job. Cheney writes about intelligence officials who were unwilling to conclude Syria was building a nuclear facility when the Israeli intelligence and photos etc. were conclusive. Once burned kind of thing.
Yes, Cheney is a hawk but those who opposed his suggestions over Iraq, N Korea, Syria, for example, have nothing to show for their own timidity.
Rumsfeld's book was a superb instructive exercise in many ways on how to run an empire like government, the Pentagon etc. whereas, Cheney's book is a wonderful read on events and his contributions to and involvement with so much of our recent political history.
If Obama followed Cheney's express approach towards confronting our enemies we would be better served but Obama is simply a carbon copy of the weakest links and personages in the long history of our failed diplomatic initiatives. Obama's background neither serves him nor our nation well and, consequently, we will continue to pay a high price for his weakness and incompetence.
Even, at the end of his term in office, GW walked away from his own principles.
I assume the influence of Rice, who GW adores, was too much when set against the constant political attacks he had to endure.
For those who read my memos they know I never trusted Powell in the position of Sec. of State. Why? Because I personally saw a pattern of getting along by going along in his military career. Nor did I find Condi Rice up to her job because I thought she was too academic and soft. Perhaps her brilliance as a concert pianist did not serve her well when it came to being a tough negotiator and strategic thinker
Cheney remains my hero - a man from the heart of America, geographically speaking, and man with Western values that exemplify what it means to be an old fashioned American. (See 6 below.)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------1) Gates and Netanyahu
By Elliott Abrams
While I’ve been out of the country a small tempest has, I see, developed about former Secretary of Defense Gates’s views of Prime Minister Netanyahu. Jeffrey Goldberg reported this:
Senior administration officials told me that Gates argued to the president directly that Netanyahu is not only ungrateful, but also endangering his country by refusing to grapple with Israel’s growing isolation and with the demographic challenges it faces if it keeps control of the West Bank.
In Israel, where of course this is big news, critics of Netanyahu have blamed him for sparking such views from Gates. Even in the United States, it has been Netanyahu who is blamed for evoking such an attitude from Gates.
I beg to differ, for in my experience Secretary Gates had and expressed this exact view in 2007. As Vice President Cheney’s new memoir recounts in some detail, there was in the spring and summer of that year long consideration of what to do about the then recently discovered Syrian nuclear reactor.
There were endless discussions between Israeli and U.S. officials, and meeting after meeting inside the U.S. government. I participated in most of them.
Vice President Cheney notes that he favored a U.S. bombing of the reactor, and was alone in this. That is my memory as well. I was alone in favoring an Israeli strike, for I thought it would be useful to restore some of the credibility they had lost in the Lebanon War of 2006.
Secretaries Rice and Gates favored a diplomatic route, taking the Syrians first to the IAEA and then to the UN Security Council to demand that they take the reactor apart. Cheney believed, and I agreed, that this was folly: the Syrians could drag that out for years while they finished construction of the reactor.
When had the UN ever forced a rogue state to give up its nuclear program, Cheney asked. Moreover, once the Syrians found out that we knew about the reactor our military options would be gone: for example, in Saddam Hussein style they could put a kindergarten or hospital at the site and prevent a strike–for once the reactor was “hot” a strike could create dangerous effects for many miles around.
In the end, the president was persuaded to try the diplomatic route and told then Prime Minister Olmert this. Olmert immediately responded that this would not work, and that if we would not bomb the reactor he would. He reminded the president that he had from the first said it had to be destroyed one way or another. President Bush was instantly and thereafter fine with that decision, ordering that nothing be said or done that might compromise Israel’s plans.
In our internal discussions Secretary Gates had been firmly in favor of the diplomatic option. The question of course arose in those discussions what we should do if Israel disagreed—as in the end it did. Secretary Gates was firm, as I recall him: Israel was ungrateful and its policies were at times risking our own interests. We needed to be tough as nails and tell them our interests came first and their action would threaten the U.S.-Israeli relationship.
Fortunately his policy recommendations were not accepted by President Bush, who understood that Israeli action against the reactor would advance rather than harm U.S. interests.
This story is worth telling for only one reason: that somehow it is now being “explained” that the Gates view of Israel is new and has been provoked by recent Israeli actions and by Prime Minister Netanyahu.
Not so. Secretary Gates expressed essentially similar views in the Olmert days. Then as now he was wrong, but back then there was a different president who could listen to his honest and candid advice on how to protect U.S. interests and how to handle Israel–and firmly reject it.
Secretary Gates presided over years of steadily improving U.S.-Israel military cooperation under both President Bush and President Obama. He should get real credit for this, as should the officers who have served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the last decade, Gen. Myers, Gen. Pace, and Adm. Mullen, and as should above all the two presidents they served.
But his views about the Israelis being “ungrateful” are not new and should not, in fairness, be attributed to recent developments or blamed on Prime Minister Netanyahu.
2)How Obama "Misled" the Palestinians
By Khaled Abu Toameh
If anyone is to be held responsible for the Palestinian Authority leadership's decision to ask the UN to recognize a Palestinian state along the pre-1967 lines, it is US President Barack Obama and his Middle East advisors.
When and if violence erupts in the Palestinian territories after the UN vote later this month, it will be the direct result of Obama's failed Middle East policy, which is likely to see a dramatic rise in anti-American sentiments not only among the Palestinians, but also throughout the Arab and Islamic world.
Through their statements over the past three years, the Americans gave the Palestinian Authority and many Arabs the impression that Washington is in favor of a Palestinian state at all costs.
The Obama Administration had also initially given the Palestinians the impression that the US was "on our side," and would force Israel to accept all their demands, first and foremost a complete withdrawal to the pre-June, 1967 lines and the re-division of Jerusalem.
Palestinian leaders in Ramallah say that Obama has misled them twice in the past few years: first, when he gave them the impression that the US would support a Palestinian state even if it is not achieved through negotiations and, second, when he dropped his demand for a full cessation of settlement construction.
Obama is now being condemned by Palestinian Authority officials for being "biased in favor of Israel" and succumbing to the "powerful Jewish lobby" in the US.
The Palestinian Authority has reached a stage where it prefers to embark on a collision course with Obama than abandon its statehood plan.
In his meeting this week with US envoys David Hale and Dennis Ross, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas reminded them that his decision to seek UN recognition of a Palestinian state was in accordance with "promises" made by Obama – who is not trying to stop the statehood bid.
The Palestinian Authority is even using a speech by Obama to the UN General Assembly last year in which he voiced support for the establishment of a Palestinian state before the end of this year.
In the speech, which is now being used as part of a media campaign, broadcast on Palestine radio to drum up support for the statehood initiative, Obama says: "When we come back here next year, we can have an agreement that can lead to a new member of the United Nations, an independent, sovereign state of Palestine living in peace with Israel."
At the end of the radio spot, Abbas states, quite sarcastically: "If he [Obama] said it, he must have meant it."
Abbas's aides say that the media campaign is intended to expose Obama's "lies" and "hypocrisy."
Many Palestinians are now planning anti-US demonstrations when and if Washington uses the veto to foil the statehood bid at the UN Security Council. The Palestinian Authority, which relies heavily on US funding, is also taking part in the campaign of incitement against the US.
"The same Obama who promised us a state by the end of 2011 is now threatening to veto it at the UN and impose financial sanctions on the Palestinian Authority," said one aide. "Instead of supporting our move at the UN and exerting pressure on Israel to change its policies, Obama is sending us his envoys in an attempt to thwart the creation of a Palestinian state."
2a)Cairo mob ransacks, torches Israeli embassy. Ambassador flown out
The Israeli embassy in Cairo stands empty Saturday, Sept. 10 after thousands of demonstrators using sledgehammers smashed through the wall enclosing the building broke in and dumped the flag and hundreds of documents through the windows.
Egyptian security forces using tear gas and shooting the in air failed to contain the howling mob led by Muslim Brotherhood adherents.
Egyptian sources report that classified papers were seized by demonstrators.
At least 5 Egyptian soldiers killed and more than 500 police and demonstrators were injured in the clashes. . Ambassador Yizhak Levanon, his family and 80 embassy staff members were taken from their homes to Cairo airport and flown home aboard by two Israeli military planes. Six Israeli security officers remained on guard until early morning and were later rescued from a room with steel doors by Egyptian commandos who drove them to the airport in an armored car. The first secretary stayed in Cairo in a secure place.
The Egyptian government after declaring a high alert sent armored vehicles to the burning building and cut off the power in the street. The demonstrators attacked police and other vehicles in the vicinity with Molotov cocktails. Some moved on to attack a police station.
US President Barack Obama expressed concern at the attack and told Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu he was taking steps to help resolve the situation without further violence. He called on the Egyptian government to honor its international obligations to safeguard the embassy. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak asked US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta for assistance for securing the building.
Israel takes a grave view of this violation of every diplomatic norm, Netanyahu said later.
The attack came two days before a scheduled visit by the Turkish prime minister Tayyip Erdogan to Cairo amid an escalating Turkish diplomatic offensive against Israel which the US is seeking to contain.
Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood whipped up the Israeli embassy attack to show the military rulers in Cairo who calls the shots and pressure them into breaking off three decades of peace ties with the Jewish state.
The Turkish leader set the scene for the rampage in Cairo by his spiraling anti-Israel hate campaign which is winning him popularity on the Arab Muslim street.
Not only have Egyptian-Israeli ties entered a crisis phase, but so have US relations with the Arab world.
Erdogan's campaign has derailed America's Middle East policy by placing its key allies Turkey and Israel on a course of military collision. Erdogan is putting Washington on notice that Turkey's friendship and support in the region is contingent on the US turning against Israel.
Israel is taken back 32 years to the seventies when it stood out as the only pro-Western outpost of democracy in the Middle East beset by Arab enemies. The burning of the Israeli embassy in Cairo means that Ambassador Levanon will not return to his post in a hurry, the temperature of relations with Egypt will drop from cold to frigid and Israel can forget about the resupply of natural gas.
Already, the military junta instead of battling the terrorists at large in Sinai, including al Qaeda, has forged deals with them and left them in control of the inflammable Israeli border area.
The Egyptian rulers' policy of appeasement for the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamic extremists has backfired against them too. The spreading extremist violence climaxing in the attack on the Israeli embassy augurs the further breakdown of their authority. As well as an outrage against Israel and setback for US influence, it confronts the generals with their moment of truth: Their failure to deal with the rioters, who quickly vented their fury on police vehicles and buildings, will pave the way for Muslim extremist control of Egypt. Israel stands in grave peril of the region's two top Muslim powers lining up at the head of its enemies.
In Jerusalem, Netanyahu, Barak and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman spent long hours Friday night mulling Israel's reaction to the invasion of its Cairo embassy. A proposal to relocate it at the Sinai resort of Sharm al-Sheikh was abandoned because of the potential of its becoming a new Muslim Brotherhood target vulnerable also to al Qaeda and Palestinian terrorist networks at large in the Egyptian peninsula.
Israeli official spokesmen tried explaining that the continued presence of the Egyptian ambassador in Tel Aviv meant that diplomatic relations with Egypt were unchanged.
This argument served to further illustrate the Netanyahu-Barak's ostrich-like attitude to adverse events. In the new circumstances, the Egyptian diplomat is certain to be recalled for "home leave" or some other pretext before long.
Only this week, the defense minister's senior political adviser Amos Gilead claimed Israel's security situation "had never been better" and Arab regimes were "stable" – providing a vivid example of the wide gap between the government's situation evaluations and reality
2b) Doomsday weapon: Israel’s submarines
By Alex Fishman
The day the Twin Towers collapsed in Manhattan, September 11, 2001, Israeli submarine “Leviathan” of the advanced Dolphin model was on a training sail somewhere at sea – the exact location of Israel’s submarines will always remain classified, even dozens of years after the fact. At one point, the submarine rose to the surface to take a break. The sub’s commander, then-Lt. Colonel Oded, looked through the periscope and saw a calm, blue sea. However, one crew member soon informed him that he just saw the New York towers collapsing on television. Oded’s first reaction was laughter: What kind of movie are you watching there? How could the Twin Towers collapse? Yet soon after, the official announcement arrived from Isra
The training session ended abruptly. Orders started to pour in from Navy headquarters. The submarine went into high alert and sunk into the water for a lengthy period of several weeks. “In such case,” Oded says, “nobody knows where you are except for your crew and your direct commanders. Even your family doesn’t know. They don’t know what you’re doing or when you’ll be back. They know nothing.”
What does a terror attack at the World Trade Center have to do with an Israeli submarine going on high alert? This question shall remain unanswered as well. We can only guess: When the US experiences an unprecedented terror event whose implications are still unclear, nobody knows how the superpower would respond and what will happen in the Middle East as result. At such moments of uncertainty, Israel’s first walls of defense are its long-range strategic arms – the most secretive one is the submarine fleet.
Israel’s enemies must be made to understand that should they dare use any weapon of mass destruction, their own fate will be sealed. According to foreign reports, Israel’s Dolphin fleet plays a crucial role in the game of deterrence with its second strike capability.
Just like Israel’s submarine fleet is secretive, so are its commanders. Colonel Oded, 44, has recently completed his tenure as the fleet’s commander, ending a chapter of more than 20 years where he performed almost every command post in the fleet. “If a layman would see submarine troops from the side, he would not understand how we can withstand it,” Oded says in a rare interview. “It’s a group of people who perform missions at very certain locations and feel like home there. People wake up for their shifts, eat breakfast and follow a routine in the least trivial locations one can imagine.”
When I ask Oded whether his troops’ passports would be filled with stamps, had they theoretically stamped them at border control, he smiles and says nothing. Indeed, we can imagine that these virtual passports would have been full of stamps. The Navy’s submarines, as opposed to other vessels, never dock at foreign ports, including friendly ones. This is the nature of the service: The submarines only dock in Israel.
In order to serve on a submarine, one needs more than to excel at school and accumulate more and more knowledge. Such soldiers need a specific mental makeup that enables them to be isolated for lengthy periods of time from their natural environment, while living with 40 other people under crowded conditions and an intensive, tense operational atmosphere.
“People who cannot withstand the pressure drop out in the screening process and during the courses,” Oded says. “There is only one way to minimize the fear and improve the ability to function during emergencies: Sisyphean training. For that reason we constantly engage in simulating extreme scenarios, so when things happen in real life the soldiers are trained and already experienced those things during training sessions.”
“When you arrive at the sub after the course, you feel that nobody is better than you, but very quickly you realize that you have much to learn from the people around you,” Oded says. “The veteran non-commissioned officer is much more professional than you in his area of expertise. The secret of the submarine’s power is the accumulated knowledge of everyone on board. Each soldier is an expert, so you learn to appreciate and trust them…you learn very quickly that the quality of the soldiers is so high that you cannot just issue orders.”
Not like in the movies
So what happens to a young man who one day becomes privy to the State of Israel’s deepest secrets? “If we developed the right person, and his ego is at a healthy place, not much happens,” Oded says. “The heavy responsibility and significance of the work merely increase the need for modesty. Even though it’s quite surprising and fascinating to discover what this country can do, we don’t tell our parents or anyone else. Never. Everything stays within the submarine. This is one of the reasons why the friendships formed between the soldiers and officers don’t exist elsewhere. We develop a culture where secrecy means life or death.
In the movies we often see a submarine commander receiving a mysterious message, walking over to the safe, pulling out an envelope and discovering a dramatic mission for the first time. Yet when Oded is asked whether this happens in real life, he bursts into laughter. “This happens in the movies. These are precisely the things that are not done in real life, because the sub commander works completely independently, and at times has no contact whatsoever with his superiors. Hence, he must have all the information available to him and be familiar with the mission’s big picture, so he can make the right decisions.
Having fun in the shower
At the end of the 1980s, Oded completed a degree in electrical engineering and physics at the Technion. Upon graduation, he was appointed as commander of a missile boat that specializes in anti-submarine warfare (the Navy ensures that future sub commanders serve on such boats first, as there is no better way to learn how they behave when confronting a submarine.) After two years, Oded embarked on a submarine commander’s course – an intensive eight-month track with a personal mentor. In 1999 he was assigned to command the old-model submarine “Gal.” The only thing he is willing to say about that period is: “It was a very operational year, with plenty of counter-terror activity.” In 2001, he was appointed as the second commander of “Leviathan,” a new model Dolphin sub.
When asked how it feels to command “Leviathan,” a submarine that is three-times larger than the previous sub he led, Oded first speaks about the improved shower experience. “When you are sailing for weeks and your only way to take a shower is to use the air-conditioner’s water, yet suddenly you have a shower, only then you understand the meaning of this,” he says.
“Suddenly there is a convenient space for service, in submarine terms of course. Suddenly your sub has more than one floor. There are also more arms and more advanced sonar systems. There is also a leap in atomization and in command and control capabilities. It’s like flying into space. Moreover, it’s a very quiet submarine that can perform its mission with greater secrecy.
Doubling the fleet
At this time the Navy is preparing to double Israel’s submarine fleet from three to six in the next five years, making it one of the region’s largest and most advanced fleets. As result of this process, Oded was not only required to double the submarine fleet’s manpower, but also to create a larger cadre career officers for a lengthy service term, as the need for professional expertise will only be growing. Hence, the Navy realized it must offer these soldiers the army’s best service terms. For example, sub troops can study almost anything they want, as long as they stay in the force. Notably, a sub officer is required to serve nine years at least.
Oded says that doubling the fleet’s size is “not only a challenge for the army; it’s a challenge for the State.” When asked whether Israel needs such large fleet, especially in an era of cutbacks, Oded has no hesitation: “I have no doubt we need it. A large submarine fleet gives us much more than a multiplier effect in strategic and security terms.”
3)By Melanie Phillips
Government ministers might be concerned to know quite how often I am now accosted by strangers in public places.
These strangers are usually, although not always, Jews. They accost me on the Tube, at the theatre, in the supermarket, in restaurants and in the street.
They all say the same thing: keep on saying it about Israel, keep on telling it as it is, don't ever give up.
What is happening to us? they murmur. It's unbelievable, astonishing, terrifying. The bias, the hatred, the lies. Where is it all going to end? And an increasing number say there's no longer any future for us Jews in Britain.
Almost every few days brings fresh examples of the Israel Derangement Syndrome that so disturbs and frightens them. Last week, anti-Israel hooligans disrupted a Promenade concert where the Israel Philharmonic was playing, causing the BBC to abort its live broadcast.
Last month, a St Andrews University student was convicted of racially abusing a Jewish postgraduate student over his support of Israel. And week in, week out, Israelis are blamed for defending themselves against mass murder.
By now, it must be obvious to all but the most supine or hostile to Israel within the UK Jewish community that what is happening is an evil uniquely targeted at the Jewish people. For the demonisation of Israel is of a nature and type extended to no other country.
While atrocities by tyrannies and rogue states provoke almost total indifference, Israel is treated as in a class apart: apparently the very worst country in the entire world, a kind of global blight which has to be expunged altogether from civilised society if not from the face of the earth.
Sound familiar? Oh, sorry, I forgot. Part of the madness is that we are totally forbidden to identify what this actually is -- a prejudice directed solely at the Jewish people, who in this latest manifestation are uniquely demonised as usurpers in their own historic homeland.
Few government minsters grasp the nature and scale of what is happening. Most don't think there is a problem, and many of those who do think it is Israel's own fault.
Ministers would be amazed and appalled to know how many British Jews now feel so betrayed and abandoned. That's because ministers tend to meet only those Jews who tell them that anyone who thinks like that can be safely disregarded as an hysteric, extremist or right-winger.
They would be even more appalled to be told that they themselves play a significant part in fuelling the madness.
They maintain -- and probably genuinely believe -- that the British government is a true if candid friend of Israel. To which one can only say: with friends like these who needs enemies?
Actually, it's more like having a close relationship with someone suffering from multiple personality disorder.
For there is no doubt that at the military and intelligence level, Britain's relationship with Israel is close and mutually supportive. British spooks and soldiers tend to understand very well the immense benefit to the UK of Israel's intelligence and military prowess.
The problem lies at the political level. While many Tory backbenchers support Israel, the government - with some very honourable exceptions -- is hostile.
So much so that a group of Tory MPs and others in the party who are well-disposed to Israel have reportedly formed an informal group to prevent David Cameron from throwing Israel under the bus altogether.
This group has become very alarmed by the government's repeated sniping against Israel, such as Cameron's calculated gesture of hostility in stepping down as patron of the JNF.
And then there was last month's video by International Development Minister Alan Duncan, in which he made false and inflammatory claims that, through its security barrier, Israel was annexing the Palestinians' land and was also stealing their water.
First, the Foreign Office briefed that Duncan was only stating British government policy; later, it seemed to distance itself from his remarks. But the fact is that, despite his grossly ignorant and prejudiced rant, Duncan is still in post.
Why? Because the callow and opportunistic Cameroons are blank slates upon which can be written the fashionable bigotry and historical illiteracy of our times.
The Cameron government did not create the madness now raging against Israel. It could, however, control it by standing up for truth and justice against lies and prejudice. Tragically, it is choosing to fan the flames of ignorance and hatred instead.
3a)Andre Carson's Racist Family Ties
By M. Catharine Evans
It should be no surprise the representative from Indiana's 7th district fabricated racial incidents in 2010 and used KKK imagery last week to smear the Tea Party. Indiana Congressman Andre Carson learned how to race-bait for votes early on. Although not the only Congressional Black Caucus bigot playing the race card, Carson comes with a special set of familial baggage.
Andre Carson was raised by his grandmother Julia Carson. A state legislator for 18 years and a congresswoman for a decade, Ms. Carson had a friendly relationship with the hateful Louis Farrakhan throughout Andre's childhood. In fact, Julia and Louis went "way back" according to a 2008 Indianapolis Star report. Andre's wife stated that Farrakhan was with Julia the night her grandson was born in 1974. The anti-Semitic Nation of Islam leader who called white people "devils" told mourners at her funeral in 2007 "I was with her in her discipleship."
Farrakhan's presence in the grandmother's life came to a head during her eulogy (on video) when the minister endorsed Andre's bid for the dead woman's congressional seat. "She lives in Andre," he said "she wants him to succeed her."
Carson quickly distanced himself from Farrakhan in order to secure his political future. There were calls from local media to explain why the NOI leader was allowed to speak at Julia's service. Jewish and Christian constituents wondered whether Carson himself was a "Louis Farrakhan Muslim." The soon-to-be congressman tried to reassure potential voters that his conversion to Islam in the mid-1990's involved many different influences.
Like every other human being, I have various faces. I am multifaceted.
After the funeral Julia Carson's connection to Farrakhan led to questions concerning Andre's affiliations. In a "phone chat" with sympathetic blogger Ruth Holladay in January 2008, the 33-year old Carson offered up some personal history.
Carson is not a member of the Nation of Islam, he said. Nor does he attend services at a Nation of Islam mosque.
Farrakhan's presence at the funeral raised questions and had some of us wondering where Andre Carson stands..
Now he is speaking out.
Carson, 33, said today in a phone chat that he was influenced, as a teen-ager, by the biography of Malcom X, and by NOI members and an offshoot group, the Five Percent Nation or the Five Percenters. Both the NOI and the Five Percenters were active in Indy, trying to clean up its mean streets during the 1980s and 1990s.
Carson grew up during hip hop culture when many rappers were members of the Nation or sympathizers. Music was a vital part of his identity as a youth, he said.
Carson claims he had never met Farrakhan prior to his grandmother's funeral. He told the Star's Robert King that he knew very little about his grandmother's personal history. That seems highly unlikely as the young Carson attended the Democratic National Convention with Julia in 1984, worked on her campaigns, was heavily involved with the hip hop culture (his teenage rapper name was 'Juggernaut') and still resided in Indianapolis when Farrakhan traveled there in 1997 for a press conference. The black supremacist was joined on stage by Julia who gave the minister a big hug.
As a teen Carson admitted he was attracted by the outward appearance of NOI members walking the streets in his Near-Northside neighborhood. But eventually he asked for guidance from Imam Muhammad Siddeeq who also counseled Mike Tyson. Siddeeq, a former assistant to Louis Farrakhan, influenced Carson's conversion to traditional Islam in his early 20's. Before his move to Washington, Andre attended the Nur-Allah Islamic Center mosque in Indianapolis along with his wife Mariama Shaheed-Carson, the daughter of Marion County Superior Court judge David Shaheed. They have a young daughter, Salimah, which means "peaceful" in Arabic.
Prior to his January 18, 2008 caucus victory securing his party's special election nomination, Carson blamed Farrakhan's funeral invitation on the dying wishes of his grandmother. The situation compelled him to seek counsel from Siddeeq who told him he must honor Julia's request. Pathetically, Carson was forced to tell Party insiders gathered for his acceptance speech that day, "My last name is Carson, but I'm Andre. I'm my own man, my own person."
Carson has never been his "own man." He touts his 9-year stint as an Indiana State excise police officer but fails to mention that one of Julia's former campaign managers, Eugene Honeycutt, who led that agency at the time of Carson's (and his cousin Sam's) hiring, was accused of giving Julia's grandsons jobs over more qualified applicants. Later in 2000 Honeycutt pled guilty to accepting food, drink and sexual favors from a strip club, but denied he "ignored any excise violations" in doing so.
In 2007 Andre resigned his positions as an excise officer and with the help of his grandmother's former connections at the Center Township Trustee's Office, Andre took over Patrice Abdullah's 15th District city-council seat.
Radical hate-mongers beget radical hate-mongers. As Farrakhan said, "Julia lives in Andre." Truly, multi-generational corruption does more damage to society than isolated assaults on single human beings. By casting hateful aspersions against millions of innocent Americans because of the color of their skin, Andre continues the cycle of bigotry. So, instead of renouncing Farrakhan's tacit endorsement of his candidacy at the funeral, even after his own campaign treasurer, Erin Rosenberg, walked out in disgust, Andre employed Farrakhan's politically correct "universal language" of "humility, service," and a rejection of "hatred and bitterness."
In light of his role models, Carson's lies about the Tea Party and peaceful ObamaCare protesters outside the Capitol calling Representative John Lewis the N-word "15 times" makes sense. It puts to rest any doubt about his adherence to Farrakhan's world view. Just because Andre Carson occasionally has to throw his mentors under the bus à la Obama doesn't mean he's not a believer. As a faithful follower, he will say and do anything his masters tell him to do.
4)The Continuing Disgrace of U.S. Education
By Gary Jason
If Americans dared to hope that their K-12 educational system might be improving, several new articles will bring the poor souls back to reality.
The first is a piece by Paul Peterson of the Harvard Program on Educational Policy and Governance. Peterson notes that on the most recent national test results, only a risible 32% of American 8th-graders scored "proficient" in math. By coincidence, on the international PISA tests, taken by students from 65 countries and administered by the OECD, our students' scores are at 32nd place.
How do the other developed nations stack up? In six countries (Canada, Finland, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, and Switzerland), at least 50% of the 8th-graders score proficient in math. Many other nations which don't score that high still outscore us, including Germany (45%), Australia (44%), and France (39%).
Most worrisome is the fact that 75% of Shanghai students scored proficient in math. As we compete with China for high-tech industry, the ability of its educational system to teach Chinese kids math will give the country an ever-increasing competitive edge, unless ours closes the gap.
Within our country, there are wide discrepancies in math proficiency. Massachusetts has the high average of 51%, with only five other states scoring above 40%. (These are Kansas, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Dakota, and Vermont).
Depressingly, some of the richest states score lowest in math proficiency, with New York at 30%, Michigan at 29%, Florida at 27%, and my home state of California at a pathetic 24%.
The U.S. does a trifle better at reading. It takes 17th place among the 65 nations tested, with 31% of our students testing proficient. But that is nothing to cheer about, since other major trading competitors outscore us by a large margin. These include Korea (47%), Finland (46%), New Zealand and Singapore (42%), Canada and Japan (41%), Australia (38%), and Belgium (37%). Shanghai again leads the world, with 55% of their 8th-graders proficient in reading.
Again, as with math, there is tremendous variation among the various states. Massachusetts leads with 43%, followed by Vermont at 42%, New Jersey at 39%, and then South Dakota (37%).
I have not yet mentioned the delicate subject of race, but I will now. On the crucial measure -- math -- 50% of Asian-Americans and 42% of European-Americans scored proficient. But only 16% of Native-American, 15% of Hispanic-American, and an embarrassing 11% of African-American students scored proficient in math.
In reading, 41% of Asian-American, 40% of European-American, 18% of Native-American, 13% of African-American, and a sad 5% of Hispanic-American students scored proficient.
Now, it is always humorous to me that when I discuss the miserable state of the U.S. public education system with my fellow teachers -- either K-12 or college level, their response is always the same. These oh-so-progressive-liberals (for that is almost always what they are) very rapidly reveal a racist streak. They always say that the inner-city public schools are the ones failing, and they are filled with "minority" kids (a genteel term by which they mean African-American and Hispanic-American kids). So, they ask with a knowing wink, what do you expect?
The answer is that I expect better of the system we support so lavishly -- we spend more per capita on education than any other nation on Earth but one -- and a system that we support precisely so that the poorest among us will have a chance to succeed. I don't believe for one minute that the problem is the IQ level of the minority kids -- it is the failing system. Asian-American kids score worse than kids in many Asian nations, and European-American kids score worse than kids in many European nations, so it the system, not the brain tissue, that is the real issue.
Peterson ends by noting something that economist Eric Hanushek has been urging for years: namely, that the lousy performance of our public educational system is costing us dearly. If America achieved the math proficiency of Korea, its GDP growth rate would increase by about 1.3%. Even if it got to just the level of Canada, it would gain about 0.9% increased growth. Since America grows (on long-term average) about 2% to 3% per year (and a lot slower lately), these gains would be very considerable, indeed.
The second story is that the federal Department of Education has issued a report suggesting that parents are being misled by the results of their kids on their kids' state standardized school exams. This is because the states are all free to set their own standards for what counts as "proficient," and almost all states set their standards below -- some far below -- what the federal government recommends.
As the DOE spokesperson Joanne Weiss put it, "[l]ow expectations are the norm. Setting 50 different bars in 50 different states is tremendously problematic. That's actually lying to parents." That's actually true, but actually ironic, coming from an administration that actually lies freely and constantly.
The report found that from 2005 to 2009, many states lowered proficiency standards, although that trend was more pronounced between 2005 and 2007 than between 2007 and 2009.
Part of the problem here is that the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) passed in the early part of the Bush administration. NCLB scores a state's schools as "failing" if those schools don't meet that same state's own proficiency standards. (NCLB originally would have mandated that vouchers be made available to students at those failing schools, but Ted Kennedy had that provision stripped from it at the behest of the teachers unions). So if any state does the honorable thing and raises its standards for student proficiency, its reward is to see more of its schools labeled as "failing."
Such was the case with Tennessee, which raised its standards dramatically, and saw the number of its students labeled "proficient" in math drop from 91% to 34%.
NCLB called for 100% of students to be proficient by 2014, but given that 80% of schools nationwide are going to be rated as "failing" this year, it doesn't look like that goal is remotely achievable.
The third article reports the results of the 2011 ACT tests. Now, let's preface the story by noting that the ACT is taken by graduating high school seniors who intend to go to college. It is not taken by dropouts, or even by graduating seniors not planning to go to college. No, it is taken only by the academically best students.
The results are once again disappointing. Only 25% of the exam-takers scored college-ready at all four parts of the ACT, so 75% of them will be doing some kind of remedial work in college.
We should note that 80% of students taking remedial course in college had a GPA of at least 3.0 in high school.
The article notes a couple of obvious problems with the fact that so many college students must take remediation. First, students forced to take classes covering what they took in high school will more likely be bored and therefore be more likely to drop out of college.
Second, our society wastes scarce resources having students learning in college what they should have learned high school. These costs are not trivial: the Alliance for Excellent Education puts them at $5.6 billion for the 2007-8 academic year alone.
These continuing miserable results of our mainly governmentally monopolistic educational system continue to argue for that system's privatization.
Gary Jason is an academic philosopher and a contributing editor to Liberty. He is the author of the forthcoming book Dangerous Thoughts.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------5) Contentions: Barack Obama’s Wings of Wax
By Peter Wehner
Presidencies can go through various stages in terms of their effect on the opposition – from eliciting respect and some amount of fear, to provoking anger, to becoming the object of ridicule.
Barack Obama has reached the third stage.
Dana Milbank of the Washington Post has written a column in which he cites passages from Obama’s speech to a joint session of Congress last night and then chronicles the reaction among congressional Republicans, which included chuckles, guffaws and giggles. Hostility to Obama has given way to indifference to what he says; witness the fact the GOP did not even feel the need to provide a televised response to Obama’s speech. And of course, it didn’t help that the president’s address was relegated to pre-primetime, in order not to compete with an NFL game.
Just as significantly, Milbank reports there were empty seats on the Democratic side last night. “Democrats lumbered to their feet to give the president several standing ovations, but they struggled at times to demonstrate enthusiasm,” according to Milbank. “When Obama proposed payroll tax cuts for small businesses, three Democrats stood to applaud. Summer jobs for disadvantaged youth brought six Democrats to their feet, and a tax credit for hiring the long-term unemployed produced 11 standees. Obama spoke quickly, urgently, even angrily. Rep. Jesse Jackson (D-Ill.) stared at the ceiling. Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) scanned the gallery. Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) was seen reading a newspaper. And Republicans, when they weren’t giggling, were mostly silent.”
Milbank added, “Presidential addresses to Congress are often dramatic moments. This one felt like a sideshow. Usually, the press gallery is standing-room-only; this time, only 26 of 90 seats were claimed by the deadline. Usually, some members arrive in the chamber hours early to score a center-aisle seat; 90 minutes before Thursday’s speech, only one Democrat was so situated.”
As Jimmy Carter can tell you, for a president to become an object of disdain and apathy is a very dangerous place to find himself.
It has been a stunning fall from grace for Obama, a man who, upon taking office, was routinely compared to Kennedy, to FDR, and even to Lincoln. One is tempted to say those comparisons were unfair to Obama, except that he did so much to invite them.
By now, the cult-like effect Obama had on his supporters is a distant, fading memory. The Greek columns built for his convention speech now look simply silly, as does Obama’s promise to heal the earth and reverse the ocean tide. His core appeal was aesthetic, and hence fleeting. It turns out Obama really was best equipped to be a community organizer and a state senator and perhaps not very much more than that. But Obama, a man of extraordinary self-regard, decided he was the world-historical person we had been waiting for. (What can one say about a person who surrounded himself with aides who referred to him as “Black Jesus” during the campaign?)
In a coincidence that calls to mind William Blake’s “fearful symmetry” phrase, it was also Dana Milbank who in July 2008, months before Obama was elected, reported that Obama attended an “adoration session” with Democratic lawmakers in the Cannon Caucus Room, where even committee chairmen arrived early, “as if for the State of the Union.”
Inside, according to a witness, Obama told the House members, “This is the moment…that the world is waiting for,” adding: “I have become a symbol of the possibility of America returning to our best traditions.”
Some of us warned at the time that any man who believes he is “the moment that the world is waiting for” and views himself as “the symbol of the possibility and best traditions of America” is an individual of staggering arrogance. To which I added this:
That is doubly so when, like Obama, you have achieved nothing so far in your life —in terms of scholarship or literature, legislation, acts of valor, self-sacrifice, or anything else – that qualifies you to view yourself in quasi-Messianic terms. One increasingly senses with Obama that he views himself not as a presidential candidate but as a world celebrity, with all the vanity and arrogance that accompanies such people. Obama, a literate man, might want to reacquaint himself with the Book of Proverbs, which warns that “pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall,” and the story of Icarus. Barack Obama is a very talented political figure, but he is not indestructible. And right now he is flying closer and closer to the sun. At some point – it’s hard to tell when – the wings of wax will begin to melt.
There is some poignancy in saying that for Barack Obama, a decent but imperious man, the wings of wax have finally melted away.
5a) Obama talks a big game -- but offers more of same
By John Podhoretz
With his back against the wall, Barack Obama woke up from his depressed slumbers last night and gave us the first glimpse of Obama the Orator we’ve seen since his talk in Arizona after the Gabrielle Giffords shooting back in January.
His jobs speech was an energetic, spicy humdinger that finally gave his depressed base a few desperately needed tingles after months of unmitigatedly bad news for them and for him.
He was the firebrand populist liberal they so want him to be, throwing hundreds of billions of federal dollars around as though it were confetti and declaring the greatness of America is primarily to be discerned in that which has been done through government action.
“We are rugged individualists,” he conceded initially before launching into a paean to “a belief that we are all connected and that there are some things we can only do together, as a nation.”
As Obama tells it, the greatness of Abraham Lincoln was not only that he saved the Union, but that he started the National Academy of Sciences. More recently, we established our greatness by building schools and community colleges, not to mention “our highways and our bridges, our dams and our airports.”
Now, that’s not really a mark of national greatness, since even North Korea has highways and bridges and dams and airports.
But Obama’s fetishistic invocation of the glory of infrastructure projects is directly related to his unyielding certitude -- a certitude unaltered despite the failure of his last stimulus -- that the federal government needs to take a lead role in thecountry’s employment crisis by employing people directly itself.
He did propose incentives to private-sector employers, but those incentives do not involve much in the way of lessening their regulatory or tax burden. Obama mentioned he had initiated a review of onerous federal regulations but had so far identified only 500 he could do away with.
And he spoke once again of making the wealthy pay more in taxes, which directly affects the ability of small-business owners to employ more people.
At the heart of his incentive program were tax credits. For example, he said, someone who employs 50 people would receive $80,000, or $1,600 per worker. The average US salary is $46,000 per year, and that’s before the cost of benefits. Obama’s incentive would reduce an employer’s burden by something like 3 percent.
That won’t do much. But it does have the benefit, for Obama, of being a direct federal intervention in job creation.
So there’s the big difference between Obama and his ideological rivals -- he believes in government’s guiding hand, and his rivals believe in reducing the burden of government as a means of clearing the decks for economic growth.
That’s what this next election is going to be fought over. And that’s fine. What isn’t fine is the outright trickery with which Obama claims his new plan is going to be fully paid for off the bat.
He says the debt-ceiling super-committee, which has begun searching for $1.5 trillion to cut from the federal government, will find another $447 billion to pay for this American Jobs Act.
In the end, he offered no reason to believe that if it were entirely enacted it would actually do much other than act as yet another subsidy for the core of his base, unionized workers who already have jobs.
It was a corker of a speech, but it was nonsense on stilts -- and its purpose was patent and cynical.
6)Cheney to Newsmax: Israel Will Attack a 'Nuclear' Iran
By Ronald Kessler
Former Vice President Dick Cheney sat down with Newsmax Chief Washington correspondent Ronald Kessler for this powerful interview where the two discussed terrorism's threat to America, Israel, the Obama administration's policies and Cheney's new memoir.
Israel will attack Iran’s nuclear facilities if necessary to prevent it from developing a nuclear weapon, former Vice President Dick Cheney tells Newsmax TV in an exclusive interview.
“I think they would,” Cheney said when asked about the possibility. “I think Iran represents an existential threat, and they'll do whatever they have to do to guarantee their survival and their security.”
When asked if his opinion was based on discussions with Israeli leaders, Cheney responded, “I can’t attribute it to any one particular Israeli leader. I wouldn’t want to do that.” But he said, “I’ve had a number of conversations with a lot of Israeli officials, and I think they correctly perceive Iran as a basic threat.”
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell has accused Cheney of taking “cheap shots” by saying in his book that he learned that Powell was opposed to the war in Iraq yet “never once in any meeting did I hear him voice objection.”
In asking about that, I told him that for my book “A Matter of Character: Inside the White House of George W. Bush,” the White House arranged for me to interview Cabinet officers and their staffs. When I interviewed Powell and his immediate staff, “I couldn’t believe what they told me,” I said to Cheney. “It was like walking into DNC Headquarters, literally.”
Asked if he was aware of how aggressively Powell’s staff sought to undermine the Bush administration and whether he told Bush about it, Cheney said he was aware of the policy differences but needs to maintain the confidentiality of many of his discussions with Bush.
“I had good reason why I wrote what I did,” Cheney said.
Given that the press portrayed the administration’s program to intercept terrorist communications as “spying on innocent Americans,” I asked Cheney if the administration could have explained in a general way why the National Security Agency’s Terrorist Surveillance Program was necessary to thwart attacks by al-Qaida.
Cheney said Bush did eventually give a few speeches mentioning results from the program, but he said, “We still had the basic fundamental problems [of] running what are inherently secret or classified programs, and you don’t want to tell the enemy how it is that you are reading their mail.”
Cheney said he convened a meeting of the top nine members of Congress and asked them if the administration should continue the surveillance program. “They said absolutely, yes,” Cheney said. “They were unanimous. Nancy Pelosi was there, Jay Rockefeller was there.”
Following up with them, Cheney said he asked if the White House should ask Congress for more legislative authority to conduct the program.
“They were unanimous that we should not on the grounds that if we did that, we would reveal to our enemy what it was that we were doing and how we were doing it,” Cheney said.
On another contentious issue, as speaker of the House, Pelosi later claimed she had not been informed of the CIA’s enhanced interrogation program, adding that the CIA routinely lies to Congress. She then conceded she had been told about the program but claimed she was powerless to stop it.
Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. subsequently launched an investigation of CIA officers who had carried out enhanced interrogation, even though career Justice Department officials had decided they had not violated any criminal laws. Holder admitted he had not read the memos of career officials explaining why they declined prosecution.
Asked about the effect on the CIA, Cheney said, “I think it was potentially devastating.”
In addition, Cheney said, the Obama administration “threatened to go after the attorneys in the Justice Department who had given us the legal opinions that we were operating under. It was a terrible thing to do.”
Two days after Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden, then CIA Director Leon Panetta confirmed to NBC’s Brian Williams that the CIA obtained some of the intelligence that pinpointed bin Laden’s hiding place from enhanced interrogation, including waterboarding.
While the Obama administration has been aggressively killing terrorists with drone aircraft, it has basically shut down the program to interrogate foreign terrorist detainees. After shutting it down, “They said that they were going to set up a new one, but I haven’t seen any evidence yet that they have ever done that,” Cheney said.
Cheney said he was not aware of the fact that after his capture, Saddam Hussein admitted to FBI agent George Piro that while he was bluffing about having weapons of mass destruction, he planned to resume his WMD program in about a year, including developing a nuclear weapon. As first disclosed in my book “The Terrorist Watch: Inside the Desperate Race to Stop the Next Attack,” Piro spent 7 months debriefing Saddam. Few news outlets ran a story about Saddam’s admission.
Asked about Obama’s speech on job creation, Cheney said, “We've got a huge problem in terms of the need to get the economy back on the road to recovery. With a zero job creation from the last month, we’re in big trouble. I’m not at all certain that he has figured out what the problem is.”
As I interviewed Cheney, demonstrators outside his office carried signs calling him a war criminal and a torturer. I asked the former vice president about that and about very liberal Democrats as well as some very conservative Republicans who oppose measures like the Patriot Act that provide the FBI with tools for uncovering terrorist plots.
“I’m not surprised that there are people who disagree with what we did. That’s the nature of the business,” Cheney said. But he worries about some who say the administration overreacted to the 9/11 attack. The danger is that people become less tolerant of policies that have kept the country safe since 9/11.
“Something like the 10th anniversary is a reminder for everybody of what 9/11 cost us and how painful it was for us as a nation to go through that, but it also is a reminder that the threat is still there and that we still got people who want to do us harm.”
To ignore that and to say waging a war on terror is “kind of a nasty business” or “it’s too tough” is to risk another devastating attack, Cheney said.
“I still worry more than anything else really about the possibility of a group of terrorists acquiring really deadly capabilities,” Cheney said. “When we got hit on 9/11 there were 19 guys armed with airline tickets and box cutters. The next time around I worry they may have a nuclear device or biological agent of some kind and would be in a position to inflict far greater damage and loss of lives than anything we experienced on 9/11. I think that’s still a very real threat.”