Mother Mosque

To the editor of the Wall Street Journal:

The sentimental article on “Mother Mosque” in Cedar Rapids, Iowa (12/21) has Imam Tawil saying “Our main goal is to educate the public about Islam”. Does this include educating the public about the Koran which is taught and preached every day in every mosque in the world, including his? Here are just a few of those passages from the Koran which every non-Muslim needs to know:

“Surely the vilest of animals in Allah’s sight are those who disbelieve.” (8.55)The unbelievers are your inveterate foe.” (4:101)

“Mohammed is God’s apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another.” (48:29).

“Believers, take neither the Jews nor the Christians for your friends.” (5:51)

“The true believers fight for the cause of God, but the infidels fight for the devil. Fight then against the friends of Satan.” (4:76)

“We will put terror into the hearts of the unbelievers.” (3:150)

All Muslim terrorists cite these and many other passages from the Koran to justify their murderous deeds, so it behooves us all to know what they are talking about. Will Imam Tawil help us to learn?   

Carl Goldberg

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Why radical Islam – and why now?

Why radical Islam – and why now?
By Victor Davis Hanson
Thursday, December 21, 2006

 

Read any newspaper or turn on any news broadcast and you’re bound to encounter stories of Islamic radicals fighting, killing and threatening each other — and just about everyone else.

In Somalia, jihadists, with the support of al-Qaida, have clashed with troops loyal to the country’s internationally recognized interim government and now threaten neighboring Ethiopia with all-out war.
Nearby in Darfur, Muslim militiamen called janjaweed are waging genocide against black Christian and animist villagers — apparently with the consent of the Sudanese government.

Shiite and Sunni militias, each claiming to represent true Islam, keep slaughtering each other in Iraq.

Hezbollah (“Party of God”) seeks to destroy democracy in Lebanon by provoking Israel, which it is sworn to eliminate.

On the West Bank, Hamas and Fatah have taken a timeout from their attacks on Israel to murder each other and innocent bystanders.

The Iranian Shiite theocracy — when not hosting Holocaust deniers or sending terrorists into Iraq — issues serial pledges to finish off Israel.

The shaky Pakistani leadership pleads that it can neither target Osama bin Laden nor stop Taliban jihadists hiding out in the remote regions of Pakistan from streaming back into Afghanistan.

In Europe, opera producers, novelists, cartoonists and filmmakers are increasingly circumspect out of fear of death threats from Islamists.

While each conflict is unique and rooted in its own history, the common thread — radical Islam — is obvious. It’s thus worth asking why this violent, intolerant strain of Islam has taken hold in so many unstable places — and at this particular time.

The ascent of radical Islam is, perhaps, the natural culmination of a century’s worth of failed political systems in Muslim countries that were driven by morally bankrupt ideologies, led by cruel dictators, or both.

In the 1930s, German-style fascism appealed to Arabs in Palestine and Egypt. Soviet-style communism had sympathetic governments in Afghanistan, Algeria and Yemen. Baathism took hold in Syria and Iraq. The secular Egyptian dictator Gamal Abdel Nasser promised a new pan-Arabism that would do away with colonial borders that divided the “the Arab nation.” Then there is the more pragmatic authoritarianism that survives in Muammar el-Qaddafi’s Libya or in the petrol-monarchies in the Gulf.

Radical Islam may be as totalitarian and as morally bankrupt as any of these past or mostly defunct “isms,” but its current appeal isn’t hard to figure out. Unlike fascism or communism, radical Islam is locally grown, and not plagued by charges of foreign contamination. Indeed, Islamists claim to wage jihad against the modernism and globlization of the outside, mostly Westernized world. Such a message resonates in stagnant, impoverished Muslim countries.

Of course, while the people of the region may be poor, the Islamist movement isn’t. Huge oil profits filter throughout the Muslim world, allowing Islamists to act on their rhetoric. In today’s world, militias can easily acquire everything from shoulder-held anti-aircraft missiles to rocket-propelled grenades. With such weapons, and on their own turf, Islamists can nullify billion-dollar Western jets and tanks.

There is still another reason for the rise of Islamists: They sense a new hesitation in the West. We appear to them paralyzed over oil prices and supplies and fears of terrorism. And so they have also waged a brilliant propaganda war, adopting the role of victims of Western colonialism, imperialism and racism. In turn, much of the world seems to tolerate their ruthlessness in stifling freedom, oppressing women and killing nonbelievers. So how, aside from killing jihadist terrorists, can we defend ourselves against the insidious spread of radical Islam? Here are a few starting suggestions:

Bluntly identify radical Islam as fascistic — without worrying whether some Muslims take offense when we will talk honestly about the extremists in their midst.

At the same time, keep encouraging consensual governments in the Middle East and beyond that could offer people security and prosperity, while distancing ourselves from illegitimate dictators, especially in Syria and Iran, that promote terrorists.

Establish that no more autocracies in the Middle East and Asia will be allowed to get the bomb.

Seek energy independence that would collapse the world price of oil, curbing petrodollar subsidies for terrorists and our own appeasement of their benefactors.

Appreciate the history and traditions of a unique Western civilization to remind the world that we have nothing to apologize for but rather much good to offer to others.

Finally, keep confident in a war in which our will and morale are every bit as important as our overwhelming military strength. The jihadists claim that we are weak spiritually, but our past global ideological enemies — Nazism, fascism, militarism and communism — all failed. And so will they.

Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and author, most recently, of “A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War.”

Baker Expose

Baker Expose

Baker case documents saved from shred order
Businessman says they outline sanction-avoiding transactions

By Aaron Klein, © 2006 WorldNetDaily.com

JERUSALEM – An Israeli businessman who says he served as a broker in a multimillion-dollar Iraqi collection deal by the law firm of former Secretary of State James Baker now charges in a WND interview Baker’s firm tried to cover up the alleged transactions, concerned about exposure after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The deal was structured to bypass U.S. sanctions on Iraq, according to the middleman, Nir Gouaz, president of Caesar Global Securities in Israel.

Gouaz claimed Houston-based Baker Botts made about $30 million collecting funds owed to a South Korean company by the Iraqi government at the peak of American sanctions imposed against Baghdad.

He claimed Baker was directly involved in the deal. CONTINUE

Mexican Soldiers Freelancing for Drug Cartels on US Soil

Mexican Soldiers Freelancing for Drug Cartels on US Soil
By Kevin Mooney
CNSNews.com Staff Writer
December 21, 2006

(CNSNews.com) – Gun-toting members of the Mexican military are crossing regularly into U.S. territory, where they are partnering with drug cartels and criminal gangs to protect sophisticated smuggling operations, according to Texas sheriffs and lawmakers.

Some of the Mexican infiltrators are suspected to have been trained by the U.S. military.truck

U.S. Border Patrol agents and local law enforcement officials operating along the southwestern border have come under attack from the Mexican side in recent months, with automatic gunfire frequently erupting, Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas) told Cybercast News Service.

Mexican military units and drug cartels have access to weaponry and communications equipment far more advanced than resources made available to U.S. officials on the state and federal level, Culberson said.

“The U.S. Border Patrol is telling its agents to just lay low and report on what they see,” he said. “They are instructed to determine the size of the [Mexican military] unit, the number of personnel, the direction of travel.”

The U.S. ambassador to Mexico has sent diplomatic notes to the Mexican government complaining about incursions into U.S. territory by “individuals dressed in military uniforms,” according to a congressional report.

Culberson plans to meet with the Mexican ambassador to discuss border issues early in the new year.

More than 200 incursions by the Mexican military of the U.S. southern border have been documented since the late 1990s, Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) said in an interview.

“Our federal government denied it occurred until the Texas sheriffs took photos,” he said. “There is no nation in the world that would allow this invasion to occur except for the United States.”

Mexican military personnel have been observed crossing the Rio Grande into Hudspeth County, Texas, in an apparent effort to safeguard drug shipments.

On one occasion early this year, deputies in pursuit of suspected drug dealers encountered “heavily armed soldiers in a Humvee,” while trying to apprehend individuals driving “load vehicles” for drug shipments, Hudspeth Sheriff Arvin West told a congressional hearing subsequently.

Although some of the narcotics were seized, the deputies were forced to suspend their pursuit once the Mexican soldiers intervened, according to West’s testimony.drugs seized

Sheriffs in neighboring parts of Texas are also familiar with the techniques used to protect drug shipments in Hudspeth.

According to Sheriff Leo Samaniego of El Paso County, Mexican soldiers perform “flanking maneuvers,” forcing deputies into defensive positions.

“They are very involved in safeguarding these drug shipments,” he said of the Mexican troops.

Samaniego said he was in contact with farmers in the area who reported witnessing such incidents regularly.

Samaniego recalled another Mexican military incursion he said had taken place in Santa Teresa, N.M., located across the state line from El Paso. Mexican soldiers in two Humvees “chased after” a U.S. Border Patrol agent until backup arrived while another U.S. agent also came under gunfire, Samaniego told Cybercast News Serviceguns.

“Mexican officials gave the excuse that it was a new military unit that got lost and didn’t know it was in the U.S.,” he said. “But I find this hard to believe.”

‘Trained in the US’

Some of the Mexican soldiers collaborating with drug cartels were trained at one time at the School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Ga., said Sheriff Rick Flores of Webb County.

Although they were trained to combat “narco-terrorism” many such soldiers are ultimately lured by the fact they can make substantially more money working with the cartels, Flores said in an interview.

“We train people to fight bad elements and help restore order but they end up defecting,” he said. “Then we end up fighting them after we train them.”

The power and influence of the drug cartels is difficult to overstate, Flores contended. They are in control of almost “every type of business” in Mexico and boast almost unlimited resources.

Webb County has also experienced an influx of Mexican soldiers who appear to be working on behalf of the cartels and other criminals, Flores said.

“Our drug enforcement taskforce came across soldiers dressed in black clad uniforms near Highway 83. They were marching in cadence and pretty much scared the hell out of our people. They had fully automatic AK 47s wrapped around their arms and they were carrying duffle bags with their free arms. It was pretty freaky,” Flores said.

A report on security threats to the southwestern border, provided by the House Homeland Security Committee’s subcommittee on investigations, refers to a growing nexus between drug cartels, criminal gangs and Mexican military personnel.

Some of the gangs mentioned in the report include the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), the Mexican Mafia, and the Texas Syndicate.

Zapata County Sherriff Sigifredo Gonzalez told Cybercast News Service the cartels were equipped with a military grade arsenal and an intelligence network that poses a threat to American local and federal officials.

Cybercast News Service reported previously that some cartels have the ability to eavesdrop on U.S. law enforcement agencies’ communications.

Last July, deputies from Hidalgo – two counties away from Zapata – responded to an emergency call and found themselves targeted by “300 to 400 rounds of automatic gunfire from the Mexican side, for about 10 minutes,” Gonzalez reported.

With such incidents continuing along the border, the Zapata sheriff said in time there would inevitably be casualties on the U.S. side. In just the past few weeks, he added, U.S. National Guard members had come under fire in neighboring Starr County.

‘Cartels diversifying’

There are also signs the criminal gangs are becoming bolder.

Rick Glancey, the interim executive director of the Southwestern Border Sheriff’s Coalition, says drug cartels have diversified operations and are now smuggling both narcotics and humans.

According to the congressional committee report, the Texas-Mexico border includes 18 points of entry into the U.S. that are attractive to drug cartels and other criminal enterprises.

Further complicating security concerns, Gonzales pointed out that an extensive train system, with trains ranging from 90 to 160 cars, also travels from Guatemala, through Mexico and ending adjacent to the Texas border.

The train system enables the smuggling operations to access major interstate highways in Brownsville, McAllen, Laredo and El Paso that serve as a gateway into the U.S., providing cartels with enormous opportunities, Glancey said.

Currently, competing cartels are fighting for control of a highly prized corridor into the U.S. called “the plaza,” said Flores. He voiced concerns that inter-gang violence may spill over the U.S. side and threaten citizens in his jurisdiction and in other parts of Texas.

The Mexican Embassy in the U.S. this week declined an invitation to comment on allegations of Mexican soldiers’ presence in Texas. The embassy did make available a Mexican foreign ministry statement on the incident in Hudspeth County in early 2006.

It said the Mexican government concluded that the “uniforms, insignia, vehicles and arms” used by the individuals involved “do not correspond to those used by Mexican armed forces.”

The government contended that “no members of the Mexican army participated in the incident” and that the armed individuals were attached to a “drug trafficking organization.”

A Whole New War

A Whole New War
By John Podhoretz
New York Post | December 21, 2006

PRESIDENT Bush will take to the nation’s airwaves the first week in January with a speech announcing his new strategy in Iraq. His decision to delay the speech is, I suspect, a signal that his announcement will be dramatic – a second public declaration of war in Iraq. I think he wants to get all the machinery moving and all the pieces in place, at which point he can declare with a flourish that “Operation Victory” has begun. That could mean the “surge” being discussed in Washington – the commitment of up to 50,000 more U.S. troops to secure Baghdad.

Yet for all the focus on the numbers, the truth is that the surge is more about time. According to one of its chief designers, retired Army Gen. Jack Keane, the Baghdad operation will take six months at a minimum – and, assuming its success, will be followed by similar efforts to secure chaotic Anbar province.

Former Secretary of StateColin Powell, once the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Sunday that he didn’t see how a troop surge would make a difference because there was a minor surge in the summer of 2006 and it didn’t quiet down Baghdad.

This puts Powell on the same page with the man with whom he supposedly clashed on the war, Donald Rumsfeld – who made clear last week as he was leaving the Pentagon how skeptical he was of committing new troops to a “combat situation.”

Powell and Rumsfeld also agree on what tactics to use if we are to win the war in Iraq: training, training, training. Let’s train the Iraqis and get out by the middle of 2007. Powell calls it the “baton pass,” though he might have just used the word “escape” and been done with it.

The problem with Powell’s likening the current “surge” idea to last summer’s surge is that Keane designed the new plan as a counterweight to what happened six months ago.

As Keane said on Sunday, “We cleared out the insurgents and the Shia death squads from the areas but never committed ourselves to phase two of the operation, which is significant, and that is to put a 24/7 force in the neighborhoods to protect the people . . . [so that] they do not go back to their bases at night.”

The Keane plan (drafted with military thinker Fred Kagan) also includes a package of economic incentives to employ Iraqis and give them a specific reason to help the effort along – also ideas that are anathema to Rumsfeld, who wants Iraqis to “pull up their socks” so we can “pass the baton” to them, Powell style, just in time for a mass slaughter.

So Powell is wrong here. The Keane-Kagan plan is not just the same old same old. It’s a reversal of field. Very specifically, it’s a repudiation of the Rumsfeld concept for fighting in Iraq – which was to approach everything with a “light footprint,” lest we seem too heavy-handed and imperialistic.

This is a “heavy footprint.” If we do this, we will be saying we will engage and roust the enemy and then stay put for a while. Show our presence. Make it clear to the Iraqis that we’re not bugging out.

Ironically, it’s only with this kind of time that the “train, train, train” option becomes a viable security measure for Iraq’s future – because training takes time, too.

Can it work?

That may be the wrong question. The right question may be: Will America allow it to work?

When you use an army to “establish security,” you are not engaging a police force. You are assigning the task to highly armed men who aren’t trained as police officers. You are talking about sending soldiers door to door, block by block, neighborhood by neighborhood.

They’re going to shoot people. They’re going to blow up buildings, as they did in Fallujah.

They’re going to be engaged in firefights by insurgents, and they’re going to return fire. That will result in civilian casualties on the streets of Baghdad (or, as we saw in Lebanon last summer, in insurgent and militia casualties that we will be told falsely are civilian casualties).

What happens when these horrible tragedies of war occur? Will America’s leading centrists – the politicians, anchorpersons, editorialists, writers and speakers who haven’t quite given up on the mission in Iraq – discuss these events as part and parcel of an effort to save the people of Baghdad from chaos and carnage as we attempt to act decisively to win the war?

Or will they, instead, retreat in horror from the images on their TV sets and denounce the barbarous nature of the new U.S. mission? Will they see the battle for Baghdad as a heroic and dangerous task or as the new Abu Ghraib on a larger scale?

The toxic nature of the discussion on Iraq guarantees there will be Abu Ghraib-like talk from some quarters. If it becomes the dominant talking point, there’s no way we will be able to sustain the mission, for it will be derailed by war-crime accusations and congressional hearings.

I’m trying to find a way to conclude these thoughts on a hopeful note.

And . . . nope. Sorry.

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The KGB’s Useful Idiots

The KGB’s Useful Idiots
By Paul Kengor
FrontPageMagazine.com | December 21, 2006

I was recently the subject of a FrontPage Interview on a revelation in my book on Ronald Reagan and the fall of Communism, in which I feature a May 1983 KGB memo concerning an offer from Senator Ted Kennedy to Yuri Andropov. In response, I received several e-mails calling Kennedy a useful idiot – or worse.

In fact, there are numerous examples of leftists unwittingly serving the Soviet cause in the 1980s, which today sit in Communist government and media archives, some of which have been translated and are easily accessible in the United States. There they gather dust, as liberal historians and journalists ignore them, failing to do their jobs, never reporting the real history that exists.

I would like to here cite just two examples from 1983, one of the hottest years in the Cold War: Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) and his decision to invade Grenada.

SDI

On March 23, 1983, Reagan announced SDI. “My fellow Americans, tonight we’re launching an effort which holds the promise of changing the course of human history,” he declared in a nationally televised address. He announced his vision for a space-based missile-defense system—his “dream.” “With every ounce of my being,” he said later, “I pray the day will come when nuclear weapons no longer exist anywhere on Earth.” Reagan hoped SDI might one day “render nuclear weapons obsolete.” He also came to see it as an extraordinary weapon to help bankrupt the USSR.

Coming only two weeks after the Evil Empire speech and amid his push to place intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Western Europe, Reagan’s remarks left Moscow shell-shocked. SDI terrified the Soviets. It became an obsession to Mikhail Gorbachev, who spent entire summit sessions doing nothing but hysterically protesting SDI, begging Reagan not to go forward.

Leftists, however, had other plans. They dubbed the initiative “Star Wars,” a term popularized by Senator Ted Kennedy, who the morning after Reagan’s speech assailed the president’s “misleading Red-scare tactics and reckless Star Wars schemes.”

Kennedy had started something. “Star Wars” became a vehicle to lampoon SDI. In the 1980s, the Left caricatured Reagan as a dawdling, nostalgic ex-actor who lazily wasted his time watching movies, losing himself in a world of fantasy. Surely, suggested the ridiculers, the old fool must have gotten the idea for SDI from the movie “Star Wars,” envisioning himself as a kind of presidential Luke Skywalker combating the forces of darkness. As an amazing New York Times news story put it a week after the speech, SDI was “Mr. Reagan’s answer to the film ‘Star Wars.’”

If Kennedy had hoped to discredit the concept, he was making strides. His “Star Wars” term became extremely damaging, especially once the partisan press ran with it.

The media embrace of the term was evident in an exchange between Reagan and White House correspondent Helen Thomas:

Thomas: Mr. President, if you are flexible, are you willing to trade off research on “Star Wars”…or are you against any negotiations on “Star Wars”?

Reagan: Well, let me say, what has been called “Star Wars”—and, Helen, I wish whoever coined that expression would take it back again—

Thomas: Well, Strategic Defense—

Reagan: —because it gives a false impression of what it is we’re talking about.

Immediately after Reagan’s plea, Thomas continued: “May I ask you, then, if ‘Star Wars’—even if you don’t like the term, it’s quite popular….”

The term was popular because reporters used it. Reagan’s request was reasonable: the program’s name was the Strategic Defense Initiative. Objective reporters ought to be expected to use its proper name, not the name of derision invented by partisan detractors.

Reagan rightly feared that “Star Wars” suggested that he desired not a defensive system but an offensive war in space. It conjured “an image of destruction,” he said, when, in fact, “I’m talking about a weapon, non-nuclear…[that] only destroys other weapons, doesn’t kill people.” Always kinder than his critics, Reagan charitably allowed that the media probably did not envision such a deleterious effect, instead using “Star Wars” merely “to denigrate the whole idea.” Privately, he told one friend that he “bristle[d]” each time the media used the label and complained to two others that the term was “never mine” but the media’s, “and now they saddle me with it.”

They sure did. In Moscow, the Communist media loved Kennedy’s term. To say that the Soviets likewise embraced “Star Wars” is inadequate; they used the label in every story on SDI. In fact, Soviet reporters rarely used the words Strategic Defense Initiative or the acronym, as they possessed more sinister motives: Significantly, whereas American journalists typed “Star Wars” in upper case to ridicule the idea as movie fiction, the Communists placed it in lower case to suggest SDI sought war amid the stars—“preparations for ‘star wars,’” as the Moscow International Service, Pravda, Izvestia, and all other Soviet media put it. The Kremlin seized the term to further portray Reagan as a nuclear warmonger—an image that another set of dupes in the West, the nuclear freeze movement, reinforced.

When Reagan tried to clarify his intentions and defend himself, the Soviets corrected him by citing American leftists. For instance, speaking on the vile “Studio 9,” the leading news program in the USSR, propagandist Valentin Zorin, the KGB’s Vitaly Kobysh, and academic Yevgeny Velikhov hammered Reagan’s alleged “plans” “to fill the space around the entire planet with battle stations.” “Only in his speech of 23 March 1983 did he formulate his idea, which became known as ‘star wars,’” explained Kobysh to the captive audience. This name, said Kobysh, was “very irritating” because of what it (allegedly) advocated. One group not fooled by Reagan, however, were left-wing Democrats at home: “U.S. politicians,” said Kobysh, “call it [SDI] the greatest deception of our time.”

The Moscow Domestic Service was particularly grateful to politicians like Senator Kennedy and the American media for “properly” labeling SDI:

They christened it [“star wars”] with full justification, since this initiative envisages deploying strike weapons systems in space aimed at targets not only in earth orbit, but also on the ground. All the while, the White House has convinced itself that they have been misunderstood, that they have goodwill toward all mankind…[The White House believes that] certain forces, it seems, have distorted the essence of the Strategic Defense Initiative by labeling it the “star wars” program…However, Washington is resorting to mediocre verbal balancing acts in vain. There is nothing defensive about it.

Reagan was left alone to deal with the consequences of how SDI was mislabeled and misreported. In one interview with hostile Soviet reporters, he protested: “We’re not talking about star wars at all! We’re talking about seeing if there isn’t a defensive weapon that does not kill people.” The Soviet reporters were incredulous; after all, they had gotten the term from Reagan’s own media, which, the Soviets naturally surmised, was certainly more objective on the matter than Reagan.

SDI was just one example of leftists unknowingly pumping the Bolshevik propaganda machine. Another case in point came a few months later, in October.

Grenada

On October 19, 1983, a Marxist group inside Grenada murdered Prime Minister Maurice Bishop. A violent military council trained by Cuba put itself in charge, jailed and killed Bishop supporters, enacted martial law, and imposed a shoot-on-sight, 24-hour curfew. These edicts threatened not only citizens but also the roughly 1,000 Americans present, most of which were students at the St. George’s School of Medicine.

Reagan decided that this Communist advance would not be tolerated in the Western Hemisphere on his watch. Prior to Reagan, from 1974-79, under Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter, the Soviets acquired 11 satellite or proxy states around the world. Reagan was committed to not “ceding one inch” of ground to Moscow.

On October 25, 1983, 5,000 U.S. troops charged the shores of Grenada in the largest U.S. military operation since Vietnam. There were remarkably few casualties, particularly when measured against what Americans had been tragically accustomed to only eight years earlier. Only 19 soldiers died. By comparison, the United States lost 58,000 dead to the Vietnam experience. The commander of the task force in Grenada, Vice Admiral Joseph Metcalf III, boasted: “We blew them away.”

U.S. troops found an enormous cache of weapons, armored vehicles, and military patrol boats, and engaged 800 Cuban soldiers. Only 30 hours after the start of the “rescue mission” (as Reagan called it), the first evacuated medical student to debark the airplane dropped to his knees and kissed the tarmac as he touched the soil of Charleston, South Carolina. The student’s gesture brought a lump to the throat and tear to the eye of many Americans, including President Reagan. It was the sort of smiling military triumph that had become unfamiliar to Americans of the Desert One generation.

While Americans supported the attack, it was quickly denounced by the international community – even by Reagan’s pal, Margaret Thatcher. The vote at the UN Security Council was 11-to-1 against the United States, while the General Assembly vote was a staggering 108 to 9, with America joined only by El Salvador, Israel, and (tellingly) the six Caribbean neighbors that requested U.S. assistance in the first place.

Still, Reagan succeeded in Grenada, a reality that nauseated the USSR. The Kremlin knew that Reagan’s run for a second presidential term was only a year away. Moscow hoped upon hope that Reagan would lose. To the Soviets, the win in Grenada was bad news, not only because it stemmed Communism’s advance, but because it boosted Reagan politically.

The Soviets searched for an angle to criticize the operation. The American Left provided one: Future Clinton administration Secretary of State Madeleine Albright dismissively likened the operation to a football game pitting an NFL team against “The Little Sisters of the Poor.” Her words were mimicked by a future Democratic presidential candidate from Massachusetts named John F. Kerry, who said the invasion was like “Boston College playing football against the Sisters of the Mercy.” Senator Kerry called Grenada “a bully’s show of force.” The sarcasm of Kerry and Albright was mild compared to Democratic Party voices like former Vice President Walter Mondale, Jesse Jackson, Senator Pat Leahy, and the editorial pages of The New York Times.

This form of criticism was as disturbing as it was baffling: The Grenada operation was not simple, as is true for any military operation—a fact painfully obvious to those of the Vietnam generation, like Madeleine Albright and John Kerry. Recent U.S. interventions had become easy fiascoes. Would critics have preferred that Grenada not have seemed easy?

No matter, liberals had their spin, and so did Moscow: This line became a talking point for the Communists. TASS, the official Soviet news agency, decried how “the master of the White House” had “strived to convince his compatriots that they ‘can be proud’ of that operation.” What was there to be proud of? America, exclaimed TASS, had flung a “mighty naval armada” and thousands of Marines at a “tiny island state” that did nothing wrong.

Like the American Left, a popular tactic on the Soviet side was to downplay the U.S. action as a petty operation by a bully, directed at a tiny, and thereby unimportant, country—a line that contradicted Moscow’s obsessive attention. To buttress this viewpoint, the Soviets again borrowed from American leftists. To cite just one example, TASS devoted an entire statement to an article by Washington Post associate editor Robert Kaiser, titled, “Is This a Foreign Policy or a Recipe for Disaster?” Kaiser’s 3,000-word op-ed in the Sunday “Outlook” section excoriated Reagan policy: “History?” Kaiser begged. “It has no apparent place in Ronald Reagan’s view of the world, except for the caricatured version he has carried around in his head for years.”

The Soviets adored the piece. TASS seized it, quoting it liberally and circulating it around the Communist world, effectively turning the article into a Communist press release.

Nonetheless, the Soviets were frustrated to find that most Americans supported the operation. The odious Valentin Zorin, who, echoing the New York Times’s Anthony Lewis, judged Reagan a “blockhead” who “does not care to think,” deduced that Americans were “the most misinformed people on earth.” He reluctantly conceded that “a considerable number of Americans applauded Reagan” for his actions in Grenada.

Try as they might, the Soviets could not curb the operation’s boost to U.S. morale.

Perhaps left-wingers ignore this information today because doing so enables them to recast history in their own image, to draw up their favorite politicians as onetime Cold Warriors who helped defeat the Soviet empire. Indeed, on Grenada, as the Boston Globe noted during the 2004 election campaign, John Kerry has today changed his tune: “Campaigning now for president,” reported the Globe. “Kerry is rewriting that history…Kerry often lists Grenada among the U.S. military incursions he says he has supported.” Kerry now says of the invasion, with a straight face: “I never publicly opposed it.”

This laughable revisionism seems contagious among Massachusetts senators in particular: In response to the report in my book on the KGB memo, Ted Kennedy’s office maintains, “Senator Kennedy was a strong opponent of Star Wars, but had a constructive relationship with President Reagan on the Soviet Union.” Not exactly. (As their response demonstrates, even now, Kennedy and his staff still use the term “Star Wars,” naïve to the damage it once caused.)

Today, leftists try to claim that they, too, were Cold Warriors. That, however, is a fictional rewriting of history – which, of course, would not be the first time.

 With the leadership, ingenuity, and courage of the Reagan administration, we managed to win the Cold War in the 1980s, and did so in spite of the American Left.

Paul G. Kengor, Ph.D., is the author of the New York Times Extended List bestsellers God and Ronald Reagan and God and George W. Bush. He is a professor of political science and director of the Center for Vision and Values at Grove City
College. He is the author of the new book The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism.

Ahmadinejad’s opponents win local elections in Iran

Ahmadinejad’s opponents win local elections in Iran

Tehran, Dec 21. (AP): Final results today showed that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s opponents have won the elections for local councils in Iran, an embarrassing blow to the hard-line leader.

Moderate conservatives opposed to Ahmadinejad won a majority of the seats followed by reformists who were suppressed by hard-liners in 2004, according to final results from Friday’s local elections announced by the Interior Ministry.

The vote is widely seen as a sign of public discontent with Ahmadinejad’s hard-line stances, which have fueled fights with the West and led Iran closer to UN sanctions.

Ahmadinejad’s anti-Israel rhetoric and staunch stand on Iran’s disputed nuclear programme are believed to have divided the conservatives who voted him into power last year.

Some conservatives feel Ahmadinejad has spent too much time confronting the United States and its allies and failed to deal with Iran’s struggling economy.

The voting also represented a partial comeback for reformists, who favour closer ties with the West and further loosening of social and political restrictions under the Islamic Government.

In Tehran, the Capital, candidates supporting Mayor Mohammed Bagher Qalibaf, a moderate conservative, won seven of the 15 council seats.

Reformists won four, while Ahmadinejad’s allies won three. The last seat went to wrestling champion Ali Reza Dabir, who won a gold medal in the 2000 Sydney Olympics and is considered an independent.

Final results for the rest of the country also showed a heavy defeat for Ahmadinejad supporters, and analysts said his allies won less than 20 per cent of local council seats nationwide.