Bush: It’s Naïve to Believe There is No War on Terror

Bush: It’s Naïve to Believe There is No War on Terror
By Randy Hall
CNSNews.com Staff Writer/Editor
May 24, 2007

(CNSNews.com) – Responding to criticism that the conflict in Iraq is merely a civil war in a foreign country, President Bush said during a news conference at the White House on Thursday that “this notion that this isn’t a war on terror is, in my view, naïve.”

Bush made the comment one day after 2008 Democratic presidential candidate and former U.S. Sen. John Edwards dismissed the U.S.-led war on terrorism as “a bumper sticker, not a plan.”

Speaking in the White House Rose Garden, the president also stated that the upcoming summer months will be a critical time for his troop “surge” in Iraq. He indicated that the last five brigades making up the 30,000-troop buildup should arrive in Baghdad by mid-June.

“We are going to expect heavy fighting in the next weeks and months, and we can expect American and Iraqi casualties,” Bush said. “We will stay on the offense,” he added, repeating what has become for him a consistent refrain: “It’s better to fight them there than to fight them here.”

Asked how long he could sustain the policy without achieving significant progress on the ground, Bush noted that the U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, is due to report back on the effects of the new strategy by September.

In response to a reporter’s question regarding making a choice between fighting al Qaeda and the war in Iraq, the president replied that “we are fighting al Qaeda … in Iraq.”

Bush also said that “the Iraqi government needs to show real progress in return for America’s continued support and sacrifice. It’s going to be hard work for this young government,” he added.

The president called the news conference as the House prepared to vote on $120 billion legislation that would fund the war in Iraq through September. The bill significantly does not incorporate a timetable to withdraw U.S. troops, the Democratic leaders in Congress having failed to push through earlier legislation including such a provision.

The Senate is also expected to vote on the measure on Thursday, and Congress will likely send the bill to the president for his signature over the upcoming Memorial Day weekend.

Another topic addressed during Thursday’s event was Iran, which has continued to build a nuclear energy program despite calls from the U.S. and other world powers to halt the process – a suspected front to develop nuclear weapons capability.

“Unacceptable” was how Bush categorized Iran’s nuclear enrichment program. “Iran, with a nuclear weapon, would be incredibly destabilizing for the world,” he said.

“The world has spoken and has said no nuclear weapons programs. Yet they’re constantly ignoring the demands,” Bush said.

To respond to the problem, the president said, “we need to strengthen our sanctions.” Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will work with European partners “collaboratively to continue to isolate that regime,” he added.

Iran has stepped up the tensions with the U.S. by detaining American citizens, including Iranian-American scholar Haleh Esfandiari, arrested during a visit to Iran to see her ailing 93-year-old mother.

“Obviously, to the extent that these people are picking up innocent Americans, it’s unacceptable,” Bush said. “And we’ve made it very clear to the Iranian government that the detention of good, decent American souls … is not acceptable behavior.”

The president also discussed immigration reform, calling it “a complex issue” that would be addressed by the compromise the Senate worked out earlier this week.

“It’s a difficult piece of legislation, and those who are looking to find fault with this bill will always be able to find something,” he said. “But if you’re serious about securing our borders and bringing millions of illegal immigrants in this country out of the shadows, this bipartisan bill is the best opportunity to move forward.”

According to supporters, the legislation would tighten the borders and toughen standards for businesses hiring immigrants in an effort to make sure the employees are legal residents.

One controversial portion of the measure would create a merit-based system for future immigrants. Officials would assign more points to those with higher skills and prioritize employment over family ties.

Finally, Bush restated his confidence in embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. The president said that the Justice Department is involved in “an exhaustive investigation” into issues such as whether politics played an improper role in decisions at the Justice Department. “And if there’s wrongdoing, it will be taken of,” he said.

The president criticized Congress’ multiple hearings into the matter, which he suspected was being dragged out “for political reasons.”

“As I mentioned the other day, it’s grand political theater,” Bush said of the dispute.

Bush asked Congress to “move expeditiously to finish their hearings and get on to the business of passing legislation.”

digg_skin = ‘compact’

McCain Sides with Dems on Global Warming — McCain has lost it

McCain Sides with Dems on Global Warming
CNS News
A panel discussion on global climate change Tuesday found Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) staff agreeing with representatives for the leading Democratic presidential contenders. A cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions, they agreed, is the most promising solution to “global warming.” A cap and trade system would involve limits or caps (lower than current levels) on the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions produced by polluters like power plants. But companies able to cut their CO2 output at a low cost would be able to sell their left-over pollution permits to companies facing higher costs. John Raidt, a policy advisor to McCain, said during a discussion at the left-leaning Brookings Institution that the Arizona Republican is a “foremost proponent of carbon cap-and-trade.” Raidt said McCain supports a cap-and-trade system above taxes on carbon emissions because “cap-and-trade is a market-driven, proven way.” The position put McCain in league with leading Democratic contenders – Sen. Hillary Clinton (NY), Sen. Barack Obama (IL) and former Sen. John Edwards (NC) – whose policy advisors also participated in the discussion. Representatives for the three Democrats said they all support a carbon cap-and-trade system

John Edwards Today: There Is No War On Terror

John Edwards Today: There Is No War On Terror

( or, “There Can Be No War On Terror, Because Such A War Is Bad Politics For Leftists” )

edwardscompact.jpg

This Is Mind Control To Major Tom

Posted by Pat Dollard 0 Comments

Hamas Transcends Old PLO Position

Hamas Transcends Old PLO Position

Overlooked by mainstream media: Islamist Hamas has transcended the old PLO in its opposition to Israel.

Whereas the secular, nationalist PLO was officially committed to Israel’s destruction and replacement of the Jewish state in Palestine with a state that would allow individual Jews–on paper, at least–to reside as citizens within its borders, Hamas defiantly declares that it will not rest until “the last Jew is expelled from Palestine.” Hamas is fighting a religious war.

The group’s rhetoric is significant, though the media will not address the matter. Meanwhile, the pro-Islamist Chamberlains and Quislings crusading for Western appeasement and capitulation will do their best to distort and disinform in order to help Hamas achieve its awful aims.

So it goes.

Are Bloggers Creating the Crisis or Just Reporting It Uncensored?

Are Bloggers Creating the Crisis or Just Reporting It Uncensored?

Created 2007-05-24 07:04

In part our time’s story is determined by what we think. Much of what we perceive of our reality is determined by who the writers that make public opinion are. Related to this is the nature of the source in which the makers of opinion can be accessed. Both factors hinge on what is officially graded as respectable. The extent to which unfiltered facts are accepted as starting points for interpretation depends on whether their source is rated as main stream or is rejected because the media establishment denies it official status.

The issue then is not always whether the reported fact from which interpretations are extrapolated, checks out as accurate. Nor does it count if the extrapolation from this data is within the boundaries of reason. Often the decisive question can become whether the fact fits the official consensus. Thus the issue is whether the material integrates into what is proclaimed to be legitimate that is, whether it fits the concept drawn erected prior to the event. (This mentality gave rise to a pun. “The new thesis explains reality, however, the real question is whether it fits the theory.”)

Another aspect of acceptance pertains to “who says it.” 2×2 equals a “whatever” and that amount is flexible as it often depends on who the respondent might be. This makes “four” independent of math. The approval or rejection of the answer often considers the status assigned to the respondent by those who determine what, considering the “complex social situation of the respondents”, the desirable solution should be.

Consequently, the proclaimed truth is not singularly a consequence of confirmable facts and their interpretation by some rule of logic. Much rather, true is what corresponds to the postulated consensus seized up by those who are “licensed” to determine it. The follow up is the allegation’s reproduction by “legitimate” publications and their oracles. Therefore credibility depends on who says it and where it was said.

Since the dawn of the age of democracy, what folks think has crucial importance. Admittedly, majority rule has not brought about the hoped for rule by pure reason. Why? Oddly enough, until a crisis hits, majorities can remain unaware of the issues that determine their existence. In the crucial questions pluralities react but fail to act preventively because a limited span of attention bolstered by wishful thinking hinders the assessment of middle- and long tem implications. Therefore the ability to influence in the present the common man who lacks a past and a future is, especially in the age of hedonism, of growing importance.

In influencing the public, the media plays a crucial role as it determines, by exploiting the missing perspective of its customers, what is news and how it shall be interpreted. This ability to grade and therefore to censure news goes beyond what open editorializing does. What is not reported did not happen, while what is told repeatedly can become a value-wrapped truth. This being the case, the control of the channels that lead from the reporter to the analyst and from there to the public attains significance. Under terms that prevailed till recently, “the news fit to print” was often what suited the world view of the media insiders. Those who adjusted had access – and jobs as well as a name – while those whose presentations did not fit the mold were silenced by being kept outsiders. (Admittedly, many who would like to publish lack talent. Their case is not at issue here.)

Therefore, much that is important is not heard of precisely because it is of significance. Not infrequently, the real story is not the event but what is done to it before it becomes the news you see, that amounts to the real story. While this is still often the case, the situation is changing.

Thanks to the internet which could be called “the mass’ voice,” the standard news sources are becoming subject to effective scrutiny. Situations occur in which a falsehood, that in older days would have prevailed, get unmasked and the official media colporting it has to retreat. (One case: Bush’ falsified military record that, without the instant prounce of bloggers, would have decided an election.)

In the light of the foregoing it is understandable that the competition impacting on the power inherent in influence and its perks can jolt the traditional media as a stiff upper lip does not make the challenge go away. This provocation demands an active response. Much being at stake, a piece about “The Bloggers of Confrontation” in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (May 4) deserves to be partially reproduced here. The more so since the paper is one of the world’s best and is regarded, also by this writer, as objective and also as conservative.

The piece continues with a follow up punch with the subtitle “internet diaries against ‘the creeping islamization of Europe’.” The introduction asserts that the Bloggers have “declared war on Islam”.

Since the crisis of the Mohammed caricatures the minutemen of journalism fight Europe’s “stealthy islamization”. In doing so they disseminate a mixture of “alarmist and ridiculous” appeals calling on the public to resist the new Moslem conquest, while they urge Europe to hold on to its own values. Representative of these combat bloggers’ approach are the exploitation of topics such as that ham sandwich for which a pupil got disciplined, that a critical journalist in Canada was clobbered and that Australian convicts convert to Islam.

The persons who claim that “Muslims” and “Islam” conspire against open societies are, by and large “unknowns” in the world of journalism. According to these bloggers the attack to be fended off takes place on all levels. The, by implication hysterical, examples of the perceived assault involve everyday life, the attacks on the foundations of (democratic) constitutions and the sinews of the host community’s social order. The bugle-call feeds on Moslem-inspired rules and efforts that enable the minority to curtail the rights of the majority. Emphasis is given to odd cases, such as that of Islamic taxi drivers in Minneapolis that refused to transport the “unclean” guide-dogs of blind passengers. Instances, when the belligerent bloggers can assert that, in the name of multi-cultural correctness and due to cowardice, businesses and governments submit to Muslim rules, are exploited. Recently added topics are attacks on Jews and gays.

Such portrayals, they are rated as being devoid of nuance, are said to resemble the modus operandi of “antifascist denunciations.” Not the “lunatic fringe” is condemned by the bloggers in pajamas but the entire movement. “Thus every Moslem is reduced to a single identity that makes him into a threat” by being a follower of a “‘pedophile mass murderer’” and a person that endorses mutilation and stoning. Indeed, much of what the bloggers post is unappetizing, loaded with resentment and unsuited to support their claim of juxtaposing the truth to the regular press’ conspiracy of silence.

Limited by the tunnel vision of “zealots”, these fighters of the war of cultures peruse websites posted by the legitimate press while they also scrutinize the local sections of the papers whereby a “one-sided” selection can be made. Their efforts aim to penetrate the boundaries by which dailies separate significant occurrences from the less important ones. This way, a notice in a provincial Bavarian paper about Turks harassing a Catholic procession can become a globally noted event.

Even so, the piece, while rejecting the bloggers’ topic, does not call all websites pools of unmitigated prejudice. Readers desiring a “more differentiated” and “reliable” view of current events, are referred to a site maintained by a German state organ for political education.In conclusion, the piece recommends not to dismiss the “provocations of the nasty blogs”. Their popularity reflects resistance against a prevailing inclination to mix inappropriately “lecturing and information” by the proper media. The blending-out of the vicissitudes of multicultural living and the general silence regarding the ethnic-religious background of criminals are errors that aid the bloggers. An equally costly mistake is the kind of heavy handed propaganda that loudly and uncritically praises the virtues of foreign cultures and customs. Such approaches are suited to provoke in a significant segment of the public the suspicion of manipulation. This perception is stridently confirmed by the kind of bloggers the essay intended to expose.

This tempted author refrained from interrupting the shortened article by his own comments. The issues raised here deserve that the task of thinking the matter through be left to the perceptive reader. Most likely, these reactions will display all the colors of the rainbow. No wonder, since the paraphrased author – who is a good publicist – has points to make. Admittedly, a certain number of the general detractors of Islam resemble – at least in some of their thinking – the mirror image of the Jihadists. After all, the legitimate objection is not to Islam as a religion but to the politics of violence pursued in its name. On the other hand, the writer does not try to refute the authenticity of the news Islamists create on their home turf and when guest outside of their native area. One is led to suspect that what provokes the ire exhibited here is not the doubt concerning the genuineness of the events on which the blogs’ dwell. His ire seem to rise because the wrong publications and people handle a subject without politely muting the facts with a restraint that perseveres in the pursuit of compromise. Still, “tone it down” and “overlook it” has, whenever a party made the price of “peace” the other’s right to exist, not served well its advocates in the past century.

Perhaps the blame for radicalization (self-defense to some) should not be put on those noticing, reporting and countering extreme behavior directed against them. Possibly, the credit for raising political temperatures should be given to those who, through their comportment, create the unpleasant news that are beyond the pale. Meanwhile it seems that, regardless of the alleged lack of balance, the blog and the blogger is here to stay and is likely to thrive. Not being subject of pre-publication self-censorship by PC and enjoying the independence to ignore taboos, create conditions that support the forecast. One day, private citizens who care for a free press that brings results, will begin to fund quality blogs. With that blogging will cease to be a personal sacrifice and the role of this informal and “private” press that serves by paralleling the “official” media, will be reinforced. Anyhow, like it or not, the blog is unlikely to “go away” very soon.


Source URL:
http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/2147

The Changing Face Of War

The Changing Face Of War

Created 2007-05-24 12:34

Mankind has known wars as far back as historical memory can take us, and this is unlikely to change in the future.   But the preponderant nature of war has been changing over the past half century, from international wars between states to civil wars within states.   There has been no open warfare among major powers since World War II, perhaps the longest period of such ‘peace’ since the emergence of modern states in the 17th century, although warfare on a smaller scale between some nations continues infrequently.  There are many plausible reasons for this development, e.g. such as technological changes and the declining importance of agriculture (territory) for wealth creation.   In short, the perception has grown that the real costs of war have risen while the potential benefits have declined, although one should not make the mistake of assuming that armed conflict between nuclear-armed states is universally understood to be suicidal.    With regard to war, what matters today is not so much the absence of genuine world government (an impossibility given the lack of commonality of values in the world), but rather the presence of conditions promoting civil wars in perhaps half of the world’s countries.  It is often claimed that we live in a world of international anarchy and domestic order.  But, in reality, the reverse is true.  We have an international order (of sorts) and domestic anarchy in numerous countries.

Causes of civil war
 
The causes of civil war are as diverse as mankind.   But they usually involve intense grievances by a large segment of the population, a belief in a ‘right’ to revolt, and a belief that improvement can be obtained through violence.    Many developing countries lack a sense of national community (a problem that might increasingly afflict ‘multicultural’ developed countries as well).  Poverty is not in itself a cause of civil war or internal conflict.  But, as most poverty is usually caused by corruption and incompetence of political regimes, it is the lack of ‘legitimacy’ and weakness of government (common in the developing world) that must be considered a major root cause.   Some states once considered as ‘developed’ have known extensive civil conflict in recent times (e.g. Russia and Yugoslavia), and others once considered underdeveloped now face little prospect of civil war (e.g. Taiwan, South Korea, Brazil, etc…).  Thus, it would be a mistake to think that any state is totally immune to civil conflict and that conditions cannot change fairly rapidly over time. 

There are obviously many types of civil war.  For instance, distinctions could be made on the basis of ethnic, religious and nonreligious ideological civil conflicts, on the scale of particular conflicts, on the extent of external involvement, etc….Often the concepts of civil war and of civil strife are difficult to disentangle when considering phenomena as diverse as revolutions, terrorism, insurrections, secession movements, coups, large-scale riots, etc… 


Distinctive characteristics
  

When comparing civil wars with more ‘traditional’ international (or inter-state) wars, two distinctive features stand out.

  • First, civil wars tend to last much longer than wars between countries, particularly when the opposing forces are fairly evenly matched.   Nations at war can often pull their troops behind some ‘border’ after a peace accord is reached.  If the agreement gets broken in some way, the conflict will likely resume.  This is surely unpleasant but not necessarily fatal to the ‘weaker side’.   By contrast, opponents in civil wars usually have to lay down arms before a peace accord can be reached.  Once they do they must trust the ‘new’ government to protect them, and that government will tend to be dominated by the stronger side.   The weaker side may find itself with no recourse if the erstwhile enemy breaks the agreement.   In other words, getting ‘fooled’ in a civil war can be fatal. 
  • Second, wars between nations typically end in negotiated settlements.   By contrast, most civil wars do not, one side eventually takes all the spoils, and the conflict will keep flaring up.   For civil wars to end peacefully often a third party is involved that can enforce the terms of a settlement (with deeds, not just words!).   Also, successful civil war brokers will usually be aligned with the weaker side (which has the most to lose by laying down arms).  

Since the end of the Cold War, an increasing number of countries appears in danger of sliding into serous civil conflict or civil war.   Forces conducive to peace between states – like nuclear deterrence for instance – do not apply to internal peace, and general conditions conducive to civil conflicts may be worsening.  Liberal global (or internationalist) norms can certainly inhibit wars between some countries, but have proven ineffectual to stop internal wars.   When Saddam Hussein gassed large numbers of Iraki Kurds in 1998, the ‘international community’ barely yawned.   But when he invaded Kuweit two years later, the world gave it much more attention, even though vastly fewer people died, etc…  
 Implications and Concerns

In the world of today, free and democratic nations may have more to fear from state weaknesses than from state strengths elsewhere.   Among the many dangers that could emanate from civil conflict in some parts of the world, by far the greatest one is weapons of mass destruction (WMD, radiological, biological, and chemical) falling in the ‘wrong hands’.   The main implication should be obvious: deterrence will only hold between ‘responsible states’.   Conditions of civil disorder and strife raise serious questions about the probability of nuclear accidents, about failing military command and control systems, unauthorized launches, difficulty of identification of sources of attacks, etc… When governments lose control (even partially) over WMD – or worse, consciously choose to do so – the probability of them being used will rise astronomically.     And, the thought of ‘apocalyptic’ terrorist groups getting their hands on such weapons of mass destruction should – but does it today in the West? – concentrate all serious minds.

If deterrence only holds between ‘responsible’ governments, then practical ways must be found to ensure that all governments are indeed ‘responsible’ and thus the internal conditions of countries cannot be ignored.   The UN has moved some ways in recent years with a formal recognition of a “duty to protect” (which has broken the previous taboo of state sovereignty).  But words are cheap, and several major veto-wielding Security Council players are obviously not yet ready to behave ‘responsibly’ as witnessed by, for example, the continuing obfuscation with regard to the Iranian nuclear program, or non-action with regard to the Sudan. 

Civil wars can also be threatening to outsiders in a number of other (mainly economic) respects, such as energy provision, tourism and travel, drugs and crime, etc… But these pale in comparison with the WMD issue. 

Perhaps the greatest threat today emanates from civil unrest in Pakistan, which now possesses a sizable number of nuclear weapons (over 50) and the infrastructure to make more.   Without going into the details of the horrendous internal conditions of that country (with its multiple insurgencies), it is worth noting that never in the history of Pakistan has an elected government been succeeded by another elected one.  And Pakistan is the only nuclear-armed state today ever to have experienced a successful coup.   One must hope that responsible European governments will be willing to take the necessary actions to prevent a second ‘Pakistan’ emerging in Iran.  Only dramatic economic sanctions can be a serious substitute for military action if a nuclear theocracy there is to be avoided.

Also, the prospects for civil unrest in Saudi Arabia, and even China in the medium term, should not be ignored.   Those are somewhat more distant, but also very serious threats.  Disaster-management teams better get to work now, or we will all be very sorry.          
 


Source URL:
http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/2148

Amnesty International unhinged

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