Election ’08 Backgrounder

  

Financial Crisis | Iraq | Defense | Background & Character | Judges & Courts | Energy

 

FINANCIAL CRISIS

Quick Facts:

  • Democrats created the mortgage crisis by forcing banks to give loans to people who couldn’t afford them.
  • In 2006, McCain sponsored a bill to fix the problems with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  Barney Frank and other Democrats successfully opposed it.
  • Obama was one of the highest recipients of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac donations in Congress.

Related Editorials

 

IRAQ


Quick Facts:

  • When the U.S. was on the verge of losing in Iraq, McCain chose to stand and fight.  Obama chose retreat.
  • Even after the surge succeeded, Obama told ABC’s Terry Moran he would still oppose it if he had the chance to do it all over again.

Related Editorials

 

DEFENSE

Quick Facts:

  • Obama has promised to significantly cut defense spending, including saying “I will slow our development of future combat systems.”
  • John McCain has vowed: “We must continue to deploy a safe and reliable nuclear deterrent, robust missile defenses and superior conventional forces that are capable of defending the United States and our allies.”

Related Editorials

Obama Video: Watch Now

 

 

BACKGROUND & CHARACTER

Quick Facts:

  • Obama voted “present” 135 times as a state senator, and according to David Ignatius of the Washington Post, “gained a reputation for skipping tough votes.”
  • McCain has taken stances unpopular with his own party and/or the public on controversial issues, including immigration, campaign finance reform, judicial nominations, the Iraq War and more.

Related Editorials

 

 

JUDGES & COURTS


Quick Facts:

  • In a 2001 interview, Obama said he regretted that the Supreme Court “didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution.”
  • In the same interview, Obama criticized the Supreme Court because it “never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society.”
  • Obama has focused on empathy, rather than legal reasoning and restraint, as his basis for appointing judges, saying, “We need somebody who’s got the heart, the empathy…to understand what it’s like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old.”
  • McCain opposes judicial activism, saying, “my nominees will understand that there are clear limits to the scope of judicial power.”

Related Editorials

Obama 2001 Interview: Listen Now

 

ENERGY


Quick Facts:

  • McCain has proposed building 45 new nuclear plants by 2030 and is in favor of drilling in sectors of the Outer Continental Shelf.
  • Obama has refused to take a stand, saying only “we should explore nuclear power as part of the energy mix” and he will “look at” drilling offshore.

Related Editorials

»
McCain: The Energy Candidate

» McCain On Nukes: Yes We Can
» Breaking The Back Of High Oil

 

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Iranians Can’t Stop Mullahs’ Nuclear Plans

Why The Democrats are Ducking Fox News

Why The Democrats are Ducking Fox News

Rick Moran
If there was any question as to why the Democrats were refusing to hold a debate sponsored by Fox News, last night’s broadcast of the YouTube debate on CNN should be self explanatory.

Many of the questions chosen among thousands of YouTube submissions appeared to be selected more for their entertainment value than for the way the question addressed a specific issue. And those questions that did confront an issue were so general in nature it allowed even the dumbest of candidates (Biden) to hit it out of the park. In the midst of a war involving 160,000 Americans in Iraq, there was no question – not one – about terrorism. And given the recent eruption on Capitol Hill over immigration, not one question was directed toward that issue either.

Instead, you had people asking questions in costume. Or with props as the poor fellow who asked a question about gun control while cradling his rifle and calling it “my baby”. Senator Biden, not getting the joke, called the young man “mentally unbalanced” and suggested he shouldn’t even possess a gun. Most of the questions were the kind of earnest citizen kinds of questions you hear at a televised town hall meeting. And Anderson Cooper obliged the Democrats beautifully by doing his earnest reporter shtick which may not be very deep or penetrating as far as getting at the truth but sure looks good on TV.

I have yet to see a Democratic debate moderated by anyone who actually wants to hold these politicians feet to the fire and get them off their talking points in order to address the substance of an issue. Contrast CNN’s kid gloves treatment of Democrats with Chris Wallace’s boring in on Giuliani’s abortion flip flops or Romney’s switcheroo on gay marriage when the Republican candidates debated on Fox News last month. Their answers left them wide open to criticism by other candidates on the stage which made for a somewhat more lively night.

The problem is that the public won’t give the GOP any credit for going on CNN nor will they penalize the Democrats for not going on Fox. It’s a shame because the Democrats are not only losing out on twice the audience they would get appearing on Fox but would also benefit by delineating and sharpening their differences a little bit.

Cover-up and Deny, Part 2 — A must read

The Muddled Mess of Middle East Studies

The Muddled Mess of Middle East Studies

By Cinnamon Stillwell

What’s ailing contemporary Middle East studies? A symposium earlier this month at Stanford University provided a clue.

A paranoid fixation on imagined American and Israeli “empire”; the refusal to accept legitimate criticism; an insulated, elitist worldview; an inability to employ clear, jargon-free English; and a self-defeating hostility towards the West: these vices and more were made clear at “The State of Middle East Studies: Knowledge Production in an Age of Empire.
Professor of Iranian studies and comparative literature at Columbia University Hamid Dabashi captured the symposium’s theme by asserting that the “Middle East is under U.S./Israeli imperial domination” and that America is an “empire without hegemony,” engaged in a “monopolar imperial project.”
Yet no one defined this “empire” or “imperialism.” Nor did attendees learn what events in the Muslim world precipitated a more expansive U.S. foreign policy in the region after Sept. 11, 2001, or why Israel might have legitimate concerns about its bellicose neighbors.  
Only Nur Yalman, professor of social anthropology and Middle Eastern studies at Harvard University, made reference to Islamic terrorism. He also reported on the atmosphere of political unease in both Egypt and Turkey from whence he had just returned.
Also popular was equating criticism of Middle East studies with a U.S./Israeli/Jewish plot. Dabashi condemned Middle East scholar and critic Martin Kramer, calling his book, Ivory Towers on Sand: The Failure of Middle Eastern Studies in America, an agent of “U.S. and Israeli intelligence.” Yalman bemoaned a speech Kramer gave last year on the relatively stable geopolitical situation of Jews today, implying that such a condition represented a threat to Muslims. Dabashi denounced David Horowitz, Stanley Kurtz, Daniel Pipes, and Campus Watch for, as he put it, “helping Bush in his crusading war against Islamic terrorism.”
Dabashi also singled out Stanford’s Hoover Institution, the American Enterprise Institute, and the Heritage Foundation, accusing them of acting, horror of horrors, in “the service of national security.” He was particularly aggrieved that with the ascendance of these think tanks, Middle East studies were no longer under the strict purview of the “academies.” He didn’t mention that higher education’s failure to adequately address the subject has been the cause of this evolution.  
The late Columbia University English and comparative literature professor Edward Said was the undisputed godfather of the day, with countless references to his theories on post-colonialism and Orientalism. Like Said, several speakers rejected what they saw as Western condescension and hostility towards the Muslim world. Yet it was they who seemed mired in antagonism. 
Discussion about the plight of women in the Muslim world was marred by anti-Western sentiment. Professor of gender and women’s studies at the University of California, Berkeley, Minoo Moallem, dismissed such concerns as being part of an “imperialist narrative.”
University of Washington anthropology and law professor Arzoo Osanloo picked up on this theme by decrying “Western, paternalistic attitudes towards Muslim women.” Osanloo was concerned that “Islamic liberalism” would be “obscured by Western involvement,” particularly in Iran. 
Osanloo tried to focus on “Islamic feminism,” but her insistence that women had made great strides in post-Islamic revolution Iran through the use of Sharia law was a stretch. It didn’t help that she omitted any reference to the Iranian regimes’ current crackdown, including brutal beatings, on unveiled women and their arrest and detention of Haleh Esfandiari, the Iranian-American director of the Middle East program at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. 
Osanloo’s stated desire to “move beyond the binarism of East vs. West” was belied by an attitude of stubborn opposition to everything Western. There was no acknowledgement by any of the women present that Western culture has given them lives that would be the envy of their counterparts in the Middle East.
Similarly, the willful blindness of a group of scholars and students denouncing the West from their positions of power and privilege in the favored surroundings of Stanford University came across as utterly hypocritical.
Hamid Dabashi and Minoo Moallem’s reliance on academic jargon added to the esoteric nature of the proceedings. Schooled on a philosophical foundation of Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucoult, and the obsession with semantics over objective reality found therein, both speakers were largely incomprehensible.
Expressions such as “diasphoric cultural mediators,” “amphibian intellectuals,” “contextualization,” “performance of the self as its own other,” the “inability to handle the otherness of the other,” “Eurocentric partriarchy,” “imperialist masculinist,” “gendered Orientalism,” and the obscure statement, “regions are not facts but artifacts,” provide just a sampling.
It was excruciatingly boring at times, and the fact that they read straight from their own work only made it worse. The young man nodding off in his chair during Moallem’s talk was an indication that the audience may not have been entirely engaged.
Thankfully, the other speakers spoke in plain English and Yalman even stated at one point that he was “uneasy with the abstract nature of the conversation.”
Indeed, those concerned with the negative influence such academics may be having on future generations should be comforted by the very real possibility that their students rarely understand a word they’re saying.
Cinnamon Stillwell is Northern California Representative for Campus Watch. She can be reached at stillwell@meforum.org.

Inching forward in the Middle East

Inching forward in the Middle East

By James Lewis

Unlike a football game, progress in the Arab-Israeli conflict comes in inches, not yards. But in the midst of all the pessimism there is genuine movement on the Gordian Knot of the entire seven decades of struggle: The Arab refusal to recognize Israel’s right to exist. Because that knot is now slightly unraveling under the pressure of the Iranian threat to Sunni Arab nations (which is all Arab nations minus half of Iraq).

With a looming nuclear Iran fifty miles away, the Saudis cannot afford war with Israel. Tehran has already stirred up riots during the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, and Saudi legitimacy rests on protecting the holy places.
Specifically, the Arab League, led by the Saudis and Jordanians, has now publicly offered to recognize Israel. That offer comes with conditions that make it unworkable on the surface, although it may provide a basis for further negotiation. But the big breakthrough is implicit, as usual in the complex maneuvering characteristic of that part of the world. When the United States recognized Communist China after many years of passionate refusals, all the preliminary negotiations were conducted in secret between Henry Kissinger and Chinese Foreign Minister Chou En-lai. Nixon’s public trip to China just put the official stamp on well-established secret understandings. There are now many reports of secret conversations between Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel.
Remember that Anwar Sadat was assassinated by the Muslim Brotherhood after Egypt openly recognized Israel. No other Arab nation dared to follow Sadat’s example. Twenty years later, Yasser Arafat told Bill Clinton and Ehud Barak that he, Arafat, would be assassinated if he agreed with the generous Israeli peace proposal that would have established a Palestinian state. So the peace agreement never occurred.  Offering recognition of Israel involves a great personal risk for all the Arab leaders involved. The terrorists are always out there, ready to kill any peace makers.
But the Arabs do not want a nuclear Iran trying to control the holy places of Mecca and Medina, with the ultimate possibility of radioactive fallout drifting across the Persian Gulf. For the Sunnis, Ahmadinejad represents a deviant strain of Islamic heresy, which cannot be allowed to control the two holiest cities of pilgrimage. Saudi preachers make worse denunciations about the Shi’a than they do about the infidels.
The implicit message in the Arab League proposal comes in the very use of the word “Israel” and in the public goal of diplomatic recognition.  Tehran and its puppets, Hezb’allah and Hamas, won’t even use the name “Israel” — it’s still the “Zionist entity” for them. In international diplomacy, using a nation’s name is to recognize it implicitly. And the open goal of the Arab proposal is public recognition. You can’t do that unless you are implicitly granting Israel’s right to exist in peace, and you can’t do that unless you are willing to terminate the de facto state of war that has existed since 1948. So this proposal breaks the logjam in public, even while posing unworkable preconditions. Inch by inch.
Israel has publicly rejected the Arab League proposal. But that’s only the cover story. Prime Minister Olmert has also praised the “great wisdom” of Saudi King Abdallah, without giving any details. News leaks of phone conversations between the sides are common.
So — it’s agonizingly slow, but progress. Underneath, there is very likely to be selective intelligence sharing on Iran and the common terrorist threat from Hezb’allah and Al Qaeda. There may be talks about giving Israel overflight permission in any attack on Iranian nuclear facilities — on condition that it be successful. When Israel knocked out Saddam’s nuclear reactor in 1981, the French, who had built the reactor, secretly provided blueprints and work schedules to the Israeli Air Force. When the strike occurred, it had pinpoint accuracy and French technicians were sleeping at home and in no danger. (Surprise!).
Some of that is probably going on right now among the players who do not want an Iranian nuke — which is all of them. Nobody but nobody wants a psychotic regime armed with nukes next door.
So there are grounds for cautious hope. This is a dangerous time. But Arabs have lived with Israel’s nuclear program for decades, and they don’t feel threatened by it. Like America’s nuke program, it is  carefully designed never to be used except in extremis. Don’t attack Israel, and Israel will never use its nukes.
That kind of rationality does not apply to Tehran, with its Armageddon martyr complex
If Iran were fifty miles from our shores, even the Denial Demagogues would have to get worried. Ironically, the new threat from Iran has made the Arab world more prepared for peace than ever before.
James Lewis blogs at http://www.dangeroustimes.wordpress.com/.

U.S. Officialdom vs. Middle East Reality

U.S. Officialdom vs. Middle East Reality
By P. David Hornik
FrontPageMagazine.com | April 23, 2007

“U.S. State Department hails
Israel’s geopolitical transformation,”
says a recent headline on WorldTribune.com. The article says that “The United States regards the endorsement by
Israel’s major right-wing parties of a unilateral Palestinian state as extremely positive. An outgoing senior Bush administration official said the decision by then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to withdraw from the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank in 2005 marked the end of the nationalist ideology of the ruling Likud Party.”

The outgoing official—Peter Rodman, assistant defense secretary responsible for Pentagon international security affairs from 2001 until February 2007, now with the Brookings Institutions—added that: “This is an extraordinarily positive evolution in Israeli politics.”

 

But he lamented: “And the Palestinians elect a Hamas government that wants to go back to the 1946 borders or God knows what their position. This is insane and suicidal, literally and figuratively for the Palestinians. This is their choice. Right now, the diplomacy is frustrated because of who is the interlocutor.”

 

Rodman appears never to have suspected a causal link between Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza and the northern West Bank in summer 2005—not to mention the previous twelve years of capitulation to and empowerment of Palestinian terror movements—and the election in January 2006 of Hamas, whose main rallying cry was precisely its success in using violence to drive Israel into retreat. Rodman also sees Hamas’s popularity among the Palestinians as a form of baffling insanity instead of connecting it to the obvious growing popularity of jihadism, Islamism, and anti-Israeli hatred and violence in the
Middle East at large.

 

The article, however, cites another “
U.S. official” as affirming that: “Rodman’s assessment reflected that of most career officers in both the Pentagon and State Department. The official said that during the Bush administration, senior officials urged Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and President George Bush to support
Sharon’s plan for a unilateral withdrawal. . . .”

 

The official is quoted directly as saying that: “The overriding U.S. assessment continues to be that any Israeli withdrawal is a positive development and bolsters
U.S. influence in the Arab world.”

 

Returning to Rodman, the article cites him as saying that: “the Bush administration has sought to strengthen Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in an effort to convince Palestinians to recognize
Israel. . . .  He said the United States was ready to pressure
Israel to accept any compromise with the Palestinians.”

 

One wonders if these officials ever bother with a casual reading of the Israeli press to check if these venerable orthodoxies are holding water. Just this weekend, for instance, they could have read “Senior IDF officer confirms Iran training militants in
Gaza”
and found out that:

Southern Command Major General Yoav Galant has confirmed that Iranian terror and guerrilla experts are in the Gaza Strip training Palestinian terror organizations. Galant says the Iranians are the source of most of the know-how coming to the West Bank, Lebanon and
Iraq on the use of land mines, explosives and anti-tank missiles.

 

…Galant said terrorists move freely between the Gaza Strip and Egypt and from there to Syria, Lebanon and
Iran for training. “Iranians also come to
Gaza to inspect the situation and hold training exercises,” he said.

 

Galant contends that the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, the military wing of [Mahmoud Abbas’s] Fatah, has already become an Iranian organization.….

 

Galant said he believes a large number of Iranian terror experts are operating in the Gaza Strip, receiving know-how, money and equipment from abroad, mainly from Iran, to carry out attacks on
Israel. 

Galant said Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees are investing major efforts in sending suicide bombers into
Israel. Hamas is not active right now, “but is ready to attack at a moment’s notice.”

 

He said Hamas smuggled 30 tons of explosives from Sinai to the Gaza Strip last year for use against
Israel.

Since we know that “any Israeli withdrawal is a positive development and bolsters U.S. influence in the Arab world,” apparently there is nothing here for
U.S. officials to be perturbed about. So probably they also would not be much interested in
“Gaza a ‘no-go’ zone for journalists since BBC reporter’s kidnapping,” which reports that: “The foreign press corps has abandoned the Gaza Strip in the five weeks since the kidnapping of BBC reporter Alan Johnston” and that “some of the smaller groups [in Gaza] with suspected ties to al-Qaida, are trying to emulate the kidnapping of foreigners in Baghdad.”

And then there’s
American

Int’l
School blown up in
Gaza”
:

Masked gunmen on Saturday morning blew up large parts of the American 

International
School in the Gaza Strip after stealing equipment and furniture….

No group claimed responsibility for the predawn attack on the school, but Palestinian Authority security sources said they did not rule out … that it was carried out by a local al-Qaida-linked group….

“This [said the sources] is the only international school in the Gaza Strip and it’s one of the most important academic institutions.”

Last year, unidentified gunmen kidnapped two staff members, one Dutch and the other Australian. The two were later released unharmed. Since then all the teachers have left, leaving the school under exclusive Palestinian control.

No one was injured in the attack, but heavy damage was caused to the building…. The attackers overpowered a number of guards before detonating a series of explosive charges inside the school….

A Fatah spokesman in the
West Bank said the attack was in the context of attempts by “forces of darkness” to turn the Gaza Strip into a Taliban-style country. He added that those behind the attack were also responsible for bombing Internet cafes, theaters and music shops and for assaults on young women in the Gaza Strip. 

But, after all, the Likud Party is making progress in abandoning its nationalism, so why worry about details like “Terrorists Launch Seven Rockets at Sderot, Negev”:

Palestinian Authority terrorists in Gaza fired seven rockets into the Negev Saturday evening and Sunday, injuring several people and damaging a home in Sderot. Six members of a family were treated by emergency services for shock after one of the first rockets slammed into their home, causing extensive damage….

In a joint statement, the Islamic Jihad, the Hamas-controlled Popular Committees and Fatah’s Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades claimed responsibility for the Saturday rocket attacks…. They declared that the barrage was retaliation for an Israeli counter-terrorism operation in Jenin earlier Saturday, in which three PA terrorists were killed—two of Fatah and one of Islamic Jihad.

And Hamas seeks control of security in
West Bank
informs us that the beneficent trend is spreading:

Having failed to establish a military force in the
West Bank parallel to the one it has in the Gaza Strip, Hamas is instead working to infiltrate its operatives into the official [PA] security branches, a high-ranking officer in the IDF Central Command warned on Thursday….

“If this continues they will eventually take over the security forces,” warned a senior Israeli defense official….

The officer … said Hamas was involved in terrorism “at all of its levels” and that its infiltration of a car bomb into Tel Aviv on [Passover] night with the intention of carrying out an attack was supported by Damascus-based Hamas Khaled Mashaal as well as its local West Bank and
Gaza terror chiefs.

The officer said that after the car-bomb attack attempt, the IDF rebuilt roadblocks that it had removed in the Kalkilya area as part of a gesture by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in December.

These are, to repeat, gleanings from a single weekend. They relate to Gaza and the West Bank from which
Israel has withdrawn fully and partially, respectively. Perhaps officials like those mentioned in the World Tribune article can explain why it should automatically be U.S. policy to push for and applaud Israeli land concessions even when these lead to the further political, military, and ideological empowerment of actors like Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Al-Qaida, Fatah, and Iran, to marked destabilization through increased terrorism and combat, to intensified anti-Israeli and anti-American hatred throughout the Arab/Muslim world as images of the violence are beamed far and wide, and to the descent of Palestinian society into poverty, chaos, and Islamism.

Perhaps these officials can also explain how the other major recent Israeli withdrawal—from southern Lebanon in 2000—was a “positive development” and how the boost in Hezbollah’s popularity and power, and the current crisis in Lebanon that largely stems from that boost, serve U.S. interests.

  

And perhaps they can disclose the calculus of how many Israeli lives are worth sacrificing to “gestures” to Abbas.

 

Orthodoxies are hard to question even when they fly so blatantly in the face of facts. Notions like the “road map” and the “two-state solution” are recipes for further aggravating the situation graphically evident in this weekend’s Israeli press; they presume an Arab-Muslim moderacy toward
Israel that does not exist to any significant degree. It makes no sense for the United States to keep fighting the jihadists in other places and keep working, in effect, to strengthen them against the
Middle East’s one solidly democratic, pro-Western outpost—while always encouraging trends of appeasement in the outpost itself.

 

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History Lesson

   

SOME OF YOU ARE NOT OLD ENOUGH TO REMEMBER THAT NEARLY EVERY FAMILY IN AMERICA WAS GROSSLY AFFECTED BY WW II  MOST OF YOU DON’T REMEMBER THE RATIONING OF MEAT, SHOES, GASOLINE, AND SUGAR. NO TIRES FOR OUR AUTOMOBILES, AND A SPEED LIMIT OF 35 MILES AN HOUR ON THE ROAD, NOT TO MENTION, NO NEW AUTOMOBILES  READ THIS AND THINK ABOUT HOW WE WOULD REACT TO BEING TAKEN OVER BY FOREIGNERS IN 2007.

This is an EXCELLENT essay . Well thought out and presented.

Historical Significance

Sixty-three years ago, Nazi Germany had overrun almost all of Europe and hammered
England to the verge of bankruptcy and defeat. The Nazis had sunk more than 400 British ships in their convoys between England and America taking food and war materials

At that time the US was in an isolationist, pacifist mood, and most Americans wanted nothing to do with the European or the Asian war

Then along came Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 , and in outrage Congress unanimously declared war on Japan , and the following day on Germany , who had not yet attacked us It was a dicey thing . We had few allies .

France was not an ally, as the Vichy government of
France quickly aligned itself with its German occupiers . Germany was certainly not an ally, as Hitler was intent on setting up a Thousand Year Reich in
Europe
.  Japan was not an ally, as it was well on its way to owning and controlling all of
Asia .

Together, Japan and Germany had long-range plans of invading Canada and Mexico , as launching pads to get into the United States over our northern and southern borders, after they finished gaining control of Asia and
Europe
.

America ‘s only allies then were England , Ireland , Scotland , Canada , Australia, and
Russia
. That was about it All of Europe, from Norway to Italy (except
Russia
in the East) was already under the Nazi heel

The US was certainly not prepared for war.  The US had drastically downgraded most of its military forces after WW I because of the depression, so that at the outbreak of WW II, Army units were training with broomsticks because they didn’t have guns, and cars with “tank” painted on the doors because they didn’t have real tanks A huge chunk of our Navy had just been sunk or damaged at Pearl Harbor.

Britain had already gone bankrupt, saved only by the donation of $600 million in gold bullion in the Bank of England (that was actually the property of Belgium ) given by Belgium to England to carry on the war when
Belgium
was overrun by Hitler (a little known fact).

Actually, Belgium surrendered on one day, because it was unable to oppose the German invasion, and the Germans bombed
Brussels
into rubble the next day just to prove they could .

Britain had already been holding out for two years in the face of staggering losses and the near decimation of its Royal Air Force in the Battle of Britain, and was saved from being overrun by
Germany
only because Hitler made the mistake of thinking the Brits were a relatively minor threat that could be dealt with later.  Hitler, first turned his attention to Russia, in the late summer of 1940 at a time when
England was on the verge of collapse.

Ironically, Russia saved America ‘s butt by putting up a desperate fight for two years, until the US got geared up to begin hammering away at Germany .

Russia lost something like 24,000,000 people in the sieges of Stalingrad and
Moscow
alone . . 90% of them from cold and starvation, mostly civilians, but also more than a 1,000,000 soldiers

Had Russia surrendered, Hitler would have been able to focus his entire war effort against the Brits, then
America .  If that had happened, the Nazis could possibly have won the war .

All of this has been brought out to illustrate that turning points in history are often dicey things.  Now, we find ourselves at another one of those key moments in history.

There is a very dangerous minority in Islam that either has, or wants, and may soon have, the ability to deliver small nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons, almost anywhere in the world .

The Jihadis, the militant Muslims, are basically Nazis in Kaffiyahs — they believe that Islam, a radically conservative form of Wahhabi Islam, should own and control the Middle East first, then Europe, then the world.  To them, all who do not bow to their will of thinking should be killed, enslaved, or subjugated . They want to finish the Holocaust, destroy
Israel , and purge the world of Jews This is their mantra . (goal)

There is also a civil war raging in the
Middle East
— for the most part not a hot war, but a war of ideas.  Islam is having its Inquisition and its Reformation, but it is not yet known which side will win — the Inquisitors, or the Reformationists.

If the Inquisition wins, then the Wahhabis, the Jihadis, will control the Middle East, the OPEC oil, and the
US , European, and Asian economies.

The techno-industrial economies will be at the mercy of OPEC — not an OPEC dominated by the educated, rational Saudis of today, but an OPEC dominated by the Jihadis.  Do you want gas in your car?  Do you want heating oil next winter?  Do you want the dollar to be worth anything?  You had better hope the Jihad, the Muslim Inquisition, loses, and the Islamic Reformation wins.

If the Reformation movement wins, that is, the moderate Muslims who believe that Islam can respect and tolerate other religions, live in peace with the rest of the world, and move out of the 10th century into the 21st, then the troubles in the
Middle East
will eventually fade away.  A moderate and prosperous
Middle East
will emerge.

We have to help the Reformation win, and to do that we have to fight the Inquisition, i.e., the Wahhabi movement, the Jihad, Al Qaeda and the Islamic terrorist movements  We have to do it somewhere.  We can’t do it everywhere at once  We have created a focal point for the battle at a time and place of our choosing . . . . . . . in
Iraq
.  Not in New York , not in London , or Paris or Berlin , but in
Iraq
, where we are doing two important things.

(1) We deposed Saddam Hussein.  Whether Saddam Hussein was directly involved in the 9/11 terrorist attack or not, it is undisputed that Saddam has been actively supporting the terrorist movement for decades  Saddam is a terrorist!   Saddam is, or was, a weapon of mass destruction, responsible for the deaths of probably more than a 1,000,000 Iraqis and 2,000,000 Iranians

(2) We created a battle, a confrontation, a flash point, with Islamic terrorism in
Iraq .   We have focused the battle.  We are killing bad people, and the ones we get there we won’t have to get here.  We also have a good shot at creating a democratic, peaceful Iraq, which will be a catalyst for democratic change in the rest of the Middle East, and an outpost for a stabilizing American military presence in the
Middle East
for as long as it is needed .

WW II, the war with the Japanese and German Nazis, really began with a “whimper” in 1928.  It did not begin with Pearl Harbor  It began with the Japanese invasion of
China .  It was a war for fourteen years before the
US joined it.  It officially ended in 1945 — a 17 year war — and was followed by another decade of US occupation in Germany and Japan to get those countries reconstructed and running on their own a gain . . . a 27 year war.

WW II cost the
United States
an amount equal to approximately a full year’s GDP — adjusted for inflation, equal to about $12 trillion dollars.  WW II cost
America more than 400,000 soldiers killed in action, and nearly 100,000 still missing in action.

The Iraq war has, so far, cost the United States about $160,000,000,000, which is roughly what the 9/11 terrorist attack cost New York.  It has also cost about 3,000 American lives, which is roughly equivalent to lives that the Jihad killed (within the United States ) in the 9/11 terrorist attack

The cost of not fighting and winning WW II would have been unimaginably greater — a world dominated by Japanese Imperialism and German Nazism

This is not a 60-Minutes TV show, or a 2-hour movie in which everything comes out okay .  The real world is not like that.  It is messy, uncertain, and sometimes bloody and ugly.  It always has been, and probably always will be .

The bottom line is that we will have to deal with Islamic terrorism until we defeat it, whenever that is.  It will not go away if we ignore it .

If the US can create a reasonably democratic and stable Iraq , then we have an ally, like England , in the Middle East, a platform, from which we can work to help modernize and moderate the
Middle East
.  The history of the world is the clash between the forces of relative civility and civilization, and the barbarians clamoring at the gates to conquer the world.

The Iraq War is merely another battle in this ancient and never ending war.  Now, for the first time ever, the barbarians are about to get nuclear weapons.  Unless some body prevents them from getting them.

We have four options:

1 . We can defeat the Jihad now, before it gets nuclear weapons.

2 . We can fight the Jihad later, after it gets nuclear weapons (which may be as early as next year, if Iran ‘s progress on nuclear weapons is what
Iran claims it is).

3 . We can surrender to the Jihad and accept its dominance in the Middle East now; in Europe in the next few years or decades, and ultimately in
America .

OR

4 . We can stand down now, and pick up the fight later when the Jihad is more widespread and better armed, perhaps after the Jihad has dominated France and Germany and possibly most of the rest of
Europe
.  It will, of course, be more dangerous, more expensive, and much bloodier.

If you oppose this war, I hope you like the idea that your children, or grandchildren, may live in an Islamic America under the Mullahs and the Sharia, an America that resembles
Iran
today.

The history of the world is the history of civilization clashes, cultural clashes.  All wars are about ideas, ideas about what society and civilization should be like, and the most determined always win.

Those who are willing to be the most ruthless always win . The pacifists always lose, because the anti-pacifists kill them

Remember, perspective is every thing, and
America ‘s schools teach too little history for perspective to be clear, especially in the young American mind.

The Cold War lasted from about 1947 at least until the Berlin Wall came down in 1989; forty-two years!

Europe spent the first half of the 19th century fighting Napoleon, and from 1870 to 1945 fighting
Germany
!

World War II began in 1928, lasted 17 years, plus a ten year occupation, and the US still has troops in Germany and
Japan .  World War II resulted in the death of more than 50,000,000 people, maybe more than 100,000,000 people, depending on which estimates you accept.

The US has taken more than 3,000 killed in action in
Iraq ..  The
US took more than 4,000 killed in action on the morning of June 6, 1944 , the first day of the Normandy Invasion to rid Europe of Nazi Imperialism.

In WW II the
US averaged 2,000 KIA a week — for four years.  Most of the individual battles of WW II lost more Americans than the entire
Iraq war has done so far

The stakes are at least as high . . A world dominated by representative governments with civil rights, human rights, and personal freedoms . . or a world dominated by a radical Islamic Wahhabi movement, by the Jihad, under the Mullahs and the Sharia (Islamic law) .

It’s difficult to understand why the average American does not grasp this.  They favor human rights, civil rights, liberty and freedom, but evidently not for Iraqis.

“Peace Activists” always seem to demonstrate here in
America , where it’s safe.

Why don’t we see Peace Activist demonstrating in Iran , Syria , Iraq , Sudan ,
North Korea
, in the places that really need peace activism the most?  I’ll tell you why! They would be killed!

The liberal mentality is supposed to favor human rights, civil rights, democracy, multiculturalism, diversity, etc . , but if the Jihad wins, wherever the Jihad wins, it is the end of civil rights, human rights, democracy, multiculturalism, diversity, etc.

Americans who oppose the liberation of
Iraq
are coming down on the side of their own worst enemy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Raymond S . Kraft is a writer living in
Northern California that has studied the Middle Eastern culture and religion

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Please consider passing along copies of this article to students in high school, college and university as it contains information about the American past that is very meaningful today — history about America that very likely is completely unknown by them (and their instructors, too).  By being denied the facts of our history, they are at a decided disadvantage when it comes to reasoning and thinking through the issues of today.  They are prime targets for misinformation campaigns beamed at enlisting them in causes and beliefs that are special interest agenda driven.

Facing Unpleasant Facts in the Middle East

Facing Unpleasant Facts in the Middle East

By Steven Plaut

The world is now well into the post-Oslo. post-911 era, in which the delusions and denials of reality that were the foundations of the “Middle East peace process” are at last being acknowledged for what they were. For those returning to the planet Earth from Fantasyland in the “Oslo” parallel universe, it behooves them and us all to bear in mind some of the unpleasant facts of life about the Middle East.

1. The Arab world has never come to terms with Israel’s existence within ANY set of borders whatsoever and is still seeking the annihilation of Israel and its population.

2. ANY Palestinian state, regardless of who rules it, will produce escalated violence, terror and warfare in the Middle East, and neither stability nor peaceful relations. ANY Palestinian state will seek warfare with Israel and not solutions to the economic and social problems of its citizens.

3. The only reason Arafat and the PLO ever wanted control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip was to use them as bases for attacks on Israel. This is the only real use to which they will be put by any future Palestinian state.

4. There is no alternative that will stop the bloodshed and war in the Middle East other than the adoption by Israel of an unambiguous policy of R&D, that is, of Re-Occupation and Denazification of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Every other alternative proposal for stabilization and pacification is delusional.

5. Denazification of the West Bank and Gaza Strip must be based partly on the programs of Denazification imposed on Germany and Japan by the Allies after World War II, but in part must be different. Such Denazification policies will have to stay in place for decades. There is no other way by which Israel can prevent the daily massacre of its civilians by Palestinian terrorists.

6. The bulk of Palestinians have lived outside Israeli “occupation” for years, and their “liberation” from Israeli “occupation” only produced Nazification, terrorism, mass murders, and violence. Their pacification requires re-imposing of open-ended martial rule upon them by Israel.

7. The instability of the Middle East is not caused by Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands but by PLO occupation of Israeli lands.

8. There was never in history an Arab Palestinian state. There is no justification whatsoever for one now (other than perhaps in Jordan).

9. The Palestinians have no legitimate claim to the right to set up their own state. It is doubtful whether they ever did have such a right, but – even if they once did – they forfeited it thanks to decades of terrorism, savagery, mass murders and barbarism.

10. Palestinians are Arabs. The Arabs already rule 22 states. There is no reason why they should be entitled to a 23rd state, and creation of a 23rd Arab state, “Palestine”, in the West Bank and Gaza will escalate Middle East violence and world terrorism.

11. The Palestinians are not and never were a “nation”. They are not even a tribe. They are a branch of Arabs with only minor and secondary cultural differences that distinguish them from Syrians, Lebanese or Jordanians.

12. The Middle East conflict cannot be resolved through endless exhibitions of niceness and restraint by Israel. Israeli niceness, restraint, and goodwill gestures are interpreted by the Arab world as weakness and as signs that the Jews, like Paul McCartney’s Band, are on the run.

13. The Palestinians are not “mistreated” by Israel, but ARE poorly treated by the Palestinian Authority. The treatment of Arabs by Israel is a thousand times better than the treatment of Arabs by Arab countries.

14. The only Arabs in the Middle East with any semblance of civil rights are those who live under Israeli rule.

15. If the intifada “uprising” were in fact a product of oppression and mistreatment of Arabs by a government, then Israel should be the only country in the Middle East that does NOT have an intifada.

16. Oslo has radicalized and Sudetenized most Israeli Arabs, who now identify with and openly support Arab parties and politicians who call openly for terror violence against Jews and the destruction of Israel.

17. There exists no set of concessions by Israel that would result in the Arab states coming to terms with Israel’s existence.

18. There are no Arab democracies and no support for democracy among significant minorities within the Arab world.

19. Israeli assassination of Palestinian terrorists is in fact a substitute for retaliation in kind against the Palestinians for bombings of Israeli children and other civilians. The alternative to such assassinations is bombings of Palestinian civilians.

20. Israeli settlements are the “mine canaries” of the Arab world. There is no reason why Jewish civilians should not be free to live in peace within Arab countries truly seeking peace with Israel, just as Arabs live at peace within Israel and within the United States. The attitude of the Arab world in general and of the Palestinian Authority in particular towards such “settlements” is indicative of their attitudes towards Israel and Jews in general. If the Palestinians are NOT seeking peace with the Jews, and indeed they are not, then the real problem is that Israel has built too few settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

21. Israel is the only country in the Middle East that does NOT deal with Islamist terror through wholesale massacres of the people in whose midst the terrorists operate.

22. There is an inverse relationship between the material comfort of Arabs living under Israeli rule and political moderation. The better off they are in a material sense, the more violent and radical they are. More generally, Arab radicalism and terror are positively correlated with comfort and education and wealth. Bin Laden and his people are filthy rich. There have been no undernourished Palestinian suicide bombers. Many have been college students.

23. Palestinians endorse terrorism and violence against Jews by near-universal majorities.

24. Israeli Arabs endorse terror and violence against Jews by large majorities. They also support bin Laden and the Hizbollah.

25. There are no visible Palestinian public figures who oppose violence, terror and Islamist fascism. There are no Palestinian “moderate” leaders, only a few Palestinian fascists who speak English well and elegantly, like Hanan Ashrawi.

26. There is not and never has been a Palestinian “peace movement” nor a Syrian “peace movement”.

27. Syria has no legitimate claim to the Golan Heights. Its claim to the Golan is far less legitimate than German’s claim to Alsace and Lorraine.

28. The PLO, and not just the Hamas, is itself very much a manifestation of Islamist fascism and was founded by Islamist fundamentalists. Its head, Abu Mazen, is no more “moderate” than the heads of the Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

29. Asking Arafat to arrest the terrorists is a bit like asking Osama bin Laden to arrest those responsible for the September 11 attacks on the US or asking Hitler to take steps against those who invaded Poland. It is all part of the Oslo era of mass delusion and make-pretend.

30. Peace cannot be achieved through pretending that war does not exist.

31. The Israeli Left is responsible for the bloodshed in Israel. The Israeli Left rescued the PLO from oblivion in the early 1990s, armed it, and allowed it to become entrenched in the suburbs of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The Israeli Left is as wacky as is the pro-Taliban, pro-Saddam campus Left in the United States. It is today as anti-Israel as the US far Left is anti-American.

32. Ehud Olmert and his crew have yet to detach themselves from the pipe dreams and denials of reality imposed on the country by the Israeli Left, those that produced the Oslo debacle. They continue to insist they favor creation of a Palestinian state.

33. The only peaceful terrorist is a dead terrorist.

34. Israel cannot restore the credibility of its military prowess through “signaling,” but rather only through using that prowess and putting its military might to actual use.

35. Unilateral withdrawal by Israel produces massive terrorist aggression. Anyone nursing doubts should contemplate what Israel’s 2000 withdrawal from Southern Lebanon produced in the summer of 2006.

Posted by Ted Belman @ 11:32 am |

Putin’s Middle East Visit

Putin’s Middle East Visit
By Ariel Cohen
FrontPageMagazine.com | March 2, 2007

Vladimir Putin’s February 11 visit to
Saudi Arabia was the first ever for any Russian or Soviet leader. Putin also visited
US allies Jordan and
Qatar. Coming from
Munich where Putin delivered his most bellicose anti-American speech, he further delineating a Russian Middle Eastern policy at odds with
Washington in an interview with Al Jazeera.  Putin reiterated
Russia‘s opposition to the
Iraq war and disputed the justice of Saddam’s execution. He was also critical of
US democracy promotion in the
Middle East, quoting the empowerment of Hamas and Hezbollah as a result of parliamentary elections promoted by
Washington. At the same time, he justified
Russia’s refusal to recognize Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist organizations on the basis of their victory in parliamentary elections in the
West Bank and
Gaza in January 2006.

Also, during his visit to the Saudi capital, Putin stunned the world with an offer to sell
Saudi Arabia “peaceful” nuclear reactors. In addition, he offered 150 T-90 tanks and other weapons. During his Middle East tour, the Russian president indicated Russia’s willingness to sell helicopters, to build rocket propelled grenade (RPG) factories, and to provide sophisticated anti-aircraft systems—the Carapace (Pantsyr), TOR M1 and Strelets—and topped it off by offering the Saudis expanded satellite launches and an opportunity to join the Russian satellite navigation system, GLONASS.

During his visit to Qatar, the third largest natural gas producer in the world, Putin also indicated that the Iranian offer to form an OPEC-style cartel of gas producers was “an interesting idea” – after his minister had dismissed it out of hand—and invited Saudi banks to open wholly-owned subsidiaries in
Russia.

 

Putin summed up
Russia’s new foreign policy and
Middle East policy as follows:
 

From the point of view of stability in this or that region or in the world in general, the balance of power is the main achievement of these past decades and indeed of the whole history of humanity.  It is one of the most important conditions for maintaining global stability and security…  

I do not understand why some of our partners [
Europe and the
US – AC] … see themselves as cleverer and more civilized and think that they have the right to impose their standards on others. The thing to remember is that standards that are imposed from the outside, including in the
Middle East, rather than being a product of a society’s natural internal development, lead to tragic consequences, and the best example of this is
Iraq.
 

This Realpolitik talk was praised in Arab capitals, where the old Soviet anti-Western and anti-Israel stance is still remembered fondly. King Abdullah I of
Saudi Arabia bestowed the King Faisal Award on Putin, calling him “a statesman, a man of peace, a man of justice.”  Quite a turnaround from the jihad funded against the Soviets by the Saudis twenty years ago during the Soviet occupation of
Afghanistan.  It is also worth noting that
Saudi Arabia officially decries the 100,000 killed and 500,000 displaced Muslims in
Chechnya, while private groups based in the Gulf support terrorists there.
 

At odds with the West 

There are a number of factors driving Putin’s recent rhetoric and actions in the
Middle East. First, by embracing Middle Eastern monarchies and Islamist authoritarianism in
Iran, he signals
Russia’s continuous distancing from Western norms of internal political behavior. This has important implications, as 2007-2008 are election years in
Russia. Putin is now loudly rejecting the American democracy and human rights approach, which has stumbled and sputtered in the
Middle East.

Second,
Russia is following the Soviet model of opposing first British and then the
US presence in the
Middle East by playing to anti-Western sentiment in the “street” and among the elites. Putin’s
Munich speech, his Al Jazeera interview, and his press conferences in
Jordan and
Qatar solidified the Kremlin’s public diplomacy message, emphasizing its differences with
Washington.
 

Third, the Russian leadership is concerned with the high Muslim birthrates in
Russia, especially as the Slavic Orthodox population is declining.
Russia is facing an increasingly radicalized Muslim population along its southern “soft underbelly,” particularly in the
North Caucasus, where two Chechen rebellions, even though they were effectively crushed, led to the spread of Salafi Islam. Many young Russian Muslims view themselves more as members of the global Islamic Ummah (community) than as citizens of Mother Russia. Keeping Muslim powers such as
Saudi Arabia and
Iran at bay, preventing them from supporting insurgencies in
Eurasia, and toning down radicalization through Islamist education and propaganda, is an unspoken but important item on the Kremlin’s agenda.
 

Finally,
Russia is a high-cost oil producer, the largest oil producer in the world, the largest oil exporter outside of OPEC, and the largest gas producer. As such, it is interested in maintaining a high energy price environment, which is usually generated by tensions and conflicts in the
Middle East.
Russia is perfectly willing to sell weapons to both sides of the growing Sunni-Shia divide. This was evidenced when the same nuclear reactors – peaceful, of course, and the same anti-aircraft systems, were offered both to Iran and to the Arab Gulf states, which are increasingly nervous about the growing Iranian military power and nuclear ambitions. As one Russian observer put it, weapons sales create allies.
Russia is using weapons and nuclear reactor sales the way imperial
Germany used railroads – to bolster influence and to undermine the dominant power in the
Middle East.
 

What Can
Washington Do?
 

Clearly, the new
Middle East, in which
US power and prestige are threatened in
Iraq, and where
Moscow is challenging the
US superpower status, is going to be a more competitive and challenging environment. Today’s
Middle East needs to be viewed with the realism and toughness its history and culture requires.
 

The
US, as a status quo power in the
Middle East, should bolster its relations with pro-Western regimes in the Gulf. While some weapons sales and business projects will inevitably take place, only by maintaining a security umbrella in the Gulf can the
U.S. have a bigger clout in the region than
Russia.
 

The
US should continue dialogue with
Moscow on issues of mutual concern, such as nuclear proliferation, terrorism, and destabilizing weapons sales. But more importantly, it should be providing military assurances to Gulf countries against Iranian encroachment, which
Russia is incapable of giving; expanding cooperation in the fight against terrorism, which threatens the Middle Eastern monarchies; and being competitive in cutting edge economic ventures in which
Russia lacks expertise, while granting access to
US capital markets for development projects.
 

After a 20-year hiatus,
Russia is forcing its way back through the open
Middle East door.
Washington decision makers had better take note.