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SATURDAY and SUNDAY, April 29 and 30, 2006
FRIDAY, April 28, 2006
The following is an exchange among Andy Rooney, my family...and the world. It is offered for your consideration.
George Sprecace wrote:
Perrin, you're right about this country being almost ready to turn the corner. It's part of a pattern. America was born of Revolution, baptized in Civil
War, and has experienced most of its real advances in response to wars and assassinations. And that's before we developed that big, fat, soft under-belly. We're close...but no explosive cigar yet.
Perrin Sprecace wrote:
I have no idea if he really said all this, but it's right on.
As I tell anyone who knows anything about history, the U.S. now is equivalent to the Roman Empire around 150 A.D. Sadly, we're in a serious state of decline that we've never seen before. I think it's
worse than the internal strife of the '60's because it is far more subtle (and therefore more insidious) than the racial and cultural tension back then.
Keep in mind that never in recorded history has an invaded nation INVITED and, (in many cases) PAID invaders to violate and threaten its physical, cultural, and linguistic sovereignty.
Since I have no party affiliation I have no axe to grind. Someone please tell me how we can be in our present state when the same party (USUALLY the more conservative of the two) controls two--and
some would say all three--of the branches of Federal government.
I seriously think something needs to crash and burn to wake up the voters in this country. We need to bottom out before we can get better. Amazingly, we're not there yet--close, but not there yet.
Others wrote:LOVE IT!!!!!!Andy Rooney said on "60 Minutes" a few weeks back:
Amazing! Even CBS could not shut Andy up:
Good for him!!!
Surprised CBS let him get away with this even though he's right
AMEN ANDY ROONEY !
Right on, Andy Rooney!
I don't think being a minority makes you a victim of anything except numbers. The only things I can think of that are truly discriminatory are things like the United Negro College Fund, Jet Magazine, Black Entertainment Television, and Miss Black America. Try to have things like the UnitedCaucasianCollege Fund, Cloud Magazine, White Entertainment Television, or Miss White America; and see what happens...Jesse Jackson will be knocking down your door.
Guns do not make you a killer. I think killing makes you a killer. You can kill someone with a baseball bat or a car, but no one is trying to ban you from driving to the ball game.
I believe they are called the Boy Scouts for a reason, that is why there are no girls allowed. Girls belong in the Girl Scouts! ARE YOU LISTENING MARTHA BURKE?
I think that if you feel homosexuality is wrong, it is not a phobia, it is an opinion.
I have the right "NOT" to be tolerant of others because they are different, weird, or tick me off.
When 70% of the people who get arrested are black, in cities where 70% of the population is black, that is not racial profiling, it is the Law of Probability.
I believe that if you are selling me a milkshake, a pack of cigarettes, a newspaper or a hotel room, you must do it in English! As a matter of fact, if you want to be an American citizen, you should have to speak English!
My father and grandfather didn't die in vain so you can leave the countries you were born in to come over and disrespect ours.
I think the police should have every right to shoot your sorry ass if you threaten them after they tell you to stop. If you can't understand the word "freeze" or "stop" in English, see the above lines.
I don't think just because you were not born in this country, you are qualified for any special loan programs, government sponsored bank loans or tax breaks, etc., so you can open a hotel, coffee shop, trinket store, or any other business.
We did not go to the aid of certain foreign countries and risk our lives in wars to defend their freedoms, so that decades later they could come over here and tell us our constitution is a living document; and open to their interpretations.
I don't hate the rich I don't pity the poor.
I know pro wrestling is fake, but so are movies and television. That doesn't stop you from watching them.
I think Bill Gates has every right to keep every penny he made and continue to make more If it ticks you off, go and invent the next operating system that's better, and put your name on the building.
It doesn't take a whole village to raise a child right, but it does take a parent to stand up to the kid; and smack their little behinds when necessary, and say "NO!"
I think tattoos and piercing are fine if you want them, but please don't pretend they are a political statement. And, please, stay home until that new lip ring heals. I don't want to look at your ugly infected mouth as you serve me French fries!
I am sick of "Political Correctness" I know a lot of black people, and not a single one of them was born in Africa; so how can they be "African-Americans"? Besides, Africa is a continent. I don't go around saying I am a European-American because my great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather was from Europe. I am proud to be from America and nowhere else.
THURSDAY, April 27, 2006
This is to remind you of the other good sources of information on this web site. For example, see the sobering article by Efraim Karsh entitled "Islam's Imperial Dreams", reproduced in the Society section of The Involved Citizen Category. See also a continuing series, "Point and Counterpoint: Abortion and Alternatives", found in the Abortion section of The Involved Citizen Category.
TUESDAY and WEDNESDAY, April 25 and 26, 2006
MONDAY, April 24, 2006
Regarding the sex abuse scandals surrounding an estimated 5% of priests of the Catholic Church in the past, current efforts to repeal retroactively applicable Statutes of Limitation should be considered unconstitutional under the Fifth Amendment guarantee of equal protection under the law, and under the Fourteenth Amendment guarantee of due process. More to the point, and perhaps more accurately, are the following arguments offered on the simple basis of Justice.
On Statutes of Limitation and Sex-Abuse ClaimsGS
Archbishop Chaput Warns of a Movement That Threatens Church
NEW YORK, APRIL 23, 2006 (Zenit.org).- A legislative movement to allow the filing of decades-old sexual-abuse claims could devastate the resources of the Catholic Church in the United States, warns an archbishop.
Archbishop Charles Chaput, writing in the May edition of First Things magazine, points to the efforts being made in more than a dozen state legislatures to remove statutes of limitation on old claims of clerical sex abuse.
The Denver prelate warns that amending the civil statutes could "decimate the remaining resources of the Catholic faithful in the United States and steal the religious future from a generation of Catholic young people."
Archbishop Chaput notes that statutes of limitation exist for good reason: to protect justice through the timely and fair resolution of claims.
However, as sex abuse claims have steadily declined since the early 1990s, plaintiffs' lawyers are trying to open up new avenues for suing the Church, a lucrative target.
Allying themselves with victims' groups, these attorneys are working with legislators to create loopholes in the statutes and apply them retroactively to sex abuse claims, some more than 70 years old.
According to Archbishop Chaput, savvy media campaigns sensitize the public in a target area, which puts pressure on lawmakers "to provide 'justice' for those victims whose claims have expired due to statutes of limitation."
The 61-year-old prelate argues that it is questionable whether singling out the Church and other private institutions for "retroactive liability" really serves justice, especially since public schools that record high instances of abuse are largely immune from lawsuits.
"Catholics," notes Archbishop Chaput, "can live with hard laws if they serve the common good." But those laws, he says, must apply equally to "all offending persons and institutions."
"Justice is a right balance of competing legitimate rights and obligations; it is not a form of auctioneering."
He adds: "Communities of faith have an obligation to generously help people who have been hurt by their members, past or present. But they also have a right to maintain their mission of serving others and to be protected from predatory judgments designed to gut their resources and identity.
"Revenge is not justice, no matter how piously one argues it."
SUNDAY, April 23, 2006
Why should India, with a spotless nonproliferation record, be denied access to U.S. civilian nuclear technology for electricity, while China -- which helped Pakistan and Iran in their efforts to acquire nuclear weapons -- can have it?
The inequitable structure of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) has resulted in built-in discrimination in favor of China and against India that has made it necessary and justifiable for the administration to conclude its civilian nuclear cooperation agreement with New Delhi.
The treaty is based on a legalistic fiction that underpins this discrimination. When it was concluded in 1968, only the five states that had already tested nuclear weapons were permitted to sign as "nuclear weapons states." China, which had tested in 1964, got in just under the wire. India tested in 1974, six years too late.
As Robert Kagan has argued [op-ed, March 12], the NPT "erected a gargantuan double standard," which he went on to call "a particularly mindless kind of double standard, since membership in the nuclear 'club' was not based on justice or morality or strategic judgment or politics but simply on circumstance: Whoever had figured out how to build nuclear weapons by 1968 was in."
Article Six of the NPT envisaged an eventual end to this double standard: The United States, the Soviet Union, Britain, France and China pledged to phase out their nuclear weapons. But they have since largely ignored this commitment. Indeed, the nuclear "haves" reinforced the double standard by refusing to accept the same permanent safeguards on their civilian nuclear reactors required of non-nuclear signatories by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Without these "in-perpetuity" safeguards, all five, including Beijing, can shift fissile material from civilian to military use whenever they choose.
By contrast, India has accepted a rigid separation of civilian and military facilities under its pending nuclear cooperation agreement with the United States by agreeing to IAEA safeguards "in perpetuity." This was a major diplomatic achievement by U.S. negotiators; in fact, the Manmohan Singh government in New Delhi is being bitterly attacked for accepting a "second class" status that does not apply to China.
The Bush administration's agreement with India does not conflict with the NPT. But a 1978 U.S. law went beyond the treaty and does bar civilian nuclear technology sales to non-signatories. It is this legislation that the administration is now seeking to amend.
The 1978 law is a relic of earlier decades, when the United States was trying to stop New Delhi from acquiring nuclear weapons. Congress saw denial of civilian technology as one aspect of a campaign to pressure India into signing the NPT and forswearing nuclear weapons. But India felt that it was entitled to keep the nuclear option open, given Chinese and Chinese-assisted Pakistani nuclear capabilities, unless the United States and the other four original nuclear powers started to honor Article Six.
It is often forgotten that India made an extraordinary offer on June 9, 1988, to forgo nuclear weapons in exchange for a long-term commitment by the existing nuclear powers to move toward nuclear arms reductions. The late prime minister Rajiv Gandhi called on the United Nations to negotiate a new treaty, replacing the NPT, that would commit the nuclear "haves" to carry out Article Six by phasing out their nuclear arsenals over a 22-year period ending in 2010. Effective immediately upon conclusion of this "new NPT," India and the other non-nuclear states would be committed under inspection "not to cross the nuclear threshold." When the United States rejected this offer, the advocates of nuclear weapons in New Delhi steadily gained ground, and in 1998 India formally demonstrated its ability to deploy nuclear weapons.
So why not invite New Delhi to sign the NPT as a "nuclear weapons state," thus opening the way for civilian nuclear cooperation under the 1978 law? The administration decided against this option for two principal reasons. First, Indian accession to the NPT could not legally go into effect until the next NPT Review Conference in 2010. Second, it could invite requests for admission to the nuclear club by Pakistan and North Korea, which would pose more complex problems than admitting India. New Delhi has scrupulously observed the prohibition on transferring nuclear technology in Article One of the NPT. By contrast, Islamabad's former nuclear czar, A.Q. Khan, ran a global nuclear Wal-Mart, and Pyongyang has proliferated missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.
What the U.S. administration seeks for India is a "halfway house" that would give it implicit recognition as a nuclear power by formally separating its civilian and military nuclear facilities.
In retrospect, it is clear that the United States made a colossal blunder by rejecting India's 1988 offer to stop its nuclear weapons development. The Indian proposal for gradual nuclear disarmament was pragmatic. Indeed, it could provide a basis even now for a new approach to carrying out Article Six. Such a new approach is desirable not only for its own sake, to defuse the danger of nuclear war, but also as an essential prerequisite for a more effective nonproliferation regime. To be sure, regional security concerns are the primary reason countries seek the nuclear weapons option. But the inequity of the global power structure, in which nuclear weapons are necessary for great power status, can be used by national leaders to justify their posture to international and domestic public opinion, as the case of Iran has demonstrated.
Picking up where it left off in 1988, India should reaffirm its readiness to cap and wind down its modest nuclear arsenal during the final stage of a process of nuclear arms reductions that would start with U.S. and Russian cuts and would then move on to embrace Britain, France, China, India, Pakistan and Israel. The Bush administration is, of course, heading in the other direction by seeking to upgrade U.S. nuclear weapons. But India should join with Japan, the only victim of nuclear attack, and with Russia, which cannot afford its nuclear arsenal, to promote a reappraisal of U.S. policy.
Many U.S. critics of the agreement with New Delhi fear that the administration's failure to get India to cap its nuclear arsenal may lead to Sino-Indian and Indian-Pakistani nuclear arms races. India could deflect this criticism with a nuclear disarmament initiative in which it would no longer be a non-nuclear power on the sidelines, as in 1988, but a de facto nuclear power now recognized as such by the United States. The keystone of this initiative should be the inclusion of all three de facto nuclear powers -- India, Pakistan and Israel -- along with the five de jure nuclear powers, in a collective approach to progressive nuclear arms reductions. North Korea should also be included when and if it is found to possess nuclear weapons.
Israel would be uncomfortable with such an invitation, because it does not acknowledge its nuclear weapons capabilities, but forcing it to do so would be desirable. A resolution of the nuclear crisis with Iran presupposes regional security trade-offs in which a freeze of Israel's Dimona reactor could be one element of a settlement that also includes changes in U.S. military deployments perceived as threatening by Iran, in exchange for a fully verifiable Iranian commitment ruling out weapons-grade uranium enrichment.
Having implicitly recognized India as a nuclear weapons state, the administration should now give Pakistan and Israel the same recognition by working with all three to map a scenario for progressive global nuclear arms reductions. Only with such an all-embracing approach will the de jure nuclear powers feel that it is safe to wind down their arsenals, and only when the prospect of meaningful nuclear disarmament becomes credible will would-be nuclear powers reassess their ambitions.
The writer, a former South Asia bureau chief of The Post, is the author of "India: The Most Dangerous Decades" and "Japan's Nuclear Future." He is director of the Asia Program at the Center for International Policy and a senior scholar of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
SATURDAY, April 22, 2006
FRIDAY, April 21, 2006
MONDAY through THURSDAY, April 17 through 20, 2006
What's in the news these days?
SUNDAY, April 16, 2006
HAPPY EASTER TO ALL.
And I mean "to all". There are many religions and belief systems in the world. But what greater belief can any one of us very imperfect human beings in this imperfect world have, than to believe that God - Yahweh - Allah...sent His only begotten Son as a mortal peace offering for us - to die for our sins and then to rise from the dead to lead those of us who wish to follow into eternal life with God? "WHAT GREATER LOVE...." So, let us all rejoice today. For, we certainly don't deserve such love; nor can we ever earn it. It is simply a gift from God, to be accepted or rejected, in accordance with that other gift...our free will.
FRIDAY and SATURDAY, April 14 and 15, 2006
In the late 1980s, the Iraqi representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency˜Iraq's senior public envoy for nuclear matters, in effect˜was a man named Wissam al-Zahawie. After the Kuwait war in 1991, when Rolf Ekeus arrived in Baghdad to begin the inspection and disarmament work of UNSCOM, he was greeted by Zahawie, who told him in a bitter manner that "now that you have come to take away our assets," the two men could no longer be friends. (They had known each other in earlier incarnations at the United Nations in New York.)
At a later 1995 U.N. special session on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Zahawie was the Iraqi delegate and spoke heatedly about the urgent need to counterbalance Israel's nuclear capacity. At the time, most democratic countries did not have full diplomatic relations with Saddam's regime, and there were few fully accredited Iraqi ambassadors overseas, Iraq's interests often being represented by the genocidal Islamist government of Sudan (incidentally, yet another example of collusion between "secular" Baathists and the fundamentalists who were sheltering Osama Bin Laden). There was one exception˜an Iraqi "window" into the world of open diplomacy˜namely the mutual recognition between the Baathist regime and the Vatican. To this very important and sensitive post in Rome, Zahawie was appointed in 1997, holding the job of Saddam's ambassador to the Holy See until 2000. Those who knew him at that time remember a man much given to anti-Jewish tirades, with a standing ticket for Wagner performances at Bayreuth. (Actually, as a fan of Das Rheingold and Götterdämmerung in particular, I find I can live with this. Hitler secretly preferred sickly kitsch like Franz Lehar.)
In February 1999, Zahawie left his Vatican office for a few days and paid an official visit to Niger, a country known for absolutely nothing except its vast deposits of uranium ore. It was from Niger that Iraq had originally acquired uranium in 1981, as confirmed in the Duelfer Report. In order to take the Joseph Wilson view of this Baathist ambassadorial initiative, you have to be able to believe that Saddam Hussein's long-term main man on nuclear issues was in Niger to talk about something other than the obvious. Italian intelligence (which first noticed the Zahawie trip from Rome) found it difficult to take this view and alerted French intelligence (which has better contacts in West Africa and a stronger interest in nuclear questions). In due time, the French tipped off the British, who in their cousinly way conveyed the suggestive information to Washington. As everyone now knows, the disclosure appeared in watered-down and secondhand form in the president's State of the Union address in January 2003.
If the above was all that was known, it would surely be universally agreed that no responsible American administration could have overlooked such an amazingly sinister pattern. Given the past Iraqi record of surreptitious dealing, cheating of inspectors, concealment of sites and caches, and declared ambition to equip the technicians referred to openly in the Baathist press as "nuclear mujahideen," one could scarcely operate on the presumption of innocence.
However, the waters have since become muddied, to say the least. For a start, someone produced a fake document, dated July 6, 2000, which purports to show Zahawie's signature and diplomatic seal on an actual agreement for an Iraqi uranium transaction with Niger. Almost everything was wrong with this crude forgery˜it had important dates scrambled, and it misstated the offices of Niger politicians. In consequence, IAEA Chairman Mohammed ElBaradei later reported to the U.N. Security Council that the papers alleging an Iraq-Niger uranium connection had been demonstrated to be fraudulent.
But this doesn't alter the plain set of established facts in my first three paragraphs above. The European intelligence services, and the Bush administration, only ever asserted that the Iraqi regime had apparently tried to open (or rather, reopen) a yellowcake trade "in Africa." It has never been claimed that an agreement was actually reached. What motive could there be for a forgery that could be instantly detected upon cursory examination?
There seem to be only three possibilities here. Either a) American intelligence concocted the note; b) someone in Italy did so in the hope of gain; or c) it was the product of disinformation, intended to protect Niger and discredit any attention paid to the actual, real-time Zahawie visit. The CIA is certainly incompetent enough to have fouled up this badly. (I like Edward Luttwak's formulation in the March 22 Times Literary Supplement, where he writes that "there have been only two kinds of CIA secret operations: the ones that are widely known to have failed˜usually because of almost unbelievably crude errors˜and the ones that are not yet widely known to have failed.") Still, it almost passes belief that any American agency would fake a document that purportedly proved far more than the administration had asked and then get every important name and date wrapped round the axle. Forgery for gain is easy to understand, especially when it is borne in mind that nobody wastes time counterfeiting a bankrupt currency. Forgery for disinformation, if that is what it was, appears at least to have worked. Almost everybody in the world now affects to believe that Saddam Hussein was framed on the Niger rap.
According to the London Sunday Times of April 9, the truth appears to be some combination of b) and c). A NATO investigation has identified two named employees of the Niger Embassy in Rome who, having sold a genuine document about Zahawie to Italian and French intelligence agents, then added a forged paper in the hope of turning a further profit. The real stuff went by one route to Washington, and the fakery, via an Italian journalist and the U.S. Embassy in Rome, by another. The upshot was˜follow me closely here˜that a phony paper alleging a deal was used to shoot down a genuine document suggesting a connection.
Zahawie's name and IAEA connection were never mentioned by ElBaradei in his report to the United Nations, and his past career has never surfaced in print. Looking up the press of the time causes one's jaw to slump in sheer astonishment. Here, typically, is a Time magazine "exclusive" about Zahawie, written by Hassan Fattah on Oct. 1, 2003:
The veteran diplomat has spent the eight months since President Bush's speech trying to set the record straight and clear his name. In a rare interview with Time, al-Zahawie outlined how forgery and circumstantial evidence was used to talk up Iraq's nuclear weapons threat, and leave him holding the smoking gun.
A few paragraphs later appear, the wonderful and unchallenged words from Zahawie: "Frankly, I didn't know that Niger produced uranium at all." Well, sorry for the inconvenience of the questions, then, my old IAEA and NPT "veteran" (whose nuclear qualifications go unmentioned in the Time article). Instead, we are told that Zahawie visited Niger and other West African countries to encourage them to break the embargo on flights to Baghdad, as they had broken the sanctions on Qaddafi's Libya. A bit of a lowly mission, one might think, for one of the Iraqi regime's most senior and specialized envoys.
The Duelfer Report also cites "a second contact between Iraq and Niger," which occurred in 2001, when a Niger minister visited Baghdad "to request assistance in obtaining petroleum products to alleviate Niger's economic problems." According to the deposition of Ja'far Diya' Ja'far (the head of Iraq's pre-1991 nuclear weapons program), these negotiations involved no offer of uranium ore but only "cash in exchange for petroleum." West Africa is awash in petroleum, and Niger is poor in cash. Iraq in 2001 was cash-rich through the oil-for-food racket, but you may if you wish choose to believe that a near-bankrupt African delegation from a uranium-based country traveled across a continent and a half with nothing on its mind but shopping for oil.
Interagency feuding has ruined the Bush administration's capacity to make its case in public, and a high-level preference for deniable leaking has further compounded the problem. But please read my first three paragraphs again and tell me if the original story still seems innocuous to you.
Christopher Hitchens is a columnist for Vanity Fair. His most recent book is Thomas Jefferson: Author of America. His most recent collection of essays is titled Love, Poverty, and War.
VATICAN CITY, APRIL 13, 2006 (Zenit.org).- In his homily at the Mass
of the Lord's
Supper, Benedict XVI assured the faithful that the mystery of Judas consists
precisely in his rejection of God's love.
Judas Iscariot personifies "treacherous man," for whom money, power
and success are
more important than love and he does not hesitate to sell Jesus, the Pope said at
the Mass on the evening of Holy Thursday.
The Holy Father's comments came in the wake of the recently divulged
Judas," an ancient document that puts the apostle and his betrayal of Christ in a
positive light. It describes Judas, in fact, as obeying a divine ordinance in
handing over Jesus to the authorities.
In his homily, Benedict XVI, on the contrary, stressed the freedom of
who betrayed Jesus for 30 denarii, as the canonical Gospels explain.
"The dark mystery exists of the rejection, made present with what happened
and, precisely on Holy Thursday, on the day that Jesus gives himself up, should make
us reflect," said the Pontiff. "The Lord's love knows no limits, but man can put a
Benedict XVI then asked: "What does this do to treacherous man?" And
"The rejection of love, not wanting to be loved, not loving. Pride which thinks it
has no need of purification, which closes itself to the saving goodness of God."
"In Judas," he said, "we see the nature of this rejection still more
judges Jesus according to the categories of power and success: For him, power and
success alone are the reality, love does not count.
"And he is avid: Money is more important than communion with Jesus,
it is more
important than God and his love."
"In this way," the Holy Father explained, "he also becomes a liar, who
plays a game
of double jeopardy, and breaks with truth, someone who lives in lies, thus losing
the sense of the highest truth, of God."
"In this way, he becomes hard and incapable of conversion, of the confident
of the prodigal son, and throws away his destroyed life."
THURSDAY, April 13, 2006
WEDNESDAY, April 12, 2006
Since at least the Spring of 2003, as we witnessed the chaos unfold in Iraq following the "Shock and Awe" campaign, I have been consistently critical of the way Sec'y Rumsfeld tried to conduct this war "on the cheap". His persistence in that wrong-headed direction led to my multiple calls for his resignation in this section at least since the Winter of 2003-4. Yes, "I told you so". There is and never was any substitute for the establishment of security...that of our troops and that of the Iraqi people. So, what are you going to do now, Mr. President? You broke it. You bought it. You fix it!
Retired US Iraq general demands Rumsfeld resignGS
By Will Dunham
Wed Apr 12, 12:53 PM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A recently retired two-star general who just a year ago commanded a U.S. Army division in Iraq on Wednesday joined a small but growing list of former senior officers to call on Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to resign.
"I believe we need a fresh start in the Pentagon. We need a leader who understands teamwork, a leader who knows how to build teams, a leader that does it without intimidation," Maj. Gen. John Batiste, who commanded the Germany-based 1st Infantry Division in Iraq, said in an interview on CNN.
In recent weeks, retired Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Gregory Newbold, Army Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton and Marine Corps Gen. Anthony Zinni all spoke out against Rumsfeld. This comes as opinion polls show eroding public support for the 3-year-old war in which about 2,360 U.S. troops have died.
"You know, it speaks volumes that guys like me are speaking out from retirement about the leadership climate in the Department of Defense," Batiste said.
"But when decisions are made without taking into account sound military recommendations, sound military decision making, sound planning, then we're bound to make mistakes."
Batiste, a West Point graduate who also served during the previous Gulf War, retired from the Army on November 1, 2005. While in Iraq, his division, nicknamed the Big Red One, was based in Tikrit, and it wrapped up a yearlong deployment in May 2005.
Critics have accused Rumsfeld of bullying senior military officers and disregarding their views. They often cite how Rumsfeld dismissed then-Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki's opinion a month before the 2003 invasion that occupying Iraq could require "several hundred thousand troops," not the smaller force Rumsfeld would send.
Many experts believe that the chaos that ensued and the insurgency that emerged just months later vindicated Shinseki's view.
Batiste told CNN "we've got the best military in the world, hands down, period." He did not say whether he felt the war was winnable.
'LACK OF SACRIFICE'
"Whether we agree or not with the war in Iraq, we are where we are, and we must succeed in this endeavor. Failure is frankly not an option," Batiste said.
Batiste said he was struck by the "lack of sacrifice and commitment on the part of the American people" to the war, with the exception of families with soldiers fighting in Iraq.
"I think that our executive and legislative branches of government have a responsibility to mobilize this country for war. They frankly have not done so. We're mortgaging our future, our children, $8 to $9 billion a month," he said, referring to the cost of the war.
He defined success in the war as "setting the Iraqi people up for self-reliance with their form of representative government that takes into account tribal, ethnic and religious differences that have always defined Iraqi society."
"Iraqis, frankly, in my experience, do not understand democracy. Nor do they understand their responsibilities for a free society," Batiste said.
Newbold, the military's top operations officer before the Iraq war, said in a Time magazine opinion piece on Sunday that he regretted having not more openly challenged U.S. leaders who took the United States into "an unnecessary war" in Iraq. Newbold encouraged officers still in the military to voice any doubts they have about the war.
On Tuesday, Marine Corps Gen. Pete Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, defended Rumsfeld from the criticism.
Rumsfeld said that "there's nothing wrong with people having opinions," and that criticism should be expected during a war as controversial as this one.
SUNDAY through TUESDAY, April 9 through 11, 2006
Given the continuing distortions regularly found in the liberal media and from the Democratic side of Congress regarding the bases for our pre-emptive attack on Hussin's Iraq, expect reports like this to appear with ever greater regularity as captured and finally translated Iraqi documents are released. Will these also be called "leaks"?
In 2004 the Russian president said that Saddam had planned terrorist attacks on America. New Iraqi documents suggest he may have been right.
by Dan Darling
04/07/2006 12:00:00 AM
IN JULY 2004, DURING THE COURSE of a little-publicized event while on a visit to Kazakhstan, Russian President Vladimir Putin made some unusual remarks:
I can confirm that after the events of September 11, 2001, and up to the military operation in Iraq, Russian special services and Russian intelligence several times received . . . information that official organs of Saddam's regime were preparing terrorist acts on the territory of the United States and beyond its borders, at U.S. military and civilian locations.
Putin's remarks were little noticed by the American press, coming as they did so soon after the release of the 9/11 Commission's report. Moreover, despite his strong opposition to the war in Iraq, Putin was unabashedly in favor of Bush's reelection, having earlier criticized Senator Kerry for supporting unilateral action against Serbia while opposing it with regard to Iraq. Putin went so far as to claim in October 2004 that "The goal of international terrorism is to prevent the election of President Bush to a second term."
And one of the newly-released Iraqi documents, BIAP 2003-000654, indicates that Putin may have been on to something. On page 6 of the document it is revealed that:
The top secret letter 2205 of the Military Branch of Al Qadisya on 4/3/2001 announced by the top secret letter 246 from the Command of the military sector of Zi Kar on 8/3/2001 announced to us by the top secret letter 154 from the Command of Ali Military Division on 10/3/2001 we ask to provide that
Division with the names of those who desire to volunteer for Suicide Mission to liberate Palestine and to strike American Interests and according what is shown below to please review and inform us.
Written by the commander of Iraq's Ali Bin Abi Taleb Air Base, this document, if authentic, indicates that Iraq was actively recruiting suicide bombers with the intention of targeting U.S. interests at least as far back as early 2001. Nor is this the only document released with the intention of making it clear that Saddam's intentions for carrying out terrorist attacks against other nations--the plans for Blessed July appear to lay out a similar agenda focusing on using the Saddam Fedayeen to carry out a bombing and assassination campaign in London, Iran, and the "self ruled" areas of Iraq, a likely reference to Iraqi Kurdistan. While these documents do not by themselves prove the veracity of Putin's remarks, if they are deemed to be authentic they would appear to indicate that his claims did not occur in a vacuum.
IF EITHER DOCUMENT can be verified as accurate, it would seem to refute a long-standing contention among members of the U.S. intelligence community that Iraq ceased its involvement in international terrorism after its failed 1993 plot to assassinate former President George H.W. Bush. Indeed, the following exchange is reported in former counterterrorism chief Dick Clarke's book Against All Enemies:
[Anti-terror czar Dick Clarke said], "I am unaware of any Iraqi-sponsored terrorism directed at the US since 1993, and I think FBI and CIA concur in that judgment?" CIA Deputy Director John McLaughlin replied, "Yes, that is right. We have no evidence of any active Iraqi terrorist threat against the US."
It would be sad to learn that the Russian Federation's intelligence service was better informed as to Iraq's terrorist capabilities than were their American counterparts.
Dan Darling is a counterterrorism consultant.
SATURDAY, April 8, 2006
THURSDAY and FRIDAY, April 6 and 7, 2006
This is for Senators Reid, Leahy and Schumer, OBFUSCATORS IN CHIEF OF THE U.S.SENATE, who are now gleefully and falsely referring to the President as "Leaker in Chief":
Question: "Will Catholic-Bashing Never End?" Answer: "Never"
The "Gospel of Judas"GS
Interview With Father Thomas Williams, Theology Dean
ROME, APRIL 5, 2006 (Zenit.org).- The National Geographic Society has announced its intentions to publish an English translation of an ancient text called "The Gospel of Judas" later this month.
The 31-page manuscript, written in Coptic, purportedly surfaced in Geneva in 1983 and has only been translated now.
ZENIT asked Legionary Father Thomas D. Williams, dean of theology at the Regina Apostolorum university in Rome, to comment on the relevance of the discovery.
Q: What is the "Gospel of Judas"?
Father Williams: Though the manuscript still must be authenticated, it likely represents a fourth- or fifth-century text, and is a copy of an earlier document produced by a Gnostic sect called the Cainites.
The document paints Judas Iscariot in a positive light, and describes him as obeying a divine ordinance in handing over Jesus to the authorities for the salvation of the world.
It may well be a copy of the "Gospel of Judas" referred to by St. Irenaeus of Lyons in his work "Against the Heresies," written around A.D. 180.
Q: If authentic, what challenge would this document pose to traditional Christian belief? Will it "shake Christianity to its foundations" as some press releases have suggested?
Father Williams: Certainly not. The Gnostic gospels, of which there are many besides this one, are not Christian documents per se, since they proceed from a syncretistic sect that incorporated elements from different religions, including Christianity.
From the moment of their appearance, the Christian community rejected these documents because of their incompatibility with the Christian faith.
The "Gospel of Judas" would be a document of this sort, which could have great historical value, since it contributes to our knowledge of the Gnostic movement, but it poses no direct challenge to Christianity.
Q: Is it true that the Church has tried to cover up this text and other apocryphal texts?
Father Williams: These are myths circulated by Dan Brown and other conspiracy theorists.
You can go to any Catholic bookstore and pick up a copy of the Gnostic gospels. Christians may not believe them to be true, but there is no attempt to hide them.
Q: But doesn't an early document of this sort rival orthodox Christian sources, such as the four canonical Gospels?
Father Williams: Remember that Gnosticism arose in the middle of the second century, and the "Gospel of Judas," if authentic, probably dates back to the mid- to late second century.
To put a historical perspective on things, that would be like you or me writing a text now on the American Civil War and having that text later used as a primary historical source on the war. The text could not have been written by eyewitnesses, the way at least two of the canonical Gospels were.
Q: Why would the leaders of the Gnostic movement have been interested in Judas?
Father Williams: One of the major differences between Gnostic belief and that of Christianity concerns the origins of evil in the universe.
Christians believe that a good God created a good world, and that through the abuse of free will, sin and corruption entered the world and produced disorder and suffering.
The Gnostics blamed God for the evil in the world and claimed that he created the world in a disordered and flawed way. Thus they champion the rehabilitation of Old Testament figures such as Cain, who killed his brother Abel, and Esau, the elder brother of Jacob, who sold his birthright for a plate of pottage.
Judas fits perfectly into the Gnostic agenda of showing that God intends evil for the world.
Q: But wasn't Judas' betrayal a necessary part of God's plan, as this text suggests?
Father Williams: Being omniscient, God knows full well what choices we will make and weaves even our bad decisions into his providential plan for the world.
In his last published book, Pope John Paul II eloquently reflected on how God continues to bring good out of even the worst evil that man can produce.
That doesn't mean, however, that God intends for us to do evil, or that he intended for Judas to betray Jesus. If it wasn't Judas, it would have been someone else. The authorities had already decided to put Jesus to death, and it was just a matter of time.
Q: What is the Church's position regarding Judas? Is it possible to "rehabilitate" him?
Father Williams: Though the Catholic Church has a canonization process by which it declares certain persons to be in heaven, as saints, it has no such process for declaring people to be condemned.
Historically, many have thought that Judas is probably in hell, because of Jesus' severe indictment of Judas: "It would be better for that man if he had never been born," as he says in Matthew 26:24. But even these words do not offer conclusive evidence regarding his fate.
In his 1994 book, "Crossing the Threshold of Hope," Pope John Paul II wrote that Jesus' words "do not allude for certain to eternal damnation."
Q: But if anyone deserves hell, wouldn't it be Judas?
Father Williams: Surely many people deserve hell, but we must remember that the mercy of God is infinitely greater than our wickedness.
Peter and Judas committed very similar faults: Peter denied Jesus three times, and Judas handed him over. And yet now Peter is remembered as a saint and Judas simply as the traitor.
The main difference between the two is not the nature or gravity of their sin, but rather their willingness to accept God's mercy. Peter wept for his sins, came back to Jesus, and was pardoned. The Gospel describes Judas as hanging himself in despair.
Q: Why is the "Gospel of Judas" arousing so much interest?
Father Williams: Such theories regarding Judas are certainly not new.
It's enough to remember the 1973 play "Jesus Christ Superstar," where Judas sings, "I have no thought at all about my own reward. I really didn't come here of my own accord," or Taylor Caldwell's 1977 novel "I, Judas."
The enormous economic success of "The Da Vinci Code" has undoubtedly stirred up the pot, and provided financial incentive for theories of this sort.
Michael Baigent, author of "Holy Blood, Holy Grail," now has a book out called "The Jesus Papers," which recycles the old story that Jesus survived the crucifixion.
And a newly released "scientific" study asserts that meteorological conditions could have been such that Jesus really walked on ice, when the Gospels say he walked on water.
Basically, for those who reject outright the possibility of miracles, any theory, outlandish as it may be, trumps Christian claims.
SATURDAY through WEDNESDAY, April 1 through 5, 2006