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on Patterns of Global Terrorism for 2002
US State Department's Report on Patterns of Global Terrorism for 2001
MAKING A VIRTUE
Broadcast pundit Cokie Roberts counted no less than 30 references
to war during President Bush's one-hour interview with NBC's Tim Russert
on Meet The Press. "I'm a war president," the president explained.
" I make decisions here in the Oval Office in foreign-policy
matters with war on my mind..."
A runaway budget deficit of half a trillion dollars, the decimation of
social services, the circumvention of civil liberties normally guaranteed
by the Constitution are easier to swallow when there is a war on, even
though it is not clear who the enemy is or why. The U.S. once defined
itself by its struggle for world peace. But in the upcoming election,
it promises to be the candidate's credentials as a warrior that will count.
At least that seems to be the assessment in the White House. Questioned
on his own history of using political influence to get a safe posting
in the Texas Air National Guard, and then failing to attend the required
meetings, Bush told Russert that he had to have attended the required
meetings since he received an "honorable discharge."
• Full transcript
of the Meet the Press interview
the Press interview in streaming video
Moore looks at the questions the President didn't answer on Buzzflash
Hertzberg notes in the New Yorker that the real issue may not be war as
much as character. On that score combat experience counts more than simply
donning a uniform
Jones compares the military histories of George W. Bush and John Kerry
writing in Slate, compares the President's version of history with what
he actually said at the time.
& Publisher lists the 10 questions that Tim Russert forgot to ask
CIA director George Tenet spoke at Georgetown University last week, some
saw the speech as another sign of Tenet's readiness to still tow the White
House line. Others saw a subtle opening skirmish in a bureaucratic struggle
to determine who will take blame for the War in Iraq. The real issue is
not whether Saddam was a monster--but rather whether the threat was so
immediate and overwhelming that the U.S. had to rush precipitously into
combat without building an international consensus or preparing adequately
for the political vacuum that would inevitably result from Saddam's removal.
It is now obvious that Saddam was not an immediate threat to anyone except
the downtrodden citizenry of Iraq. The CIA may have underestimated Saddam's
frailty, but it is hard for anyone who following developments in Washington
over the last year to ignore the fact that the overwhelming pressure to
go to war came from the neoconservative clique which seemed to have exercised
a Svengali-like influence on the Bush White House. As some saw it, Tenet
appeared last week to be subtly trying to set the record straight and
to defend the CIA in the process.
Tenet's speech (Transcript from the CIA)
sees Tenet drawing the lines for a bureaucratic struggle
Week reaches the same conclusion
Credits Tenet with bringing the CIA back from the dead
the knives were already out for the CIA last summer
Washington Post notes that world opinion is skeptical of the White House
efforts to shift blame to intelligence agencies.
Smith in Foreign Policy in Focus on why everyone got it wrong
televised public confession by Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan's
atomic bomb, may signal the end to nearly a decade of Pakistan's dissemination
of nuclear secrets to potential rogue states. A memorandum by David Albright
of the Institute for Science and International Security notes that Pakistan
was ready to sell Saddam Hussein plans for a nuclear weapon before the
outbreak of Desert Storm in 1991. Pakistan allegedly also considered selling
nuclear secrets to Iran, Libya and North Korea. While it is hard to imagine
Khan selling secrets without the knowledge of Pakistan's pervasive intelligence
apparatus, the U.S. faces a dilemma: if it comes down too forcefully on
President Musharraf or Khan, Islamic extremists will be strengthened.
If Musharraf is killed or overthrown, Pakistan's knowledge of how to make
the bomb will be available to any group who holds a grudge against Washington.
memorandum on Pakistan's nuclear operations
of an alleged intelligence document implicating Khan
Malaysian factories producing "dual-use" equipment for Libya's
House spokesman Scott McClellan reaffirms the administration's faith in
Claude Salhani asks why the administration is not more upset
Security's John Pike recaps the Pakistan nuclear program
asks if Pakistan's nuclear threat isn't more dangerous than Al Qaeda
ALSO UNDER ATTACK
premier Vladimir Putin appeared to be taking a lesson from the Bush administration
when he reacted to Moscow's deadly explosion on a Moscow metro subway
which killed 39 people (unofficial estimates put the actual casualty figures
at from 50 to 120 killed with another 100 wounded). Moscow doesn't talk
with terrorists, Putin declared, it destroys them. The Moscow Times now
reports that Russian intelligence officers from the FSB may have been
tipped off in advance that an attack was coming. The Times says that one
theory in circulation is that the bomb may have been set by an agent of
Georgia's breakaway Abkhazi Republic, who wanted to create the impression
that it had been carried out by Chechens based in Georgia's lawless Pankasi
Pass. The FSB says it is still carrying out an investigation. (Moscow
Times, February 10, 2004)
a lack of confidence in Russia's justice system aiding the terrorists?
Nikolai Zlobin comments in Nezavisimaya Gazeta (Zlobin, Center for
Defense Information, February 9, 2004)
CONNECTION BETWEEN ARIEL SHARON AND GEORGE BUSH
Israel's Ariel Sharon has visited the White House more often than
any other foreign leader. To a certain extent, what is clearly a warm
friendship is based on shared experiences, interests and understanding.
Both men are neoconservatives. Both are criticized for similar reasons.
If the Democrats win the next election, Sharon may find the going a great
deal tougher. He has every reason to want to give the president all the
support he can.
(Brad Burston, in Haaretz, February 10, 2004)
TO RETURN, OR NOT
At the root of the Israeli-Palestine dispute is the demand by Palestinian
refugees to return to their original homeland. Given the increase in population,
the right of return would spell the end of Israel's identity as a Jewish
state. In the ongoing dispute both sides have valid arguments mixed with
some notions that may be open to question. The International Crisis Group
explores the issue, and what can be done. (ICG, February 5, 2004)
ANXIETY OVER FLYING
airline take-offs and landings to be a white-knuckle experience? Things
are about to get a lot worse. the world is experiencing a sudden proliferation
of shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles--the perfect tool for terrorists.
The Center for Strategic and International Studies provides a concise
wrap-up of the growing threat which is already making its presence felt
in Iraq. (CSIS, February 2004)
or more killed and dozens wounded in latest Iraq attacks
dead and wounded from a car bomb at Iskandaria, 25 kilometers south of
Baghdad, included a crowd of potential recruits who had lined up outside
an Iraqi police station.That bomb was followed by another car bomb that
killed at least 25 people outside an Army recruiting station that was
actually in Baghdad. Despite the administration's determination to exit
Iraq in June, opponents of U.S. policy now seem determined to prolong
the American occupation into a bloody protracted civil war that will make
any kind of graceful exit nearly impossible. Casualties among Iraqi civilians
have been increasing exponentially. (BBC, Feb. 10, 2004)
AT THE PUBLIC TROUGH
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman writing in the New York Review of
Books notes that the Bush family differs from other dynasties in its readiness
to turn personal profit from national calamity.
Writes Krugman," ...As all the world knows, Halliburton, the company
that made Dick Cheney rich, has been given multibillion-dollar contracts,
without competitive bidding, in occupied Iraq. Suspicions of profiteering
are widespread; critics think they have found a smoking gun in the case
of gasoline imports. For Halliburton has been charging the US authorities
in Iraq remarkably high prices for fuel—far above local spot prices.
The company denies wrongdoing, saying that its prices in Baghdad reflect
the prices it has to pay its Kuwaiti supplier. That's not quite true;
Halliburton's reported expenses for transporting gasoline are, for some
reason, much higher than anyone else's. But the real question is why Halliburton
chose that particular supplier—a company with little experience
in the oil business, mysteriously selected as the sole source of gasoline
after what appears to have been a highly improper bidding procedure. Why
did it get the job? We don't know. But it's interesting to note that the
company appears to be closely connected with the al-Sabahs, Kuwait's royal
family. And the al-Sabahs, in turn, have in the past had close business
ties with the Bush family, in particular the President's brother Marvin.
In any previous administration—at least any administration of the
past seventy years—this sort of incestuous relationship among foreign
governments, private businesses, and the personal fortunes of people in
or close to the US government would have been considered unusual and prima
facie scandalous. What we learn from Kevin Phillips's new book, however,
is that this kind of intertwining of public policy and personal self-interest
has been standard operating procedure not just for George W. Bush, but
for his entire family..."
Krugman in The New York Review of Books, February 26, 2004.
Security Policy Working Group
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