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Children in Beslan, Northern Ossetia, touch photographs of their classmates killed in the terrorist hostage-taking
RUSSIA SHOWS TERRORIST VIDEO OF HOSTAGES INSIDE BASLAN SCHOOL HOUSE
The casualties from the Russian Army's abortive attempt to end a hostage situation in Northern Ossetia ended unexpectedly in tragedy. It now appears that more than 1,000 parents and children were being held by Chechen rebels in scorching heat inside a school gymnasium. The BBC has been running the video (available on line) apparently taken by a Chechen terrorist inside the school showing hundreds of parents and children crowded into the explosive-rigged gymnasium early on in the hostage situation. Casualties were at least 330 dead, half of them children. 106 bodies were charred beyond recognition and at least 200 more people are still missing. (BBC, September 7, 2004)
Izvestia carried the best coverage of the hostage crisis. Its editor was subsequently forced to resign.
KREMLIN POLICIES ACTED AS A CATALYST
The conflict over Chechnya has become increasingly ferocious ever since Vladimir Putin opted for force as a means of crushing Chechen independence. Putin's strategy hasn't worked. As the violence and collateral damage has steadily escalated on both sides, any shreds of restraint by Moscow or the Chechens have vanished.
Peter K. Forster, writing for Eurasianet, analyzes where Putin's strategy went wrong. (Peter K. Forster, Eurasianet.org 09/02/04)
QUESTIONS ABOUT AN ARAB CONNECTION IN THE BESLAN SIEGE
Russian authorities report that nine of the terrorists were Arabs. A tenth was African, opening the possibility of an Al Qaeda connection. Russia already spends a third of its budget on security. The incident raises questions about whether it is getting its money's worth. (Jeremy Bransten, Eurasianet, September 7, 2004)
Arthur Schlessinger, writing in the New York Review of Books, reviews several new books on the Vulcans, that informal group of neoconservative dreamers determined to sidetrack the United States into a potentially disastrous war. Underlying the various maneuvers and petty deceptions was Plato's concept of the "noble lie" as expounded by Leo Strauss, and a belief that the "philosopher-king" might be more effective in the long run than America's traditionally messy notions of democracy.
(Arthur Schlessinger, The New York Review of Books, September 2004)
BLUNDERING INTO BAGHDAD
Larry Diamond points out in the current issue of Foreign Affairs that the consequences of serious mistakes made during the early phases of the U.S. occupation of Iraq are now becoming more apparent. (Larry Diamond, Foreign Affairs, September-october 2004)
BRITAIN'S CHATHAM HOUSE BRIEFS ON IRAQ
The default outcome in Iraq is likely to be fragmentation. Two other alternatives are a gradually strengthening national government which can maintain control, or, even better, a situation that leads to a democratic renaissance in the Middle East. If Iraq fails, the consequences for the United States could be far greater than Iraq itself. Virtually all the countries in the region would have to reassess their relations with the U.S. (Chatham House, September, 2004)
FIXING THE TRANSATLANTIC DIALOGUE ON INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM
U.S. and European cooperation on fighting terrorism is being hindered by radically different views in Washington and Europe over the root causes of the problem. A new report by the Center for International and Strategic Studies suggests that the weakening relationship is making everyone vulnerable. (CSIS, August 31, 2004)
THE FINANCIAL TIMES REPORTS THAT THE WHITEHOUSE IS PRESSURING THE F.B.I. TO GO SLOW ON ITS INVESTIGATION OF ISRAELI AGAINST THE U.S.
According to the FT, the White House is attempting to block an investigation that could involve high ranking neoconservative administration officials. The FT reports that the neocons, who campaigned to get the U.S. into the war in Iraq, have now fallen out of favor, but election politics still offers them a degree of protection from an investigation that could prove embarrassing. (Guy Dinmore, Financial Times, September 8, 2004)
•The Toronto Sun reports that FBI investigation is circling around key Pentagon figures.(Eric Margolis, The Toronto Sun, September 5, 2004)
ELIZABETH DREW ON THE WHITEHOUSE'S BATTLE WITH THE 9/11 REPORT
The biggest division within the commission was over how hard to press the administration to reveal information. Gradually an impression of chaos emerges, with the president concentrating its energies on explaining the mishap to the public rather than taking charge of a dangerous situation. (Elizabeth Drew, The New York Review of Books, September 2004)
By denying a visa to a Swiss theologian, who had been offered a visiting professorship at Notre Dame University, and who also happens to be one of the most recognized Muslim thinkers in Europe, the Department of Homeland Security raises new questions about its judgment. (Jonathan Laurence, the Forward (via Brookings), September 3, 2004).
GETTING THE REST OF THE WORLD TO GO ALONG WITH THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION'S GLOBAL MISSILE DEFENSE SYSTEM
Nicole C. Evans notes in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists that the Bush administration has successfully managed to fuzz the difference between limited theater missile defense systems and more comprehensive national missile defense systems which raise important questions about strategic balance. As a result of the confusion, more countries are tacitly accepting the U.S. program--if only to stay on good relations with Washington. Evans analyzes Russia and China's reactions to the U.S. approach. (Nicole C. Evans, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, September 2004)
ISRAEL RETHINKS ITS DEFENSE STRATEGY
In a strategy rethink that recalls Donald Rumsfeld's reshaping of the Pentagon, Israel is now planning to shift its defense strategy to a higher reliance on technology and less emphasis on manpower. (Haaretz, September 7, 2004)
Iraqi teenagers burn an American flag to show their disdain for the United States
AMERICAN DEATHS IN IRAQ PASS THE 1000 MARK
The Bush administration had clearly hoped to be finished with Iraq before casualties reached the magic number of 1,000. It hasn't worked out that way. When President Bush announced that the war was over, only 138 American military personnel had died. The casualty rate is now averaging two American soldiers killed each day. More than 7,000 have been wounded. Several thousand have been made invalids for life. As many as 12,000 to 14,000 Iraqis may have died.
It is becoming increasingly obvious that, as in the case of Vladimir Putin's misadventure in Chechnya, the war is increasing rather than diminishing the threat of international terrorism. It is no longer clear why the war is being fought, or when it will be over. What is undeniable is that President Bush's war has now killed a third as many Americans as Osama Bin Laden's attack on the World Trade Center. It has killed four times as many Iraqis. Donald Rumsfeld, questioned by reporters at a Pentagon news conference, attempted to focus on the events in Russia, and then insisted that U.S. deaths had been offset by terrorist attacks elsewhere.
Read a transcript of Rumsfeld's news conference here...
"In Defense of Internment: The Case for Racial Profiling in World War II and the War on Terror"
The Heritage Foundation is clearly enthusiastic about a new book by Fox News contributor, Michelle Malkin, who "debunks radical ethnic alarmists" in her new book, In Defense of Internment: The Case for Racial Profiling in World War II and the War on Terror , which seeks to counter the "misguided guilt" felt by some Americans over the internment of thousands of Japanese-Americans during World War II. Malkin is slated to speak at the Heritage Foundation's Lehrman Auditorium in Washington D.C. at 12:00 noon on September 15.
Click here for more information from the Heritage Foundation website
BUSH AND MUSLIMS?
Reactions to the White House's attempt to portray President Bush as a friend of Muslims has ranged from hilarity to outrage. (Rachel Zoll, AP, September 4, 2004)
Check out MuslimsforBush.com