Greene saw American foreign policy as well intentioned, but dangerously
simplistic. Americans mean well, Greene suggested, they just rarely
see the long-term consequences of their actions. No one really intends
for innocent civilians in far off places to die. It just happens that
way. Washington failed to heed the warning in Greene's story and some
50,000 American servicemen and two to three million Vietnamese died
as a result. The film version,
starring Michael Caine and Brendan Fraser,
has just premiered in Hanoi. Miramax held the film back for nearly
a year after 9/11. In Vietnam the film has turned out to be a major
successone of the rare occasions when Hollywood actually got
The BBC, December 17, 2002
OWN BRAND OF TARGETED ASSASSINATION
the latest policy directives, the CIA is now authorized to kill anyone
on an expanding list of terrorist suspects without needing to obtain
further authorization from the president. Even though the CIA is no
longer legally required to bother White House before carrying out
targeted assassinations, administration officials insist that the
CIA is making a serious effort to keep the president up to date. The
new policy gets around a presidential directive against assassination
in general by redefining terrorist suspects on the lethal hit list
as "enemy combatants." The process by which the decision
is made as to who warrants lethal treatment from the CIA remains secret
for national security reasons.
The New York Times, December 15, 2002
SALIM SINAN AL-HARETHI NEVER KNEW WHAT HIT HIM
hellfire rocket that slammed into the terrorist suspect Qaed Salim
Sinan Al-Harethi's car on a remote road in Yemen last October was
fired by remote control from an unmanned Predator drone based at a
U.S. headquarters in Djibouti. After the killing, Yemeni intelligence
agents waiting in a nearby helicopter retrieved the charred bodies
of al-Harethi so that an American agent back in Saana could take DNA
samples for processing in the U.S.
Seymour Hersh describes assassination by remote control in The New
Yorker, December 16, 2002.
JUSTIFICATIONS FOR THE WAR AGAINST TERRORISM
Legal argument for suspending due process when it comes to terrorist
suspects depends to a large extent on the premise that the U.S. is
now officially at war and that any one who actively opposes the U.S.
is an enemy combatant. Anthony Dworkin interviews Charles Allen, the
Pentagons Deputy General Counsel for International Affairs.
Anthony Dworkin, Crimes of War.org, December 16, 2002
PORK BARREL. GOODBYE MR. SMITH
fever and a Congress dominated by a single party has cleared the way
for a flood of lucrative deals. Former Congressional senior defense
analyst, Winslow T. Wheeler, better known by his pen name, "Spartacus,"
deconstructs the upcoming feeding frenzy. Wheelers 53-page pamphlet,
"Mr. Smith Is Dead," is available on-line from the Center
for Defense Information in pdf format.
Winslow T. Wheeler, Center for Defense Information, December 2002
SADDAM REALLY BEYOND DETERRENCE?
The Bush administrations
main argument for launching the U.S. into a war with Iraq is that
even though Saddam lacks nuclear weapons now, he might have them in
the future, and in any case Saddam is too dangerous to ignore. In
an article that will appear in Foreign Policy on December 31, John
Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt argue that Saddams past history
demonstrates that he can be contained, and at a fraction of the cost
of starting a full scale war.
John Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt in Foreign Policy, December 31,
may not be possible to stop a determined suicide bomber, but the terrorist
movements like Al Qaeda are susceptible to pressure. The RAND corporation
publishes a 99-page study sponsored by the Pentagons DARPA.
RAND, December 2002 (this is a large
file. it takes some time to load up)
GAIN IS STATE DEPARTMENTS LOSS IN ELLIOTT ABRAMS APPOINTMENT
TO NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL
appointment of Iran-Contra veteran Elliott Abrams to be chief advisor
on the Middle East to the NSC comes as another blow to the State Department
which, backed by the CIA and leading U.S. military commanders, is
arguing for a lower key approach to Iraq. Abrams replaces Zalmay Khalilzad,
whose views on the Middle East were considered too moderate by neo-conservatives.
It is unlikely that Abrams will have that problem. He opposed the
Oslo peace process and advocates proactive U.S. support for Israel
rather than the lower key profile of neutral mediator.
GROWS TO POSTWAR U.S. ROLE IN BAGHDAD
300 delegates at a U.S.-sponsored meeting of Iraqi opposition leaders
in London this weekend have had difficulty agreeing on a number of
key issues. The one thing that they all do come together on is a reluctance
once Saddam is gone to see the U.S. wearing out its welcome in Baghdad
or trying to parachute in a government in exile. The Kurds have volunteered
to put 10,000 men on Baghdad's streets to make their point.
By Ian Urbina, Asia Times, December 16, 2002
VOTE RIGGING SCANDAL COMPLICATES ISRAELI ELECTION PROSPECTS.
that the Likud used underworld connections to buy votes in the Knesset
may weaken the party enough to clear the way for another unity government.
Whatever the outcome, the betting is that Israel's Teflon Prime Minister
Ariel Sharon will be able to turn the scandal to his own advantage.
Ha'aretz, December 17, 2002
CENTRAL ASIAS POLICE UP TO SPEED
most of the region is rapidly evolving, national police departments
are still stuck in the failed habits and techniques of the former-Soviet
era. Providing up-to-date equipment for anti-narcotics operations,
etc., is pointless without a major reassessment of how the police
fit in a new economic and social context. The problem takes on an
added importance because police tend to play a more visible role in
the region than the military.
The International Crisis Group, December 10, 2002
memorandum from Edward Aldridge, undersecretary of defense for acquisition,
technology and logistics, hints that the U.S. may be considering the
resumption of low-yield nuclear tests in order to assure the reliability
of its aging nuclear stockpile.
By Christine Kucia in Arms Control Today, Dec. 2002
A complex deal
intended to put an end to civil war in the Democratic Republic of
the Congo will leave president Joseph Kabila in place for the next
two years, but will also assign government posts to rebel leaders.
While skeptics predict that the deal is too complex to last, the war,
which has killed two million people in the last four years, has exhausted
all sides to such an extent that peace might have a chance. BBC December
worlds fourth largest country, Indonesia has an important role
to play in the stability of the Pacific region, yet the country seems
to be on the point of breaking apart. Indonesias military is
a large part of the problem, and possibly the solution. The RAND corporation
has just published a book-length analysis, downloadable in pdf format.
RAND, December 2002
INSIGHTS INTO INDONESIAS PREMIER TERRORIST NETWORK
investigation into the Bali bombing has resulted in a much clearer
picture of how the Jemaah IslamiyaIndonesias premier Muslim
extremist organizationactually functions. A deep rift in the
organization, and a new tendency to attack westerners are recent developments.
One question raised by the new analysis is whether Indonesias
intelligence agencies had far more information about the extent of
the threat than they previously admitted.
The International Crisis Group, December 10, 2002
Washington policy planners trying to concentrate on Iraq, the last
thing they needed was a distracting crisis in North Korea. Pyongyangs
open declaration that it plans to follow its own nuclear program is
making its neighbors nervous, but in contrast to its dispute with
Iraq, the U.S. doesnt really have a military option, and is
reluctant to offer economic incentives. The London-based International
Institute of Strategic Studies analyzes the meager US policy options.
IISS December 2002.
CASE YOU MISSED IT:
MUCH WILL WAR WITH IRAQ COST IN OIL TERMS?
matter how successful, an attack against Iraq is likely to affect
oil supplies. The Center for Strategic and International Studies sketches
out four different scenarios.
CSIS November 12, 2002
CSISs Anthony Cordesman assesses the risks involved
PRIMER ON IRAQI ARMS INSPECTIONS
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists provides a retrospective series
of articles on the attempts to determine how close Saddam actually
is to developing a weapon of mass destruction.