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Davids Medienkritik reports that Spiegel Online is rather loosely translating its articles from German to English. A headline about Iraq at Spiegel Online's English website asks, "Is the Country Heading for Civil War?" However: [Read More]

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Thanks to the Instapundit for spotlighting this excellent blog that specializes on the German political press. The post in question spotlights the very different stances presented to the German and English audiences. As the author notes, Yasser Arafa... [Read More]

Comments

A few positive Iraq progress figures for a change: http://truckandbarter.com/mt/archives/2005/07/why_i_hate_them.html

Rather than your "parallel reality", "fantasy" would be a more accurate description. And I mean this technically. I normally like fantasy in the faerie sense, i.e., pretend or other worldly --- with none of the constraints imposed by this world.

and here: a "not-so-positive" comment
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4692881.stm

even if not covering the iraq civil war threat, this URL might contain another "differing opinion" (it is about Pakistan-India-USofA and how to efficiently interpret the NPT in order to keep rogue states being rogue states)
http://atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/GG28Df02.html

I just had an interesting couple of conversations with a German internet "pal". In the first one, he informed me that we Americans should immediately impeach our President because he lied; but not only that,get rid of all of the people in Congress and the Cabinet who supported Bush; and hold special elections. He had some interesting fantasies about what would happen next. He was very annoyed when I told him that our Consitution prohibits that.

With an attitude like that, I should not be surprised to learn that he thinks the German media's coverage of GW and America's war in Iraq is fair and unbiased. And yes, he has had the gall to tell me that he does not hate Americans, just GW in one breath and slam America and Americans in another.

If it wasn't for this blog, I would be tempted to think that all Germans were like him. Thank goodness this blog makes me see that isn't true.

Hello Ray,

back in march Cheney said 'Iraq insurgency is in it last throes' and now you tell me that 'The nation is still years from being a peaceful and stable democracy'? I'm just surprised that you oppose your Vice President.

Cheers,J.

Hi -

'tis simple: ignorance and sophistry reign supreme in the land of those great thinkers.

I've been in Germany for over 20 years now and have had to deal with German journalists fairly regularly. What always appears is a great ignorance about fundamentals of the US (what, the President isn't appointed by his party?), coupled with a love of their own world-constructs, far removed from reality.

I've got a post up on my blog that covers my impression of what sophistry has meant to the Democratic party in the US: I think that it applies equally well to most of Europe as well, our friends in the UK of course largely excepted.

John

PS: Here is the URL

http://21stcenturyschizoidman.blogspot.com/2005/06/just-observation.html

"Positive events such as the rebuilding of schools, hospitals, power-plants and roads or the nation's economic growth or the sinking US casualty rate or efforts to draft a constitution with the Sunnis are meticulously avoided and omitted. And this is the fundamental problem with much of the German media's reporting on Iraq today".


Wow
perhabs we (especialy you) should all go to Iraq it must be paradise.

You and nearly every company on that planet don´t want to do that. I can´t quite understand why when everything is fine?

I really love this suprising visits of US officials without announcement.

by the way the number of iraqi casualties is not sinking and if you look at the US numbers i can not see a trend.
http://icasualties.org/oif/

But perhabs i don´t belive enough as you do.

"by the way the number of iraqi casualties is not sinking"

the iraqi casualties do not count for Ray D., if they get killed it is just fine with him, he is only concerned about a rising "american" death toll!
The trick is simple: get some dumb, jobless, hopeless, desperate iraqis, get them a crash-course in police or military training and send them to the front line of this mess and let them be the "kanonenfutter" for the insurgents! voila
thats how to avoid a rising american death toll

ooops

"Just because today's German media barely reports on Saddam's genocidal mass-murder of Kurds and Shiites, doesn't mean that these acts of barbarism didn't happen"

Ray - you may want to research on the lefto-nized WELT for the key words "irak massengrab". Or, for your convenience, just copy-paste this URL into your browser:
http://www.welt.de/z/search/index.php/welt_advanced_search?q=irak+massengrab+&ds=date

it also is true that browsing international media, you find some very interesting (yet similar) "other opinions" regarding the so-called progress in iraq...

What is the left’s with the USA anyway ?

No other country has been nicer to muslims then the USA, not even France.
- the USA has backed bosnian and kosovo muslims against croats, serbs, russians and the EU
- the USA tries to bring Turkey into the EU, against the will of the EU nations themselves
- the USA has defended a range of jihads in the former soviet republics
- the USA has come to the defence of countless arab minorities, to begin with the palestinians. Even now, they keep repeating this people that has never existed deserves a homeland.

Then muslims began to realise how completely retarded their societies were, and that even with the help from the strongest society in history, they still could not defeat any of their enemies, not even tiny Israel. That frustration is the basis of islamic terrorism, "the frustrated jealous sub elites". Very similar to socialists in Europe who are blinded by jealousy of American capitalism; that's why they go together so well, they have the same inferiority complex, I mean inferiority realisation.

Islamic terrorism had been battled before 911 with conferences and massive concessions from all non-islamic societies.

Then came 911, which proved that islamists, like socialists and communists, are not only an ideology of savage losers, but they can be dangerous too. At that point, the tables had turned and the USA began an offensive against islamic terrorism.

The same tactic is used against islamic terrorism as against all former enemies of the USA :
- defeat the enemy
- bring in democracy

This tactic has worked against socialists in Germany, fascists in Japan and Italy, and is working with communists in Russia, China, Vietnam etc. Cuba will follow from the moment Fidel dies. Why shouldn't this tactic work with islamists, if it even worked with much more violent and developed ideologies ?

Of course it will work, most muslims are not raging lunatics, and you can expect Iraq to be a tourist location within 10 to 30 years. Remember Russia and China are also still evolving 16 years after the Berlin Wall fell.

The utopian expectations about Iraq being a paradise exclusively come from the left, particularly when it's socialist leader Saddam was still in charge. How they loved it ! But then again, that's why they are called the LLL !

Now, if you're against the spread of democracy, just say it. If you're not, hold your criticism and try at least to have a little bit of faith in the people who do all they can to realise it. Communism can be imposed in several weeks by killing off half the population; democracy doesn't work that way so you'll have to wait a little bit longer.

oops "What is the left's PROBLEM with the USA anyway"

Yeah, all the 'negativity' really sucks.

Why don't everybody realize that people are dancing and singing in the streets of Baghdad out of thankfulness to Mr. Bush - all of those folks getting their heads chopped off and being blown to pieces by the ol' daily suicide attack really can't spoil the fun.

By the way, where's Bin Laden? Wasn't he the guy behind 9/11 (happened almost 4 years ago, he's throwin' parties over there in Pakistan atm)?

Oh, and by the way, Iraq's government installed Islamic Law as a basis for every political decision - oh, beautiful Islamic Law ... prepare for an Iran-style theocracy, now coming in Iraq! Things are really looking good, thanks to the 'spread of democracy' ... *lol*

Ah, I almost forgot, the Taliban are reappearing in Afghanistan, women are being stoned to death again for adultery. Thank you Mr. Bush for keeping yet another promise ... sadly you pulled away forces from fighting the Taliban in order to invade the WRONG COUNTRY! *lol*

Shouldn't have listened to all those chicken-hawk right-wingers who thought going into Iraq was a good idea ... but how could you know, being a chicken-hawk draft-dodger yourself and all ...

A majority of Americans don't seem to think all is well over in Iraq ... in fact, most think it was a mistake ... but hey - they're just ANTI-AMERICAN LIBERALS, aren't they ...

Hey Ray D., since all the fun happens in Iraq, when will YOU go over there and report exclusively for us on all the progress, so that we don't have to rely on the biased German and US liberal media?


Highly applicable, came out yesterday.


Al Qaeda's Global Campaign: Tet Offensive or Battle of the Bulge?

A spate of attacks have occurred recently that we attribute to al Qaeda. In addition to the two rounds of attacks in London this month and the bombings at Sharm el Sheikh, we have seen ongoing suicide bombings in Afghanistan and Iraq that targeted government officials, the bombing of a Sufi shrine in Islamabad, the abduction and murder of an Iranian security official and other killings in the Muslim world. In addition, we have seen an intensification of attacks in Iraq by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's al Qaeda-linked faction. We are not great believers in coincidence and therefore regard these incidents as being coordinated. The degree of coordination and the method whereby coordination is achieved is murky, and not really material. But that we are experiencing an offensive by al Qaeda is clear.

At issue is the nature of the offensive. To put the matter simply, do these attacks indicate the ongoing, undiminished strength of al Qaeda, or do they represent a final, desperate counterattack -- both within Iraq and globally -- to attempt to reverse al Qaeda's fortunes? In our view, the latter is the case. Al Qaeda, having been hammered over the past four years, and al-Zarqawi, facing the defection of large segments of his Sunni base of support, are engaged in a desperate attempt to reverse the course of the war. It is not clear that they will fail; such counter-offensives have succeeded in recent years. The question is whether this is a Tet offensive or a Battle of the Bulge.

To begin to answer that, we need to consider these two offensives.

In warfare, as one side is being pressed to the point of no return, the classic maneuver is to marshal all available strength for an offensive designed to turn the tide. The offensive has a high probability of military failure and, therefore, would not be attempted until military defeat or an unacceptable political outcome appeared inevitable. The goal is to inflict a blow so striking that it throws the other side off balance. More important, it should create a crisis of confidence in the enemy's command structure and its political base. It should be a surprise attack, causing commanders to question their intelligence organizations' appreciation of the other side's condition. It should have a significant military impact. Above all, it should redefine the enemy public's perception of the course of the war. Ideally, it should set the stage for a military victory -- but more probably, it would set the stage for a political settlement.

In December 1944, the Germans understood they were going to be defeated by the spring of 1945, when Soviet and Anglo-American forces would simultaneously smash into Germany. They gathered what force they had to attempt a surprise counterattack. Anglo-American intelligence organizations had concluded that the Germans were finished. The Germans took advantage of this by striking through the Ardennes forest. Their goal was the port of Antwerp.

The fall of Antwerp -- or at least, the ability to interfere with access to the port -- would not have defeated the Allies. However, it would have constrained Allied offensive operations and forced postponement of the spring offensive. It also would have shaken the confidence in the Allied high command and both Roosevelt and Churchill. The unexpected nature of the offensive would have created a political crisis and opened the door to either a redefinition of Allied war aims or, possibly, a separate peace in the West.

From a military standpoint, the attack was a long shot, but not a preposterous one. Had the Germans crossed the Meuse River, they could have approached Antwerp at least. In the event, if we consider the panic that gripped the Allied high command even without the Germans reaching the Meuse, their crossing of it would have had massive repercussions. Whether it would have had political consequences is unclear. As it was, the offensive failed in the first days. It was liquidated in a matter of weeks, and the war concluded catastrophically for Germany.

A more successful example of a terminal offensive was the North Vietnamese offensive in February 1968. The Johnson administration had been arguing, with some logic, that the North Vietnamese forces were being worn down effectively by the United States, and that they were on the defensive and declining. The Tet offensive was intended to reverse the waning fortunes of the North Vietnamese. There were a number of goals. First and foremost, the offensive was designed to demonstrate to all parties that the North Vietnamese retained a massive offensive capability. It was intended to drive a wedge between U.S. commanders in Saigon and the political leaders in Washington by demonstrating that the Saigon command was providing misleading analysis. Finally, it was intended to drive a wedge between the Johnson administration and the American public.

From a strictly military standpoint, Tet was a complete disaster. It squandered scarce resources on an offensive that neither reduced U.S. strength nor gained and held strategic objectives. After the offensive was over, the North Vietnamese army was back where it had started, with far fewer troops or supplies.

From the political point of view, however, it was wildly successful. A chasm opened between the civilian leadership in Washington and Gen. William Westmoreland in Saigon. Westmoreland's rejection of intelligence analyses pointing to an offensive undermined confidence in him. Far more important, Johnson's speeches about lights at the end of the tunnel lost all credibility, in spite of the fact that he wasn't altogether wrong. The apparent success of the Tet offensive forced a re-evaluation of American strategy in Vietnam, Johnson's decision not to stand for re-election and a general sense that the U.S. government had vastly underestimated the strength and tenacity of the North Vietnamese.

Declining military fortunes force combatants to consider political solutions. At that point, military action becomes focused on three things:

1. Demonstrating to all concerned that you retain effective offensive capabilities.
2. Convincing the enemy that a military solution is impossible.
3. Creating a political atmosphere in which negotiations and/or military victory are possible.>

In their Ardennes offensive in 1944, the Germans failed in the first goal and therefore could not achieve the others. In the case of the Tet offensive, Americans became convinced that the North Vietnamese could still mount offensives, could not be defeated and therefore had to be negotiated with. The negotiations and truce bought the North Vietnamese time to regroup, reinforce and bring the war to a satisfactory solution (from their standpoint).

Vietnam's guerrilla warfare bears little resemblance to the massed, combined arms conflict in World War II. Neither even slightly reflects the global covert offensive mounted by al Qaeda, nor the asymmetric response of the United States. Nevertheless, all wars share common characteristics:

1. A political object -- for example, domination of Europe, unification of Vietnam, creation of radical Islamist states in the Muslim world.
2. All use the military means at hand to achieve these goals.
3. In all wars, one side or the other reaches a point beyond which there is only defeat. That point calls for the final offensive to be launched.
4. The offensive is not hopeless, but its ends are primarily political rather than military. Its goal is to redefine the enemy's psychology as well as bolster the spirits of one's own forces.

The key to success, at that point, is two-fold. First, the offensive must appear to be an ongoing operation. It cannot appear to be a hastily contrived, desperation move. The Germans didn't succeed in this at the Battle of the Bulge. The North Vietnamese did at Tet. Second, the offensive must have the desired psychological effect: It must reverse the enemy's expectation of victory. The claims by civil and military leaders on the other side that the war is under control must be discredited.

It has been our view for months that the United States is winning -- not has won -- the U.S.-jihadist war. Events in the recent past have reinforced our view. In Iraq, for example, the decision by a large segment of the Sunni leadership to join in the political process has posed a mortal challenge to the jihadists. They depend on the Sunni community to provide sanctuary, recruits and supplies. If any large segment of the Sunni community abandons them, their ability to wage war -- on the scale it is currently being waged -- is undermined. They will, however, be able to sustain a much smaller and less politically significant scale of operations.

In the broader, global fight, al Qaeda continues to face this reality. There has not been a single revolution overthrowing a Muslim government in favor of a radical/militant Islamist regime. In fact, the bulk of the Muslim states are actively cooperating with the United States. The primary intent of the radical and militant Islamists, which is to create a caliphate based on at least one significant Muslim state, has been completely thwarted. This point has not been missed in the Islamic world.

At this point, al Qaeda needs to launch a counteroffensive on a global scale that is designed to demonstrate its viability as a paramilitary force. People tend to denigrate the complexity of terrorist operations. The complexity is not in the willingness to blow oneself up, however -- the complexity is in acquiring explosives, transmitting messages internationally and generally going undetected. The 9-11 attacks were a superbly executed operation. Al Qaeda has set a standard of credibility for itself, and to create the reversal of fortunes it requires, it must carry out an operation on that order.

Yet since the Sept. 11 attacks, the scale of al Qaeda's operations outside the Islamic world has declined. Al Qaeda badly needs to re-establish its credibility and recapture its earlier momentum by mounting an attack on the scale of 9-11 or beyond. There is not only no need to delay, but every incentive to move as quickly as possible. They need this for political reasons, but also because the pressure from national intelligence agencies is such that to wait is to risk losing the operational team (if one is ready to strike). If they have a nuclear weapon, for example, the longer they wait to use it, the more likely it is to be captured in transit to its target. The pressure is on for al Qaeda to act as quickly and as effectively as it can.

The London attacks were a failure. It's not only that the Tube attacks lacked the ferocity of 9-11. However tragic the loss of life, the first attack was a work of mediocre effectiveness, while the 7/21 attempt was a joke. The attacks elsewhere, particularly at Sharm el Sheikh, were more effective, but still didn't rise to the levels required to establish credibility.

What al Qaeda has demonstrated is that its available assets, particularly outside the Islamic world, lack the skill and sophistication to even come close to the level of the Madrid attacks, let alone those in New York. Their attempt to increase the tempo of operations has led them to use untrained and unsuitable personnel. They have not achieved the psychological ends they wish.

Al Qaeda has one hope. If the ability to mount modest terrorist operations with increased frequency convinces its enemies that it is more viable than was thought, at that point they will begin to be successful. That perception will transfer to the Muslim world and with that, al Qaeda could recover the credibility it needs to continue to wage war. At the moment, however, that doesn't seem to be happening. The major political result of London, for example, has been a tendency among Muslim leaders to condemn the attacks in numbers and vehemence rarely seen before. Al Qaeda's glory days seem to be behind it.

Which means that al Qaeda must up the ante if they can. We do not believe they will be able to do so. More precisely, if they had the ability, there have been so many other moments to have acted, it seems odd that they didn't. We also doubt that they have recently acquired the means to attack. They are under heavy pressure, and it is harder for them to grow than it was before. There are al Qaeda sympathizers, but al Qaeda has maintained its internal security by not growing. They are relying on untrained sympathizers to carry out missions. It is hard to believe that they have much left in their kit.

Still, the outcome of any last-ditch offensive is uncertain. The very fact that it is happening can panic enemy forces or drive a wedge between the government and military, and between government and the public. Bush's popularity is slipping, and the perception that al Qaeda is waging a successful and unstoppable offensive could suddenly undermine his position. He is vulnerable at the moment. But thus far, the attempt at a global Tet offensive has failed to rise to the level of credibility required. Al Qaeda must do something of substantial significance before the summer ends, or see its position in Iraq and in other places deteriorate rapidly.

As with the Germans and Vietnamese, al Qaeda's time of mortal crisis is their time of maximum available effort. We doubt that they can pull this off, but we will wait until September to see.

@ James:

Give us the link please.

@ JoeII, you write:

"Hello Ray,

back in march Cheney said 'Iraq insurgency is in it last throes' and now you tell me that 'The nation is still years from being a peaceful and stable democracy'? I'm just surprised that you oppose your Vice President."

As a matter of fact, I saw the very interview in which Cheney said the insurgency was "in its last throes" and my immediate gut reaction was that it was a bad idea for him to make that statement. That is because it is my belief that one should never underestimate ones opponent. Politically, there are a number of issues on which I do not find myself in agreement with the Bush administration or the Republican party. I guess you must have missed this post of mine.

Al Qaeda plays a strange game :

The BEST they can achieve is American retreat and disinterest in the muslim world. The consequences would be disastrous for muslims around the world :
- Palestinians will be treated much more violently by Israelis
- Russia will increase its offences in Chechnya
- Kosovo, Albania and Bosnian muslims will lose their support from the USA and will be ethnically cleansed out of the Balkans
- Turkey won't be allowed to the EU
- the rising power of India will destroy all dissent in Kashmir
- the same will happen with muslims in Xingjian-China
Further marginalisation in Europe will almost certainly occur.

That's the BEST they can achieve.

The worst will be to REALLY piss of the USA. Then they won't only have all the non-democracies of the world on their backs, but also their only friend left. Do they REALLY think anyone fears the "caliphate" or the "umma" ? What a joke. These guys need a reality check, their belief system of a muslim world power begins to resemble a complete hallucination. Have they been too long in the sun or what ?

@Ray

Sorry, it's a paid-for service: a link wouldn't help the reader. That's why I posted the whole kit and caboodle herein...

I always find these comments to be so interesting. They seem to express a point of view which one can easily detect the prism used by the author to view the world.

If the BBC is used as a news source, then the author has chosen a source, which will present events in Iraq and in the ME in general as negative. Remember this is the media source that cannot bring itself to use the term terrorist when reporting on the bombings in London. If the indiscriminate killing of innocent women and children is not an act of terror I personally do not know what is.

It makes one wonder just what action would have to occur to be called an act of terror.

The poster follows this up with a comment about rogue nations. In this case the current US/India nuclear negotiations. The author refers to a link which is an opinion piece calling India a rogue nation. This particular piece was actually written for publication in Foreign Policy In Focus (FPIF). This is a left wing think tank and part of the blame America first crowd. When it does tend to favor a position the US takes it aligns itself with the left wing of the democratic party.

It would appear then the largest democratic nation in the world; a member of the G4 who seeks a UNSC seat is now a rogue nation. Does this mean Germany fully supports rogue nations?

Of course, the author of this comment seems not to want to accept the reality that India is both a nuclear power and a democracy. He also wants us to accept the opinion of the writer of the linked article that this is somehow the fault of GWB, when in fact the nuclear testing took place on the Clinton Administration watch.

He fails by omission to state the transfer of nuclear technology deals with power generation. He also because of a very myopic euro viewpoint does not consider the geo strategic implications of this agreement.

Of course be assured when India starts to build nuclear power plants to support its ever increasing need for electrical power the euro’s will be right there bidding for the construction contracts and celebrating how this is both good for India and their own nations.

The author of this comment also wants us to accept the morale equivalence of PRK, Iran and India as all being the same. This is always the position of the left and of socialists. They cannot bring themselves to confront evil or to make a choice. So everyone and everything is the same in their eyes.

So be it…

yet when Bush says again and again and again "this is going to be a long hard fight" then THAT gets ridiculed as much as Cheneys ONE comment - and as I have said before - what is the VP supposed to be saying "boy those "insurgents" are really tough - they have a lot of fight left in them"

Maybe the "insurgents" should be hearing from more leaders about how they are involved in a lost cause

Nice to see how much Bob and Raffzan really care about the poor Iraqi's being slaughtered by the islamo facists

They care so much they wish Saddam were still running things

They care so much they support sending more Euro troops to help the fledgling Iraqi democracy

They care so much they sneer at every effort to show the positive effects of toppling Saddam


If there is anyone who doesn't give a damn for dead iraqi's its the anti-war Left like those guys

Why don't they go to Iraq and become human sheilds for those brave men who want to become police and soldiers serving the post-Saddam iraq

So much more fun to sneer at these poor people from far away - to sneer at them and at those who are there helping them and at anyone who doesn't think Iraqi's aren't "enlightened" enough to govern themselves

disgusting

@James - why not provide the link anyway?
Maybe someone here wants to subscribe?

BTW - the author does not seem to understand the nature of 'Al Qaeda': It's a movement, not an entity you can simply 'defeat' like ze Gerrmans.
In the West we tend to just call everything terror-related 'Al Qaeda', when in reality it's all about more or less independently acting groups, mainly WITHOUT centralized structures.

That's the idea of a 'cell'.

We're talking about a mindset among a whole generation of arab youths, a _very_ large part of whom is fully prepared to sacrifice their lives in order to kill whom they perceive to be their enemy, which in this case means _us_. Ooops.

But at least the article tries to stimulate hope amongst the ill-informed, of which there are many, so it seems to be a good thing ... I guess ...

Hey poguemahone - you don't give _shit_ about your 'poor iraqis' ... don't act like a humanist while condoning waging war on them.

How eaten up by concern for your 'poor Iraqis' were you when the US government propped up its good old friend Saddam (he was back at the time) AND Iran in order to have them BOTH lose in that ugly war back then? 1.5 million poor Iranians and Iraqis died in that war.

Must have broken your heart, didn't it.

Boob,

You have some issues.

Congrats to Medienkritik for this morning's Instalanche. Did Glenn post the correct URL yet?

@Lou

'Boob' - very mature, really.

@Bob

Here's a book that the author has written as well. I don't think that the author was insinuating that the NAZIs battle of the Bulge was like the al Qaeda, I think that he was borrowing on a historical event to help describe events in Iraq.

mainly WITHOUT centralized structures

You really don't know what the objectives of al Qaeda are than do you?

The overthrow of the Saudi govt (chiefly).
The appointment of a true shira beliver (rehersed by the Taliban) in Saudi A.
Acquisition of the oil reserves by al Qaeda.

Picking Saudis for the 9/11 attacks was deliberate hoping for an American invasion of SA - sparking a Jihad. "The holy land is being invaded! Help to defend it."

..were you when the US government propped up its good old friend Saddam

This is a complete fabrication, you need to do some more reading of history. The US never "propped" up Saddam. If you're going to deal in lies, please move on from this blog..

Who lent him the most money?
Who sold him the weapons?
Who profited from the relationship?

I think that France, Russia, China, Germany/USA would answer that "question" in that order.

Opps! Here's the book

Going to biergarten, it's 90F here! No aircon, brain frying...

Bob,

Your comments are a bit dated. Suggest you keep up with developing US policy if you want to be a critic. Of course, going back to Iran/Iraq shows you are bit dated anyway. Why not just go back to WWII?

Am sure you saw no purpose in any of the policy decisions concerning those periods of history.


As for your comments about draft dodging I have to assume you are speaking about yourself. Then again you are more than willing to discredit all those members of the US Reserve forces who are currently serving around the world in harms way. Your comments indicate that service in the Reserves is something less than noble and honorable.

I am sure you yourself would never consider such service. It would be beneath you.

Am not sure why anyone bothers to reply to your posts. I will not in the future. You have little to add to any discussion other than contemp.

@James - that the US played a key role in building up Saddams weapons arsenal is a fact, even if people don't want to remember that. That does not mean others weren't in the business on a major scale, of course.

BTW, I'm well aware of the objectives that they have - and it's about a lot more than Saudi-Arabia (although of course it is an important part).

@Joe - What exactly is your point? One would be well advised putting developing (US) policy into historic contexts, I would think.

Maybe if Mr. Bush had done that, he wouldn't have come to some errors in judgment which made America start a war the reason for which proved to be bogus.

As for YOUR comments about MY comments about draft dodging - I was talking about Mr. Bush - none other. And if you really doubt that Daddy made his influence work so that Dubya would NEVER set foot in Vietnam you're naive, mildly put.

He's a chickenhawk, same thing with Cheney. He's a suit.

Rummy for example did serve and went to battle, as far as I know. I respect that _a lot_

I find it insulting by the way that you would imply that I in some way try to discredit any US Service Member except for Dubya.

But you won't reply anyway, so what the heck.

By the way, here's some interesting comments by prominent Republicans about sending US Forces to war:


"I had doubts about the bombing campaign from the beginning . . . I didn't think we had done enough in the diplomatic area." - Senator Trent Lott (R-MS)

"I cannot support a failed foreign policy. History teaches us that it is often easier to make war than peace. This administration is just learning that lesson right now. The President began this mission with very vague
objectives and lots of unanswered questions. A month later, these questions are still unanswered. There are no clarified rules of engagement. There is no timetable. There is no legitimate definition of victory. There is no contingency plan for mission creep. There is no clear funding program. There is no agenda to bolster our over-extended military. There is no explanation defining what vital national interests are at stake. There was no strategic plan for war when the President started this thing, and there still is no plan today" - Rep. Tom Delay (R-TX)


"[The] President . . . is once again releasing American military might on a foreign country with an ill-defined objective and no exit strategy. He has yet to tell the Congress how much this operation will cost. And he has not informed our nation's armed forces about how long they will be away from home. These strikes do not make for a sound foreign policy." ---Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA)

"You can support the troops but not the president" - Rep. Tom Delay (R-TX)

"Explain to the mothers and fathers of American servicemen that may come home in body bags why their son or daughter have to give up their life?" - Sean Hannity, Fox News, 4/6/99

"Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is." - Governor George W. Bush (R-TX)

---

Of course, Clinton was President back then, and the comments were about Bosnia, as we all know in THAT case, the mission was indeed accomplished.

Oh Bob - your like a broken lefty record you know that

Bringing up how "we" supported Saddam from 1980-88 - leaving aside for a moment what utter BS that is ( hint - we weren't making all those AK's, T72s and Migs in some secret plant in Iowa ) or the blunt reality of real-politick during the Cold War - which seems to be over your head anyway

Regardless of what "we" did back then - what is your excuse NOW for not standing with the people of post Saddam Iraq

If we were wrong to work with Saddam in the 1980's - and I can understand why we did it but can agree it would be better if we ( meaning the West ) didn't - then why are NOW wrong to have toppled his awful regime and lost almost 2,000 dead in helping the Iraqi's create a new democratic state?

Face it Bob - its not anything we do or dont do that you rail against - its whatever the US does that you are against


We are wrong to - how do you put it - "Hey poguemahone - don't act like a humanist while condoning waging war on them."


Waging war on "THEM"? who is them Bob - the head choppers - the mosque bombers the child killers

Aren't they the ones waging war on the innocents in Iraq?

So we are damned for deposing Saddam and figting the terrorists in Iraq

And damned for NOT doing the same thing in 1985


So the US is always wrong isn't it Bob

Tell us - what is your solution for the people in Iraq today

If you could turn back the clock and be the one who decides - would you have left Saddam in power?


Good post. One minor quip:

Saddam's Mass graves, although atrcious and tragic symbols of international complacency, are not news in the same way that people 'in the know' predicting imminent civil war is. That said, your point still holds, the article doen't repsent opposing viewpoints, for example the recent large peace demonstration or the economist poll showing nearly 80% of Iraqis think their lives will be better a year from now. Those things are a more apt counter point to the hard left pacifist line pedles by Der Spiegel.

Also Kudos on catching the selective translation, that's totally icing on the cake.

"@James - that the US played a key role in building up Saddams weapons arsenal is a fact, even if people don't want to remember that. That does not mean others weren't in the business on a major scale, of course."


You are ignorant Bob. Simply as that. US was no more than 0,1% in Iraqui weapon imports.

Non Fat,

Do you think if you were to ask either the french or the Germans if their lives would be better a year from now, there would be a 80% positive answer?

Of course, given life for them is already so good, the idea of it being even better might be beyond their collective minds to comperhend.

No no - all those T72s and Migs were made in Ohio I tell you


Nevermind - I can predict the answer - "the US made it possible for Saddam to get those weapons - they didn't STOP him from getting them"

@poguemahone ...

'Face it Bob - its not anything we do or dont do that you rail against - its whatever the US does that you are against'

Not true.

'We are wrong to - how do you put it - "Hey poguemahone - don't act like a humanist while condoning waging war on them."

Waging war on "THEM"? who is them Bob - the head choppers - the mosque bombers the child killers '

Uh ... the 'poor Iraqis' you were talking about?

'Aren't they the ones waging war on the innocents in Iraq?'

Yeah - under Saddam they couldn't - he oppressed fundamentalists, you know ...

'So we are damned for deposing Saddam and figting the terrorists in Iraq

And damned for NOT doing the same thing in 1985'

Not what I said - I didn't even say supporting him back then was wrong - it was in US national interest ...


'So the US is always wrong isn't it Bob'

You really think so? I know I don't.

Most decisions were absolutely right in the past.

Different story since Bush is in power, though ...


'Tell us - what is your solution for the people in Iraq today'

I really don't know - neither does Bush ...

'If you could turn back the clock and be the one who decides - would you have left Saddam in power?'

Depends.

1) Had I known there were no WMD, which I would have if I was the President, I would have left him in power because a contained non-islamist butcher not wanting to destroy the US is better than out-of-control lunatics chopping everybody's heads off, accumulating, joining forces in an what is now to become an Islamist state like Iran with the Sharia as its law.

2) Had I known there WERE WMD and they really were a THREAT, I might have gone in AS A LAST RESORT.

But really I would have tried to catch Osama Bin Laden, who perpetrated 9/11, you know.
I would have fought the terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where they were based, and not let them take over Iraq, because NOW the Iraqi population is paying for Mr. Bush's mistakes.

Do you REALLY think the US spends hundreds of billions of dollars solely in order to help 'poor Iraqis'? Of course you don't. Like most Republicans you LOVE the fact that 'the terrorists are fought in their own streets, not over here.'

Well I tell you what - most Iraqis don't have anything to do with terrorists - they're paying the price because of the influx of fanatic idiots who are able to go to Iraq because the Bush administration didn't have a plan on how to avoid that happening.

But you don't understand that anyway, in your world there's only Good (Mr. Bush) and Evil (Liberals and Saddam).

You're a Bush-bot, my friend, face it. Luckily most Americans don't think like you - they're opposing this war because they were not being told the truth and their sons and daughters are dying over there.

@lucklucky ...

'You are ignorant Bob. Simply as that. US was no more than 0,1% in Iraqui weapon imports. '

So ... you got a source for that number?

lucklucky,

Please don't waste time with Bob. Facts are not something he wants to acknowledge any more than he wants to deal with the concept of national interest or for that matter security.

Those like him just want to hold those who value freedom in contemp. He fails to realize how stupid he sounds but then again it really does not matter. The world needs more Bobs.

'If you could turn back the clock and be the one who decides - would you have left Saddam in power?'

Depends.

"1) Had I known there were no WMD, which I would have if I was the President, I would have left him in power because a contained non-islamist butcher not wanting to destroy the US is better than out-of-control lunatics chopping everybody's heads off, accumulating, joining forces in an what is now to become an Islamist state like Iran with the Sharia as its law."


What a naive and childish view of the world you have Bob

If you were President you would have "known" there were no WMD

How would you have known this Bob? Do you think the President is infallible? He knows everything?


As for the rest of this comment - it just proves my point - it is YOU who don't care a bit for the Iraqi people

You would be happy to leave them to the tender mercies of Saddam - and evntually Uday - to rot and suffer - as long as it "contained" the out of control lunatics

Apart from how awful this kind of racist crap is - the point is that our old policy of "better the devil we know" did not contain the lunatics

It created a breeding ground for them - where oppression at home was coupled with dictators blaming all of their societies ills on Israel, the US and the West ( in that order )

( spare me the "why don't we invade ________ ( insert country there ) - like you care )

Its not that I am a Bush-bot Bob - its that you are a "Its all chimpymchallibutons fault" moron who can't understand the war on terror ( or better - the war against islamic facism ) and instead think we can shove our heads back up our asses and keep on with business as usual

Thats the wrong plan Bob - because its A) disgusting and B )it doesn't work

You seem unconcerned with A - you certainly don't care what sort of butcher runs Iraq or how many he kills - but I always hold out hope that your kind can fathom that B is just reality


@Joe - that was really a mature posting. Congratulations.

Without answering just ONE of my points you blabber about how I 'hold those who value freedom in contemp (sic)'.

That one's sweet too: 'Please don't waste time with Bob.'

So you Bush-Bots are actually warning each other from talking to somebody with a different opinion???
Hahaha, talk about group-think ... :D

' Facts are not something he wants to acknowledge'

What facts? Are people NOT dying EVERYDAY in Iraq?

Is Islamic Law NOT being implemented in Iraq now?

Is there NOT a security problem over there?

Are you folks really that blind or what?

Oh I know its a waste of time Joe - but I do enjoy when these sorts out themselves - as Bob "I would have left Saddam in charge" has done

They like to piss and moan about how much they care about the Iraqi's and how awful this "illegal and immoral war" is because of what it has done to the poor iraqi's - but scratch the surface so slightly and you quickly learn they don't give a damn about the iraqis - or arabs - or muslims - or pretty much anyone but themselves and "enlightened" people ( en-"whitenened" if you will )

The just hate Bush and the neo-cons - and you know why...

Because Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz are all better people than they are

They have all gone out on a limb to actually help other human beings

While the Bobs of the world have done nothing for anyone - and sadly are often stupid enough to admit thats exactly what they think we should do for anyone - nothing

yep - Bush is a better human being than you Bob

How do you like them apples

I just learned a new phrase from the Spiegel Online site: "suicide commandos."

BTW, considering what I have heard from people I know who are in or have recently returned from Iraq, Spiegel is full of crap. This "civil war" theme reminds me of the "uprising" theme that the media bandied about when al Sadr was trying to grab some power. Apparently many journalists don't bother to read a dictionary to know the meaning of some of the words that they use.

I have a question Bob are you German? If not WTF does your bandwidth wasting TRANZI drivel, which has been repeatedly proven to be false, have top do with anything?

Here is a link to the Stratfor article that is not subscription only.
junk politics

TRANZIs and lie people die.

I have a question Bob are you German? If not WTF does your bandwidth wasting TRANZI drivel, which has been repeatedly proven to be false, have to do with anything?

Here is a link to the Stratfor article that is not subscription only.
junk politics

TRANZIs and lie people die.

Bob: The specific reference was pdf from SIPRI - STOCKHOLM INTERNATIONAL PEACE RESEARCH INSTITUTE about weapons that Iraqui imported. That even only inclued the weapons "flyway" value not the necessary replacement pieces and support and training and didnt include also light weapons (pistols, machine guns, bombs, amno etc) . The US sold about 70 transport Helicopters (Hughes MD-500) in the 80's.

Reference is here http://www.sipri.org/contents/armstrad/atirq_data.html but i got a diferent pdf. from the old SIPRI site with monetary values only until 1991 if iam not mistaken and a SUM and a ranking.

But any research in armament magazines like Jane's or other Military Aircraft Annuals will show that Iraqui Army was mainly from from USSR, France, Brazil, China.
Google iraqui army , take references of harware and then research that hardware...

Some tips: The USS Stark was hit by what missile?
Scud missile origin is?
What kind of individual weapons you saw when Iraq was fighting?

Oh - now I understand - thanks spam boy

@ luckylucky: hardware is irrelevant - saddam was politically backed and FINANCIALLY supported by the US for two decades. there ya go, read a history book.

@ poguemahoney: "bush is a better human being than you, bob" - sweet, striking argument. very convincing. congratulations.

@ sock puppet of doom: name-calling is definitly a sign of intellectual supremacy. ah..no. its the last defence of the neocons.

Sorry if the truth hurts leo - Bush is a better human being than you too

Face it - you and Bob and our mystery spammer ( is that you Bob? ) are all filled we "but we supported Saddam before" commentary and don't give a damn for the people of Iraq today

Frankly I agree with the comment re the Iran/Iraq war "pity they can't BOTH lose"

Dispelling the CIA-Bin Laden Myth

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,98115,00.html

Wednesday, September 24, 2003
By Richard Miniter

Two years after the Sept. 11 attacks, no memorial service, cable-news talkfest or university seminar seemed to have been complete without someone emerging from the woodwork to wonder darkly why the CIA ever financed Usama bin Laden "in the first place."

Everyone from Washington Post reporters to Michael Moore (search) seems to buy some version of this.

It is time to lay to rest the nagging doubt held by many Americans that our government was somehow responsible for fostering bin Laden. It's not true and it leaves the false impression that we brought the Sept. 11 attacks down on ourselves. While it is impossible to prove a negative, all available evidence suggests that bin Laden (search) was never funded, trained or armed by the CIA.

Bin Laden himself has repeatedly denied that he received any American support. “Personally neither I nor my brothers saw any evidence of American help,” bin Laden told British journalist Robert Fisk (search) in 1993. In 1996, Mr. Fisk interviewed bin Laden again. The arch-terrorist was equally adamant: “We were never, at any time, friends of the Americans. We knew that the Americans supported the Jews in Palestine and that they are our enemies.”

In the course of researching my book on Bill Clinton and bin Laden, I interviewed Bill Peikney, who was CIA station chief in Islamabad from 1984 to 1986, and Milt Bearden, who was CIA station chief from 1986 to 1989. These two men oversaw the disbursement for all American funds to the anti-Soviet resistance. Both flatly denied that any CIA funds ever went to bin Laden. They felt so strongly about this point that they agreed to go on the record, an unusual move by normally reticent intelligence officers. Mr. Peikney added in an e-mail to me: “I don’t even recall UBL [bin Laden] coming across my screen when I was there.”

There are many reasons to believe them. They knew where the money went. Both men have retired from the CIA; they have no motive to mouth an agency line. And no compelling evidence has emerged that the CIA ever paid bin Laden: no cancelled checks, no invoices, no government reports.

Those who contend that bin Laden received U.S. funds usually make the following argument: America financed the Afghan rebels, bin Laden was among the rebels, therefore, in one way or another, America gave money to bin Laden.

This ignores a key fact: There were two entirely separate rebellions against the Soviets, united only by a common communist enemy. One was financed by Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states and was composed of Islamic extremists who migrated from across the Muslim world. They called themselves “Arab Afghans (search).” Bin Laden was among them. When the Saudis agreed to match U.S. contributions dollar-for-dollar, the sheikhs insisted that their funds go exclusively to the “Arab Afghans,” possibly including bin Laden. Meanwhile, U.S. funds went exclusively to the other rebellion, which was composed of native Afghans. Mr. Bearden told me: “I challenge anyone to give any proof that we gave one dollar to any Arab Afghans, let alone bin Laden.”

Even if the CIA wanted to pay “Arab Afghans” -- which agency officials insist they did not -- bin Laden would be a far from obvious choice. Bin Laden himself rarely left the safety of Pakistan’s northwestern cities and commanded few troops of his own. At the time, bin Laden was the Arab Afghan’s quartermaster, providing food and other supplies.

If a CIA officer tried to give money to bin Laden, he probably would not have lived through the experience. The arch-terrorist was known for his violent anti-Americanism. Dana Rohrabacher, now a Republican congressman from California, told me about a trip he took with the mujahideen (search) in 1987. On that trek, his guide told him not to speak English for the next few hours because they were passing by bin Laden’s camp. “If he hears an American, he will kill you.”

Why is this myth of CIA support for bin Laden so persistent? Some find the myth persuasive because they do not know that America and Saudi Arabia funded two different sets of anti-Soviet fighters. Others on the anti-American left and right, in both Europe and America, find it oddly comforting. It gives solace to those who want to think the worst of us. The CIA-funding myth allows them to return to a familiar pattern, to blame America first. Whatever the cause, this myth weakens America’s case for the war on terror by setting up a moral equivalency between America and Al Qaeda (search). This animates protests at home and makes it harder to win allies abroad.

When former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (search) learned that a Saudi prince had blamed U.S. policies for the Sept. 11 atrocity, he famously turned down the prince's $10 million donation. His words at the time could be applied to the myth of CIA support for bin Laden: “There is no moral equivalent for this attack,” he said. “Not only are these statements wrong, they're part of the problem.”

Mr. Miniter is the author of “Losing bin Laden: How Bill Clinton’s Failures Unleashed Global Terror” (Regnery, Sept. 2003) and a senior fellow at the Centre for the New Europe in Brussels.

Hehe so now hardware is irrelevant!! So Saddam was threat because of what ? Outside weapons you only have maybe the nature of regime.... asking for it's change Hehehehehe.

2. Your are ignorant too the Big finantial backers of Saddam were Saudis, Gulf States and Japanese Banks.

3. Saddam had US MILD political backing vs Iran in 80's. Where you have found the 2 decades?? And any responsabile country should have done enough to evitate that any of them would have won the war. It is known that US supplied satellite information to Saddam to evitate a sudden collapse of Iraqui army in South. Btw what do you think of big Arms suplies and dead seaman in Murmansk convoys to Stalin Murderous regime?

@leo

People like you propose to have left Saddam in place. Admit that you believe that if W Bush was not elected president in 2000 :
- 911 would not have happened
- if it had happened, Iraq would not have been invaded, neither would Afghanistan. A middle east peace conference would have taken place and a solution for the palestinian problem would have been proposed.
- this would have cooled things down and no suicide bombers would have occurred in the west.

This is the solution of the (international) left. The problem is that this is exactly what has been happening the last decades. And 911 happened as a result. Not only 911, countless bombings happened during the Clinton "peace" years. These bombings had just no result, everyone ignored them just like you propose to do. Iran became a theocracy. Afghanistan suffered even more. Pakistan has nukes now and soon Iran will too. All this happened during the decades your proposed solution was used.

This appeasement strategy has failed numerous times. You have to admit that it just doesn't work. You HAVE to come up with something else. As long as you can't, ANY argument against you, however silly, which DOES propose a solution, is "intellectually superior".

This is exactly the problem of the modern left: their ideology is completely out of touch with reality. Just like the islamist’s is. You don't have a plan for the future, and as long as you don't, you will be losing elections everywhere, even in Europe.

The right DOES have a plan : freedom, capitalism, democracy. And that plan is incomparably more attractive then any leftist rant.

leo,

Want to support your comment with some facts or is that asking too much?

Or are you just like bob, maybe you are bob, and facts really do not matter to you. That is fair enough you understand, many on the left find facts to be a real bother if they cannot some how be twisted to suit their position.

But then again I know it would be asking much too much to put all of this in a historical perspective.

Since we are not going to put things in a historical perspective, then why in the world would any German think they should have a UNSC seat. My God all Germany has done for the last 100 years is invade and kill people.

Are we to use German history as a standard? Would that make you happy leo?

@poguemahone - no, I'm not the spammer - I don't know what he's trying to achieve here ...

---

So the only things you're able to come up with are insults? Not very innovative ...

I'm 'stupid, racist, a moron, childish' ... because I don't agree with your 'the President is always right'-attitude? What ever happened to free thinking?

'What a naive and childish view of the world you have Bob'

Me? You only know Good and Evil, so who's childish here ...

'If you were President you would have "known" there were no WMD

How would you have known this Bob?'

THIS President knew. They (Bush, Cheney and the PNAC guys like that nitwit chickenhawk Bill Krystol) wanted this war no matter what. And what YOU simply don't understand is that none of them gives a damn about 'poor Iraqis' - that's just BS. And you should know that. The government is supposed to be doing what's in the national interest - and it didn't in this case, because a bigger problem has been created.

'Do you think the President is infallible? He knows everything?'

No, that's what a redneck thinks. Actually, it is what some of the folks posting in this blog seem to think.

I'm wondering, is it that you a) just don't WANT to understand me, is that your tactic or b) are you just UNABLE to understand what I'm saying ...

... you're putting words into my mouth all of the time in order to make me fit into your simplistic world view where there's no nuance - only liberals and your crowd, who of course are always right.

Face it - you're a Bush-bot ... even Mike Savage doesn't want to be Bush's lapdog like you seem more than willing to be ...

---

But the most revealing part is this one ... :D

'Frankly I agree with the comment re the Iran/Iraq war "pity they can't BOTH lose"'

Hah! So you really DO care _shit_ about 'poor Iraqis', just like I thought.

It's all just masquerade so you have a justification for a war that runs contrary to America's interest and costs thousands of American and Iraqi lives.

You Republicans are so hypocritical it is _unbelievable_ ...

... pretending to care about Iraqis when you don't give a damn when 1.5 million of them die in the Iran-Iraq war ...

... you know that you completely destroyed your own central argument, do you?

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