Did the U.S. "Out" a Mole in Al-Qaeda?

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Did the Bush administration accidentally or intentionally ?out? a mole in Al-Qaeda? A serious charge indeed, that appears to be confirmed by the hasty arrest of Al-Qaeda suspects in Britain.

For details, read this Reuters story, which leads: ?U.S. officials providing justification for anti-terrorism alerts [last Sunday in the United States] revealed details about a Pakistani secret agent, and confirmed his name while he was working under cover in a sting operation, Pakistani sources said on Friday.?

A Pakistani intelligence source noted that the agent, ?Mohammad Naeem Noor Khan, who was arrested in Lahore secretly last month, had been actively cooperating with intelligence agents to help catch al Qaeda operatives when his name appeared in U.S. newspapers.?

Was the leak intentional or not? Middle East scholar Juan Cole, who rarely has something nice to say about the Bush administration, favors the plot thesis:

So one scenario goes like this. Bush gets the reports that Eisa al-Hindi [who was one of those arrested in London] had been casing the financial institutions, and there was an update as recently as January 2004 in the al-Qaeda file. So this could be a live operation. If Bush doesn't announce it, and al-Qaeda did strike the institutions, then the fact that he knew of the plot beforehand would sink him if it came out (and it would) before the election. So he has to announce the plot. But if he announces it, people are going to suspect that he is wagging the dog and trying to shore up his popularity by playing the terrorism card. So he has to be able to give a credible account of how he got the information. So when the press is skeptical and critical, he decides to give up Khan so as to strengthen his case. In this scenario, he or someone in his immediate circle decides that a mere double agent inside al-Qaeda can be sacrificed if it helps Bush get reelected in the short term.

Rather far-fetched, but under the circumstances it is up to the administration to do the explaining. Next to this the Valerie Plame scandal is chump change.

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  1. SR nails it.

    With the press so hostile only blowing an agent will get the threat report believed.

    So SR is that going to help us prevent the next attack or hadn’t you thought that far ahead?

  2. Mark says:

    “Further, Bush could have said that any federal employee divulging U.S. secrets would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

    But that would be a “political” prosecution don’t you see? Bush. Evil.

  3. Folks, I suspect you haven’t read enough spy novels, because there’s an entirely different explanation that (AFAIK) fits the facts and makes sense: we might be playing with Al Qaeda’s heads by making them think that one of their guys was a double agent. Hitler’s spies did this to great effect in the late ’30s, when they let Soviet spies gather faked and semi-faked evidence that Soviet officers were spying for the Germans. This played to Stalin’s natural paranoia and helped induce him to execute a huge percent of his own officer corps, just before the war.

    Remember that we are in the middle of a war fought largely in shadows, and won’t know the full story for years to come, if ever. It’s stupid and unhelpful to jump on every bit of news as if it were evidence of Bush incompetence or perfidity.

  4. I wrote, “Further, Bush could have said that any federal employee divulging U.S. secrets would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

    M. Simon replied, “But that would be a “political” prosecution don’t you see? Bush. Evil.”

    Yes, I see that you put “political” in parenthesis, because you and I and everyone else knows that it would *not* be a political prosecution, but would instead be the President (for a change!) following The Law.

    There is absolutely no excuse to reveal secrets that put anyone’s life in danger, simply to reply to (crazy) Howard Dean. Or “the press.”

    As I wrote above, President Bush could simply go to the leading Democrats in Congress, present the secret information, and request that *they* refute Howard Dean’s charge (either with Bush by their side, or by themselves).

    There is never a good reason for people in government to break The Law.

  5. “Remember that we are in the middle of a war…”

    We are NOT “in the middle of a war…” The “war on terrorism” is completely fictitious. There is nowhere in the Constitution that authorizes the U.S. federal government to fight a “war on terrorism.”

  6. “The Michael Moore/Ted Kennedy/Howard Dean Wing of the Democratic Party continually charges that this is a fictitious war, trumped up for political reasons.”

    “I always understood that this claim was about the war in Iraq, not the war on terror.”

    Absent a Congressional declaration of war, we *also* can not be at war with any foreign government. So unless you can find me a Congressional declaration of war against Saddam Hussein’s government, it’s reasonable to include that the fighting in Iraq was (and is) simply the President violating his Oath of Office. (Just as other presidents have done in other “wars”…e.g., Korea, Vietnam, Lebanon, Panama, Yugoslavia, etc. ad nauseum.)

  7. M. Simon writes: “How about he sacrificed the guy so to prevent a terrorist attack since the press has been so hostile and unbelieving he had to give up the agent to get press credibility. And thus citizen credibility.”

    So they win the battle, at the risk of losing the war?

  8. Should have been “conclude,” not “include.” Typing faster than I can think. 😉

  9. M. Simon writes: “How about he sacrificed the guy so to prevent a terrorist attack since the press has been so hostile and unbelieving he had to give up the agent to get press credibility. And thus citizen credibility.”

    There is no excuse for “sacrificing” someone to “get press credibility.” There are plenty of people (e.g. Democrats in Congress…members of the 9/11 Commission) who are authorized to receive secret information, and who can then refute Howard Dean’s rantings (without revealing secrets).

  10. From M. Simon: “So SR is that going to help us prevent the next attack or hadn’t you thought that far ahead?”

    Since I’m not obsessed with preventing the “next attack”, it’s no skin off my nose either way. My point was that a warning which has specific information is clearly more useful to the potential victims than the general “Be on the lookout!” warnings DHS normally releases.

  11. “we might be playing with Al Qaeda’s heads by making them think that one of their guys was a double agent. Hitler’s spies did this to great effect in the late ’30s, when they let Soviet spies gather faked and semi-faked evidence that Soviet officers were spying for the Germans. This played to Stalin’s natural paranoia and helped induce him to execute a huge percent of his own officer corps, just before the war.”

    Exactly. And when we had the enigma machine, we had to be careful about how we used the information, even to the extent of not giving out warnings of U-Boat activity that could have saved lives, because the warning itself and accompanying ship movements would have given away the fact that the Enigma codes were broken.

    We have no idea what’s really going on here. Perhaps there is a real mole deep in al-Qaida, and the administration used Noor as a plausible explanation for how they got the information about the attacks to protect the other mole. Or maybe they had gotten all the use out of the man that they could get, and they announced his name just before the attacks were suspected of happening so that fear of being compromised in other ways might disrupt them.

    Or maybe they never got anything useful out of the computer guy at all, but they want al-Qaida to think they did, thereby casting doubt on any operation that the computer guy ever had knowledge of or details of stored on his computer.

    This is just armchair quarterbacking by all participants. We’re not in a position to be fair judges. And Howard Dean should be ashamed of himself.

  12. Damn, the Bush admin is outing everyone this side of Lindsey Graham…

  13. Yeah, link to neo-con central, the National Review. A plase where Bush isn’t just President but some sort of demi-god sent to save us. Bleech!

    I swear room for reasoned discourse is shrinking fast. Why engage in thoughtful discussion when you can have your opinions validated through the democratic underground or the free republic.

    This guy was an intelligence asset. Apparently, we don’t have very many people who have infiltrated Al Qaeda. So yeah, outing him was a very big deal. And whoever did it should get shit-canned. I don’t care who he works for ….

  14. Bethm, have you ever actually read National Review? They regularly criticize Bush. True, they criticize from the right, but they hardly think he’s “some sort of demi-god.”

  15. Yeah, link to neo-con central, the National Review. A plase where Bush isn’t just President but some sort of demi-god sent to save us. Bleech!

    I swear room for reasoned discourse is shrinking fast

    An overwrought ad-hominem attack followed by a complaint about a lack of reasoned discourse. Very amusing.

    I also love how the term “neo-con” has been redefined as “anyone who favored the war in Iraq”. The National Review is not a “neo-con” outfit by any stretch of the imagination.

  16. Have any of you actually read National Review?
    Their website has an entire tab for David Frum.
    It prominently features an ad for W ketchup …

    Criticism of Bush is usually limited to “Gee it’s too bad there is only one of him since he provides such strong moral leadership”

    So, please spare me the National Review is so unbiased crap. Next you’ll be telling me The Nation gives fair and balanced view of free market capitalism.

  17. Dan H. writes: “Or maybe they never got anything useful out of the computer guy at all, but they want al-Qaida to think they did, thereby casting doubt on any operation that the computer guy ever had knowledge of or details of stored on his computer.”

    The way the Brits rushed to sweep up some Al Qaeda people, right after Khan was identified, suggests they did get useful information. The rush was required because they had to snag the targets before they escaped and/or destroyed evidence.

    They might have obtained even more had he remained useful, or had the police been able to do a proper sweep on their own terms, without the targets having been warned that they had been compromised.

  18. NR is not unbiased, but its point of view is coherent–unlike that of anyone who’d support a Dem in this venue

  19. There is nowhere in the Constitution that authorizes the U.S. federal government to fight a “war on terrorism.”

    Just out of curiousity, which wars does the Constitution authorize the government to fight? You seem to be pretty knowledgeable about this Constitution thingy, so I just wondered if you could flesh that out for me.

    So unless you can find me a Congressional declaration of war against Saddam Hussein’s government, it’s reasonable to include that the fighting in Iraq was (and is) simply the President violating his Oath of Office.

    There is a passel of public documentation, including the Congressional authorization of use of force in 1991, Public Law 105-235, the cease-fire provisions of UNSC 686 & 687 — a cease-fire, not a peace treaty — and the Congressional authorization for use of force from late 2002 that are functionally equivalent to such a declaration. Strict constructionism and literalism are one thing; thinking that there actually needs to be a document reading, “We declare war” is another.

  20. Honestly, what do you people want from Bush? There was vague information about a threat on 9/11 which wasn’t released to the public, and then when an attack did happen you blamed Bush. Then, when there was vague information about a threat in September ’04, Bush released it–and Dean and the media promptly rushed out shouting that it was an election-year ploy to scare the public. Then, a leak comes out as to the agent in Pakistan responsible for the intelligence–and once again, you blame Bush. Even if true, what should he have done? The fault rests with the Moore & Dean Democrats for creating an atmosphere where threats aren’t taken seriously, not Bush.

    And if you disagree, tell me what Bush was supposed to do with this information, not just that Bush is an evil conspirator, and also a dumb rich boy at the same time.

  21. “Rather far-fetched, but under the circumstances it is up to the administration to do the explaining. Next to this the Valerie Plame scandal is chump change.”
    Uh OK, I’ll bite, why? What are you saying and why is this true? I didn’t realize that it was illegal or immoral to bring a double agent “in from the cold.”
    Further, I am puzzled. The Michael Moore/Ted Kennedy/Howard Dean Wing of the Democratic Party continually charges that this is a fictitious war, trumped up for political reasons. Now, over the last three years they and their supporters (and I’m looking at YOU, Rick Barton) haven’t produced any evidence. Only assertions and accusations. But apparently that’s all it takes, because the Administration is the one who has to back yup their statements, all the time. Not the critics.
    So when the Administration finds some evidence-some new some old, and “connects the dots”-like we FAILED to do in the 9/11 Plot, THEN the Deanie Babies and Moorelocks start complaining about “timing” and claim there is no threat… No one says, “Um Thanks” just seemingly “PROVE IT!” So when then when the Administration puts out further evidence, THAT TOO becomes a part of some indictment?
    I understand skepticism at government, and I understand why it runs deeper here. But I must say if you compare the track record of the Administration with that of its critics, I’d say that when this Administration says, “Trust me” it is FAR more believable than Howard Dean. However, that apparently is not the case. It seems no matter what the Guv’mint does its a scandal hereabouts or proof of nefarious intent or the result of some conspiracy involving Neo-Cons, Clinton-Haters and Zionists.

  22. Sarah, nobody said National Review was “unbiased,” which is a weird thing to expect from a political publication. But having a tab for David Frum and an ad for W ketchup still doesn’t prove they see Bush as a “demi-god.”

    Phil, thank you for cutting through the odd legalism of that earlier post.

    The way the Brits rushed to sweep up some Al Qaeda people, right after Khan was identified, suggests they did get useful information.

    Aaahh, but maybe that’s just what they want you to think . . . they don’t call it a wilderness of mirrors for nothing. . . .

  23. I love it. The Republicans control ALL branches of government and yet when anything goes wrong it’s still some shlub Democrat’s fault.

    You Bushies are hilariously pathetic. Or at least it would be hilarious if it weren’t so utterly frightnening and sad.

  24. Yeah!! WHAT BRIAN SAID! You go Brian.

  25. … On the third night, there really was a wolf. The boy yelled “Wolf!” repeatedly, but no one paid any attention to him. The wolf killed two sheep that night.

    The next day, the people who had pointed out the boy’s previous lies were driven out of town for damaging the boy’s credibility and thus leaving the village open to attack.

  26. The information about Enigma has to taken with a grain of salt. Remember that secret remained until the the 1970s so a lot of what has been said
    we are not sure about even now.
    As I understand it a lot of the time you could cover by using say an airpatrol at the right time and place- the mere fact of using radio gave away the locations of U-boats
    Another useful by product was to see if the Germans fell for Allied faked stories, ie The man who never was , was tracked this way

  27. The fault rests with the Moore & Dean Democrats for creating an atmosphere where threats aren’t taken seriously, not Bush.

    Yeah, how can we expect a leader to govern competently with opposition? If only we could eliminate dissent entirely, then Bush would be a great President.

    In other news, Clinton would have caught Osama bin Laden if it weren’t for that damn Paula Jones.

  28. Joe L: You didn’t realize it’s immoral to put someone’s life in danger by revealing that he’s infiltrating the enemy? You *really* don’t see why it is?

    According to the article, the US identified Khan as a mole before Khan had been moved to safety, and without notifying the British who had him in custody. He was moved to a secret location only after his name was publicized.

    You don’t see *anything* even slightly wrong with doing that?

    Yes, whenever a government is dealing with secret information, it’s in a bind between credibility and preserving the secrecy of its sources, and sometimes it’s necessary to make painful decisions. During World War II, the Allies had to let people die at times rather than make it obvious that the Enigma codes had been cracked. But that doesn’t relieve people of the responsibility to be skeptical of the government, nor does it justify the government’s lightly endangering its own operatives to satisfy the skeptics. Perhaps it will turn out that Khan was better protected than it seems from the story, but I’d want to know.

  29. The fate of a double-agent is entirely at the discretion of his handlers…that is just the way it is.

    Terror warnings, to be effective, require credibility. although it may be costly in other ways to burn a source, it may be neccessary to maintain vigilance – more neccessary, if the credibility of terror warnings is being undermined for political advantage.

  30. “The Michael Moore/Ted Kennedy/Howard Dean Wing of the Democratic Party continually charges that this is a fictitious war,…”

    This *is* a fictitious war. The Constitution of the United States no more allows for a “war on terrorism” than it allows for a federal “war on drugs.”

    Mark Bahner (Libertarian wing of the Libertarian Party)

  31. Okay, lets gets some terms straight.

    Kahn was not a “mole” or Pakistani “agent.” He is a prisoner who agreed to send emails from the safety of prison cell in order to draw out his compatriots still at large. He was never in any danger and never betrayed as he only cooperated under duress.

    Even so he was a significant asset and his premature loss could cost lives down the road. Whomever revealed his name to the press should be punished for incompetence if nothing else.

  32. “Then, when there was vague information about a threat in September ’04, Bush released it–and Dean and the media promptly rushed out shouting that it was an election-year ploy to scare the public. Then, a leak comes out as to the agent in Pakistan responsible for the intelligence–and once again, you blame Bush. Even if true, what should he have done?”

    Joe Lieberman said words to the effect that only an insane person would charge that this latest announcement of a threat was politically motivated.

    President Bush could easily have invited top Congressional Democrats to the White House, and presented them with the *secret* information. Then he could have invited them to announce, either as a joint announcement, or as Democrats themselves, that based on this information, the threat announcement was clearly not politically motivated.

    If *none* of them would stand with him after he’d presented the information, Bush could have announced himself that he had provided the *secret* information to Democratic Congressional leaders, and that those leaders themselves could judge whether or not the threat announcement was politically motivated.

    Further, Bush could have said that any federal employee divulging U.S. secrets would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

  33. digamma,

    “Yeah, how can we expect a leader to govern competently with opposition?”

    The real problem is you can’t govern without a competent and serious political opposition and press and that is currently what we lack.

    Did Howard Dean and similar critics stop for even one moment to consider the negative impact of their hysterical charges if they turn out to be untrue? Did the the NY Times and Post stop to consider the negative impact of their incorrect stories before they published them? Apparently, they did not and that is the core problem. They don’t take this matter seriously. They don’t think that anything they do or say has any real world impact beyond the immediately political.

    The Bush administration must fight a war while struggling with a internal opposition that doesn’t believe the war even exist. The opposition is purely focused on Bush’s political destruction to the exclusion of all else. They never stop and think, “Whoa, what if we’re wrong? Maybe we should be damned sure we’ve got our facts straight before making very serious accusations.”

    The Bush administration is faced with a “disloyal” opposition but a lazy and incompetent one.

  34. The Michael Moore/Ted Kennedy/Howard Dean Wing of the Democratic Party continually charges that this is a fictitious war, trumped up for political reasons.

    I always understood that this claim was about the war in Iraq, not the war on terror.

  35. Goodness. It seriously seems that the President just cannot do anything right. I thought that we were all for a lack of secrecy in government, and then he gives up a secret to let people know they’re going to die, and he’s wrong.

    Reason is really getting to be intellectually lackluster.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/lowry/lowry200407200900.asp

    Vist El-Linko to see how, yet again, the President cannot do anything right.

  36. There is so much going on that we don’t know about. I think there is a lot of behind the scenes taking place as we speak “write”. Give the President the benefit of the doubt. We may have even caught some top leadership that we don’t know about yet. Be patient. Also, how do you know that it was the administration that leaked this and not the British or Pakistanis?

  37. Khan was sending coded emails to Al-qaeda officials as late as this week. He was discussing with them our naval weaknesses.

    You people think that he was working -with- us?

  38. I’m trying to figure out why Young believes Cole’s theory is “far-fetched”. There are only two possibilities: US officials knowingly released the guy’s name or they accidentally released his name. Both seem equally likely, as anyone who has followed the history of Cold War espionage knows that American intelligence agencies rarely think twice about screwing our allies’ operations. (And for that matter, American intelligence agencies rarely think twice about screwing their fellow American intelligence agencies’ operations.) And I should point out that I say this as someone who is completely un-outraged at the exposure of Khan. The DHS is an utter joke, but they at least delivered a halfway worthwhile warning this time.

  39. How about he sacrificed the guy so to prevent a terrorist attack since the press has been so hostile and unbelieving he had to give up the agent to get press credibility. And thus citizen credibility.

  40. Whoops,

    The last line in my previous post should have read:

    The Bush administration is faced not with a “disloyal” opposition but a lazy and incompetent one.

    Sorry about that.

  41. See the way the press figures it.

    1. He blows the agent we can complain
    2. Attack gets through without warning we can howl

    Seems like can’t lose to me. Except for the press credibilty bit. BTW is Reason part of the press?

  42. In 1648, to end the Thirty Years War, they signed something called the Peace of Westphalia which introduced the concept of national sovereignty. By the time the Constitution was written, nobody had fought a war outside those principles for over a century. Those principles held for another two centuries and here we are.

    Al Queda declared a non-Westphalian war, whether you call it pre or post, I’ll leave it to the linguists and language nazis to sort out. But just because nobody’s done this sort of thing in centuries does not mean it’s not a valid declaration of war, nor is our answering in kind (declaring war right back) invalid because it’s the first time we’ve been faced with such a challenge in the history of the US.

    The pin-striped pants set doesn’t much want to recognize the fact that non-westphalian war has returned to the planet because their entire profession changes as radically as the buggy manufacturers with the introduction of the automobile. The Bush administration isn’t much interested in stirring up that hornet’s nest because it would take too much attention away from actually prosecuting the war.

    Yes, there is a war on terror, and it’s an old style nasty form of war that threatens our very existence as a constitutional republic.

    As for the opposition, they have to decide what do they want more, power or the national interest to prevail. They’re fast approaching a point where they have to choose.

  43. So the hatred for Bush has gotten so deep that even when he is doing what the Main Stream Media (is Reason part of the media?) wants – capturing terrs. without war and using the intel to protect America – he is derrided for wagging the dog.

    Well OK. If you prefer a war criminal as President fine. When he gets elected we can bring war crime charges against him in one of his favorite venues. The ICC.

    Scum of the earth.

    Scum of the earth.

  44. gaius marius,

    You missed the points about the subjugation of women and killing gays, infidels, and adulterers. Your kind of people, eh? Lovely.

    Of course they prefer independence from the evil Americans. Americans tend to put a stop to this shit.

    Bad as America is to the rest of the world I think you would fare worse under the Islamics. We only want your money. They want your money and your soul.

  45. Absent a Congressional declaration of war, we *also* can not be at war with any foreign government. So unless you can find me a Congressional declaration of war against Saddam Hussein’s government, it’s reasonable to include that the fighting in Iraq was (and is) simply the President violating his Oath of Office

    Could you please cite the portion of the Constitution which forbids the President from ordering troops into battle without a declaration of war?

    Now, it’s certainly implied that he can’t. After all, Congress has the power to declare war; what good would that power be if the President could ignore it? The obvious and correct interpretation of the Constitution is that the President can only act with Congressional authorization.

    Which Bush had.

    This is all moot, because the authorization for the use of force against Iraq was a declaration of war. Were the words “declaration of war” printed on the bill? No. And the words “Speeding Ticket” aren’t printed on a speeding ticket, either. That doesn’t change what it is.

  46. nobody’s done this sort of thing in centuries…

    The scale may be different, but what the Qaedists are up to is essentially the same as “wars” other terrorist groups have launched. The Provisional IRA’s bombing campaigns are infamous. They even tried to assasinate British PM Thatcher and her cabinet by bombing the hotel where the Tories were holding their party conference. Five were killed, 30 injured at Brighton on 12 October, 1984. Don’t forget the Baader-Meinhoff/Red Army Faction group in Germany, Japanese Red Army, France’s Direct Action, the Basque ETA, Kurdish PKK, the myriad permutations of Arab outfits acting in the name of “Palestine,” etc., etc. These are all non-state actors, sometimes receiving support or sanctuary from “rogue states”, to use jargon.
    Most of these groups were pawns in the Cold War struggle between the Communist-ruled states and the U.S. and her allies. Bin Laden’s outfit differs in its goals because, rather than aiming at a change of regime in the terrorist’s locality – Northern Ireland, Kurdistan or wherever – al Qaeda is trying to supplant or convert the nation-state system into a Dar al Islam stretching in a wide arc from the Phillipines to Spain. “Restoring the Caliphate,”
    as Joe L. reminds us.

    During the Cold War, the U.S., NATO and other alliances were restrained from punishing those states who trained, supplied or harbored these terrorists or self-described “nationalist freedom fighters” by the nuclear stalemate. Without that to worry about, the West was able to apply such reprisals and retortions upon the Afghan Taliban regime as it deemed necessary. The justice of our attack on Iraq depends, IMNSHO, on the extent of cooperation between Saddam and the various terrorist groups. We do know that he harbored the likes of Abu Nidal. Even if one is convinced that Iraq had crossed the line, one could still make a prudential argument against invasion. While no declaration of war is required for the suppression of pirates, and al Qaeda’s reliance on hijacking puts them squarely in that camp, when one state is making more than a mere retaliatory raid on another, a Declaration of War is called for. Our politicians have lost the taste to say “WAR!” in any but metaphoric terms.

    An anecdote. Shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks, I had a customer berate me because an order she had expected to arrive at the store I was working at was delayed. She had specifically asked that the products be shipped to us by air freight from New Jersey, at her expense, rather than the normal free UPS service. Since the airports were temporarily closed, many shipments were frozen, stuck in the hold of some 727 on the tarmac of the nation’s aiports. When I explained this to her, and that, no, I couldn’t call the supplier and get him to kick it loose, nothing was flying, a ground shipment couldn’t make it in under two days, yada, yada, it did no good. Frustrated, I dredged up a line I’d learned from many an old black & white film. “Look, lady, don’t you know there’s a WAR on?!” It was the only thing that got through to her.

    For many Americans, that sense of being at war has faded. Those who travel frequently may be constantly reminded by the searches and other security-related annoyances, but homebodies can stumble around in blissful ignorance. A similar disconnectedness was abroad during Viet Nam, except that the draft had a way of waking individual familes up. National Guard deployments do the same today, but the volunteer status of those troops makes that less of an outrage to normalcy.

    As for the mole, sometimes the actions one side takes expose a dual operative, because he is one of the few, or the only one, to have the particular information whose betrayal makes the operation possible. A commander has to judge whether the game is worth the candle.

    Kevin

  47. This theory seems a little too “grassy knolly” to be believable. A conspiracy by definition requires more than one person to keep a secret. This sort of secret could not be kept quiet by a group of government employees, especially since some of them may not have an interest in protecting the current adminisistration (many law enforcement vote Democrat).

  48. I actually agree with Dan that a “resolution authorizing the use of force” (or whatever the wording was) is as good as a declaration of war.

    Although many of those who opposed the invasion of Iraq might say otherwise, everybody knew what was happening when Congress passed that resolution: They were giving Bush the green light to invade Iraq.

    Now, I personally think it was a bad idea to do so, but I see no need to insist that the resolution was anything other than Congress authorizing the President to invade Iraq. Those who insist otherwise might as well argue over the meaning of the word “is” and insist that oral sex isn’t really sex.

    That said, I do wonder why Congress has lacked the balls to use the word “war” since the end of WWII. Sure, they pass resolutions amounting to the same thing, but they do it in a chicken-shit manner. Instead of coming out and saying “We the Congress declare that a state of WAR exists between the US and [insert country here], so get ready for a big whomping can of whoop-ass!” they say “We are ready to allow something that amounts to a 3-letter word beginning with the letter ‘w’, but really we’re just allowing it in the event that the President decides to do it, because we’d really prefer to pretend that we didn’t actually come out in support of this.”

    They can say what they want about the legal distinctions, but at the end of the day the practical result of such a resolution is clear, and nobody can say that Congress didn’t know exactly what they were doing when they passed it. Still, the fact that they can’t quite bring themselves to pass a simple and bold resolution should perhaps give us pause about the wisdom of the various wars our leaders have waged over the last 50 years.

  49. Go have a look at the details of Congress’ authorization of force in Iraq. Almost all of its premises were false.

    It’s here.

    Here are the premises stated in the resolution, grouped by truth value:

    Premises which turned out to be true
    – Iraq supported international terrorism
    – Iraq had used WMDs on civilians
    – Iraq had invaded its neighbors
    – Iraq was in violation of UNSC resolutions
    – Iraq had repeatedly thwarted UN inspectors
    – Iraq was suppressing its civilian population
    – Iraq had repeatedly attacked US forces and coalition forces in violation of the cease fire
    – Iraq had attempted to assassinate a former US President
    – Iraq had given sanctuary to Al Qaeda members
    – Iraq harbored other terrorists
    – The USA had a standing policy of supporting regime change in Iraq.
    – September 11th had reminded the United States of the dangers of terrorism
    – Iraq had significant quantities of chemical weapons (the amount discovered thus far could have killed tens of thousands of people).

    Premises which turned out to be false:
    – Iraq had an advanced nuclear weapons program
    – Iraq had significant supplies of biological weapons

    Subjective premises (unable to be proven or disproven, but I believe them to be true):
    – Iraq posed a threat to US security.
    – There was a danger of Iraqi WMDs being used by terrorists.

    Unknown:
    – Iraq had a large-scale biological weapons program

  50. Jana writes: ” Also, how do you know that it was the administration that leaked this and not the British or Pakistanis?”

    Today, Condi Rice admitted to Wolf Blitzer, on camera, that someone in the administration released Khan’s name to the media in a “background” interview.

    (‘background’ means the interviewer is not allowed to identify the person except in vague terms like “administration official”)

  51. The real point of all this is once the public has been lied to, the chances of them believing anything from the liar (even if telling the truth) again get dimmer.

    Go have a look at the details of Congress’ authorization of force in Iraq. Almost all of its premises were false.

  52. There is no shortage of alternative explanations.

    Let’s accept that a US official leaked his name – so what? There is a lot of terror-related police and military activity going on in Pakistan right now. And this guy was not a “mole” – he was a cooperating prisoner. If Al Qaeda has any tradecraft at all, there are all sorts of active and/or passive signals that might have signaled he had been compromised. Beyond that, there was common sense – the stepped-up police activity had to indicate 8something* was wrong.

    SO, maybe this guy’s usefulness in coperating was over, anyway. Maybe the new intel that sparked the US the previous Friday (before the warnings) was tied by an Al Qaeda response to their realization that this guy had been flipped.

    Or perhaps someone on the Pak side just blew it.

    And if so, maybe some people in the Pak intelligence service, who want to embarrass the US and get out from the pressure we are putting on them, leaked the (not accurate) news that his outing was our fault – they have nothing to lose, and no one will be able to verify it.

    If they deny it is their fault, they might be lying. Heck, if they *admit* it is their fault, they might be covering for a BushCo screw-up in exchange for future considerations.

    Shorter Me; cooperating prisoners get blown all the time, easily and unpredictably. The buck gets passed, and blame spread, all the time.

    Why should this be different?

  53. “The real point of all this is once the public has been lied to, the chances of them believing anything from the liar (even if telling the truth) again get dimmer.”

    This dumb excuse was used against Clinton when he warned of Al Q.

    Now it is being used against Bush.

    I get it all Presidents are total liars and they love to play wag the dog. Of course any real attack that gets through proves their National Security incometence. If only we had been warned.

    Partisans have pulled this shit twice. Ordinary citizens are beginning to notice. Unfortunately for the oppositioin the wake up call has come duringa Republican admin.

    Most unfortunate.

  54. SR says;

    “Since I’m not obsessed with preventing the “next attack”, it’s no skin off my nose either way.”

    Which is why the Libertarians will not even break 1%.

    Which is why the Ds will be in the low fortys.

    Such attitudes get noticed.

  55. So SR,

    Suppose Al Q nukes a city and in the clamor for more war Kerry panics and pushes the button.

    A high price to pay for not caring don’t you think? Or hadn’t you thought that far ahead?

  56. I see someone from the “Libertarian Wing of the Libertarian Party” is here. And once again, the LP shows me why I am NOT a Libertarian/libertaian/anarcho-capitalist….I see that that Libertarian Wing is historical and legalistic.

    I don’t know Mark but the Founders of the Republic either waged or countenanced the waging of TWO undeclared wars within 10-15 years of the founding. You might have heard of the “Naval War with France” (1790s) or the Campaign Against the Barbara Pirates (1804?)-it’s where the “Shores of Tripoli” line comes from in the Marine Corps hymn, it’s the basis for the name of Decatur Ill.

    In fact, the US also did NOT declare war in it’s largest and bloodiest “war,” the CIVIL WAR. That was done for sound legal-political-diplomatic reasons. The Confederacy was not at war, it was in REBELLION, was the theory. Had the US declared WAR then the Confederacy would have been a “state” and eligible for the benefits that “states” derived from International Law.

    In fact, the bulk of US casualties, I’d bet as the Civil War was our bloodiest war, have come from non-Wars, as the bulk of US combat has been in actions other than war. Look it up, War is something that Congress has declared only about 5 times, 1812, 1840 (?), 1898, 1917, 1941. Those weren’t our only conflicts.

    And note, I can see various moral objections to at least 2 of those wars, 1840 (Mexico) and 1898 (Spanish-American) and that one of our most just “wars” was not a war at all, the Civil War, or the War of Southern REBELLION.

    I’m trying to get at the idea of the “declaration of war” is no panacea, Mark Bahner. Congress has authorized almost EVERY war and conflict, and not just this century. And it is only a legalistic and historical interpretation of history to decry the lack of a formal declaration of war.

    Finally, if the PFLP or Al-Quaeda or the Judean People’s Liberation Front or the People’s Front for the Liberation of Judea declare “war” on the US and begin killing US citizens and attacking US targets, to include large, soft, high value economic targets, Mark, what is the US to do? These aren’t “state”actors-even if supported by states. Do we act only as “policemen”-reactive, seeking indictments, arrest, trial, and imprisonment? And haven’t we seen that approach used for 30 years? And the result, a large hole in NYC. Or does the US Declare “war’ on them? Behaving proactively, attempting to preempt action, and kill the terrorists? And note, this administration has put Terror-supporting states on notice that continued support of the PFLP, or Al-Quaeda, or their ilk will generate “problems” and note the domestic reaction to that, form the LP, and the Moorelocks and Deanie-Baby sorts. I submit, that doing even what you suggest will not satisfy you or them. It hasn’t yet.

  57. Oh and Gadfly, when did the President “Lie?” You might want to advance a little evidence with your assertion.
    Now “Your” side has told lies a LOT, War for Oil, War for Pipelines, two humanitarian disasters, tens of thousand of civilian casualties, etc., etc.
    So, if we’re going to talk LIES, I’d say MY side has a far better track record than YOURS.

  58. Folks … at the risk of being somewhat redundant, given what Tom and M. Simon have written, let’s try to get a small clue here.

    (1) Khan was already imprisioned when he sent the messages.

    (2) As apparently the key person in their communications, he probably was contacted regularly in several ways. (If al Qaeda has any sense at all, they had someone watching him most all the time. That’s just tradecraft.)

    From (1) and (2), it follows therefore that his capture would show up soon, and his utility as a “mole” — not that he was one, but who expects dolts who don’t think there’s a war happening to know the details of technical terms? — was soon to be at an end, if not already over.

    On the other hand, by letting it become known he’d been captured, it now forced al Qaeda to drop all the channels Khan knew about, re-organize, and establish new communications … all of which are a pain in the ass, expensive in time, effort, and funding, and risk exposure in themselves.

    As well as inducing a certain amount of panic among al Q operators. Panic which, in an organization like al Q, can be very damaging; there’s nothing easier for a deep-cover agent than to move, change his phone number, buy a 7/11 with the remaining al Q funds, and settle down. You can bet that every one of these things loses al Q people other than the ones who were “rolled up”.

    So, by revealing what Khan was doing, they lost at most a couple of days of effective use in the future, assuming they hadn’t already gone through his Outlook contacts already, but causes great consternation in al Qaeda and gets the Time coverage to change from “old documents” to “rolling up the network”.

  59. Dan, I’ve got this great piece of swampland down in Florida that they say is ripe for development. Can I interest you?

  60. We have no idea what’s really going on here.

    the truest truth in the thread. insufficient data.

    The real problem is you can’t govern without a competent and serious political opposition and press and that is currently what we lack.

    agreed — what this country (and most western governments) lacks now is an empowered and informed opposition. so much power has been concentrated into the hands of the president (and out of the parliamentary discourse) that even americans proles (correctly, for once) deduce that only one small political cadre knows or can act on anything. it happens too that this particular cadre is more paranoid than most — it simply gives no access or information to anyone.

    the consequence is that the most powerful nation on earth is run by a black box, of which we know very little — except that no members of any opposition are inside it. the wholly intentional lack of transparency is the reason why all of us are left to deduce, estimate, guess, connect dots.

    i can’t blame people for being conspiratorial. it is a direct consequence of being ruled by a powerful, unipolar but opaque government.

    Al Queda declared a non-Westphalian war, whether you call it pre or post, I’ll leave it to the linguists and language nazis to sort out.

    that’s a very interesting point. is the nation-state built to counter this sort of threat? i would argue yes — but we have to recharacterize the problem. this is not a “war” against an external enemy. this is an insurgency from within what amounts to the american empire. al-qaeda is fighting for its independence — for the middle east’s independence.

    viewed as such, invading iraq was a horrid strategic mistake — it took an relatively small insurgency limited to palestine and spots of central asia and gave it the opportunity to spread through the heart of the persian gulf. invading iran would be similarly catastrophic.

  61. ” al-qaeda is fighting for its independence — for the middle east’s independence.”
    No, Gaius, Al-Quaeda is seeking to restore the Caliphate or it’s version of the Caliphate. I don’t think you’lll want to live in that world.

  62. Al-Quaeda is seeking to restore the Caliphate or it’s version of the Caliphate.

    that may be, joe L, but it is still an insurgency to do so. and, it bears mentioning, it may NOT be — imo, the religious component of this insurgency has been dramatically overplayed in the united states as a means of simplifying the movement into something we all can easily hate.

  63. You missed the points about the subjugation of women and killing gays, infidels, and adulterers. Your kind of people, eh? Lovely.

    no, i understand that all — but the vast, vast majority of western civ is reknown for such behavior as well, and i’m sure isn’t done. people who throw stones ought not live in glass houses.

    and how many innocent iraqis have we killed this year? is the case for our moral superiority more than a delusion if we take a balanced look at our recent past? isn’t it western nations that unleashed two world wars and fought a third global cold war — often with the blood of other peoples — in just the last 80 years?

    beyond that, m simon, you make the assumption that valuing these things as we do for this flash of history makes us Superior, and therefore perfectly entitled to destroy all other civilizations as Inferior. i needn’t point out that — regardless of what our morals are — every megalomaniacal society in history believed as much, and sought to subjugate the world on that basis. had you asked any 19th c brit, they’d have told you of their civilizational superiority to the african and the native american, and justified their superposition of western civilization, authority and armies on that basis — and honestly all very, very well intentioned indeed, not at all with malice. of course, that didn’t make it less malicious.

    i submit we are today making that same (and oft-repeated) mistake. it doesn’t matter what our morals are. they will be viewed as specious in the lens of retrospection because of how we are choosing to impose them on the world — by empire, and an empire many of whose subjects want out and are represented (de facto, even if not ideologically) by al-qaeda and their kind.

    unfortunately, we’re far too proud to see that as straight as much of the rest of the world seems to — even our supporters, such as niall ferguson — and so we fight again the battle of algiers.

  64. Time to remind some people of the Prize Cases in 1865, in which the Supreme Court ruled that no declaration of war is necessary for the USA to be at war. A declaration of war is needed to start a war; but if the USA is already at war, e.g. because someone else has declared war on us, and is engaged in combat, no declaration is needed. And it’s up the President, as CinC, to determine that a state of war exists.

    As for non-Westphalian wars not having been fought for centuries, and the founders being unfamiliar with them, what do you call the campaign against the Barbary coast, in the 1790s? That was a war against Moslem terrorists, not directly subject to any particular state.

  65. M. Simon, you can spin all the delusional “what if” fantasies you want, but the fact remains it is more likely that you and I will both win the Powerball lottery a dozen times over before any terrorist organization detonates a nuclear device on US soil. To address the substance of your argument, you are the embodiment of the Radar O’Reily mentality that keeps the carbon paper locked in a safe because you might need it “really badly” someday, instead of just “badly” today. Which is better to spend intelligence assets on: foiling a terrorist attack you are certain is in the offing that will kill dozens of people, or sitting on the information because *maybe* in the future those assets could be used to foil a larger terrorist attack. If you don’t mind breaking a few eggs to make an omelet, then the Libertarian Party doesn’t need your blood-stained vote.

  66. Phil writes, “Just out of curiousity, which wars does the Constitution authorize the government to fight?”

    The Constitution authorizes the president to wage wars on other governments on which the Congress has declared war, e.g., the imperial government of Japan, and the Nazi government of Germany. (The Constitution WOULD have authorized the president to wage war on the Taliban government in Afghanistan, and Saddam Hussein’s government in Iraq, IF Congress had declared war on those governments. But the Congress did not declare war on those governments.)

    “You seem to be pretty knowledgeable about this Constitution thingy,…”

    It’s not like the Constitution is particularly complicated. Reading it carefully, and thinking about the implications of the various parts, should suffice to come to conclusions that are probably correct on most issues.

    For example, if the power to *declare* war is reserved to Congress, it makes sense that a president can not *wage* war until Congress has declared war. If the president CAN wage war before the Congress declares war, then the Congressional power to declare war no longer exists. It has been abrogated by the president.

    Similarly, it makes sense that Congress *must* declare war on governments. Congress cannot declare war on private citizens within other countries, e.g., Congress can’t declare war on “terrorists around the world.”

    I wrote, “So unless you can find me a Congressional declaration of war against Saddam Hussein’s government, it’s reasonable to include that the fighting in Iraq was (and is) simply the President violating his Oath of Office.”

    Phil responded, “There is a passel of public documentation, including the Congressional authorization of use of force in 1991, Public Law 105-235, the cease-fire provisions of UNSC 686 & 687 — a cease-fire, not a peace treaty — and the Congressional authorization for use of force from late 2002 that are functionally equivalent to such a declaration.”

    They are not “functionally equivalent” in the opinion of both John Kerry and John Edwards, who both voted “for” that “use of force!”

    Further, if we were truly at war with Iraq as of late 2002, what would you call Dan Rather’s interview with Saddam Hussein in February (or was it March) of 2003? Wouldn’t you call giving an interview to the head of a government with which the U.S. government is at war, “treason?” How can that not be “aiding” “the enemy” to give him an interview letting him tell his side of the conflict? (And with Saddam appearing very reasonable…willing to settle the whole matter with a debate with Dubyah!) (Which is indeed a frightening thought for all U.S. citizens!)

    “Strict constructionism and literalism are one thing; thinking that there actually needs to be a document reading, “We declare war” is another.”

    Again, just talk to John Kerry and John Edwards. Ask them whether they authorized the president to wage war in Iraq.

    Ron Paul was and is exactly right:

    http://www.house.gov/paul/tst/tst2002/tst101402.htm

    “Two weeks ago, during a hearing in the House International Relations committee, I attempted to force the committee to follow the Constitution and vote to declare war with Iraq. The language of Article I, section 8, is quite clear: only Congress has the authority to declare war. Yet Congress in general, and the committee in particular, have done everything possible to avoid making such a declaration. Why? Because members lack the political courage to call an invasion of Iraq what it really is- a war- and vote yes or no on the wisdom of such a war. Congress would rather give up its most important authorized power to the President and the UN than risk losing an election later if the war goes badly. There is always congressional “support” for a popular war, but the politicians want room to maneuver if the public later changes its mind. So members take half steps, supporting confusingly worded ‘authorizations’ that they can back away from easily if necessary.”

    That is EXACTLY what has happened! Phil, why in the world should you (or any other U.S. citizen) support “functional equivalents” of declarations of war? What is so troubling about calling a war by its real name?

  67. SR writes, “…but the fact remains it is more likely that you and I will both win the Powerball lottery a dozen times over before any terrorist organization detonates a nuclear device on US soil.”

    Wow! You definitely have a much different view of the world than I do! I think the odds are better (I guess that should be “worse”) than 50/50 that terrorists will detonate a nuclear device on U.S. soil in the next 50 years.

  68. Gadfly, I’ve got this great piece of swampland down in Florida that they say is ripe for development. Can I interest you?

  69. Zev Sero writes, “Time to remind some people of the Prize Cases in 1865, in which the Supreme Court ruled that no declaration of war is necessary for the USA to be at war. A declaration of war is needed to start a war; but if the USA is already at war, e.g. because someone else has declared war on us,…”

    Time to remind Zev Sero of the Supreme Court rulings of 1936 and 1937 regarding Social Security (in which Social Security was ruled to be constitutional) and the Casey Martin case of 2000 (in which the Supreme Court ruled that the PGA must allow Casey Martin to ride in a golf cart while competing in PGA tournaments).

    All the Prize Cases, and the Social Security rulings, and the Casey Martin Case prove is that a majority of Supreme Court judges have been–and still are–complete idiots, who either: 1) can’t read the Constitution, and/or 2) can’t reason at all, and/or 3) don’t give a damn what the Constitution says.

    I think both #2 and #3 are very likely.

    It’s foolish to think that the Founding Fathers would deliberately give the power to use the U.S. military to people in ***other nations***!

  70. “Although many of those who opposed the invasion of Iraq might say otherwise, everybody knew what was happening when Congress passed that resolution: They were giving Bush the green light to invade Iraq.”

    Apparently, John Kerry didn’t know. And he voted *for* the resolution.

  71. For those of you who doubt my statement that John Kerry voted for the resolution, but did NOT vote for the war, here is the transcript of the 60 Minutes interview:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/01/23/60minutes/main595431.shtml

    “Yes, I do,” says the candidate. “I believe this president breached faith with the lesson that I just expressed to you that we learned in Vietnam. You truly should go to war as a matter of last resort. I?m afraid this president rushed to war without a plan to win the peace.”

    But this was the war that the senator voted for.

    “No,” replies Kerry. “I think a better way to phrase that is: I voted for a process by which war would be the last resort. And those are the conditions which the president himself established. He said, ‘I will build a coalition. We’re going to use the United Nations, we will inspect, and I will go to war as a last resort.’ He did not do anything three of those things. So yes, I believe we should have stood up to Saddam Hussein, I thought it was important for our nation?s security. There was a right way to do it, and there was a wrong way to do it. The president chose the wrong way.”

    This is what one gets when U.S. citizens don’t **demand** that their members of Congress and their president follow The Law. In other words, this is what happens when U.S. citizens vote for Republicans or Democrats.

  72. I have recently read two interesting books by Ernest Jude Navy, The Truth At Half Staff and Savior Mary. In a magagzine article, I came across an equally interesting article by the same author about America’s foreign policy. I am wondering what you think about the article below:

    All Too American

    Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened. (quote by Sir Winston Churchill)

    For many Americans, images of American soldiers torturing Iraqi citizens seemed to be beyond the pale. Throughout America, a resounding theme was repeated, ?Not our boys and girls. We?re the good guys.? These words from a segment of society too shallow to open their eyes and see that this is all too American. With each horrific image and report, (which included Iraqis forced to engage in homosexual activities, Iraqi women raped, Iraqi men forced to masturbate in front of leering American soldiers, wires attached to the genitals of Iraqi men, Iraqis forced to wear hoods, many Iraqi prisoners bitten by trained U.S. attack dogs, Iraqi prisoners murdered, Iraqis buried up to their necks in sand, Iraqis beaten for just being Iraqis, Iraqis arrested (kidnapped) by U.S. soldiers without due process, Iraqi men and women sodomized with broom handles and god knows what else, detainees threatened with electrocutions), Americans said, ?Not us,? but I say, ?Yes, us.?
    Why is it hard to believe that this is as American as apple pie? In each of those soldiers? eyes, one could detect immense joy at the subjugation of a fellow human being. At least in my eyes, they are human beings. I attest that I have seen this same insane look of ecstasy before. As someone who has lived his entire life in America, I have personally witnessed the true American experience. Americans are fond of saying that we have laid to rest our nightmarish past; that we are the one culture that embraces its better nature; that we are morally superior to our enemies; that we are the beacon of the true democratic spirit; I only wish. Instead of facing the realities of living in the United States, most of my compatriots invent falsehoods as a means of ignoring the obvious. And what is the obvious? The obvious is that we are just as cold and callous as the enemies we abhor, which our history clearly bears out.
    There is a long history of Americans engaging in all types of barbarism against fellow Americans, the worse type of terrorism. The reason why I don?t find it hard to believe atrocities were committed against innocent Iraqis at the hands of American soldiers is because our distant past has never been laid to rest. In America, life is devalued, especially if the owner of that life is a person of color or of a different ethnic background. Despite their claims of compassion for others, most Americans pay little attention to the plight of others, while consumed by self-absorption. And this is the very attitude U.S. soldiers took to Iraq. If it does not threaten their particular group, life is fine, and there are many examples of this fact.
    Since the revelation of the prison abuses in Iraq, Americans have claimed that these acts are not who we are as a people. At this point, I will take time to mention what appears to have been deliberately forgotten. Below, I have provided a litany of events and examples that represent the true American spirit:

    ? Let?s not forget that when this country was founded, people of color from all backgrounds were brutally discriminated against: Africans were claimed 3/5 of a human being and slaves. When African-Americans were supposedly freed in 1865, Blacks still suffered from state sponsored terrorism, which included, but not limited to, lynchings, castrations, rapes, burnings, with millions of white Americans ignoring their plight and supplications for mercy;
    ? Through out the United States? expansion westward, genocide against the Native Americans was the official policy. Massacres and broken promises were not aberrations of a moral policy gone wrong, but the norm in an insidious attempt to exterminate an entire ethnic group because of their differences. The United States government broke nearly very treaty signed with the Native Americans, including the famous Fort Laramie Treaty, also known as the Treaty of 1868. This treaty gave the Sioux the Black Hills in the Dakotas, but when gold was discovered, the United States government decided to break the agreement and allow white settlers to reclaim the land. With the broken treaties came many massacres. For example, On November 29, 1864, without probable cause, a troop of Colorado volunteers, under the leadership of Colonel John Chivington, broke the peace treaty established between Black Kettle and army officials and raided a Cheyenne village flying a white flag of truce. The troops kept up their indiscriminate assault for most of the day and many atrocities were committed. One Lieutenant killed and scalped 3 women and 5 children who had surrendered and were screaming for mercy. Finally breaking off their attack they returned to the camp killing all the wounded they could find before mutilating and scalping the dead, including pregnant women, children and babies. In the end, over 200 elderly men, women, and children were killed. To show their bravery, Chivington and his men displayed 100 scalps to an eager public in Denver. On December 29, 1890, over 300 Lakota men, women, and children were mercilessly gunned down by U.S. soldiers on the snowy banks of Wounded Knee Creek for pledging allegiance to their Ghost Dance religion.
    ? When white settlers moved westward, many Chinese immigrants also came to build up the west. Asians faced immense discrimination from the dominant culture. In 1882, thirty-one Chinese-Americans were butchered and mutilated beyond recognition by a mob of white settlers. Based on the location of the murders, the incident became known as the Snake River Massacre. The culprits were quickly apprehended, but an all white jury found the murderers innocent of all crimes despite the overwhelming evidence proving their guilt.
    ? Before America?s war with Spain in 1898, the United States under President McKinley stated that America had no intentions of occupying the Philippines. After defeating Spain, Mckinley justified breaking his promise by saying, ??.the Filipinos were unfit for self-government?.That there was nothing left for us to do but to take them all and to educate the Filipinos, and uplift and civilize and Christianize them, and by God?s grace?.? In 1899, the Filipinos rose in revolt against the United States, demanding their independence. In subjugating the Iraqis, sorry, that was a slip of the pen, the Filipinos, the United States with a force of seventy thousand troops terrorized the entire island. The army set out to exterminate men, women, and children. U.S. soldiers pumped salt water into innocent victims to make them talk; soldiers set fire to the homes of Filipinos, injuring defenseless women and children; civilians who had not taken part in the insurrection were rounded up, led to various bridges in the country, and shot one by one. The bodies that floated to the surface of the water served as warnings to the rest of the populace. The Filipinos were seen as little better than dogs. An U.S. soldier summed up America?s attitude toward the Filipinos best when he wrote, ??.we all wanted to kill niggers?.This shooting human beings beats rabbit hunting?.? Contrary to McKinley?s claim, it must be understood that he did not occupy the Philippines for humanitarian reasons. As many U.S. senators, such as Albert Beveridge, stated clearly in many speeches, the United States sole reason for maintaining control of the island was for economic and political means, period.
    ? In 1918, a Georgian woman, Mary Turner, was forced from her home by klansmen; hung from a tree; set on fire; had her womb cut open; and the live fetus was beaten to death. And what was the reasoning for this brutal act? She had the audacity to condemn the klu klux klan for lynching her husband.
    ? In 1921, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, African-Americans were building up their own community. They were establishing businesses and schools to better themselves. The small community was nicknamed Black Wall Street. Outraged, the white citizens of the town went on a killing spree in which over 300 Blacks lost their lives and an additional 800 seriously injured. All the structures erected were burnt to the ground.
    ? During the 1930s, the U.S. government began an experimental program in which African-Americans were used as guinea pigs. Blacks, stricken with syphilis, were reassured that they were receiving adequate care, but instead, government doctors were giving them placebos. More African-Americans were infected and would eventually die a horrific death as the their bodies were slowly crippled. The Tuskegee Experiment, as it became known as, would last for several decades.

    Now, one would think that as a nation grows, that nation eventually matures and leaves the sins of the past to the history books, but unfortunately this has not been the case.

    ? During World War II, while the United States proceeded to fight against the Axis powers in order to preserve democracy through out the world, white soldiers were not allowed to fight along side soldiers of color; white blood was kept separated from all other types of blood; and to add to the insult, German prisoners of war were treated better than soldiers of color.
    ? In 1955, a young African-American boy, Emmett Till, was savagely killed for whistling at a white woman by a gang of white Mississippians. Even though there was overwhelmingly evidence of the perpetrators guilt, they were found not guilty by an all white jury. In a country that professes to live by democratic principals, one would think there would have been mass outcry from the dominant culture, but there was none. When the mother of Emmett Till tried to plead her case to President Eisenhower and J. Edgar Hoover, her cries felled on unsympathetic ears from the very people who were supposed to uphold the laws of the land.
    ? Thinking of J. Edgar Hoover, we all know now that Hoover was an evil miscreant who abused his powers as FBI director. He tried to derail the civil rights movement; as director, he repeatedly made racist comments about people of color; when four black girls were killed in a church bombing in Alabama by white supremacists, Hoover withheld evidence that would have led to the conviction of the perpetrators; he allowed innocent victims to go to jail, knowing they were innocent; he encouraged Martin Luther King to commit suicide; he violated the constitutional rights of those who held different political and social views from him. And yet, despite all the transgressions committed by Hoover, his name is still allowed to appear on the justice building in Washington, D.C. Well, I guess it is only appropriate since Hoover represents the true spirit of American justice. Old sentiments die hard.
    ? Since the implementation of the death penalty in the mid-1970s, there have been several people who have been wrongly convicted, mainly poor whites and people of color, and forced to serve on death role, with some coming within hours of losing their lives for a crime they did not commit. The fact that innocent people were forced to reside on death role is bad enough, but how they got there is even more outrageous. Once released from captivity, the falsely accused have generally told the same story that they were forced into the confession by police officers. In some cases, the interrogators even put guns to the heads of the victims. One would think that this would elicit outrage at this form of mental and physical torture. One would think that millions of Americans would demand the perpetrators be brought to justice since we are a fair and just people, but there has been none. Not one officer has been brought to justice and most likely they will never.
    ? In 1996, a black man was arrested in New York City. He was taken to the police station where five white officers repeatedly sodomized him with the handle of a plunger. With this man screaming at the top of his lungs, not one officer in that station came to his aid, which makes them complicit in the crime as well. One would think that there would be a national clamor against this type of torture. One would think that the news media would give this top priority. One would also been wrong. Once again, the dominant culture?s silence was deafening. Except for the African-American community, attitudes were indifferent and uncaring.
    ? In Los Angeles, during the 1990s, a division in the LAPD assassinated and planted drugs on several Hispanic suspects. In Tulia, Texas, one racist sheriff was allowed to round up over forty innocent African-Americans by falsely accusing them of being drug dealers, while politically driven politicians remained silent upon hearing the pleas of the family members who knew their relatives were innocent.
    ? As we embark on our journey through the 21st century in America, a white life still has more value than any other life. This is clearly apparent in the way our laws are carried out and how the news media performs its job. If you really what to know how the dominant culture view the life of minorities in this country, the death penalty gives a clear indication. Most people sitting on death row are there for killing a white person. Even in areas where there are an equal number of black and white victims, the person who dared to take the white life was still more likely to receive a death sentencing, while those taking a colored life received a less severe sentencing. From California to New York, this has been the shameful norm. Just as law enforcement devalues the life of people of color, mass media has not fared any better. It has become popular for the national news media to report on various kidnappings and murders through out the country. Crime affects us all equally. Even though African-Americans, Hispanics, and Asians are victims of heinous crimes like white Americans, the national media are more likely to highlight crimes committed against whites and pay little attention to crimes committed against people of color. The media is well aware that white Americans are more concern with the life of a white person than any other.
    ? In America, Blacks and Hispanics are still victims of racial profiling. It is still the unofficial rule that a person of color can be detained and harassed by police officials. It must be stressed, these people come under suspicion not for committing a crime, but for being the wrong color in America.

    And in each case and situation, the majority of Americans had/have paid little to no attention to the plight of those who didn?t share their common background. We have a long history of devaluing the life of those we define as unworthy. For Americans to say they are shocked at the brutal treatment of the Iraqis at the hands of U.S. soldiers is equivalent to a man who goes to a whorehouse and is shock to find whores there. The American culture fosters this attitude and revels in it. Yes, laws have been passed, but little has been done to change the uncaring attitude by the multitudes. In fact, our leaders and mass media encourages this redneck, John Wayne, everything white is right mentality. And yet, we do not have the decency to stand up and say that this is us and change. Instead, we lie to ourselves. Yes, what we see in Iraq is far too American. Americans must relieve that there are no good guys or bad guys, only people willing to fight and die for their own selfish causes and in the aftermath of human carnage and mass destruction, the victors have the task of deciding which side was good and which side was bad. Seldom will the victor accept the latter. Or as Mark Twain so eloquently stated, ?There are many humorous things in the world. Among them, the white man?s notion that he is less of a savage than the other savages.? Simply, those soldiers did in Iraq what is done in America everyday, disrespecting those who are different.

    Ernest Jude Navy, author of The Truth At Half Staff and Savior Mary (Xlibris-Random House); (available at Barnes and Noble, B. Dalton, http://www.amazon.com, http://www.bn.com, http://www.xlibris.com)

    contact by mail or phone:
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  73. “Al Queda declared a non-Westphalian war,…”

    So did Timothy McVeigh. But he was *not* at war, and he was *not* an enemy soldier. He was a mass murderer. A criminal. Nothing more. The people in Al Qaeda that have plotted or committed crimes are criminals. They are *not* soldiers.

    And it’s a huge, huge mistake to dignify them as anything more than criminals. When Bush does that–and worse, when U.S. citizens accept Bush doing that–we are actually made LESS safe.

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