Saturday, April 28, 2007

"We Do Not Torture"

The United States was instrumental in helping to establish international rules prohibiting torture. What are the implications if the United States is violating these rules? How much worse is it if we claim to not be violating these rules simply through semantic slight of hand?

A recent post by Richard Warnick on OneUtah comments on the 60 minutes interview with former CIA director George Tenet. I watched the preview segments on their site. It was interesting that, three times, Mr. Tenet adamantly said "We do not torture." I have seen some allegations in the news about torture, although I will admit that I haven't looked very hard, especially while I was in the military (I retired in December 2006). Richard's comments inspired me to start looking a little harder. Another post on OneUtah by Deanna Taylor was the one that got me thinking: if the military really is recruiting by exposing our youth to the gory 'glories' of American armaments, why wouldn't there be a least some who think that it's okay to torture non-Americans.

I came across a book in the Brigham Young University library entitled Oath Betrayed, and authored by Steven H. Miles, M.D. I am about half finished with the book as I write. I am reserving full judgment until I find more facts, but if what Dr. Miles alleges is true, far more individuals should have been punished with far more stringent sentences, and the Bush administration and America have much for which to be embarrassed.

The United States was instrumental in establishing international rules requiring that under no circumstances can governments or their agents engage in torture for any reason. The Geneva Convention makes it clear that all individuals are to be regarded this courtesy, not simply those clearly representing nations at war with the United States, but everyone else as well. They can be held as enemy prisoners of war, but under all circumstances they must be treated humanely.

Simply because other nations have engaged in and continue to engage in torture does not give the US any permission to engage in the same practice. If the United States is being held to a higher standard in this regard, then so be it. I am proud that we would be held to such a standard. When we violate the standard, our attempts to spread the blessings of liberty around the globe ring much less than hollow.

Very likely contrary to what many believe, torture appears not to have been limited to just a handful of personnel at the Abu Ghraib facility. Nor was it likely limited just to Abu Ghraib, nor even to Iraq. The following is a non-exhaustive list of the types of "interrogation tactics" used by US military (and non-military) personnel in Iraq, Afghanistan, and at Guantanamo Bay:

  • Withholding food
  • Exposure to extreme hot or cold temperatures
  • Bombardment with "music" and other loud noises
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Isolation for long periods of time
  • Forcing prisoners into stress positions (in at least some cases to include hanging them by their arms suspended behind their bodies)

If President Bush is not aware that these kinds of actions are occurring, he is not mentally fit to hold the office of President of the United States. If he is aware, he should be making every such offense public, he should be, as the chief executive, enforcing American and international law when it comes to prohibition of torture, and he should apologize to every person and their families to whom torture has happened.

Torture is in essentially all cases counterproductive. It presents the following problems:

1. Evidence garnered through torture are in all cases suspect, as very often those being tortured provide any sort of information (usually false) so that they can stop being tortured.

2. Torture is counterproductive, as it alienates the population the torturing agency was allegedly sent there to serve.

3. It harms those who commit it (with reactions similar to and often worse than Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), and the overall society that condones it.

4. It alienates those who under normal circumstances would come forward with helpful information.

5. It becomes a tool to punish those who are weak, regardless of their innocence, as well as

Feelings of confusion and hatred on the part of those tortured are exacerbated when medical personnel are present. Dr. Miles' research provides substantial evidence that in many cases such US personnel were on hand to observe such treatment and to periodically ensure that prisoners were still in good enough health to continue being "interrogated". In some cases their presence was not enough--prisoners in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Cuba have died under such interrogation tactics. Sometimes their bodies were unceremoniously dumped at the local morgue, and in other cases their bodies were buried in close proximity to the prison. In such cases, family members were never apprised of the fate of their fathers and brothers.

Postscript: When the pictures of Abu Ghraib torture first became public knowledge, radio producer Rush Limbaugh defended the torturers by saying that they were blowing off steam and that kind of thing happened at a Madonna or Britney Spears concert. What an inane statement!

While viewing the Tenet preview segments on 60 Minutes, I also came across a segment regarding Joe Darby, whose revelation of images of torture began the revelations of some of what happened in Abu Ghraib. I salute him as a very brave American. Unfortunately, though, many of his townsfolk consider him a traitor to America. He has had to move from his boyhood hometown. Some of his family members even refuse to talk to him. While he did the right thing, they are a disgrace.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Observations About "The Wall" in "Sadr City"

Recently construction on a wall was begun and then quickly halted in the Adhamiyah section of Baghdad. Why? You might be interested to find out.

My first reaction to the cessation of the most recent wall being built in Baghdad was that if President al Maliki asks the Iraqi and US militaries to stop building the wall, then we should stop building it.

But then I found out that other walls have been built in other sections of Baghdad with no similar outcry. In fact, they have been welcomed. These walls are not just solid slabs of concrete, but rather have at regular intervals gates through which access can be granted in a more controlled way. Terrorist acts can thus be severely diminished. The citizens of Amiriyah and Ghazaliyah had no problem with greater safety.

So why did the citizens of Adhamiyah? Well, it's not actually clear that they did. Leaflets passed around the area in the days leading up to the wall construction begin date threatened death to those who cooperate with Americans.

Iraq the Model sheds some interesting light
on the issue of "The Wall":

Yesterday leaflets were distributed in the streets of Adhamiya (or Azamiya, English doesn’t have the exact sound anyway). The leaflets — printed and distributed by persons unknown — called on residents to protest the building of the wall. Knowing that the only organized entity capable of such quick response to events in Adhamiya are either the insurgents or al-Qaeda strongly indicates that they were behind the planned protest. More important still is that it indicates they see the wall as a threat to their movement and ability to carry out their actions.

Interestingly as well: Iraq the Model points out that Adhamiyah is not Sadr City, as the media reported...

The Outcome of Collective Guilt Trips

As examples from America and Israel show, the result of national guilt trips is not good. If we'd stop feeling guilty for everything--by the way, stop and look at who's making us feel guilty in the first place (!)--and stand up for our principles, there'd be a lot less violence in the world.

In his column today, Thomas Sowell had this interesting observation.

During the 1960s, the idea spread like wildfire that whatever you were lacking was someone else's fault — society's fault. If you were poor, whether at home or in some Third World country, you were one of the "dispossessed" — even if you had never possessed anything to dispossess you of.

The urban ghetto riots that swept across the country during the 1960s were all blamed on society. This view was formalized in a much-hailed report on urban violence by a national "blue ribbon" commission headed by Gov. Otto Kerner of Illinois.

This sweeping and heady vision made it unnecessary to stoop to anything so mundane as hard facts — which would have included the fact that urban riots struck most often and most violently when and where this collective guilt vision prevailed.

Southern cities, where at that time discrimination and poverty were more pronounced than in the rest of the country, were not nearly as often or as hard-hit as cities outside the South.

Dore Gold made the following note on page 5 of his recent book, The Fight for Jerusalem.

The Palestinians claimed the violence bgan as a spontaneous reaction to Sharon's visit to the temple mount. But Arafat's minister of communications...freely admitted the planned, organized nature of the campaign... "Whoever thinks the Intifada broke out because of the despised Sharon's visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque is wrong," he explained. "The intifada was planned in advance, ever since President Arafat's return from the Camp David negotiations."

Palestinians aren't stupid. They can see someone's weakness when they intend on giving away the farm.

Israel in the summer of 2006 fell victim to public opinion, fueled by bought-and-paid-for Islamists like Juan Cole and al Jazeera. Israelis felt not nearly as much guilt as did the Americans, but the minor Israeli and major American guilt was milked for all its propaganda value by the anti-freemen in cheering the Hizballah troops.

Bullies do this. Packs of wolves exhibit this behavior. People who are in the wrong are emboldened by weak behavior from people who are right. My goodness we have a lot of guilty people in this country. It's ironic that when we stop being able to feel guilt for things that are really wrong, we have a craving to replace it with guilt that is misplaced. Another sad thing is that a lot of the rest of Americans, including such organizations as the Council on American Islamic Relations, are preying on our guilt. Is it any wonder poor excuses for human beings continue to target innocent Iraqi civilians? They salivate at our guilt. And we continue to exhibit it. It is not Bush's fault that people are killing each other in Iraq. Nor is it yours!

It's time to get our butts off our stinky couches, turn off our boob tubes, and start finding out what's really going on in the world today. We need to stop feeling guilty for the things we're doing right, especially when those who have destroyed in their own countries everything we hold dear are the ones making the accusations.

There are things to feel guilty for. Supporting a fledgling democracy is not one of them.

The Mistakes that Were, and the Mistakes that Weren't

I don't like the Bush administration. I never voted for him, for which I feel proud and vindicated. There were several mistakes made by the Bush administration with regard to the war in Iraq. But we shouldn't let liberals have a pass on reality when they make some outlandish, unproven allegations.

I think I finally support Rocky Anderson and Dennis Kucinich and everyone else who wants an impeachment of Vice President Cheney to proceed. Because I'm sick and tired of all the innuendo, and it would be good to know what the facts are. Plus, it would stop congress from causing any more damage for a while.

The Bush Administration has made its share of mistakes--no question. I have pointed them out here on this site. But just for good measure, let me list them, along with some that don't relate to Iraq, including some that I haven't listed before.

1. Standing by his attorney general when his attorney general is a schmuck. The Clinton's had enough of the same kinds of personnel problems as Bush, by the way. I think that the Republicans (Specter doesn't count) don't generally play the part of good vultures. Democrats, on the other hand...

2. Not sending enough troops to Iraq. His generals told him that there needed to be more troops. But many of his advisors told him that it would be a cake walk. Wrong.

3. Disbanding the Iraqi military and government ministries from top to bottom. I wrote about this as being the greatest mistake in the Iraq war.

4. Not bowing to Democratic power when it comes to the obvious truths of global warming. Just kidding--I had to throw that one in! This is one thing he's actually doing a good job on.

5. Not explaining to the Iraqi people, and the American people for that matter, what our end goals are. Just not being a very good communicator overall.

6. Not pardoning border Agents Ramos and Compean, who did a magnificent job on the US-Mexican border, and who are currently being unjustly imprisoned. Not being a stronger advocate of keeping illegal immigrants from our country. Being an advocate of the North American Union superhighway.

7. Not planning for contingencies in Iraq. Not understanding (much less having and implementing) counter-insurgency tactics. Such as what happens after we get there? What if we don't find any weapons of mass destruction? What if suicide bombers start killing throngs of innocent Iraqi civilians?

That's definitely not a litany of his mistakes, but it highlights some of the worst. Now, on to the other part. Let's talk about what mistakes were not made, in light of the fact that allegations have been made that such mistakes were made.

I wish to reply to a letter to the Deseret News by BYU professor Warner Woodworth. One of the best classes I ever had at BYU was from Mr. Woodworth. Let's just say, however, that we don't necessarily agree politically. I include below one applicable paragraph from his opinion piece in DesNews, to which both of my barrels will respond.

Let me count a few ways Cheney has diminished our American ideals: using false premises for war, condoning illegal wiretaps on citizens, justifying Abu Ghraib, managing Halliburton unethically, continuing use of vulgarities, firing federal prosecutors who weren't "Bushie" enough, and on ad nauseam.

1. Using false premises for war. The claim that the Bush administration knew that Iraq possessed no WMD is the bedrock upon which nearly every other allegation against the war is made. What happens if the bedrock is shifting sand. We often think we knew a lot about something before it happened, when in reality, what we know now is what we came to know only after it happened. David Kaye, a United States lead inspector for the International Atomic Energy Agency, was sent to Iraq to seek out the WMD that the Bush administration claimed was there. Kaye went, because he was convinced that he would find something. He was shocked when he did not. Regardless of what might have happened to them or whether they were ever there, the fact that experts expected to find WMD shoots the 'Bush-lied' theory down.

2. Condoning illegal wiretaps. It is interesting to note that the Council on American Islamic relations initially raised concern about Bush administration wiretapping, before it caught on like wildfire in the liberal and media (woops, same thing) communities. Whether it's wrong or not (which hasn't been proven), it is important to remember that democratic administrations have used the same techniques. The Bush eavesdrops on conversations between Americans and suspected al Qaeda operatives. If he exceeds this mandate, he should be removed from office, but prove to me that he has rather than just making a boatload of claims.

3. Justifying abu Ghraib. Maybe what Mr. Woodworth is referring to is an allegation by Newsweek magazine that new tactics to fight the war on terror turned into a de facto justification for the tortures at abu Ghraib. The reality is so much more complicated that I don't know where to start. Let me just say that abu Ghraib happened because (1) there was not a clear counter-insurgency plan, and far too many Iraqi men found their way into prison than should have, and (2) there was a much smaller contingent of military police at abu Ghraib than should have been to handle the influx of prisoners.

4. Managing Halliburton Unethically. I saw how efficient Halliburton was when I served in Iraq. I cannot think of too many companies that could have done the job that Halliburton has done there. Can you? Halliburton got the contract because they were deemed by the government to be the most qualified.

5. Continuing use of vulgarities. Did Mr. Woodworth think this about President Clinton and members of his administration? Vulgarities are vulgar, for sure, but football coaches use them all the time, for pete's sake. We shouldn't use them, I agree, but I am not qualified to cast the first stone. Maybe Mr. Woodworth is, but isn't this just litany-padding to add such a charge?

6. Firing Attorneys. He had more right to fire them than the Clinton administration had a right to fire the people in the travel office!

I assume "ad nauseam" includes the standard "blood for oil" claim, as well as the "Guantanamo is eeevviilll" claim as well. But I've seen no proof of these either.

So let's get these impeachment proceedings proceeding! I want to know what the truth is. Somehow, I don't think the liberals really want too, though. Because they already have their minds made up. And to think that perhaps they are being led by a ring in their nose which was installed by the truly patriotic Council on American Islamic Relations.

It cannot be a matter of us hating someone so bad that we expense our own military members simply because we want to win a political battle. If these things are true, then let's find them out in impeachment proceedings. But otherwise, let's keep our yaps shut. The terrorists are listening. Our politics are their "CSI", "Survivor", and "Simpsons" all rolled into one.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Who in the World is Abdullah al-Muhajir?

I have heard a lot about Jose Padilla in the last few months, including that he was mercilessly tortured, that he is an American citizen being held without being charged, that George W. Bush has been instrumental in his capture and torture, and that he has done nothing wrong. So I decided to do a little research.

Jose Padilla's real name, after he became a convert to Islam following one of his many stays in prison, is now Abdullah al-Muhajir. Since taking a a vow of non-violence in prison, Padilla/al-Muhajir has committed or been trained to commit several acts of violence. He also left his American wife and children to become more engaged in radical Islam in Egypt, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq.

On one of his visits to Afghanistan, he became a member of the al Farouq terrorist training camp, which is affiliated with al Qaeda. When he returned to the US in 2002, the FBI was waiting for him. Following an interview, he was arrested and held as an enemy combatant due to his having worked with al Qaeda.

One of the plots that he had not yet been able to carry out before being arrested was to acquire apartments on lower floors of high-rise apartment buildings--apartments serviced by highly explosive natural gas. The intent was to leave a flame source inside the apartment, sealing it off substantially, and allow the gas to build up. Eventually the gas would explode, possibly killing hundreds of high-rise tenants. The intent was to acquire apartments in as many as 20 buildings.

As a young Puerto Rican thug in Chicago, Padilla had a rap sheet a mile long. After changing his name to a more peaceful one, his encounters with law enforcement officials continued unabated.

He was long involved with the Masjid al Imam mosque in Florida, which has been a front for the Benevolence International Foundation, a terrorist fund-raising instrument whose aims have been less that benevolent. Evidence was discovered in Bosnia that BIF was funneling money to al Qaeda.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Spiking Islamic Democracy

When's the last time you sent in your donation to PBS? Hint for US Citizens: if you haven't filed your tax return, you have until midnight tonight (unless you live in the Northeast).

Update: April 18th How National Public Radio led the charge in the 1990's in dismissing the threat of jihad.

Radical Islamists do not support democracy. From his newest book, The War of Ideas, Walid Phares writes:

Salafists, Wahabis, Takfiris, Tablighis, and other Sunni Islamists reject the concept of pluralism, and radically oppose the rule of the people. Only Allah and his teachings...are the basis for governance. [Shias] installed an Islamic Republic in Iran, but its mandate is believed to be divinely inspired and not subject to the approval of civil society. (p. XVIII)

It appears that Radical Liberalists in the United States want you to think that all Muslims share this sentiment. This is not true. But PBS is doing its best to keep you from knowing that.

Due to pressure from Islamist groups, PBS, who unfortunately owns the rights to the film entitled "Islam vs. Islamists", has shelved it, claiming that the reasoning for the shelving is because "it needs work", and that it might still be shown in the future. Did you just see that pig fly by?

Even more bizarre is the claim that the film would "demonize Islam" when in reality the result is the exact opposite. Many Muslims prefer democracy to the "7th Century" drivel that God makes all the rules and the radical lunatics are to enforce them. How PBS finds this demonizing is beyond me.

"I am incredulous that PBS would invest so much of our tax money into contracting professionals for a documentary on a subject -- the struggle for the soul of Islam -- which is one of the most vital debates of the 21st century and then censor its release," said Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, chairman of the Arizona-based American Islamic Forum for Democracy who is featured in the documentary.

Mr. Jasser visited with Greg Allen on The Right Balance this morning, expressing his dismay that a tax-funded organization would act this way.

I agree. As surprised as I am by the liberal reaction to the attempt to foster democracy in the Middle East, this has to be one of the worst instances of spiking relevant insight into the process. I have come to the conclusion that American liberals think that Muslims are incapable of democracy. What a shallow, self-serving viewpoint.

Please contact the PBS Ombudsman
, and let him know you want to see a documentary that shows that many Muslims prefer democracy. What's demonic or divisive about that?

Update April 18th: From his book Future Jihad, Walid Phares explains to us that we haven't been getting our tax money's worth for quite some time now.

More worrisome [than the lack of coverage of jihad strategy by private news networks] would be PBS, C-SPAN, and NPR. Funded by US taxpayers, these gigantic networks have dedicated less than 0.1 percent of content to what would become the main threat to the nation over the years. NPR would outdo every other medium: It actually aired more programs endorsing the apologists--those who denied a jihadi threat--than all other U.S. media combined. The pounding by NPR and the public networks over ten years further disguised the intensity of the Wahabi penetration [into American government and society]. (p. 177)
Here's some more information on the controversy from the CNS News service.

Climate Change and Ethnic Cleansing in Darfur

Quiz question: Why are so many people being killed in Darfur of the Sudan? Answer: Global Warming. Of course. Global warming is the cause of everything!

Climate change is behind the effort to eradicate non-Muslims from Darfur, according to this story.

A violent conflict that has claimed more than 300,000 lives in Darfur is one of the early signs of threats to global security prompted by climate change, a senior representative of the British government warned Monday on the eve of a special United Nations debate.

“Like most conflicts, it’s complex. It results from an interplay of a lot of social and political and possibly ethnic factors,” said John Ashton, Prime Minister Tony Blair’s special ambassador on climate change.

“But there is absolutely no doubt that it’s a more difficult conflict to deal with, because on top of all that, you’ve had a 40 per cent fall in the rain fall in northern Darfur over the last 25 to 30 years again in a way that’s entirely consistent with what the climate models would have told you to expect.”

Calling the issue "complex" not only waters down the clear reason for the cleansing, but is a brazen attempt to inject man-made global warming into a debate where it has no business being.

But whatever. It seems, then, that global warming has caused Islamic radicals to be just a bit more radical. Because the reason for the ethnic cleansing in Darfur, which, by the way, is far worse than anything in the former Yugoslavia, is Islamism.

According to the book Future Jihad by Walid Phares, Islamism took the upper hand in the Sudan due to a 1989 coup. That was one year before the first report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. With the coup, Sudan became only the second Sunni Islamist state in the Middle East, preceded by Saudi Arabia.

And then, with no warming, global warming struck with a vengeance! Or something.

We now return to our regularly scheduled programming, entitled "The Truth".

Desiring a smoke screen for the Islamists' attempt to eradicate non-Muslims, Hassan Turabi invented an enemy, named John Garang, who was a Marxist and who could easily be believed to have been an ally of the former Soviet Union, whom the Islamists had defeated in Afghanistan.

On the smoky pretext, Mr. Turabi called leading Islamists from around the world to the 1st annual Islamic Conference on Global Warming. Or something...

According to Dr. Phares, there actually was a large conference of Islamists in Khartoum, Sudan in 1992. The PLO was there. The Baathists were there. The Iranians were there. Hizballah was there.

Based on Turabi's propaganda, Islamists came from everywhere to take part in the slaughter ordained of Allah. Since then hundreds of thousands of non-Muslims have been killed. Tens of thousands more have been sold into slavery across the Levant and beyond.

And to think that it was all because of global warming.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Anti-Americanism has Always been in Vogue

With how bad the world--and many Americans--hate America today, you'd think it was all George W. Bush's fault. In reality, it's mostly democracy's fault. A lot of people don't like the fact that America taught people to think for themselves.

We protest not just against any nuclear weapons. We protest against America's.

We protest not just against any death penalty. We protest against America's.

We protest not against fanatic Jihadists who think it nothing to kill their fellow Iraqis and Muslims. It's America's fault.

Why? People have hated America nearly since its inception, because they despise liberty and free markets. The BBC delves into this fetish in a piece called "Death to US: Anti-Americanism Examined".

In the article I read on the subject, the author said

...this is not a recent migration brought on by Mr Bush. In May 1944 (just weeks before American GIs landed on the beaches of Normandy), Hubert Beuve-Mery, the founder of Le Monde newspaper - certainly no mouthpiece of the right - wrote this: "The Americans represent a real danger for France, different from the one posed by Germany or the one with which the Russians may - in time - threaten us. The Americans may have preserved a cult of Liberty but they do not feel the need to liberate themselves from the servitude which their capitalism has created. "

It is time that we understood that this attitude, this contempt for what democracy can do, is at the heart of at least some of the anti-Americanism we see in the world today.

The Cost of Abandonment

The Tet Offensive was a major American defeat in the Viet Nam war, right? Wrong. It came to be seen as such because Walter Cronkite, John Kerry, and others convinced a significant portion of Americans that such was the case. From that point on, public opinion went downhill, and the ability of the US military to serve its purpose in Indochina went with it.

Then Richard Nixon became hounded by the Democrats. Seeing potential impeachment on his horizon, President Nixon resigned. Thereafter, there was no more stomach for the Viet Nam war. So we just packed up and left. And the Vietnamese lived happily ever after, right?


Liberals never cared about the Vietnamese. They only cared about winning. And that meant that that America had to lose in Vietnam. The only Vietnamese that liberals really ever cared about were the relatively few who were just like them--who lusted for power and domination over their fellow man.

American liberals got just what they wanted, and they never apologized for the mayhem. Because they won!

Following the unceremonious departure of America from Vietnam, thousands of Vietnamese were rounded up, tortured, and killed. Tens of thousands were forcibly relocated. Tens of thousands more fled the country on makeshift boats, many of which were not seaworthy, causing thousands more to die. The carnage of man's domination over man spilled over into neighboring Cambodia, where terrorists forced nearly everyone (but themselves) from their homes. Ultimately the lives of 2 million Cambodians were taken from them by the relative few who knew what was best for them. This amounted to nearly one third of the entire Cambodian population.

Abandonment is costly. Is Iraq different? It's pretty hard to say, but I think not. Will the same thing happen in Iraq when we leave? The likelihood is much greater that it will than is the likelihood that man is causing global warming. But which problem are liberals focused on?

I don't know for sure what would happen if the US and coalition forces exercised as precipitous an exit from Iraq as we did from Vietnam. But liberals don't care. Because they will have won.

The Tet Offensive was a major setback for the Vietcong--until Walter Cronkite convinced the American media, and the media in turn convinced the American people--that it wasn't. In much the same way, today, liberals highlight the negative incidents in Iraq, unfairly convincing a majority of Americans that Operation Iraqi Freedom has no chance for success. Our resolve is flagging in just the same manner as it did in Vietnam.

Because liberals don't care about Iraqis, except to use them as poster children when they are in pain. Liberals only care about winning. And in their minds, that means that America must lose the OIF campaign.

Friday, April 06, 2007

More Guantanamo Revelations

More revelations are coming from the Guantanamo Bay facility about treatment of prisoners. And it's not pretty. If it's really happening, we should be outraged. But it's hard to tell because there is so much dissimulation when it comes to the facts.

Prisoners tell of being isolated for long periods of time. They speak of being physically abused. They speak of being mentally abused. They speak of having to sleep on stone floors with nothing but thin blankets.

Their torturers were becoming "aggressive and unstable". It became clear to some of them that if they didn't cooperate with their captors, they would not live to see the next day.

Because of such irrational behavior, the prisoners feel forced to admit their guilt, and any pictures of them at all are shown only in rare times of relaxation, when the cameras can catch smiles on their faces.

On at least one occasion, a group of prisoners was lined up along a wall, their heads blindfolded, and the thugs behind them could be heard loading their rifles. Several of this group of prisoners were sure that they were about to be executed.

For acts as despicable as these, the handlers at Guantanamo should be...wait...

Just a sec...

Oh, this happened in Iran? To British hostages?

Well, never mind. It's okay then.

No, it's really not. If someone did this to you, would you think it was okay?

"We had a blindfold and plastic cuffs, hands behind our backs, heads against the wall. Basically there were weapons cocking. Someone, I'm not sure who, someone said, I quote 'lads, lads I think we're going to get executed'."

"After that comment someone was sick and as far as I was concerned he had just had his throat cut."

It's beyond the height of irony that liberals chastise the Bush administration for supposed torture in Guantanamo, but give the Iranian regime a free pass! If it's wrong, it's wrong. It doesn't matter who does it. So let's see, liberals, if you have any integrity.

Call the Iranians out! I dare you.

Whether or Not to "Insert [Ourselves] into an International Crisis"

Prior to leaving for its two-week spring break, the US House of Representatives was not able to consider a resolution condemning Iran for taking 15 British hostages. The Senate passed a resolution of condemnation, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi did not let a similar resolution come to a vote in the House.

Pelosi's press secretary had this to say about the failure to introduce the resolution:

The leadership discussed it and agreed that inserting Congress into an international crisis while ongoing would not be helpful.

Shortly thereafter, Speaker Pelosi flew off to the Middle East to insert herself into an international crisis.

At least the whole Congress wasn't involved, I guess...

Do you think her insertion was "helpful"?

Iraqi Oil Contracts Likely Not to Go to Western Firms

I'm not sure how this one will pan out, but it's interesting that CNN Money is reporting that Iraqi oil contracts will go not to the United States or other Western firms, but to companies from such places as China, India, Indonesia, and Viet Nam.

The Iraqi government is putting the finishing touches on the policy that will determine who gets those contracts, but are they doing this independently?

A couple of possible reasons exist for awarding the contracts to Asian firms:

  • An obligation to fulfill "agreements previously signed by those countries under Saddam Hussein's government."
  • They did not participate in the UN sanctions against Iraq, and continued to work in Iraq's oil fields during that period.
  • The initial contracts awarded will be small, and western firms "are just biding their time".
Some claim that these contracts are proof that the Bush Administration was not in Iraq for the oil. However, the Bush Administration and representatives from the International Monetary fund had a chance to look at the draft law before it went to the Iraqi parliament.

The initial contracts are for relatively small volumes of oil. It is alleged that western firms are sitting back, waiting for when larger contracts are awarded.

It's too early to tell what's up.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Secretary of State Pelosi Solves Iranian Hostage Crisis

The Associated Press implied in a story today that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was instrumental in getting the 15 British hostages released from Iran. That actually may be the case, but pay no attention to the 'man behind the curtain' which is that Speaker Pelosi's actions are bordering on treasonous.

Imagine if, during the civil war, Speaker of the House Schuyler Colfax would have visited the south and negotiated behind Abraham Lincoln's back. Such chicanery as Mrs. Pelosi's has never before been attempted, and there are many who think that it can somehow have a healthy result.

It is the Constitutional responsibility of the Executive department to be the Commander in Chief during wartime. It is the Constitutional responsibility of the Executive department to deal in affairs of state. By implication, even though she is only two heartbeats away from the presidency, it is the Constitutional responsibility of the Speaker of the House to keep their nose out of such business, especially when it comes to cavorting with a declared terrorist state.

These sentiments have nothing to do with whether the current Executive, George W. Bush is doing a good job. In fact, in most instances, I think he and his administration are doing a poor job.

But he is the president. If someone (several people) don't want him to be the President, because he lied or tortures people or says "nukyaler" or whatever, then they need to draw up impeachment proceedings. Far worse than the supposed problems being caused by the Bush Administration currently (one opinion I recently heard is that Americans have now killed 650,000 Iraqis, and that is a conservative estimate) is the absolute chaos that is brewing in America due to the thoughts of enough Bush haters who think Bush should either be thrown out of office or ignored, the Constitution apparently be damned.

Stop for a moment to think how vulnerable the United States becomes when, in effect, two diametrically opposed foreign policies are being promulgated in the most volatile region of the planet.

Terrorist groups have spoken, and they love what they are seeing.

It's working. Pandora is stirring. Pelosi, Syria's Bashar Assad, Iran's Ahmadinejad, and the terrorists they support are getting the last laugh. Yes they place blame for the capture and ill-treatment of the British sailors--on President George W. Bush.

When Britain and the European Union, who influence 40% of Iran's trade, had a chance to make a difference, they flinched.

A travesty.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Iranian Lunacy and the Counterattack Options Available to Us

It is now becoming clear that the Iranian government is a pariah among nations. What's important to remember is that the Iranian people aren't. If, in reaction to the latest smooth move by the Iranian government, we attack Iran with guns and bombs, we will be taking exactly the wrong action.

Kenneth Timmerman was a guest commentator on The Right Balance with Greg Allen this morning, and he reminded us of this looming fact. Timmerman's sources inside Iran state that the kidnapping of the Brits was a carefully planned and coordinated effort. He reports that they are also "trolling" for any Americans they can find in Iran to hold as pawns as well. He also reminded us that many economic options exist for Britain and the world to put the thumb screws to Iran.

For example, forty percent of Iran's gasoline needs are provided from outside the country. Iran has very little refining capacity. It would not be difficult to shut of a significant portion of their resources.

The Iranian people are very pro-American. To attack Iran with military materiel would very likely cause them to turn against us.

Accent Radio Network News reported this morning the reaction of several Iranians to the kidnapping of the British Marines and sailors. Several Iranians were baffled by their government's decision to kidnap the Brits as Iran was not at war with them. Many rank and file Iranians wish their government would release the hostages posthaste.

As it stands, many Iranians are on our side. I hope the Bush administration doesn't go off half cocked again and give them something to hate us for.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

The Iranian Hostage Crisis 28 Years Later

The Iranians have taken hostages. And judging by the world's actions toward previous provocations, they're banking that we'll act just as stupidly as we did the last time. Will the United States use this event as another 'Gulf of Tonkin' provocation to attack Iran?

What are the chances that the British vessel from which 15 sailors were captured by the Iranian military was actually in Iranian waters? If you ask Rosie O'Donnell, that is a fact beyond dispute. I'm not so sure. But what is the chance that the Bush Administration will use the international incident to further fan the flames of American hatred toward Iran and use it as further provocation that we attack Iran? Fairly high, as they have already used a great many incidents as provocation to widen the Iraq war, and they have already made detailed plans for attack.

I hope that Republicans and Democrats alike in Congress do not abdicate their duty this time, but rather tell Bush that he does not have carte blanche authority to attack Iran.

Interestingly, President Jimmy Carter, in his attempt to be humanitarian, helped the current regime to gain power. The Ayatollah Khomeini's government killed more people in its first year than the Shah killed in its quarter century of rule.

But that is as beside the point as is the point that Bush lied to the American people to get us into Iraq. In both cases, the facts of the present require us to deal with them rather than worry and whine about what could have been. However, we still can stop what might be. And it is incumbent upon Congress to act with a firm resolve this time around.

The New American Magazine (linked above) makes the following interesting observations:

Denials notwithstanding, the evidence suggests that the Bush administration is fully committed to a “pre-emptive” war against Iran, possibly as early as April. Though the administration claims that it is pursuing all diplomatic means available to avert a war with Iran, President Bush has been concentrating naval, air, and missile forces on Tehran’s doorstep. Almost any provocation or pretext could now trip the hair trigger that has been put in place and unleash a full-scale war that would quickly dwarf the war in Iraq...

The build-up has been ominous. In early January President Bush deployed a Patriot Missile battalion from Fort Bliss, Texas, to the Middle East. Why? The Patriots are for shooting down missiles. But the Sunni insurgents don’t have missiles....

Which brings us to the gathering American armada in the Persian Gulf region. On February 20, the USS John C. Stennis, a Nimitz-class nuclear aircraft carrier, and its accompanying strike group joined the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower carrier group in the Sea of Oman. The Stennis strike group also includes the guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam and guided-missile destroyers USS O’Kane and USS Preble. The USS Nimitz carrier group is headed to the area, ostensibly to replace the USS Eisenhower. But there is good reason to suspect that rather than replace the Eisenhower, the plan may actually be for it to join the gathering naval firepower, which also includes British and Australian vessels.

In addition, U.S. Air Force units in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and elsewhere in the region reportedly have been gearing up for major action. Special operations teams have also reportedly stepped up activities inside Iran over the past several months, including ops teams that provide laser guidance to direct precision bombs to their targets.

For now, I think Bush has made terrible mistakes in Iraq from which we can recover. But if he decides to attack Iran, I will conclude that he wants to create problems from which America likely can't recover.