Are Democrats in Denial About 9-11?
For about a year, Republicans and Democrats agreed on the need vigorously to prosecute the war on terror.
No longer. Nearly all the Democratic presidential contenders as well as other heavyweight Democrats have spoken out against the war on terror, preferring it to be a police action against terror.
Howard Dean , replying to a question that if bin Laden should be caught, whether to put him to death:"I've resisted pronouncing a sentence before guilt is found. I still have this old-fashioned notion that even with people like Osama, who is very likely to be found guilty, we should do our best not to, in positions of executive power, not to prejudge jury trials." (Some days later, under criticism, Dr. Dean shifted his position, saying"as an American I want to see he gets what he deserves, which is the death penalty.")
Richard Gephardt :"I never felt it was inevitable that we had to go to war."
John Kerry : President George W. Bush wrongly"rushed into battle."
George Soros :"the war on terrorism cannot be won by waging war. … Crime requires police work, not military action."
William Sloan Coffin : After 9/11, the U.S. government should have vowed"to see justice done, but by the force of law only, never by the law of force."
Fully to appreciate the significance of the Democrats' views requires some background: Although Islamist violence against Americans began in 1979, for 22 years the U.S. government, regardless of which party was in charge, insisted on reducing the Islamist threat to its criminal component.
Because evidence against Iran would not have passed muster in a court of law, for example, the destruction of the U.S. embassy in Beirut in April 1983, killing 63, went unavenged. The U.S. response in 1998 to two embassy bombings in East Africa, killing 224, was to track down the perpetrators, haul them before a court in New York, win convictions, and put them away. There was no effort to dismantle the command and control structure, the financial institutions, the cultural milieu, or the political ideology that had bred the violence.
Then came September 11 and a nationwide realization that the country faced not just crime but also a military threat. That very evening, Mr. Bush declared a"war against terrorism." A war, note — not a police action.
This new approach quickly had large implications. One was deploying the military to destroy the Taliban regime. Another (via the Patriot Act) was pulling down the"firewall" dividing law enforcement and intelligence agencies.
This latter may sound technical, but it greatly enhanced American capabilities. For years, legal investigators pursued information that their colleagues in the intelligence agencies already had. It was like"having your best football players sitting on the bench when you are having your butts beat," notes Barry Carmody, an FBI agent who worked on the Sami Al-Arian terrorism case. Then the Patriot Act was passed and"Everything changed." Now, the authorities could"gamble with 52 cards, not half the deck," Mr. Carmody said.
"Holy moly! There's a lot there!" was how another FBI agent, Joe Navarro, characterized the flood of new information in the Al-Arian case. He described getting hold of it as"one of those awesome moments."
Two months ago, the undersecretary of defense for policy, Douglas Feith, formally contrasted the pre- and post-9 /11 approaches: think back, he suggested, to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and to the attacks on Khobar Towers in 1996, on the U.S. East African embassies in 1998, on the U.S.S. Cole in Yemen in 2000. When such attacks occurred over the last decades, U.S. officials avoided the term"war." The primary response was to dispatch the FBI to identify individuals for prosecution. Recognizing the September 11 attack as war was a departure from the established practice. It was President Bush's seminal insight, the wisdom of which I would say is attested by the fact that it looks so obvious in retrospect.
Obvious for a while, yes. Now, key Democrats repudiate this insight and insist on a return to the pre-9 /11 dispensation.
Doing so would amount to a momentous step backwards, however. This new kind of war involves criminality, to be sure, but it still is war. To unlearn the painful lesson of September 11 is a good way to lose that war.
This article is reprinted with permission by Daniel Pipes. This article first appeared in the New York Sun.
comments powered by Disqus
David Carlos Batlle - 1/26/2004
Whoever thinks this war is about "oil" is a total idiot. This is a war that has been raging since the 7th century when the muslim hordes burst out of the Arabian peninsula and captured and converted the Christian provinces of Syria, Palestine, Egypt, Antioch, etc., invaded Persia and swept across North Africa towards my beloved Spain. Only in the 17th century were they finally stopped at the gates of Vienna itsefl. Osama knows what this war is about, and he's been trying to tell us. But we insist it's about U.S. "policies". What a bunch of Liberal claptrap. Why don't we take Osama and the extremists at their word? To them this is a Jihad, and has been since the 7th century. The Crusades was merely an attempt to roll them back, and they're still pissed about it. Why do you think they still call us "crusaders"? Get with the program people. This has little or nothing to do with U.S. "policies" and "oil". This is a civilizational conflict that has raged across the centuries and will continue to do so. Of course, do you think you'll hear your politicians say this? Give me a break. They have their stocks and portfolios to think about, and the next election. If you don't believe me, read "Islam in Crisis" by Bernard Lewis. He doesn't have an axe to grind, he's just a historian. Read it and learn what you won't learn from watching 10 million hours of CNN.
David - 1/19/2004
...or a "Hitler" if we're having a bad day.
rg - 1/18/2004
If God wants the Jews to have the Middle East then I suggest the US Gov. should bow out and let God give it to the Jews. I don't see God pumping billions of dollars into Israel...unless the you equate the US gov with God. Americans who wish to fight and die for Israel should move to Israel and enlist in their army. The US doesn't owe Israel anything. I'm an American citizen tired of watching my tax dollars pissed away... that statement includes NASA.. and gay hermit crad research, and emotional distress of obbsessive compulsive ferns,...etc.
I'm tired of paying for security of the cowards in Europe as well. The hours, minutes and secsonds of my life go to pay for this kind of bullshit.
rg - 1/18/2004
..the Dems are probably vaguely aware that something almost preempted their viewing time of the Kennedy Channel (sometmes reffered to as PBS) but overall significance escapes them... after all, how could a bunch of dead white yuppies REALLY matter anyway? Democrats can understand being indignant when a couple of assholes ties a gay guy to a post and he dies... but 9/11 ?? get serious!! Let's have some perspective here!
It should be considered a terrible event when any American is murdered.. be it by homophobes, terrorists, white rapists, black muggers or Eskimo pizza thieves.
john horse - 1/17/2004
The assumption of Daniel Pipes's article, "Are Democrats in Denial About 9-11?" is that the invasion of Iraq is a continuation of the "war against terrorism." However, this is in contrast to a previous Pipe's article, "No WMD? It Wasn't the Main Cause for War Anyway" (HNN 6/9/03).
In the "NO WMD?" article, Pipes is explicit about why he thinks we invaded: ". . . WMD was never the basic reason for the war. Nor was it the horrid repression in Iraq. Or the danger Saddam posed to his neighbors. Rather, the basic reason was Saddam's having signed a contract with the United States, then breaking his promise." In other words, the justification for the invasion was the rather technical one that Saddam (according to Pipes) broke the ceasefire that ended the first Gulf War. What I thought was interesting was that Pipes did not buy the major reasons that Bush mentioned for going to war. The only mention of 9/11 is this: "Then came 9/11, and a new American sense that the world is a dangerous place. The old casualness toward broken promises was no longer acceptable. Beginning in early 2002, President Bush began exerting pressure on Iraq to fulfill its agreement, or pay the consequences." Even though Pipes briefly mentions "ending support for terrorism" as part of the alleged violation of the ceasefire, nowhere in this article did he state that the invasion of Iraq was a war against terrorism.
C.R.W. - 1/16/2004
It's not as if I harbor any illusions that it's being practiced more faithfully here, but I think the lack of true capitalism in France makes it a bit difficult to tell where the state ends and the board room begins.
C.R.W. - 1/16/2004
We'll keep you guessing and in the dark, just like you do to us.
Don't you remember 9/11? "We're all Americans," right?
Caleb - 1/16/2004
You make 2 main points that I shall respond to:
1) "the campaign against Saddam's Iraq was not a stand-alone war, but rather but a campaign in the war against al-qaeda and other expressions of militant Islamism hostile toward the U.S. & the West."
I would be far more convinced of your argument IF
1) Iraq posed a clear and present danger to us
2) war was the only reliable way of averting that danger, and
3) there were not so many better candidates to go after first
I have been convinced of none of those things.
2) "The more or less subtle purpose of the campaign against Iraq was to
"a) deny a potential resource of funding, recruiting and weapons to militant Islam"
But again, isn’t every country in that region a potential resource of funding, recruiting and weapons? What about Saudi Arabia, who actually funded Al Qaeda?!?
"b)to impress upon the Islamic masses that the United States was not the moral and military paper tiger that al-qaeda claimed it to be,"
This piece of rationale, if true, would imply that the liberals were right- the only reason to attack Iraq was to show the world that we could. Besides, how did we NOT demonstrate that when we went into Afghanistan?
"c) In short, the goal of the campaign in Iraq was point out to Islamists & the Islamic masses that to attack the U.S. is counter-productive for them to do."
The argument implies that Iraq attacked the United States, or had something to do with the attack on the United States, a fact that President Bush himself refutes.
Caleb - 1/16/2004
1) Democrats "admit Al-Qaeda was involved with Iraq, but insist these Al Qaeda were not a threat to the US in spite of all the evidence to the contrary."
You assume to much. First, while some Democrats admit the link, many (such as myself) do not make such an admission. Certainly, there is a possibility of a link, anyone would agree to that. But the evidence is far from irrefutable. In any event, I can think of many other countries (Sudan, Saudi Arabia) in which a far stronger line of connection can be made between the government and Bin Laden.
2) "The Democrats who approve of our attack on Afghanistan, but protest Saddam's innocence of 9/11-connections are deluding themselves."
How so? We were attacked by Al Qaeda, which was based in Afghanistan, so we invaded Afghanistan. We were not attacked in Iraq. Al Qaeda was not based in Iraq. President Bush admits that no evidence shows Iraq involved in the attack on America. To say that Iraq is part of the war on terror is just as legitimate as to arbitrarily say that ANY unfriendly Arab country is part of the war on terror. Why not Syria? Why not Egypt?
Caleb - 1/16/2004
I have always found the hatred of France after they threatened a veto to be rather absurd and based more on raw hatred towards anyone who disagrees with Bush more than anything else (not that there are not many legitimate reasons to dislike France- there are plenty). In any event, even if you despise France, fine. That does not explain the other numerous industrialized democracies that we are excluding for not supporting us.
To answer your direct question of whether I would have it any other way, I would. I would invite any company that wishes to bid on contracts, and I would certainly not bring up France’s past relationship with Iraq as evidence. Why? Because people who live in glass houses shouldn’t thrown stones.
You say that "France was culpable and profited greatly in Saddam's tyranny" as reason why we should not let their companies bid. If that is the test, then United States companies must also be excluded. After all, let us not fool ourselves into rewriting history to make us look good and everyone else look bad.
This HNN article should help to clarify what I mean: http://hnn.us/articles/1066.html
Have you no shame ? - 1/16/2004
Or are you actually a resident of a West Bank Terrorist settlement, pretending to be an American ?
Bill Heuisler - 1/16/2004
You wrote, "...because secularist Iraq was no ally to religiously motivated al-qaeda." The Iraqi flag has had the words, Allah Akbar, written across it since the 1991 War with the US. In the past decade the organization Jund al-Islam moved into Iraqi camps in the north and changed its name to Ansar al-Islam. Ansar participated in, and recruited for, the Mukhabarat school called 999. The so-called secular government of Saddam obviously became more inclusive after we stymied their Kuwait aggression.
Are Democrats in denial about 9/11? They admit Al-Qaeda was involved with Iraq, but insist these Al Qaeda were not a threat to the US in spite of all the evidence to the contrary. The Democrats who approve of our attack on Afganistan, but protest Saddam's innocence of 9/11-connections are deluding themselves. The question isn't, are they in denial? The better question is why.
Dave Livingston - 1/16/2004
If "Stratfor," the online information service, is to be believed most of the discussion here is beside the point because
1) the campaign against Saddam's Iraq was not a stand-alone war, but rather but a campaign in the war against al-qaeda and other expressions of militant Islamism hostile toward the U.S. & the West,
2) The more or less subtle purpose of the campaign against Iraq was to a) deny a potential resource of funding, recruiting and weapons to militant Islam (Mind, the operative word here is potential, because secularist Iraq was no ally to religiously motivated al-qaeda, b)to impress upon the Islamic masses that the United States was not the moral and military paper tiger that al-qaeda claimed it to be, c) to impress upon those same masses that the principle accomplishments of the attacks of 9/11 & other attacks mounted by militant Islamists, the bombings of the U.S.S. Cole & our embassies in East Africa, rebounded against the interests of Islam by the loss to the West of Iraq, the most quintessentially Arab & Moslem nation aside from Arabia. In short, the goal of the campaign in Iraq was point out to Islamists & the Islamic masses that to attack the U.S. is counter-productive for them to do.
If "Stratfor" is accurate, most of the dissusion about the Iraqi campaign here is fruitless because the real issue is not under disscussion.
Bill Heuisler - 1/16/2004
France was culpable and profited greatly in Saddam's tyranny. The Osirak Nuclear Plant was French-built. France provided approximately 27.5 pounds of 93% U-235 for use in Osirak. After the plant's destruction by the Israelis, France arranged to rebuild the plant as a heavy-water facility. During Gulf War I Saddam attempted to utilize Uranium from the partially rebuilt reactor for crude weapons.
When Saddam Hussein specified under the oil-for-food program that that the billions generated by the program all flow through one French bank, BNP Paribas, French President Jacques Chirac did not indignantly demand, in the interest of fair play, that the business be divided among banks of various nations.
France has - until quite recently - refused to consider mitigation of debts owed by the Iraqi people in the name of the Baathists. Their recent softening on this issue is directly attributable to President Bush's determination that they pay for their cozy relations with Saddam.
Would you have it any other way?
Caleb - 1/15/2004
What is our goal in Iraq? If it is to rebuild the country, why prevent any company from bidding on contracts. NOTE: This does not mean they will get the contract. By excluding them from consideration, the message is that even a company that can do a job cheaper and better cannot help since we disagreed with their government.
To me, the prohibition demonstrates not only arrogance, but the impression that we want Iraqi booty for ourselves and only want to profit coalition companies. If we don't care what the world thinks of the United States, then that is an acceptable argument. However, if we DO care what the world thinks of us, we should at least act like we put Iraqi national interest ahead of our own interest in exacting revenge.
C.R.W. - 1/15/2004
I was alive until I foolishly stood up in front of an oncoming bulldozer with a visual shield in an attempt to prevent the demolition of illegal arms-smuggling tunnels and the structures that house and conceal them.
But wearing a black veil and burning American flags while I incited youths to violence in Gaza really endeared me to the local crowd. I believed so strongly in their cause that they convinced me that the rewards in paradise were worth the trouble. Obviously the men found this activity so unattractive that I didn't mind becoming a post-mortem lesbian for the sake of sharing my afterlife with 72 virgins.
Jonathan Dresner - 1/15/2004
Just a quick question for the ideologically pure: why should a France-based corporation suffer for the sins of its government?
Rachel Corrie - 1/15/2004
Or alive, but brain dead ?
C.R.W. - 1/15/2004
Because the French sure seem to think they can have it both ways.
Why on earth should we continue to disincentivize the French from considering the consequences of their decisions? Had they had their way, no had they *succeeded*, there would have been no Iraq available for reconstruction. How can their national interest mean one thing today, if only because we trumped what they claimed it to be the day before?
Playing both sides against the middle is a disastrous precedent for the world order. Enough people on this site have condemned the U.S. for having done it for so long, and now we have the chance to exercise clarity in laying out our objectives and interests. A modern and democratic Iraq needs to know that it will have friends in this world who will stand by it, and not just duplicitous weasles who only believe they have a say in global affairs due to a single accident of history. Just because choosing them as the fifth permanent member of the security council made sense back then, doesn't mean that continuing to dole out the privileges of power to those who squander their responsibilities (they denied Turkey NATO protection, for crying out loud!!!), is any less dangerous.
Sticks have become underappreciated. Iraq and the CPA can do just fine without the French. I hardly see our mission in Iraq failing simply due to their inconspicuous absence. If power is all they respect, let's not shy from showing them what it truly means to be on the fuzzy side of its graces.
Would you reward someone by sharing with them what they blocked you from achieving?
John Popolis - 1/15/2004
David - 1/15/2004
Who has he "slandered" except militant islam? Are you of the thinking that attacking militant islam is the same as attacking all of islam? By defending militant islam you are the one slandering real islam.
Jonathan Dresner - 1/15/2004
If I want to run a marathon, loll about without exercise for a decade, then finally decide to train for a marathon being held in a week's time, I am acting precipitously.
Our warnings were based on the Bush administration's blazingly bad intelligence: our error is their error, but theirs is the greater error because they acted on the information, and acted unwisely at that.
Just because the worst-case hasn't happened doesn't mean that things are going well. Just because things are getting better doesn't mean that they are being done the best way possible (or even plausible). And I still contend that the "plan" for post-war Iraq was largely based on wishful thinking and cronyism and a blatant disregard for the long-term obligations incurred.
Why should France be excluded from consideration? Because they exercised their sovereign right to put their interests and international institutions' integrity ahead of our President's desire to be Emperor?
Honestly, I wasn't taking a shot directly at the vice-president, but if that's where it landed....
I've said it before: let me worry about my dignity; you worry about your party's integrity.
C.R.W. - 1/15/2004
Oh, they could have immediately erected a wall, overnight if need be. With the economy humming along the Knesset was just flush with cash. Of course, it would have been a flimsy little plastic barrier, but who cares? As long as it kept those peace-loving Palestians from viewing the crazy all-night parties of the bloodthirsty Israelis celebrating all their lost family members and loved ones, that's all that matters. Wouldn't want to let them in on the big secret of how fun terrorism really is.
C.R.W. - 1/15/2004
His "infeasible" REFUSAL to build a wall during that lackadaisical period of 2001 - 2002, right Fred?
Oh, those were the years, yes indeed. Having Roman orgies with dancing bears through the halls of the Knesset, Sharon sipping champagne and sharing caviar with Shaul Mofaz, as the IDF gleefully gallavanted throughout the territories, shooting babies and assassinating the promising female Palestinian opposition candidates for their horribly progressive stance on democracy and human rights. The Israeli electorate was just yucking it up, celebrating suicide bombing after suicide bombing, sending the blown-up carcasses of octogenarian Auschwitz survivors into paradise to meet the delightful 72 virgins, enjoying every bit of it. Oh yes, those were the days. And they hate the IDF and Likud for atrociously putting an end to it just as much as you do, Fred.
If only they could now figure out how to punish him and banish him from office for it.
Marianne - 1/15/2004
Here are two companies which perform repair and rebuilding on oilfields.
What makes them better than Halliburton?
I'm not sure but I think they have no connection to any administration official. Presuming that to be true, it makes them the better choices since avoiding even a whiff of conflict of interest is in the best interests of American good gov't.
Of course, the Halliburton deal doesn't just whiff of favoritism...it reeks.
Caleb - 1/14/2004
What "atrocities" are you speaking of?
Fred Ferrel - 1/14/2004
No, you don't praise Sharon, but you condone his atrocities with your "My Israel right or wrong" attitude.
Peter K. Clarke - 1/14/2004
"What makes this version of it worth publication?"
It is part and parcel of the deliberate agenda of HNN.
Bill Heuisler - 1/14/2004
My intent in quoting a UN resolution was not to convince you, but to illustrate the abject inanity of words like precipitous and complaints about a lack of goals in re the overthrow of Saddam. Notice how one resolution covers a decade of information, is replete with references to WMD and begins and ends with warnings about a nuclear program in Iraq. Ten-years. Precipitous, Professor?
And the Bush Administration did plan for the aftermath. They planned for victory many in your camp didn't believe possible. Remember the warnings? The plans did not cover every contingency and were faulty in some respects - like disbanding the Iraqi Army. But those on HNN who carp about this plan should be asked to cite a better post-war plan in modern history. Remember Berlin in 1945? Tokyo? To sneer at post-war planning is to assume omniscience normally associated with politicians and not academics.
On that note, your clumsy punch-line about Halliburton is unworthy of your position and experience. Name another company in the world (excluding France) that has better bonafides, capabilities and experience in rebuilding an oil industry. Recall Jeremiads of environmental chaos after Kuwait and remember the Halliburton reconstruct of the Kuwaiti oil ecomomy in two years.
Admit it, cheap shots at the Vice-President are better suited to mouth-breathing Lefies than HNN contributors.
C.R.W. - 1/14/2004
Where did I ever say anything praising Sharon?
You're projecting again, Frank. ;-)
Caleb - 1/14/2004
"Nobody, but NO BODY, on HNN, in the circa 20,000 comments so far, has ever praised Arafat, Fahd or Nasser. What will it take to get you and your fellow Pipesians here to curtail the unending and ridiculous lies to that effect ?"
While you fail to say what "lies" you are referring to, I can ask why anyone would WANT to praise Arafat, or Nasser when it comes to peace. Neither ever wanted peace with Israel, or so their words and actions would lead one to believe. Sadat, yes, but not Nasser.
If you want me to talk about Nasser's contribution to the development of Arab socialism and Egyptian development after the 52 revolution, I will praise him all you like! However, if we are talking only about peace with Israel, who could possibly praise Nasser, an enemy of Israel, or Arafat, and enemy to all Jews?
PS. As an earlier post of mine clearly reveals, I am no huge fan of Pipes. Labeling everyone who disagrees with you as tools of Pipes, or Sharon, or Likud, or whatever does not erase the facts.
William Monroe - 1/14/2004
Another useless piece by Mr. Pipes, who believes that the use of force is justified for US but not for THEM. But, that's what everyone who resorts to violence believes. What makes this version of it worth publication?
ThinkTank - 1/14/2004
The Invasion of Iraq made Americans more vulnerable not less. It diverted resources that were necessery to rebuild Afghanistan. It took quite a bit of man power away from the US, and it damaged the institutions of international law that do protect peace.
C.R.W. - 1/14/2004
And assuming you want to come to the defense of the post floating the idea of a single binational state (in which Arafat would obviously be in charge) without justifying his his extended rule and promoting his career?
I see Fred. You don't want to praise him, just promote him.
C.R.W. - 1/14/2004
2 parties are in conflict: Israel & Arafat. No 3rd choice.
Hamas is Arafat's proxy; whenever the P.A. doesn't get its way, they threaten the rise of the "Arab Street," i.e. dissaffected youth recruited, trained, armed, inspired and paid for by Hamas to commit murder-suicide attacks against what they consider to be the proxy of Israel: its unarmed non-combattant population. What did Qorei say about how "the streets will burn?" They do this because they know Israel will have to come to their defense, and that's bad P.R.
The erroneous assumption is that in the absence of a voice for the true reformers who want to make a functioning Palestinian society feasible, we have to pressure Sharon. That is a false choice. Arafat is responsible for the suppression of rights among the Palestinian people and as long as you don't assume he wants to end the conflict, you are disingenuous in blanketly apportioning blame upon Israel.
Gus Moner made so many apologies for the failed leadership he didn't know Arafat was responsible for that I lost count. ("And where are the details on Arafat's money?" - LOL! - in reference to the $900 million embezzled from international humanitarian aid). I won't even mention the bills advanced by his legislature guaranteeing civil and political freedoms that he vetoed. The opposition in Israel has lost power and legitimacy because in a democracy keeping your constituency alive is a pretty important consideration. The Palestinian opposition never gets the chance at power because Arafat denies them representation, parliamentary procedure, freedom of speech, etc. What's his excuse?
The voice and power Arafat denies his opposition (and his people) is NOT Sharon's fault.
So bash him all you want. Until you come up with a realistic alternative that is acceptable to the will of a democracy NOT bent on facilitating its own suicide, your brainwashed mindslavery against him *ONLY* amounts to political support for Arafat, the continuation of the 40+ year old Fatah movement, the indefinite suppression of the rights of his people, and their perpetual statelessness and suffering - all praise aside.
Frank Lee - 1/14/2004
So much for your short-lived excursion into "analytical" sophistication, CRW. You have relapsed into boneheaded kneekjerk Sharon-worship. The "other" side of the Likud, RELEVANT to this discussion, are known as the LABOR PARTY, Peace Now, and American Jews who are not brainwashed mindslaves of the AIPAC.
Nobody, but NO BODY, on HNN, in the circa 20,000 comments so far, has ever praised Arafat, Fahd or Nasser. What will it take to get you and your fellow Pipesians here to curtail the unending and ridiculous lies to that effect ?
C.R.W. - 1/14/2004
I don't think you're witting enough to be purposely anti-Semitic.
I just think you're about as horrible a spokesperson for the interests and rights of Jews in the Middle East as you are for Americans in the Western hemisphere.
C.R.W. - 1/14/2004
Since leaders in both factions have demanded a one-state "solution."
At last check the security fence, (i.e. "wall" - which is NOT a political boundary) will cut into at most 6% of the huge mass of land in the West Bank; doesn't sound like galloping annexation to me. Even the coalition-maintaining head of Shinui proposes less.
Those who love Israel aren't enamored with the idea of 2nd-class dhimmi status under the mendacious non-leadership of a corrupt authoritarian who idolizes Chairman Mao, all prominent authors notwithstanding.
Just look at how much he's done for his own people.
Seriously, name one single Arab leader who's done anywhere near as much for his own people as any Israeli leader. Nasser? King Fahd? Hussein? Probably the only one that comes close is King Abdullah. Little wonder you don't hear the other "side." I've never run into an Arab who would argue it.
But you would if you could, right? Too bad you can't.
Charles Foster Garrison - 1/13/2004
HNN pretends to evenhandedly present "both sides" of issues such as the Mideast.
It does not.
Long articles by neocon-diehards such as Pipes, Horowitz, and Klinghoffer appear prominently week after week on the cyber equivalent of the front page. About once every six months there is half-rebuttal by a Juan Cole. The little excerpted Haaretz article, referenced by Don Williams, was buried in a pile of miscellany in the equivalent of the want ads on page 42.
It is revealing to read what HNN cut out of Haaretz's piece.
HNN’s sanitized excerpt ends with:
"I have no doubt that Natan Sharansky knows that I have no doubt that Natan Sharansky knows that there are apartments going begging right now in some of those places. The building of new ones is a barefaced challenge to the Palestinians."
The original article goes on from there:
“ They see it as proof of the Israelis' intention of reducing the Palestinian hold on land that they regard as their own. Such policies are, to put it bluntly, an invitation to further conflict.
Are those who love Israel prepared to defend the continuing, galloping annexation of the West Bank, which seems to have one clear, overriding purpose: to reduce the amount of land on which the Palestinians might live to half or less of all the land of the West Bank? Is this the Zionism that the present Israeli government thinks can be defended to sophisticated people on American campuses? What is wrong is not the lack of passion for the defense of Israel: It is morally and politically impossible to defend continuing, relentless pressure to make life more and more miserable for the Palestinians in their homes.
The American Jewish community is torn right now between its love of Israel and its distaste for Israel's policies. We who love Israel have an obligation to say what we believe. We have for a century or more helped and supported the Zionist endeavor in the state of Israel. We have long lived with the notion that Israeli governments, from right to left, have tried to inculcate in us - that they determine policy, and we are privileged to say amen on cue. This nonsense is now bankrupt.
More than two centuries ago, the American colonists revolted against the English government under the slogan "no taxation without representation." A Jewish revolt is now brewing. Its slogan should be: We cannot allow Israel's policies to be made by politicians from small factions who are protecting their particular, partisan turf. We need statesmanship to think of Israel's lasting interests, of its place in the world and of its deepest moral traditions.
The writer is a prominent American Jewish leader and author of the recently published book "The Fate of Zionism: A Secular Future for Israel and Palestine." ”
Needless to say, that “prominent American Jewish leader” has never appeared on HNN except this once. Daniel Pipes has been here over 40 times.
Jonathan Dresner - 1/13/2004
I wasn't convinced by 1441 before, and I'm even less convinced now.
War? The issue wasn't the war: that was so easy that it makes our protestations of danger look like wolf-crying of the first order; we beat them so bad in '91 that only WMD had any chance of making this an interesting battle (by the way, I'm all for boring battles). The issue is the fact that, in spite of starting well in advance of anyone else, the Bush administration did indeed fail to plan for the peace in a meaningful fashion. "Halliburton can handle it" isn't a plan.
Jonathan Dresner - 1/13/2004
You've changed the subject. As I've said before, now that we're here we have to do what we can and the stakes are very high so I'm quite committed to succeeding. I just wish our odds were better, as they could have been.
Don Williams - 1/13/2004
Don Williams - 1/13/2004
Last week I commented re Pipes and the Neocons that they seems unwilling to discuss the business and political interests driving the Bush Middle Eastern policy, the way in which those agendas have been concealed from the US voters, and the way in which Pipes et.al. seem unwilling to discuss the very real damage --in blood and money--being inflicted on the American people by those agendas --
Some in the past have accused me of being anti-Semitic -- although I have made clear that my criticism is addressed to Bush's pandering of some wealthy men and that US Jews have little, in any, say in this matter and that they do not necessarily support the US neocons, Bush, or Sharon.
HNN has put up an excerpt from a Haaretz article "World Jewry is not an amen chorus" which I think amplifies upon my comments. See http://hnn.us/readcomment.php?id=27846#27846 .
Bill Heuisler - 1/13/2004
Pardon me for impatience, but how much provocation, how much preparation or time do you suggest? Your "problem" seems to be that (after 9/11) you support invading Afganistan (not Iraq), but for no particular reason.
Specifics: You say arguments are weak without bothering to explain. You say we, "jumped in feet-first to a situation of dazzling complexity..." Complex? War's complex. Your problem may be you've forgotten history.
UN excerpts might help:
"United Nations S/2002/1198 Security Council Provisional
Resolution 1441 Security Council meeting 4644.
8 November 2002]
The Security Council, recalling all its previous relevant resolutions, in particular its resolutions 661 (1990) of 6 August 1990, 678 (1990) of 29 November 1990, 686 (1991) of 2 March 1991, 687 (1991) of 3 April 1991, 688 (1991) of 5 April 1991, 707 (1991) of 15 August 1991, 715 (1991) of 11 October 1991, 986 (1995) of 14 April 1995, and 1284 (1999) of 17 December 1999, and all the relevant statements of its President..."
"...Recognizing the threat Iraq’s non-compliance with Council resolutions and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles poses to international peace and security..."
"...Deploring the fact that Iraq has not provided an accurate, full, final, and complete disclosure, as required by resolution 687 (1991), of all aspects of its programmes to develop weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles with a range greater than one hundred and fifty kilometres, and of all holdings of such weapons, their components and production facilities and locations, as well as all other nuclear programmes, including any which it claims are for purposes not related to nuclear-weapons-usable Material..."
Recalling that in its resolution 687 (1991) the Council declared that a ceasefire would be based on acceptance by Iraq of the provisions of that resolution, including the obligations on Iraq contained therein..."
The operative word is "ceasefire", Professor. A problem?
For years the words rolled on. Did you read the dates? Did you read the descriptions of weapons?
Want more words? Perhaps we should've begged. Payed him off? But without any reasons you deny we had the reason. You deny we had the intel (after years of fly-overs and the '91 War). You deny an articulate coherent plausible plan even as the President's plan succeeds.
Is War itself the problem? Is the President the problem? Would you be more supportive of a less decisive President Gore or Nader no matter how feckless or reckless?
C.R.W. - 1/13/2004
It's not as if the situation is now in any way as drastic as it was pre-liberation. Improving the quality of life may be measured (and debated) in several ways, but the momentum is clearly proceeding in a positive direction. The administration and CPA may not be moving as rapidly as you like, but pretending we should just clean everything up tomorrow would give them incentive to demand our withdrawal before the political transition has been given the chance it needs, under our supervision, to properly mature.
"Touch-and-go" has its drawbacks, but we're in an overall position to make the most of it - and at the same time gain from the benefit of not making an unforeseen and irreversible mistake. The wear on the troops is regrettable, but the cost of failure is too high. The approach doesn't seem to be costing us in terms of a slow crawl toward overall success, all criticism aside.
C.R.W. - 1/13/2004
Underneath the hatred directed at the author of an article that is, admittedly, not a stellar piece of flawless writing, we see an unwillingness to look at the larger issue. For those too comtemptuous of Pipes to take notice, the issue of whether or not terrorism can be treated as a criminal vs. military enterprise, is an incredibly important question. The day the towers were struck I intuitively took it as an act of war. With the Taliban gone, a move with which many of you, I presume, didn't quibble to the same degree, the debates have moved to Iraq, Mid-East policy, the roles of oil and Israel, etc.
Treating terrorism as a crime, alone, is not without precedent. I would argue that the aspects involved in cracking the Mafia had some similar qualities, and initially I presumed that sharing the same kinds of crime-fighting burdens abroad would be sufficient. Very long, drawn-out and tedious, but ultimately successful. I changed my mind when I realized the depth and scope of what we were up against.
1,400 years of indoctrination favoring the institution of a theocratic hegemony won't be reversed overnight, nor will the lack of rule of law that fosters an environment favorable to it, nor the lack of freedoms that permit the consistent pressure of reasoned challenges promoting the reformation of such a mindset and its supporting apologia. I view the latter two aspects as crucial supports for the former, and believe that they must be engaged at any level possible. Regime change in Iraq, as drastic as it is, and as geographically peripheral to Afghanistan as it is, can only help. We could always decide to wait around for an Islamic religious reformation devoid a permissive political context (such as was closer to the case in Europe), but this approach is far too serendipitous. As long as we have the diplomatic and military momentum, fostering the development of liberal, rule-of-law abiding democracies in the Middle East is our most pressing responsibility in the larger war on terror, and promoting a civilization consistent with the ideals of freedom.
I am not arguing an appeal to topple governments one-by-one, but pressure to adapt accordingly is certainly not out of the question. Leaving Saddam in place after 1991 was a military and political error, one we allowed for the sake of ill-placed diplomatic concerns, and reversing that error was paramount in light of a paradigm that insists that parties to treaties involving the U.S. respect such agreements and relationships. Personal vendettas (and longstanding planning) aside, there was no reason to allow Saddam to endlessly play us in a political game of international obfuscation. Whether or not Bush came to that conclusion after inspectors were ordered out, or merely after the assassination attempt on his father, doesn't change this.
Other partisans may make a mockery of the decision to vigorously enforce U.S. interests, but the the embolding our enemies, (as ridiculous as it is to charge treason or lack of "patriotism,") is a real consequence of not doing so when it comes to the war on international terrorism.
Caleb - 1/13/2004
Pipes makes 2 assumptions in this article that he simply hopes will be accepted even though they are (in my opinion) incorrect. The first assumption is that Iraq was the next step in the war on terror. If you believe this, than you have the ability to paint anyone against the Iraq war as being against the war on terror.
The second assumption is that any one candidate represents all Democrats. It is true, Dean looks like he is going to get the nomination, but any poll reveals that he is only the plurality choice since Democrats are split over who they like more. Even if Dean does win the nomination (which looks increasingly likely), he supported the war in Afghanistan, the first Gulf War, and has indicated that he would support future military action, even if unilaterally, to fight the war on terror.
Jonathan Dresner - 1/13/2004
Your arguments about Iraq are weak, but that's not my primary issue. None of what you cite was part of the argument about going to war, but that's not my primary problem. None of them apply more strongly to Iraq than to Syria or Saudi Arabia, but that's not even all that important. Respected members of the US military establishment are highly critical of the process and implications of our war in Iraq, but that's not my problem.
My problem is that we jumped in feet-first to a situation of dazzling complexity as if planning a trip to the park. Sure, we packed a lunch and some bug spray, but when our best friends suggested we bring along a map we said "Fine, we'll go without you!"...... but Iraq isn't a park: it is a critical resource-rich area with barely restrained neighbors, complex social and political legacies, and immense immediate needs, all of which we're now responsible for, and which our leadership can't seem to articulate a coherent or plausible plan for.
Seems to me that "precipitous" is a pretty fair description. Not all criticism is politically motivated.
Marty the Martian - 1/13/2004
Democrats are in denial. 9/11 means we are all Israelis now.
Except Democrats in denial. No more Mr. Nice Guy now. We're building a protective shield around the West Crater, the Gaza Crater, and anything else our rover can detect. Arafat, Dean, Annan, bin Laden and all the other terrorists can go find another planet to live on. God promised this one to our leader Ariel.
C.R.W. - 1/13/2004
When apostacy or religious dissidence is responded to with calls for death, a working example of a liberal political context just may be the necessary framework for a genuine reformation.
Some people make the erroneous assumption that mainstream Islam doesn't condone acts of terrorism, or theocratic hegemony, a situation which is inherently no less just. Such individuals usually prove incapable of providing a depth of understanding of basic Islamic tenets of faith. But on a site devoted to history, I would ask such an audience the following: Why is it that the most stably liberal political framework in the Muslim world is modern Turkey?
What we want to allow for is certainly much less drastic, and less offensive to faithful Muslims, than a forced Ataturk-esque secularization. When coupling your response to Chirac's approach (which was incidentally, identical to my initial impression as well), with his determination in seeing it implemented, we see that absent a reformation, legalized repression is becoming increasingly attractive.
Let's pre-empt the French model by sowing the seeds for a true reformation in the Islamic world. In order to assure that, basic liberal freedoms, and the institution of governments that support them, must be assured.
Bill Heuisler - 1/13/2004
The US Senate voted aye unanimously and only 38 Members of the House opposed a Resolution President Clinton signed in 1998 - long before 9/11 - to promote regime change in Iraq. But this does not reduce in any way Mukhabarat/Ansar al-Islam connections, Iraqi guilt in the first World Trade Tower bombing and direct contacts by 9/11 highjackers to the Iraq government. In fact, the Clinton Administration's identification of Iraq as danger to world peace (even after Gulf War 1 and during our interdiction of the no-fly-zones) only strengthens the case for 9/11 being a Saddam-facilitated event.
When you label US invasion of Iraq "precipitous" explain how Iraq is any less implicated in terrorism than Afganistan. Explain how Salman Pak training camp where Mukhabarat trained terrorists to highjack airliners 35 miles from Baghdad in '98, '99 and 2000 doesn't give the US a casus belli after the 9/11 atrocity in 2001. Were airliner-highjacking training camps in other countries?
In haste to condemn President Bush and the War on Iraq, many well-intended people ignore evidence that would convict any other country in the world. Why? Further, why is the only connection to the first country we invaded a series of statements by OBL? Why Afganistan and not Iraq?
When Manson wrote about Helter Skelter/Race War was anyone surprised to find bodies later? Why would anyone ignore intent and try to detach old Charlie from murder?
We have clearly identified goals and enemies. Ignoring an elephant is illogical and too obviously political.
Michael Green - 1/13/2004
The lesson of September 11 is that professional slanderers like Daniel Pipes will use the deaths of thousands of innocents as an excuse to impugn the patriotism of those with whom they disagree. How sad that the History News Network publishes such a disgusting example of intellectual masturbation.
Ken Melvin - 1/12/2004
It is said that the Big Lie/propaganda depends on repetition for effect. Pipes' Big Lies depend more on denial of fact, twisting of facts, and suspension of reason. The only purpose such diatribe could have is an attempt to brainwash. Does he think none of us read books, peruse papers other the NYT?
Dean's "I've resisted pronouncing a sentence before guilt is found. I still have this old-fashioned notion that even with people like Osama, who is very likely to be found guilty, we should do our best not to, in positions of executive power, not to prejudge jury trials." was exactly right. Pipes would have all join the insanity running amok? Does the man know of the constitution?
Gephardt's, "I never felt it was inevitable that we had to go to war." seems sane enough to me. Unassailable in fact. One can blow $20billion worth of dust into the air in Afghanistan while killing several thousand innocent men, women and children, then use intelligence to capture Osama, or they could just use intelligence to capture Osama.
Kerry's, President George W. Bush wrongly "rushed into battle", too, has proven to be bang on. Who's trying to lie to us here, Mr Pipes?
Soros', the war on terrorism cannot be won by waging war. … Crime requires police work, not military action." implies he waste no time listening to those in Washington such as Mr. Pipes who would tell us all what to think. What a fool, this guy Soros.
Coffin's: After 9/11, the U.S. government should have vowed "to see justice done, but by the force of law only, never by the law of force." , is obviously the rant of one so certifiably insane as to be unable to see the wisdom of return to the ancient laws of avenge and revenge; unable to see the need for America to abandon her high perch.
Strange this background Mr. Pipes would have us stand afore; so much missing. A new art form? No. Such distortion more the big lie format . Who is this ass who would so insult our intelligence? Does he think none of us remember Beirut, read "Pity The nation", know who Douglas Feith is ?
Does Mr. Pipes really believe: All too naive to understand that hundred of $billion and thousands of lives will be spent in Iraq for no good reason? That a nation of 300 million can do war with at ragtag group of 3, 5,...10 thousand. That our own paranoia won't cause a thousand times the harm the terrorists?
Like those used cold war hysteria to bleed the nation for their own gain, this lot uses paranoia as the televangelists use evil. Terror and terrorists are to be America's hell fire and damnation. The televangelists can't possibly believe in hell; else they would change their ways. So, this bunch can't really believe all this war on terrorism crap. It just happens to serve their purpose.
Marianne - 1/12/2004
"Recognizing the September 11 attack as war was a departure from the established practice. It was President Bush's seminal insight..."
In response, we invaded Afghanistan and toppled the Taliban regime there seeking the 9/11 "mastermind/ringleader" bin Laden...
Iraq is something quite different...
Jonathan Dresner - 1/12/2004
Regime change in Iraq is not necessarily integral to the "war on terror," a fact highlighted by Paul O'Neill's latest revelations. Nor is opposition to the precipitous invasion of Iraq necessarily associated in any way with opposition to improving our intelligence and law enforcement capabilities in response to changing circumstances, though again the administrations' proposals were predetermined long before the incident.
And his call for a perpetual war standing is absurd, unless we have clearly identified goals and enemies. Which we don't.
- Raleigh Trevelyan, Chronicler of a Notable Family, Dies at 91
- Former spokesman of B.C. anti-immigration group wants UBC history prof fired
- Harvard's Steven Shapin Wins History of Science Award
- Middle East Studies Association Fights a Rising Tide of Critics
- Juan Cole says the postwar Middle East governments were modeled on the Soviet Union, though not communist (interview)